Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Save the penguins...

Really...I'm running for the penguins in my first 5K of the season at the Bronx Zoo. It should be a fun run, if not a little hilly. I'm doing it with my good friend - so that's a fun motivator. I started at 2 miles a few weeks ago and now I'm up to 4. I witnessed so many friends go down with injuries last summer. I'm a big believer in moving up slowly - quarter mile at a time, stretching, hydrating -and then rewarding myself with a Silk Chocolate Milk http:// which I've read is as good for recovery as gatorade. Every other day has been tough after the winter we just had but it feels good to run outside again, see the neighbors, watch the flowers bloom and load up my ipod with new motivational tunes. I'm sick of last years half marathon music after an entire season and many hours pounding the pavement. Anyone have some favorite tunes to recommend to keep me moving??

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

So once you finally reach the finish line of the half marathon its such a fantastic feeling you feel like you can take on just about anything. After the half in October I signed up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, a Jingle Run around Christmas and then a winter running class seemed like a really great idea to get me through January and March. The problem is that in December you don't really remember what 13 degrees feels like. 13 degrees is INSANE no matter how many layers you're wearing! This past winter I had a no running under 30 degrees rule - well, those of us on the East Coast know how well that went over! So I discovered spinning. I was told it would keep up my cardio as well as running and maybe not set me so far back come Spring training. I got so into it I even participated in a 6 hour spinodyssey for charity http://http// I really enjoyed it but, no - it didn't set me up any better for Spring training. For the second year in a row to get started again I jumped into the couch to 5K program. It is a weekly training program that gets you literally from running a minute all the way to a 5K in 9 weeks. Last year I started at week 4. this year I was able to jump to week 6. I found a great podcast that I downloaded from itunes. Its got an unfortunate name but the music is real songs as opposed to musak on other podcasts.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You never forget your first time

My first half marathon was October 9, 2009. It was the Westchester Running Festival sponsored by Westchester Medical Center. The start line was at Westchester County Center at the Bronx river Parkway and proceeded South to Scarsdale and then back up to the finish at County Center.

The day before my husband and I decided to drive it - BIG mistake. It was a LONG drive! I do much better when I don't know what I'm getting into. The next morning we all met at County Center. It was cold and we were all a bundle of nerves. It was pretty well organized except that they ran out of running bibs and had to hand write mine.

My friends and I found our spot with the slow runners near the back of the 700+ runners. We stayed together for most of the time but at about mile 7 one went ahead and one fell behind. I was on my own. There were entire mile stretches where I got lost in my own head - with only a handful of runners around me. I was able to high five my husband as he was headed back North while I was running South. He seemed to be making great time - ahead of another friend who is always placing and winning trophies. That gave me a big burst of speed. For some time it felt like it would never end but I remember be shocked to suddenly see the county center. It seemed to rise up over a hill and I truly couldn't believe I was going to finish this thing. I got it done in 2 hours and 42 minutes. My husband finished in 1 hr 51!

My friends weren't so happy with that race because they didn't like that it was there and back as opposed to a big circle. What I didn't like was that by the time Ifinished no one was there to cheer me in! Just really my friends and family. Massage booths were shutting down already. They actually ran out of medals and had to mail me mine weeks later. What a bummer! Regardless we were all very excited for each other. We trained properly. No one was injured or so incredibly sore. It was a grand finale to a season that began without being able to run 60 seconds a few short months prior.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Runaway train

By now I had gotten the racing bug - I really needed to consistently set new goals for myself to keep me moving and on a schedule. Over that Spring and Summer I pushed myself from the 5K to a 10K a, an 8 mile and finally took the plunge and committed to my first half marathon - Westchester Medical's Half Marathon which takes place up and down the Bronx River from White Plains headed south and back. I couldn't believe I was doing it. It was a very sureal committment - did I just sign up for that?

My husband who was a, well shall we say - quarterly runner...yes, once every 3 or 4 months at best was inspired by my enthusasm and hopped on the schedule with me. We began alternating days and he signed up for the half as well. Turns out he's a very fast runner and a competitive one at that! Not with me - he beats me by a mile - literally.

Our new goal brought us closer - something new and not about the kids and we both would excitedly share the next distance milestone story with each other. We could talk endlessly about our runs, our hydration choices, what we think about while running, music selection and just the mere fact that we were actually doing this!

Not only were we reaping the physical rewards of running but it was bringing us together in a whole new way, it was forming a nice bond for me with my running friends and it was allowing us both to challenge ourselves in a way we never had even thought possible.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Run Your Own Race!

My town started a 5K run / walk the year prior to my new hobby. It takes place memorial day weekend. We chose this as our next goal figuring from March till end of May would be plenty of time to not only train but more importantly not look ridiculous in front of our whole town. That was really a lot of pressure as it is a small town. I'm not a fast runner and I knew so many people running in that race that I admired and were inspired by. I was so so SO worried about my time, what I was wearing, who would be watching etc etc...first of all no one cared about me(really, its not about me??)- they were just happy to be running for a good cause. Second, I was lookign at older people assured I would beat at least them (I didn't) heavier people (nope they kicked my butt)...I did just fine - 3.1 in 33 minutes - same rush, same pride, adreneline aplenty. I don't know where I picked up this line or maybe I made it up "run your own race" which essentially cuts to the core of my schtick in my head - don't look all around at what everyone else is doing - same for in every day life - RUN YOUR OWN RACE - shut your head up and enjoy the moment. That ALWAYS is in my head during my races and other everyday instances as well. So, now going on my 3rd year preparing for the same race memorial day weekend and looking forward to it for different reasons. Through running I've gained some new, great friends that I NEVER would have met w/o running as our common bond. Its like we're all coming out of hibernation and meeting up for this annaul 5K season kick off. Running is an automatic icebreak for so many social and work situations. Its like a Welcome to the Club - the crazy club but warm welcome!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How did I get here??

Two years ago in September 2008 while going for a semi-regular walk with two good friends one of them shared that she had the urge to "take off"..."ooh on a girls weekend I asked?" "No - right now - to start running!" "What for" was all I could muster. She went on to explain that she felt she could be doing more and really felt the urge to give it a try. I had no such feelings, though our 3rd friend was intrigued. Nothing came of it and several weeks went by when I noticed a poster hanging in my gym for a new class called "Born to Run - even if you didn't think you were" . I let my friends know that they should enroll. "What about you?"..."Are you crazy - not only don't I have any desire - but zero ABILITY". They knew me well enough to challenge me - and I finally I relented.

January 2009 we showed up to the first class. Our instructor Janet brought us to the gym's track. 12 times around is a mile - I barely completed one lap.My friends made it around the lap but not much further than I. This was going to be harder than we thought! I literally could not run for 60 seconds.

Not wanting to look foolish it now became a competition in my own head to just run longer than a minute - then 2 minutes and so on. I began running every other day religiously just to keep beating my time even if it was by seconds- all in an effort to not look stupid at class each week!

A few weeks in Janet aksed if we would sign up for a 2 mile St. Patricks Day race. I thought she was INSANE! I hadn't even run half a mile yet and it was the hardest physical challenge I'd done since high school. That said - we all signed up! It seemed truly insurmountable.

I did the work - every other day regularly - slow and steady - - and race day arrived. We were all very nervous and had serious doubts we could complete the race. Janet was there to cheer us on. The bullhorn went off and hundreds joined us in our first ever race. What a RUSH! We were beyond proud of ourselves just for being there - it was so far outside ourselves we couldn't help but laugh half the time - one foot in front of the next we did it. I didn't walk at all - completed it fair and square and Janet joined me for my last 1/2 mile which was invaluable. It was an incredible adreneline high - it was like nothing I had ever accomplished before and it felt GREAT. I was hooked!
Here I am beaming and with my teammates and Janet our coach.