Tag Archives: run

PUSH = Persist Until Something Happens

I'm a Distance Runner, I've been trained to keep going, even when it's hard, when it hurts, when it sucks, when i don't want to, I look past it, relentless forward progress to the finish. call what you want: stubbornness, Endurance, Determination, Guts. Deep down i don't know how to give up. [and it's always worth it at the end]

During an empowering, long, hot training run in July for the NYC Marathon I decided I didn’t want my marathon training to end after November. I couldn’t imagine just stopping after I finished my first marathon. All this hard-work to achieve marathon status; how could I quit? I wanted to keep going. I needed another goal, another marathon.  I signed-up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, FL for January 13.

How do you train to run a second marathon 8 weeks post your first marathon?  I looked at Hal Higdon’s Training Plan and it included a whopping 20miler in at the midway point of training.  After reviewing with my coach he modified my plan so that I focused on the quality of my runs and less on the LSD (Long Slow Distance) training runs.  Highest Sunday long run mileage was 16miles.  And my Saturday runs were 10miles at a quick pace.

The strategy behind this plan was to get me ready for the last 6.2 miles.  My legs would remember 20 miles.  It is those last 6.2 miles that are the hardest part of a marathon.

The first two weeks after the Philadelphia Marathon I tried to relax my mind and body and live like a runner without a cause.  I went for runs but only for fun and with little structure or training in mind.  I didn’t wake-up each morning with a determined amount of mileage or pace to hit. I just enjoyed running to my daily mood.

After two weeks, I began my training and got down to business. This is the plan I followed. It included spin classes and weight/core training at my gym.

Week 6 – Mon spin/weights, Tues 4m, Wed 4x 1m intervals/ 1/2m jogs (6m), Th spin/ core, Fri 4m, Sat 6m ascending tempo, Sun 16m = 36total

Week 5–  Mon spin/weights, Tues 4m, Wed Tempo 2 easy/2 5k pace/2 easy (6m), Th spin/ core, Fri 4m, Sat 10m @ 10:00 16m @10:40 = 40total

Week 4-  Mon spin/weights, Tues 4m, Wed 4x 1m intervals/ 1/2m jogs (6m), Th spin/ core, Fri 4m, Sat 10m @10:00, Sun 12m@10:40 = 36total

Week 3 – Mon spin/weights, Tues 4m, Wed Tempo 2 easy/2 5k pace/2 easy (6m), Th spin/ core, Fri 4m, Sat 10m @ 10:00 16m @10:40 = 40total

Week 2 – Mon spin/weights, Tues 4m, Wed 4x 1m intervals/ 1/2m jogs (6m), Th spin/ core, Fri OFF, Sat 8m @10:00, Sun 10m@10:40 = 28total

Week 1- Mon rest, Tues 2m, Wed 3m, Th and Fri, Sat 2m, Sun Marathon

Training was tough. I felt fatigued and like I had lost my mojo. I followed the plan but at times took an extra rest day or pulled back a mile on an easy run. I would never give myself a break while training for my first marathon and here I was giving myself subtle liberties off the training plan. It felt like I was trying to cheat.

I was reminded of my weight loss journey on Weight Watchers and how the first phase is known as the “honeymoon phase”.  Everything is wonderful and going the way you want. You’re motivated and focused and seeing results.  The next thing you know you’re trying to cheat and cut corners and then you hit a wall.

I was still nursing an injured left hip sprain. After the dust had settled from the Philadelphia Marathon my left hip started aching again. I did not want to take chances and went back to PT for a few weeks of sessions. The holiday season was buzzing with after-work parties and cocktails. I tried to resist as much as I could but also felt I deserved and even needed to relax a little.

By mid-December I was hitting my 16 mile long runs again. The first 16 miler I did was all alone on a freezing cold day. I didn’t pass a single runner or walker.  Not seeing any runners I realized December is an off-season and probably intended for rest. Marathon training starts again in January, for those May marathons.  It was very hard to keep my legs moving on those long runs but I still got the job done.

I kept on chugging along with my training plan even though my mind wasn’t focused and my heart was trying to hibernate. I had no choice but to just keep on pushing myself. The Disney Marathon was coming Jan 13 and not finishing was NOT an option.  Like it or not, I had to do my training runs.

With just 5 weeks to Disney, I needed to find a way to ignite my mojo engine.

PUSH = Persist Until Something Happens.  SOMETHING.

Okay. I will keep on pushing, persisting.  Something is bound to happen.  I tried to mix things up.  I enjoyed a few long Sunday runs with a running partner. That camaraderie helped motivate me. I took more spin classes to activate different leg muscles. I updated my iPod playlist. I bought a really cute new running jacket. I tried running at a different time of day.

I told myself be happy you signed-up for Disney Marathon. It allows you the chance to stay in shape over the holidaze. I tried to convince myself that by training in the off-season, when most others were home resting, would give me a competitive edge. Like all those folks who join the gym in June expecting to prepare for swimsuit season once it is already upon them.

I had moments of doubt that peaking my training with just 16m long runs instead of going up to 20miles wouldn’t get me across the finish. And then I had moments of enlightenment that it was all about the quality. I ran hard with my legs but even harder with my mind. I kept telling myself that this kind of training is part of how I will fight through those last 6 miles.  You want to stop, you want to take a break, a long rest, but you must keep on moving forward in order to get across the finish line.  

I don’t know how to give up.  I do know how to be positive.  I reflected on my accomplishments.  The fact that I can smack a snooze button off and get out for a run is a big deal!  I looked for the J-O-Y in JOURNEY and realized I will still smile across the finish.

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Twin Mom Joins the 26.2 Mile Club

My 26.2 Finisher Car Magnet aka Membership Card to the 26.2 Club!

I woke-up the day after the Philadelphia Marathon expecting to feel extreme pain and be unable to move my legs out of the bed. My eyes popped open at 5am and I took a moment to wiggle my toes. Yup, all good. I moved gingerly onto my side preparing my legs to get out of bed and anticipating the worse. In one swift movement I dropped my legs to the floor and stood up.

Humph! That’s it? Nothing unbearable.  Some soreness in the quads but nothing debilitating.  I felt like I had done a solid workout. It was a delicious pain. As the day progressed my legs became a little more wobbly and going down steps was a very ungraceful process. But still, nothing like the stories of agony I had heard. I considered my muscle aches were a sign that my body had worked hard and done a great job.

I went for my first run four days later on Thanksgiving.  It felt absolutely wonderful to work the kinks out and just flow down the street.  I wasn’t holding a flag and yet I felt like I had a giant flag waving above me that read “MARATHONER!”.

My running grounds suddenly looked different to me.  They were no longer the training grounds for something unknown. I now knew the answer to my burning question over months of training – how would it feel to run a marathon?

I passed familiar runners in the nearby park feeling as if I had returned from a very long trip after an extreme makeover.  It reminded me of how I had felt after giving birth to my twin girls and going outside for the first time pushing them in the stroller.  A little sore, a little tired, extremely proud, joyful, blessed and like I was unstoppable.

If I could birth and nurse twins, I could conquer anything. And I did. I trained for months and ran my first marathon. Loving every moment of the process.  At Thanksgiving dinner a family member asked me if it was hard to run the marathon.  It was certainly hard work but nothing compared to being a twin-mom.

I have only just begun! Next up, the Disney 2013 Marathon in five weeks.

Photo: Amen sister!

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My Last Long Run Before The NYC Marathon: 47 Total Weekly Miles

Photo: After a 16mile challenging trail run in the Greenbelt, this is how I feel...

This past Sunday I ran 20 miles and that tipped my weekly mileage in at a total of 47 miles; my highest to date and my max before the NYC Marathon.  This was my second 20 mile run.  I also ran two 18 milers over the past several weeks. I love the way I feel after running high mileage! Utterly, completely exhausted and fantastically strong all at the same time. This is the course I ran with my amazing Ironman running coach and fellow running-mates from the YMCA.

We met at 7am in the parking lot at the Fishing Pier off the South Beach boardwalk with pink and orange sunlight crackling across the NY harbor sky.  In the distance was the Verrazano Bridge, Manhattan skyline and the edge of Coney Island with the infamous parachute ride.

It was about 50 degrees with a crisp ocean breeze. I have this rule that unless the temperature is under  49 degrees, I will not wear a jacket or long-sleeves for a run. I always end up too hot once I’m settled into a run.  For this run I wore a T-shirt and although I felt a chill, I held out from adding a jacket.

The run our coach mapped out was fairly flat with the exception of when we got into historic Fort Wadsworth.  We hit those steep hills for miles 16 – 19 to really test our strength and prep us for the NYC Marathon course.

This is one of my favorite courses to run because of the views and the endless paths you can tack onto your route if you want extra mileage.  The terrain also switches at different mileage points with boardwalk wooden planks, concrete, paved streets, gravel and grass at various spots.  It’s a nice way to strengthen your tired legs as you push into high mileage.  There are also public bathrooms and water fountains along the way – an essential for any long-distance runner that isn’t willing (or forced) to rough it in a bush!

This is a view of the fishing pier and the Verrazzano Bridge in the distance.

Around mile 13 there was a car show setting up in the parking lot and a toy race-car speedway event happening too.  We took a 5 minute pause and watched the cars zip and zoom around the mini speedway. So cool!

This little guy was especially fast and slick on the turns!

When we ran into Fort Wadsworth I was knocked back by this breathtaking, up-close image of the Verrazzano Bridge.  I couldn’t help but get emotional thinking this is where I will line-up at the start of the ING NYC Marathon.

This is Fort Wadsworth. There are some delightful hills.  After our first loop and by around mile 17 we decided to go around again, you know, for good luck. It was tough and it was absolutely awesome.

I rarely looked at my Garmin watch to keep track of the mileage and time.  I just kept going and going, breathing easy and keeping loose in my mind.  As we hit mile 18 we kicked up the gears and I had the stamina and desire to push faster.  I imagined myself crossing the finish line in Central Park.  I know I will finish the marathon. I know I have the mileage in me.  I can’t wait to get started!

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Tips For Getting Started With A Morning Run Routine

Getting started with a morning running routine can seem like an impossible hurdle.   I remember how it felt when I first started out.  I have learned a lot during these past 3 years of my journey as a runner, so here are three steps to follow to make sure you get up,  get out the door and do the run you have been dreaming about!

Make all decisions the day before you plan to run!

1) Outfit:  Decide what you will wear. Lay out your entire outfit before you go to bed.  This means everything from socks to headband.  Don’t just decide in your mind what you’ll wear and think you’ll go fumbling through the drawers the morning of your first run.  Pull the clothes out of the drawer and lay them over a chair or somewhere visible when you open your eyes in the morning.  Have your sneakers at the edge of your bed too so you practically trip over them as you wake up.  If you plan to have any electronics (watch, iPod, heart rate monitor), charge them and keep them near your clothes as well.

You want everything sorted ahead of time so that when you wake-up there is no silly excuse that can delay you from getting out the door.  You know your mind will look for any excuse possible.  Don’t give it a chance to beat you down!

2) Decide where and how long you will run.  Don’t feel you need to run 3 miles your first time running.  Even if you’ve done it before.  Start off with something attainable like 15 or 20 minutes. But make sure you decide before you go to sleep exactly where you will run (on the treadmill? around the block 3 times?) and for how long (15 minutes? 30 minutes? 10 minute walk and 10 minute run?).  If you don’t decide before you go to sleep, it means there is a good chance you won’t do it in the a.m.!  By settling your brain on what you plan to do the next day, it sort of stamps the notion in your head throughout your sleep cycle making it harder to not do it the next day.

3) a. Decide the wake-up time to set your alarm

b. When you’re tempted to settle for a snooze-fest, PAUSE!  Before you smack that snooze button decide the night before that you will take 5 seconds to allow your ‘positive self’ to tell your nagging ‘negative self’  “The snooze will not take me to my goal.  I will feel better once I’m up and out.  Nothing about this snooze is going to make me feel better in five minutes like I will after my run.”  I have never come home from a run (even the tough ones) and thought I should have just stayed in bed and snoozed away.  This is the moment where you need to break that bad habit.

Breaking habits are hard and uncomfortable.  You have to promise yourself to be consistent and disciplined.  After a few weeks, the changed behavior starts to feel more acceptable and eventually it becomes a new, healthy habit.  And you can’t imagine life any other way.

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I’m IN to Finish 2012 ING NYC Marathon!!

My 67yo father has been running for more than thirty years.  He has run 8 NYC marathons and countless other NYRR races.  His first marathon was in 1979 when I was 7 years old.  Living on Staten Island, the start of the marathon was always an extra big deal in my house.  My mom would wake us early, my younger brother, sister and even my grandparents, and drive my Dad to Fort Wadsworth near the Verazzano Bridge and then cross over to Brooklyn to stake our first of several cheering spots throughout the race; Brooklyn and then on to Manhattan, on the East side just off the 59th Street Bridge and again in Central Park for the last 5 miles.

My Dad said that what piqued his interest in running were Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter, two of the most elite and successful American runners of all-time.  The NYC Marathon began in 1970 and originally consisted of four loops around Central Park with just a few hundred runners.  In 1976, thanks to the pioneering vision of Fred Lebow, the race expanded to hit all five NYC boroughs and attracted approx 2000 runners, including Olympians Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers.

In this picture we had just dropped my Dad off at Fort Wadsworth.  The date was Oct 21, 1979.  Notice the limited crowd and the low number on his bib.  The running boom was just getting started!

It was absolutely thrilling to see him come running up to us, cold and sweaty, and hug and squeeze us at every spot!  Back then there was no such thing as gels and power drinks.  My mom would have a huge container of honey that she’d scoop into my Dad’s mouth like medicine for a baby and I would hold fresh-cut oranges in a ziplock baggie.  My fingers would freeze holding out extra oranges and then go numb from clapping so hard for all the runners.  As if that was an act of endurance?!

I also remember seeing all kinds of characters pass by.  There was the waiter who we saw at every marathon.  He wore a black jacket with tails and bow-tie and held a tray in one hand with a champagne bottle and glass.  There were those who ran backwards and the guy who ran while juggling.  To my young eyes, watching the runners sometimes felt like being at the circus.

I remember after my Dad finished his first NYC Marathon he received a spectacular poster of the Verazzano Bridge with all the runners crossing it. The shot was taken from above so you saw the full span of the bridge from Staten Island and thousands of runners charging across it.  I put this poster on the wall just to the side of my bed.  At night I would lie on my side and stare at the poster wondering where my Dad could be amongst the crowd.  My Dad told me how runners would start stripping off layers of clothes while crossing the bridge and just throw them on the pavement or off the side of the bridge.  I found this little fact about littering your clothes on world’s largest bridge to be fascinating and would daydream at the poster imaging shirts flying off the sides of the bridge.

That same year I decided  for Halloween I would dress-up as ‘Daddy’s Super-Jogger’.  My mom ironed the letters onto a sweatshirt (she lost the ‘Y’ so it actually read Dadd’s Super Jogger), gave me my Dad’s sweatband and wristbands, a water bottle (she didn’t have a real water bottle so she gave me my little sister’s baby bottle!), sneakers and off I went proudly jogging in the P.S.69 Halloween Parade.  Running doesn’t require much of any props so my costume kinda looked like I was going to gym class.  That’s me in the middle holding up my sister.

In 1981, when my Dad was 37yo, he finished the NY Marathon in his best time ever – 3:29:30.  He said that as soon as he hit Central Park he suddenly felt like ‘a firecracker was up his ass’ and he ran like the wind to the finish.  He got across the finish line faster than my family could keep up to greet him.  My Dad bought a picture of himself crossing the finish line which has lived in a frame on top of the piano all these years.

Everyday when I would practice piano I would gaze at the picture and think how casually normal my Dad looked, merely hopping, over the finish line.  But I never understood the magnitude of what he accomplished, from achieving a fantastic time to simply finishing the run of 26.2 miles!  Until now.

Back then I never felt a desire to run.  I never even dreamed of running the NYC Marathon. I just enjoyed being an observer, the daughter of someone who was a marathoner and a very driven runner.  My friends and neighbors all knew my Dad as a runner.  So many times someone would tell me, “I saw your Dad running near my house at 5:30am when I went out to grab the paper.  How does he do it?”  I would shrug and just say, “He does. He gets up and goes running.”

It wasn’t until I myself reached my 30’s, when I began very light running on the treadmill and outside (3-4 miles tops)  that I started watching the NY Marathon on TV and unravel a hidden desire to want to run this race myself.  My childhood memories of being surrounded, unconsciously, by the NY Marathon and the determination of a marathoner, came flooding back to me.  Yet I never mapped out a real goal.  Occasionally I would go for a short run with my Dad but I never considered properly training for races or making running a consistent part of my lifestyle.

Maybe it’s because I’m a mother and wife now and recognize the value of organizing time, staying healthy, and generally feeling balanced between work and life that running has become my center around everything else.

So here I am now at the start of 2012, turning 40yo in October, officially accepted into the NYC ING Marathon! I just wish I could find that poster I once had on my bedroom wall.  Only this time I’d put it on the wall in my girl’s bedroom.

Here are some more vintage pictures of my Dad running the NYC Marathon back when it wasn’t even 5 years old. Notice the light crowd of runners and the simple clothing.

 

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