Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunny Side Up


I got the nicest compliment today. 

I was whining ~ I know right? ~ and my friend said it was OK, because I “always come out on the right side”.  And I chuckled.  The RIGHT side?  Would that be like coming out:

Sunny Side UP?

Seriously though, in marathoning there is A FREAKING LOT to be said about keeping a positive attitude.  If you’re feeling the need to complain about aching feet, consider this… 

The people around you have aching feet too.  But they’re not saying anything about it, because they believe what I believe - speaking about evil makes it stronger.…  And trust me, at mile 20, aching feet are evil.  They’re the base of evil.

The truth is, complaining about hurting feet or the long a** hill or tired legs isn’t really going to do anything useful.  Maybe everyone around you agrees.  Maybe they even say so.  But now you’re a group of runners talking about pain.  That just doesn’t sound that fun to me, to be honest.

Forming a mental image of success?  Now that is a useful way to spend a training run.

Consider this:  I recently did a research project involving guided imagery as pain management in postoperative patients.  Do you know what the excessively boring research indicated?  It works. 

Better than meds.  The patients were instructed to create a mental image of moving without pain.  And, in the 5 different studies I looked at, the success rate was exceptional.  I mean I’m here blogging about it right now because I think there’s something to this.

So keeping your chin up is going to do more than just hold you in good form.  It’s also going to keep the positive energy flowing around you. 

I believe that mental imagery is half the battle. 

I use it all the time in my training.  If I feel my feet shuffling, I expend a little energy imagining that they’re light and swift.  And you know what happened last week when I did that?  My split time for that mile was 9 seconds faster than the mile before it.  When you start getting into those high double digit numbers, that’s a pretty impressive feeling.
I look at the racecourse each time I run it, and I try to embed a positive memory.  For example, the week I ran with Coach Black and we blew from The Diamond up to the Pope Arch, I remember thinking, “This isn’t that long”.  On race day, I’m going to try to remember that it’s not that far from The Diamond to The Arch.

And one week when I was doing a 13 mile run that took me over The Bump on the Blvd in my last mile, and I felt SUPER STRONG, I remember thinking, “it’s the last real bump on the race course, and look, you’re running an X:14 over it right now, so it can’t be that big or steep or scary.”

So as we all go out for a recovery week this weekend, I recommend building a strong positive memory on the run.  It’s an ideal time.  The weather will be cool, like race day (we hope).  And the miles will feel short (ha ha, I caught myself today, “It’s only 12 miles on Sunday, so…”).  Take your light feet and your strong legs, and as you run along the marathon course, make your own positive memory.  You can use it as a base for your mental imagery, or, if you’d rather not use it for that, at least you’ll have something really nice to remember when you reflect on the time you spent with MTT.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

AMBUSH!


GBA.

Gonna Be Awesome?

God Bless America?

Great Big Attitude?

Galactically Bad A**.

There’s only one GBA.  

And that’s why this morning T & I put our run off for over an hour so we could go run 8 miles with 3L, WineNotWhine, Kristiß needs a bloggy name, KC and Dot in the middle of their 20 miler. 

See, there was NO WAY I was missing 3L’s first 20 miler.  No. freaking. Way.

But I’ve been running a low grade fever off and on for a few days, so I really had to run on Sunday of this week in the hopes that the fever completely breaks by the time it’s Sunday Funday Runday.  

Thus, no 20 on Saturday with Team Purple.

Thus, the AMBUSH.

Yup.  

we didn't plan it, but we're both wearing our Skull socks.
T & I didn’t even tell them we were coming.  We just showed up at a mid point on the route, parked our JEEP, and waited at the Grove SAG with SpeeDee & THE MAN until we started seeing runners.  

We chatted with THE MAN, cheered for the runners, called out Coach Black, got Shh'd by THE MAN, and in general, spent our 10 minutes waiting being cute.  MTTographer snapped a photo of our hotness whilst we waited.  How fabulous are we?


We saw The Posse coming from up the street and jumped in behind the MTTographer waving our arms & cheering (softly, as not to disturb the sleeping city of Richmond... ahem).

I know just the moment 3L saw us, and guess what?  MTTographer caught it on film. 

KC, WNW, Dot (2nd row), Kristi & 3L
Today I ran 8 miles- a few at MRP, and it felt easy.  And while that was great, it was the time spent with my favorite Posse that made today so perfect.

Today made me realize that sometimes doing something nice for someone is as easy as going for a run.

~Savor the Run~

And for the most part, the fever is gone, the exhaustion is waning, and I think if I get a good night’s sleep tonight that I should be able to tackle my 20 tomorrow.  IT’s the big 2.0.  And really, what kind of sicko am I that I can’t wait?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mapped Out


My non-running family loves mocking me.  And my hobby.

Yeah, cos what I do is a “hobby”. 

You see, not that long ago, my running was just sort of a thing I did, and not an entity of my identity.  When I first started running I didn’t run when I was out of town, so the extended parts of my family never saw me do it.  I would rearrange my 3 scheduled runs to fall when I wasn’t with my family, and that was sort of that.  I ran a few 5K’s, and even trained for and completed 2 half marathons while flying under the radar of my family.

But all this changed when my interested morphed into a passion that borders on addiction.  By my 3rd Half Marathon there was no hiding this any more.  In 2009 I would slowly emerge from my “closet”, and in November of that year I completed my first Marathon.  By March of 2010 I was holding a steady 40 mile week base.

Now, of course, I run the SportsBackers MTT sanctioned training plan for 24, or so, weeks of my year.  It’s a pretty normal looking schedule, with 5 running days, a cross day and a rest day.  And I never miss a run unless my ankle, knees, quad, or most likely, my hamstring tells me to take the day off.  I’m dedicated to my body, and I’m dedicated to my run.  Ok, ok, I love my run.  Only running 5 days a week is just as hard for me as running 5 days a week.

I said dedicated twice because marathon training takes twice as much dedication as hard work.

Recently at the dinner table, my non-running father made a comment about the location of X in relation to Y on the island of Cape Hatteras, and I said, “It’s ¾ of a mile from here to there”.  A knowing look passed between him and my non-running step-mother.  What ever, I laughed to myself.  I need to know that incase I want to run down that road tomorrow.

Then on the run in the Twickory, not that long ago, we were adjusting our mid-week run to accommodate the new schedule increases, and I suggested adding a mile by way of a particular road.  My thought process was along the lines of, “it’s .4 from here to there, and .7 from there to here, it will be just about 1 mile”.  There was dissention among the GBA’s, until my running mate 3L said something that sounded a lot like, “I’m going with g.  If GBA GF says it will be 8 miles, it will be exactly 8 miles.”  My watch beeped exactly 8 miles as I rolled into the parking lot.  But it made me think of what my father had said.

On the fly a few weeks ago I had to make a call about which way to run when we got off course.  “Look, it’s a mile from here to the Stadium, and then it’s 3 miles out and back from the Stadium to the Pope Arch.  We’re set.  We need 4 more miles.  Boom.  Done.”  And I turned and ran and guess what?  It was 4 miles.  Spot on.

So, what am I bragging about?  That I’m a total geek who memorizes that it’s .7 miles from Deep Run Highschool to the intersection near the SG YMCA, or who knows from where on Boulevard or Broad Street it’s going to be 1 mile to the SB Stadium?  Pretty much. 

Geek.

No seriously.  What I’m bragging about is that no matter where I go, I mentally break down my run into smaller sections.  This is helpful for mapping and routing, yes.  If you’re into cartography.

But I’m not. 

I’m into marathoning.

As I look at the route THE MAN sends each week, I quickly scan it for obvious break points.  I use bridges, overpasses, and sometimes, major street crossings that occur at numbered mile points.  Then, I break my long runs into pieces.  Once one piece is done, I put it behind me, check it off, and try not to dwell on it, how it went, etc.  I can do that later. I’m now on the next segment of my run, focusing on the now, and being in the moment. 

This is why it’s perfectly logical to find me at mile 6 of a run struggling and cussing, and an hour later, at mile 12 of the same run, in a total state of run-love gushing and giggling about how much I love to run.

OK, endorphins and a runners high is also a possible source of run-love-slash-giggling.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Words for Wednesday

You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.
Dale Carnegie

(in other words, Thank the SAG volunteers)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nice Guys

They say "nice guys finish last".

I bet that's true about 50% of the time.

I mean, let's face it here people.  Not everyone is nice.

So a few weeks ago I volunteered at the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in a hurricane.  True story.  I worked a very well organized water stop with one of my favorite tall weird people.  The last time she & I volunteered together, the weather was a TOTAL FAIL.  So as soon as we saw each other in the dark, we knew the weather was going to be bad.  

There was something that happened that day at the Hurricane Half that I never told you all about.  It's bothered me off and on over the last weeks as I tried to figure out if it was blog worthy.  My 18 miler this weekend made me think that it is.

I've concluded there are different types of runners.

Some would rather take a DNF than go out and not PR ~ never mind finishing last.

Some would gladly run every mile regardless of pace simply because they love it that much, regardless of where they finish in the "pack".

Some will fight for every breath, hating every step they take, with determination and grit, as the pack leaves them.

Well, at PHHM, the girl who ran by the first water stop in last place... was crying.  The police car was idling behind her as she ran through the carnage of empty water cups and windblown volunteers.  Here she was, at mile #2 of a half marathon, and she was crying.

Personally, I don't find half marathons to feel that long any more.  But I remember my first 3... and they felt like ~ well ~ a HALF a freaking MARATHON.  

And those suckers are REALLY long.

I thought, "mentally, that girl has a tough road ahead" as I saw the tears...  I stood there for a nano-second contemplating...

What's a GBA to do?

I mean...  I was wearing running clothes.

I jumped onto the course and fell in beside her.  We ran for a few steps in silence as I listened to her hiccup and sniffle.  First off.  I didn't know what to say because I didn't actually know her.  Secondly, she was obviously feeling badly.  (or, was she feeling bad?)  Finally, I wondered what would make me feel less bad if I was her.... wait a minute.  We're running in a hurricane...

Suddenly she opens up, and gushing tears and words, she explains that she can't believe she's last.  Again.  Why is she last?  "Again?!"

As she finishes telling me how bad she sucks, I cheerfully said to her, "Don't you get it?  You're bad ass.  You're hard core.  The people who would be last didn't come today.  They stayed in bed.  They made excuses.  You are running a Half Marathon in a hurricane because you are AMAZING.  YOU go own YOUR race, and stop worrying about where everyone else is running.  This is YOUR RACE."

I dropped off.  She ran on, and I've often wondered how it went for her.

Saturday I ran MTT.  My posse was strong and secure in their run, and I... well.... go here and read this if you want to see how it went down.  It wasn't pretty.  (it was f'ugly)

I had a moment (or 9) where I wanted to quit.  And then I remembered the PHHM runner and thought, you know what?  I am HARD CORE.  This is MY RUN.  It doesn't matter what ANYONE ELSE IS DOING.

~mine~

I suffered through and made it to the end.

Would I ever want to repeat that?  No.  No I really wouldn't.

The run was that bad.

But this tragic run made me appreciate that I am the kind of person who would rather suffer through and make it happen, than quit and always wonder if I could've done it.

~savor the run~

I need to add an UPDATE here.  Last week I spotted the Crying Runner running in Richmond.  I recognized her from the PHHM, so I crossed the street and asked how she was, and what she was up to, etc.  She DNF'd at PHHM.  She fell behind the time cut off.  But you want to know why I still admire her?  She was out running again when I saw her, running strong I might add, training for the marathon.  Yup, it turns out she's MTT.