Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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Send a Mother's Day Card to Help Women

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Whether they are from Sudan or Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina or the United States, they want their children to be safe, have enough to eat, and have a chance for a better tomorrow. Make a difference this Mother's Day with Women for Women International!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

insomnia and the tutu

I am two people, two runners. 

The first has developed increasingly severe insomnia preceding races. This woman has never had trouble sleeping in her lifetime. The insomnia worsens with every race. She is not worried about covering the distance (she is always well-trained), nor is she concerned that she might not wake up (or maybe she is; she sets all three alarms on her watch in 10-minute intervals). She is confident, but her body is race-ready and full of adrenaline a good 12 hours before the race starts. Her heart races, flutters in her chest. Chamomile tea and warm milk don’t help; yoga chants repeated silently in her mind don’t help (she’s not a big mantra-type person; but this used to help); an audiobook doesn’t help; once, clonazepam took the edge off, but she merely dozed on and off (she was indeed calmer during the somewhat wakeful night and felt somewhat better during the 10-miler). If she does fall asleep, she wakes with a start 20 or 30 minutes later, amazed she fell asleep and then can’t fall asleep again. So she just waits for morning. This has made races much harder; she suffers toward the end in ways she never did when she could sleep.

The other person has decided to do battle with the first and wear a tutu to all races. This way, she hopes to take them less seriously. She knows she can run at a good clip – but is not worried if sometimes she runs a little faster or a little slower. Feeling good and enjoying the race are the goals. If she feels anxious and driven to run sub-eights, she can laugh and say, “Relax, you’re wearing a tutu!” She remembers wanting to get faster every race; she remembers a spectating friend cheering “Sub-eights, yeah!” as she finished a 10K in Central Park, her first time breaking an eight-minute mile for a race; she remembers running a half-marathon, her first,  in 7:30s; she remembers her first age-group award, for the City of Long Beach 10-Miler. She’s not much slower nowadays, and she trains well, but she wants to relax and not care about being faster and faster and faster.

Neither person is winning the war in my psyche. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Can't Touch This*

As the kids roll along in the big jogging stroller, we see many things (cars, trucks, squirrels, etc.), hear many things (cars, trucks, birds), smell many things (cars, trucks, skunks), taste many tasty stroller snacks, but touch? The kids are mostly told to STOP touching each other! So, to engage this fifth - and so important a - sense, we made a new game.

As we pass street sign or stop sign posts at each intersection, we alternate passing them on the right or left so that the kids can "tag" the post. We slow down, of course, to avoid injury, but don't stop! You'll have to pry their little hands off! It helps the time pass and breaks things up into short intervals. I was surprised by how much with kids liked playing this.

(A disclaimer: this is not for when you are in a hurry. You also need to be careful to avoid wooden posts with splinters, rusty staples, etc.)

This is especially fun when it involves going up and down curbs or struggling through brush. Make it an adventure :)

*Credit due to MC Hammer???

Burn 100 Calories in 10 Minutes

This list comes from Oxygen Magazine. It helps motivate me every time I look at it. Burn, baby, burn! And have fun too!

Only have a few minutes to spare? Burn 100 Calories in 10 minutes!

1. Stationary bike (200 watts)

2. Stp aerobics (using a 10 to 12-inch step)

3. Rock climbing (ascending)

4. Running (9-minute mile)

5. Soccer (competitive game)

6. Plyometrics circuit (jump squats, high knees, burpees, etc.)

7. Racquetball

8. Martial arts (judo, karate or kickboxing)

9. Jumping Rope

10. Simming (butterfly stroke, breaststroke, or freestyle)

(calorie burn based on a 130-pound woman).

Friday, April 16, 2010

A break up note

Dear 6 Mile Run,

I'm over you.  I know we've been together every week for the last few months, but I moved on a 7 mile run: something I haven't done in over a year and a half.  I'll be working my way up to half-marathon distance soon, because I have a group now, and they'll help me get there just like they helped me leave you behind.

I'll see you again, but just for fun, nothing serious.  You can't keep me down forever.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rainy Days

I don't dislike them.

Have you ever noticed how life seems to slow just a little on a day where it's wet?

For this reason I've never hated rainy days. In high school I can remember many a time getting excited about an impending thunderstorm. Dumping buckets of warm water on everything. Being so excited that I wanted to act like I was 5 again. Wanting to run outside and splash in large puddles. I did.

Sometimes I feel the same now. At 28 the urge to put on a t-shirt and go run around outside barefoot splashing around has not gone away. It's a tad chilly for it today but I am reminded that I need to teach my children this easy and carefree activity. To learn to love every day for what it brings, not just the sunny ones.

Sure rain can mess with a run. Especially if you have kids and they don't want to be wet and cold for hours. But I appreciate the rain just the same. It nourishes the earth, much like a tall glass of water when I am desperately thirsty. I thirst so why not let the grass, the trees, the flowers be quenched as well.

I'm glad for the slow down today - I needed the rest.

Friday, April 09, 2010


No time to get to a track? Don't live near a track? Hate the track with a passion?

The fartlek is your speed workout answer.

According to wikipedia fartlek is defined as:
"speed play" in Swedish, is a form of conditioning which puts stress mainly on the aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that aerobic and anaerobic systems can be put under stress. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting.

My favorite fartlek workout is comprised of a 10 - 20 minute warm up - which is usually anywhere between 1 mile and 3 miles. If you don't have a Garmin then go for time, if you have one then go for distance on the warm up. Then run 2 minutes on - running a hard pace - 2 minutes off - jogging. Immediately after run 1 minute on - again at a hard pace - then one minute off at a very easy pace. Following one minute do 30 seconds on, and then 30 seconds off. NO WALKING ALLOWED. If you have to walk at any point during this workout then you are doing your *on* sections too hard. Adjust so that you are pushing yourself but you are still able to complete the workout without taking breaks. Repeat this at least 4 times working up to 8 times. Finish with a 10 - 15 minute cool down.

The warm up is more important in this work out that the cool down is. In order to be sure that your body is running at a faster than normal pace you want to make sure that your muscles are warmed up and that your heart rate is already up before you begin the *on* segments.So to repeat the workout is 10 - 20 WU 2 min on, 2 min off, 1 min on, 1 min off, :30 seconds on, :30 seconds off X 4 - 8 with a 10 - 15 min CD.

The hardest part of the workout will be the 2 minutes on immediately following only 30 seconds off. After repeating this cycle 4 to 8 times your legs will feel like lead. This means the workout worked!

I love this workout because it can be done anywhere, and on any surface. You don't need a Garmin. You don't need to know how far you went. The workout can be completed all on time and perceived effort.

This was a key workout for me going into Marine Corps 2008 where I took my marathon PR from 3:59 to 3:36 - 6 months after having my 2nd child.

Make sure to stretch after and revel in knowing that you are one work out closer to getting faster!