Sunday, May 15, 2022

 Wine Country 1/2 Marathon 2022


Ohhhh this race was so awesome and terrible and perfect!

I’m going to try to be concise in hopes that helps you read and get an idea of the race/course/my experience. 

Going into this race, I wanted to use it as a training race for Eagleman 70.3 in 4 weeks, but I also had trained enough to do decent and feel solid going into this half.  I hadn’t done this course before, was just very HAPPY to be going to do a fun run and then hang out with friends, and felt excited to push myself.  I was worried about the weather, but I was fully committed to running it even if it ended up raining since I didn’t go last year due to a huge rainstorm during the event.  Didn’t want to do that 2 years in a row.

 

Race week I felt HORRIBLE.  Exhausted (had a few nights of not sleeping), and my body was so so tired and my breathing was terrible (either from being overtired or allergies or maybe just typical for a taper week?)  So, this led me to worry a bit.  I was very loose with my training plan- skipped a little of my plan in order to just get more rest.

Race morning, it was rainy during the drive, even though my weather app called for no rain, grrr… Sprinkled a bit during packet pickup and about 20 min before race start, started LEGIT raining, kinda cold. I wasn’t thrilled.  This is what treadmills are for😊  It was cold and I Just wanted to begin.  Rain tapered a little as we began, but the first mile I thought was “grose”.. like my feet felt wet in my shoes already, mud on legs all over, puddles, the first 3 miles were mostly all on gravel roads (mud roads).  And within first 3 miles BIG HILLS!  My splits weren’t super duper strong because all the hills, but I knew it was still strong and appropriate for the course and conditions.  I also had a terrifying early pitstop in a port o pot at mile 3.  Why so early, grrr.  Usually I at least make it to mile 7-8.

Mile 3-8 were strong, but still hilly and I had another pit stop behind a bush on the course.  Luckily that was the last!!

The course was not my favorite because we basically were at the finish line around mile 8, but had 5 miles left, so turned and BACKTRACKED 2.5 miles that we had already come, and back.  So, that meant we were on these little country roads that were mostly 1 lane size, with runners in both directions. (along with potholes filled with puddles and mud). **yes, my ankles are sore today from the terrain, which I actually welcome as a nice little training effect.

This is where the race got really challenging, both physically and mentally.  Physically, the hills from mile 8.5-10.5 were SO hard going back.  So hard that I was grunting, making sounds, saying some words.  It was so hard.  A guy behind me yelled at one huge mountainous hill- WHAT IS UP WITH THIS COURSE!?!  I screamed back “THIS IS RUUUUUUUDE!”  It was terrible. PLUS, then it started to become mental- like where int eh WORLD was the turn around.  Since we had already been on this road, for some reason it felt to me like we should have been at the turn around, and it just wasn’t coming.  I misjudged like over ½ mile thinking it was right around the corner and so it became frustrating that it wasn’t ever there and we kept having to go up up up up up.

It was during this time that I got passed by another girl runner.  At the time I thought I had been in 3rd, so when she passed me I was like “shit- that takes me out of top 3.”  I kinda wanted to be in top 3 in case there was any wine as a prize, etc!!  But at the time, on those hills, there was nothing I could do.  I just kept plugging along, making my sounds and saying my words.  We were FINALLY about to be at the turnaround and I saw the girl who had passed me coming the opposite way.  She was near a guy who said to a guy I was running near, “come get me.”  So, I kind of took that and when we got to the turnaround, I said to the guy I was near, “let’s go get them.”  I normally like to stay within myself, compete at this point in a race just with where I am, and not make it about anyone else.  But, for some reason I felt like I wanted to be a bit aggressive and try to stay “in it.”  He kind of glanced at me unsure, but then he started to pick up his pace and I start to trail behind him and try to keep up also.  Then, I was like, shoot, I don’t think I can, but I already said this to him, so now I felt stupid.  So, I kept my effort and somehow it became ok to maintain.  We kept pulling closer and closer to them.  By about 11.5 miles, I knew I was gaining back on her and I could definitely get to her.  I had planned to get to her and kind of hide behind her for a bit, but before m ile 12, I Just passed her, thinking, do it now while you can and then just try to see if you can keep plugging more time away.  So, when I passed her, I had over a mile left to keep the lead, and I kinda hate that because then I’m being chased.  I’d prefer to do the chasing.  But, I said to myself this is 4x around the track, take it little by little, stay focused on form, being smooth and efficient.  I didn’t turn around at all, so I was hoping I was putting some distance in between us.  But last ½ mile I heard someone behind me, and I knew someone was right there, and I was like shit go harder.  I knew how close we were, we turned the corner into the winery and ¼ mile left.  I literally could HEAR these footsteps and I’m like SHIIIIIIITTTTT and went all out, literally just 100% of what I had, and this is on very tired legs.  Less than .1 from finish a guy passed me and I Was like maybe that was the footsteps and she is not there, so I may have let up slightly because I thought I was going to maybe die of effort.  I made it to the finish line and she hadn’t passed, so I thought I had top 3!  I was super happy for that, but mostly for my EFFORT and FIGHT!  I don’t normally fight and play “strategy” like that, and I had kinda fun doing it!  She ended up being 19 seconds back, so clearly she hadn’t given up either based on my last mile split which was strong and also she had to be working pretty much as hard as I was!

I ended up 5th overall, and first in my age group.  I don’t know where the 2 other girls were that finished ahead of me, since I didn’t really see them during the race, and I saw the men who were in front of me since there were so many out and backs I only saw 2 women in front of me for the whole race, so it’s kinda strange, but honestly I don’t care because I know I did my 100% . Literally, it was every single thing I had.  I’m super proud of it and it was exactly what I Needed- a huge kick in the behind, a big training effect for my muscles.  I am sore today in quads, calves, hips, ankles and even kind of my shoulders and traps😊  I kinda love it.

It was so much darn fun.  I sat with 3 friends for a few hours after and we had beautifully yummy wine and huge laughs for hours.  It WAS LITERALLY the BEST.

BEST BEST BEST.  I loved it so much.

I may not recommend this half marathon as a first time ½ marathon for someone.  But I would DEF recommend the 5k and 10K.  The 10K is still a challenging course, don’t get me wrong, but since you don’t have to backtrack and do half of it over, it makes it better.  Plus there were tons of run/walkers and walkers for both of those!

I’m set up perfectly to finish a big training push and then taper for Eagleman on June 12!  Super happy that I committed to this race.  It wasn’t ideal- it was prom for Phoebe, so I knew I’d have to come back at some point to be available if she wanted me for any help, but we had a great 5 hours of fun, and I know without a doubt I am more fit than I would have been without committing to this race!

Here are my stats and splits:

8:11

7:51

8:05(bathroom stop)

7:45

7:35

7:55

7:39

8:33 (bathroom stop)

8:28

9:33 (this was the BEAST OF HILLY MILES)

8:35

7:51

8:05

1:47:24 total time, 8:09/mile pace.

5th OA, 1st age group.


Friday, May 13, 2022

 

2022 is Rising Sun Fitness 15 year anniversary of being full time on my own!

15 things I’ve learned from 15 years in business.

1.       Work is different at different stages. When I began 15 years ago, well….. first… I was SCARED.  I worked NONSTOP, FREAKING EARLY HOURS ALL THE DAYS…. Burned the candle both ends.  I don’t regret it, but I definitely am not at a stage that I want or need to be breaking myself down to that extent.  It wasn’t sustainable, but I realize that sometimes at the beginning, you do have to take a deep breath and attack for quite a bit of time to establish a strong base.  I am thankful that along the years, I have always been someone to ask myself questions to ensure that I am living and working in alignment with my character and values of what is right for me.  Some years this means different things, but without asking myself the questions to check in, I don’t think I would be as aware of what the “stage” I was in required of me.

 

2.       Plan for SEASONS, including REST.  Ok, this has taken time, and is an ongoing learning process for me.  I am used to FULL FORCE, 100% commitment and focus.  I have learned over the years that I break down.  Many of you have seen this in me(!).  I work until I literally can barely get out of bed.  My physical body, but also my mental/emotional health just needs an exhale.  My energy is SAPPED.  I have learned that for me, in this type of job where it is critical that I remain passionate and energized to share this motivation, that I plan times to regroup.  It may be a week at the end of a summer, it may be planning an afternoon of QUIET doing yoga at the dock by the lake. I need to have a planned regrouping, re-energizing, to feed my soul.

 

3.       Continuing education is key for motivation!  I love learning and am so lucky that it inspires me!  I find it semi- annoying to do conferences on these timelines and save the paperwork to submit for my certifications and pay all the fees, but on the flip side, I barely care because I LOVE learning these things so much!  I have found over the years, if it is a weekend conference I am going to, I plan for another day or two or whatever the time needed is, to INTEGRATE what I learned into practice.  I go back through my notes, and write up a whole sheet after each presentation on…. What does this mean to ME, and what are even 2-3 things that I can add to my DAILY WORK that allows me to bring these things I’ve learned to my athletes, clients, participants.   I love blending what I learned into a usable format.

 

4.       Best marketing is word of mouth.  I am so aware of how lucky I am that I have so many who support me by spreading the word about Rising Sun Fitness- and I think of this also as supporting those you know- giving others info of what is out there, available, to make their days better!

 

5.       Am I spread too thin, or maybe the variety of what I do keeps me well rounded?!  I sometimes ask myself this question when times are getting overwhelming.  Because let’s be real- I get overwhelmed …. Often!!  I wonder sometimes if I shouldn’t do personal training, group training, online coaching, bootcamps, yoga classes, kid yoga and fitness, corporate fitness offerings.  I wonder if I am just shooting myself in the foot.  But I do not think that at all when it really comes down to it, because so much of it feeds into the whole cycle of who I am and what I do.  I have learned the balance of going hard in some workouts and training sessions is balanced by some days realizing we all need a bit of just laughter and games in our workouts, and sometimes we need to have a goal of a race, and sometimes it is a season of focusing on CORE and injury prevention.  As I say so often- you should never be bored in fitness.  An interesting thing is how much teaching kids classes (kids yoga specifically) is a reminder to me of some of the things I Need to add into adult classes.  And, if you are doing bootcamps, don’t think you aren’t doing yoga…. And if you’re doing yoga, don’t think you aren’t also getting stronger😊

 

6.       I don’t work for myself, I work for “my people.”  I truly feel this way, which is one reason I hold myself to high standards.  I value the fact that you trust me to guide your fitness.  You trust me to spend not just your money, but your TIME with me and the workout/ workout group/ the plan I give you etc.  I try to really see and get a feel for what it is that you are needing as an individual- even when it is in a group setting.  I try to see in both run and tri coaching- what it is that needs to be added in or TAKEN OUT of your schedule, in personal training- I am lucky to purposefully BUILD your body’s strength.  There is always a day when I SEE the change!  Here it is!  The next level that we’ve been working towards!

 

7.       People are WHOLE.  This comes from the above (#6)---- I realize when you are coming to workout, you have a backstory.  We are not just a body needing a workout.  We are coming from maybe a frustrating morning with schedules not aligning, kids having needs that are weighing on you, other life STUFF that you bring.  We are whole people- and our whole story affects us.  If I see maybe you are overwhelmed- even if it is a run training session, maybe we do some forward folds/ upside down calming for the nervous system stretches.  If you come to a workout and you are feeling the weight of your whole situation on your shoulders, maybe it isn’t the day to do the hardest intervals that push you harder than you ever have.  We make it work.  Fitness is part of a WHOLE life. 

 

8.       I also am WHOLE.  This is our story of being human.  I am always working to remind myself to give even myself some grace.  I have a hard time, as we all do, with integrating all aspects of myself.  When the kids were younger, rough mornings made it such a challenge to go begin a day of work feeling fresh. (and who am I kidding- even with older kids now, some mornings still are disastrous and hard to recover from!)  But it is okay, I am a whole person, no different than anyone else.

 

9.       Don’t take things personally.  I will ALWAYS be a work in progress with this.  I find this one hard, because my tendency is to take everything personally.  I am still learning, getting better at it maybe, but yes, still learning.  When people discontinue classes, I wonder why “they didn’t like the class” and I KNOW that is just a story I’m telling myself and that I need to not take it personal.  *It’s not all about me😊!!  I have no problem not taking it personally when I get eye rolls with certain exercises or hard workouts, but I have to remind myself to intentionally not take every other thing not personally. 

 

10.   “Have fun today”!  I love that if I am going to some training sessions and I say goodbye to my kids, they tell me to “have fun”! While I work!  Can you imagine how lucky I am that my job is this thing to go to where yes… I do get to also have fun.  Yea, I kinda created that!!  I looked to what I wanted in life as a goal and then made it happen.  And I remind myself that this is a day by day thing- I keep having fun because I make it a priority to keep it fun for all!  We are in it together. 

 

11.   Trust.  15 years ago, I was so scared to go off full time on my own.  Things happened along the way, of course there were disappointments, but I have always tried to settle myself by reminding myself to trust the process.  I realize you cannot trust without doing the hard work, but if you are doing the full work that you are proud of, it will all be okay in the end. 

 

12.   Best business “motto” or mantra: “Sure, I can do that!” and “Consider it done.”  Sure, I can do that:  I learned this from one of my yoga trainers--- and it spoke to me- not that I’m going to say I can do something clearly out of line with my abilities!  But, if it is just something I have not YET DONE—SURE, I can do that (and then I will MAKE IT HAPPEN).  “Consider it done.”  Ahhhhh, these words are golden- they were spoken by one of the best women owned small business owners locally about something random- but just the ASSUREDNESS that these words provide is so settling that I make it a priority to pay it forward and when something is ON ME—to let others know that they are done- they don’t need to question my commitment and will to get it done. Consider it done.

 

13.   What do you want?  Now make it happen.  Set goals- check out my last blog post on this (risingsunfitblog.blogspot.com) If you really want something to happen, it can.  I still cannot believe I did an Ironman in 2003.  The only reason is because I laid out my dreams and set a plan.  I sometimes cannot believe I really get to do fitness full time, and the only reason is because year by year, I set goals and make them happen.  This goes for 5 years down the line, 1 year down the line and 1 month.  It plays into what you do on a daily basis.  Everything is working towards a direction.

 

14.   “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” — Jim Carrey
 Since the beginning, my “reason” for being passionate about fitness is the mental health benefits, the available to provide an outlet for “easy connection.”  And I still stand firm in the importance of this.  Every workout, I want to leave someone feeling better: more energetic, more hopeful, happier, having had laughed a little.  It’s such a blessing to get out of our heads and into our bodies, into the present moment of what we are doing.  I try so hard to each workout, each session, each weeks plan to have a positive effect, a safe place, and a place that leave everyone feeling better overall.

 

15.   Every day, “I GET TO.”  This is one of my little mental health hacks that I try to share with others.  Many of you have heard me say this, but:  every morning, I ask myself “What do you GET TO DO TODAY?”  And it is a reminder that even the silliest, smallest things are GIFTS.  It is a GIFT to take my dogs out to pee during the day and pet them!  It is a GIFT to get to teach these classes that I believe in!  It is a GIFT to get to make a salad and sit and eat lunch for 15 minutes even while I read the newspaper and give myself downtime!  I GET TO GO RUN!  It isn’t something that “I have to do”!  I GET TO!  Reframing these daily gifts is so helpful to me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

GOALS: How bad do you want it?

 

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

I’ve been doing, as always, a lot of thinking about goals.  Both mine as well as helping others with their ambition and trajectory forward towards their goals.

 

Life is sometimes so full, difficult, complicated and overwhelming.  There is so much to manage, seemingly all at once.  Sometimes it seems too much to add in a SOLID, structural goal to the mix. It is almost as if holding ourselves accountable is just pushing over the line- just too much.

However, it is sometimes exactly this space of defined structure that leads to our success.  What I mean by this is that, if we can take ourselves aside for a few minutes to sit and settle our hearts on what is our fire inside, we can ask ourself the questions that connect us to our truth:

WHAT AM I WANTING TO ASK OF MYSELF?

And

HOW BAD DO I REALLY WANT IT.

Those questions aren’t really hard.  But they are really important.  So many times, we say we want something, but we really don’t- it isn’t worth it enough for us to make changes.  If we aren’t willing to commit to the action, then it really isn’t something we want and therefore we shouldn’t tell ourselves this story that we want it.  Saying things like that leads us to buy into a story that we don’t have what it takes to make this thing happen.

Let’s take just a quick second to go over this.

We all say we want things:   we want to get more fit, we want to run a 5K, we want to lose 10 pounds, we want to go on XYZ vacation, we want to see our friends more regularly.  Pick something in your mind you sometimes SAY you want.  OK.. now:  really ask yourself—do you honestly and sincerely want this?  Really. I’m truly asking--- do you really?  BECAUSE HERE IS THE SCARY THING.

IF YOU DO WANT THIS, YOU CAN HAVE IT.

If you have thought about what is in your mind and decided it is truly on your heart, then there is your answer.

Now onto part 2.

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN.  And honestly, this is not really that much harder than part 1!!

Isn’t that COOL?!  Depending on the goal, it isn’t necessarily EASY… BUT REALLY ALMOST ANYTHING CAN BE DONE!

What is your plan for 6 months or 1 year down the road (if this is when you want the ultimate “goal” to happen)?

Ok, so if so, what does 4 months from now look like- what things will you need to be able to do at 4 months into this plan.

What about 1 month from now?

And if you want to be at a certain place in one month, then what MUST you do this week?  Every day?  TODAY, in fact.

OK, I’m not joking either.  I know this makes it sound light and frivolous, but it isn’t.  It literally is the PATH to what you want.  That is, if it is something you truly want.  And if it isn’t, it isn’t something you should say you want- because we start to believe these stories we tell ourselves.

*And, if you aren’t willing to sit for 5 minutes and lay out your plans and goals, then it wasn’t worth very much to you anyway.  (I’m not saying this to be mean or rude, it is just the truth- if you truly want something, you will sit and be able to write it down and begin a plan).

I have been thinking on this, and just wanted to share it with you😊

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Shamrock Marathon 2022

 

SHAMROCK MARATHON 2022- as a disclaimer, this is long.  I enjoy writing this up as a mental wrap up so that I remember things, learn for the future, and it is always helpful to come back later and be reminded of different feelings, how I pushed through, what my paces were, etc.  You are under No obligation to read this entire thing!!

I believe this was my 10th marathon!  (not including the one in Ironman Lake Placid/2003)(speaking of, HOW DID I do a marathon at the end of all of that?!! Ahhh perspective…. That is for another day).

I am very happy with this marathon.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to train for this spring, was looking for maybe a warm place to go, but with uncertainty, I decided to stay closer to home, and heck Virginia Beach is still at the ocean, even if it isn’t warm in March, right?!

I committed to begin training the last week in December/ January 1st.  I had already been doing runs of 7-11 miles, so it was a quick ramp up to 13 and then I began creeping up my long runs right away in January.  January and February proved to be ridiculous cold months. I had 4-5 long runs where it was teens or 20 degree weather, and I actually found that wearing a mask was magnificently helpful in being able to stand being outside for these hours of running.  *one positive from covid!  There were LOTS of treadmill runs overall, BUT- those long ones I just couldn’t commit to being on the treadmill for 2:30-3 hours this winter.

Overall, I committed to the plan I created for myself, increasing long runs, adding in intervals within long runs, adding intensity in various lengths for at least 1 run during the week, averaging between 40-50 miles/week during my build up (which was around 10 weeks- short for marathon).

RACE DAY:

Well, actually, night before.  I slept none.  NONE. N.O.N.E.  It was ridiculous. I was nervous.  I’ve had a few months of weird nighttime anxiety- usually for no reason at all, this time I guess there was at least a reason.  Also, the road outside my hotel had ridiculous crazy cars screeching, needing mufflers, etc.  It was stupid insane, but there was nothing I could do.

I got up, rolled, prepped my flasks of water and liquid IV, had a few bites of banana and coffee for sure.  Off to start line.  Interesting fact was how odd the set up was, in my opinion.  I was actually standing on the WRONG AREA thinking the start line would be forming from where I was, but instead it was one street away!  So, when I went to do my jog warm up, I was like Oh my GOOOSHHH here are all the people!  Duh.

The worst part is waiting, I was so glad when it started.  So, after running in Reston, this was like joyous to BEGIN A RUN ON FLAT TERRAIN! SO SO SO SO NICE and steady!  HOWEVER, in my first mile, my breathing was still normalizing and I was like, is this appropriate, is this too much, but it seemed moderate pace and body relaxed until my breathing normalized.  First 3 miles my pace was almost too good, so I kept telling myself, maybe relax more and ease off and trying to slightly--- as if I was turning the treadmill numbers down like .2-.3.  My pace still hovered around the same.  Mile 4 and 5 felt like there was a little incline- it looked this way at least, but I didn’t really FEEL it and my pace continued steady at around 7:30-7:40.  This pace was faster than what I intended, but again- having not run on FLATS like this… ummmm…. Maybe ever??  I knew my intensity was okay and where I wanted it, so trusted to just settle into this and stop second guessing myself.

Mile 5-10- we went through Fort Story and it continued to be flat and I felt like I was holding a nice, relaxed but strong groove.  It was so cool to once in awhile have a path to the side where you could see that there were sand dunes leading to the OCEAN!

Mile 10 I began to definitely notice my legs were working hard- my breathing and heart rate were absolutely still just easily sailing fine.  However, I could tell this was some effort being done in legs here, which made me a little bit nervous and question my pace.  But:  overall, I felt comfortable that I was in a range that was right for me and was trying to get myself from mile 10-12 to stop questioning myself.  My legs were feeling it, but I wasn’t sure if it would progress to being problematic, or just hold at this feeling.  I was aware of just calmly managing a bit of discomfort here.  I tried to notice it, but then not pay it more attention than it needed. 

Mile 12 was first sign of distress.  Ughh. Had to go to the bathroom.  Thankfully, I knew there was one coming- they had them every 2 miles, so at least there was that positive.  I ran in, was as quick as could be and prayed that was the end of my problems.  That morning, I had what felt like a very smooth and not irritable stomach, so I had been very hopeful.  This was my first indication that maybe things weren’t as happy as I had wanted them to be.

Once I went to the bathroom, I was able to get back into a decent run groove, now maintaining 8 min mile pace for the next 3 miles.  (12-15).  This began to be a definite EFFORT – the 1/2 marathoners had cut off for the finish line, which I kind of liked- as it was less people distracting me as I knew and wondered which of these people around me were almost DONE. We began running on the boardwalk which was CONCRETE and OH MY GOSH MY LEGS were now officially KILLED.  It was nice being right next to the ocean, I kept letting myself glance out at the beautiful water to calm myself and be so happy to be at the ocean, but I was very well aware that literally each step felt like it was building up pressure in my legs.  I had a mental “landmark” to get to mile 15, which would be when we veered off the boardwalk and it would then be an out and back with a little loop through a military camp from mile 15-22, so I was really just mentally aiming for 15 to both get off the concrete, but also to begin this out and back loop.   I was SO RELIEVED to get off the concrete boardwalk, however, I was struggling with needing to go to the bathroom again.  Luckily, I knew they were going to be available, so I was looking for it, ran into the next one and was quick (this mile was 9:12, so took me out of my 8 min pace, but it wasn’t an option to not stop). Mile 15- immediately out of the bathroom, I was passing people who had been behind me, so it felt appropriate that I wasn’t getting fully back to where I was, but that I was “back in it.”  This whole time I was trying to eat 1 block or energy stinger every 1.5 miles.  I had finished my liquid IV and had 1 flask left with water.  LEGS were the biggest issue.  I was trying to take it 2 miles mentally at a time 15-17, 17-19, 19-21, 21-23, and then I’d be back at the ocean/homestretch (concrete!!!)…

Mile 15-17: I had 2 miles in my groove going out- passing the aquarium, low 8 min pace, again happy with being able to PUSH THIS while honestly I was now managing SUFFERING, no more managing discomfort, this started to become PAIN.  Mile 17-19- this was still out and back and I tried to just be calm and let the time pass while holding my cadence and focus and stay strong and steady through some hill sections.  Then, INSANE.  Mile 19. Again. Had to go to the bathroom. I had no idea if I may not be able to make it to the finish- it was like why do I have to go again?????  I thought this could take me out of the race if it kept coming each mile?  LUCKILY, I didn’t know this then, but this was my last stop!  I don’t know how or why it stopped, but thank goodness.  It was just irritating and distracting to keep having this problem.

Starting at mile 20, I knew my “race” was starting.  During the 15-20 miles, I had thought, HANG ON TO THE EFFORT UNTIL 20 and if you keep this pace, you are “safe” and can back off and still be okay getting a decent finish time and maybe qualifying for Boston.  I knew mile by mile, I was getting there to this safe place.  HOWEVER, through these series of 5 miles, I had been (along with sightseeing the ocean and taking bathroom stops) I had begun to have an internal conversation about – WHY?  Why was I making up this story that I had to die at mile 20 and just scrape through to the end?  I had just gone through all of this mental prep in the weeks leading to my race to believe in myself, to be calm and run with courage, to set myself up for a solid run by not being scared at the beginning, trusting my fitness and training to go strong and not hold back.  Why was this any different?  I realized I had created this whole script that I was planning to not be able to finish strong.  I wasn’t trusting myself at the exact time that I realized I have a hard time trusting myself- at the end.  I know some people have trouble starting strong- they are too afraid it will blow them up, but that is not my “fear.”  My fear is the terrible end times and not being able to have anything left, so I kind of plan to not have anything left. Hmmmm….  So, I had decided during these miles that if I was going to be preaching my little “trust” mantra, that I had best pony up and stop telling myself this story that I couldn’t also maintain my focus for a strong finish. I decided to not let up on myself once I hit 20, and to keep fighting with each step.

We were weaving through these back roads with military camp style housing it seemed like, and it was very sparse/ no crowds at all, the runners were pretty spread here.  Mile 21 just seemed lonely, I definitely had a few audible grunts during this time, reminding myself to stay awake, be in the suffer, commit to what I had started. I started to see people walking, but kept my effort level.  And I say that not as if I was plugging along like at the beginning, but I was now literally STEP BY STEP trying to not stop.  My legs had HAD it.  I passed a water stop where I guy said, you are running so smooth, and that was a nice word that I tried to keep my running really smooth and efficient, like I was trying to look the part even if I didn’t FEEL smooth.  I kept that for about a mile as a mental focus. Next mile ticked off, I’m at 22, Now I decide, if I can make it to mile 23, I am going to let myself walk for .1 of a mile, before final 3 mile push to end. 

We had to go back on the main street, I am seeing people that are just beginning their out and back loop and I am always so thankful to be on the way back when I see people going in the other direction.  I always feel like- it is so much “easier” relatively to be a little bit on the faster side because you are just simply on your legs for less.  So, I used that as a little bit of a motivation to try to get through.  I got to 22.75 and was trying to make it to 23 to walk and honestly… I think my calf was SCREAMING at me.  I literally thought it may explode with another step, and began my .1 walk at that point.  I was on target and didn’t go past my .1, forced myself to begin again, as there is no sense in prolonging the race by farting around walking too long.  Back to run.  I was making it. 

Made it to the boardwalk, nice cool breeze at the ocean, the water is so beautiful.  Everything is short here.  It isn’t mile by mile, it is step by step.  Again, the concreate literally was just crushing my legs with each step, but I just knew, there was a turn off to go back through the town before the finish line, so I had 2 miles of concrete to just suck it up and shut up about thinking about it.  There is no way around it, just through it, so get it done. Once we turned off, I had another walk of .05- I measured it because I honestly won’t let myself use it too long and just force it back, the clock tells me to go back to run and I do.  I knew this was the end.  A little over a mile.  I am trying to do some math, I know for sure I’m going to qualify for Boston, but qualifying for NYC was in the mix earlier and I don’t think with how I’ve slowed down and had bathroom stops and 2 short walks it will happen… but, I am also not doing my best math in my head right now- there isn’t energy enough to do any math now, so I just go as much as I can.  I realize the turn around to get back to the finish line is a few blocks further down than where I thought, shit.  So that was frustrating because I am holding on by a thread now. Running block to block.  Finally, we get to turn, I see the ocean, backtrack along the boardwalk again to the finish line.  I can see the white flags where the finish is- I was trying to run with anything I had left, even if it was minimal to just get there.  GET. FREAKING. THERE.  There were ½ marathoners finishing on the left- mostly walking.  It was helpful that they had it sectioned off for marathoners on one side/ half on the other because if I had to weave in between people at this point, I would not have been a happy camper.  I finished strong, crossed, walked, and made my way down to the sand.

SPLITS:

1.       7:35

2.        7:45

3.        7:50

4.       7:34

5.       7:33

6.       7:30

7.       7:38

8.       7:41

9.       7:50

10.   7:45       

11.   7:49

12.   8:36

13.   8:01

14.   8:03

15.   8:10

16.   9:12

17.   8:11

18.   8:30

19.   9:20

20.   8:39

21.   9:04

22.   8:55

23.   9:56

24.   9:45

25.   10:03

26.   9:21

27.   Finish .2: 8:52

Overall:  3:41:09

What I learned/ was reminded of:

*last 10K of marathon isn’t just “one mile at a time”…. It is like ¼ mile at a time, 1 step at a time, 1 block at a time, it is just having a FIERCE COMMITMENT to STAYING IN THE PAIN.

*don’t take alleve before race next time.  I’m wondering if that was a component of my bad GI issues which were actually worse AFTER the race than during.

*I am happy how I went through my goals very SPECIFICALLY before the race- if my goal was X time, I wanted to “save” a little bit at end, so didn’t want to waste time first 15 miles.  I’m very glad I did this, I ended up executing the plan, whereas if I hadn’t set myself up for it, I don’t know if it would have happened.

*glad I had throwaway clothes for the beginning of the race, it wasn’t cold, but it was nice to have a sweatshirt that just kept me extra warm before the start.

*I am so thankful that I could get a late checkout- I cannot imagine not being able to get a shower and have a few minutes to get my things together after the race.

WHEW…. Glad I did this race. I would definitely do again.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

TRUST

 

TRUST.

This week, I offered an intention to focus on TRUST during yoga.

This word, this mindful return to the solid, silent strength within us is so important.  It is so easy to lose sight of our inner knowledge and intuition.  I see it in myself.  I see it in others.

We are whizzing and whirling around in this world and sometimes have lost touch with trusting our SELVES.  Our body, our heart, our instincts.  We google what we should do instead of look within.  (We includes me).  We ask others within our circle what we should do (I’m not saying this is bad), when we really know within ourselves what is right for us. When we pause to really be truthful with ourselves, we already know what to do, how we think, our most basic answers within.

This is one of my favorite things of yoga practice- learning to trust ourselves- to not NEED to move a certain way, but to move in a way that is OURS.  To make it OUR bodies art, our arm lift, OUR stretch, our exhale, OUR pace. We trust our breath to be our energy, each breath to be as it is.  We trust our arms to rise on an inhale- maybe bent, straight, V shaped, U shaped, halfway up, bound at the top.  No need to make stories about how we lift our arms, it is our trust that it is right for us.  It is so simple, but for many, so novel and life changing.

I will be asking myself this weekend to “trust” myself in my marathon.  This is (I’m pretty sure) my 10th.  But it has been over 25 years – my first was in 1997.  My focus has shifted from marathons to triathlons, triathlons of various distances, back to marathons, then to injury prevention, then triathlon, then covid, and… here I am with a marathon, and it feels new again.

Those of you who know me well, know I struggle with my …… head.  I often work against myself.  My tendency is to doubt and not be confident.  But, I know the importance of eliminating fear and anxiety by resting in trust.  If our fear is overwhelming us, we aren’t in a place of trust.

I am reminding myself that I trust my training.

I trust my ability to be calm and settled.

I trust myself to lean on my training that has been all that it has needed to be, I have done all the work of preparing as I have asked myself.  I am ready, despite some flutterings of unsettled feelings inside. I trust the process that I’ve taken myself through.

I trust my ability to remain in trust through the hard times.  Each mile, when it gets hard, I don’t doubt that I can make it through.  One mile at a time if needed.  I do trust this.  Trust is this subtle heart sense, but also a firm foundation of solid strength in trust.  If you trust, you don’t need to ask any questions.  I know I can rely on myself.

I am not saying the marathon is simply a matter of trust- there is a lot that can happen on race day.  Sometimes, the legs don’t arrive feeling good or “on”, or it is just a harder day.  It is not as if you reach your goals merely on a whim of “trusting yourself.”  However, that sure is part of the process.  Your physical training can take you to a certain level, and then it needs to be matched with believing in yourself, believing in your ability to take a chance on yourself, to risk the goal you are aiming for.  To risk trusting the character that you are made of, the strength within to rally, rise and not give up on yourself.

We need to trust ourselves to do big things.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

It Doesn't Matter What it LOOKS Like.....

 

Oh my gosh you guys, one of my FAVORITE reminders.

“It doesn’t matter what it LOOKS like, it matters what it FEELS like.”

I usually say this in yoga.  It is so true and we all need to hear it.  (You all know I cue things sometimes during classes because it is a reminder I NEED, so I share it because that means there are probably at least half the people in class can use it also, right!!)  In yoga practice, for example, how often have you thought that you aren’t flexible “enough”, or that your position should LOOK like something you have seen or something in your mind that you wish you could make it look like?  Or maybe you even think that before you began yoga- that you needed to look a certain way as a human body to even do yoga!  This is too much thinking, and we need to take ourselves, over and over, out of this way of thinking.

In a stretch, let’s say downdog:  maybe you see someone else can get their heels to touch the floor and maybe yours are so high that you just cannot get them close to the floor.  THAT IS OK!  It is maybe NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!  Our BONE SHAPES are different!  My downdog should never look like your down dog because we don’t even know the shapes of the bones in our body.  Are you doing the position, and you FEEL the stretch?  Then it is right for you!  It does not need to LOOK a certain way! Look at how different people’s backs bend differently.  It is not as if most of us could work on back flexibility and be hired for Cirque de Soleil.  These artists have genetics that allow them to bend this way (as well as do loads of work and training as well- I don’t intend to diminish that).  My point is:  it doesn’t matter what your stretch LOOKS LIKE, it matters if you feel the purpose of the position.

And so it begins- yoga being this script for so many things in life.  It rarely matters what things LOOK LIKE, right?  What does it FEEL like- is it your current place, your truth, are you in your effort now?     Then it is as it should be.

I was reminded of this last weekend on a long run.  I passed by someone I knew who was doing their long run and they said it FELT HORRIBLE.  I knew she was supposed to be holding a pace or intensity for a number of miles.  I didn’t have time within the passing, but I kept thinking, shoot, I hope she knows, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters what it feels like.”  In running- if as an example she was supposed to be holding 8:30 pace, but the headwinds were over the top for some of those miles- it is not what the garmin split or your watch says you held number wise (what it “looks like”), but were you working at the intensity that was the purpose, and was it the effort of how it should have FELT!  Are we IN THE WORK?!  Are we awake in our bodies, at the right place!  Are we feeling what is right for us to feel.

This could be in so many things:  it could be doing a crunch on the floor.  Maybe you don’t lift up as high as someone else.  WHO CARES!  It doesn’t matter what it LOOKS LIKE!  Once again- our spines are different, our body lengths are different, our flexibility and strengths are all different!  The question is always, DO YOU FEEL what you are supposed to be feeling?  Do you feel your muscle shortening and working?!  Are you exhaling with the work and aware of the sensations as deeply as possible for YOU? That is all!  Nothing needs to LOOK a certain way!

Body shapes:  we are all different. (Ok, you all know this is a lifetime learning process for me.  I’m still at it, so many of us are).  But: I could starve myself silly and I would just not look like some body that is wispy, long bone, and slight. (I mean, have you seen my freaking rib cage.  I have some big bones, people).  I used to show up at races thinking, “I don’t look like a runner” and doubted myself.  Then one year I saw  a girl who was short like me, compact with muscles, who WON!  I am reminded over and over again, it isn’t what you LOOK LIKE- it is what you have energy to train for, what does your body feel like- do you have energy, do you have motivation, drive and are you fueled up and fired up?!!!  It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters what it feels like.

It's one of my favorite things about anything in “group” settings- group workouts, races, etc.  We can all be at so many levels- different paces, losing our balance, trying again.  Things look different from one person to the next.  But, it doesn’t even matter- oftentimes, we are ALL WORKING THE SAME!  We are all in our places of effort, it just LOOKS different on different people!  It’s kinda beautiful. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

MARATHON TRAINING 2022

 

Marathon training 2022

I am 3 weeks out from Shamrock Marathon- my first marathon since Big Sur in 2019 (which was my first back since Boston in 2013!)  It’s been an interesting few months getting back into marathon training.  I posted earlier about some challenging runs I have had.  I’ve also had some successful long runs and also important workouts to support these long runs.  It’s been a LOT of up an down.  2 weeks ago, I got so fatigued, I had 3 days in a row where I quit my runs.  It was like I couldn’t even run anymore.  I was tired, both physically and mentally.  After 3 days of trying, I took OFF.  OFF OFF OFF.  I laid in bed for two days.  I don’t even know if I was maybe sick?  I sometimes think maybe I had covid and never knew?  But then again, I know this time of year is ALWAYS FREEEAAAAKING HARD for me.  And this year has been BAD.  NO SUN.  Freaking ridiculously cold temperatures where it is just HARD to get outdoors into the air.  So I am not sure if this was an energy drop because of marathon training/high mileage, life fatigue both physically and mentally, or allergies, or what, but HOPEFULLY I am back on a sustainable energy path!

Today, I went out for what was to be my longest run.  23 miles. My previous long run was 21.5.  That went WELL.  (well means hard, was at the LIMIT LIMIT LIMIT of physically being doable, but I did it which is “well” in marathon training).  I woke up today feeling great.  I had really prepped well this week with a week of backing off/ regaining my energy, a decrease in miles, focused and DID my hydration. (I did it GUYS!  I did it! Anything is possible, haha!)  I went to bed early last night, woke up feeling great.  I began my 23 miles with a definite focus on easing in for a few miles, and then just holding steady, balancing being relaxed, mentally being a bit bored/ reminding myself to not think about time, reminding myself to focus on form, smooth relaxed focus, etc.  Everything was going along VERY WELL- I was pleasantly surprised, up until 16 miles.  I began to feel my hip hurting.  Hmmm…. It was okay though.  Kept focus on form to make sure I wasn’t fatiguing and letting something go weird with footstrike, posture, etc.  Mile 18:  HIP HURTS.  KINDA A LOT.  Of course I always ask on a scale from 1/10.  AT this point, I was like, it is pretty bad, like 8.4/10 I thought.  I reminded myself that honestly, what would be worse, this hip pain or having DIARRHEA?!!!  HA!  I’d rather manage the hip pain at that point.  (honestly there is just nothing worse than needing to go to the bathroom and having no place to go).  I carried on.   Mile 19:  I’m at 9/10 pain.  I said, OK, muddle through 2 more miles as much as you can, when you get to 21, you can walk 1 min, then jog the rest of the mile, and do the same thing once more to the finish.  So, I have 2 more miles in my head, right?  (to get to where I get to walk a bit).  I am head down, muddling.  Have ZERO CARES for how bad this looks to anyone on the road passing me because I am not embarrassed, I am just 1000% managing pain.  Everything I have is just to keep steady form, step by step.  Mile 21, I make it and walk 1 min.  OHHH GOSH THIS IS SO UGLY.  I barely can walk.  I do knee to chest a few steps to try to stretch out glutes (excuse me, it is actually more like knee up 2 inches because that is all that I can manage).  My minute is up, I go to jog again, and it is NOT HAPPENING.  I am completely limping in my jog now.  I cannot land fully on my hip, it is a waddle/limp and I realize this is very bad for my back.  Of course my hip is the most pain, but I know the implications for future hip but also BACK and I know I am just doing damage.  I know I need to stop.  I walk it out.  I now cannot even walk.  My walk limp may even be worse than my run limp.   And I have 1.5 miles left to get home.  I have no phone.  I cannot even walk now, I’m standing on north shore and cannot walk so I grab a speed limit sign post and lean to stretch calves while I think.  OK, maybe that stopping fixed it?  (I know this is not logical, but how did I Just do all of that and now cannot walk, nothing makes sense.  This is also not my hamstring that typically gives me trouble, but the outside of my hip).  So, I try to walk.  Again, I cannot even take steps.  I am 1.5 miles still.  I honestly think of HOPPING home.  We do single leg hops and jumps in bootcamp, but I realize this is not feasible and I cannot hop on one leg for over a mile.  (Not even considering how embarrassing that would look).  I keep trying to walk and cannot do it.  I am crying now, thinking, PLEASE SOMEONE DRIVE BY THAT KNOWS ME and see that I am in huge need of help.  I kneel down.  Have no idea what to do, but also I know I cannot stand there all day, I have to pick up Forrest and his friend from practice.  I realize the back of the townhouses off of north shore back up to baron Cameron and if I can cut through somehow, that will at least take off some of the distance.  I HOBBLE through and finally see baron Cameron.  However, there is a big gully full of water at the bottom before it rises back up to the road. (snakes??!!) I see a bit down that it doesn’t go so low, so I head over there.  Of course, there is no path to the road, it is complete pricker bushes and brush.  I am stepping on some pricker bushes so I can try to get my body through, because I. WILL. GET. TO. THE. ROAD.  Meanwhile, here I come out of the woods, stepping over the guardrail of Baron Cameron.  I’m wondering who will drive by now and see me looking like a crazy person emerging from the woods.  I hobble across in between traffic to the other side, where again, all pricker bushes.  No path.  I could care less, I know I am .5 away from home.  Needless to say, I made it home, this was not my best look, and I cannot believe that happened.  I have zero idea why.  I am praying it was a fluke and will be going to chiropractor this week!

ALL THIS TO SAY:  hey, anyone wanna train for a marathon, haha?! Just joking, because I know this doesn’t want seem to sound like it is motivating.  It sounds horrid, and it was, but…..

 

At mile 13, I saw a friend on the trail who I am coaching for same race!  As we passed each other, I told her to “HAVE FUN!”  And then I thought for about 30 seconds, OMG, that probably was so stupid to say, this is so hard, and I acted like it was just easy and go have fun.  But I realized right then, that:  this really WAS FUN!  I had seen so many beautiful things during my time I was out yesterday- the amount of beautiful birds during these cold winter months is just awesome. I love their chirps, they are like little miracles, and some of the blue birds colors just AMAZE me!  And I saw so many pretty TREES- some with amazing white bark, and I went by a peaceful stream with rushing water.  It was so quiet, peaceful and serene.  And for so much of it, I felt actually okay- which reminded me that all of my work for the past 2 months has really paid off and gotten me stronger!  Even though the ending didn’t work out, I am stronger and more fit!  And… now I have a lifetime memory of the Saturday morning that I kneeled, crying, on the side of North Shore Drive in Reston, emerging minutes later from the woods and over a guard rail to cross Baron Cameron, nearly having to hop home in 32 degree weather.

I will end this now with one last bit of reminder to myself= it is much colder to finish the last mile or a run in this temperature NOT RUNNING!  By the time I entered my garage, I think my frozen fingers hurt just as much as my hip!

2nd reminder to self….. maybe I should consider carrying a phone on long runs.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

 

WEEKLY CLASS FOCUS

 

Planning a weeks series of classes, training sessions and workout plans is something I LOVE!

I love how it is truly a bit of science, some art, some sneak attack. 

When I plan a workout or class, I always ask myself a few questions:

1.       Is there a THEME- at the end of the class, do I want you to feel a certain overall feeling?  do we need to do really hard core, am I wanting for this to be equally balanced upper/lower body or should the focus be on one area a bit more, or how interval based- what energy systems am I wanting to make sure are challenged- is it a lot of short intervals with more recovery, or more steady work, maintaining constant effort throughout.  I ask these questions knowing what upcoming goals are coming, what we have done for the previous workout, what is needed etc.

2.       How can I create a really “good feeling” transition INTO the workout.  I am acutely aware that not everyone loves to workout as much as I do!  And even when we do- the WARM UP is one of the most important parts!  If it is too much too soon, you are dooming the entire workout.  If it doesn’t FEEL gradual, good and doable, mentally people start writing stories about themselves and the workout already within the first 60-90 seconds and decide they cannot do it that day.  I like to make sure we just begin moving, warming, flowing, no expectations, all good feelings, and then within a few minutes, it just is almost inspiring like, GOSH I already feel much better- this wasn’t as scary to begin as I thought!

3.       I also love to SNEAK things in.  For example- for yoga classes, every class, I always have a “strength sneak”- for example, I am thinking, I want to make sure we do some challenges for arm strength, or leg strength, or core.  Vice versa- for bootcamps, I am always thinking- how can I sneak some yoga in.  (so yes, each bootcamp class has some element of yoga in it- either a stretch or a dynamic movement which is “yoga based”.  Similar for personal training- if I am training someone who doesn’t also do yoga, well, they do some because I don’t “call it” yoga, but we do it😊

4.       Every class:   we:  do single leg exercises (balance, pelvic floor—ummm yes we need right?!),  we do lateral movement (instead of always front moving), we twist/rotate the spine, we pull the ribs in/shoulders back and down, we circle the arms, move the spine.  I cannot tell you that I GUARANTEE MOVING THIS WAY keeps your body so much healthier, resilient and ready for life.

 

 

 

So, I make sure to do all of these things and I know that I sometimes say the same words over and over…. “can you see your shoulders, pull them out of sight”,  “do you feel your spine wrapped front and back in strength”, “hear your exhale”… but I cannot tell you how much I want you to FEEL these things!  I Hope you do😊