Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boston Marathon Article

A couple excerpts from my recent article in Sparrow Magazine:

"....By mile five, I knew that the advice to “let go” and change my expectations wasn’t something I could afford to ignore anymore. It was just too hot. Everything that made this race so important, all the miles on the road, time away from my family, and dreams about how I would do seemed to melt onto the sidewalks right along with the discarded orange slices and popsicles that were being given to the runners as they made their way through the ninety degree weather in hopes of just making it to the end. For the first time in a marathon (or a race of any distance), I stopped at the side of the road and I cried. I was filled with feelings of defeat, fear, and loss. With my hands on my head, I let tears fall.  I cried because I was scared, and because I knew that even just finishing this race would require more out of me than I thought I had within myself. I cried because of the lack of control I felt. My breathing was off, my heart was racing, and my mind was playing tricks on me....

....The process of training for a marathon is so much more than just getting in shape so that we can make the distance of 26.2 miles. Training for a marathon doesn’t just start and stop. It changes us. We cross the finish line stronger, more determined and with a greater appreciation of what we are truly capable of. We test limits. We discover the depth of possibility in ourselves and in the life we have before us. Our goals aren’t always reached. And the doors we want opened the most, are sometimes closed and locked tightly. But in the end, there are always lessons to be learned and new doors to be opened that surprise us. I will forever be changed by what I learned in the Boston Marathon 2012. And I am only stronger for it."

You can read the rest of this article online at Sparrow Magazine.  Enjoy the article.  It tells a story about a race that I will surely never forget!  And while you're there, check out the other articles in the summer issue of Sparrow!  

Life has been a bit busy lately but I hope to connect with you soon!  In the meantime, I'm training for another marathon, feeling strong and happy, and getting ready to take off on a red eye flight to Texas with my girls for a wedding.  Why do Red Eye Flights always seem like a good idea at the time?  It certainly does not sound good today after a hilly 15 miler that has left me wanting to crash right this second.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Spotlight Runner: Meet Lisa!

And who is this happy runner right there with our three top elite women??  Why, it's LISA!

Last spring my husband and I set out to finally break 1:30 in the half marathon.  I was training for the Newport Marathon and he was training just for the half marathon we were running: The 2011 Vernonia Half Marathon.  Well, we did run a strong race cigar baby!  In typical Amanda fashion (the old Amanda), we started off way too fast.  In fact, after several miles at sub 7, I didn't see a woman in sight.  I was feeling strong, we were passing around a few jokes, and the pace was coming very easily.  

And then around mile 4
out of what seemed like
came this tight-bodied, dressed-in-red, blonde, full of what seemed like smiling energy woman.
Flying past us and looking effortless doing so.  

Lisa Tortorice at around mile 4 of the 2011 ORRC Vernonia Half Marathon
There are many stories to go along with this race.  My stop for water at mile 8 (even though I didn't really need it) right before the last 4 miles of hills, the spat my husband and I got in that resulted in him leaving me behind (which I deserved), and more.  But it was this speedy runner in red that stands out in my memory the strongest when I think of this race. 

This was my first time meeting Lisa Tortorice.  Since then, I've slowly come to know more and more about her.  And the more I get to know her, the more I adore her!  Her positive energy is contagious and inspiring.  With each new race she runs, she walks away thankful for something, whether it be a BIG FAT PR, an opportunity, or a learning experience and a chance to keep growing.  

Lisa finishing Boston 2012 with a big smile on her face!  

One of the cool things about writing a running blog and reading other running blogs is that I've had a chance to "meet" so many inspiring runners of all different levels.  I've learned from you, seen how you train, and been touched by your beautiful and unique stories.  Lisa is one of these women runners that I've been thankful to know.  I've had the pleasure of seeing her come out of some pretty big races with a whole lot of Joy and Gratitude to be using her gifts.  Like many, she is a runner who started running later in life and now she seems unstoppable.  I was particularly inspired at how she handled her experience this year in Boston.  Even though she didn't meet her original goal due to the intense heat, she joyfully embraced her 3:20 something marathon time and chalked it all up to an experience.  Unlike so many of you that I've been inspired by, Lisa doesn't have a blog of her own so she agreed to let me interview her and share her story with you!  Enjoy:

Meet Lisa Tortorice

When did you start running and what got you started?

I started running in medical school to relieve stress. I was slow. I started by running 3 miles and chugging a Mellow Yellow after (no joke). I also smoked then. I don't drink Mellow Yellow anymore-- I upgraded to Diet Mountain Dew-- and I definitely don't smoke anymore. I have gotten just a little faster since then.

Favorite race distance?

Love the half marathon. It is a longer distance, which definitely plays to my running strengths, but it does not require as much time for training as the full. Plus, you can really race it from start to finish. Having said that, I am so addicted to marathons. I have a very specific goal, and I will not back off until I reach it.

What are your Prs in each distance that you race?

5K 19:14
8K I forgot!
10K- 39:10
half- 1:27:15
full- 3:07:30

Tell us about a favorite race experience? Could be due to a PR, the people who ran with, where the race was, etc.

Oh my god, there are so many memorable races, but the first race that came to mind was Boston 2012. Yes, the really hot one that just happened a few weeks ago. Since I live in Boston, I was able to train on the course and knew every hill and every turn. But even more than that, I had my family cheering for me at mile 24. I also saw a lot of people from Portland and from my work who cheered me on. It was the first time I had ever run a race just for fun. I always wondered why the hell anyone would do that! Now I know. Even though my time was ~25 minutes slower than what I trained for (I thought I would be close to 3h), it was one of my favorite races ever. By the way, I negative split that bitch. By 6 seconds. 

What has running meant for your life? Why run?

Running is HUGELY important to me. I love how strong I feel after I complete a speed workout. I love being outside. I love challenging myself to hit tough goals. I also love how great it is as a stress reliever and how it can lift my mood. You know those days where you just feel crappy or sad and you feel like not even running will help? And then you go running and you feel totally reset. I am addicted to that.

I also have to add that now it has become a family affair. My sisters and mom also run. We have met for races in Boston, Napa, Duluth, Milwaukee, Chicago, Green Bay... probably more. It is SO fun to experience races with them. We are all meeting in Milwaukee in fall for the Lakefront marathon. My dad and brother are professional spectators.

Do you think you'll always be competitive with running?

I was just talking to Mike (my fiancee) about this. I was telling him that maybe in a few years I will start running just for fun. Then we both laughed. Yeah, I will be the girl who is 6 months pregnant still running. I will be the 50 year-old who is still trying to chick the younger bucks.

Most recent race? How did it go?

Boston 2012! See above for details. I ran it in 3:28 and loved [almost] every minute of it.

Athlete Goals? (Time, certain races, strength, diet...)

First and foremost, I want to break 3h in the marathon. I have little inspirational pictures and sayings in the bathroom and in my bedroom. I am a pretty big dork about it. I also need to get better about stretching. I have the world's tightest hammies. I never foam roll, and if I stretch 2x in a month, I call it success. I also really need to break 19 min in the 5K. My 5K PR is pretty sad when you compare it to my other times. One more thing, stop drinking wine. OK, so I'm kidding about that last one.

What do you think about when you are faced with those moments when you have to dig the deepest in a race? A mantra?

Oh yes I do. I have no idea where it came from, but I yell (in my head, though you could yell it out loud if you wanted), "Don't be a baby!!" Over and over. Maybe I should find something more encouraging like my sister Manda's, "Light and Easy. Fast and Smooth."

When do you train?

Almost always in the morning. I love morning runs. If it's a double day, I try to get the second one in as early in the day as possible.

Do you have a coach?

Joel Gordon is my coach. He has been coaching me for about 10 months now and has coached me to PRs in every distance. He totally changed my approach to training which was very refreshing.

What do you eat? Do you think diet plays an important role in how you succeed as an athlete?

I think nutrition is very important. I follow a mostly-healthy diet. I eat a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables. I could not live without asparagus, turkey sandwiches and oatmeal. I also have only recently realized how important it is to refuel in that 30 minutes after a run, even if you have no appetite, and I have learned to embrace the protein shake. I have a problem with sugar though. I love it. Ice cream, cookies, cakes. I absolutely do treat myself though. I also have an affection for red wine. One of the lists I made on my bathroom mirror is a list of things I need to to break 3h. "alcohol and sugar in moderation. deprivation does not work for LT."

How old were you when you first knew that you were good at running?

Hmmm. Good question. I didn't run in HS or college. I think it was after my first full marathon in med school. I ran Chicago and missed a BQ by 2 minutes. I didn't take any GU or Gatorade, had no watch, and I am pretty sure that is the marathon when I ate a bag of popcorn the night before. ( I have learned a lot since then.) I don't know if it's fair to say I thought I was "good," but I at least thought I had potential.

Favorite speed workout?
Love me some 800s. I love the track in general.

How many miles a week do you run when you're training for a marathon? And other distances?

I hit 90 miles this past training block. I would say I average 70-80. I am hoping to hit 100 this block. When I am doing more 5K-10K training (which is sadly, rare) I am more around 65-70.

Do you have any pre-race “tricks” or rituals that help you feel good and get you in the zone?

Sometimes I like to listen to really bad (but oh so good) hip-hop/dance music. Rihanna, Usher and David Guetta can do no wrong.

Music or no music while running/racing? If music, what are some of your favorite tunes to race to?

Rarely music while running. Never music while racing. Though when I do listen to music, it is of the varietal mentioned above. My fiancee once found one of my mixes on my macbook, and I think he almost left me.

What is your next race?

A 5K in Waukesha, WI. I will be back for my wedding shower on that weekend. I scheduled the race for the morning of the shower. Who wouldn't do that? Time to break 19 minutes and get this monkey off my back!

Do you always have a smile on your face when you run? :)

Haha. I have two running faces-- a happy face and a super-extreme-focused-like-my-eyes-could-cut-through-you face.

Thanks for sharing your life with us Lisa!  Love love love!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Rock n' Rollin'!

This picture pretty much sums up how I'd like to feel at the end of every 13.1 I run...
Happy to be running.
to have perfect weather conditions for a race (even though I wasn't racing).
Happy for a FUN and favorite course that took me through the neighborhoods of my beautiful city.
to feel strong and healthy!

Happy that using this 13.1 race as a workout and not a race meant holding back way more than I thought I would have to hold back. Happy that the paces I was supposed to hit came with ease and that finishing felt like I was just getting started. A promise of good things yet to come.  

Happy for 
First-Time Half Marathoners that remind me what its all about!  

I know that even though I didn't hit all the paces exactly like I was trying to hit, I still practiced restraint and control. I spent the first half of the run kind of beating myself up for not being able to nail my mile splits exactly as my coach had asked me. My first two miles seemed almost impossible to keep over 8 min pace even though I should know better about how hard it is to keep the first miles slow.  By mile three I found myself slowing way down in parts so that my split would have an 8 in front of it and look like I followed instructions better. It is important to me to show my coach that I can listen and I was getting kind of down on myself for doing such a poor job at holding back.  Then I made a deal with myself to just run by effort, stop looking at my watch so much, and to keep my speed in check and my breathing under control.  I found that if I tried too hard to keep the exact paces that I was going for, it got in the way of enjoying the run, experiencing the course and going by effort since there were so many hills...what felt like a large amount of downhills.  I went with the uphills and downhills, holding back the effort that I will be able to use soon enough.  Some of my miles were too fast according to plan and some a little slower....
but in the end, I finished knowing that I tried to run a good workout where I gave just enough for what it was meant to be. It was a learning experience and I'm not going to be too hard on myself for being a little off. 

The Plan                  The Paces I Hit 
1:43:45                     1:42:11 unofficial Garmin time 13.26
8:30                          7:43 Too fast.  Unexpectedly hard to hold back.
8:30                          7:46 Again, struggling to hold back.  Felt SO Slow
8:30                          7:59 Really tried to get over 8 with this one and still not look at my                  
                                       watch the entire time!
8:15                          8:02  Better
8:00                          8:20  Hills help slow you down if you're keeping the effort even.
7:45                          7:41  Yes...better!
7:45                          8:00  More hills
7:45                          7:28  Where there are uphills, there are downhills
7:45                          7:44  
7:45                          7:40
7:30                          7:31
7:30                          7:18 down hills effort still more like 7:30
7:30                          7:19 same as above
                                Last .26 on garmin was 7:07 pace but felt like I was sticking with 

Overall, I'm happy with my workout today. I know it wasn't perfect in hitting my paces. I know that I could have done things a bit differently here and there but it is another learning experience.  It is harder than it seems to run specific paces on a hilly course so I did the best I could to run by effort.  

Some Highlights:

  • I loved the Portland Rock n' Roll Half Marathon course!  Perfect mix of hills IMO.
  • I loved the efficiency of how it was all run and I enjoyed seeing friends. 
  •  The weather even turned out to be PERFECT racing/long run conditions.  It was cool, cloudy, and just a bit of rain to keep us cooled off. 
  • There were a few of you ladies who came up to me at the end of the race to introduce yourselves and it was so nice to meet you.  Thank you for your kind words.  
  • The best part about today was being there to see my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew finish their very first half marathon!  It was very inspiring!! I couldn't be MORE PROUD of them!! This is only the beginning!  

  • My leg felt strong!  My KT tape might have helped...I think I've mastered the Hammy Tape Job!  It was funny that several people stopped me at the end of the race and said that my leg was their focal point.  Ha!  
Yay!  Second weekend in a row that I get to see Tasha from Healthy Diva.  Love this girl!

So proud of my sister-in-law and nephew!! This is just the beginning.  They've caught the bug!  And Debbie from The Run Home, she loved her necklace!  She's wearing it in the picture.  

Seeing my brother-in-law finish was one of the most inspirational moments of my life.  So Proud!  He realized that there was more in him than he ever knew!  
Proof that I was icing my leg right after the race!

Now off to roll, ice, rest, and gear up for a good week of training.  Hoping that my leg keeps feeling good.  So thankful!!  

Oh, and I really must register for Portland Rock n' Roll 2013!  Wouldn't want to miss out. And maybe next year I'll get the green light to race it! 

Who was there today??  What did you think of the course, weather, etc.?  How did you do?  


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Birthing Necklaces, The Run Home, and Broken

Anyone that knows me well knows that I almost always wear a small silver necklace.  I hardly ever go without one of my necklaces unless I'm putting another one on. I usually have one on when I shower, sleep and and race. Always. It is just part of my style. I have four favorites that I switch out and they all hold a great deal of meaning. The first three (pictured above) are what I call my birthing necklaces.  My husband started the tradition of giving me a necklace when we found out I was pregnant and I wore each necklace during my entire pregnancy, the birth of each child, and most of the following year after.  These necklaces represent so much more to me than just a piece of jewelry.  They are symbols of love, the miracle and joy of life and pregnancy, and the gift of motherhood.  These necklaces are even special to my children.  The each know what necklace is "theirs" and they notice when I switch them out.  I know that someday I will probably pass these necklaces on to them.  Perhaps when they have their first child.  

Right around the time I started this blog, my husband gave me another special necklace to celebrate my 32nd birthday.  This one is by far the necklace I wear the most often.  And it is the one that my kids probably love the most because it represents all three of them at once.  I love it. So dear to dear as material possessions can be.  

Well, today the chain on this necklace broke.  And really, it is my own fault. I'll explain in a minute.  

You see, I was so excited to get a package in the mail from The Run Home, my new favorite place to order running jewelry for my friends (and hopefully myself sometime soon).

I ordered a special necklace for my sister-in-law because she is running her very first half marathon this Sunday. I bought her something that I would love to receive myself knowing that she usually likes my taste in things.  

When this package arrived, I did what most jewelry loving people might do.  I tried the necklace on just to make sure it worked okay...ha!  But when I did that, I didn't want to take it off.  And it was even harder putting it back in the package and boxing it up.  It is the perfect length (16"), the perfect weight, and the perfect size.  I hope she thinks it is perfect too.  Honey, if you're reading, this would be the PERFECT gift for me!  So bummed my birthday isn't until November. 

LOVE LOVE LOVE this!  I'd order one just like it for myself but instead of the 13.1 charm, I'd get the one that just says "Run".  Maybe I'll just have to send a few hints to my husband.  Instead of a "birthing" necklace, he could get me one in celebration of finally agreeing that I'm done "birthing".  

So back to my necklace breaking....  

When I went to try the necklace on, I took my other one off.  My favorite necklace.  I set it on the counter and immediately my almost three-year-old son wanted to try it on.  Rather than battling it out and explaining to him why I didn't want him to wear it, I just put it on him and figured he'd wear it for a bit and then give it back.  But before I could even get my sister-in-law's necklace back in the box, my necklace was broken.  My son had tried to tell me he wanted it off and I was too lost in my own thoughts that it took me a minute to answer him.  Rather than wait for me, he tried pulling it off and the chain broke.  

I'm embarrassed to say that I actually cried a little over this broken chain.  I know, just a silly necklace.  

So sad.  :( Must get another chain.  
I felt awful with the way I reacted.  My little guy didn't mean it.  In fact, he pulled on it because I WASN'T LISTENING to him.  I was too busy lost in some stupid NOT IMPORTANT thought that I didn't respond to him right away.  So when I was so sad (almost mad) about it breaking, his little eyes filled with tears and he was devastated.  It didn't take more than 30 seconds for me to snap out of it and realize that my necklace didn't matter at all.  What mattered was how my son felt.  And that he knew above and beyond anything that I LOVE him more than ANY material item.  I hope I reassured him.  When he gets up from his nap, I'll make sure to tell him again.  

Truth is, I am sad about my necklace.  But the good news is that it was just the chain and I still have it so all I have to do is replace the chain.  Or buy a necklace from The Run Home (this one) and just share the chain with my E, N, and S charms. Maybe it will be my treat to myself after my next marathon.  

In the meantime, I'm excited to give my sister her necklace and see her finish her first 13.1 at the Portland Rock n' Roll Half.  

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry that you wear all the time?  Does it hold sentimental meaning?   


Friday, May 11, 2012

Motherhood Worry

Worry is almost as worthless of a feeling as guilt.  Worry and Guilt.  Two things that are the parts of my life that have been most suffocating for me.  Especially as a mother. Actually, I've kept these two old friends at bay quite well this year.  They've been quiet lately.  But for some reason, they've decided to rear their ugly heads at almost 2 o'clock in the morning.

Things were fine before I went to sleep.  Perfect really.  Thursday was one of the best days I've had in a long time.  I was ON all day in my motherhood duties.  I took my son to sports class, put my phone away in my purse so t hat I was fully present and available for my kids, spent lots of time outside, cooked a really great meal, had alone time with each of my kids, made french toast for breakfast, and ended the day with some rather JOYFUL jumping on the trampoline with my family.  In my opinion, the day couldn't have gone much better.

So, why is it that I am up at this time of the morning with a list of things running through my head? Why did I get up to use the bathroom and then return to bed thinking of things I can't control???  Not sure but here I am.  A mother, up at 2 a.m eating cheese and crackers and stressing over all the things I AM and AM NOT doing for my kids.  Yes, cheese and crackers.  Isn't that what most people eat when they wake up a 2 in the morning worrying??

Okay, a few things:
1.  I do not make a regular habit of this.  You know, losing sleep because I am worrying and feeling guilty over not doing enough.  So don't you worry.  I sleep well.  And think I'm doing a fine job.  
2.  I think what this worry really comes down to is the fact that I'm a competitive person.  I expect the best from myself and this carries over to my kids and how I am as a mother.
3.  My neighborhood can be kind of annoying.  Only annoying because I make it that way.  Because the 25 parents who are in the classroom volunteering for their kids' party make me think A. Gee, there are a lot of parents who volunteer.  Yikes!  I need to step it up a notch.  and B. This would annoy the heck out of me to be the teacher here.  I liked my school that I taught at.  It was the perfect mix of parent support/involvement and "Gee, give the teacher some space and get a life moms!".
4.  Back to annoying.  I'm pretty sure that the main reason these hovering moms are annoying to me is because I see them and put pressure on myself and tell myself that I'm not doing enough.  This is ridiculous.  I know.  And I know that nobody can MAKE us feeling anything.  We have control over our feelings.
5.  I'm pretty sure that I'm one of those annoying parents to some out there.  There are different levels.  Just as I see some of those "Always at school and in the teachers' space kissing ass" parents as perhaps one of the most annoying things on the planet, I'm sure some moms see me and think:  "How annoying!  Does she have to workout every single day?  And I can't believe she is wearing those tight black pants to school again.  She's so selfish to spend so much time running and traveling for running."  Ha! I might even be seen to some as that mom that is annoying for the same reasons that I'm annoyed.  The things I do might remind them of all the things they aren't getting to.  This is the nature of motherhood.  We compare.  We judge ourselves. We feel guilt.  At least many of us do.  Such worthless feelings.  They do no good!
6.   I think kids need to be kids.  I also think they  need to be challenged and given structure.  They will rise to the expectations we have for them.  Most of the time.  As long as our expectations are within reason.

Somewhere between the time I started this post and right now, I think my brain has returned to sleep mode.  Now my mind is a bucket of mush and I forgot where I was going with this post.  Perhaps I just needed to let my ramble of worry out so that I could sleep with a clear head.  So, rather than end this with some pretty little bow of a wrap-up paragraph, I'll close with the list of CRAP that I was worrying about.  In RANDOM order.  And then I'll go to sleep and wake up fresh and ready to rock my A-GAME as a mom.

Worry that WOKE me up:

  • Oh my, I could die any time.  I really need to make the most of my time with my kids.  (Why would I be thinking of how I could die at this time of the morning/night???! What??!)
  • If I died, would they know how much I love them??
  • Did I not start early enough with E when it came to reading?? Would that have made the difference between the high reading group and the middle one?  
  • Does it really start as young as first grade??  The super competitiveness with academics?  Or is it more the parents than the kids?
  • I wonder what teacher my kids will get next year. Sucks that I don't have any control over that.  Maybe that's why there are so many parents volunteering all freaking they can have more control over where their kid gets placed every year and what they do.   
  • I don't even know the teachers in second grade.  
  • There are some crappy teachers out there.  I know this.  I saw a few in my time as a teacher.  Gosh, I hope we don't get one.  
  • Do I do enough for my kids?  
  • Am I too focused on running?  And what's the point?  What are we chasing anyway??
Okay, that was the gist of my worry.  Feeling like I'm slipping.  Wanting to be better. Wanting to be the best I can be.  As always, being competitive with myself (and admittedly others).  Pride.  Need to truly trust in a plan other than my own.  

I feel better now.  Kind of how I felt when I was in college and I'd start feeling out of control but then I'd go to the library and study for hours on end and come home feeling like my ducks were a row, my 4.0 was in the bag, and I was ROCKIN' this thing called LIFE.  

And since I always seem to blog the messages that I MOST need to HEAR:  

Rock on Moms.  Cut yourself some slack today.  Bag up your guilt.  Kick the worry to the curb.  And write a list of all of all the things YOU ARE DOING RIGHT as a MOTHER.  There's more than you think. 

Sweet Dreams,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Operation WHOLE

I'm so ready to get back into tip-top running shape.  I'm HUNGRIER than ever for a personal best in the marathon.  I'm ready for the next race.  The next long run where I return feeling high on life and have endorphins rushing through my every limb.  I'm ready to have that post run smile that just takes over my entire self.


But I'm practicing patience here.
I'm doing the things that are necessary for rebuilding and making sure my body is WHOLE so that I can be my best self.  The best athlete that I can be.  Body, Mind, Spirit.

As much as I know that I need to move slowly with my running in order to heal this hamstring and get my body strong again, it is HARD to be...


It really is a one day at a time thing right now. I'm remembering to practice patience, love, and willingness to listen.

A few steps in my plan to get this body WHOLE so that I can start discovering some new levels as an athlete:

For the first time since college, I have a coach to help me make decisions about my running.  And for the first time EVER, I'm at a place in life where I think this coaching relationship will really work well for me.  I'm mentally and emotionally strong and ready to push myself and do the things necessary to get to new levels.  It helps having someone to tell me to take time off, be smart, and keep things slow. If it were just me, I'd probably end up pushing myself too soon and not truly give myself the time that I need to heal.

The Boring Stuff
I've always been the athlete to take the shortcuts.  The icing, rolling, heat, rest, massage.  These things are just annoyingly time consuming.  Can't be bothered.  Until now.  I'm doing these things.  Again, having someone else tell me to do them helps.  :)

Positive Thinking
I'm trying to focus on all the positives in my life.  Instead of griping and moaning about how it sucks to not be able to get out there and do some speed work or go on a long 20 mile run, I'm choosing to celebrate what I CAN do.  So much to be thankful for.  I'm running.  That's celebration enough.  And my body is healing nicely.  So much power in focusing on what we HAVE and what we can do today rather than what we can't do or be right now.  With every negative thought I have like "Gosh, this hamstring is so annoying" or "I'm losing so much fitness!", I replace it with something positive like
"I'm  so glad I got 6 easy miles today!"
"Today I will do more push ups and crunchies than yesterday."
"So great to have more time to just sit in my jammies and drink coffee while I read to my kids.

Putting Things in Perspective
Being in a rush to get somewhere quicker than we are meant to be there isn't going to do us any good.  If things work out like I hope, I'll be able to run a marathon in July or September off of the base I built for Boston along with some added training. This is in hopes that it will allow me to get a BQ without stressing my body too much.  This will give me the option of being in Boston next year if I want to.  If this doesn't happen then that is just how the cards play out.  My body very well might just not be ready for this.  I might need to take more time to heal and get whole.  This is very likely.  I'm hoping that things play out the way I WANT them to.  Ha!  But I'm open to possibilities.  With every door that closes, there are many more to be opened.  This is part of what makes life exciting.

Strength and Conditioning
I am only running every other day this week.  My total weekly running mileage this week will be 18-24 easy miles with strength and conditioning on my off days.  My strength training will only be on my upper body since I'm still trying to heal up this leg.  Lots of tricep, bicep, shoulder, ab, and back work.  It has been awhile since I've done too much more than push ups and abdominal work.  Maybe I'll even start doing some pull-ups again.  Would be fun to get to 10!

Blocking out the Negative
There are always people out there that are unhappy with themselves or with life situations. Or people that just like to be ugly and rude. Not sure why. But they are out there.  Sometimes people find joy in dragging others along with them on their unhappy train.  This makes me sad.  Especially when really nice and wonderful people get targeted in this "mean" stuff.  Being a person that "hates" is only only destroying the hater.  If we don't like something or we find something to be annoying, we don't have to read about it, listen to it, or be a part of it.  And if we do want to change it or voice our opinions, there are always ways to do that in a loving, constructive, kind, and "full of character" way.  We can be irritated and "vent" appropriately to others (our "safe" people.  I have several of these friends.) but when it comes to be unnecessary gossip, slander, and bashing just to be mean or stir up trouble, this is where I draw the line.  I have NO RESPECT for people like this and it makes me sad to see others get hurt from it.  The best way to deal with it is to rise above it, turn the other cheek, and not give power to things that just drag us down.  Part of keeping ourselves WHOLE and healthy is to keep these people, this energy, and these situations far away from us. At as far of a distance as we can.  Life is too short to let negative energy and people color our world.

Happy Wednesday,

Friday, May 4, 2012

Moving Forward Slowly

 "Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last." Simon and Garfukel

Moving Forward.  It's only natural to keep moving on to the "next thing" in life.  Birthdays.  Projects.  Trips.  Races.  When one thing ends, it usually doesn't take long before we are thinking of the next thing.  Some of us work really hard to hold ourselves back just a bit so that we can enjoy the lull that comes after finishing a big life event. And then there are those that need a push to get motivated to work towards something new.  Whatever our personality style, when it comes to planning, making new goals, and having something big to be working towards, the time in between "the big things" is perhaps some of the most important time we have in life.  

This "in between" time is our RECHARGE time.  It's a time to reconnect with ourselves.  A time to reflect and appreciate what we've done.  It is a time to just "BE" with ourselves, our family, and our present moments so that we don't get to the end of life and wonder where all of "it" went. This time allows us to absorb what we've just done, and reflect on what's next. For athletes, it is a time to let our body soak up rest and heal after working so hard. If we use this time wisely, then we will move on to to our next big goals and plans with a full battery and a clear mind.  Ready to rock n' roll!  But if we rush the lull or "in between" time that comes with the end of something big, then we might miss out on some of the essential rejuvenation that will allow us to be our best.  

If you're like me, you might always be thinking of the "What's NEXT" even before you finish with "What's RIGHT NOW".  The past few years of my life have been devoted to truly slowing myself down.  I've worked hard at trying to be in the present with my kids, savor the "NOW" in life, and not be in such a rush to move on to the next thing.  I've made a point to do this as a mother, a professional, and an athlete.  It is important to me to not get SO wrapped up in setting goals, accomplishing new things, traveling to new places,  and signing my kids up for new classes and activities that I miss out on really soaking up my present life.  The future is important. Yes. Our goals help us to keep getting stronger. Yes.  And our plans help smooth a path for us to keep moving forward and accomplishing our goals.  But if we go too fast then we will miss out on some the scenery that might be harder to notice.  Life will be a blur of "NEXTS" and we'll miss out on the "NOWS".  

After Boston
There has definitely been a bit of a lull in my life since Boston. It has been a time of rest and I've worked really hard at doing the things to help my body recover from injury and the damage that comes from running a marathon in extreme heat while not fully healed from injuries.  The two weeks I had off from exercise was SO necessary.  I don't think I really had much of a choice.  My 33 year old body was BEAT UP.  I'm so glad I took the time off. 

So What's Next?
Yes, I'm looking forward to what's next for me as a runner.  But I'm keeping it slow. I know that I would like to have the option to run Boston again next year. I have several friends who will be there and honestly, I had so much fun this year that I'd love to be back there!  It would also be nice to try it again without the extreme heat.  What are the chances of that kind of heat two years in a row?  

So, I have until September to get a safe BQ in the bag.  Ideally, training for another marathon so close to the one I just ran might not be considered optimal training.  However, my coach has agreed to make a plan for me so that I can race another marathon safely and build off of some of the Boston base that I already have.  IF.  IF my body says "Yes" then I will slowly move forward and plan for another marathon in next few months (I have a few in mind).  However, my body might very well tell me that it isn't ready.  I'm making a point of listening intently to my body.  

Why the caution??
Under normal circumstances, an almost 4 hour marathon would leave me feeling like I could easily run another marathon pretty soon afterwards.  In fact, last year after my June Marathon in Newport, Oregon (3:30), I ran another marathon 4 weeks later since I had such a crummy experience at my June race.  That second one ended up being fun and faster than the one I had trained for (3:24).  However, since January, I have been nursing some strains in my upper hammy/abdominal muscles that have caused me some pain and really just been annoying!  I'm starting to wonder if the problem isn't actually in my hamstring at all but more in my butt.  This would make a lot of sense as to why my pelvic region was hurting too...seems as if it is all connected (as are most issues with our body). So, my steps in proceeding with training but also using caution and listening to my body:

  1. Starting slow.  My coach has me starting back very gradually.  He has started working on a plan that is just for me and he has taken my injuries and past training into account.  This week is only 25 miles and all miles no faster than 9 min pace.  
  2. Rolling, heat, icing, adjustments, LOVE LOVE LOVE my body.  
  3. Thinking positive and realistically.  
  4. I only have ONE body and I want to run for years to come.  I want to be that grandma that runs half marathons with her daughters and even grandkids.  If I want to run for years to come then I have to take care of my body now.  I will be moving forward here but if my body isn't ready than I will slow down again and perhaps not run another marathon until next year.  
Finally, A Rolling Technique that WORKS for my BUTT!
My roller has never made much sense to me when it comes to rolling out this butt/top of hammy.  But I never considered putting it somewhere besides the stupid floor.  So, the video below demonstrates how I will be sitting A TON in the next few weeks.  

Also, a giveaway and post about NUUN coming soon.  In the meantime, I have a code for you so that you can get 15% off!  Yippie!

Code:  bloggerslovenuun
Where to shop:

1.  Do you use your roller on chairs?  Am I the only one that is new to this rolling technique??  
2.  Do you find it hard to rest and just "BE" for an extended time after you've just finished accomplishing a big goal like a marathon?  Or do you find yourself moving right on to the next thing without taking time to rest, recover, and reflect?  

Happy Friday!