Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Born-again Runner!

New Goals:
  • Complete a sub-4 hour marathon (Santa Barbara in November)
  • Continue to insipre, and be inspired by, students that I coach
Just when my enthusiasim for running was starting to wane, the planets alligned and left me with a renewed sense of excitement and the formation of some new running-related goals. Quite a few things have fallen into place and all of a sudden I find myself excited about running again!


Usually, at some point during marathon training I fall into a slump and start dreading my long runs, even several days before. Part of the reason is because since moving to Orange County, the majority of my long runs have been on my own. I remember one Sunday in December a few years ago, when I had to run 20 miles. I woke up and did just about anything I could think of to procrastinate - I even resorted to cleaning and doing laundry. In an attempt to motivate myself, I got dressed in my running gear and put on sunscreen. But it wasn't needed, because by the time I actually got out there, the sun was setting. I ended up running in the dark, which turned out pretty cool, because I ended up on the peninsula and the boat parade was going on, but I wasted a day dreading it and cut the run down to 18 miles.


But this training period, I've found people to run with! On Saturday, June 4th I was running 20 miles with Diane. Because of the conversation, the miles were flying by and I felt great. Then, at about 12 miles in, we stopped and were refuling when I noticed another distance runner. You can spot 'em...distance runners have a fuel belt, garmin and well, they just look different. I asked her how far she was going, and she said 20 miles...the same as us. "What are you training for?" I asked. "Missoula, Montana" was Bridgette's reply, and an instant connection was formed. 


That's the cool thing about meeting other marathoners: you have a common denominator and spring-board for great conversation. Bridgette joined us and because she was just starting out, had way more energy to talk, and this was a welcome distration. It turns out that we both had run the Anchorage, Alaska marathon but her time was 4 hours (27 minutes faster then my PR) which qualified her for Boston. And, she's 50 years old. It was both impressive and motivating. I can do that I thought. I gave her my email when we finished our portion and it was her 1/2 way point and time to turn around.

That week, I found out about an opportunity to coach the high school cross country team, expressed my interest, and eargly awaited a decision.

The following Saturday, June 11th, Bridgette joined Delia, Diane and myself to run the Back Bay. We completed 16 miles and again, with the conversations, the miles seemed to fly by. Bridgette told me about a speed group that meets Tuesday nights at the OCC track. I don't like speed work, and haven't been in months, but recognize that it's a key ingredient in improving my pace. In order to run faster, you have to run faster! Funny how that works. I said I would be there.

When I returned to work on Monday I found out I received the assistant coaching position for Cross Country! But unlike when I helped in 2007, this coach has us meet 6 days a week, starting July 11th. This means that when I return from Montana on the 12th, I'm right back at it, and won't be sleeping in all summer.

On Tuesday, I started the speed group. We were running 12 x 400's with a minute rest in between. That means 1 lap, all out, and then a short break of about 1 min. and 15 seconds. And then, 11 more. I was completing each lap in 1:40-1:45 consistantly. Bridgette was there to hold me accountable...because after 8 laps (2 miles) I wanted to quit. My average pace for the 3 miles was 7:27 and I felt exhilerated afterwards...much different than my easy, slow, long runs. I was also dripping with sweat.

I realized that with the combination of running 6 days a week (which will actually be twice on Tuesday and Saturdays for my long run) and my speed training I will be able to FINALLY break 4 hours in my next marathon: in November for the the Santa Barbara marathon. And when I do this, attaining my goal of qualifying for Boston (3 hours, 40 min.) will seem possible. All of a sudden, with these few changes to what had become a boring running routine, I found myself excited about running again.

And I actually didn't dread my last long training run for Montana today! With only 5 hours of sleep,  met Diane and Bridgette at 8am for 2 loops of the back bay. After the 1st loop the marine layer was gone, the sun was out, and it started to get hot. We stopped at our cars after 10 miles and refueled. I went through 3 of my water bottles. And together, we kept going. Around mile 15 we saw 3 women trying to pose for a picture using the auto timer and placing it on their car. Diane asked if we should take a pic for them, and I offered, excited that this would be a good excuse to stop. After we finished the 20, Bridgette said she was hoping we would stop there. And Diane  was thinking the same thing.


Missoula is 21 days away and it's time for my favourite part of marathon training: tapering! After today, I have 10-13 miles next weekend, and 10 miles the weekend after that. And then, marathon #14 in Missoula and a new set of goals.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No time to exercise?

Sometimes, people ask why I keep signing up for marathons. Sometimes, I ask myself why I keep signing up for marathons. I guess do it because being signed up, and being in training, is the only thing that forces me to be consistent with my long runs. It is the only thing that forces me to be committed to this lifestyle. And, that's what it's all about: the 4 months of training leading up to race day, not the day of. Last weekend, I planned a weekend in Arizona with my friend. Because I couldn't do my 16 miles before I left, I had to do them on Memorial Day. Did I want to get out there on my day off after flying back from a fun-filled, sleep-deprived weekend and run for 2 hours and 42 minutes? No! But, I had no choice because of my training schedule. I landed and came home for a 45 minute nap, then headed out to do my run by myself. I finished just before it got dark. If I wasn't signed up, I would have easily missed it, blaming it on being too busy. But since skipping it was not an option, I had to fit it in.

And two days ago, I was invited to a work PLC conference in Vegas this Sunday - Wednesday. A group of people are leaving on Saturday and while I would love to travel with them, I can't because I have to get in my 20 miles before I leave. And now, I have to do my long run on Saturday instead of Sunday, so I also had to cancel my Friday night plans in order to go to bed early and meet a running partner at 6am tomorrow morning. With a little bit of tweaking, the time to exercise can be created.

It's easy to say or think we don't have time for exercise. I know, because I used to think/say I didn't have time when I was in college and working part time. People who say that, like I did, probably actually believe themselves, but it's just not true! In reality, no matter how busy we are, we can always find the time to exercise. The year I ran 4 marathons (2004) was also the year that I was working full time, in graduate school and also working on my 600 counseling internship hours. That's a little busier than being an undergraduate and just working part time...when I claimed that I didn't have the time.

Imagine if each person spent the same amount of time running (or walking!) that they do on facebook, or watching TV. It only takes 16 minutes to get out there and walk one mile. And, you burn the same amount of calories walking a mile as you do running a mile. Anyone can fit that in every day.

Everyone is busy! Exercise has to become incorporated into our normal routine or it will fall by the wayside. And if we do; if we make exercise a priority, it will happen. No one skips brushing their teeth because they're too busy! Granted, exercise takes a little longer than brushing your teeth, but you get the point.  Not only should we do it to enhance the quality of our life, but the quantity of our life. If we don't do some form or exercise on a regular basis, chances are we're ultimately gonna have less time overall...catch my drift? Yes, I'm talking about the likelihood that without exercise, you can count on dying sooner.
So, pick something! Sign up for your first 5K, 10K or half-marathon. Commit to walking a 1/2 marathon or, running your 10th marathon. I have a friend who has ran way more marathons than me and she just signed up for her 1st ultra marathon: 50 miles in celebration of her 50th birthday. Pick something and train! And, you will find the time. Then, you'll be in the same boat as me...forced to work the other details of your life around what is really important: your training. It's a good boat to be in, and it's sailing for a long time.