Monday, September 13, 2010
Our local NPR station has continued the popular national, "In This I Believe" series. It sums up my thoughts on cycling perfectly. Enjoy.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This past Thursday was the first "teaser" run in a series leading up to the Mountainback Ultramarathon (50 miles). The Nittany Valley Running Club offers the "Tussey Teasers", not races, so that runners can get acquainted with the course prior to running the race--either solo or as a relay team.
Thursday was Leg 1: 3.2 miles up the mountain; 3.2 miles down the mountain. I ran this leg before and when I finished, I could barely walk. My quads were totally spent. I remember folding myself into the car slowly and then taking three times as long trying to get out of the car when I made a stop at the grocery store. I shuffled through the aisles. The next two days, I had a great deal of difficulty walking and going up and down stairs.
This yearís run was still a challenge. A little over a mile into the race, I was feeling its affects. My legs were beginning to tighten up and I was carrying some tension in my shoulders. I shook my arms out and walked a short distance. Those nasty, little negative thoughts were starting, ďWhew, donít know if I can make it. Iím falling behind; Iím going to be last. Iím going to be hurting tomorrow.Ē
Then I made a decision. I could (1) complain the rest of the run, (2) quit and turn around, or (3) put on my happy face and have a good time. The first and third choices were real options; the second was not. I chose option 3. I read a daily blog, ďLiving with FlairĒ that brings sunshine to my day. It starts my day in the right frame of mind and itís a reminder that we should strive to find the good, the unexpected, the ďflairĒ in everything we do. Itís always there, but it might take a little soul searching to find it. So, I decided to find the flair in this challenging run.
It really wasnít difficult. It was a beautiful evening, the road was shaded, the forest was lush, birds were singing, I was having a shared experience with 30-40 other runners, I'm strong and healthy, and as I got closer to the top of the mountain, the sunset was promising to be spectacular. And the best flair momentónoticing that everyone who was now running down the mountain was going fast and had a huge smile. They had earned their reward for working hard and conquering the mountain and they were having fun.
When I reached the summit, two other runners were there catching their breaths. I took a moment to say hello, exchange a few remarks about making it to the top, and then I headed back down. Running fast, but not too fast, watching that I didnít slip on any loose gravel.
Unfortunately, about two thirds of the way down, my calves began to cramp. I didnít have enough Gatorade. I slowed down a lot, but had to walk the last quarter mile to keep the cramps from getting too severe. I was disappointed, but I didnít lose the flair. It was still a fun run and I loved the challenge.
I finished in 1:20:18. My reward was an ice cream cone and a large diet Pepsi on the way homeónot the most nutritious dinneróbut a very satisfying one. My legs didnít cramp on the way home, but as soon as I got into bed, they started again. I drank Gatorade and water all night long--they cramped until 3:30 a.m. Between the cramping and running to the bathroom every 30 minutes, it was 4:30 until I fell asleep. The Flair: reading several more chapters of The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and Runners World magazine, and falling asleep just as the birds began their morning songs.
Other than the leg cramps, I had very little soreness. The lower body workouts at the gym are definitely helping to build strength and endurance. The quads didnít even know they had had a workout. Some more Flair!!!
In everything you do, find your Flair.
Monday, August 02, 2010
During my appointment with the nutritionist, I mentioned that I strain plain no-fat or low-fat yogurt to get a consistency more like Greek yogurt. She asked if I knew what was in the liquid that I was straining out--could I be losing key nutrients in the yogurt.
Well, I didn't know the answer to that, so I contacted Dannon Yogurt, since that's the brand I buy, and here's what I was told.
4 fluid ounces of whey (the liquid) contains:
1 gram protein
7 grams carbohydrate and
130 milligrams of calcium
My concern was that I might be losing a great deal of the protein. Since that's not the case, I will continue straining it, being careful not to strain it too much thereby losing more of the protein.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
I hold triathletes in the highest regard. You could say I'm in awe of them. And now they sit a bit higher on the pedestal after I did my first brick today in preparation for the September 12 Women in the Wild Adventure Challenge, a 12 mile bike race, 5 mile run, followed by an obstacle course that promises clothes so dirty you'll have to throw them away.
When I started out this morning, my plans were to take an easy 20 mile bike ride through some scenic countryside. But I felt like I had a little more in me, so I threw on my running shoes and headed out for a one-mile run. My first brick.
Hmm, I thought, this isn't so hard, I wonder what everyone is talking about when they say how tough the transition from biking to running can be. Two long blocks later, reality set in. Of course it's easy when you're running down hill !
But when I hit the flat section, I could feel the heaviness in my legs. My quads were tight and the inner thighs felt exhausted. I felt like I was carrying a load of bricks; really, really heavy bricks.
As I got used to the transition, it got a little better. Even my lungs cooperated today. To get home, I had to run up the hills that were so easy to run down in the beginning. I pushed myself up most of the hills, and wanted to collapse on the front lawn. I finished 2.25 miles. I managed to keep walking for a cool down. Is it nap time yet?
Friday, July 30, 2010
I tried, but I couldn't wait to August 1 to test out the broken toe on a short run. It's been more than 5 weeks. X-rays confirmed that it is broken (I waited 4 weeks before having it x-rayed) and beginning to heal.
I was walking the dog last night and I had a powerful urge to start running. I thought it would pass by, but it kept getting stronger. I tried to talk myself into waiting just a few more days, but I finally gave in.
A fellow runner advised me not to worry about getting back into running. He promised that my muscles would still have the memory of running and it wouldn't be much effort to advance my mileage. And I think he's right--my legs felt great. Each lap, without effort, became faster. I finished the mile in 9:39--way faster than I had anticipated. My lungs, however, don't have such a great memory. I was doing a lot of heavy breathing.
This weekend I'll do some biking and maybe just another mile or two run around the track. It feels good to be running again.
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