Thursday, July 26, 2012

Simmer over Low Heat for 700 Miles

"The only way we can improve is to change the stresses on our body..."  

One of my favorite MTT Coaches, Coach Black, says this to me on a regular basis.  He's right.  You want to get faster? Stronger? Add Endurance?  Well, you need to train to get faster, or stronger, or to add endurance.  And if you're always training at the same level your body will adapt, resulting in no improvement.  Now, certainly, we wouldn't try to change everything at once...  it would add stress of another kind.

And of course, in these insightful coaching exchanges, it only takes a tiny leap to get from there to here...
 "The only way we can improve in life is to change...."

I have ~like practically everyone I know these days~ set down on the path for the marathon with Sports Backers Marathon Training Team again.

For me registering for the marathon is like going out with an old flame.  It’s familiar, and new, all at the same time.  The ~um~ soup is still hot, and because we’re starting again after a long break it could even be called fresh.  I'm more comfortable now, able to enjoy the months leading up to the race, because I don’t have all the nerves that go with doing it for the first time. ~awkward soup~

...I might be off topic...

The thing is, my relationship with Marathoning has changed in the last 2800 miles.

For my first marathon, I went into the training FULL STEAM on FIRE...The thing about heat at those temperatures is that you can't maintain it.  Marathoning is about a controlled burn, not a flash in the pan.  I fizzled toward the end of training.  

By my 3rd experience with the 700+ mile commitment that a marathon requires I was feeling like an old hand.  And yet, it was still a bit like the first one. Only with less sanity and WAY more hype...  "Yeah, I am running ahead of the mileage, but..." I could justify it...  I could justify anything.  I was an addict.

I was intense.  
I was on FIRE.  
I was going to be EPIC.  
I was... 
...sick on race day.  

It was an amazing lesson on how you cannot control the un-controlable factors.  It was also the day that I learned that Marathoners should probably stand in a circle before every long run and say the serenity prayer.

Lately I've taken a much calmer approach to marathon training.  I turned the heat down.  I've taken such a calm approach that I'm wondering if I've severely over corrected...

And then I think, why worry?

I'm moving forward, I'm pushing my body to places I never imagined it could go, and I'm definitely stronger.  I don't need to get faster.  I can already run fast.  I need to train myself to hold the pace for longer miles.

I just need to settle into a routine and stress a little less about the things I can't control.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

So Happy ToGether!

I've been under some new stress this year.  

Not all running related, but some of it is...  I have come to realize that I put huge amounts of pressure on myself to perform.  To be Galactically BadA**.  To Not Suck.  To not....  disappoint my coaches.  

Weird, right?  

Not sure what they would say about that.  Still, that pressure leads to fear and anxiety.  It's lead to my not enjoying my running as much.  It's not their fault, I don't blame the ones I love for my fear.  

And I do love my coaches.  

I love hearing what they think, gleaning their wisdom, and knowing that knowing them is making me a stronger runner one footstrike at a time.  I love that they'll hang back with me, they'll check in, they'll leave me in the dust.  All appropriate in the moment.

Last week, at the beach, I decided to it was time to let some of the fear go.  I don't run for my coaches.  I run for me.  I don't run for The Marathon.  I run for me.  

I don't run...

I run.

Yesterday MTTographer caught me on film.  It's probably my favorite running photo this year.
Not because I've had an offer from Victoria's Secret.
Well, it is only Sunday....  

I love the photo because my eyes look happy.  The joy that I find in running is right there, for anyone to see.

I love running.  Running doesn't care how fast or slow we go.  Running enjoys the moment.  Running likes to be savored.  Running appreciates that some days are about maximum effort, and some days are about recovery.  Running empowers me to be stronger than my weak mind.

We have several months to go before The Marathon ~said in the big movie announcer voice~ and I need to find a way to culture my relationship with running. To do that, I need to banish the fear.

I need to reclaim the faith.

I need to run more.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baby Come Back...

It's that time again...  time to sign up.  Time to think ahead.  Time to wonder.  Time to plan.  Time to set goals.  Time...

Sports Backers Marathon Colors colors everywhere, 1200 like minded runners, a little Llama Drama, coaches and bloggers, complainers and doers and go getters mashed into one giant mess of warm gooey ~run~ love Training Team

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Richmond Marathon Race Recaps

Thinking of Running Richmond Full, Half or 8K?  

Well, here are a few bloggy re-caps from around the web of people who ran or spectated Richmond Marathon 2011.

Racing With Babes

Setting You Free

Life Began at Thirty

Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner of 3 (kids)

Small Beginnings

Pace of Me

Dori's Shiny Blog

Running to Stand Still

For the most part, these touch on all aspects of the race.  From the local "how do I drive in and park" to the out of town, "does the shuttle to the expo function as advertised."


Also, thinking of signing up for MTT?  Just do it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jenny's First Dance

My father is a musician.  One of my favorite pieces that he composed is a lovely little guitar solo called "Jenny's First Dance".  When I hear it, it makes me think that about the idea that the first steps are the hardest, but once you get through them, nothing can stop you.

Jenny Silver, as I've bloggy named her, ran her first marathon on Saturday.  She owned it.  For that matter, she OWNED IT FROM DAY ONE.  I'm so proud of her.  She is a testimony to why MTT is a good program for the first time marathoner.  She lived the highs, the lows, and finished on top.

Epic doesn't even come close to describing her race recap.  It makes me want to go for a run.

Congratulations Jenny Silver.  Savor this week of recovery.  You've earned it.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: DeNiece

DeNiece is a great friend and runner.  She's inspiring and encouraging, and confident and competitive...  pretty much, DeNiece is just like a lot of us.  Here she takes on one of those *sticky* topics we all talk about, the dreaded running partner you just can't out run....

One of my running partners claims I am her best friend, although she is NOT mine.  

Even though she is my nemesis, she plays an important part in my life.  Maybe you know someone like her – she is loud, negative and outspoken.   She is the first to tell me that I “can’t” or “won’t” do something.  She crushes my spirit, douses my confidence, destroys my self-esteem.   She is insidious.  She starts out with little comments like “boy its hot today…you don’t like the heat do you?”  Then she becomes a little more pointed, “Whew, it is really hot.  You’re only at two miles – it’s a long way to 10.”  Then, she goes in for the kill, “I don’t think you can do it.  It is really hot.  Aren’t you uncomfortable? You can’t do it”….

And the negative mantra is born….hammered into my brain, pounded in with each painful step I take -“YOU.CAN’T.DO.IT. YOU.CAN’T.DO.IT”….

She picks my weak point – “It’s hot”, “too cold”, “you’re sore, tired or hungover”, “they’re faster than you” and throws it up in my face until I am repeating the negative mantra with her… 


And yet, she has run with me for years.   I found myself listening to her, wondering where she was when she was quiet.  I try to drown her out by chatting with friends or listening to music (she also likes hip hop and rap) but she can be incessant, loud and dominating.

 It is lucky, for me, that I am so likable, charming, personable, and fun… because when the posse runs with me, they run with her.   

Last year, I started marathon training.  It turned out that she was not as fit as I am.  While I love the long, LONG runs, she does not.  She figured out quickly, though, that there were plenty of places she could jump in on the long run.  So while she wouldn’t join us for 20 milers, she’d pop in for 6 or 8 miles to make me miserable. 

As I become fitter and stronger physically, she became weaker.   As I developed more and more friendships with runners, their voices could drown her out.   Those friends were supportive, kicking her to the curb when she tried to run with us.  I toughened up mentally, found ways to shut her up, leave her behind or better yet, avoid running with her.  Her power over me was dissipating…

Last night I woke up and began to think about all my marathon fears:  it’s two half-marathons and that second one is REALLY hard;  my husband is not meeting me at mile 21 so I will have to run the last “half” by myself; can I really meet my goals?; what if I hit a wall?; what if it hurts?  – ALL of these things are about a fear of physical pain and mental anguish.  When I realized this, I tried to tease out which was worse - the physical or mental.   Which would come first…does physical pain lead to the wall or vice versa?  

Then like a flash, I realized this was all her doing – she had snuck into my room and was whispering her bullsh** into my ear.    

So, I broke up with her for good.  

Her power over me and my life is gone.  I am happy, centered, energetic and relaxed.  I have balance between the marathon and my family life, even if it is just for this week and it is GOOD…
…but watch out, fellow runners, she will be out on the prowl and the marathon will have lots of potential clients.  

So be wary of her….or maybe you’ve already met her – her name is Debbie.  Debbie DOWNER…