Recapping the Buffalo Marathon feels like almost a bigger undertaking than the 26.2 miles themselves. I’ve written plenty of race recaps yet this one has SO many factors to it, starting with the fact that it was the culmination of my first six months of working with a professional coach. Those six months of training were a mix of things and in my mind were all building me up to my best marathon performance yet. Spoiler alert: it was not my best and I’m ok with it.
In late April I set my mind on doing my first triathlon. My sister and her husband had moved to upstate New York last fall and her husband signed up for the Cazenovia Sprint Triathlon which was August 9th. I thought signing up as well would be a great way to tie in a visit to their new home and I was eager to mix up my running with cross-training for a tri. After months of swimming, biking, running, searching for the best thing to wear, practicing transitions, and mentally preparing to do a triathlon it was finally time to put all that work to the test.
The days leading up to the tri I tapered my training and kept my meals consistent with what I’d been used to eating. The day before the race I had three square meals with slightly more carbs in each than I would normally have, a race routine I’m used to. We all (myself, my husband, and my brother-in-law) went to bed at a reasonable hour with a 5:45 a.m. alarm set. As happens before any race, I woke up several times to make sure I didn’t miss the alarm and at 5:30 I was ready to get going. Continue reading
This spring I volunteered as one of three assistant coaches at Windsor Farm Elementary in Arnold, MD, for Girls on the Run. Every Tuesday and Thursday 15 third through fifth grade girls plus the coaches would meet to talk about life, confidence, making healthy choices, family, friendship, trust, self-respect, and a host of other topics designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and physical development. In short, the program teaches girls how to avoid getting stuck in “the girl box” all while training for a 5K.
Each class day had a lesson paired with a running activity in which we practiced proper form, pace, breathing, and the basics of running. When I think about the types of games and relays we played we were actually doing the type of running you’d see on any training schedule–sprints, hills, tempo runs, and race pace. Even the day we played sharks and minnows had a lesson of teamwork in it and certainly some sprinting involved! Continue reading
My sister-in-law’s wedding was at a beautiful farm in southern Maryland along the Patuxent River and as I do before I go anywhere new, I mapped a run that I could squeeze in between the festivities. I was pleasantly shocked to find out that the driveway alone was nearly a full mile guaranteeing that I’d get in a decent warm-up and cool down. The farm is located near the end of one of the many peninsulas in southern Maryland and is surrounded by several other farms and a few other homes, but no area that would count as a neighborhood. This meant that no matter which direction I would turn at the end of the driveway I would be doing an out and back course. In order to do a loop, I’d have had to turn the run into a duathlon and swim the last leg back to the farm!
Fortunately I ran this out and back route with two other friends which helped the time pass but I was still very aware of how much I prefer a loop route to an out and back. The last out and back I ran was the marathon and I think the only thing that made that survivable was that there were people cheering along the course. It’s such a simple thing but if I have the option I will always choose a loop route to run. I like having turns, new things to look at, and the “surprise” of what might be around the corner. Perhaps it’s all in my head or maybe I’m not creative enough to make an out and back route enjoyable, but I tend to find them boring and I focus more on how much I have left to run rather than running itself.
What about you? Are you an out and back runner or a looper?
During a mother/daughter weekend in New York City, my mother, sister, and I crammed into slightly less than 48 hours lunch at Carnegie’s Deli, a visit to Ground Zero, an evening show of In the Heights on Broadway, a meandering walk down 5th Avenue, a stop at the Met, and a solid 10 miles of walking including much of Central Park.
Perhaps it was that we were at the Park on one of the first really nice weekends of spring. Maybe it’s that with 11 million people in one city the Park is an obvious place to spend an afternoon. Whatever the reason, Central Park was brimming with people on every lawn, sidewalk, field, path, and playground. There were families, couples, dog walkers, musicians, artists, hula hoopers, tourists, locals, and cyclists. But what I noticed most were the runners. Continue reading
I recently got a letter in the mail from my insurance company inviting me to find out how healthy I am. It was the kind of mail that I normally would toss right into recycling until I realized it might make a good blog post. I decided to read further.
The insurance company has set up new online profile for its carriers where we can take a free, confidential survey that is supposed to identify risky or life threatening behaviors related to an individual’s lifestyle or medical history. As it turns out, I just requested from each of the women in my family their knowledge of our family’s medical history because I realized every time I go to the doctor (which is extremely rare) I have to fill out the medical history portion of some form and I am not well educated on what has or hasn’t happened in my family. If you’re not sure if there is a history of cancer or diabetes or high blood pressure or a host of others in your family, start asking.
Knowing I finally have some medical background on my family, which is thankfully pretty clean, I decided to take the survey and find out its analysis of my health. The program focuses on risk factors that you can control or change to improve your health and the insurance company makes it clear that the assessment is just one tool for evaluating an individual’s current health status and risk factors. Continue reading
This morning as I was walking down the stairs sideways, slowly, holding on to the railing, and feeling each step in my knees and ankles I smiled knowing that for all this pain I would not change having just run my first marathon less than 24 hours ago.
There are still so many thoughts and emotions swirling in my head that I really don’t know where to start with this post. I want to write about the marathon from start to finish, and perhaps I will in another post. From training to the pre-race meals and planning to the morning of preparation, stretching, pace and form while running, gear, and post-race plans, I learned a lot and discovered many more questions that I have about this whole experience that is running.
For now, though we’ll just stick to the points closest at hand from running my first marathon.
We got lucky with the weather. Early forecasts were calling first for 60% chance of rain in 37 degrees and the chance of rain slowly changed to 30%, then 10%, and by race morning, the rain had cleared, temps were in the low 30s and it was clear for the first 13 or so miles and then light snow started to fall which was actually pretty cool. Continue reading
I just caught myself saying, as I have many times before, that “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” I often think if only I could function off of 4 hours of sleep and could be totally productive during all my time awake that I might really get some things done. But alas, I am a 6-8 hour sleeper for sure. I guess the question becomes not how to find more hours in the day, but how to maximize the time you do have.
For example, I am finally getting to today’s blog, but only have a few minutes because I want to dash off to the gym for a quick run and Pilates class. I started my day around 7:30 a.m. and feel very good about all that I got done, but I was really hoping to rearrange the kitchen furniture tonight in addition to getting in a load of laundry. I was also supposed to sign up for Scuba lessons and do some research for a family event, neither of which got done today. Continue reading