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April 2008

Handling running fatigue

Tomorrow’s Take It And Run Thursday is in reverse.  Instead of dropping off your thoughts on a topic, leave a question.   No question is too basic or too advanced for everyone to consider.  After all, we're runners--tenacious, resourceful, and helpful. You’ll have the collective wisdom and experience of dozens of runners.  Just leave what you’d like help answering.

Flat_tire_2 My question: How do you battle fatigue? 

Remember when we first started running and what it was like to conquer the first distances?  When running a partial mile turned into a full mile, and then two miles gave way to three, four, and more miles?  Our bodies adapted to the fatigue and soreness and became capable of more mileage, faster paces, and easier recovery.

My mileage these days is a fraction of what I’ve been capable of for many years, and it feels like way too much effort and fatigue for what I’m accomplishing.  It feels like I'm running on flat tires.  Worse, it feels like I’m starting all over again. 

I'm not opposed to working hard at my running, and I suppose it’s healthy to re-experience the challenges of ramping up my running mileage and speed.  Maybe I'm still getting the kinks out from winter running and still carrying those winter pounds. But some of the occasional ease or cruising down the road and even the sensation of "floating" is missing.

Looking forward to the questions everyone drops off tomorrow and for any insight and tips on handling the fatigue of running.

Flat tire on flickr.com by timpgh

Warning! Cranky mom...coming through

Yesterday, one of my kids said something to this effect:


So I did.   

And afterwards?  My kids seemed a little bit cuter.  My husband seemed to be a better listener.  My dog didn't smell so bad.   My house seemed a little bit cleaner.  My to do list seemed a bit more manageable.  My tummy seemed a little smaller.  The weather didn't annoy me quite so much.  My Diet Coke was a bit more bubbly.   Work seemed almost tolerable.   My son's video games almost made sense.  The inside of my car didn't smell like dirty kid feet.  My unmowed lawn resembled a beautiful native prairie land instead of an untamed jungle.  Little Pony hair/makeup time didn't make me want to scream.   Someone mentioned I wasn't so grouchy.  Life was better.

Yep, life is good - if you run. 

You know the words to this song!   Join in and sing a verse of your own...

Tshirt on cafepress.com

The Best and Brief about Running

Whew!  There's been some pretty powerful thinking about running going on these days.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their running insights for Take It And Run Thursday.  Capturing running wisdom in a single statement and in 13 words is no small feat—most cryptic text messages are longer than that.

Runners shared several dozen gems of inspiration, common sense, coaching, and even some humor, so naturally we want to share them with you.  Each blogger's explaining comments are equally profound, so you'll want to enjoy reading the context for their insights.

Lou:  Ease your mind and let your body do the hard work for you.

Run At The Mouth:  How you spend your time tells the world just what you value.

Mike:  All a runner needs are a pair of shoes and somewhere to run...

Nat:  Power. Beauty. Strength.  To these I add the following 10: Courage, Determination, discipline, Communion, Solitude, Simplicity, Move, Be, Believe, Rest

Please train smart, rest more often,  listen to your body, and race hard!

Status quo is never enough. Keep pushing yourself to new goals and heights.

Oktree:  Runners are everyday people with a superhuman addiction to training, endorphins and life.

Rob:  Success in running is all about getting out the door

Kaeti: You may never simultaneously love and hate something more than running.

Irish Cream:  Somewhere, someone busier than you is training right now." (or something like that)

Coffee Betsy:  Don't overtrain. Just because you physically can doesn't mean you should. 

Eat Drink Run Woman: 

23-mile run
Hot July air; the result?
Sweat stains on my boobs

Heather:  The hardest part of running is quieting the voice that says “I can’t.

K80K:  Few things in life will feel as long as 26.2 miles in 6:59:50.

Kara:  When the run gets tough, shorten my stride and look above the horizon.

Andi:  The difference between a runner and a jogger is a race entry form.

The Laminator:  The Secret to Running Success: Run Your Own Race and Know Your Limits.

Bryan:  Just get out there. Nobody says that they wish they hadn't run today.

Database Diva:  You can run through your problems, but not away from them.

David H:  Be smart. Listen to your body. It's always right.


Inspiration For Your Weekend Run

As we wind down another week in the Lounge, it wouldn't be complete without a shout out to our Boston Marathon finishers to round the salute in the early part of the week!   Qualifying for Boston is an accomplishment and finishing Boston is a dream for so many runners.   Lucky for us, our Lounger friends have taken time to share their story and recap the race.   I feel like I ran the race even though I wasn't there!

To be fair, I should warn you that these race reports are downright inspiring.  Even a pokey Boston_medal runner like me had the visions of Boston in her eyes after gorging myself on these race reports.  It made my afternoon run one of my fastest on record this year.

Here are a few:

Bill - A fantastic story of the Boston Marathon in two parts (Part I, Part 2).  The title, "The Privilege of Being a Runner" gives you a sense of the joy he is feeling

Nitmos - Warm up with his tales of a taco gone bad on his trip to Boston and then run along with him through a good first half and those dreaded cramps on the second

Reid - Titled, "I get my courage from the crowds" he shares his trip into Boston and how the crowd helped keep him going.  I know it is a little late, but, for what it is worth, I was yelling "Go Ax!" as I read the post.  And love the pictures! (And the pic of the medal - right).

Heather - One of the most moving race reports I have read.   I don't know if it was the story, her writing or the fact that I felt like I was right there at mile 24 when she writes, "I hate everything. I hate life. And I hate running most of all."  It's good to know it isn't just me that has those moments - even great runners have that fleeting thought.  But don't take that quote to mean Heather quit or didn't do a great job - she ran a wonderful race!

Dave Fleet - Watch his race report in his video version of his post.  My favorite part - outside of the race details - is how he explains that he wrote his name in marker on his arms and now he has an extra sun suvenior from the race.

And if you are still in need of inspiration, or the little nudge to remind you that your weekend run isn't that far, check out SLB's race report of the Leona 50 miler.  It's hard to wrap my head around running for more than 11 hours, on purpose.  :}

No wait...maybe 11 hours could be doable....I was just reminded that Paul Staso is taking off in a few days for his 620 mile run across Montana.  No biggee for him...he ran across the US with just a jogging stroller.   

Puts it all in perspective, no?

Take It and Run Thursday: In 13 words or less...

Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday!

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is .... In 13 words or less..    

Share your best lesson you have learned about running.  And do it in 13 words or less.  Think of it as 13 word Thursday.   Just like every runner has a story, I know every runner has a lesson learned about running.  Some learned easier than others - but all helpful to share.

Just post your name and the title/topic of your post in the first spot and the link to your post in the second spot.     And then read and enjoy!

Next Week's Theme is ... Backwards Take It and Run Thursday.   Instead of posting wisdom, post a question you have about your running, training, racing, gear, hydration, etc that you need help answering.   Maybe you are looking for suggestions on the perfect hydration belt, a flat/fast fall marathon, a 10k training plan, or how to get rid of an ache/pain or injury - whatever it is, post it and tell others what you need help with.  And of course, next week - you can stop by and help others with their questions.

Click here for a list of great posts on running advice in 13 words or less.

Running Insights in 13 words.

This week we're limiting our Take It And Run Thursday to "13 Words About Running."  It's challenging and fun.  I bent the rules a bit by creating several different 13-word bytes.

Life's rewards begin with stopping what we’re doing and taking time to run.

When I meet a wonderful person, chances are good they are a runner.

Running allows us to experience the full life of mind, body, and spirit.

Please join us tomorrow and on drop off a 13-word nugget of wisdom.

Try Something New Today!

I am getting warmed up for the Take It and Run Thursday theme this week of 13 words of advice.... here it goes:

The secret to great running is to never stop trying.  Try something today!

Try something new.  Try something different.   Run a different course, plan to run a different race.  Run a new pace - slower or faster.  Run with someone different.  Run and walk.  Bike and then run.   

You will never know what you can do if you never try.   And what's the worst thing that can happen if you try?   I guarantee the result if you don't try is much worse.

Recognition for Boston Marathoners

Boston_marathon_2 With today’s running of the Boston Marathon, it’s hard to put into words the excitement, challenge, and sense of accomplishment the participants will feel.

I’ve had the privilege of running Boston and there’s nothing quite like it.  It oozes with tradition. Out of respect for the marathoners who will be telling their stories, I’ll leave the race details to them.  But here are perhaps a few lesser-known notes about the Boston Marathon.

Humble Transportation.  Like nervous school kids, the runners take a one-hour ride on school buses from Tremont Square to Hopkinton, for the start of the race.

Modest Start.  Hopkinton is a sleepy little New England town west of Boston where the race starts on a nondescript two-lane highway .  Nothing fancy.  Just steeped in marathon tradition.  See Scenes From the Starting Line.

Quiet Miles.  Believe it or not, there are stretches in the early miles where there are no spectators along the course.  It's just rural.

Waiting Grounds. The race honors the marathoners by staging an Athlete’s Village, which is the campus of the local high school converted into a tented community to relax and concentrate.

Another Tradition.  There is always a Red Sox game at Fenway Park on marathon day.  Texas plays at 10:30 this morning.

It’s a holiday. The Boston Marathon is run on Patriot’s Day, which is a state holiday in Massachusetts commemorating the ride of Paul Revere.

A Lonely Marathon for One.  The race director runs the marathon later in the day, alone, with no media, starting hours after the race has finished.

The Hills are Alive.  Most of us have heard about the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill.  But there is also a stretch known as “Hell’s Alley” around mile 15, which beats up the runner.

Once more on Hills.  If your heart goes out to runners on the grueling hills, put your heart in the right place.  The reality is running down hill hurts far worse than running up.  Why?  Because careening down hill means constantly braking with your legs.  On my Boston experience, I learned to dread the sight of a a downhill and welcomed a chance to run uphill.  Really.

Citgo_sign Public Peeing is Outlawed. Signs by local residents implore runners not to urinate in their yards.  The town is crawling with wonderful volunteers, including cops, who won’t hesitate to fine you on the spot if caught.  You don't have to stop in mid-stream, but they record your race number, check the race registration list for your name, and mail you a nice fine.

A sign you can make it.  The gigantic CITGO sign is a huge emotional marker for runners as they approach downtown Boston, signaling they are within striking distance to make it to the finish on Boylston Street in Copley Square.

Enough background. 

Best wishes to all those running Boston today!

CITGO Sign on Flickr by Global Traveler 2007


A Tribute to Boston Marathoners

Tomorrow is a big day for the running community!  The 112th running of the prestigous Boston_athletic_2 Boston Marathon.   I wish I could say that it is on my list to run someday, but although I am a dreamer, I am a realist as well.   I know I could never meet the qualifying times - just not in my genes (3:45 for my gender/age) - even if the Boston folks recognized my Running Handicap calculator. 

And even though I won't experience it personally, it doesn't dampen my excitement for it as a runner.  I live in awe of runners who are able to qualify, race and compete at Boston.  It is the ordinary runners version of the Super Bowl.  But instead of one champ, thousands will emerge. Its a day that thousands of dreams are made - kinda like Disneyworld for runners.

Outside of TV, internet and newspaper reports, the closest I have been to running Boston was a Monday morning a few years ago when my phone at work rang Monday am as Tom waited at the line in preparation to take off for the race of his dreams.   He took a minute to share his excitement and let me take in the noises around him.  It was really cool!

And this year in the months leading up to Boston, Bill has been kind enough to take me along with him on his training.  This weekend when Art, Nancy and I did our long run, we made sure to run a few good miles for him.   We even did a couple pickup's trying to get to his normal race pace.  We laughed at ourselves because we could only hold it about 100 meters and just when we thought we were flying a little four year old on the trail went sailing by us.   I guess trying to run like Bill isn't as easy as he makes it look.

For all you Boston hopefuls, he is sharing his bib number (#2420) with all of us and allowing us to run along with him.   When the gun goes off on Monday, I guarantee that I will be there in spirit with him as he runs a great race.  As you settle into your Monday, send your best running vibes, energy reserves and well wishes to Boston for the next 24 hours!  Your fellow runners will appreciate it!

Open Mic Friday: Carol

Open_mic_friday We first met Carol (her profile name is coyotegirl) through her stories she submitted through the ExtraOrdinary Runners Awards - Saturday Morning Fever and Running For Two.   We enjoyed her stories and were interested to learn more about the person behind her running.   As you will read, she is a busy mom who is passionate about running with a goal to run a faster 5K (22 min) this year. 

What is your favorite run (a trail, a training run, a distance, an event, etc)?

I love trail running. I run with a group called the Wile E. Coyotes, we're the trail version of the Rockford Roadrunners. I just completed a grueling trail series that consisted of a 5k, 10k, 15k and 20k, one a month from December through March. We braved white-out snow storms, sub-zero temps, knee deep snow drifts, icy and muddy trails, creek crossings, stair climbs, rope climbs, and hills and more hills.

It was collectively the toughest challenge I've been crazyCarol_2  enough to partake in. I loved every minute of it! I've never run a marathon, but the high I got from completing this series will be a tough one to top.

How do you find time to run?

I have a 7 year old, a 3 year old and a 11 month old. I have a graphic design business that I run from home. At home, life is minute by minute, bouncing between my "mommy" role and "graphic designer business woman". Sometimes I can pull it off, other times I realize, I'm not fooling anyone:o) Running helps me know how to laugh at myself, and not take everything so seriously.

My health club has wonderful childcare, so I just plan it into our day. It is my time. It is good for me, therefore good for my children. It is important to get that time apart so I can run off the stress, and regroup, so that when I am with them I can be in the moment and at my best. My little ones need their own time too, so it works out for the best. It is very hard to keep up with our life. When I am running I leave everything else at the door. I push myself hard, and find it very satisfying at the end of the run. Running keeps me healthy and sane. I feel strong, and healthy...I've never felt better. Thankfully, fitness is a priority for my husband too. He  is amazingly supportive. He really makes it possible for me to race. I was never an athlete until now! I love racing and pushing myself. My goal this year is to get a 22 minute 5k. I'll even take a 22:59! It will be hard work, but I'm determined to do it. My best at the end of last year's racing season was a 23:28. We shall see!

The stories you have submitted to RL are so interesting, do you write for a living? 

No, I'm not a writer. I figured out though, that good writing can come through me when I have something important to say.  I'm an artist. I am a mom and a graphic designer by day. I love making art, but don't have much time for it right now with three little ones at home. I believe that creativity is in me and will find it's way out of me whether I plan for it or not. It is fun to see the Carolform it will take when I am not able to let it out in my usual ways.

What keeps you going? 

Passion. I am passionate about everything I do, which is a blessing and a curse. I love it though. I need to have one. If one of my passions gets shut down, a new one imerges.  It was art, but I can't do that right now. I always need to have something that is just mine. Something that challenges me. Something I can be proud of. Something I never thought I could do, or be good at. I just started running about 6 years ago and currently it is my passion. Running is my "thing"! It drives me. I push myself, surprise myself and I have a stronger self because I run.

Now that you won a free pair of shoes, we're curious - what's your favorite running shoe?

I love shoes. I've always loved shoes. I'm embarrassed to say, that the highest heals in my closet are currently training shoes. (and of course, the lowest...racing flats!) I have had a good run with my Asics Gel Cumulis, and Landreth.  Asics Trail Attack for trail running which is my new love.

How do you treat yourself after a good run?

My greatest treat after a run is laughing with friends. I have many great people that I run with. I love to have a cup of coffee after a morning run with my pals. We laugh at ourselves and eachother, we plan our next run and enjoy the great opportunity we've been given, TO RUN! I am grateful for every run.

What is your advice to other runners?

Have fun.

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