Monday, August 23, 2010


I had an amazing conversation today with a woman who recently overcame drug addiction. As part of her rehab program she was offered access to fitness facilities and decided to take advantage of it.
"I've been on drugs since I was ten years old. I am 29 now, they took my baby girl away, I have nothing left to lose."
She committed herself completely to recovery. She says exercise has been a huge help.
"I workout first thing in the morning and it sets the tone for the day."
Knowing you have already done something good for yourself, and have something you can be proud of, before you eat breakfast each day is a great way to get yourself making good choices all day. I have talked to many women who will overeat or eat the wrong things because they feel guilty for missing a workout. It works in the other direction to. We do something good and want to stay in that positive mindset by doing other things we can be proud of.
(Prefers to remain anonymous) is off drugs, has her daughter back, attends a variety of exercise classes, and is back in school. She plans to get an associates degree so she can go on to become a drug and alcohol counsellor.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Injury Prevention

Last night I had the opportunity to sit in on a speech about injury prevention by Dr. Scott and associates. They covered a number of the most common running injuries, ways to prevent them and when to seek treatment.
Dr. Jacob made a great point when he said, "runners routinely carve out 2 hours to run, but say they can't find ten minutes to stretch after." Stretching is important, we all know that, just do it.
Many of the problems that occur in runners are the result of wearing the wrong shoes, or wearing old/worn out shoes. It is important for every runner, no matter what distance, to have their gait analysed to help them find the proper shoe. Most specialty running stores will have staff capable of doing this for you. Some even have video cameras attached to a treadmill so you can see if you pronate or supinate, and also how well the shoe corrects for that. Don't worry if your running store just asks you to run down the block and back while they watch, the fancy equipment is only necessary for you to see what you are doing.
Of course we all know that shoes wear out. What few people realize is how quickly they wear out. For runners it is recommended that you get a new pair of shoes every 300 miles. As the shoe wears out it loses shock absorption, cushioning and stability. If you start experiencing more pain in your joints or muscle fatigue you may need to buy a new pair of shoes.
I was surprised to learn that shoes break down even when you aren't wearing them. For example, the older, discontinued models offered at a huge discount which are available at every running expo I have been to. Even though the shoe hasn't been worn, the midsole breaks down over time (Don't we all).
Following a smart training program is important. The rule of thumb I was raised on is don't increase more than ten percent a week. Of course there are people who can get away with running a half marathon the first time they lace up, even if they live through the experience it is still unwise. Hand in hand with this advice goes the wisdom, start training early. It is easier to train for a marathon when you have 6 months than when you have 2 months.
Even if you are doing all of the above, sometimes you will still find yourself developing an injury. Everyone has heard the phrase, "consult with your doctor before participating in this exercise program." And some of us do! But I always assumed that advice meant we should make sure our heart was up to the workout. I doubt I am the only who didn't consider finding a sports doctor to make sure our joints are ready for the new activities. Sometimes a small misalignment can cause a lot of pain, and, if left untreated, it can escalate into an injury that takes you out of your sport for a few weeks to a few months.
How do you know when you should see a doctor? It is widely agreed that if you have to alter the way you run or walk because of the pain, it is time to seek help. I take a somewhat more conservative view. If the pain persists for two weeks or more, I think it is worth looking into.
Who to go to for help.
Specialty running stores can introduce you to trusted sports doctors in your area.
I am very fond of the team at Elite Sports and Spine. They are located in Bellevue, WA, and can refer you to a doctor in your neighborhood.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

sure I will run hills

I set off this morning thinking I would be running hills. I decided to do a few miles in Lincoln Park to warm up then see where my legs would take me. My legs are a bit sore from Track Tuesdays, which I not only lived through but managed to enjoy, so I started slow (I always start slow, then continue slow, and finish slow...I should stop pretending otherwise).
At 3 miles I hit my first hill, and started trudging up it. My legs were tired, not just sore. They didn't want to run hills, they wanted, and perhaps needed an easy recovery run. I have the sort of body that inspires people to give it what it wants. I too am powerless against it, so easy recovery run it was. 6 miles was all I felt like doing today, and at no point did I manage to run faster than 10 minute miles. The body gets what the body wants.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Track Tuesdays

My belly has been visited by swarms of butterflies throughout the day. I have tried not to think much about it, but I am failing. Now that I am home from work and am counting down the minutes (90) until I have to leave. I have had a few fails in the past month and I realize that it is time to start kicking my butt again. So track workouts it is.
But first, let's recap the fails:
Light at the End of the Tunnel. As you may recall from my previous post, this is 13.1 miles up a hill then back down, and I fell apart coming down the hill. No good.
Next up, The Northwest Passage marathon. Only a week after the Tunnel, and I was still feeling wiped out for most of that week. I just couldn't push myself to move very fast. Then around mile 6 or 7 I started throwing up, which slowed me down more. Nothing makes you feel better than an 8 hour marathon when you have a stomach bug.
Still feeling drained, I attempted the God's Country 50k the following weekend. I stayed in the back of the pack, walked the hills, but just didn't have what it took to keep going. I was tired and had no energy. I called it a day at mile 13.

It has been a week since that last fail and I have yet to run. It is time to get back to kicking ass, well my ass anyway. It may be a while before I have what it takes to kick the ass of others. And, no offense others, but your ass isn't really my goal.
I am giving myself a pass on the marathon with the stomach flu, but as for the other two I think I should have been able to push myself harder. But I don't push myself all that hard most of the time. I feel like most distance running is just finding a comfortable pace that eats up the miles. But I want to start pushing myself harder, to be faster and stronger. I want to finish marathons before the finish line festivities are over and the spectators go home. And I want to run difficult trails. I know that this will take more effort on my part and it will probably get uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than a stomach full of butterflies.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

so far behind!

Looks like I will be skipping over the Green River Marathon review and condensing a few others.

Way back in June I ran the Lake Youngs Ultra. This is a great race for a number of reasons. First, the course is beautiful. Second, the terrain is ideal, gently rolling hills to keep your body limber. Third, a great crew of people show up to run it. Fourth, they have prizes for EVERYONE! Fifth, Eat, Drink, Run Woman makes a killer post race BBQ!
So I loved it. My body loves trail runs and hills. Not a BQ so my mother ran with me and we took turns pushing each other. A great way to run a race. I have so much fun running with my mother and she always seems to feel strong when I feel weak. I start falling back and she starts pushing ahead.

Next up, The Ghost Of Seafair. Another King Arthur race. Held the same weekend as Rock and Roll Seattle, this course follows the original Seafair Marathon course through Bellevue. It quickly became apparent why this course was ditched after the first year, IT WAS HARD! Lots of big, steep hills. But we did get a great tour of Bellevue. I ended up running in a group of 6 people and really enjoyed myself. I like the intimacy of a race this size. I had briefly considered running RnR but just couldn't imagine running with 27,000 people. Our race had 17 people.
I hardly ran for a week afterwards. Too much pounding on my joints took a beating on all that pavement.

An ENTIRE month later...
I ran the Light at the end of the Tunnel Marathon...although the tunnel is closed currently, so there was no tunnel portion. Instead of a steady downhill for 26.2 miles, we ran 13.1 miles up a "barely noticeable" incline and then down again. I was surprised to discover that the uphill section was rather manageable. I started out slow and sore, but settled into a comfortable 'mile-munching' pace.
As we climbed my mother stopped speaking to me, to any questions I asked she would grunt/groan in reply. After she recovered her breath on the way down she confessed that she was having trouble keeping up with me and for a bit even thought she might throw-up. ANOTHER FIRST!!! With the exception of LYU mumsie has been slowing her pace down to stay with me.
Sadly on the downhill I was holding us back. Two steps into our descent my knee started speaking up. It seems my IT Band had tightened up a bit and this downhill was more than it wanted. After a few miles, as the joint kept getting stiffer, I decided to take some Ib preufen and was thrilled to feel the pain back off. I couldn't pick up the pace though. I was hitting some 10:25 minute miles on the way up the hill...13.1 at 2 hours 32 minutes, I was prepared to beat my best time. Even though I didn't make it, I did get a new second best time.
But the BEST part was that the buffet started at the finish line. Cross line, turn right and grab food. Obviously professional race directors (which more than made up for him showing up 20 minutes late).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First call spring run off

let me begin by admitting that I am having trouble spelling run with only one “n” today. I did start the day with a migraine and continue it with a marathon and now am recovering from both…but that is a lame excuse.
I asked my mother if I could stay at her house this weekend because the marathon is spitting distance from here. She, being a Maniac and clearly an elemental contributor to my genetic makeup and disposition, decided to do this run as well, “but only the marathon”. We had both run marathons the weekend prior, and this one isn’t USATF certified ( no reason to try for a BQ…), so we decided to take it easy. Or rather, mom decided to take it easy, I just tried to keep up with her “slow” pace.
The race starts at Bothell landing and runs to Woodinville along the Sammamish River trail. the turn around is out past the St Michelle Winery encouraging me to reflect on the various times in my life I have enjoyed their wines. This trail is one that my mother has been running on for as long as I can remember. I’m surprised I didn’t suffer any PTSD during today’s run…as I vaguely recall being forced to ride a bike on this trial as a child.
I really had a great time running with my mother. I love that it is something we can do together. We tell stories, catch up, and plan for future runs. Today we decided to add “salad bar” to our list of pre race no no’s. It was delicious and filling, but it didn’t feel good in my belly, although there were no other negative side effects.
The weather was the same four variations we had been dealing with all week. Grey and rainy, grey and dry, sunny and dry, and sunny and rainy. The ladder being my favorite, only because it seems to fly in the face of science. it was in fact a much sunnier day than I expected (it also rained more than I expected). I was tricked by the weather forecast’s promise of dense clouds and possible (evening) rain, so I neglected to apply sunblock. Now the curious tan line under my knees is even more pronounced. It looks like I am wearing tan knee high socks…and that is cool.

For the second weekend in a row I was entertained by “Road Kill” Rick. He and my mother have been friends since the early days of running, when I was just a wee child cheering for her. We saw a number of friendly faces out that day, but all in all it was a rather uneventful run. Just a nice Jog with my mumsie.

Capital City Marathon

Ahh the Capital City Marathon. I will look back fondly on this race for ever.
It was the first race that John and I ran together. Side by side together, mind you. Oh wait, we did a 5k together… So first marathon side by side.
Also, instead of a race shirt we were given very nice coats. I am wearing mine currently.
And instead of a medal at the end, we were given coasters. Not medal or stone or plastic coasters. No, at the end of the marathon we were handed fragile tile coasters. Mine survived, so did Johns (I carried his).
John too, survived though it was iffy at times. Two in two weeks is not a walk in the park (more like a day long jog in the park).
We started slow in the back of the pack. Plenty of lovely people to talk to back there this time. ’Road Kill’ Rick kept us entertained for a good distance, while Kerrie (new to me) inspired us by trying her first double marathon. I have no doubt she finished. She left us in the dust, as did ’Road Kill’ before the halfway point.
John has been having some pain problems. It seems his IT is trying to pull his knee off. I imagine it is time for him to find a good body worker to keep things moving. I actually think it is way past time for that…but time is the issue.
Anyway, I have heard many people say what a beautiful course this is and the rumors are true (now that’s a nice rumor). We started in a park in the downtown area and worked our way out along the capital lake, after that we seemed to be in the boonies, and from their we ran through farmland. There was a great fence that had bowling balls topping each post. It is the perfect time of year to do this race, flowers of every sort were blooming. And of course there were rhododendrons at every turn (the Washington state flower).
After the farm land we worked our way back into civilization. We saw some really nice neighborhoods and found so many locals set up along the course to cheer people on. Some of the locals were family. John’s sister lives in the area and she, her husband, John’s brother and mother all made it out for the event.
His sister and her husband made signs and spent the better part of the morning cheering. She and her husband came equipped with cowbells and a sign that read “more cowbell!” This was a big hit with many runners and prompted a few to start reciting the SNL skit. (On a side note, his sister really enjoyed being out with all the runners and is talking about training for a 5k!!! We really can influence people by smiling and thanking them for their support.)
John was looking pretty hurt when we finally made it to his families section of the run. His sister jogged along with us (in flip flops) for a few blocks offering encouraging words, all of which were rendered worthless by how easily she could keep up (IN FLIP FLOPS!!!). John forced a somewhat convincing smile and we continued our death shuffle. But the support did the trick, he was in much better spirits for the rest of the run. Not in good enough spirits however, that I felt I could start singing and dancing again without taking my life in my hands.
About 1.5 miles from the finish I informed John that we really shouldn’t let Negative Nancy beat us. She is a speed walker I met in Yakima at the pre race dinner that was complaining that she wanted to stop doing marathons but that this had become her social life. I see her at many of the local races and have tried to avoid her since this first conversation. No need for extra negativity in life. Each time she caught up with John and I she rained a bit of negativity on us. The first time she did this John looked at me with an expression of complete astonishment. People are typically encouraging and will cheer on an aching runner, she really makes an impression. Also, for what its worth, I don’t think her name is Nancy. I don’t actually know what her name is.
The idea appealed to John, his death shuffle turned into actual running, and then sprinting (what passes for sprinting at the end of a marathon). And I struggled to keep up. And he kept pushing the pace till the finish…and he reached back to grab my hand before crossing the finish line…awwwww