Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Motivation: Running Across the U.S. for Lung Cancer Awareness

As most of you know, I started running back in 2009 as a way to cope with my mom's passing and also so I can help raise money for lung cancer research.  I lost my mom to lung cancer 3 1/2 years ago now.  She was a never smoker, and since then, I've learned that ANYONE with lungs can get lung cancer.


Thanks to a friend, today I came to know about an amazing young lady who's running across the country (from Times Square in New York to San Francisco, California).  She started her journey today.  Kelcey Harrison is running 3,500 miles to raise lung cancer awareness.  She lost her best friend, Jill, who was 22 years old, an athlete, and a never smoker like my mom, to lung cancer.  Kelcey plans to run 30 miles a day, and I can't begin to tell you how inspiring she is to me!  I wish her a safe journey ahead!  To read more about Kelcey and her journey, please go HERE

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Motivation: Be A Hill Seeker

I thought this was very appropriate for today after the 5 miles of rolling hills I did early this morning. It was one of those mornings when getting up at 5:30 am on a Monday hurt a lot and so you turn on your auto-pilot to 5 miles and just get out there and let your body go.

It seemed like every turn we made ended up right at the bottom of a hill. Our auto-pilot mode didn't allow us enough time to process and go the other way so we pushed on up, smaller steps, eyes on the ascending road, arms swinging low.

A long steady incline back reminded me of how tortuous it was to me 3 years ago when I first started running and how I used to avoid it like it was lava. This morning, I kept my pace steady all the way to the top and had to smile.

Hills do get easier in time. No matter what your pace is, to avoid them is to deny yourself the validation that you are truly badass...because you know what? You are badass. So go out there and seek a hill or two and enjoy the downhill ride.

Friday, July 20, 2012

MCM Training Week 3 of 18 Re-cap

I am trying to catch up on posts. Still. Slowly but surely! This post is a recap of my training last week.

The week started off...not-so-great, a combination of very bad eating the weekend before, PMS, and lack of sleep, BUT it ended with two awesome runs.

You can read more about that awful Tuesday run HERE and my slow as molasses time HERE.

Wednesday was cross-training day for me. Cardio, abs, plyometrics, and sprints. It felt great to be back in this class after missing it last weekend due to the 4th of July holiday. Push ups, and I mean real push ups that are not on my knees, are feeling easier to do 5 at a time for a total of 4 sets. Planks are starting to feel very easy as well, thanks to the Plank A Day Challenge this past May. My longest held plank thus far is 2.5 minutes!

After Wednesday's class, I took the boys for a cheap treat: free 7.11 oz Slurpees from 7-Eleven!

Thursday was an emotional and exhausting day (darn PMS). I almost didn't run so I was happy that I went out anyway because it was one of my best runs ever. I headed out in the evening again for another shot at 5 miles. I didn't get out until 8:30pm so I stuck to the sidewalks in my neighborhood. It still felt humid out, but it was relatively cooler. Let me just say that this is one of those runs where I couldn't care less about pace...I was running like a kid again, so free. I just let go and ran by feel and with all heart. I could have run longer if I could. I so wish I could bottle up that feeling. It is why I run and that night, I was so in love with running...I know it sounds so hokey, but that was how it felt. Sigh.

Made Friday my rest day for my 6 mile trail run on Saturday.

Have you ever run trails before? If you haven't, you must try it! It is so liberating, challenging, and fulfilling at the same time. It's made me closer to my marathon training buddies. We laugh, cry, empathize, advise, and connect in ways you can't do on the road while running. Perhaps because the woods help protect our vulnerabilities or the scenery inspire us to connect with our deeper selves, not to mention the shade and relief from this heat and humidity!

So that's Marine Corps Marathon Training Week 3 for me, a roller coaster ride from an awful run culminating into two fabulous runs.

Lessons Learned: Don't beat myself up when a run goes bad. It is ok to have turtle days as long as I get the miles in. Listen to my body. I'll never know before a run whether it's going to be a good run or a bad run. Just go, be prepared for anything. Bad runs can only mean the next one will be good. Run solo and run with friends. Pace is not everything. Being in every mile, every step, every breath, is everything.

How is your training going?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Motivation For Monday: Reflecting and Listening

Happy Monday! Quick post this morning, and then I'm off to Yoga class. I had some time this past weekend to step back a bit and reflect on where I am, where I've been, and where I know I'll be in terms of training for The Marine Corps Marathon this October. It seems to help me when I have one of those days when a run turns lousy all of a sudden last Tuesday's run or when I start to feel like I'm not getting anywhere in this heat and humidity.
If you're training this summer for a fall race, take a few minutes to do the same and be proud of what you've accomplished thus far.

For those with little ones, I found this (see below) last week....such a great reminder of what matters most.


Have a fabulous week!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Cross-Training On A Budget

A couple of weeks ago, I almost signed up for a gym membership.  For $50/month plus more for childcare for my 3 boys, it felt too much like another car payment.  This stay-at-home momma is on a budget, so thanks to very generous moms and the internet, I was able to find a variety of cross training workouts that work best for my schedule, best with my kids, to supplement my running, all for free.  Yes, FREE.

Free Is Really Nice.  I feel blessed and grateful every week for two amazing moms who offer free workout classes every week at their church just because they love sharing their passion.  Yes, FREE classes - yoga and a cardio/abs/plyometric class.  The best part?  I can bring my kids with me too!  We bring out toys from their church nursery room and set them out on the far corner of their gym while we work out on the other side of the gym.  The only catch is that kids roam around the gym freely, and when we do sprints, some days we have to run around and between toys.  I'm not complaining, since it is free, and I get a pretty good work out.  

How To Get It Free.  Don't know someone who offers free classes?  Perhaps you can bring a group of friends together - at a park, or someone's house - and either follow an online workout video or make up your own.  You can take turns leading the class and watching the kids.  One nice day we took our workout outside.  We pushed the kids in joggers and did a power walk, then we jogged, and finally we ended our workout at a playground park doing lunges along the perimeter of the playground, planks, push ups, dips, you name it - while our kids happily played.  It was a nice change to be outside.

Pool Time For Free.  Of course if you have a neighborhood pool, you can do a couple of laps for cross training.  I don't swim.  I can't swim.  I want to know how to swim but that's next year's goal.  Obviously with kids in tow to the pool, it's not a good idea.  My first 2 boys can swim, but are not strong swimmers, and my youngest can't swim at all, so I always keep my eye on all 3 of them even though there are lifeguards there.  You just never know.  This cross training is best when your husband/significant other is with you and you can take turns swimming laps while the other watches the kids.

Free Online Videos are nice when the only time you can get a work out in is at home at 10:30pm or 5am and you have to be home with the kids.  You can find many workouts - yoga, abs, strength, cardio, etc.. on YouTube that it is almost impossible to get bored.  I am currently loving these three videos:

1)  Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown, Level 1 - 30 minutes.  I have the entire DVD too and one of these days I will actually follow it all the way to Level 3.  What I love about this is that you don't go into the poses right away and hold then hold it.  This is dynamic yoga where you warm up muscles before sinking into the yoga pose and holding that pose.  This could just be my body, but the traditional static yoga hurt me more, or maybe I'm just not doing them correctly.  I'm not very flexible.  Anyways, I've grown to love dynamic yoga thanks to Jillian.  Check it out and see for yourself!

2)  Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, Level 1 - 25 minutes.  I usually follow up the yoga meltdown with this video.  I also have the DVD for this and will try and bring this all the way to level 3 also.  This is a great combination of cardio, strength (weights), and abs.  

3)  Yoga For Runners:  Injury Prevention With Fiji McAlpine - 20 minutes.  On my other cross-training day, I double up on the yoga.  I do Jillian Michael's Yoga Meldown and follow it up with this more traditional static yoga.  I'm not very flexible at all, but I find that if I do the dynamic yoga (Jillian Michaels' yoga) first and end with the static yoga poses, the poses gets easier and I am more flexible in the end.  

4)  Yoga for Runners:  Post-Run with Fiji McAlpine - 15+ minutes.  I do this video if I can/have time after my long runs.  It's a nice way to stretch out any sore muscles and it's not too long either.

So my summer training schedule for Marine Corps Marathon looks like this:

Mondays:  6am - 5 mile run
                  9am - Yoga (free class) for 1 hour

Tuesdays:  Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meldown
                  Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred

Wednesdays:  11am - Cardio/Abs/Plyometrics (free class)
                         7am - Track Workout plus miles I need to do to get to 5 miles total.

Thursdays:  Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown
                     Yoga for Runners:  Injury Prevention with Fiji McAlpine

Fridays:  Total Rest Day

Saturdays:  Long Run
                    Yoga for Runners:  Post-Run With Fiji McAlpine

Sundays:  Total Rest Day 
This seems to work for me right now.  I am hoping to get a bike trainer to add to my cross training schedule to keep from getting bored. I have an old bike that I could take out for a spin, but I don't have a lot of time to get outside on my own, so a bike trainer would work out well.

The marathon training plan I am following is a cross between Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan and Jeff Galloway's plan.  More on that on another post.

Your turn.  What do you do for cross training and what are your favorites?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MCM Training: Week 3 - Some Run Days Are Just Lousy

Someone out there has had one of these runs before, right?

First off, life here has finally slowed down enough that I have more time to blog about my training, yay! Second, I'm going to blog backwards on a lot things here, so please bear with me.

So last night's run started out with, "I don't feel like running, I feel like crap," but from experience, I know that once I get out there, get the blood flowing, I will feel better.

Nope. Did not happen last night. I set out to do 5 miles. The cramps started at Mile 1.87 so I slowed down to walk it off, even splashed water on my face from a lawn sprinkler. My first thought was oh man, the joys of PMS. I basically had to run/walk/run until Mile 3. It was awful. I almost called The Hubs to come pick me up.

Nope, I decided, I'm going to get my miles in, no matter what, so I headed closer to home. By Mile 3 I felt better. YAY! I made up for my slower pace and I felt like flying. I passed the road towards my neighborhood and went a little further down the road. I thought, I'll loop back to home and get my 5 in.

I was feeling good until WHAM! I had to walk around Mile 4.03. Crap. Like literally I needed to crap. But I was a mile away from home and no woods to disappear to. I couldn't remember which house a friend lives. I did another run/walk/run thing, focusing hard on just making it down the street, trying to relax, thinking, "this is good practice for when I have to wait for a Porta Potty during a race, right?"

With just 0.30 miles left, I had to surrender to a full walk. Too much bouncing around in there when I run. I had to focus hard on staying relaxed and walking steady. When I quicken my pace, I start to freak out and lose control. Lol.

Sorry for the TMI post today, but I did make it just in time. Lol.

Has this happened to anyone else during a training run or a race? What did you do?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Motivation: Pain And That First Step

Week 2 of MCM training done. I will post more in detail. Just back from vacation and I am up to my nose in laundry!


The sign above gave me goosebumps and already I know I am going to be a big sobbing mess at the finish line. I am more excited about MCM now and completely putting all trust into my training plan and training buddies. One day at a time, one step at a time.


Bring it on!


Anyone else start their fall marathon training? How's it going?



Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Motivation: Running Isn't A Sport For Pretty Boys (And Girls)...


No other sport gives me the time to reflect on life the way running does, thanks to the hours spent on the road solo on most Saturdays or to training buddies who somehow extract your deepest insecurities.

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  I can't believe it's July already and that we're halfway through 2012!  Marine Corps Marathon training officially started for me this past Saturday, so I'm going to do my best to blog more about my training here.  Now that 2 huge projects are complete, I'm going to do a couple of "catch up" posts soon.

In the mean time, have a great Monday!  I'll be right back!

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