Tag Archives: running

Everything and Nothing

My relationship with running over the past 18 months has kinda mirrored my relationships with EVERYONE in my life recently. Tenuous, hot and cold, starting and stopping, frustrating and then absolutely perfect… and then frustrating again. There are stretches where running and I are best buddies, and then there are times when we give each other the silent treatment.

If you’ve read this blog you probably know that I was pretty in love with running. I mean, who starts a running blog if they don’t really dig it? It was a perfect fit for me for awhile. It made me feel powerful and accomplished and healthy and it gave me escape and focus and goals. I got off the couch. I got fit and strong. Ten half-marathons and dozens and dozens of other races of varying distances made me feel like running was my “thing”. Running was what I had been missing all my life. But then… running stopped being “it”. I started dreading run o’clock. My blog went dark. And then running and I kinda drifted apart. In fact, I left running altogether – left it in the dust.  I was a runner, and then I simply wasn’t.

I was a weightlifter.

I hired a trainer and I immersed myself in my weight training.  I read books and magazines and blogs about it.  I picked the minds of friends and strangers who lived the gym life.  I considered competing (but I’m glad I didn’t) and admired those who had the fortitude and willpower and single-mindedness it took to do so. I spent hours in the gym picking things up and putting them down. I did this for about a year.

And here’s what happened: Nothing.

I stayed exactly as fit as I had been as a runner. I didn’t bulk up like a man even though I lifted more than some men in the gym. I didn’t turn into a fitness model either, much to my dismay. I sweat like mad but I shunned cardio for almost a year. I gained a couple of pounds of muscle, lost a couple of inches overall.  But the net effect was not noticeably different.

Then I added Boot Camp.

I ran and jumped and squatted and lunged.  I sat-up and pushed-up and pulled-up.  I swung ropes and pushed sleds and hurled medicine balls.

And here’s what happened: Nothing.

I stayed exactly as fit as I had been as a runner. I didn’t get super cut or super lean or super bulky.  My abs didn’t suddenly form a 6 pack and my ass didn’t perk back up (well maybe a little). But I was still wearing the same jeans I’ve had for years, and I was still solidly in the “athletic/fit” category and no closer to the “fitness/supermodel” category.

THEN I started cycling.

My first ride was about 40 miles and I was pretty impressed with myself. I did a few rides like that before the cold weather hit, and one after, when we had a nice warm day a few weeks ago. But mostly I rode bikes in the gym.  I’ve been riding 80-100+ miles a week for awhile (5 months?) and doing hills or speed sets or intervals. I’ve been BUSTING. MY. ASS. on that bike.  I’ve done a few spin classes too.

And here’s what has happened: Nothing.

I’m exactly as fit as I had been as a runner. I’m not featherlight like a “real cyclist” – nowhere close. Likewise my quads didn’t bulk up more than average nor my arms turn to mush. My lung capacity may be slightly improved but only slightly. My fear of clipless pedals is now well established but that’s another story…

And guess what? On January 1st 2015 I ran 15 miles. And on January 10th I couldn’t do two. And I did 8 miles two weeks ago and yesterday two was my max.

So here’s what has changed: Nothing.

I started this blog to track “the Evolution of a Runner” yet I failed you, my reader, by not documenting ALLLLLL the other things I did when I was NOT running. Those things are part of the evolution. Part of my journey. And what I have learned on this journey is that at 42 I am more fit than I’ve ever been in my life – fit enough to do ANY SPORT with skill.

Because being FIT *is* the end game, more than being a card-carrying-runner. Being healthy and fit are two of the most important advantages a person can have in life, and they are totally in our control to have or not have. Five years ago when I started this blog I had just learned that being fit was up to me, and running was my weapon of choice to wage the war against the sloth inside me. And over the past few years I’ve changed weapons and learned new skills but the battle goes on. Doing nothing is how I quickly lose the battle and fade into middle age and muffin tops.  I choose to fight like hell against that, and I now know that I can do it in many different ways with many different weapons.

And you know what that makes me want to do? Everything.

Running -  June 2013

Running – June 2013

Weight Training - March 2014

Weight Training – March 2014

Cycling September 2014

Cycling September 2014

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T.T.O.T.D. (Treadmill Thought of The Day)

Fitness tipping point:  When you have to stop your workouts because you’ve run out of time rather than energy, endurance or ability.

I love when I get back to this spot.  It makes me feel like a superhero.

Run!

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“ If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk.
If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means,
keep moving.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)
American civil rights leader
Nobel Peace Prize winner

“ If you can’t …

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Run.

I have a couple of posts about my recent races in the works, but in the meantime, here’s one of my favorite quotes for running, and life in general:

“ Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.
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Fast

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I’ve read several articles recently about athletes fasting or cleansing in the off-season and finding huge benefits.  I’ve never really given much credence to cleanses, I’ve never fasted (not eat… anything??) and I eat very clean, but I wanted to ask you – my running friends – if you’ve ever tried either (fasting or cleansing) and what did you think?  Yay?  Nay?  Cray cray?  

Here’s the recent article that got me thinking.

I’d love to hear from you!

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The Trots

(The 13 year old in me is chuckling about the title of this post…)

THE TROTS – of course I mean TURKEY Trots!  Picture this:  early Thanksgiving morning.  Frost on the grass, sun shining brightly, the smell of coffee wafting through the parking lot, tens or even hundreds of local people you have a common tie with (running!) all smiling and chatting and stretching.  An announcement is made, the start line fills up, in front of you (unless you are taking this VERY seriously and you are toe-to-the line) you see people in turkey costumes and people with goofy winter hats.  You are elbow to elbow with the community – teachers and soccer moms and weekend warriors and the bag boy from the grocery store.  The start gun sounds, the pack edges forward.  The pace slowly picks up until the street under your feet becomes visible again and you can move from a shuffle to a jog to a run.  Your breath circles your head like a halo.  The sun streams through the halos of the runners around you.  You smile and find your race pace.  You run through neighborhoods that are just waking up.  On bike paths that shimmer with morning dew.  Before you know it, the finish looms ahead, and you hear the whole neighborhood rumbling with support, chatter and laughter.  You cross the finish and high five the kids lined up like hungry paparazzi.  You join the finish line cheering section and whoop and yelp for friends and strangers as they make their way to the finish.  When the race is over, and the last stroller has crossed the line, you head to the parking lot to hear the results.  Results for a fun run?  OF COURSE – when the prizes are fresh baked PIES (or similar, the race I run gives away coveted pies).  Dozens and dozens of crisp white boxes holding still-warm pies are ceremoniously awarded to runners and walkers.  Those who don’t get them can almost taste them – the taste of victory.

You leave with a smile on your face, realizing that while most of the community is barely stirring YOU have already had an EXPERIENCE, YOU have already burned 300 calories, you (if you’re lucky and/or fast) have received BAKED GOODS.  The rest of the day is gravy.  Bring on Thanksgiving!

I wish ALLLLLL of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and fast, fun Turkey Trots!

RUN!

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Win-Win

I LOVE virtual races.  What’s better than signing up for a race, getting a race bib, and knowing you are running with/competing against hundreds of people, yet doing it in your own neighborhood?  Or in your own gym?  On YOUR OWN time?  For me it’s a win-win.  And when the money from the race will go to a good cause, EVEN BETTER!  So I seek out virtual races all the time, and today, this one popped up on my Facebook feed from Runner’s World.  I signed up before I even finished reading the post.  No brainer.  It’s the weekend after my Vegas Rock and Roll half, and it will be a good recovery run.  Plus, it’s another way for me to feel like I’m helping my friends and sorority sisters in NY and NJ that were hit so hard by that bitch hurricane Sandy.  So join me!  If you are a casual runner thinking about getting to the start line, this is a PERFECT way to start racing.  If you’re a seasoned runner, I OFFICIALLY DECREE that any PR reached in a virtual race stands, so use your home team advantage to run a killer PR!  And if you aren’t a runner, why not give this a shot?  Walk it, jog it – whatever.  Put $20 bucks toward a good cause and get a free endorphin boost as a bonus!

RUN!  RACE!

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Lost My Rhythm…

You know when you have a good routine going with something, and then some other thing gets in the way of that routine, and you get off track and you can’t get your rhythm back?  Well, that’s me recently.  Rhythm-less.

Oh, I’m not talking about running, though.  I’m talking about blogging!   Priorities, people!

I *have* been running.  Not quite as often as I’d like, but I have been running.  In fact, I logged about 15 miles a weekend each of the past few weekends.

But I loooooove to write about running, and read blogs about running, and talk about running…  I just got off kilter, busy, distracted… and suddenly stopped doing all of that.

I travel for my job, (sometimes I travel to escape hurricanes…) and since my last post, I’ve been in NY, MO, CT, CO, GA, PA, VA, FL, NJ, TX, TN and CA.  I’ve also been goofing around with friends and, of course, running.  All that to say, SORRY.  I love that people read my blog, and I hope that my passion and love of running comes through in my posts and motivates others to start running, keep running, or run more.

I’m back.  And I’m racing the Las Vegas STRIP AT NIGHT on Dec 2nd, so there’s plenty to talk about.  : )

RUN!

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If the Shoe Fits…

…do you re-buy it?

It took me a looooong time to find a running shoe that I loved, and that I felt made me a better runner.  It was Newtons that first made my heart go pitter patter.  But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  After they hurt me, I moved on to my next loves; Brooks Green Silence.  I had a deep and enduring love of these shoes, and I think I bought four or five pairs in various colors.  The only minor complaint I had with them was that I had blood blisters on my big toes after most long runs.  Small price to pay for love, though.  Then, one day, a shoe caught my eye and I honestly bought them without even trying them on, via a RoadRunner VIP introductory sale.  They were cool.  I was wooed.  And to my surprise, as I rotated them into my runs without any expectation whatsoever (except that people would say ‘WHOA those shoes are cool!’) I found that they felt great, were light and balanced, and didn’t give me blood blisters!  And (sniffle) I soon found I was tying them on instead of my beloved Brooks.

So now, with both pairs of shoes nearing the 400 mile mark or so, I am faced with a dilemma.  Re-buy one or both of the pairs I have, or go in search of a new love shoe that maybe holds even MORE magic.   I have my eye on the New Balance Minimus 10 Road, or the Nike Free 3.0 v4.  But the New Balance I have are hitting the sweet spot.

What do you do?

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Count ’em.

Most of my life, I only ran if someone chased me. I didn’t ‘get’ people who intentionally went out and ran… nowhere in particular. But now that I’ve fallen in love with the sport, I have learned the native language and customs.  I GET it.

So recently I’ve been noticing, reading and collecting some small quirks and quips that are pretty innate to runners. I’ll add more as they come to me or I find them.  So now, in no particular order, is my official “YOU KNOW YOU ARE A RUNNER IF…” list:

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A RUNNER IF:

#1 You talk about running to anyone who will listen… and sometimes those who don’t.

#2 You see someone running while you are driving and you get jealous.

#3 You can’t find time to clean the __________ (fill in the blank) but you can squeeze in a run.

#4 The word ‘Garmin’ in casual conversation makes you blush.

#5 You play/train in other sports just to get better at running.

#6 You’ve ever said “I only ran 5 miles today”

#7 You get up earlier on weekends than weekdays to run or race.

#8 You get offended if someone says they saw you ‘jogging’

#9 Your running shoes cost more than your work shoes.

#10 You get grumpy when you see/meet someone wearing coveted/expensive running gear who doesn’t run.

#11 You read “You know you are a Runner when… ” lists : )

That’s my starting list.  There will be many more, I’m sure.  How do YOU know you’re a runner?

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