Monday, April 30, 2012

April running

So this month I decided to post my favorite quotes again from "The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration" by Kevin Nelson.  Along with my favorite quotes I'll also add in Kevin's perspective and mine.  I also thought it would be fun to post pictures of the people whose quotes I found interesting/inspiring.  

My month of April was pretty good.  I put in 70 miles total with my longest run being a 9 miler and my fastest run being a 3 miler at 8:22 pace.  I'm keeping injury free.  I've fallen off the wagon with my sweets- I'm kind of an all or nothing kind of gal- so the sweets/treats one day a week started ballooning into a few more days of the week so I need to reign in empty calorie eating, but otherwise I feel pretty good about my nutrition.  I'm still not making head way with cross training.  I'm thinking about taking hubby up on Bob Harper DVD- but I'm still not there yet- maybe my 1/2 marathon in about 5 weeks will show me where I can improve- my weaknesses- and kick my butt into cross training gear.  For now though- sit back and enjoy some pretty nifty quotes from some really impressive peeps.

"Be truly motivated to train for a marathon.  Do it for yourself- not on a bet or a dare or because 'everyone else does". - Grete Waitz, 9 time winner of New York City Marathon from 1978-1988 (more than any female or MALE)

I liked Kevin's take on the above quote- he writes a good reminder "Nobody is forcing you to run... There is nothing obligatory about running... You run because you choose to run... Running is an expression of freedom.  Never turn it in your mind into anything else. Because that wills top you dead in your tracks".
I think Grete and Kevin's quotes are spot on- totally motivating and total reminder that all of us choose to run and should choose to run for all the right reasons. 

"When you run in the morning, you gain time in a sense.  It's like stretching 24 hours into 25.  You may need to sleep less and get up earlier, but if you can get by that, running early seems to expand the day". - Fred Lebow race founder of NYC Marathon

Kevin's addition "A person who doesn't want to do something can never find the time to do it, while a person who wants to do it will always find the time.  Longtime runners seldom complain that they can't find the time to run ... They want to run, so they make the time, even when time is tight.  You can do it, too."

I find this to be so true for me.  When I look at my week I plan not only meals, where kids are coming and going, but when I'm running.  It has become almost second nature and I really do find the time.  It Matters To Me!

 "Sustained motivation is essential to achieving your potential."- Grete Waitz (yep the same lady above in the first picture- she passed away at age 57 from cancer per reading her bio sounds like she was an extremely strong lady.)

Kevin's addition to this theme of motivation was "The more you run, the more it will become part of your nonrunning life.  The more you make it part of your nonrunning life, the more you will run.  It's a lovely circle to be caught up in".

Couldn't agree more!

"Start easy. Run a mile a day for a week.  Run two miles a day the next week. But be comfortable.  Take it easy. You're not in a race."- Wilson Waigwa, miler, Kenyan ran for UT miners

Kevin's take " Grab for the gusto.  Seize the day.  Be present. live for the moment. But hey, if it doesn't work out, don't sweat it.  In running there's always tomorrow... So yes, go out today and run.  But do it with the idea that you'll be running tomorrow, too."

If a Kenyan miler can have the piece of mind to speak about comfort in running I should too- take it easy and enjoy- many days of running ahead of me.

"Hold back for the first seven miles.  Use it as a warm-up and then gradually increase your rate but never strain"- Adolph Gruber, long-distance runner 

I'm not good about holding back- I normally do what you aren't suppose to do- run the first 1/2 of the marathon faster than my normal pace.  Maybe that should be another added goal for this upcoming Marathon season- run the 2nd half faster than the first- I'll let you know how that turns out.

 "I have examined myself thoroughly and came to the conclusion that I don't need to change much". - Sigmund Freud

Kevin's take: "Change, change, change. The world is filled with grand ideas on how to make you a better person...Running is no different... For today, at least, let's take a break from all that worthy and well-intentioned advice.  Let's no think about the butterflies we'd like to become; instead let's appreciate the larvae that we are".

O.k. I'm not aspiring to be a butterfly, but I agree that sometimes we need to just be who we be and not focus on continued change or metamorphosis of ourselves.  It might make life a little more simple and a little more enjoyable.

"Too many people run a fast first half, then have to slow down.  An even pace almost always works best."- Jerry Nason, road racer, on how to run a marathon (I tried to find a picture of him, but all I found was a lot of Boston Globe articles, etc that wrote about how Jerry Nason was the person who coined the term Heart Break Hill for Boston Marathon- so pictures of hill and course will have to do)

Kevin's take "It's  true even when you feel rotten .  You drag yourself out of bed to run, barely able to lift a leg without a Herculean labor.  But your time, even on a draggy day, is not so far off from what you usually run.  What's gong on? The answer is pace...All you need to do is settle into the rhythm of your body that day  and go with it".

I find this to be pretty true.  On days I thought I ran faster my time isn't normally that fast, and the days I thought I did crappy the time isn't that far off my normal pace, maybe just a minute or two slower.  This makes it a tad bit challenging to improve one's speed, but being conscious of it will help me strive to push past my normal pace- I hope.

"Nearly all the best things that come to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me."- Carl Sandburg (American writer and editor best known for his poetry and recipient of 3 Pulitzer prizes: 2 for poetry and 1 for biography of Abraham Lincoln)

Kevin's addition to the above. " What's the old saying Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.  Sometimes you can plan and plan and plan and plan for a certain thing to happen, and it never does.  But then something else will occur- the last thing in the world you expected, in fact- and it turns out to be a most surprising, and wonderful, discovery.  Stay open to the possibilities inherent in your life, and you will make lots of happy, surprising discoveries".

Following the above may help with my "flexibility" issue.  To not plan it all would be kind of exhilarating I think- will have to try it sometime :).  Onto May running and racing- next race 10K Pearl Harbor School Oahu,Hawaii- May 13th.  Looking forward to the race and enjoying spending the day with two of my favorite people and two great moms: my sister and my mom.  Hope to have some great running pictures from that trip.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mommy's Project 52: flexible

There are eight words or references that light up employers' eyes: languages, computer, experience, achievement, hard-working, overseas experience, flexible, and task-oriented.

As you can see many people above have their ides about what "flexible" means to them.  I think this is another one of those words that can mean something different to me on any given day. 

 My first recollection of the word brings me back to gymnastics.  I was in gymnastics from age 5- sophomore year in high school.  All those years of gymnastics I never was found to be very "flexible" in the physical nature.  I was not one who could readily just go from a standing position to back bend position.  I never could sit on the floor with my legs out in front of me and toes pointed and lie flat and rest on my legs let alone reach my arms, extended, out to lie next to my legs on the floor.  I also strained to sit on the floor holding both my legs out to the side in a "V" position.  My coaches tried to work with me by pushing on my back, lightly but firmly, when reaching out to grasp my toes  or with helping me hold a bridge longer and longer in that above mentioned back bend position.  I never made tons of progress and that is why my tumbling, floor-ex and balance beam routines were less than stellar,  but I made up for it on the vault and bars where flexibility isn't really needed as much, but instead power and strength are required.

Then there is Yoga.  I was introduced to Yoga right before getting pregnant with my oldest.  My instructor was phenomenal and very focused on form and less on "flow" aka working up a sweat.  She was instrumental on helping me conquer beginner poses and moving onto more challenging ones.  She was the one who alerted me to the fact that I tended to hold my head to one side more than the other in a slight, but noticeable to her way- again inflexible posture.  I learned a lot in those first classes and continued on with Yoga throughout my first pregnancy.  It not only improved my flexibility- physically, but it was a de-stressor hence helping my mental flexibility.  I miss that instructor and that class and have yet to get back into Yoga on a weekly basis.  The money is a major deterrent to get back into it and the inflexibility of my schedule with the Yoga studios' schedule is another issue.  One day I hope to get back to Yoga, because I do indeed think it helps both my mental and physical "flexibility".

Lastly, I think of "flexibility" as something I clearly lack.  I don't handle being "flexible" mentally very well at all.  I don't think I'm Triple Type A- Type AAA, but I definitely am an A-AA in the liking my daily schedule a certain way.  I know I've voiced it before, but when I think of my inflexibility mentally I go right to the example of my kid's sleeping.  When my oldest was born he was a challenging baby and rarely slept.  I was not flexible with his sleeping style- or lack there of it.  So when at 3-4 weeks of age and still none of those long 2-3 hour naps twice daily (one in the a.m. and one after lunch) I had read about along with going to bed at 8pm and sleeping not all night, but not waking up until 3 a.m. (I know I had probably read too many parenting books or talked to too many people who had "perfect" children).  I really thought I was losing it and looking back I was losing it.  I didn't crave having another child like a couple of my neighbors and good friends at that time were boasting craving after having their firsts.  I craved going back to work and no more breastfeeding so I didn't have to be responsible to sooth his cries during the night (yep- we tried the binky/aka pacifier, but again he wanted none of that)- so my hubby, the more flexible of the two in this situation would let me go to sleep around 10 pm while he took my oldest down into the basement  and would rock him incessantly while trying to get him to fall to sleep ( that was the other kicker besides not liking the binky he hated being swaddled so my hubby would lie him in his lap on a pillow and rock, rock, rock while either watching TV or surfing the internet). Meanwhile I two floors above would put the fan on full blast to drown out his whaling.  To this day it drives me insane when my kids don't go to sleep when I think they should.  I lose my temper quickly and again hubby normally comes to their saving and mine.  Sometimes I think if I were more "flexible" and didn't get so hung up on schedules life might be nicer, but changing that is hard.  I'm learning though and try to handle the "sleep" situations better each and every time they occur (which knock on wood they are rarely occurring now).  

I also think being "flexible" is, for me, being more "tolerant" and sometimes I'm just not a very "tolerant" person.  Somehow being more "flexible" and easy going I think would help me with my tolerance, but I'm not sure I want to battle that one in this post.  So to add to my never-ending, "better my life to do list" being more physically and mentally "flexible" would gain me great ground in overall happiness.  Being "inflexible" I think is definitely a trait that can age you and I'm not getting any younger so I best starting working on my "flexibility".

Monday, April 23, 2012


for the email about being in Europe and needing money.  yep- my account got hacked.  So I have reset things, which I hope will help.  Oh- these hackers- wish they had more to do with their lives.  Hope you have a good Monday.  Natalie

Email has been hacked...

I apologize to any of you that have recieved email from me requesting funds due to being in Spain and being without money... Yep someone got access to my hotmail and now I have no connection because I don't keep a list of my emails and so have no way to connect with my Peeps and let them know I have no email. 

I find this kind of ironic because just last night I was reading a NYTimes article about how all the social media has made us get away from having "conversation".  We are so into connecting through social media: Facebook, Email, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs, etc that we don't have actual "conversation" anymore.  So I'm kind of panicked because I have no way to connect with my family and friends, but I think this hacking is a sign that I need to a. back up my contact list so if this happens again I can let my friends/family know I'm alive and well b. need to get back to "conversation" and not rely on social media to connect with friends. 

Again- sorry for the annoying hacking email.  I seriously want to know why people Hack anyways- wish these people could get a life!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mommy's project 52: emotional

This adjective could be one of the most used adjectives to describe me.  From a very early age I remember being given this descriptor along with the infamous "demanding" adjective- but I'll leave "demanding" for another day.  

Emotional- I use to think that this adjective was negative, demeaning, and meant weakness.  However, I have started to embrace this adjective in my old age and see it more as a positive word.  For over the years of my "emotional" nature and being I have found this being "emotional" means- passionate, caring, observant, and hopefully lives life fully- or at least is always "demanding" a full life.  

Now my "emotional" being has not always been positive.  When I'm exhausted and if I don't go to bed right away watch out -the tears flow freely.  I also have identified that when I'm tired/over extended my "emotional" side makes me not handle being a mom in the most positive light- I end up raising my voice and being short with my kids. This is something I'm trying to work on.  However, my "emotional" being started long ago.

Since I was young I have always struggled with losing at games be them small or big: checkers against my dad during elementary school (dad wouldn't let me win and so mom finally had to take the checkers board away from us), losing high school volleyball matches, losing against my boyfriend in a friendly game of "pick up" tennis (side note my tears on the tennis court didn't drive him away and we've been happily married for 13 years, but we avoid playing tennis too often).

My emotional reaction to watching "Bambi" in the theaters was foreshadowing of many tears shed at movie watching for years to come.  My mom likes to tell the story that while all the other kids in the theater were running around watching the movie I was transfixed with the movie and couldn't fathom that Bambi's mom dies.  Tears were shed.  Then a few years later I went and watched "E.T.".  My sister, mom and dad got to not only witness tears in the theater, but the tears continued for at least 40 minutes after the movie had ended and we were driving home from the show.   Lets just say I let things really sink into me.  I need to do a better job seeing the beauty in this "emotional" state of true connect with the present experience.  I know continued tears 40 minutes after E.T. might be kind of concerning to some of you, but I really felt for E.T. and Elliot and couldn't get over how he lost a friend. 

Maybe that is why I take losing friends in real life so hard.  See when you are friends with an "emotional" person they give you their all- and if you aren't an "emotional" person it is hard to understand that and so it makes it hard when the friendship dissolves because the less "emotional" one walks away with no shed tears and me well I'm likely "stewing" over what went wrong many years later.  However, if you stay friends with me- the "emotional" being- you have someone who would do anything for you and likes true presence in "friendship"- meaning not a B.S. sort of relationship.  

I think the hardest thing for me to see is how my oldest child has my "emotional" nature.  You never want to see what you think are the "worst" parts of you in your child.  I know I just got done saying how my "emotional" being is a positive thing, not negative, but when it comes to witnessing your kiddo break down when he loses at "PIG" out on the driveway, if he misses 1 spelling word on his spelling test, or when tears comes to his eyes when Hans Solo gets put in carbonite at the end of the "The Empire Strikes Back".  So I'm not only learning how to see my "emotional" being as positive, but also trying to help my son learn how to accept his "emotional" being.  I'm hoping to help him use this "emotional" adjective to be "passionate, caring, observant and lives life to its fullest".  

Took me over an hour to try and accurately edit this post to reflect just how "passionate"- "emotional" I am about this Mommy's Project topic. I was also watching "Lethal Weapon 1" with hubby while typing so a little distracted, but no worries I didn't shed any tears during the movie. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Good Earth

The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. The best selling novel in the United States in both 1931 and 1932, it was an influential factor in Buck winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Sons (1932) and A House Divided(1935).- taken from Wikipedia

This book has been in my little book of "to reads" for quite awhile.  I really had no idea what the book was about.  For some reason I thought it was about people during the great depression.  I was totally off.  This novel whose main character Wang Lung is a Chinese farmer and is the story of his life- starting in young adulthood and until the end of his life.  I thought it was a very easy read and flowed very nicely.  The story looks at so many topics of a real life: marriage, bringing children into the world, poverty, famine, work, leisure/pleasure, and death.  I was unaware that this was the first book in a trilogy and I may be reading the other two soon.  I am amazed that the author is not Chinese, but American, however, she lived many of her early years in China with her missionary parents.  So she pulled from that experience her ability to write about these Chinese people, their customs, and their character.  I really did enjoy this book and if you are up for a novel which reads somewhat like an epic this one is for you.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Want to get faster...

So when I first started running I kind of did it the backwards way- I "went for broke"- I started with one 8K and then went onto the marathon-2003.  Now some would say...
(actually the Another Mother Runner's Podcast has voiced twice over the year I've been listening to them- that ramping up is the smartest way to train- they say to start with 5K, move to 10K and then 1/2, and then full- they have pretty much said those that don't are going to fail- this is one area I disagree with them- sorry digression)...
that starting with a marathon is just silly and gluten for punishment and worse injury and worse the desire to never run another marathon.

I guess I'm kind of strange, because the opposite occurred for me, well sort of.  I did get hurt my first training  for the Chicago marathon.  About a month out  from race day I thought I stress fractured my right foot and went into get it checked out by orthopod and found out instead I had just really torqued off a muscle running down the lateral portion of my  right ankle- steroid shot into side of right foot, rest for couple of weeks- back in the saddle and ran my first marathon in 5:15:45.  I'll never forget crossing the finish line and tears of shock, happiness and pride streaming down.  Fast forward 9 years later (wow- writing that makes me realize how fast time flies by)- I'm wanting to run Chicago FASTER!  No- not BQ (Boston Qualifier) fast, just faster.

So here are a couple of ideas- didn't come up with these on my own, but have added my own comments- on how I'm going to accomplish a faster time.
1. Speed Work incorporated into my weekly mileage- in the past I've been pretty content to just put the miles in.  However, after reading and listening up on how a runner gets faster I've found speed work sounds like a major key.  I've avoided speed work in the past because, well mainly because the math intimidates me- I know laugh, laugh, laugh, but I don't always have the greatest track (no pun intended) record counting laps and add in 4 x 400, 4 x 800, 4 x 200, and pace that you are suppose to run all of those "meters" in and I just get intimidated.  So to make it easier on me I have found some somewhat easy treadmill and track work outs to follow.  These "interval" runs will have me work on bursts of speed.   The following is one I found on the Another Mother Runner site under Treadmill Training workouts.  I did it the other night, modified a little (didn't do that long of a warm up or cool down), but overall got in a good workout and ran fast.

The Good, the Bad, and the Painful

“The good = sustained running at goal pace;
The bad = sustained running at goal pace since the treadmill doesn’t allow you to slow down;
The Painful = 3-2-1 minutes faster than goal pace.”
Janet, another mother runner
—Warm up at an easy pace for 5-10, then increase speed to goal pace
—Run 6 minutes @ goal pace, recover at easy pace for 3 minutes
—Run 4 minutes @ goal pace, recover at easy pace for 2 minutes
—Run 2 minutes @ goal pace, recover at easy pace for 1 minute
—Run easy for 2 minutes
—Run 3 minutes @ pace that’s slightly faster than goal pace, recover for 1.5 minutes
—Run 2 minutes @ slightly faster pace, recover for 1 minute
—Run 1 minute @ slightly faster pace, recover 30 seconds
—Cool down for at least 5 minutes.

I also recently read Hal Higdon's 4th edition of "Marathon" and in his area on speed work outs I found this one and thought - o.k. even little old me can follow it- or at least I hope I can.

Head to track and jog 1st 4 laps and then run 200 meters hard followed by 200 meters easy (do this 3 more times) and that's why he calls it "8 lap track run".  

So yes- speed workout needs to be incorporated.

2. Cross training- This, as most of you know, helps balance and work on other body mechanics and muscles in your body that running doesn't use or work on.  O.K. I know this, but it doesn't magically make me want to jump on the bike, swim laps, or bust out the Bob Harper DVD.  So to motivate me into adding cross training to my weekly workout schedule I sign up for a sprint Tri that occurs August- so minimum I have to start in June swimming and biking on regular basis or basically I "flop" at the "Tri".  It helps that my hubby already has added cross training to his weekly routine (biking and good old Bob Harper DVD).  In fact he just finished one tonight and wanted to know "when are you going to join me".  So like anything if you want to get it done you have to make it a priority- something I will work on.
3. Run, Run, Run- yep not only means you have to work on speed work as noted in #1, but also you have to put in the mileage.  So it isn't always how fast you run, but in your training how much you run.  I think that in general I feel like a stronger runner going into this "training season" because of how I continued to run even after the marathon last October and through the cold winter months.  
4. Rest days are for rest- as many of us runners do we lead not only lives of runners, but of workers, parents, laborers (in our own home :).  Now I know I'm not some elite runner who needs to do two a days and come home and nap between training periods, but I do think consciously making sure I don't work too hard the day before my long run may make a difference. So how do you really rest, well I'm going to try and take the day off from manual labor (yard work, housework, etc) the day before my long runs.  So this may take some planning and adjusting my schedule, but I think it will help me run more efficiently on those long run days.  
5. Nutrition- If I eat healthier would I a. lose weight b. feel more energized c. be healthier d. I hope all of the above.  No I'm not a runner because I want to lose weight, but I do like that it keeps my weight in check.  However, I like some runners fall into that trap of "I just ran 13 miles so I can drink and eat whatever I want".  This of course is emotional eating- another digression did you know if you type in emotional to Google the first word that pops up following emotional is eating, feel like I already informed you of this, but still I think that is fascinating and telling to where our society is at.  So again I went looking for answers to how to improve my nutrition as a runner.  The one book Hal Higdon references and speaks about highly in the "Marathon" book was "Sports Nutrition Guidebook" by Nancy Clark Rd.  Unfortunately neither of my two libraries I frequent have this book and I'm just not sure I want to fork out the money for this book.  I have checked out Runner's World's nutrition area on-line which has some good articles, but I think what I'm really looking for is nutritional analysis of my input by a sport's nutritionist, but again not ready to fork out that cash.  So for now I'm focusing on moderation, eating fruits and vegetables, avoiding sweets on daily basis, drinks only on weekend (exception occasional girls night out during the week), and keeping hydrated with H2O.

So those are the five I've put down on my "getting faster" list.  The one I'm most intimidated by is the cross training in all seriousness.  However, I read a quote on a blog I follow the other day "runwithjess" and Jess said she likes to do cross training because it makes her feel like an "athlete not just a runner".  I liked that idea. Before I was a runner I was an athlete (volleyball, gymnastics, softball- o.k. I know that was back in the 90's, but I was an athlete) and so an athlete I will again become. 

Last  but not least, in order to "get faster" I may have to do some further math by looking at what running pace I should be running at to grant me a certain finish time for races.  There is a great pacing calculator that is free and easy to use.  You can find it at  Below is the example I put in using my best Marathon race time (4:23:21) and it tells you pretty much anything you need to know in order to get that finish time.  It also tells you what pace you should run for different workouts (speed, interval, long distance, etc).  

Your Equivalent Performances

2 Miles
3 Miles
4 Miles
5 Miles
10 Miles
1/2 Mara
15 Miles
20 Miles
25 Miles

Your Optimal Training Paces

Endurance Workouts
Recovery Jogs
11:34 to 12:04
7:11 to 7:30
Long Runs
10:34 to 11:34
6:34 to 7:11
Easy Runs
10:34 to 11:04
6:34 to 6:52
Stamina Workouts
Steady-State Runs
9:32 to 9:49
5:56 to 6:06
Tempo Runs
9:08 to 9:32
5:41 to 5:56
Tempo Intervals
9:01 to 9:20
5:37 to 5:48
Cruise Intervals
8:57 to 9:08
6:40 to 6:49
5:34 to 5:41
4:27 to 4:33
3:20 to 3:24
2:13 to 2:16
Middle Distance Runners
Long Distance Runners
1:56.3 to 2:01.3
1:58.6 to 2:05.5
3:57.2 to 4:08.2
4:07.8 to 4:19.4
5:09.8 to 5:24.2
5:17.5 to 5:29.7
6:12.2 to 6:29.0
6:20.9 to 6:40.3
8:27.9 to 8:47.5
8:38.7 to 8:57.8
10:48.4 to 11:07.1
10:59.3 to 11:12.3
Middle Distance Runners
Long Distance Runners
24.0 to 26.4
25.1 to 27.6
50.1 to 55.1
51.4 to 56.5
1:15.2 to 1:26.9
1:17.2 to 1:27.9
1:45.5 to 1:57.2
1:50.3 to 1:58.6
2:45.4 to 2:57.9
2:53.8 to 3:01.9
m = meters
Mi = miles
Km = kilometers

Well I never knew I would be posting on speed work or interval training or pace calculators in my lifetime, but the
thing is I need a new goal, more than just putting in the miles, I want to improve the quality of my running
and I think all five above goals really are about continuing to improve my overall health.