Monday, February 1, 2016

GRATEFUL

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” 
~ John F. Kennedy


In regards to running, I have never felt more loved and supported by my friends, family, teammates and fellow runners than I have over the past four months.  I am not a professional athlete.  I do not get paid to compete.  I spend an insane amount of time training for the sole purpose of self improvement.  Well, that's not totally true.  My running life does have a big impact on many other elements of my "regular" life...my role as a parent, my job as a coach and all of my various other passions, including this blog.  In running, as in life, I am continuously setting goals, pushing myself to the achieve them, celebrating the victories, accepting the defeats, learning from them and then re-setting the bar and starting all over again.  After my last marathon, which I ran back in October, I made the conscious and somewhat scary decision to push on with my training instead of taking a much needed break.  I surprised myself with my performance and pulled off something that I never dreamed I was capable of.  Not that I didn't do the work.  I did.  I just didn't really believe.  And now?  Well, now I do.  Not to sound cliché, but I truly feel that anything is possible if you want it badly enough and you're willing to put the time and effort in.  So, I forged on.  Within weeks I was ramping up the mileage and intensity of my workouts.  Everything was longer, significantly more difficult and a hell of a lot more time consuming.  It has honestly been one of the most challenging times in my life, both physically and mentally.  Because not only do I have to train, but I have to make time for all the other things that have to get done....work, laundry, grocery shopping, helping with my kids' homework (fractions, ugh!), driving my girls to all their various activities, walking the dog....no need to continue.  You get it and you probably do it all do it, too.  It's life.  I'm not expecting a medal.  Because, in the end, it's my choice.  But, meshing my 'regular' and 'running' worlds together and making it all work over the past four months has been, well, let's just say, tricky.  And without my family, my friends and all of those I'm connected to through running, it would have been a shit-ton harder.  Basically, I've been living, eating, breathing running and my family has not only been okay with it but, most of the time, they've been willing to work with it and/or around it.  For example, my husband, bless him, has gotten up every morning to make me a smoothie before I hit the road.  He's been up for cooking and eating meals that are ideal for my training needs, no questions asked.  He no longer rolls his eyes when I tell him I'm going to bed at 8:30pm, which has been happening more often than not these past few weeks.  My girls, Rosie and Grace, have been willing to get up 15-30 minutes before their usual wake up time on my long run days so I can get them to school for early drop off and thus get going sooner; often giving me a good luck or a high five to boot.  My friends, especially my running partner, Kirsten, my fellow coaches, my teammates (Oiselle, SISU, Loopsters) my high school athletes, all of whom I'm not seeing or talking to nearly as much as I'd like, have been consistenly checking in, asking me things like how it's going, how are you feeling, how's your body holding up while also reminding me that I can do it, that it's worth it, and that I'm almost there.  Their genuine interest and compassion in this area of my life has meant the world to me.  One can only talk about running so much, which, evidently, is a lot.  If they're sick of it, which they have every right to be, they're getting damn good at hiding it!  My coach, Lowell Ladd of 2L Coaching, has gone out of his way to give me pep talks and advice on a weekly basis, always ready to provide the answer that I need, even if it's not really the answer that I want.  His support alone is a huge reason that I've made it through this insane training cycle.  As of today, I've run 772.9 miles since my last marathon and the guys over at SKECHERS PERFORMANCE, particularly my good friend Dave A., have gone above and beyond to make sure I always have the shoes I need to be successful.  Barring any issues, I will be on the line in LA in less than two weeks.  I'm nervous.  I'm a little scared.  But, I'm also really fired up.  I've done the work.  Anything is possible.  And no matter what the outcome, having this huge crew of awesome people behind me for the past four months has been amazing and invaluable.  To all of them I want to say thanks.  I will be forever grateful.


Listen to this:
Anxious Animal - Syvia

*Note: Top photo, clockwise from upper left: My daughter, Grace, at morning drop off, post-run w/ Kirsten, my daughter, Rosie, ready to rock, post-race w/ Coach Lowell, post-race w/ my husband, Jeff, post-race with Dave A. of SKECHERS.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

RWM DAILY SONGS:2016

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” 
~ Confucius, The Book of Rites

*Scroll down to view and listen to this playlist w/ Spotify

Anxious Animal - Syvia

Unstoppable - SIA

Let's Dance - David Bowie (The Penelopes Remix)

Keep on Dancing - We Are The City

1000 FORMS OF FEAR - SIA - JANUARY ALBUM

HOW HARD I TRY - FILOUS - JANUARY SONG


RWM DAILY SONGS 2016
Listen. Like. Share. Repeat. Rock on.

Monday, January 25, 2016

MONSTER MONTH:A TOP 10 LIST


As most of you know, a typical marathon training cycle is about four months long.  If you've been reading this blog lately, you also know that I'm gearing up to run the LA Marathon in February.  Thus, in regards to training, January has been my biggest month to tackle - aka my MONSTER MONTH.  And, because I have some pretty lofty goals for both this race and this year in general, this particular MONSTER MONTH has been significantly more intense than any of the other biggies from my past 12 rodeos.  Ferocious, really.  Very high mileage, lots of really hard workouts, and several days of double sessions.  Here's a look at last week's schedule so you get a sense of what I'm talking about:
MONDAY - 1/18

22 miles - long run
TUESDAY - 1/19
6 miles - recovery
WEDNESDAY - 1/20
AM Run - 8 miles
PM Run - 6 miles
THURSDAY - 1/21
AM RUN - Tempo, 10 miles total
2 miles warmup, 4 miles @ 6:55, 3 miles @6:35, 1 mile cool down
PM RUN - 6 miles recovery
FRIDAY - 1/22
AM Run - 8 miles
PM Run - 6 mile
SATURDAY - 1/23
6 miles - recovery
TOTAL MILES:78
Most would look at this and think I'm completely nuts.  I often do the same.  There is no one making me do the work.  I just have this crazy desire to see how far I can take my running this year.  And my coach is completely behind me.  So, by choice, I'm lacing up 6 days a week and pushing myself farther than I ever thought I could go with the hope that something magical will happen in LA, and if not there, than perhaps later this year.  Regardless of the fact that this particular cycle is a beast and a half, all of my MONSTER MONTHS tend to chew me up and spit me out in time for the taper.  My husband, my friends, even my kids know when the MONSTER weeks have begun.  The only one who tends to benefit is my dog who gets more running in than she could ever imagine.  Everyone else either feels sorry for me, gets annoyed with me, or simply avoids me all together; all three of being totally understandable.  Over these past few weeks, I've given myself a good chuckle as I've thought about all the tell tale signs that I have officially entered my MONSTER MONTH.  Here's a few that I thought were worth sharing, if not to laugh with me, than certainly to laugh at me.  Go big or go home.  Grrrrrr.

TOP 10 SIGNS THAT YOU'VE ENTERED MONSTER MONTH 
OF MARATHON TRAINING

"I GOT THIS"

1. You go to bed before your 3rd grader every night.
2. You've read the same 3 lines of your book for the past month.
3. You carry food with you everywhere you go - your bag, your car, your jacket pockets.
4. You have no idea what day it is, just whether you have a long run, workout or recovery run.
5. You only wear running shoes because you can't bear to put anything else on your feet.
6. It's virtually impossible to get out of the shower, especially after a long run.
7. Your caffeine intake has increased substantially.
8. You do laundry every other day.  But you rarely use the dryer. 
9. You pray to the weather Gods every single night.
10. You cry tears of joy on your rest day.

Listen to this:
Unstoppable - SIA

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

BACON RUN


DATE: 1/19/16
TIME: 8:30AM
TEMP: 14℉
'FEELS LIKE' TEMP: 1℉
WIND: 20MPH (w/ 30mph gusts)
WORKOUT: 22 miles
HILLS: LOTS
ICE: EVEN MORE
SIDEWALKS: NONE
ANGRY DRIVERS: Avg rate of 3/mile
HONKS from ANGRY DRIVERS: 4
FROZEN (DEAD) SQUIRRELS: 1
NUMBER OF TIMES I USED THE 'F' WORD: at least 30 (probably more)
BRUSHES W/ DEATH: 1 (almost run off the road by an angry driver)
FROSTBITE: Highly probable

So, today I ran for BACON.  Well, actually, I ran because I'm training for the LA Marathon in February.  But, after stepping outside to walk the dog this morning and feeling the temp (painfully frigid) along with the wind (beyond brutal), I decided that I would be running all 22 miles specifically for the Baconator of the Week (BAW) Award.  What's that you ask?  The BAW is a prestigious award given out by friend and fellow LOOPSTER, Dave Schultz, to the runner who heads out to battle the worst winter conditions imaginable and makes it through to tell their story.  Well, damned if I didn't make it through.  It was touch and go.  And it wasn't pretty.  But, it's done.  And that is all that matters.  Quick play by play for you.  I started out at 8:30am on my own.  The shock of the first few steps was like nothing I've experienced in quite some time.  My face stung.  I couldn't feel my ass.  And my legs were on autopilot.  Typically I run my first mile at an easy 9 mile pace to warm up.  Today, I clocked my first mile at 7:55.  Not because I was going for speed.  Oh no.  I was so GD cold that I had to move faster simply to function.  Yes, it was that bad.  At one point I ran by a dead, frozen squirrel and I heard myself saying (out loud), "Tough break, buddy.  But, trust me, you're better off."  This made me wonder if I am certifiably nuts.  Don't answer that.  After about 6 miles, I stopped at my friend Kirsten's house to grab her for the next 15 miles or so.  She's training for a May marathon, so she's currently my running partner in crime.  THANK THE LORD.  When she saw my face, she asked me if everything was ok.  I just nodded and told her we should go before I thawed and had second thoughts.  So, off we went.  The sidewalks are really bad here in Winchester, so we had to run single file on the road for most of our journey.  As you can see from my stats above, we had a very high rate of angry drivers per mile.  They just don't like sharing the road with us.  Next time I might put a sign on my chest that says "I would rather be on the sidewalk".  But, I digress.  We chugged along at a steady clip, fighting the wind like nobody's business, often feeling like we were running in place which must have looked hilarious.  We also had a nice long stretch where the road was both icy AND sandy and the wind blew both steadily into our faces.  That was awesome.  After cluing her in on the BAW and my goal of winning it, she began to chime in every time we braved an element that would get us more points.  We both agreed that the aforementioned stretch should count for double points.  Of course, Dave will have to make the final call on that. Around mile 11, unbeknownst to us, my watch died.   Broken?  Frozen?  Who knows.  But, the next time we looked we had no idea how far we'd gone since our last checkpoint.  We almost cried.  I swore a lot.  We put our heads together and landed on a number of miles that we felt good about and kept going.  As we neared the end (miles 18, 19, 20), I stopped talking all together.  Kirsten could tell I was struggling and coached me in to the finish, giving me several much needed pep talks.  As we rounded the corner on mile 21 (15 for her), I told her that I probably would have died without her.  "Me, too." she responded.  And we laughed, because it was kind of true...."dying" being a relative term in running.  

1 mile to go.  Yay.

Kirsten took a quick photo before I left...for BAW proof.  Yes, I was as miserable as I look.  I said goodbye and headed home.  I live exactly one mile from her.  And here's the best part...to get from my house to hers is a straight shot on BACON STREET.  No joke.  BAW aside, we have called ourselves TEAM BACON since we started running together 6 years ago.  How crazy is that??  Seriously, if I win this award, I will be sharing it with Kirsten as she deserves it as much as I do.  And if we don't win, it's all good.  This run was a huge feather in my cap.  And it will only make me stronger.  Get ready LA.  I'm coming.  But first....coffee.  Mmmmmm.

BEST. COFFEE. EVER.


LISTEN TO THIS:
CONQUEROR - AURORA