Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘run’

Because I love running THIS much…

I’ve been feeling a lot of love for running lately. It’s weird. A few days ago, I was writing something for my business that caused me to reflect on my 12 years of running and it actually brought a tear or two to my eye. (I can be a little sentimental.) I started thinking about where I started, what I’ve experienced, how far I’ve come, and how now, I am at the best “running place” I have ever been. 30 days of consecutive running, no injuries, big gains, and feeling great. Maybe I am finally achieving that consistency I have always strived for.

There are people who, when you tell them you are a runner, ask don’t your knees hurt? Isn’t running boring? Don’t you want to have a family? Isn’t that bad for your health in the long term? 

Well let me just say this…

This morning it started to snow during my run. Last week 10 deer, only 15 feet away, stared at me so I ran past them. I’ve run the streets of Las Vegas at night. I’ve run by the Rocky stairs at night. I’ve seen the sun rise. I’ve seen the sun set. I’ve coached 15 girls to run their first 5K, and I’ve puked during the Boston Marathon. I’ve been chased by a dog (not that fun) and I’ve run in torrential downpours. Once I ran a race through the woods a day after a mini monsoon. I’ve run to the Golden Gate Bridge and I’ve run to the Eiffel Tower. When I was 21, I thought it was completely safe to run the streets of Mexico City alone. Then at the age of 24, I ran the streets of Madrid alone. Two weeks after my wedding, I ran through Switzerland with a broken collarbone. This past April I saw the most beautiful sights while running through the Willamette Valley. Three weeks ago I finished a run with icicles in my hair and no feeling in thumbs. Last week I ran to the wine shop in shorts because they told me if I did, I would get a free glass of wine. I’ve had great races and I’ve had horrible races. Twice, I’ve won a race (for the females) and several times I’ve placed in the top three. (Actually, the only trophy I own is from running and I plan to always keep it.) Two of my toes, I’m fairly certain, will never have toenails again, and I chafe horribly during the summer. Some days I feel great and some days I feel like crap. Heck, some days I want to stay in bed. But if I stay in bed or choose the couch over the outdoors, how many amazing things might I miss?

So no, running isn’t boring, And yes, sometimes it hurts. But it makes me feel alive. Running makes me believe in myself as a human being, and it shows me that I am stronger than I ever thought. Yes, some days I don’t want to do it and then there are other days when I want to run forever. It’s incredible how one thing can do so much for a person.

Buddhism teaches us that all things are impermanent. Perhaps one dayI will not have running and I understand that. But until that day comes, I will take advantage of every opportunity I have to experience everything running has to offer. For me, it’s so much more than a form of exercise. It has been my one constant for the past 12 years and I am thankful for every moment of it.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

PS: Like the Monday love I’m sending to you? 😉

Advertisements

Cortisol

As my running is going better that I could have expected, I find myself starting to push a little harder on my runs. Today I know I went faster than a typical easy Monday run. Therefore, tomorrow’s run will be a goal pace of 8:30-8:45/mile.

One thing that I am doing in order to stay off the injured list (in addition to lots of  yoga poses and strength training) is paying closer attention to my diet. And all of these food documentaries we have been watching just reaffirm the power of fruits and veggies. I am getting a little stricter with my vegetable intake because I know it helps with my recovery and performance. I want to take care of my body and I need to give it the fuel it needs.

One thing I have been reading about is cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in response to stress. Over trained endurance athletes (like myself) can experience elevated levels of cortisol and this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

First Endurance: 

Cortisol, known as the regulator of immune response, is a hormone controlled by the adrenal cortex. This powerful hormone is also known as an adrenalcorticol hormone, a glucocorticoid and hydrocortisone or simply cortisone. Cortisol has a catabolic (muscle breakdown) effect on tissue and is associated with a decrease in anabolic (muscle growth) hormones like IGF-1 and GH. Thus reducing levels of cortisol is ideal for an athlete to achieve tissue growth and positive adaptations to exercise training. Playing many different roles in the body, cortisol can have a negative impact on sleep, mood, sex drive, bone health, ligament health, cardiovascular health and athletic performance, potentially causing fatigue and inflammation.

As I was running home tonight, I was thinking to myself, What can I eat for dinner that will help keep my cortisol levels down? Well luckily there are quite a few options that I just happen to have in my kitchen. Green leafy vegetables, in particular those high in vitamin K, whole grains, and lean protein are all good options to keep your cortisol levels down. My dinner tonight consisted of spinach, kale, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, smoked salmon and quinoa. In addition, my afternoon snack was a kale, apple, celery, cucumber, and lemon veggie juice. So yummy!

I think my cortisol levels are feeling pretty low this evening.

Happy  Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running stats from today are here. Seven miles at a comfortable pace, although a little on the quick side. Tomorrow will be slower. And how do you like the pic of our breakfast yesterday morning? Delicious veggie juice 😉

Back Opening Stretches

My return to running has been going much better than I could have expected 1 month ago. In addition to my strength training, there is one thing that I think is really helping me… back stretches. Going into my race in February, my left side felt congested and like it wouldn’t move right. It amazes me how much more freely it moves now. These are the three stretches I do morning, afternoon, and night – every single day.

1) Downward Dog

2) Bow Pose

3) Upward Bow Pose (although I do not look nearly as flexible as this guy)

Sometimes I think to myself I don’t have time to these poses. I should just go run. Then I remember my suffering at the beginning of the year. I make time. And that includes waking up at 4:45 am, doing yoga before lunch, and always stretching before bed. For my body and for my weaknesses, I know these three stretches are greatly helping my running form. And my running couldn’t be happier. 🙂

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Ran to the gym, followed by leg weights & abs, and then ran home. I was super impressed at how easy this run felt. Run stats here and here.

Boston Memorial Run

This afternoon over 2000 runners came together to honor those affected by the tragedy in Boston. How? With a 3 mile run of course. In less than 1 week, the city of Raleigh, the local running stores, and local running groups organized an inspirational event with amazing crowd support. There were children, families, walkers, 2013 Boston participants, and every one in between. It wasn’t really a race but instead an opportunity for people to show their support. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

Boston Memorial Run, Raleigh, NC

Boston Memorial Run, Raleigh, NC

 

A beautiful day for a wedding and a run. This awesome couple joined in as well.

A beautiful day for a wedding and a run. This awesome couple joined in the run as well.

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

My Runner’s Body

“Your body is the only thing you are born with and that you die with. Be kind to it.”

Over the years, my runner’s body has been through a lot of ups and downs. Currently, it’s on the upswing after a long and depressing low. Yesterday I came up with a vision of how I want my runner’s body to be and I’d like to share it with you…

Right now, I’d say my runner’s body is comparable to a five year old car that has been in a few crashes. It still works and gets me from point A to point B, but there is some lingering damage. A few bad parts aren’t too problematic in the short term. But over time, those bad parts lead to a breakdown. I think it’s time to upgrade 🙂 …

I’ve decided I’m working towards having a runner’s body more like a Porsche 911. I want to be a fine tuned running machine, where everything works effortlessly and smoothly. I will treat my runner’s body as I would treat this car… with kindness and care.  I would not drive a Porsche with a flat tire. Therefore, I will not run with an injured hip. I would not put cheap fuel in a Porsche. Therefore I will not feed my body junk. I would not drive 100mph all the time (or maybe ever), which means I will not run fast all the time. Just as I would do preventive maintenance on my car, I will do preventive maintenance on my legs. I want my runner’s body to be as awesome as this car.

Mario use to have a Porsche and whenever I drove it (which wasn’t very often), I remember the feeling of that car being so completely different than my trusty Yaris. It just felt effortless and perfect. And that is how I want my running to be.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

One day I will be like this car :)

One day I will be like this car 🙂

 

Goal Reversal

My friend Tania got me thinking about running goals a little differently a few weeks ago. She commented on one of my posts that for the elite Kenyan runners, if they were  to run 7:15 min/mile for an easy workout, but instead ran 7:00 min/mile, they would view that as a goal not met. They would view it as a failure.

Well that’s a different way to look at things…

For so long I have looked at my running goals in terms of faster times. Never slower times. If I was suppose to run easy and ran 7:30 min/mile, then I exceeded my goal. Right? Well at least in my stubborn runner’s brain I did. I never looked at it as missing my goal. Now, as I’m slowly coming back from my injury, I’m focusing even more on those easier runs and  slower miles. Today I ran one of my slowest long runs in a long time and I feel like I just ran a 1:25 half marathon. I am that proud of my pace and that proud of the fact that I had the discipline to take it down a notch. Not to mention physically, my body feels great. I didn’t stress it out and I didn’t push it too hard. My legs say thank you. 🙂

There is a time and place for everything. There is a time to run fast and a time to run slow. If the goal is to run 8:30 min/mile then we should strive to meet that. Not to exceed it by 30 seconds. After all, isn’t there a reason we had an easy run scheduled in the first place? Of course, there are always exceptions but for me right now, my goal is to get healthy. My goal is consistency and the easy runs help get me there.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: I made a new running friend this morning and absolutely loved running with her. She was really awesome and made the miles go by quickly. We ran a total of 8 miles, which is my longest run since February. I feel great and stats are here. And don’t you love my pic of the beautiful sunshine this morning?

Olympians and Injury

I love Desiree Davila. There is something about her that just seems so bad a** and determined. Perhaps I like her even more because, for quite a while in her running career, she was never considered the favorite. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago when she really started being a contender for the marathon. She worked her butt off and made things happen.  She’s the fastest American woman to ever run Boston and she qualified for the London Olympics. Then an injury forced her to drop out of the marathon around mile 8. I think I may have cried for her.

Competitor recently published an interview with Davila and it made me feel like I was in good company with my running injury. After London, Davila found out she had a stress fracture in her femur, which was originally diagnosed as an injury to her hip flexor tendon. It took her 12 weeks to recover and she still had to pull out of the 2013 Boston Marathon because her training wasn’t 100%. And I’m worried about my three weeks of no running?

It’s a great article and I highly recommend you read it, especially if you suffer from mild depression due to a running injury like I do. However, there are a few things I’d like to point out that I took away from the article:

First, Olympians worry about losing fitness, just like us mere mortals do. For me, I have this idea that 12 years of running will be completely undone by 3 weeks of no running. I think I should get a grip.

Second, we all have weaknesses and strength is IMPORTANT! If you want to run without injury, you are going to have to build a strong core and strengthen those stabilizing muscles.

Third, learn to understand your body and get in tune with what you are feeling. I like this quote:

Obviously, I think I have a better understanding of my body and knowing the difference between pushing through something and “OK, this is an injury.” In the past, I couldn’t tell you the difference until it was beyond the point of being able to fix it, and I think that’s something I’m still kind of learning right now. We’ll go out and do a hard day and I’ll have a little bit of soreness and think, “Is this because I’m going backward or is it because the soft tissue is adjusting to working hard?” So it’s being a lot more cognizant of that.

I am no Olympian and certainly have many more races ahead of me. The Olympics however, only come every 4 years. I can’t even begin to imagine the mental struggle Desiree faced after dropping out in London. But she has handled the experience like all good runners do. She has learned from it and moved on. I’m trying to do the same.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I still haven’t been able to run, even though I was really hoping for an easy few miles this week. However, I can tell my hip is continuing to heal and I know I’ll be back out there soon enough. Today at the gym, I did the stair climber, bike, burpees, one legged squats, and other core strengthening exercises. Now I’m off to practice my handstands.

Lacing Your Running Shoes

I always assumed there was only one way to tie your shoes. Then several years ago, I worked at a running stores and learned this wasn’t the case. There are in fact, many ways to tie your shoes. If you have any type of issues such as your heel slipping, bruised toenails, or pressure points on the top of your foot, check out this video. For now, I’m just trying to find the best way to keep my shoes from coming untied 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: This morning was quite a busy one. I was schedule to run 12 but only did 10.8 because I was short on time. I had to get out to the Girls on Run 5K by 9am. My long run went well and the 5K was fun. I jogged it with some friends and just enjoyed seeing all the GOTR girls completing their first 3.1 mile race. Lots of fun! Stats are here and here for my long run and here for the GOTR 5K. A total of 13.8 miles.

The Runner who Overtrains

Managing Overreaching and Preventing Overtraining:

(Quoted from PowerBar)

Athletes push themselves in order to improve performance.  Generally, [training programs] require that you stress their      muscles to the point of fatigue. The goal is that after a period of recovery, their muscles will then adapt to the training load and their performances will improve. But sometimes the stress of training can be too much and an athlete doesn’t bounce back. Instead, they remain fatigued for an extended period of time. This condition, if it persists, is called overtraining syndrome.

Athletes who repeatedly overload their bodies without allowing adequate recovery time will eventually reach a point where they have to rest. The length of that required rest period is one difference between overreaching and overtraining. With functional overreaching, full recovery may take a day, or even two to three weeks, depending upon the training overload. But with overtraining, recovery can take weeks to several months!

Overtraining is a little too common amongst us runners.  We get so excited about running, push ourselves to the limit and beyond, and then our body is unable to handle the stress.  We get sick, moody, tired, sluggish, but still manage to push through some mediocre workouts.  Why can’t we just stop and take a few days off to allow our body time to repair itself?  Recovery is part of training. Period. And if we neglect this very important part of our training, we set ourselves up for bad performances, injuries, and more colds than normal.  When you know your body needs a few days off, try something new to challenge your body in a new way.  Bikram Hot Yoga, HEAT, and CrossFit are excellent ways to keep your fitness level up while giving your muscles time to heal. Your body (and running) will thank you.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie