Loving The Ache of New Workouts!

I have had a much more aggressive workout routine now for 10 months.  Except for this week that seems like a struggle to get any double sessions in but I’ll just roll with it because Sunday is The Falmouth Road Race and I don’t need to have a exercise injury now simply because I am only giving half effort.  Anyway, compared to a year ago, I bike, I run, I do strength training too.  In my strength training, I have about 15-20 exercises that I rotate between when I work out, not all of which get done every time.  It’s good to switch it up so your body doesn’t ever really plateau.  I know continuing with the same exercises is still good but for fat burning it is not.  I try to switch it up without building so I don’t use heavy weights or too many reps, just heavy enough to be some work without exhausting me.  A few days ago I randomly added a few rounds of boxing to the Tabata workout that I was doing and today I can feel it in my back and chest!  My abs have that “Please don’t cough” pleading going on which makes me laugh so hard…but not because it hurts, in a good way.  It feels great to be sore because I know I am making improvements which get harder and harder to make the older I get.  AAhhh the joys of aging! Next up on my radar is trying something from Les Mills called Body Combat which looks like kick boxing which I suck at but really want to try out!  Just gotta keep switching it up!

HAPPY RUNNING!

When Did Nice Get Weird?

Today’s blog isn’t about running really as much as it is about a runners mentality and how we sort of avoid judging each other or getting wonked out talking with complete strangers.  It’s about a double standard whereby runners have a wide berth to just be who we are while the rest of the world stands in our very critical judgement.

Runners are super friendly for the most part I find.  They smile, they help you finish races if you are struggling …or LOST like I was one time and they almost always greet you with good morning or a hello or a supportive “you got this”.   I myself say hello to nearly every runner, biker, dog walker that I see on the road. Not everyone is responsive but that’s ok.  I don’t find anything weird with talking to a running stranger anywhere or any time.

Today I had an experience as I put together my @cumberlandfarms iced coffee, which has stolen my business from the @HoneyDew_Donuts and @DunkinDonuts crooks who think asking $3.68 for a mostly ice, iced coffee is ok.  It’s not but I’m no longer your customer so whatever!

Anyway, I was at the counter mixing my flavor into my coffee and went looking for a lid.  I didn’t see one in front of me (couldn’t have looked hard!) so I had to encroach upon the space of this nice girl making her own iced coffee to find a lid in front of her.  As I leaned back to put the lid on my treat and realized that I had actually had 3 stacks of lids right in front of me. How did I miss that?  I don’t know but moving on…. She said something that sort of eluded to the fact that she may have missed the stacks too or maybe something insinuating that CF didn’t put them in plain sight even though they were.  Then came the part that made me feel really wonky.  This sweet young bleach blond girl with the tiny little nose ring, no make up and a cute outfit randomly says to me “you look pretty today”.  I’m now in the Twilight Zone.  She looks at my sundress and says “I like flowers”.  I say thank you, she tells me to enjoy my day and I return the sentiment to her.  I pay for my coffee and gas and head out to my truck.  That’s all there was to it.  She was sweet and lovely and simply nice and I got all weirded out by it like she was hitting on me or something.  I truly felt out of place and in a rare moment, didn’t know what the hell to say to her.  WTF!  Why is it that I’m totally comfortable talking about nothing to any running stranger yet a very nice person takes  a moment out of her day to try and minimalize my irritation at myself for not finding what I wanted and I’m Wonked out?  I’m not weirded out often in situations like that but maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting that conversation to go beyond “Excuse me” and “no problem”.  “You look pretty” feels like something I’ve stereotyped coming from a close friend, daughter, mother, co-worker or family member.  Maybe we just don’t do things like that enough which is probably what is wrong with this stupid world anyway!  So, even though I do not know who she was, I want to thank the nice young girl in Cumberland Farms in Bridgewater MA who was simply as nice as nice could be to me.  You made my day and made me want to try to be nicer to some stranger some day soon.  Maybe my head is too far stuck up my running butt and I’m only super accepting of runners and critical of the rest of the world.  I should watch that from now on don’t you think?

HAPPY RUNNING!

Works Every Time!

I woke up today and wondered where the truck was that ran me over was.  The only thing I did yesterday was run.  I ran 3 miles after work, nothing new or difficult or unusual for me.  It wasn’t fast or slow, just average for me.   Today it felt like I did something out of the ordinary, enough so that I laid in bed wondering if I really wanted to go work out.  I didn’t just wonder if I should run, I wondered if I should even work out.  At first I thought I would go work out but if I do Tabata I like to have at least an hour in which to spend working all my junk out.  So I kicked my ass into my running clothes and when I was finished getting my husband ready for work and making his breakfast I headed out.  I decided to run a harder route but one that I’ve run before.  It started with a big ass hill which always makes you feel awesome once you crest the top of it.  As expected, mile 1 was slow with the typical “why are you doing this” and “you’re super slow, just go home” conversations in my head.  The Ukrainian pressed on to finish and as it always does my running knocked the shit out of the tired feeling that was taking over just 30 minutes earlier.  Now right now I’m suffering from the post lunch food coma married with the sitting in the sun for :45 minutes slump which has nothing to do with my slow starting morning.  I always feel better when I go for a run when I’m tired in the morning.  Not every run is great or even good for that matter but every run that happens when your just tired always ends up with me being happy that I went and much more awake.  I’ve never been sorry that I’ve gone for a run tired because I feel not only stronger but better and healthy and good.  The mental happiness from running is ridiculously addictive and makes me want to do more following every time I buckle down and just get it done.  If you don’t love it, don’t do it but do find something that you do love and do that.  Strive to be as healthy as you can and as strong as you can every day.

HAPPY RUNNING!

Sharing My Love For Rain Running

On Saturday I did my long run.  It was 8 miles for some undetermined reason that popped in my head.  I have a 7 mile race in two weeks so if I was truly “in training” mode I would have just run 5 but I wanted to keep my miles up for long runs above 7.  Maybe it’s random or maybe I’m stepping into a better, more experienced runner.  I’m going with the first answer because well, you’re always hardest on yourself.  So I invited my wingman to ride while I ran and he agreed.  I like it when he goes because he talks to me, encourages me, holds my water and keys and food should I need any or all of those things.  We run 4 and with every mile I feel better.

Mile 1 for me always feels like a challenge as I prime my joints and warm up into the pace I’ll hold onto most of the run.  At 4 we decided to hit the local convenience store for more fluids.  Wingman can drink all my hydration in an innocent gulp and we were a little low because of it.  So at four miles he told me to wait while he biked the less than quarter mile to get our replenishment.  I walked that way to keep moving and then we walked back to our stopping point.  We fueled and then set off but no sooner had we embarked on our return journey it began raining.  At first it was light rain then heavier and by the time we were a mile into the 4 mile return trip, it was down-pouring on us.  I am accustomed to running in the rain as I’ve done it many times and in many different types of rain from Forest Gump “big ol’ fat rain” to driving rain to torrential downpours.  I in fact like rain running because it makes me feel strong and tough and cool actually…cool like temperature cool but the other kind as well.  As we moved along my wingman started off complaining about being wet and his pants and underwear getting wet and water in his eyes.  Not long into the rain, which didn’t continue in the downpour way for long, he began to realize that it was kind of fun getting wet.  When did kids forget the fun in getting wet?  Remember jumping in puddles and standing with your face to the sky and your tongue hanging out catching rain drops?  I do.  Every time it rains and I get caught in it, it makes me smile.  James came round and was laughing and woo-hooing all the way home and it made me laugh inside to see him having a good time with his soggy pants and shoes.  He even took off his shirt that was weighing him down and said that we should do this more often…. Yes Buddy we should.  We all should!  There’s just something peaceful about being in the rain that if you can get your mind there, is calming and happy and joyous especially when shared with someone.

HAPPY RUNNING!

Why?

Why would someone throw away a racing finishers medal?  I’m really asking a question here because it perplexes me about why someone would run a race and then toss their prize!  This one, perhaps just for me, was challenging with what felt like an all ascent first half in the heat and humidity.  I felt like it was tough and around mile 8 I felt like quitting.  I find around mile 7 or 8 in most half marathons that I start getting tired and somewhere around 10-11 I’m looking forward to the finish.  Now, this race was not my best time.  I came in at 2:17:43 and my best half was completed in 1:57 and change.  Given the weather and the swelling in my legs from the get go, it was a respectable time.  I’m not competing against anyone so it’s just a matter of remembering the situation.  Anyway, it seemed like the longest race ever and I was happy to finish.  Never happier to stop for good and to hold what I feel is an achievement medal.  I struggled and feel like I earned it.  So on my way home I got behind someone stopped at the exit who was throwing away what I thought was trash.  Turns out it was his medal.  I saw him pick the bib out of the trash and keep that which is weird.  Anyway as they drove off a guy walking next to that full trash with the medal on top picked it up and shrugged as if to say “what the hell are you doing guy!”.  This is the same thing I was thinking and if fact I said to that guy who put it back in the trash, you should keep it for yourself!  Why do people do these things?  I’ll never know but I feel like if they ran out of medals, that guy ought to be held accountable for wasting one.  Gheesh!  Anyway, I’m very proud of mine and I’m keeping it.  It is for this reason that I just don’t understand why someone would throw it away.  Even if it’s your worst race you ever ran, you still earned it!  It kind of made me mad to see that but Se La Vie guy!  This medal was a honking medal not some cheapo flimsy gold painted plastic thing.  LOOK AT IT!!!  It was heavy and huge!  Whatever!  I’m keeping mine and I hope you regret throwing yours away dude.  I can’t imagine why or what made you do it or what it takes for you to keep one for that matter.  Who cares!  I have mine and that’s all that matters.

HAPPY RUNNING!

God’s Listening Even When You’re Running

So today I ran the Narragansett Half Marathon in Easton Mass.  It’s July so I’m not sure what the  hell I was thinking but I expected it to be hot so there was no surprise there.  It was also humid but the big complaint I have is that it was hilly on the first half of this race in the sun, in the humidity which made it seem harder than it probably was.  My legs started swelling at mile 1 which didn’t really please me but it’s July so suck it up buttercup and drink a LOT!  I did and I also sadly walked a few times.  Now it isn’t a bad thing to walk, I just don’t like doing it because I feel like a wimp but the hills felt so hard so when I needed a little break I walked a minute then moved on.  I drank every mile and at every water station but by mile 8 I started beating myself up about being a bad runner and why do I do this and feeling like everyone else was just better prepared than I am.  All lies I know but it always happens when you start struggling, at least it does to me.  So here I am at mile 8 or so having the nastiest talk with myself and willing myself to not quit and keep stopping if I need to because I refuse to DNF (did not finish for those of you who may not run).  I just won’t do it.  I took a corner and ended up next to a nice guy who started talking to me.  Now I have my headphones in but I’ll almost always take them out to talk to other runners.  I love talking to people during a race.  So out they came and we chatted a while about the heat and hills and in this short discussion was God’s message to me reassuring me that I wasn’t some stinky old runner.  This guy, whose name I wish I had gotten, was from MD.  He was here with his girlfriend who wasn’t running on a little mini vacation which included this race.  I learned that he is running 17 half marathons in 2017 as a personal goal (WHOA!).  I also learned that he was a pack a day smoker a year ago and just started running 6 months ago.  Amazing to me.  Here comes the lesson kids… when he asked me what my best half time was I told him 1:57 and he was floored like that was so amazing (I think so but you know, that’s just me!) and all of a sudden I felt like a good runner again.  I was still struggling but I felt like time was passing faster and somewhere in the hilly heat of the last 4 miles I found strength in weakness if that makes sense.  I pulled my head up and suddenly felt like I was pacing him.  He in fact did drop back around 11 because as my  poor running friend Barbara knows all too well, running with me can push you to the red zone without much effort.  I’m not super fast but faster most days than she is so when we run I slow it down so I don’t stroke her out.  So my friend from MD did drop back to catch his breath and on I went but with a renewed strength or maybe it was determination.  Either way, I wasn’t in so much of a down spiral after meeting him and I have him to thank for that.  You see God gave him to me as a pat on the back just when I needed it most as per usual with most of his lessons/ gifts to me just when I need them.  I am grateful to have Faith and God in my life.  I didn’t see my new friend again after we separated but he’ll stay in my memory as one of those interactions that bring you back to center when you’re teetering on the verge of losing your humility, reality and strength or your perspective in general.  I’m glad I met him because I finished my race strongly and happy instead of dragging my ass over the finish line.  Every race is different and we need to find the blessings that each one brings.

HAPPY RUNNING!

Maybe It’s Me

I love motivating people and helping them get going with some fitness to help improve their attitude and health.  I feel important when someone comes to me asking questions or looking for a place to begin.  I’ve done this long enough to have a decent idea of how to put together a workout that is reasonable without scaring someone away from fitness forever.  What drives me crazy however, is a person who doesn’t have enough motivation to stay with it for long and who comes back over and over again to keep starting from the beginning.  If they would just have a little will power to get through the tough days (schedule or determination) they wouldn’t be playing catch up.  I don’t know if I want to hug them or smack them more.  Maybe I don’t get it because I never quit.  I don’t understand quitting so I guess I have no tolerance for it so who is worse?  I DO get up at 4:45 if I need to in order to get my workout in because it’s that important to me.  I DO workout mid day giving up my sit down lunch if I have a busy schedule because it’s that important to me. I have gone to the gym to workout when the weather doesn’t let me go outside because working out and my health are just that important to me!  That’s how I see it.  I’m the master of my world and the creator of my schedule so why not do what I need to do to get what I want in a time that I can make it work?  I am sort of ashamed to admit that I’m very intolerant when it comes to someone looking to me who won’t get going.  I don’t mean can’t because it’s definitely a won’t situation.  See, if they wanted to, they would and nothing would get in the way.  If they wanted to that is.  How do I know this?  I know this because I’ve been desperate and at my rock bottom and when I tell you that when I made up my mind to finally get out of my own damn way and make the changes to change my life, NOTHING got in my way!    I guess I won’t ever be a coach to anyone other than someone who just does what I tell them to do who is full of energy and is self motivated.  That’s terrible but understandable don’t you think?  Maybe I don’t really understand what it takes to be someone’s coach.  Maybe that’s a good thing that I’m not.

I’m currently working on a workout schedule for someone who complains about their current weight, won’t admit that their back pain is 80% due to ill health and fitness, refuses to take ownership for controlling their life and is clearly unhappy and is inconsistent with their effort.  I’m doing this as a favor to help them out.  The thing is that they are unwilling to do the hard things to make it better like get up at 5am regularly or workout at 9pm when their day is done.  I feel like this work I’m doing (for free mind you) is a big waste of time that I’ll just put in the “I knew it” bin.  It’s making me crazy and I haven’t even finished their shiny new schedule yet!  We’re using a new tool to try and help with organization and accountability so maybe that’s the thing that will make a difference.  We shall see how it all works out.  My hope is that over the next few months this person can make it work in a schedule that is about to get much busier.  If they can do that, then I’ll be able to let go and watch them forge their own fitness plan and schedule knowing that I helped get them started.  If not, I’ll be having an “I told myself so” bonfire with the schedules I worked out that went to waste.  Stay tuned!

HAPPY RUNNING!