Do You Have a Running Anthem?

Glo Marathon shirt and bib

I was on the treadmill for day number two. I can’t really call it post recovery since I’m still recovering, but it was my second day back running. Since it was cold and raining, I was inside on the treadmill and that’s OK. I really didn’t mind.  There is very seldom anyone in the employee gym, so it gives me the opportunity to crank up my headphones and enjoy my tunes.

Today one particular song seemed to reach out and grab me. I’m not even sure if it can be considered a running song, but as I did my workout, I had the opportunity to listen to the words which gave me the motivation to keep moving when I didn’t think I could. I only did two miles today. I need to run a quarter mile then walk a quarter mile until my planter fasciitis has healed.

I digress – Kelly Clarkson’s song, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), reverberated through my mind over and over. It reminded me of where I’ve been and the new things I’ve had the courage to try – most importantly, running. My new accomplishments!

So many lyrics make me smile when I realize how far I’ve come.

“Bet you think that everything good is gone. Think you left me broken down. Think that I’d come running back Baby, you don’t know me, ’cause you’re dead wrong.”

 “Thanks to you I got a new thing started. Thanks to you I’m not the broken-hearted”

“You know, in the end, the day you left is just my beginning in the end”

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stand a little taller. Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone. You heard that I was starting over with someone new. They told you I was moving on, over you.”

As many times as I’ve heard this song, I still love it. It has become my new anthem. I AM a fighter! I came back swinging. My footsteps ARE lighter.

Do you have a running anthem?

Last Day of No Training, But Staying Connected

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I have one more day left of my “no training per doctor’s orders,” but even so I still can’t stay away from even the thought of running.  I had the most wonderful day in Washington D.C. hanging out with the family and doing a lot of walking. In fact we walked from the Air and Space Museum all the way to Chinatown. How fun was that! I’m not sure of the distance but it was a lovely walk.

First stop, Macy’s Nike Event where they had free smoothies, made with low fat milk of course. The free facials and makeovers, and massages were just what I needed to relax.  Macy’s was followed by another healthy jaunt to the running store. I didn’t purchase anything, but definitely made out a great bucket list of future purchases.  The day culminated in a early, light dinner at Ruby Tuesdays before coming to a close.

I’m so excited to have listened to the doctor’s advice and gave my foot a chance to heal. Tomorrow , however, it’s on.

When you’re Sidelined by an Injury

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Sometimes being a new runner can be a little frustrating.  You want to be running, but realize you have to start with running basics such as how to move and how to breathe.  Also, learning that while running is free, you do need to invest in the right equipment and sometimes that’s not cheap. All in all, you smile because you know that one day you may not be the fastest (especially this grandma), but you will be running.

What’s more frustrating than the feeling of “entry level”, is becoming injured a month after you begin your quest. I had suffered from plantar factitious last year before I even began running.  Fortunately it only took one shot in the left foot and all returned back to normal quickly.  This year, I have it in the right foot and it’s not recovering as quickly as I like – yesterday. While it’s so tempting to ignore the doctor’s advice, I found perhaps that’s not the road to travel. 

Sometimes we have to take a moment or two to let our bodies heal (and healing when you’re older does take a minute or two longer)  Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to get back out there and start running. I fear that when I do, it will be like starting over again – but you know, that’s okay.  The most important thing is not to be permanently sidelined by injuries. If I learn patience and follow the doctor’s advice, take the pills for a couple of weeks and do the exercises, I will be as good as new.

No worries, this grandma will be back at it and running in no time. In fact, I have permission to gently put toe to the road by the end of this weekend. I’ve got my running clothes and my sneakers waiting right there at the door…looking a little lonely, but ready! Getting sidelined by injuries is not fun. Listening to the doctor’s advice so that I can get back out there – priceless.

The Glo Run 5K – This Grandma Did It!

GloIt was a busy weekend. So busy, in fact that I’m finally able to sit down and ponder it over 48 hours later. If I must toot my own horn, I must say that I’m proud to have made it through – not only the race, but the weekend.

It started with rising out of bed at 3:30 am on a Friday to journey 25 miles into DC to attend an HR conference. Watching the sunrise over Washington, DC is a sight to behold. I often picture myself running along through the waking city. No running today though… While I attended the conference in body, my mind spent the day excited about picking up my race packet for the Glo Run 5K. As soon as the clock struck 2:00 pm, it was time to head out to find the packet pick up location. Even though it took me over an hour to find the place, with my sister on the phone guiding me through Arlington, and another 2 hours to get back home – I was still motivated and ready!

Saturday morning dawned, clear and crispy cold. The day started with my daughter, my sister and I renting a table at a church yard sale. Nothing like getting up out of bed at 4:00 am to brave the cold and sell household items (OK in our case, baby clothes) – especially when you have a race at 8:30 that night! The day passed quickly and suddenly it was time for the Glo Run, through National Harbor in Maryland. The sight was breathtaking, overlooking the Potomac River. The course – part in the dark, part through super-glow tunnels, uphill and through mud puddles was amazing.

I’m proud of the fact that I finished in the middle of the pack of thousands of runners; not bad for a grandma’s second race out. The most amazing part is that, except for the continued problem with my foot, not a sore muscle to be felt!

As always, after enjoying a moment, I like to reflect on areas to work on. Narrowing down a breathing technique is definitely one of them. Confidence building is another! No worries though, this grandma is going to get there!

Remembering Where You Were, April 15 2013 – Running

I had a post all planned today about my running, but the news of the Boston Marathon tragedy diminished my joy. I know that the lives of many will be forever changed today – runners celebrating their accomplishment, family and friends celebrating the victory of their loved ones. All the celebration changed so quickly, so tragically.

Today I had to take a late lunch from 3:30 until 4:00. Ironically enough, I was in the gym on the treadmill when the blasts exploded in Boston. I learned about what happened when I got home. It’s so hard to believe. I ask myself what’s happening to people? To the world? What is this world coming to? As I sit and reflect on the race I’m to run on Saturday, I can’t help but think what will be going on in the minds of the participants. I know I will run, to honor those affected by the tragedy in Boston, in the best salute I know how.

Making Lunchtime – Running Time

The last couple of nights I have found myself absolutely dragging when I got home from work. A full mind-bending day at work, followed by household activities including; groceries, straightening up (notice I didn’t even say cleaning), and fulfilling family needs often leave precious little time  or even the desire to exercise.  I read that one of the worst mistakes you can make is to go straight home after work instead of going directly to work out. Sometimes as psyched as I am about running, it’s been a hectic month at work.  Finding the balance between work and running is absolutely part of my journey.

Today I thought I would try something new, for me anyway. I decided to go to the employee gym to run on the treadmill at lunch, especially since the outside temperature went from the 50’s to the 80’s in less than a day. The good thing about the gym at lunch time is that there are very few people there at 1:00 in the afternoon.  In fact, there was only one guy dressed in jeans working on the Elliptical (it did look mighty uncomfortable). Perfect!

I was able to get in 30 minutes of my walk/run before I decided I needed to wrap it up to get back to the office in time for a  2:30 meeting.  Unfortunately in my excitement of getting the gym bag ready this morning, there were a few essential items discovered missing.  The nature of this oversight, however, required me to run home to take a shower since the thought of putting on certain sweaty garments was absolutely appalling.

The upside is that I found an overwhelming amount of energy to get through the rest of the afternoon. I was also able to go home at the end of the day ready to tackle some serious housecleaning, OK perhaps serious straigtening would be closer to the truth.  The downside? I haven’t found it yet, but I will definitely share should anything surface.

A Good Day to Run

“You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the ones you don’t do.” Runner’s World Training Tip

I woke up to a glorious morning; unfortunately it was only 6:30 a.m. and a Saturday morning at that.  It seems no matter how late I go to sleep on the weekends; I can’t seem to sleep much past 7 a.m. I was hoping today would be an exception, but of course it was not.

As I spent an hour cleaning the kitchen, doing my best to “think” myself busy, I knew that I really needed to get out and run today.  Not only did I have a marathon to train for, but I had also spent the prior evening eating way too much food.  So after a couple of hours, I slipped on my sneakers and decided to head for the employee gym where I knew I would have the entire room to myself to get some running in.

After about three minutes on the treadmill, I picked up the pace and did the first of my run/walk patterns. It’s amazing how sitting for almost 30 days can play havoc with one’s fitness level. I think I did pretty well though, running for a quarter mile then walking for a minute.  If I’m going to run a half marathon, I do need to step up the pace, though someone once told me slow and steady will win the race.

I just had a thought; however, wouldn’t it be great if I could win the half in my age group? I think the trick is, however, to keep up the training AFTER the race.  Completing a race is not the time to sit back on my laurels. It’s time to train harder. Today was a good day to run.

Hunger, Journaling and Running

It’s so hard to be good when it comes to eating. I’m at the start of my running/weight loss program and I can already see one of my biggest challenges will be fighting hunger while eating “nutritious” foods. So what exactly is the problem? Quite frankly it’s me. I know, in reading my posts, you will eventually come to realize it as well. So why am I the problem?

The problem is actually a vicious cycle, beginning the night before. If I don’t prepare the night before, the next day is a goner. Start with breakfast. I’ve taken to driving my son to school in the morning and while I hear the cries of “bad parent,” there really is a reason that works quite well. I find when I have a goal in the morning to get up and make sure my son is out the door, I actually not only get to work on time, but I also get to take care of those early morning errands like the post office and putting gas in the car. So what’s the problem? Lack of preparation. If I don’t wake up early enough to fix my breakfast, breakfast turns out to be a sausage McMuffin with no egg and iced tea from those perfectly golden arches.

What happens when I don’t have time to pack my lunch? The possibilities are endless. Who can resist a fajita bowl from Chipotle’s? Even if I kid myself that not having the wrap, itself, is somehow saving mega calories, I’m already in the hole by a good 900 calories.

Did I eat a big lunch? I have to cook for the kids anyway so I might as well eat the dinner I have to prepare. Right? Let’s say on the outside chance that I behave for dinner what happens when I get back from the gym at 7:30? The hours between 7:30 and finally sleeping around midnight are endless. The little voice in my head tells me; “just one” won’t hurt. Usually “just one” of anything turns into a full blown snackfest.

Journaling is what it’s all about. If I write down everything I eat, I’ll come to the “realization” that I eat when I’m not hungry. The funny part is that I really already know this – stress eating, fun eating, whatever I call it, it’s still a challenge. If journaling is what it takes for me to get started off on the right foot, then journaling it will be. I still have high hopes and a goal to meet.

Grandma Running and Learning to Breathe

There are so many great books out there on running; most of which have some great advice. What I find, however, is that words written, often differ greatly from what I can put into practice. Who knew even the simple act of breathing, which sounds so natural in the book – can be quite the challenge when faced with the reality of running.

Is it breathe in twice and exhale out twice or inhale three times and two out? I’m not really sure. What I do know is that I’ve never paid so much attention to breathing in my entire life. One thing I did learn about myself is that in stressful situations, I tend to hold my breath. It’s not that running is stressful, it’s learning to breathe that actually adds the stress. As a result of attempting to concentrate on so many areas – where to hold my arms, not landing so hard on my heels – that I tend to forget one of the most important aspects of running – breathing.

For the past two nights, and yes that’s two in a row, I’ve spent most of my time concentrating on a breathing technique I read in my recent copy of Runner’s World magazine. I inhale for three counts and then exhale two. The problem is that I never actually get to completely exhale or inhale which leads to near hyper-ventilation as I’m chugging along. It’s almost like learning to breathe all over again.

The reality of the situation is that I’ve determined that this “learning to breathe” thing will not happen overnight. In fact, like everything else – it takes time and practice. I’ve thought it weird that my struggle actually occurs, not in sore legs, but simply trying to catch my breath.