Wednesday Workout: Hills. Ugh.

Hills are not fun.

When I was on the cross country team in middle school we ran hills on the local “ski” hill. It was a big, long, man-made hill in Lisle, Illinois called Four Lakes.

Yeah, it's not really great for skiing but it's TORTURE for running.

Yeah, it’s not really great for skiing but it’s TORTURE for running. (Image courtesy of panaramio.com)

Basically, our workout went like this: run as many of these as you can in the time that we’re here. Ready? Go!

It was pretty much my least favorite workout.

But hills make you strong. And hills make you fast. And hills gotta be done.

Ok fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. I did hills this morning. Happy? 2 miles up to the park, 6 Cat Hill repeats, 1 mile to a cab (I was running late for class).

Rawr! (Image courtesy of icametorun.com)

Rawr! (Image courtesy of icametorun.com)

Cat Hill is about 0.2 miles up not a crazy-steep grade but enough that I, you know, feel it and wanna die. I did 6 with jogging in between.

I’m not the biggest fan of this exercise because it’s suuuuper haaaaaard (I’m whiny today) but very effective in working at maximum aerobic capacity while building straight-up strength in the leggys.

Gotta get strong in the legs if I have any hope of PR-ing in Jersey.

Excited for Jersey!

Excited for Jersey!

Do you run hills? Does your hill have a cool name with a cool cat on it? Is it a ski hill? I mean, an actual ski hill. Not my bunny hill. No offense, Four Lakes.

Off to my Pathology midterm. Everyone say a prayer.

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Weight

Guys, I’m in midterm week month, so blogs may be shorter or non-existent until things settle down over here in Crazy Town. But it’s Tuesday so let’s not forget why it’s good to be here instead of the alternative.

Weight.

It’s become a nasty word in the world these days, wouldn’t you say?

Gaining weight. Weight of the world. Light-weight.

It’s not too long ago that the word weight carried a negative connotation to me as well. Yet recently, I’ve begun to embrace it.

What is weight to you? (Image courtesy of shutterstock.com)

What is weight to you?

There is nothing more comforting or calming to me than to feel the weight of my husband against me.

A hug, a hand, or when he is recruited to be my blanket because I just can’t get warm enough in the winter. I breathe easier, my heart rate slows down, and I almost always fall asleep.

Something about the weight of my hand in his.

Something about the weight of my hand in his.

When I was recovering from surgery, it was all about the weight. Was I eating? Was it leaving me properly in my new device? Too fast? Too slow? Was I gaining weight?

Despite one person’s comment that my 20 pound weight loss was (after a 5-day hospital stay and one organ removed) “looking good” on me, gaining weight was a top priority post-op. Both times post-op, actually.

GI surgery means things get scary in that world and weight gain = success!!! Normally a dirty phrase in my world, I was thrilled to see the scale headed back toward my normal.

I was healthy again. Weight was a good thing.

Feels good to be healthy again.

Feels good to be healthy again.

And there is nothing in the world that feels better than having the weight of a baby on your shoulder as you rock her to sleep.

My little angel niece.

My little angel niece.

My sister-in-law was always asking if it was too much for me to have her lying on me or if she was heavy in my arms. Heavy? Psh. Weight is no matter when my little Peanut needs to be rocked to sleep. I shooed her away and held Peanut as long as I possibly could.

Like Obi-wan says, there is no house so peaceful as the house of a newborn baby.

I don’t mind feeling the weight anymore. It reminds me to be calm, to be grateful, to be present. And that’s certainly Better Than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

Friday Fitness News: Bummer News

Over the years that I’ve volunteered with disabled athletes, and become one myself (sort of), I have learned a lot from my newfound friendships.

Love Achilles!

Love Achilles!

-You don’t have to have sight to see who your friends are or complete multiple marathons. 

-You don’t have to have all your limbs in tact to hold people in your embrace or beat 90% of the racing field.

-Only you define your limits and they are endless, including competing in triathlons.

We have all been inspired by the Special Olympics and this summer’s groundbreaking news of a disabled athlete, double amputee Oscar Pistorius, competing against able-bodied athletes. Sadly, it seems that image of Pistorius-the-Great is gone now that he’s been charged with murdering his model girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. As the story unfolds, it continues to be a very sad, shocking, and disappointing situation.

Oscar "The Bullet" Pistorius seems like an eerie nickname now. (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

Oscar “The Bullet” Pistorius seems like an eerie nickname now. (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

In other news…

Brrrrrrrr!!!!

Brrrrrrrr!!!!

 

 

And that’s the news this week, friends. Don’t forget the lulunatics meet tomorrow at 9am for 8 miles in Central Park. Come run with us…if it’s not snowing like crazy or icey. Eeeeeeek!

Now go out and run!

5K Pace

5Ks make me want to vomit. They just do. They are the “sprint race” for distance runners. You might think that the 100-meter dash is scarier, nay. The 5K is the stomach-turning torturous race that we all fear.

Running a 5K takes speed, strategy, and a totally different kind of mind-set from marathon running.

I’m scared of them.

Cold weather scares me. So do 5Ks. A 5K in the cold = ruh-roh.

Cold weather scares me. So do 5Ks. A 5K in the cold = ruh-roh.

Sooooooo, our physical therapy department is hosting a 5K on March 9th at 9am in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (You should come run with me!) And I’ve been structuring my runs a little toward this upcoming race.

I will, I will ROCK YOU!

I will, I will ROCK YOU!

 

I mean, I can’t suck it up at the race and expect to walk into class Monday morning with my head held high. I have a goal (I’m too embarrassed to share it) and I will achieve it, come hell or high water.

But 5Ks are tough to pace. Most distance runners (me) are terrified of the pacing aspect of sprints like this. But really, it’s not much more different than a tempo run.

How to run a 5K:

  1. Warm up: Not just a jog-from-the-subway warm-up. Like, 2 miles of a warm-up at a normal starting workout pace. This will be the most important thing you do to have a successful race.
  2. Time your entrance into the corrals: No more than 5 minutes before the race. Keep moving in your corral, don’t stretch, and keep those fibers flexing.
  3. Go out fast-ish: Since you’re warmed up, you’ll be ready to hit your tempo but not your max pace. Probably closer to 15-20 seconds slower to make sure you don’t die at the end.
  4. Kick it in halfway: Halfway through the race is a little over a mile to go. Time to make a move. Time to find your power.
  5. Half mile is Go Time: Time to see what you’re made of and do it like it’s a mile repeat. Leave it all out on the road. 

Finish with an ugly runner face and rock it out.

Sign up to run our race because, really, you need us to research your weird runner injuries so when you come see me in a few years I know how to treat you. Plus you get a shirt.

Blue looks good on everyone.

Blue looks good on everyone.

Also, how cute is my classmate who gave all of valentines? Seriously. Cute.

Candy! Wheeeeeee!

Candy! Wheeeeeee!

Now go out and run.

Boston Who?

Confession: I don’t get the hype about Boston.

(Go ahead and amass your mad rant in the comments now. It’s cool. I’ll wait.)

But really, what’s the big deal? Is it elitist thing with qualifying? Is it the history of the race itself? Tell me, because I don’t get it.

I don't really get the hype about Boston. Then again, I'm a Jersey Girl.

I don’t really get the hype about Boston. Then again, I’m a Jersey Girl.

And before you go crazy on me, yes, I’ve been there to see it. I’ve cheered for my aunt who ran. It was…like most other marathons. Except for one thing.

Standing around near the finish, I heard a lot of things that made me sad. From more than one person, runners and cheerers alike, came the comment:

“Oh, they didn’t qualify. They’re on a charity team.”

Not once, not twice, multiple times from multiple people.

My first Marine Corps Marathon. My first time running for Team Fisher House. A very proud moment, indeed.

My first Marine Corps Marathon. My first time running for Team Fisher House. A very proud moment, indeed.

I was disappointed to hear this from runners and non-runners alike as I wandered around Boston the weekend of the marathon. Who puts down charity runners? I mean, seriously?!?! These people have no soul.

That’s when I lost any desire I had to run Boston.

 

I’ve run 6 marathons for Team Fisher House and am proud to have done so. I don’t think there’s any shame at all in running for a charity team. I would never look down on someone running for something more than his/herself. I think it’s admirable.

It’s not like Boston has a great history, either.

MARATHON

(Image courtesy of KatherineSwitzer.com)

I get that it’s prestigious and maybe that draws some people. But what about the rest? I would really like to know, those of you have been or are hell-bent on getting there…

…why?

Why Boston?

Just wondering.

Now go out and run!