Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WHEN 'LOVE' IS 'RUNNING'

You're in my veins
You're in my blood
You stop the feeling of giving up
This hell feels better with you
Michl, 'Better With You'

In the past, my husband has been a pretty fair weather runner; usually hitting the road for somewhere between three and five miles when he goes.  Recently, however, he's started running more often and for longer distances.  He even doubled last week, claiming his first run was done so early in the morning that he felt like he wanted to go out again in the afternoon.  Which makes us both a little crazy, right?  Unlike me, Jeff does not listen to music when he runs.  Last week we were out to dinner and I asked him what typically went through his mind when he was out there for over an hour.  He told me most of his runs broke down into three different modes.  First, he goes deep into thought.  About whatever pops into his head; work issues, life issues and so on.  Second, he takes in the scenery; really soaking things up and observing what's around him.  And last, he just zones out completely.  Usually, he goes through all three in no particular order.  I nodded in agreement.  Because, in truth, I do all of the same.  I'm guessing a lot of us do.  For me, the only difference is that I have music playing in the background.


My long run playlist is compiled of 878 songs which is almost 52 hours of music.  When I pick songs for this one, I just listen to various stations on Spotify and if I hear a tune that I like, particularly the beat and the melody, and I think it's got that extra something to keep me moving, then I add it to the list.  The lyrics, and on a higher level, the song's overarching message, are not really that important in the selection process.  And, until today, I never really thought they made much of an impact on me as I ran.  Not so, my friends.  This morning I was out for 19 miles, and in addition to thinking, not thinking and observing, I also found myself paying attention to the lyrics of the songs as they played.  Like, really digesting them.  I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the songs on my long run playlist are cheesy, pop tunes.  And as I listened today, I realized said tunes are frequently about love - falling in love, falling out of love, fighting about love, falling back into love, looking for love, etc.  What I also discovered, however, is that in most of them, I can put something more related to my own life, like... oh, I don't know, running perhaps... into the meaning of the song and it instantly sounds less like a sappy love song and more like a motivational running song.  Let me show you what I mean.

Committed by Ivory Layne


In the beginning of this ditty, the singer is explaining to whoever she's singing to that she's not asking for diamonds or gold.  That she doesn't want to box the person in.  But that she's gotten to a point where she's looking for more.  Seems fair.

Don't let me call you up if your heart's not in it
Your heart's not in it, if you're not committed
Oh no, don't let me go, oh no, don't let me down

Now let's relate it to running.  I mean, I'm not expecting to get diamonds or gold from running either.  And I should definitely not be calling on it if my heart isn't in it.  Because you know, when your heart's not in it, you're not committed.  Then, I'm going to let running down, running is going to let me down, it's just not going to end well.  We just really both have to be committed.  See what I mean?

Another example for you.

Control by Feder


In this one, the singer is straight up telling the person he's singing to that he or she is everything that he wants and he's just trying to put a melody to it.  Pretty straight forward, really.

Do you hear the rhythm of my heart
Through the beatin' of my soul?
When I'm with you, I lose control

Now the running twist.  I couldn't help but feel like this was me speaking about running because in running I, too, often lose control.  Good and/or bad.  Doesn't matter.  Either way, when I'm all in, particularly in a race situation, I can easily get out of control; physically, mentally or both.  Not that I want that.  It just is the way it is.  And if I could, I would definitely ask (hypothetical) running, do you hear the rhythm of my heart and the beating of my soul?  Because you should.  Both are in full force when we're together.  See??

Okay, last one.

Count On You by Paperwhite


In the beginning of this gem, the singer is throwing rocks at her lover's window, wondering if he or she will come around.  Basically, she wants to know if she can count on them through thick and thin. Again, fair question, no?

Can I count on you
To pull me up
When it's too much
Can I count on you
Cause without us
I don't know what I would do
You're running through my head
You're running through my head all night
Can I count on you

So, let's say the 'us' in this song was me and running.  How many times have I depended on running to get me through?  Lots.  Let's be honest I need running.  Without it, I'm...well...I really don't know what I'd do.  So, it's fair to say that if I could, I'd probably ask running if I could count on it the way I assume it can count on me.  And running would hopefully answer, Yes, Rebecca, yes you can. You can always count on me.  I know, it's a stretch.  But, I was getting really tired at this point, so it made perfect sense at the time.

The point is this, music serves a lot of purposes for me when I'm running.  It's a distraction, it drowns out my breathing, it pumps me up, it helps me find a rhythm, it keeps me going.  And, what I now understand, is that it kind of speaks to me.  In weird ways, yes.  But I find that I'm nodding my head in agreement or smiling because I can relate to the message.  Not necessarily the 'love' message, or whatever message the artist might be singing about, but the message as it relates to me and running.  And that's pretty cool.  Perhaps it's not what the artist intended when they wrote the song.  But, I have to believe that they would be fired up to know that their lyrics have reached me in their own unique way.  Try it.  Take whatever it is your passionate about; running, ballet, cooking, race car driving, anything really, and work it into the meaning of a song when you're listening.  If nothing else, it's kind of fun.  But maybe it will provide a little extra motivation or stir up some deeper thought next time you get ready to do what you love.  And who doesn't want that?

Listen to this:
Be Someone - Jake Bugg

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

BRAVE LIKE GABE

"Being brave, for me, means not giving up on the things that make me feel alive."
~ Gabe Grunewald


Earlier this week I told my girls about Gabriele Grunewald.  I told them that she is a professional runner and that she is battling a rare form of cancer.  I told them that over the past ten years, whenever her body allowed it, she has continued to train and race despite her cancer.  I told them that she was often sidelined when she was sick but that she never stopped fighting or believing she would beat it.  Not for a second.  I told them that she has worked incredibly hard to raise awareness and funds for both her type of cancer and other forms of rare cancer.  I told them that she is a wife, a coach, an advocate, a role model and, her words, a "lover of life".  I told them that I didn't know her personally, but that I know she has made and will continue to make a huge impact on many people's lives, myself included.  I told them that the world is a better place because she has been in it.  Last night, this unbelievably brave woman lost her battle with cancer.  This morning, I told my girls that we should all try to be #BraveLikeGabe in everything that we do.  Rest in Peace, Gabe Grunewald.  Thank you for the light you shined on all of us.

Listen to this:
No Pain - DJDS

Monday, June 3, 2019

DIARY OF A MADWOM....RUNNER

🎶 Tell me do you feel it
Do you feel it?
Crazy is calling you
Do you feel it?🎶
~ Goldroom, 'Do You Feel It Now'



FRIDAY, 8:00AM
Oof. Track workout today. 12 x 400.  Man, I've been dragging this week.  This could be interesting.  Okay, you done, Rebecca?  Let's go. 

FRIDAY, 10:30AM
Workout done.  Success.  Damn, that was hard.  And yet, it turned out better than I'd expected.  Funny how that happens.  Now coffee.

FRIDAY, 12:00PM
Off to walk dogs, shower, grab lunch, eat in car, head to grocery store.  Living the dream.

FRIDAY, 1:15PM
SHIIIIIT!!! I'm supposed to double today.  I totally forgot.  And I already showered.  Plus, I'm SO tired.  I can't do it.  I just can't.

FRIDAY, 2:00PM
I'm doing it. 6 miles. Here we go.

Friday, 3:30-9:30PM
Pick girls up from school.  Drop Rosie at the gym.  Bring Grace to soccer practice.  Pick Rosie up from gym.  Pick Grace up from soccer.  Drop Rosie off at school.  Eat food.  Head over to school for Rosie's performance of 'Legally Blonde'.  Eat more food.  Go to bed.  WINNING.

SATURDAY, 8:30AM
Holy shit I'm tired.  Still gotta go.  6 mile shakeout.  Giddy up.

SATURDAY, 10:00-2:00PM
Drive to Grace's soccer game in Watertown.  Drive from Grace's game to Rosie's game in Bedford.  Running out of fuel.  Must. Eat. Sandwich. 

SATURDAY, 5:30PM
Legs up with a book on the front porch.  Sweet Pete.  Thank goodness tomorrow is my day off.  I so need the rest.

SATURDAY, 8:00PM
Dinner & Bruins playoffs.

SATURDAY, 9:30PM
Bruins are winning 4-0 in the second.  I'm out.  

SUNDAY, 8:00AM
Off to Grace's soccer game.  Bagel and coffee on the road.  Still really tired.

SUNDAY, 11:00AM
Hmm. So, maybe I'll just go do my long run today.  I've got the cable guy coming tomorrow and I won't be able to wait around for that and get 18 miles in afterwards.  Plus, I have the time today to get it done.  That said, my legs are toast.  I'd love to just go home and nap.  Yea.  Okay.  Maybe I'll just switch my long run to Tuesday and do an easy 8 tomorrow morning before the cable guy comes.  That's the call.

SUNDAY, 11:30AM
And now I'm going.  That was funny.  Back in a few hours.

SUNDAY, 2:00-5:00PM
Long run DONE.  Now dress shopping with Rosie, massage for myself (hallelujah), soccer with Grace, and quick trip to the grocery store.  CRUSHING IT.

SUNDAY, 8:30PM
In bed.

SUNDAY, 9:00PM
Out like light.  Yep. Still winning.

Listen to this:
Do You Feel It Now - Goldroom

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

TRIED & NEW

"I'd rather fail at a goal that most people won't attempt than live without trying.  Because what if trying manifests into doing?!  Think about all  the possibilities of what you could become."
~ Allie Kieffer


This past Monday I shifted gears from a training perspective.  I'm now focusing on my next marathon, which barring any issues, will be Chicago in October.  I tend to log a shit ton of miles in my marathon training cycles, it's just what works for me, so while it's a little daunting to be starting again, I'm also pretty excited about it because I get a kind of sick high from all the hard work.  It's basically a five month long intensive physical and mental challenge that often comes in second only to being a Mom.  Bring it on, I'm ready.  I have 12 & 14 year old girls, so that can be a whole different level of intense.  This will be my twenty fourth marathon and I've got systems in place that are tried and true from years past that I will continue to follow because they have proved effective over the years.  Things like, as I already mentioned, running high mileage, getting as much sleep as possible, eating more whole foods and less sugar (excluding ice cream which is a summer must-have, no exceptions), more stretching and rolling, and so on and so forth.  Over the last couple weeks, however, I've been compiling a list of new things that I really want to focus on specifically for this training cycle in hopes that they will make a difference come October.  I'll just come right out and say that my goal is to run a faster marathon.  Given that it took me nine attempts to run a sub-3, it's a very lofty one.  I know this.  But, if I've learned anything over these last three years it's that the big, scary goals, even if they seem out of reach, are worth the effort as it's more fun to try and fail than to not try at all; 'fun' being a relative term here.  Seriously, though, breaking that 3 hour barrier was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my running life, so why not put another big one out there to aim for?  Because if it does happen it will be that much more epic.  Have I convinced you yet?  It doesn't matter, I'm really trying to convince myself.  It may take a while.  I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, here are a few of the things I plan to do differently this time around.  I've got twenty weeks of miles and madness ahead of me.  Hope you'll follow along.  I'm going to need support and I'll take anything I can get.  Giddy up.


~ Run as many miles with people - friends, teammates, family members - as possible.  As I've gotten older, I've found that I prefer running with company.  It takes the focus off of me and my frequent pain and/or exhaustion and puts it on the conversation at hand which inevitably makes the run go faster.  I really want to rope my 12 year old into running with me more this summer as her interest in racing was sparked this spring through her school team, but she has told me she doesn't like to run in the heat, so this will definitely be a challenge.

~ Stretch and roll the hell out of my calves.  Stretching and rolling is always on my list.  But, I am prone to plantar fasciitis and get it often in both feet, though thankfully never at the same time.  Knock on wood.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to stretch and roll my calves out both before and after I run on a daily basis as the less strain I put on those muscles the less likely I am to have to deal with PF.

~ Run at least one, if not two or three 100 mile weeks.  It's no secret that the more you run, the better your cardiovascular efficiency.  I happen to be lucky in that my body can handle a lot of mileage.  Thus, I'm going to give it a go. Assuming I can deal, there is not doubt that this will make a difference for me on race day.  Gulp.

~ Carve out time out for post-run dynamics after every run, excluding my long run.  I actually did them during my Baystate training as well, though not as frequently.  They help prevent injury, build muscle memory and improve form so there is absolutely no reason not to make them a priority.

~ Carve out time for core at least three times a week.  I have completely fallen off the core wagon this spring and it's time to get back on.  A strong core is the foundation of all running.

~ Focus on one day and one workout at time.  My coach gives me a few weeks of workouts and I often look at the entire week or month and get stressed out.  My goal for this cycle is to dive head first into one and only one run at a time so I can get the best out of myself for that day.

~ Take one positive thing out of every single workout, even when it's crappy.  As a lot of runners do, I easily get down on myself when things don't go as planned.  But, rather than dwell on the fact that I couldn't get it done the way I'd hoped, I'm going to find the good in each one.  Because it's always there.  And walking away on a positive note sets me up for success as I put it behind me and move on.

~ Run at least once a week without my watch.  Just pick a route that I'm familiar with and run free.  To remind myself that, above all else, I run for fun and because it brings me joy.

Listen to this:
Saw Lightning - Beck