Monday, August 27, 2012

Haven't Posted in a While

I've got about t-minus 5 weeks to go before the big Chicago Marathon.  

I've basically fulfilled my St. Jude charity commitment, so I'm happy there.

And one more thing.

I love distance running.  I love running for miles at a time.  Why?  Because you can start slow and feel horrible.  But around mile 4 or 5, it gets better.  The legs begin to pump.  The lungs flare up with oxygen at a calm rhythm.  And then you're good to go.  For miles.

Because that's the thing.  In a run that's 10 miles long, you can stumble and fumble for the first few miles, but you have to have the courage and the strength to keep putting one leg after the other until you're ready to do your best.

It just takes a while sometimes.

This is the biggest lesson I've learned this Summer while training.  To just keep going.  To ignore that voice in your head that continues to murmur, "I'm not ready."  Because you'll get there.  You just have to keep gonig.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back in Houston: The Real Training Begins

Time (Minutes)
Comments on Workouts
Insanity Asylum, Speed and Agility, + 4 miles
GREAT.  I can't do speed training anymore :[
Insanity Asylum, Strength + 6 miles
Strength felt great, although I now know what it feels like to be a true blue runner.  No muscle
Yoga X + 4 miles

So this has been my workout schedule for the past three days.  As you can see, mileage has significantly decreased, but time and intensity has significantly increased.

This is all part of my new phase in training.  Building strength, power, and endurance in my overall body--especially my legs because they need more plyometrics training to increase their elasticity (their ability to quickly strike the ground and spring back up like a rubber band).  The greater elasticity in the legs, the easier it will be for me to keep a swift/fast pace especially in the last 6-8 miles of the marathon, when muscles are tired and worn out).

I'll be sacrificing mileage for now, until around two weeks from now, when I should be able to hit 8-10 miles immediately after an insanity workout, if not completely do away with insanity workouts and just do general strength and add more mileage.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inspirational Quotes: Running and Hitting the Pavement

Two great quotes to keep you going when you're feeling under the weather or second-guessing yourself about your up coming run of the day:

Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.  
Joe Henderson, running coach and author 

If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter. I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to. 
Emil Zatopek, Olympic runner 
Get these daily quotes from Runner's World Running Quote of the Day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Funny Funny Running Stories

I came across Runner's World's discussion board, "Strange Encounters with Nonrunners While Running."

Here are a few posts:
I had a junior high school aged boy wave me down only to say "Hey, your legs are so white they would blind Jesus"!
I had a snorkel (of all things) almost hit me on a run.   It was an accident by some kids horseplaying at a pool my route takes me by.   
While trying out a new route (alone), I encountered a possibly insane man sitting in a lawn chair on the side of the road, cheering for me like it was a parade.  I wasn't really sure how to react, so I smiled and waved!!!
I had 1 guy offer me a beer on a hot day, and women cheer me from an outside deck of a bar. I once ran a relay in NH and saw pigs escape from the a farm as I ran by onto the main road. 

Let me tell you about one of my running stories (it's more of a horror/scary story, to be honest).

I was running along the Houston bayous behind my old high school at around 5 AM, and as I turn my head to the left, I see this figure wearing white shorts, white shoes, and a white t-shirt.  But that's all I could see.  No skin or anything.  It was 5 AM, and it was pretty dark.

The figure looked like my XC Coach, so I yelled out, "Coach!"  I Looked down for a second to make sure I didn't trip or hit something, and when I look back up, the figure was gone!

At this point, I'm pretty sure I just saw a running ghost.  I slowly stopped...---and then I booked it back home fartlek style.  I think it was my longest and fastest fartlek to date.

I'm Drinking Beet Juice Before the Marathon

I'm drinking beet juice before my marathon.  And probably a lot when I get back home.

Here's why:

In a recent study, cyclists drank beet juice or a placebo for six days. The next day they rode for an hour and then raced a 10-K time trial. Those who drank beet juice rode faster, cycled harder, and used less oxygen during the trial. Researchers credit the athletic boost to nitrate found in beet juice, which indirectly increases blood flow.,7120,s6-242-300--14439-0,00.html?cm_mmc=NL-Nutrition-_-997278-_-08022012-_-The-Value-of-Juice
A recent study found drinking two cups of beet juice (which has a high nitrate level) daily for six days may decrease the oxygen your muscles need, thus improving endurance.,7120,s6-242-300--13352-0,00.html

I'm convinced.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Running Hills: Oh Geez...AGAIN?

I've been living in Ann Arbor, Michigan for about 8 weeks now at a summer program, and if there's one thing I won't miss:  It's the HILLS.

I'm a converted Texan going to school in Chicago.  You know one thing they have in common?  FLATNESS.

But I've been running through the hillacious Ann Arbor--and I've come up with a few ways to really get excited about hill workouts.  Luckily, Runner's World provides a great summary:

"Running hills doesn't have to mean repeats," says Lt. Colonel Liam Collins, assistant track and cross-country coach at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. "The trick is to make it enjoyable." Plot out a new route that has a couple of hills (if you live in terrain untouched by the Thunderbirds, incorporate artificial hills, such as overpasses or even parking garage ramps). You'll reap the same benefits, says Collins, plus, "It's closer to what you'll find in a race."

Storied inclines like Peachtree's Cardiac Hill and Dipsea's Dynamite may be no tougher than your neighborhood hill, but because they've been imbued with a name, they've acquired a mystique. "Anytime you have a hill with a name, it gives it a life of its own," Collins says. Conquering your local version of Heartbreak will have more meaning if you've given it a moniker.

I gotta tell ya, hills can be fun if you make them.  And after a while, they'll feel like the usual.  Once that kicks in, if you're running on the flat surfaces of Texas or Illinois, oh, you'll feel pretty fast.

And you may miss the hills eventually.

But don't forget another benefit of hillacious runs.  When you descend, relax and open your stride, practicing on your recovery after a hill and most importantly speedwork and control.