Friday, August 13, 2021

5 Lessons Learned From The Olympics

*This was originally written for the monthly Sportpsplex Newsletter, where I have a little corner of space to ramble about fitness.**

Five years in the making, the Tokyo Olympics will go down in history like no other. In my house, we’ve had the games on everyday, and each event brings a new favorite for my boys. To hear the awestruck sound of, “Mommy, how do they do that?” is a daily reminder of the skill and talent of these athletes. As the games come to a close, I’m looking at the lessons these athletes taught us. Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. Adversity can lead to excellence: The stories of Olympians are rarely those of smooth sailing all the time. Whether it’s physical injury, childhood trauma, or even events during the games, overcoming these adversities is a theme amongst many of the athletes. We all face adversity, some bigger than others, but it’s part of the journey. 

  2. Every second counts: Races are won and lost in seconds. After what the world has been through, this lesson seems more important than ever! Make it count, every second of every day. 

  3. It’s a gift to share in the joy of others: It’s what makes the Olympics so much fun! While I’ll never actually know the feeling of winning Olympic gold, to share in the pure joy of that final dismount where the medal is won is such a special moment. These athletes share their joy with us, and for a moment, we share it with them. There is nothing better than sharing joy!

  4. Dreams can come true: Olympic dreams are deep, and these athletes have spent years getting to this one moment. They boldly tell others their dreams, they work tirelessly, and for these athletes, they prove that their dreams are reality.   

  5. And because Eliud Kipchoge says it better than me, “No Human is Limited” Wow! That statement, which is his tagline, is so powerful for so many moments in all of our lives. I know I’ve set limits on myself in work, in sport, even on some level in happiness. What if we could truly believe that there are no limits? What could be possible? 

This moment made me cry!

I know I’ve learned lessons in these games, but more importantly, I hope my kids learn these lessons too. As they tumble around the house, sprint outside in their “fast shoes”, and sing the song while waving flags, I hope they are dreaming big and realizing they are not limited.

Dopey Again? Yes, Please!

 Okay, maybe not please. Don't you remember 2014? I do! I said "NEVER AGAIN!" many times over. Then there was 2020, stuck in a pandemic, thinking races would happen soon. Nope. So here I sit, injured, and registered for Dopey 2022. I guess I truly am Dopey!

I still have an injury, which makes this whole thing even Dopey-er! I'm trucking along and not even going to worry about the training, as NYC Marathon is still my A-race for the season. After hitting marathon training hard, I'll roll into Dopey and work on those back to backs. 

We booked our hotel (thanks Mom!) and will be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time, splurging on the Savannah View room. Can't wait to come back to a safari after each race (because I'm sure the animals will all be sleeping when we have to wake up).

Who else is Dopey? What other races are you registered for? Any Dopey celebrations?

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Road to NYC: An Injury Update

 Some people have bad backs; others have weak ankles. Me? I have bad knees. They aren't always bad, but they are always one move away from being injured. It's just always been that way, so again, here I am with a knee injury.

It started out innocently enough, a little tweak on the track while running my cool down mile. I stopped for a moment, shook it out, ran a little slower, and nothing of note happened. Until it did. One step into a lunge and I was done for the week.

It's almost a full week out and my knee is slowly getting better. I've had to lay off all physical activity and even spent a little time on some crutches to let everything calm down. It hurts. It hurts my head and heart too. I haven't even taken the time to put pencil to paper and rewrite how I'm going to do this marathon training thing. I'm honestly not sure when I can even run again.

Just giving the quick update. I'll be sharing the moves I'm doing to safely regain strength over on Instagram. Taping, wrapping, icing, anti-inflammatory meds and foods. I'm doing it all in hopes this will pass quickly and I'm back on the road to NYC soon.

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Road to NYC: Weeks 2 & 3

 The weeks are ticking by and I'm still here logging miles, getting ready to take on NYC and a long list of other races this season.

These past 2 weeks were the end of the first build weeks, so this week I'm taking it a bit easier. I'm finally in double digits again, and runs don't feel too taxing at this point.

I've also added in some track work. Man, these felt awesome! I aim for 400m at a 7:30 pace. Trying to get it faster by marathon day, and also working on getting it more consistent. This type of speedwork is my favorite. It's so easy on the body (due to the track) and I really see results of getting stronger and faster. This next training round will keep me on the track through July. Then I'll be ready to do some serious hill training.

Weekly mileage is hovering around 20 miles per week. Not too bad, yet nothing too serious yet. Maxed out at 10.5 miles on a pretty flat trail. Now is where the work begins!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Road to NYC: Week 1

 Is anyone here? Do people even read blogs anymore? Recently I've been feeling a lot of content ideas and creativity brewing. Podcast? YouTube? A beefed up Instagram? Maybe a Facebook group? I'm not sure where my creative juices will lead me, but it seemed natural (and let's face it, easy) to start here, the blog where it all began many moons ago.

When I started blogging, it was for myself, journaling my first Goofy Challenge. My first blog, entitled "Just Keep Swimming" was a training log. 

It seems like ages ago--there was no "Dopey" (in fact, I ran the 'unofficial Dopey' that year), I was childless (training without the strain of family life), and we can all relate to a life pre-Covid. No matter what your past year looked like, I'm sure it changed you in some way.

It just seems logical and/or poetic that I start blogging again in the same way I started: a chronical of my training toward a once impossible dream. For me, that dream has been the NYC Marathon. I have wanted to run this race for as long as I can remember (in running years), and my attempts at a lottery entry were denied year after year. In 2019, I scored a covetted 'guaranteed entry' bib for the virtual marathon. 26.2 miles on my own, but the reward was worth it! I earned my way into 2020. Then...2020. Living in New York, I knew it wasn't happening. I actually had even come to terms that 2021 wasn't happening, but here we are, mask free, ready to run in November! I didn't even have a hotel booked (don't worry, I have it now). 

This now presents me with an interesting task: actually train to run the race! I'm not in the best shape of my life, nor my worst, but regardless, you can't fake a marathon. I have lots of support and training races along the way, maybe even reinstating the '40 for my 40th' quest. Who knows?!?!

For now, training week 1 is done! I'm currently running 3 days per week and will ramp up to 4 once I unload a HIIT class to a collegue of mine at the gym. I'm trying to delicately balance overtraining and preparation, body composition and miles, carbs and protein. 

I wrote my own plan, and will incorporate speed work and hill training (sort of). I have the virtual Boston Marathon on the calendar, so I will definitley be trained up for 26.2. 

Week One:

5/5/8 (just mileage, no targetted workouts)

I feel good about pace (long run around 11:30), and have embraced running in shorts! Phew! That will make summer easier. 

I didn't do enough strength trianing this week. I did Les Mills Core twice (perfect), but nothing else. I need to be sure to get at least 2 other strength workouts in. Also did my HIIT classes for general fitness. It's hard being a fit pro and needing to do these things for work. 

Actually used my Theragun! Woohoo! I need more stretching, body work, foam rolling, and care. 

Mindset is awesome! More on this later, but I'm thinking of reframing the '40' goal, and my work is providing some great opportunities to spread my coaching wings. Let's be honest, all the runDisney talk has also reenergized me! Yes, the call is already in to our travel agent and Dopey is planned (if it's happening). 

How are YOU doing with your training? Let me know you're here!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Embracing Cold, Dark Runs

 It's winter. Cold, dark winter. Most of my running life has been spent in Las Vegas. Don't get me wrong, Vegas does get cold. It's just not New York cold. With over 2 feet of snow that dropped this past week, it seemed like the perfect time to update everyone on my quest to be less miserable in the cold weather!

I've been working my way through Run the Year 2021, which means some long runs outside. I just can't put down 8 miles on a treadmill, especially now that masks are required at the gym. I'm also working my way down the thermometer. I've currently survived the 20-degree temps. Not sure how much lower I'll actually go. Hopefully Spring comes early and I won't have to keep this up too much longer.

What have I learned? In short, winter running is not cute. Nothing matches, because it's all about function and layers. I've also learned that gear is important. Here's a few notes of what's working for me:

Clothes: I got a vest from Kohl's a while back (not even for running, but just because it was cute), and it's working perfectly! It's a loud yellow color and keeps my core totally cozy. I will occasionally pull up the hood when needed. Beyond that, I layer up a tank, long sleeve, and jacket for most runs. If it's a bit warmer (for cold weather), I ditch the long sleeve. I still need to master the pants, and just getting new, thick socks was enough for my feet for now. 

For my head, wearing an ear muff headband is working well. I have a few, and while the thicker one is clearly warmer, I found my cheep one from Amazon works best with my Aftershokz. My fleece buff also has come in handy. I have old gloves, but that's another upgrade I need to make soon.

Lighting: It's not only cold, it's also dark, so I got a headlamp from Home Depot on a black Friday sale. Works great so I can see where I'm going. For the cars to see me, Katie got me a Noxgear vest. That thing is amazing! So lightweight and bright. I'm much more comfortable running at odd hours now. I highly recommend it!

Shoes: Here is another upgrade, but I don't think I'll be taking the leap right now. Many runners will run in ice and snow, so that usually also means a different shoe to have better traction. I haven't gotten there yet; maybe next year!

Hydration: I have yet to bring hydration with me (I've only gone up to 8 miles), and this is another place where I can improve. Your body just doesn't give you the same signals when it's so cold. I hydrate before and after. This weekend, a 10-miler is on the plan, so hydration is a must. I plan to carry my regular belt, but will also be sure to regularly sip so nothing freezes. One tip I read (can't take credit) is take a sip every 5 minutes. That is enough to be sure ice crystals don't start to freeze in your water. 

What are you favorite cold weather running tips? I'm sure I can use more! Leggings? Gloves? I have a few more things I need to add to the arsenal! Stay warm out there :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Not-So-Dopey Challenge

Dopey 2014
When Dopey went down, I was crushed. I think every runner had "that race" that finally broke them in 2020. For me, it was the reality that the turn of a calendar year would not magically restore our lives back to normal. I had reworked my goals so many times already, but this one felt different.

I knew I wouldn't take the virtual option. I also knew my training would be halted. I just don't have any desire to do all those miles without the live race. I'm truly in awe of anyone who is!

I couldn't let this week go by, though, without doing something to pay homage to what should have been, so I've taken on the challenge of 4.86 miles per day to get me back into the consistent habit of running. As the days tick by, in some ways it's helping to ease the pain. I've gotten through the "I should be on a plane" day and heading into the "I should be at the expo" day today. 

As crazy as this all sounds, I can't help but notice my Run the Year tracker also yelling at me, because I'm already behind on the mileage! 2021 miles is a lot! What did I get myself into?

Are you headed down to the world to run some virtual miles? Doing something at home? Sitting and waiting until the next registration day? Tell me about it!