Monday, January 12, 2015

Boston Marathon Training: A Non-Running Component

I've often thought marathon training is really LIFE training.  I guess that's what I love the most about these winter days when I'm logging more miles, being more mindful of my diet, and doing the work that makes my body snap back into the best shape.  If I keep my training in just the right place, all that goes along with it makes me feel stronger and more focused in almost every area of my life! [Of course, the thick layer of endorphins are a huge part of this! :)] Whether I'm training for a personal best or simply to finish a race with strength and confidence, setting and accomplishing training goals inspires me to find balance with my overall health (mind, body spirit), parenting, academic dreams and personal relationships.  In the big picture, I'd say I'm most ON in life when I'm dedicated to some sort of training goal.  But something hasn't felt quite the same with marathon training this time...I guess I've felt a little like that circle from the Shel Silverstein poem, The Missing Piece-- rolling down the road looking for my missing piece, trying on all sorts of pieces that could work but just don't fit...

Last week, when I was invited to contribute a post about my Boston Marathon training on a link-up for Runner's Connect (a site that has some really great resources for runners as well as specific posts for those who are gearing up to run Boston or want to run Boston in the future), I had planned to join in.  However, every time I sat down to write, I just couldn't get in the Marathon Training Post Groove.  I didn't quite feel up to sharing my training log or specific workouts yet and honestly, I didn't feel like I was officially marathon training. I mean, since I'm really training for my first ultra marathon in May and Boston is supposed to be a training run, it almost makes training seem less significant even though I know that's not the case.  Maybe it has also been that I've been wanting  a shift in focus this year.  LESS about a specific goal time and making my training so public and MORE about running because of the pure joy of being out there on the trails running mile after mile because I love it!  I've wanted this time around to be different than the last four times I've run Boston.  

Today it finally hit me:  No matter how I run (or race) Boston and how relaxed I want my race and training experiences to be, I'm still training for these races.  I'm still getting out there every day--putting in the mileage and the mental work that will allow my body to actually run over 30 miles on a forest trail with major elevation gain and not DIE! And yes, I'm also still incorporating speed/tempo work into my weekly mileage because otherwise I'd be one pace: slow, slow, and slower.  Even if I say I don't care so much about time, I suppose there will always be a part of me that wants to train hard enough to where I don't add too much onto my marathon run or not!   So, yes, I am marathon training (and ultra marathon training) and it's time to start owning that more and making it count!  

Today starts week two of making up my mind to be more focused and dedicated with my running--to be less loosey goosey with my plans and more thoughtful about the miles and workouts I set for myself.  

In addition, after today, I think I know what piece I'd like to add to training!  It has nothing to do with running, strength training, or eating (those are all givens),  and everything to do with some personal reflections I wrote on this morning:  connecting with others with a spirit of love and gratitude... 

Let me back up just a bit ...

This morning I woke up before the kids, grabbed my coffee and journal and sat down to write.  Towards the end of my writing, I found myself writing out a prayer of sorts like I used to.  Meditation, invitation, prayer.  Just me writing words to more than just myself --words to the Universe.  God.  A higher power.  Honestly, I'm not sure where I'm at with my spiritual life, but know without a doubt that it is an important part of me and one that has been hiding under a layer of emotional dust the last few years.  I also know that when I open myself to connecting on a spiritual level, it carries over to my life in some pretty amazing ways!  This morning's words/meditation are no exception--they were along the lines of wanting to focus outside of myself more.  I scribbled down:

Less about myself and more about others.  Who can I reach out to this week?  How can I see someone else in a different way?  I want to be receptive and open to new opportunities and relationships...with love, authenticity, gratitude.

Skip forward to later in the day...

When I got home from my run today, I was still thinking of my morning reflections while I checked my email. There in my inbox was such a kind and thoughtful email from someone I don't know too terribly well but she was reaching out to thank me for my support this year.  Along with her email was a small gift card.  What an unexpected smile to my day--a LIGHT.  It stopped me for a few moments to reflect on how simple but yet meaningful this was and how much it related with what I had written in my journal earlier!   

This email inspired me. It made me want to connect with others in this same spirit of gratitude, giving and kindness.  I have 14 weeks until the Boston Marathon.  For every week of marathon training, I plan to write (in my training log) one person from my life--close or acquaintance--that has impacted me in some way or that I want to connect with for some reason.  This doesn't have to be complicated at all and it won't be. It is about INTENTION.   The first person that comes to my mind when I'm writing my marathon training will be the person I reach out to.  Maybe I just send a text or email saying hello.  Maybe I will thank someone for their role in my life and let them know of a specific way that have inspired or helped me or others.  Perhaps I'll pick up pen and paper and write a good old fashioned letter to a family member I haven't connected with in years. Whatever I do, I'm thankful for the inspiration that came with this unexpected email today!  

At the end of this 14 weeks, I will be riding the bus to Hopkinton and running that familiar and favorite marathon course into Boston. I will have logged many (most) a mile on mountain trails.  And I will have reached outside myself in more ways than one! 

So, here's to continuing marathon training with some added components.  I'm glad to have something  just a little different to write down in my training log in addition to the workouts. As for that traditional marathon training post I was invited to write?  I just might get to that too!  There's been lots of good stuff... In the meantime, I'm enjoying the process...and continuing to see how marathon training carries over to LIFE!  

To make this long post a little longer,  below is the elevation profile for our 15 mile run last week on some of the most beautiful portions of trail that run along the Deschutes River in Bend, OR. To some, this elevation profile looks tough and to others (my extreme trail running friends), it looks wimpy.  When you add the rocks, mud, and turns, this course kicks my butt!   

Stopping briefly at mile 7 to snap a shot while the river roars below.

  • Do you feel more ON in other areas of your life when you are marathon (or whatever distance or sport) training?  
  • Do you have non-running/health components to your athletic training?  
  • Is there someone in your life that you haven't connected with in a long time (or ever)...someone to reach out to just to thank, ask about their life, or let them know how they have impacted you or others in a positive way?  


You can also find me writing at Run with Me Kids

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Visit Central Oregon on Mother's Day Weekend: Races for the Whole Family! And Moms Run Free!

Smith Rock Ascent Trail 50k and 15mile.  Photo courtesy of Paul Nelson Photography

If you're like me, the new year means making a plan for the upcoming months and penciling in a few things on the calendar!  Marathon and ultra marathon training is underway and I've started to think more about other races I want to enjoy during this training cycle as either training runs or time trials. I'd also like to find some fun family friendly races this spring where my kids can run too! So far, I have no races penciled in before the Boston Marathon in April (hope to find some) but  I do have a few races after the marathon that I'm looking forward to! 

My current race calendar looks like this:
April 20th: Boston Marathon. I'm supposed to run this as a training run for my 50k...we'll see how that goes. 
May 9: Smith Rock Ascent 4 mile race with my daughters (Moms run FREE).  Free kid run for my son. These races will be a fun opportunity for all of us to get outside, share time together, and be active while working towards a goal.  
May 10: Smith Rock Half Marathon at easy pace for a training run.  
May 25: Trail Factor 50k--My first ever ultra marathon in Forest Park/Portland, OR. And I'm so excited to run it with my husband (his first ultra too).  

Come Visit Bend, Oregon!
I know some of you have commented on my posts or Instagram pictures saying how you'd love to come run or visit Bend, Oregon. Well, if you're serious and can get away, Mother's Day weekend just might be the perfect time!  Bring the whole family for a weekend of racing, celebrating the Mothers in our lives, and enjoying beautiful Central Oregon!  Here are some more details about the racing part:

On May 9th and 10th, Go Beyond Racing has several scenic races for you and your family to choose from.  They are all located at Smith Rock State Park, which is known as one of the most scenic places in Oregon and only a short drive from Bend, Oregon.  Whether you prefer a race on trails, shorter distances to run with your kids, or faster and flatter road races, there is something for everyone.  There's even a free mile kid run for your youngest of runners.  Here is a short blurb directly from the Smith Rock Ascent website:

Welcome to the Smith Rock Ascent! Spend the weekend at one of the most scenic places in Oregon – Smith Rock State Park. Whether you prefer to run on trails or on the road, we have a course that you’ll love. Saturday is all about trails. Choose from a 50K, 15 mile or 4 mile route, all run on trails throughout the park. There’s even a free kids race. Sunday is road day. With a half marathon and 10K, you’ll be able to stretch your legs on this flat and fast course, with views of the rock faces.

Smith Rock Ascent Trail 50k and 15mile.  Photo courtesy of Paul Nelson Photography
I've never seen such amazing race photos.  This guy Paul is quite the race photographer!  I've spent so much time looking through the different events he shoots at...INCREDIBLE!  

A few bulleted points
  • Moms get to run with their kids FREE when they register them for the 4 mile race! This a shorter distance option (for all ages of course) that still offers the same incredible views and single-track that the 50k and 15m races!  
  • The kids mile fun run course is along the top of the race start/finish area.  All kids will receive a finisher medal.  What a great way to get the entire family involved!  
  • On the 10th is when the half-marathon and 10k road races are held.  A few words from the site on this:  "This road race is sure to become a favorite, featuring two great distances that provide amazing views of the Cascade mountains, sheer rock faces at Smith Rock State Park and unique beauty of the area.  Both courses should be quite fast with minimal elevation change. "
  • The races held on Mother's Day will mean a rose and entry into a drawing for a spa package for all the moms that finish!  
Smith Rock Ascent Trail 50k and 15mile.  Photo courtesy of Paul Nelson Photography

So, whether you are a family of runners or a family that wants to get on board with some new running goals by training for some races, here's a weekend that works for everyone! It's definitely something worth penciling in on that calendar of yours for a weekend of running, travel, family, and celebration!  

Be sure to let me know if you are going to be visiting Bend or the surrounding area for these races!  It would be fun to meet you! 


You can also find me writing at Run with Me Kids

Monday, January 5, 2015

WordPress Learning Curve! And Goal Setting with Kids at Run with Me Kids

Please join me today on Run with Me Kids for a post on Goal Setting with Kids!  And bear with me as I try to get used to WordPress!  Yikes, hello learning curve!!  Our website is surely a work. in. progress!!  Not only am I trying to find my writing voice, but I still haven't figured out how to change font size, type, or color.  We also need to change the format, header, add some features to fancy it up and so much more.  Tips welcome!  I think I might just need to ask some WordPress saavy friend to help a girl out.

I'll be back to Runninghood soon (ah, just typing here right now feels so comfortable and familiar after posting on another blog) to share some of my personal goals with running (15 weeks to Boston!), life, and parenting!  I'm itching to write and catch up on a few of my favorite blogs now that the winter break is over and we have routine again!