Friday Fitness News: Dump

I’ve been slacking on my Friday Fitness posts. Partly because they’re pretty time consuming, partly because I’m too busy enjoying my Fridays to sit down and write a post. That will probably change pretty soon since I’ll be sitting a whole lot more when school starts.

On a cheerier note, happy Labor Day long weekend, everyone! I hope you’re all at the beach, attending a clambake, wearing your best summer whites right now.

Before and After. (Image courtesy of Andrew Dixon and Huffington Post)

Before and After.
(Image courtesy of Andrew Dixon and Huffington Post)

Sheep Meadow looking very fine this Fall day!

I love to run in the Fall!

  • I will be attempting to make my own energy “gels” this weekend. I just can’t find one pre-made that doesn’t taste like liquid candy. Yuck.
  • A fascinating article on why we love certain doctors and not others.
  • GB and Aleah have started blogs. You should follow them: GB for all things sweaty in NYC, Aleah for the best jams to pump you up.
My buddies.

My buddies.
(Images shamelessly stolen from their blogs)

In a totally unrelated category, you can support a seriously awesome company that makes undergarments for ostomates, Awestomy!. It’s really hard to find the right apparel to support an ostomy and I encourage those of you who followed my 5-month ostomy journey to consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign. I did!

Everyone wants to feel good about how they look, even with and ostomy!

Everyone wants to feel good about how they look, even with and ostomy!

Phew! Friday Fitness News dump done! Thanks for sticking with me. That’s a whole lot of randomness in one post.

Happy Labor Day weekend, y’all. Anyone racing this weekend? Any news I missed? I’m gonna go get new school supplies for the big day on Tuesday. See y’all in the next school year!

Now go out and run.

*For the record, this is actually very similar to the type of strength training I do at Refine Method and I have found it to be enormously complimentary to my running.

Q & A: Mileage, Pacing, and Balls In/Out

I asked a lot of questions on the fly about mileage and pacing and whatnot, and I try to remember all of them so I can maybe answer one or two on the blog. Alas, my memory is dedicated to school and nothing else. But here are three that I get asked on the regular.

Q. What should my weekly mileage be during marathon training?

A. This is like asking me how you should take your coffee. Iced? Soy Milk? No foam? Foam? Whipped Cream? Stevia? Sugar in the Raw? Goat’s Milk?

Tell me, is this true?

Tell me, is this true?

Guys, I don’t drink coffee. I don’t know these things. I also don’t know what your mileage should be. I can give you a range (40-60, 60+ if you’re seasoned & healthy) but there are numerous factors that go into your training schedule. It would actually take me several days to put together a proper schedule for you, and that would be after you completed a page-long questionnaire (and possibly a phone call) and sending over your recent race times and training logs.

What I’m saying is that it’s specific to you, your goals, and your current fitness level.

Q. How should I pace my long runs. I’m going for a BQ (Boston Qualifying time) and I’m a 29 year-old female.

A. The qualifying time for your age group is 3:35:00, or EXACTLY 8:12 min/mile. Now, the BAA stipulates that it takes the fastest qualifying times first and fills the slots from there. So, you may technically qualify with your time but still not get in. Just be prepared for that.

(Good luck to everyone trying this year! Click here for the latest on 2014’s race.)

This would be so frustrating. (Image courtesy of the BAA and ADIDAS)

This would be so frustrating.
(Image courtesy of the BAA and ADIDAS)

Your long runs, on the other hand, do not need to be run at 8:12 min/mile. In fact, I would suggest you NOT run all of them as fast as you want to run the marathon. I do, however, suggest you get used to running hard when you’re tired. There are several ways to accomplish this during a long run:

  1. Chop your miles in half and run about 8:20-8:30 for the first half and run at or sub-8:12 for your second half.
  2. Do an Over/Under run.
  3. Do ONE of your longest runs at or under 8:12 goal pace (for confidence), if you must.
  4. Split your run into thirds: 1/3 comfortable pace, 1/3 sub-8:12, 1/3 8:15-8:30.

Long runs should feel relatively easy and be somewhere (not > 20 seconds) near your goal marathon pace. But they should feel very manageable and not leave you crazy-sore for the rest of the week.

Q. I was feeling so good on my “easy run” day that I decided to just go balls out and race it. Is that ok?

A. No. I repeat, NO. It is not ok to just go balls out cuz you feel like it. keep the balls in. Why? Easy days are there for a reason. To recover, give your legs a break, and to mix up the days. And when your coach makes your schedule, he/she puts those days in a specific spot for a reason (I hope). Switching workouts around is fine now and again, but changing workouts on a whim defeats the purpose of well-planned, thoughtfully drawn out schedule.

Word.

Word.

I know, it’s nice outside and you feel like a million bucks, but you gotta take it easy and bank some of that feeling for your deadly track workout tomorrow. Recovery miles should be easy. Save it for later. If you don’t, I promise you runner burnout, or worse–INJURY, will be right around the corner.

Hope you guys are having a great week! And as always, if you have a question, email (runstrongereveryday<at>gamil<dot>com) or Tweet it to me.

Now go out and run!

A Sea of Humanity

MCM '09 011

Marine Corps Marathon 2009

In so many ways, marathons express the best in human nature. I have witnessed overwhelming acts of kindness, camaraderie, and selflessness at marathons.

I’ve seen strangers help one another through physically and emotionally demanding struggles without so much as a care for their own goals and, sometimes, safety. I’ve been the beneficiary of many a helping hand (several at one time, actually) that reached out and pulled me up so I wouldn’t fail at my attempt to finish the great 26.2.

Whenever I have run, volunteered, or cheered for races, without a doubt the image that always strikes me is the incredible Sea of Humanity that stretches for miles and miles. People from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, speaking languages from near and far, come to a city and run together. 

So, although this is a running blog and not a political one, and I have no intention of lecturing anyone on Civil Rights, I would still like to pay tribute to today’s 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Equality and one of the greatest speeches ever given by Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. about a dream he had for a new America that lives on to this day.

Because, in the end, I believe that his dream comes true every time we lace up together and run as a team, as a family, as one.

(Image courtesy of the DeverLibrary.org)

(Image courtesy of the DeverLibrary.org)

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.

This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'”

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia)

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia)

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: History Friends

I remember reading an article–probably in some teenage magazine my older sister subscribed to that I thought was THE BOMB at the time, about the types of friendships you’ll have and should keep throughout life.

It was most definitely one of these. They were BIBLES to young teenage girls.

It was most definitely one of these. They were BIBLES to young teenage girls in the 80s & 90s.

The Adventurous Friend, the Friend You Call In the Middle of the Night, the Friend Who Will Run 20 Miles With You, the Honest Friend, the Adult Friend, the Friend With Impeccable Taste in Restaurants, the College Friend, the Friend With Whom You Drink.

Ok, maybe not exactly those names–but I remember specifically a category called the “History Friend“.

At the time, all of my friendships were confined to the one school I had attended for the whole of my academic tenure. Save for a few stragglers who came along in junior high, we had all known each other since we were about 5 years old. All my friends were History Friends.

They'd all seen the perms, the glasses, the high-waisted jeans "french rolled" (of course), the waterfall bangs...and we were still friends.

They’d all seen the perms, the glasses, the high-waisted jeans “french rolled” (of course), the waterfall bangs…and we were still friends.

Then I moved. And went to college. And then to New York. And got married. And, suddenly, I’m in my thirties.

And now I get it.

History Friends are the ones whose houses you can just show up to and not worry that you’re imposing. History Friends are the ones who know all your secrets but wouldn’t (TO THIS DAY!) dare tell your significant other or your siblings or your parents. History Friends still know when something is off. History Friends never need the back story to whatever is going on–they were there.

When I’m around my/our History Friends, I take my shoes off and curl up on a couch. Sometimes I fall asleep. Or they do. There’s something about being around people you don’t worry about impressing or entertaining that is peaceful, rejuvenating.

I actually fell dead asleep in the middle of a conversation surrounded  by my family after my bridal shower. No one minded.

I actually fell dead asleep in the middle of a conversation surrounded by my family after my bridal shower. No one minded. They probably expected it.

For me, History Friends don’t care if we hang out during tub time or happy hour. We make time when we have it and pick up right where we left off. And they don’t call me “crazy” for running marathons. They understand because they get me.

The don't hold this outfit against me. In fact, my girlfriends probably each had one, too.

The don’t hold this outfit (or face) against me. In fact, my girlfriends probably each had one, too.

One of my most favorite things about these friends is that they become OUR friends almost instantly. My History Friends love JB and his love me and that is the end of it. No drama, no try-outs.

And when we go to weddings and birthdays and funerals with/for these friends, as you inevitably do when you’ve known people for the whole of your life, it’s more like being with family than just friends.

4_calvin_and_hobbes_quotes_friendship

(Image courtesy of Bill Watterson and available from Andrews McMeel Publishing)

And that certainly makes it way Better Than the Alternative.

Do you have History Friends? You know, the ones who saw you before all the plastic surgery (I kid, I kid…but definitely before contact lenses). How long have you been friends? Or are your friends all the Friends Whom You’ve Known Post-Awkward Years? I can count on my fingers how many we have between JB & I. Give ’em a shout out! Or better yet, give ’em a call!

Now go out and run!

Running Demons

We have reached that point during Fall training season when things start to sink in and (sometimes) go awry.

Nagging pains become full-blown injuries.

Long runs don’t just take up a weekend morning, but the entire day because you need an ice bath, massive amounts of food, a nap, and a shower or two. Maybe not necessarily in that order.

I fully assume the position once I am clean and fed.

I fully assume the position once I am clean and fed.

Your nighttime plans are based on whether you need to get up at the crack for a run.

And worst of all (in my estimate), you start questioning EVERYTHING. Your training, your ability to fuel properly, the location of bathrooms on a long run, your coach, your choice of shoes, whether or not you’ll be able to actually finish a marathon or this morning’s long run…

Probably not the best time to have this thought but it happens EVERY TIME!

Probably not the best time to have this thought but it happens EVERY TIME!

…the running demons.

Running demons come from a fear of failure. It’s totally normal. Races are hard, sometimes long, and “we are all cowards at the start line” (Alberto Salazar). The key is not to let those demons get the best of you.

Getting out of your head is a lot like getting out of the door for a run.

  1. Stop overanalyzing it: put your shoes on and just start running.
  2. Run somewhere new: nothing distracts like being in a completely foreign setting.
  3. Go with friends: best distraction everrrrrrr. Added bonus: falling into step and not having to maintain your own pace.

I have known people who are paralyzed by their running demons so much that they get sick the night before long runs. That’s silly. Running shouldn’t stress you out like that. Gain some perspective, get a grip, and try to enjoy it.

Try your hardest and then let it go.

Try your hardest and then let it go.

Stop caring if you PR your long run (why is that a thing?).

Stop panicking when you can’t find your Garmin/it’s not charged/it dies mid-run.

Stop obsessing about the run that sucked.

Stop telling yourself “THIS run is going to suck” (it definitely will if you do).

STOP judging your abilities by one workout.

Try not to spend your time worrying about if the next run will be perfect or if you will totally bonk and have to crawl home and collapse in a heap on your couch (what, has this only happened to me?). Go run. Have some fun.

And remember, it’s RUNNING and it’s supposed to be FUN.

True story.

True story.

Do you have running demons? Are they like Gremlins and they only come out if fed after midnight? I’m a little bit like this–can’t stay up too late or I start to get weird. How do you conquer your running demons?

Now go out and run!