Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to It!!

Wow, I have been gone a long time.

Almost six months since my last post. Time has gone by, kids are half way through a new school year and I am finished with my marathon training for this year. Even though I have not been writing, I have been working!!

I have had a fairly good training season, only a few minor aches and pains, and have managed to pick up on my pace slightly. I ran a half with my husband in our home town after Thanksgiving and did fairly well. My favorite race, Disney, is next weekend, and I feel pretty good. I was able to get all of my training runs in and am now just kind of playing around with some fun runs to keep the momentum. I think I will run an easy 12 this weekend and call it done. I am looking forward to Disney, this is the first year that I have not committed to running with anyone, I am really going to try to run it for myself and see how I do. After Disney who knows, the original plan was to run Miami then Tampa, but I am going to take it one race at a time.

It feels good to be back blogging, hopefully I will keep up with it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I am not a cheerleader!!

Getting Old is tough. I fight it everyday and stay very active, but there are just some things you just can not fake. I think cheer leading might be one.

My daughter is taking a tumbling class to learn some basic moves that she will need to get on school's pep squad (the competition is fierce in the 3rd grade!!) and during one class she learned toe touches(aka spread eagle jumps). Although I do not talk about it much, I used to be a cheerleader in high school. My best move was the toe-touch jump. I shared this with her and she asked if I could still do it. I thought why not, I consider myself in pretty good shape, it is only a little jump. Boy was I wrong. I did something that almost resembled a jump and proceeded to fall on my butt. The bright side is that I entertained my children who were all rolling on the floor laughing!! The downside was that in addition to hurting my pride, I think I might have broken my whole body!!!

It has been 20 years since I graduated high school. What was I thinking. Cheer leading is not for 37 year olds!! Next time I will just coach, not demonstrate. I do not want to break a hip or something.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Speed Work

I, for the first time since I began running 4 years ago, went to the track and did speed work on Friday. I took some advice from fellow bloggers and after a 1/2 mile warm up I sprinted on the straights and jogged the turns. I did this for 10 laps, cooled down with another 1/2 mile run and was very proud of myself (it doesn't take much).

I enjoyed the workout. I brought my children and they ran laps (kind of) while I was working. They were very supportive, and we had a good time.

The next morning I was regretting it a bit. I was so sore, it felt like I ran two marathons rather than a few measly laps around the track. I never like to be sore, but I always look at it with hope, as I am pushing my muscles beyond their comfort zone and hopefully building.

I do not know if this speed work which I plan to do once a week will help, only time will tell, but I did enjoy a change in routine and having the family get out and do something together was fun.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Family Triathlon

This morning I signed my family (less the 3 year old, plus the grandma) up to do a family Triathlon. We are going to split into two teams of three and do it as a relay. I am looking forward to it, and the kids are very excited about it!! I do not know how grandma feels about it, she kind of got roped into it because we needed another family member to complete the second team. She is a good sport.

The race is July 25th, we have not started training yet as we can not figure out who is on each team, and then who will be doing what. I think part of the fun is that we will have some good family competition between our two teams. I am thinking of putting a wager on the race, such as the team who loses has to cook dinner that night.

The tri breaks down to a 100yd pool swim, 4 mile bike ride (closed loop), and 2 mile run (out and back). Any suggestions on who, between my husband, myself, grandma, my 11, 9, and 8 year old, should take what leg, or be on what team. Obviously, I want to stack the team in my favor (I will do anything to not have to cook dinner), hmmm maybe I will have to conduct try-outs for mommies team!! Not really, being a true mom, I will somehow figure out a way to make everything as fair and equitable as possible. After all, it isn't about winning or losing (or cooking dinner), it is about having fun!!! Right

Friday, May 29, 2009

Newly Discovered Talent

I have just realized this morning that I have a new talent; I can tell you what the distance (in miles) is between just about any major intersection, or point of reference in my town and surrounding areas.

It is really funny, I was trying to decide which Target was closer to my children's school (as I was in route) and realized that I did not need Mapquest, I had all the info in my brain (Yes, I really am very excited about this!!) I guess from all of my years of running locally, I have developed various routes around town that take me on my different runs. Not only do I know the routes, but I also know the increments in half and sometimes tenth of a mile. Is this useful info, probably not, but I am just excited that I haven't lost my mind completely and I still have some capacity to learn.

I am sure that this is, "talent " is not unique to other runners. Of course, we all know the areas we run and what the distances are. It is to me just one more thing that sets us runners apart. I feel another list coming on, ten things that sets runners apart from others. Maybe that will be my weekend work.

On another note, I am going to buy new shoes this weekend. Haven't changed much, but my knee is starting to bother me. I am thinking that it might be my shoes. They have served me well (two marathons and all the training that goes with them) but are getting kind of old. It is kind of sad to downgrade them, they are kind of like an old Friend to me.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Arm Swing?

My last marathon that I ran (in Feb) must not have sold the amount of photos they had hoped because today I got an email for clearance photos documenting my struggle, or triumph depending on where the photo was taken. Because it was such a small race there were very few marathoners which meant about 30 pictures of myself and my group during my 26.2 mile journey.

I have seen them all before but I couldn't help taking another look. This time I started to analyze them perhaps a bit to much, for form.

What I noticed most (besides how I need to work on my, "I am loving every minute of this" face) is that my arm position seemed way off. All of the other runners around me had very little movement, it seemed that their arms were very close to their sides and never more than parallel to the ground. My arms completely cross my body and go up close to my shoulders (it almost looks like I was sprinting the entire way, wouldn'd that be nice!!)

I know that this is not the best running form and really until I saw these photos I did not think it was that pronounced. Although the cross swing gives you great obliques, it does take unnecessary energy away from the run. At this point I need all of the energy I can get. So today I tried to make a effort to not cross swing and it felt really odd, like I did not know what to do with my arms.

It will definitely take some effort to change my ways of almost 4 years of running, but it will give me something to focus on for a while. I guess I will have to view my next race pics to see if I made any progress.

What are your thoughts? Are you arm swingers?? Do you think changing my ways will really make a difference for me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time to Look Ahead, Scattered Thoughts!!

School is almost out (8 more days) and summer is here (for us anyway). It is time to start thinking more seriously about my fitness goals and come up with a training plan to achieve them.

It is always harder for me in the summer. Things seem so much more relaxed than during the school year, it is always easy for me to fall into that, "vacation mode" with the children. This year I am training for Boston so the summer is more important to me than ever. I have an hour to shave (all right hack) off my best time, so I am going to have to step it up. Because of the heat here, summer training consists of many pre-dawn runs which, I guess is good as I am usually back, showered and ready to go at the same time I would have gotten up in the winter months.

I do not think the term, "Lazy Days of Summer" will apply this year.

I am working on my training plan........more to follow.

I have put together my fall marathon schedule , and it looks like my first race will be 11/29 the Space Coast Marathon (here in my home town). This will be my first attempt to qualify. I ran this as the half before and it was not my favorite race. I am going into it with an open mind and I am hoping that it will be the race for me.

After Space Coast, I am thinking of running Jacksonville on 12/20, then Disney on 1/10, Miami on 1/31, Tampa in February, then possibly Georgia in March.

I was hoping to get to the Marine Corp. in October, but I am having trouble with the logistics with my children (I still may pull it off, we will see). For now, I am content with running in nice flat Florida, and am hoping that one of those races will yield me a good BQ time.

I am looking forward to it!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Top 10 Things

I was checking through my email this morning and saw a featured post from the Spark People site. One of the members, Zen_woman wrote the 10 things she learned on her Anniversary with Spark. I liked it, her points hit pretty close to home for me. I thought I would share Zen_woman's post. I also wrote a little list of my own titled top 10 things I have learned from distance running. You will see it below Zen_woman's list.

Post from Zen_woman on Spark People
10 Things I Have Learned On My One-Year Anniversary Today is my anniversary and I have learned the following during my one year on SparkPeople:
1. Losing weight is hard!

2. Being fat is harder!

3. I rather be fit and healthy than fat and unhappy.

4. Giving up is not a good option.
5. Set backs are inevitable.

6. Overcoming setbacks can make your stronger (if it doesn't kill you- just kidding.)

7. Stay in the game long enough and eventually you will hit a plateau.

8. Pushing harder doesn't always yield the best results.

9. Listen to your body and take a break when you need to.

10. Reach out to at least one person everyday on SparkPeople. (Friends or strangers, it doesn't matter.) It helps and keeps me accountable.

Ok, here goes my list:
Top 10 Things I have learned from Distance Running
  1. Shoes matter
  2. Pacing does matter
  3. Make sure your training runs all have viable bathroom stops along the way (you never know when you will need them).
  4. Core/upper body strength is very important to a runner (as I learned the hard way from my sore back and shoulders after my first marathon)
  5. Accept bad training days (I have had my share)
  6. There is always someone faster than you, go after them!
  7. Success and failure (all of the joy and pain associated with it) in running is entirely up to you!!
  8. Training pays off.
  9. Every step forward (be it run, skip or walk) puts you closer to your goal.
  10. Listen to your body, it is irreplaceable.

I would love to hear the things that others have learned from distance running. I am also working on a list of what I have learned from running marathons, anything to add on that would be great!!

Still storming today!! Enough all ready

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away!!!

It has been raining here for three days straight now. I know that we need the rain so the practical part of me is happy, but the selfish part of me says enough!!!

I have not been able to get in a morning run (or any run) in for three days and I am starting to get agitated. I considered running in the rain this morning, but the thunder and lightning stopped me.

I know that I am whining as I could just run at the gym, but for me it is not the same. I really have a hard time treadmill running for any distance, especially after I have been running outside for so long.

I pretty much thought everyone felt the same way about treadmill running (choice of last resort), but I have found out lately that that is not true. There is a lady in my neighborhood who every morning pulls her treadmill out of her garage onto the driveway, and runs on her treadmill outside on her driveway. She runs for over an hour on the treadmill at what I can judge at a pretty good pace. I have never encountered her running on the roads in town, so I am thinking that running on the treadmill is her preference. She is definitely logging some distance on that machine, and every time I run past her and wave I can not help thinking that if I just pushed her off the machine (ever so gently) would she just take off down the road and run?

I know that everyone has their preferences, and I am in no position to criticize any one's workout plan. It is just that I dread running on the treadmill so much, I can not understand why someone would not only choose to do it every day, but drag the machine outside so as to say, 'I like to run outside, just no go anywhere'.

Again, it is not for me to judge, and she seems to be getting a better workout than me on most days so,'keep it up'.

If it doesn't stop raining, I think I will have to stop and ask her some advice, because I will be running that treadmill soon.

I am beginning to see some indications of sun, maybe there is hope.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finally, One of My Children Shows and Interest in Running!!

Both my husband and I are runners, so you would think that running is a big part of our family experience. Well, not really. Much to my dismay, our children really have not shared the same desire for the sport (or any sport) as we have. So, you can imagine my delight when my 9 year old son (the one whose idea of exercise is playing Wii) told me that he wanted to participate in a local track meet!! He came home last week and decided that he wanted to run in several events that he and the school PE teacher discussed. My first thoughts was to ask him what the catch was, (did it involve missing school or something), but I refrained and of course said yes.

He will be running the 50m, 100m and 200m this coming Friday competing with other elementary school children his age. Of course, I am very supportive of this new interest and hope that he enjoys it! I hope that it is not to cliche to say that whatever happens, first or last place, I just hope he has fun. Who knows, maybe he will see the benefit of activity that does not involve a screen or keyboard.

One can hope

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Near Death Experience (Well maybe not so near death,but scary)!!

I have been running for a while now, over three years, and I thought I had pretty safe running habits, until this morning when I almost got hit by a car in the crosswalk. For other safety reasons, my entire running route (both short and long) is on sidewalks on the sides of fairly well traveled roads. I feel safer that way, as I never feel alone or isolated. I figure if I got into trouble, I could just wave a car down for help. The draw back of this logic is dealing with traffic at crosswalks. I follow traffic rules, and as painful as it is always wait for the crossing signal before I cross, that did not help me today!!

I was crossing a 4 lane intersection this morning outside my development when a car pulled up in the right lane to go right on red. Having a few close calls before this where the driver turning right is only looking left for oncoming traffic and does not even see you trying to cross, I decided I would be safe and cross behind the car. I did not want to miss the light so I stepped off the curb and ran behind the car. I guess I was not paying attention because as I stepped behind the car turning, another car came up pretty quick and had to slam on the breaks. I jumped, took a minute to collect myself and ran off, thinking about what could have happened the rest of my run.

I do not completely blame the driver. I think that he was going to fast, and would have had to slam on the breaks to avoid the car in front of him, but I was also careless and did not pay enough attention to the traffic. I know that next time, I will be safer and probably not go around the back of a car unless I am sure that there is no other traffic coming in either direction.

After my little scare I realized that I might need a refresher in running safety, I found these tips on syracusechargers.org, I was a little concerned to see how many of these tips I do not follow.

1 - DON'T WEAR HEADSETS. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Using headphones, you lose the use of an important sense: your hearing.
2 - Always stay alert and aware of what's going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
3 - Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of call boxes and telephones along your regular route.
4 - Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you're unsure. If something tells you a situation is not "right", it isn't.
5 - Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located.
6 - Run with a partner. Run with a dog.
7 - Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
8 - Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Especially avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
9 - Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information. Don't wear jewelry.
10 - Ignore verbal harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
11 - Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles.
12 - Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark.
13 - Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
14 - Carry a noisemaker and/or OC (pepper) spray. Get training in self-defense and the use of pepper spray.
15 - CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.

I think they are great general tips and I am going to try to start following most of them (although I will always run with my IPOD, maybe I will turn it down lower) especially running with ID.
How many of these tips do you follow, which ones do you not follow? Does anyone have any other tips that might be handy?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sun Screen

The summer is coming upon us very rapidly here in Florida, and with that I have noticed that my runs are becoming more and more sweaty. I have progressed in the last 6 weeks from long sleeves to short sleeves, now to tank tops. I am not complaining, running in the heat is my thing!! I am very comfortable with the heat, and can not help feel that the more I sweat, the more work I am doing.

Anyway, the point of this blog is to talk about sunscreen!! I have never used it on any run before (and have never gotten burned), but after a conversation with a dermatologist, I am thinking that I might start. My runs are early morning, 7:00-8:00 on short runs and 5:00 am-9:30 on my longest long run. So my question is, do I really need to sunscreen up every day? If so, what kind of screen should I use? My eyes are very sensitive and I am worried that when I sweat the sunscreen will run and burn my eyes.

I am going to probably give a try and see how it goes (it always seems better to be safe) I guess that will mean that I will have to get up a little earlier!!

I would appreciate any advice on the best type of screen, etc.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Disney Marathon Review

I just recently registered for the 2010 Disney World Marathon. This was the first marathon I had ever run, and still remains to be my favorite. This will be my 4th time running this race, and I am looking forward to it as much as I did my first time.
I realized that I have written much about the race, but I have never really completed a review. In writing this review I have tried to be objective and keep emotion out of it. You can be the judge.
  • Pre Race Organization is excellent. All of the pre race packet pick-up and expo are held in the Wide World of Sports Arena. There is plenty of parking and signs to tell you where to go. I have never had to wait in line to pick up my number, and get my packet.
    The Expo is good, full of energy. Lots of activity, music, noise, and crowds. It definitely adds to the excitement of the race. It has basically the same type of vendors that you would see with any large race, but the crowds definitely add a buzz of excitement to it.
  • Race morning organization is great. There was no confusion at the start, no stress, just line up and go. The only problem is that while the race starts at 5:50 am, you have to account for a 15-20 minute walk to the start and time to get the bus, monorail, or park your car. Disney requires that the latest bus that you can get is 4:00 am so that you can get to the start on time which is early. Even if you drive, you still have to get there, park your car and walk to the start; 4:30 is probably the latest you want to get there. So……plan on getting up early and doing a bit of waiting. Disney does provide some entertainment at stage and start areas, so it will not be too bad, but it is a long wait!
  • Pre and post race food No pre race food (not even water), so plan on bringing whatever you need before the start of the race with you. The post race food is plentiful, but basic after race fare. Muffins, granola bars, bananas etc. Soda and water, nothing special.
  • The spectators are great and line the majority of the course. There are many spectators in several different areas. All of them are very enthusiastic and are great for support. There are a few areas that do not have spectators (primarily from the Grand Floridian to the Animal Kingdom, mile 13.5-15) but the areas that do have them make up for the ones that don’t.
  • The medals. The medals are great. You are at Disney so of course they would be Mickey Mouse!!! Very cute.
  • The course is the best part of this race. Running through all of the parks is amazing. You get to see some areas you have never seen before as a tourist, and around every corner a vacation memory always comes to me. Disney always does a great job of lining the sidelines of the race with bands, DJ’s, characters, animals, singers etc. There is always something to look at or be entertained by and you rarely have to wait in line to get your picture taken with Mickey, Minney and the rest of the characters that are out to greet you. The course is flat and only has one short turnaround.
  • Crowded Course—This I have noticed more and more each year. The course is very crowded. Last year 13,000 people ran the marathon and you could feel it in certain locations. There were two or three times that I had to stop running due to traffic jams. The majority of the race is wide and open enough, but be prepared for a few bottlenecks. This is not a PR race. The course has too many people and distractions, but it is super fun.
  • The aid stations are awesome. Disney is about the best I have seen on this front. 23 aid stations all filled with more than enough volunteers. There is water/Gatorade almost every mile along with stations that have bananas, gels, and candy. There are several medical tents. You never feel that you are out too far from aid at any point in the race.

    This is by far my favorite race (even when you take into consideration the super early queue time). It is so much fun, the organization is right on, and the support is great. I would recommend it to any marathoner. Because of the crowds and many distractions I would not recommend this for anyone’s PR, but definitely for a fun non pressure race. This race is perfect for those runners who want to run for the fun of running.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running is My Therapy

It has been a little while since I posted last. Things have been crazy here. Spring break for children, planning a "tea party" for my daughter, new business start up for me, my 14th wedding anniversary, and our childcare solution is on vacation!!

Through all of this, I find that things start slipping (such as this blog, to my dismay). I have however tried very hard to keep up my daily running. To that end, I have been able to keep my short daily runs although, I have not run farther than a 5 miler for over two weeks. I am not very concerned as I have no events scheduled until fall, but I am feeling the need to get out there and run and run and run (can we say, "run Forrest run!")

For me, I feel that hectic times like this are when getting your runs in are most important. Physical fitness aside, running can seriously help your mental fitness. For me, running becomes somewhat of a, "therapy", a time where I have some quiet time to think and get my day (and life) organized (not to mention no phones, no computer, no schoolwork, no children crying etc.)

Hopefully, I will hit the pavement this weekend for a nice 15 mile run, and my life will get back to it's usual more comfortable routine soon.

Times like this always make me realize how valuable my running hobby is to both my physical and mental well being.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More VIP Treatment!!

I seem to be obsessing over this VIP thing!! I have been looking around at several other marathon venues for the fall and have noticed that a good many of them offer, "VIP" options.

Unlike the Brooks MCM deal, the other VIP options are all offered at an extra cost that ranges from $50-$110. The added features range from special parking, priority port-a-potty access, admission to a VIP tent (which offers breakfast, and after race entertainent), and priority race line up (where you do not have to go down to the start line early) you are walked to the start just prior to the start of the race.

I have never purchased any VIP package for any race, and I am wondering if I had, how would my race experience be different? I joke about the Port-a-Potty's, but it is that kind of experience that band us runners together (we all have our horror stories). I think that for myself the race morning excitment/challenge of getting to the race, parking, waiting in the lines for the potty's, finally getting to the start line and mingling with the other runners is as much part of my race experience as running the race. I think that by bypassing that, you lose much of the experiences that we distance runners share and dare I say enjoy.

I have no doubt that the VIP packages offer a great experience, I am just wondering if it offers the full, "Marathon Experience".

Have any of you participated in a VIP package? If so, how was your experience?

Monday, April 13, 2009

VIP Port a Potties are for ME!!!

I am considering running the Marine Corp Marathon this October as my Boston qualifier. As I was researching the race, I came across something that may have cinched the deal for me. VIP Port a Potties at the race.

Anyone who has run a marathon (or any long race for that matter) knows the horrors of the Port-A-Potty. Long lines, no sanitizer, no toilet paper,hideous smells....need I go on? As runners, it is just something that we learn to accept, deal with or work around, but always dread!!!

It seems that at the Marine Corp Marathon, my favorite brand, "Brooks" is offering VIP potties that have, "flushing toilets, partitioned stalls, climate control, fragrance dispenser, hot and cold running water, auto shut off faucets, and vanities with mirrors" for anyone wearing Brooks footwear or Brooks MCM 2008 apparel.

Luckily I run in Brooks shoes, so It looks like I am finally going to be a VIP of something!! (even if it is port a potties).

I have not decided on the race yet, but this definitely will weigh heavily in it's favor.

My questions to other runners is, would you consider changing your running shoes or apparel to have a better bathroom experience on race day? I guess we will see on race day!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Need for Speed!!!

I woke up this morning with very sore quads!! My little 8 minute one mile run must have made an impact on my legs. As a matter of fact, I typically do not feel this sore after my long runs.

I am actually encouraged by this because I did not feel like it was to hard to run that pace (although there was no way I was going to keep it up) but, I was really working my body hard. All I need now is to be able to keep it up for 25 more miles (I can't imagine how sore I would be then).

I need some help. Some people just start running and they are, "speedy". I am not one of those people. I started at a 12 minute pace 4 years ago and I have had to work for every second I take off my pace. I am looking for some advice on how to work on my speed. I figure that if I am going to qualify for Boston this year, I have to get busy.

I have done some research, and am disappointed with what I have found. Most of the time I do not time my miles, never my quarter and half mile marks!!! I have to chuckle when I see, " run at your marathon pace less 20 seconds"! How am I going to be able to make that happen, I can barely make sure that I set my watch at each approximate mile and not get hit by a car. I do not think my marathon time less 20 is going to happen for me.

What I need is some real advice from real people who are not elite runners with a coach in their pocket. I really do not want to talk about fartlek's and tempo runs (lingo that I am not sure an average runner would have or understand). I want to know what is a simple, realistic way for the average marathon mom to work on getting her pace faster.

I am thinking of something like, "Speed Workout for the Marathon Mom". Any advice would be appreciated.

Marathon Mama

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What is wrong with people today?

This was supposed to be a different type of blog, but the events of the morning have changed my perspective slightly. Let me set the stage:

Most mornings I run to the gym and wait outside for my husband to meet me there then go inside and workout. This morning was pretty much the same, a little cold but uneventful. I must have run faster than usual (or he was just moving slower than usual) because I had to wait for a little while. As I was waiting, several people passed me to go into the gym and being polite, I would say good morning to them. Well, I must say that the people in my town who go to Planet Fitness did not learn the same manners that I did because only one person actually acknowledged me and said hello!! Several made an effort to look the other way, and some just made eye contact and kept walking past me.

What does that say about people as a whole when we can not even acknowledge another person standing 4 feet away from them? This matter is sad to me, people so caught up in their lives that they can not take 10 seconds out of their day to return a greeting (and I live in the, "friendly South").

Why do people act like that? Is it a carryover from our parents telling us not to talk to strangers? Do people just not care or somehow feel threatened?

As I was pondering the whys, I went into the locker room to change. That is when I think I got at least part of my answer. I looked up into the mirror and was shocked at my reflection!! I have to admit I did look a little like a crazy woman. It was windy, so my bangs were standing straight up in the air, and my eyeliner and mascara (yes, left over from last night) had run down my face from my eyes tearing. I looked like some kind of crazy raccoon in pink running clothes! (I guess my husband did not notice???)

Needless to say, after I got over the initial shock, I cleaned myself up, tamed my hair and went out to workout. OK, maybe I looked too crazy to say hello to and maybe that explains why people diverted their eyes while walking towards me. I do not know, but I will definitely take notice again (hopefully when I do not look so crazy).

On a training note, ran my first 8 minute mile today. It was on the treadmill and it was only for a mile, but it is a start.

marathon mama

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Road to Boston

I am a little bummed because I wanted to run a few more marathons or halfs before the start of summer. Unfortunately, because it gets so hot here in Florida, there are no more long races being offered within the state (or within reasonable driving distance) until the fall. I was trying to get to the Country Music Marathon at the end of the month, but I think that logistically it is not going to work out. It is hard to get four children situated for a weekend away, not to mention the expense, so I think I will have to skip it. I am still trying to work it out, but it is not likely.

Anyhow, not to dwell on the negative, because I am not focusing on training for some specific races in the next few months, I have decided to make and work towards a new goal: qualifying for Boston!!! This is not going to be an easy task, considering I have to shave an hour off my best time, but I have some time to train and focus on my speed. I am starting to research and work out a new training program. I will be chronicling my successes and failures here on this blog.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Running is Good for the Brain

I have written before about how I feel that running a marathon is just as much a mental battle as a physical one. For every runner, there comes a point where you are fighting both your body and mind to stop. This is where it becomes critical to have learned some good self distraction, or serious concentration techniques.

As a distance runner, you have to learn to become either so focused in the event that you do not feel your tired legs, knees, feet etc., or you have to find a way to distract yourself so you just do not notice. I have used both techniques, although I mostly rely on distraction. I am a big, "chatter", much to my husband's dismay, and I am very motivated by large crowds of cheering people (even if not cheering for me).

My last marathon was kind of a lonely one. There was a small field of runners, and very few areas where there was a crowd. I found myself a lone runner on the street on several occasions and having no one to chat with, I had no choice to try what I would call my best effort at , "extreme focus".

I had been separated from the pace group I was trying to run with and was trying to catch back up with them. It was very cold and pouring rain and I have to say that the urge to stop and walk was getting pretty constant and strong. I always end up making deals with myself and I decided then that I was not going to stop until I had the pace group in sight. I spent my time focused on searching for the group and trying to figure out how much farther than me they were rather than feeling my legs and knees.

In about three miles I got the group in sight and, suprisingly, wanted to catch up with them so badly that I did not even stop to walk. After I caught up with them, around mile 20 , I just settled in and focused completely on finishing the race. No more energy spent on, "chatting", high-fiving the few spectators that were there, or waving to anyone. Just focused on finishing (every mile I did keep telling myself that if I kept up my pace I would be finished in xxx minutes).

The time to finish got less, I moved faster, and the finish line came into site. I think I worked my brain as much as I my legs that day. Fortunately your brain does not get sore!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Running In Costume

Just to reinforce my last blog, that I absolutely do not care what others think about how I look when I run, I am working on a costume scheme for myself and my, "running group" for the Disney Marathon!

I finally signed up for the Disney last week and am beginning to put into motion the, "costume plan". Disney is my favorite venue, and is one of the best races to go in costume (lots and lots of Tinkerbelles and Tiggers).

Because of where it is, and the amount of people who run in it; I never expect it to be my PR race. Therefore, I have decided to have some fun and fully embrace the, "Disney Magic" and go in costume. I am going to be running with at least 3 other people who will hopefully feel the same way I do and join me in costume. I have never run in a costume before, and I am pretty skittish about trying something new on race day. This begs the question, 'how would it look if I did a practice run in costume at home?' I am guessing that while this seems logical, it might draw some unwanted attention to myself (not to mention that I don't think my husband and children would let me get out of the house dressed like Minnie for a Sunday run).

I will have to give it some more thought, but I am thinking that I will have to just, "Go for it" and if it doesn't work out I can always ditch the costume in route .

Now I just have to decide who I will be, and how I can create a runner friendly costume. Good thing I have time because it might take me longer to create the costume then to train for the race.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Do I Look?

I was on a discussion board and came across a post about a members concern for running outside because she was afraid to look like a, "loser" if she had to stop and walk. My fist reaction was that the post was a joke, but after reading the discussion further I realized that for many women the fear of not looking good while running is keeping them from, what I think is best part of running, taking in the outside environment.

I have not always been a runner. When I started I could not even run a mile to the end of my neighborhood and had to stop and walk many times. I never had a concern about what others thought of me while running. I have always had the attitude that whether I am walking or running at least I am doing something. It is always better to do a little rather than nothing.

I tried to think back when I passed by a runner or walker in a car how I reacted. I do not think I ever took the time to notice them enough to critique them. I surely would never have made notice of whether they were supposed to be walking or running.

My advice to women runners is get off the treadmill and enjoy the outside. I think you should run for you and not worry about what other people think (most likely they are not thinking anything about you). Whether you run, walk, or jog it is more impressive for people to see you out there working every day! You will be surprised what types of encouragement you will get from friends and neighbors that see you on the street. You might even encourage someone to get off the couch and try to run with you!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Core Strength

Core strength (which involves strengthening of you hips, lower back, back and shoulders) is important to runners. A strong core will help your overall performance by increasing endurance, stride, and alleviating the pressure on your back by stabilizing the mid section. The stronger your core is, the less your upper body moves and the less energy you waste. Additionally strengthening your core will help prevent back and shoulder soreness after long strenuous runs. There are some great exercises that can be done (without having to go to the gym) to help increase your core strength. Plank holds (where you come to a push-up position on your forearms and toes and hold your stomach in for 30 seconds at a time) are a great exercise that can be done at home during commercial breaks nightly. Another simple exercise is a basic crunch. These can also be done at home and can be worked into your daily routine. I make my core strengthening part of my running program by doing those basic exercises before every run along with my stretching. It is not important when they are done, just as long as you remember that it is important to focus on your core and you find some time to do some basic exercises several times a week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Keep on Running!

My youngest (3 yrs) caught a cold on vacation and has been sick the last couple of nights. As a result, he ends up in our bed every night around 3 am with a sad but loud cough that keeps me awake (especially when it is directly in your ear) for several hours. This scenario leaves me exhausted and barely able to get myself and my children up and out in the morning. Definitely not able to make my morning runs.

Because I am feeling guilty for missing so much time on vacation, I have changed my morning runs to lunchtime runs which , here is Florida, is a little crazy due to the mid day heat. It has not been fun, but I have been able to get the miles in. I would not recommend running at the hottest time of the day but, I try to think of it as "extra" conditioning. I figure that as long as I do not have heat stroke, it will make me stronger!!

Although I am thinking that I might be heat conditioned enough and am really hoping that my son will sleep in his own, very cute and cozy bed tonight!!

Marathonmama.com Women Running the World

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back from Vacation

I am back from a week away on a Caribbean Cruise with my family. I am feeling well rested and very fat!! Cruises are great vacations, especially for families, but can definitely make trying to keep up with a healthy lifestyle a challenge. I will say that I did pack my workout gear which I am sure felt neglected as it did not even get removed from my suitcase the entire trip. My eat healthy attitude went completely out the window as I spent much of my time drinking Pina Coladas and laying by the pool. The damage is manageable, I did gain some weight but it was worth it. I am now not running to prep for a race. I am running to get my big butt back into shape.

As far as the Cruise goes, it was great. We went on Celebrity Cruises out of Miami. We stopped in Key West (where I did get some exercise by walking to the "southern most point of the island") and Grand Cayman (does jet skiing count as exercise?) which both were beautiful. The time on the ship was great, the food and service was good (not excellent, but good) and the children loved the kids club which kept them busy throughout the entire week. The line offered a little bit of something for everyone, and it was very enjoyable.

N ow we are back!!! I started off right away with the gym and going on a run. It was a great, quick 5 miles and I regretted eating so much the entire way. I am toying with running another marathon at the end of the month, but am not sure that the logistics will work out. I must decide quick!!!

marathonmama.com Women Running the World

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Marathoners and Fashion

As I was sitting in the hotel lobby the night before the Tampa Marathon, my husband and I had a good bit of entertainment picking out who was going to run the next day based on their attire. I have to say that I did not do so well in picking out the women, but the men, their look was as transparent as it gets. Let me paint the picture: taller, super skinny, wearing jeans (hiked up around their waist and cinched with a belt) and a tech shirt from some other event that was tucked into the said jeans.

I will be the first one to admit that I am not a fashionista. I sacrifice a lot for comfort, especially if it will keep me warm (if my race day photos ever got out!), but I do draw a line between 'training wear' and 'life wear'. I have a few personal rules about marathon fashion:
  1. Never wear your race shirt before you actually run the race (including wearing it on race day). I think the shirt should be part of the reward for finishing the race.
  2. Tech Shirts are meant to be worn while working out. The whole idea of the shirt is to keep you dry while you are sweating. Therefore, these shirts should only be worn while doing some sort of exercise, and not while hanging around the house or going to the mall etc.
  3. Tech Shirts should never be tucked in.
  4. Visors on a cloudy day? Visors on any day? It is like racing shorts with the butt cut out of them. Wear a hat or don't!
  5. Never wear anything that ends up making an annoying repetitive noise while running such as: squeaky shoes, crinkling jacket or pants, a trash bag or poncho that swooshes when you run. This is extremely annoying to other runners who are sensitive to this type of repetitive noise.
  6. Do not wear speakers on your body because headphones are prohibited. Just because your favorite song from the 1980's is perfect for your running, it may not work for everyone else. Try to enjoy the event and take in all the sights and sounds of it. You will be pleasantly surprised.
  7. I support wearing costumes running a race although, I never have. They are very entertaining for other runners and spectators. As a matter of fact, I am starting to work on the matching Minnie Mouse costumes that my group will wear at Disney next year! ;)
  8. Runners that wear shirts with interesting slogans or websites (especially marathonmama.com) are acceptable. Like the costumes they keep other runners and spectators entertained.

I must repeat that I am not an athletic fashion icon. Practically every race I have run I have had various layers tied around my waist with my bib pinned on crooked (from being re pinned while in motion after removing the top layer). I also have to admit that I did break rule number one at this last race for the sake of warmth. I did admit earlier that I will make sacrifices to keep warm.

marathonmama.com WomenRunning the World

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today is a Rebuilding Day

I got up this morning and decided to run. I walked out the door and discovered that it was cold outside (well by Florida standards) and opted for the treadmill at the gym. Today was basically a rebuilding and recovery day. I did a few miles on the treadmill and stretched out. I feel pretty good so I am going to try 4 miles tomorrow. I am deciding on whether I will run the Ing, Georgia Marathon on the 29. If I am going to do it, I really need to get in a somewhat long run this weekend. I am away all next week (and I do not think I will be running at all) so I have to get in as much running as possible. I will judge this weekend whether I want to do another 26.2 at the end of the month.

marathonmama.com Women Running the World

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tampa Race!!

I am sitting here recovering from the Tampa Marathon which for me was a great race. There were a few first for me at this race: the first time I ran in the pouring rain (very cold and driving into my face for the last 6 miles), the first time I ran with a pace group (thanks pacer Jim), and the first time I broke 5 hours finishing in 4:45:07. I was very happy with this time as my training has been pretty spotty since the Disney in January. I now have some renewed hope that with some additional effort, I might be able to get below 4:30 and maybe someday get into the three's. (One can always hope!!)

I honestly do not care too much about my time except when I am running the race thinking 'If I could only run an 8 minute mile I would be finished an hour earlier' which equates to:

  • one hour less pain and suffering
  • one less hour to have to wait for a hot shower
  • on less hour to wait for a cold drink without dirt and bugs in it
  • on less hour to wait for something good to eat that is not a liquid gel

So I continue to work towards that goal. Is it attainable? I do not know, but it does keep me going.

As far as the Tampa Marathon goes overall, it was a good experience. My favorite destination event is still the Disney, this is a good local one. First the positives:

  • Race morning organization was great. There was no confusion at the start, no stress, just line up and go. The race started at 6:00 am, we literally left our hotel at 5:30 and had plenty of time to walk to the race and get ready. They also had a pre race waiting area inside the convention center so if you wanted to stay inside until the last minute you were able to do so.
  • Pre and post race food was great. In the early morning you could get water and coffee, as well as after the race. There was also a hot meal being offered by a local restaurant after the race as well as the standard fare of fruit, water etc.
  • The spectators were few, but were great. Thank you to all of those lovely people of Tampa who generously braved the nasty weather and offered cheers, candy, homemade cookies, Gatorade, water etc. A big thanks to the children of the 'Let Us Play' group who stood out in the rain at mile 24 and cheered for us! It was quite a pick me up.
  • The medals. The medals are very nice. They have a pirate theme and a cool neck band. I dare say that I like them better than Disney.
  • The pacers. My first time running with a pace group was a great experience. Pacer Jim was great.
  • The course was beautiful with water views and lovely houses.


  • Expo. I found the expo to be lacking and a bit flat. Not very many booths and a lot of repetition of booths.
  • Pre race (excluding race morning) organization. I received an email one day prior to the race saying that because the response to the race was so large they ran out of shirts and as a late registrant I would not be guaranteed my shirt size. When I got to the expo after waiting in a fairly long line, I was told that I could order a tech shirt and wait 6-8 weeks or I could get the exact same shirt only in cotton now. I have enough tech shirts. So I opted for the cotton one and threw it in my bag. This morning when I checked it out, I noticed it was a half marathon shirt. It is frustrating to me when an event is over registered (with $100.00 registration fee, you would expect that all 1300 marathoners would get a shirt.)
  • Crowded Course--as this course is shared with the half marathoners for the first 7 miles it was very crowded and a little dangerous (I had to dodge several cars and boats that were street parked in the pre dawn hours with very poor visibility). After the split with the halfers it did clear out.
  • Course (out and back)--Out and back courses are not my favorite. I personally do not like a constant stream of runners going past me in the opposite direction ahead of me. This course consists of one loop around Davis Island (very nice) up to mile 7, then it is one shorter out and back followed by a longer 8 mile each way out and back. There were several sections where the headwinds were fierce, but directional changes also gave us a nice tailwind as well.
  • The aid stations in the beginning (when we had both half and full marathoners) were under supported. Both times I stopped, I had to wait in a line for water to be poured into a cup. They were very crowded and a little disorganized. The stations after the 7 mile mark were great, staffed with more than enough supportive volunteers.

In all, I would run this race again. It would not be one that I would register a year in advance for, but if I was feeling like running a local race I would consider it!!!

marathonmama.com, women running the world

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I got the confirmation email, I am all set for Tampa on Sunday. There is no turning back now right!! After reading the confirmation I followed my usual routine. I re-read everything on the website, reviewed the course and located every water stop/food stop/medical tent etc. Once I am satisfied that I know every inch of the map I relax, but not for to long as I will go through this process several more times prior to the race.

Why I do this, I don't know. I have never run this race before and have only been to Tampa once prior to this. I have no idea where the course is in relation to the city, not to mention where each specific water stop will be located. It is all part of my process. Everyone has one, some crazier than others. At least my process is completed at my house or hotel rather than doing some "routine" race morning in front of all the other racers. (Whatever gets you through!!)

Ran a fast 3 today, will run tomorrow take off on Friday and Saturday.

http://www.marathonmama.com/ Women Running the World

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mommy, are you going to win the marathon?

This is a great question that I have been asked numerous times by all of my children and they always look at me with the same mixture of pity and a little bit of disappointment when I reply "no".

From that point the exchange goes something like this:

I explain to them that running a marathon is more of a race against your time rather than against other racers.

They ask, 'So there is no winner of the race?'

I explain, 'not exactly, but it is just an accomplishment to finish the race and I do not care if I come in first or last.' (ok, that part is a little bit of a stretch, I definately do not want to be last)

My 11 year old, quickly tiring of this conversation, educates the others by telling them that, 'mom is just not that good and she can not win so leave her alone.'

This finally ends up with the, 'Oh, why bother' comment "(more pity)

I try to explain further, but the boys are bored with the conversation and leave me to ponder while my daughter, trying her best to be reassuring, grabs my hand and reminds me that winning is not everything, it is having fun that counts.

Oh no, is that supposed to make me feel better? I wonder, is that how the kids feel when they have just been clobbered in a youth soccer game and I tell them that winning isn't everything? Maybe I need to rethink that entire statement!!!

One day I am going to be able to make them understand (or maybe I could win the race).

Anyhow, I am off to run another losing race on Sunday, maybe during my 5 hours of running I will come up with a good retort for when I come home and they ask me if I won.

marathonmama.com Women Running the World

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tampa Marathon This Sunday

This Sunday I will be running the Tampa marathon. I have never run this race before, but it has many good reviews and looks like it will be fun. Hopefully I will make it through the race without any emotional or physical scars!! I am not up to the training level I would like to be, but I am hopeful. I ran 14 on Sunday. It was a rather uneventful run that honestly left me exhausted. The one tough thing I can say about trying to train with four children is that there really is no opportunity for rest (no nap time for me), your children really are not sympathetic to the, "mommy just ran 14 miles" excuse. On of my husband's favorite stories about training for his first marathon was that after every Sunday long run, he had to go with the family and walk around Disney World all afternoon! I just like to say that it made him tougher, I think he thinks we were cruel.

Anyhow, I went to bed at 9:00 and am feeling better today! I am going to take it pretty easy this week and hope for the best on Sunday.

www.marathonmama.com Women Running the World

Friday, February 20, 2009

It is Cold Outside!!

I had to run on a treadmill for my morning run. I am not very happy about it as running on a treadmill for extended periods of time is very monotonous. It was just to cold and windy to run outside. I know, I live in Florida and the cold we experience here does not compare to the bitter cold of the north (I have tried training in that and failed miserably), but as I pondered whether or not to run outside today I reminded myself that one of the reasons I moved to Florida was to leave the cold weather behind. I decided to wimp out and opt for the warm gym and boring run. Hopefully it will warm up by Sunday for my long run.

marathonmama.com Women Running the World

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are You Scared of a Marathon

I find that in my travels, and in my circle of acquaintances many people find out that you run marathons and have no idea how many miles a marathon is. After I tell them that it is 26.2 miles most come back with a, " I could never do that" type of comment. I am always puzzled by that comment as I know that there are all different types of people with different life situations that successfully run the race. After running and training for races for three years I feel strongly that anyone in average to good health that is committed can successfully finish a marathon. I am an average person, working mother of 4, who never ran before training for my fist marathon and I finished it with a smile on my face. My feeling is that, although the training is a commitment, if I can do it anyone can.

What is it that scares people away from even considering running a marathon? Is it the distance, is it the term "running", or is it just the thought of doing any exercise in general. For me, it was a combination of the term running and the distance. I really thought that to "run" a marathon you have to run the entire 26.2 miles. I quickly learned that the term running is a loose one and does not mean running as fast as you can, but at a pace comfortable to you. I also learned at my first marathon that there were many people walking (especially after mile 18) and jogging and running, kind of anything goes.

Most people who run marathons would say that I am downplaying all the ,"blood, sweat and tears" that goes into training and finishing a race. I definitely agree that it is hard work and a large commitment of time and energy, but it could be an attainable goal for the majority of individuals who say they could not do it. I guess my point being that it is more of a mental obstacle than a talent, or physical obstacle.

On that note, I am going to try to recruit some marathonmamas to run our next few races!!

marathonmama.com, Women Running the World

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On the Road Again

After a week off for sickness, I am on the road again. I ran this morning to the gym before my workout today. It felt good to run outside rather than on the treadmill (avoiding cars definitely keeps you more mentally aware). I am fortunate that here in Florida the weather is great and I do not have to fight the bitter cold, snow, etc. Well I am trying to work for running the Tampa marathon on 3/1, I hope it works out for me better than the Melbourne beaches marathon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Running and Being Sick

Well sickness has kept me down for the last four days. It is killing me not to run, I just do not think It wise for me to go out. This latest turn of events brings me to ponder whether or not one should continue to train when not feeling well, does it do your body more harm than good to keep pushing it when it is down? We have all heard those stories about the athletes who ran a race with the flu, or trained through various sicknesses, but is that realistic for the regular guy or girl? My personal opinion (and what has worked for me in the past) is listen to your body. If you are not well enough to go to school or work, do not run. I feel that running while sick will only stress your body out and prolong the illness. Take a rest and as soon as you feel better get back to it where you left off. I did some research on this topic and the general opinion out there is the same as mine, listen to your body. We regular girls and guys are not at the levels of these elites who's job it is to train!! Most of us are running to stay healthy, so it is important not to hurt yourself doing it by running sick.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Long Run

Well, I did not run the Melbourne Beaches Half Marathon after all. After I wrote on Thursday, I wend to register and found out that the online registration was closed and I would have to register at the expo, the cost being $100.00 for the half. I do realize that it was my procrastination that caused me to miss the online registration so I am not going to complain about the price, but for me $100.00 was way to much for a local half marathon!!! So I decided to run my own half (well actually 14.1 miles). The run was OK, I am actually glad I did not register because it would not have been one of my best events. The weather was great, just wasn't my day. I finished the 13.1 in 2.5 hours (approximately) so I was not breaking any speed records, but I did go out and get it done. I am on a rest day today, and it will all start over again tomorrow!! Happy running!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Melbourne Beaches and Music Marathon

Good Sense prevailed and I registered to run the Half, not the marathon for this weekend. I just completed my registration and paid the fee of $85.00 which I think is very large for a half marathon. Granted, I am a late comer and if I would have registered early I could have paid $65.00 which frankly I still think is expensive for a race that is not a big city type event. After Sunday, I will let you know if it was worth it as compared to other races.

The cost of these races has me wondering what it is going to do to the sport in the next year or so considering the economic crisis. Lets face it, you can run and be healthy without running in a sanctioned race. Is paying the race fees a frivolous expense that people will think twice about doing it when times are tight. The number of people running races has shown a growth of about 10% a year for the last 5 years, I am curious to see what happens next year. Maybe some of these race directors should look at the budgets and try to offer a economy conscious race fee.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Training Update

I did my long run 10 miles this weekend, surprisingly it was fairly easy. I am going to continue on with three mile short runs for the next week or so, and then move up to 4 or 5 miles. For this weeks long run, I am toying with running either a half or going for the whole marathon that is going on here in Melbourne, FL. I did not plan on running it at all, but I thought it might be fun as it is the first year, and it is practically in my back yard. I guess the more practical thing to do would be to run the half, it fits within my training plan and will be much more likely to keep me injury free, but there is always something alluring about a challenge, and this would definitely be a challenge. I have two days to decide!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Running vs. Jogging

I call myself a runner. I feel like a runner, I wear "running shoes", so why when I run into people who see me on the street do they always refer to my running as jogging? Am I that slow that the passer by decides that I must not be running, or is it just symantics?

I talked with my husband, who is also a runner, about this and his determination is made by the way you look. According to him, if you are wearing a headband and sweat socks, you must be a jogger. Well I do not with a headband or sweatsocks so his conclusions do not seem to be the proper barometer.

I always thought that jogging was a phrase that was more used in years past. Today it seems that people that once used the term jogging now refer to their activity as running. This can be easily proven by going to any race around the country and see how many participants you offend by calling them joggers (I bet quite a few). But this is not the 70's and people still call me a jogger here in 2009 so I guess I too am off the mark.

This leaves me but one somewhat sad conclusion, it is my speed. As it turns out, the difference between the two has nothing to do with how you look or what decade you trained in, it has to do with how fast you move. If you run slower than a 9 minute mile, you are a jogger, if you run faster than a 9 minute mile you are a runner.

This does not make me happy, as I have been working for the last three years to get below a ten minute mile and never have considered myself a jogger. No matter how fast I go, I will still be completing training "runs" not training "jogs". Oh well maybe someday I will be fast enough to be worthy to carry the runner title until then I guess I will be a rebel and keep refering to myself as a runner.

Friday, January 30, 2009

It is OK to have a BAD Day

Well today’s run was not a great one. To start I was feeling tired and sluggish, but like a good soldier I got on the treadmill and got started. I got thorough two miles and had to stop to walk. I know I am capable of much more, but I just chalk it up to today was not my day. Maybe I will try again later.

I know from my experience that for most of us bad days are bound to happen once and a while and, as long as they are once in a while it is ok.

This concept was hard for me to accept in the beginning of my “running career”. I used to be very hard on myself for not having good runs or having to stop and walk. I have learned over the years that it is much more important to listen to your body rather that being so rigid that it becomes a chore. I like to compare it to dealing with the feeding of an infant where we are taught not to feed on a rigid schedule but take the baby’s cues and feed him when he is hungry. Follow your body’s cues. It is much better to have fun doing it than to force yourself. Just like anything else you just have a bad day from time to time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Mental Battle of Long Runs

I love to run, for me it is a great way to relax, clear your head and get some good exercise. It is for these resons that I think it is a great option for a mom who rarely gets a chance for some quiet time. To me running is as much mental as it is physical. Running long races such as halfs and marathons put you out on the road for several hours leaving you plenty of thinking time. You have to train your mind to attack this type of solitude. Keeping your mind busy is key. I spend a lot of time calculating and recalculating my finish time with my current pace. I often save some of my bigger thinking issues for my long training runs so I can think them through. I have redecorated rooms, worked on Science Fair project concepts, thought up business plans, and worked out the family budget all during runs. It is important to keep in mind that depending on your pace, your training runs and the race can be long and you are going to want to keep your mind busy so that you do not allow it to focus on the pain, heat, thirst, etc. This is all part of the training of the mind. On the training runs, when I find myself starting to focus on the negative, I try to as quickly as possible come up with a new topic to ponder for a while.

It can also be helpful to run with a partner and chat during your runs but beware, this plan does not always work, you must make sure that you and your partner are compatible runners (run at close to the same pace, have the same type of running plan, and both like to chat). If you are not the same type of runner or your partner is always focused on the negative it could bring your mental state down and lead to a bad run and hurt feelings.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Running Shoes

My mornings are pretty hetic here, trying to get everyone up and out of the house (including myself) and this morning was a typical one here. As a result, I could not locate my favorite # 1 running shoes, and had to go with a back up pair. Both are good shoes, my favorite ones are Brooks and I have been running with them for two years. I am on my second pair of them and love them. They are affordable and work great for my feet. Prior to that I used Asics which are also good shoes but after one year of successful injury free running with them I was unable to find and exact replacement and the model that I tried does not work for me. I was never a believer in the "shoes make all the difference" theory but my own personal experience now tells me otherwise. Everytime I set out for a run with these new Asics I get knee pain, which never happened with the older Asics, or now my Brooks. They are all a similar neutral shoe, but there is something about that shoe that does not work for me. I now feel strongly that the shoe should be the first thing that you try to change if you are experiencing pain. I do not think price matters as much as finding a good quality shoe that works for you.

So today, when I had to get my back up pair, my Asics, my training run was not the best. Fortunately it was short. I think that tonight I will spend some time searching for my Brooks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Training continuing on status quo, I have to admit that I do have some soreness after my short run of yesterday. It is amazing that I could get sore after two weeks of rest. Staying injury free is a big concern of mine (especially running two marathons so close together), so I am trying to develop a new stretching routine that will work within my time constraints. I always seem to leave something out or compromise my stretching because I have a limited window for my run time (and honestly, I would much rather be running than stretching).

My thought for the day: if you want to stick to your fitness plans, make sure that the plan is attainable, the result is rewarding, and you have fun. I feel that anyone can run a marathon (with training) so it is definitely attainable and finishing the race is extremely rewarding and fun

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Plan

New day, new plan. I am trying to begin my training for the Tampa marathon on the heels of the Disney. I am going to start out easy this week and run three miles each day with an easy ( I hope) 10 mile this weekend. I am trying to see how my muscles and knees hold up. If all goes well I will kick it up a notch for next week. Only time will tell. It is time to hit the road again!!!

I decided to start a training log and see how many miles I am logging in prep for this marathon. I also have decided while I am in "logging mode" to keep a food diary to see what I am eating. I have to tendency to eat a lot while I am training (more than I should), so I am thinking that writing it down, especially next to the running log should help. Check out my my site at marathonmama.com to check out my progress..

A new race

Sunday, January 25, 2009
Well I did it; I signed up to run another marathon at the end of February. I am going to try another run in Tampa, FL on March 1st. I have never run two marathons this close together so this is going to be a first for me. I am starting to think about what my training plan should be like. I have been on a two week rest period since running the Disney Marathon so I have to start kicking it into gear (I hope to be better prepared than at Disney). I am just trying to figure out a good training schedule that works with family and work. We will see how it goes. On another note, I am trying to get my 11 year old son to join the running club at school and run a 5 k with me at the end of the winter. He is resistant, and it is hard for me to believe that with both a mom and dad who love to run, he would not want to be a part of it. Oh well, I have to try to remember that just because it is my passion, it does not have to be his, but I can not help but think that if he just tried it he would love it just like I did. I remember when I was his age through college, I hated to run. It was not until I was in my mid thirties and after 4 children that I really gave it another try and could not imagine my life without it now!!!

My Latest Marathon Experience

Friday, January 23rd

It is amazing to me to think that less than a month ago I was trying to run in the frigid temperatures of New York wondering if I should even attempt to run the Disney Marathon as my training had been so spotty due to the weather conditions. Most of my training for the past several years had been in Florida where the climate has definitely been more agreeable. I really do give those northerners credit who continue to train outside during the harshest of weather conditions. You guys are tough!!! Well a lot has transpired during this past month, and I am now fortunate enough to be back in sunny Florida, where I did run and finish successfully the Disney Marathon. I have to say that I love the Disney Marathon. Each year I say that I am not going to do it, do a different race instead, but each year I can not help signing up for it again. It is such a happy race, full of energy and very relaxed. Where else will you find runner after runner stop running and wait in line to get their picture taken with Goofy or Mickey in the middle of the race. Also Disney can pull off a great race. I give them top marks on the organization, the frequency and quality of water stops, and the entertainment and crowds. In all it is a favorite.

This year unfortunately for me was more difficult. And even the Disney magic could not make the hurt go away!!! I have no one but myself to blame as I literally stopped training for this race 10 weeks prior (quite a taper with my longest run being 18 miles). I had my doubts about my performance, but figured the race was paid for , I might as well give it a try and have some fun. I did have great fun, there is nothing that compares to running through all of the theme parks, but my performance definitely lacked, and I hurt like never before for a few days after the finish. I learned something at that race, you can run a marathon with a little training (if you have some baseline endurance built up) a lot of determination, and a high tolerance for pain!!! I would definitely not recommend it, but I actually would not trade the experience for anything. I learned a lot about myself and my physical abilities. Also I signed up for next year, so it could not have been that bad!!!