Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘runners’

My Return to Running

Running has been a part of who I am for so long that I’ve forgotten how hard it was when I first started out, 13+ years ago. As I have made my way back outdoors, almost 5 months post surgery, I have just assumed that the miles would come back easily. My hip no longer bothers me and for some reason, I just thought my speed and distance would still be there. I am very, very wrong.

My first run outside was the first week in September. We were in Miami and since there was no treadmill, I knew it was time to take my running to the road. It was hard. Like really hard. My pace was around 10:00 min/mile and I couldn’t get my legs to turnover any faster. Not to mention the Miami humidity wasn’t helping. I made it 4 miles and I couldn’t believe how “far” that felt. My legs felt rusty and it was almost like I was having to learn how to run all over again. To say I was feeling frustrated would be an understatement.

When we finally made it back to Raleigh, I started trying out some of my old running routes. I went out to the greenway, ran along Hillsborough Street, but no matter how fast I felt like I was running, my pace was always around 8:45 – 9:15 min/mile. That’s about one minute slower than my previous average easy pace, and yet it was still an effort to run that. I thought I had done a decent job of keeping up my cardiovascular fitness, but I underestimated what four months off from running can do to the body.

This morning I decided to head out to the Tobacco Trail. The Tobacco Trail is where I always did my Saturday long runs, and I’ve really missed being out there. It really is one of my favorite places to run. I told myself I would run anywhere from 6-7 miles, depending on how I felt. When I think about my old running self, that seems so short and like an “easy” run. Well I have quickly learned that it does no good to think in terms of my old running self. That is not who I am or where I am right now. I managed to make it 6.5 miles and then walked .5 miles, mainly because my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. My average pace was 9:09 and my legs and arms are actually quite sore from the run. Oh how things change.

Even though I’m slower than I once was and can’t run quite as far as I once did, being outside at the Tobacco Trail this morning made me really happy. It was so nice to be outdoors with the all of the other runners, and I got to see some running friends out there who I haven’t seen in quite a while. And even though I feel like I ran 15 miles instead of 6.5, I realize how much I’ve missed that feeling. I’ve missed the Saturday morning running routine, the post run turkey burger at out favorite restaurant, and the nap that always followed.

My doctor told me it would be six months to a year before I could run again. Today marks 4 months and 19 days. Sure, I’m only up to running 6.5 miles at a pace that I’m not quite accustomed to. But that’s okay. I’m not the runner I was earlier this year but that doesn’t mean that runner (or a better one) isn’t in my future. Today I think I finally internalized what a long process all of this is going to be. It makes me appreciate running much more than I ever have before.

I look forward to what the future has in store.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Good People Doing Good Things

I want to take a moment this morning to share a little positivity.

While running down Hillsborough Street this morning, a group of people were crowded around a man lying on the ground in front of NC State’s bellower. My initial thought was they were checking out the fresh mulch, which was obvious by the heavy smell of wood chips. As I got closer, I realized I was very wrong.

There were no less than 10 people around this man, trying to help him. My question then became do I stop and make 11? Or do I keep going because what more can I really do to help? It doesn’t matter. You stop.

Eleven sweaty people crowded around Pablo, who wasn’t communicating. (I’m still not sure how they learned his name was Pablo other than perhaps it was on his shirt.) He was just lying on the ground, not saying anything and barely moving. Nobody had a phone and the only mode of communication was Pablo’s walkie talkie. One man picked it up and started communicating with either Pablo’s supervisor or other coworkers. Another man flagged down the next car that passed by to use his cellphone and call 911. I did not stay beyond this because there really wasn’t anything I could do. But I did run back by on my way home. What did I see? In addition to the EMS, there stood all 10 runners still waiting there by Pablo’s side. People are good.

I share this for two reasons. First, when we only share stories of negativity and bad things, that is the world we create. If we start sharing more good things and more positivity, our world then becomes much different. We create our society by what we believe. Choose to believe in the good of people.

The second reason I share this story is to give props out there to all the runners. If you think about it, runners (bikers, walkers, etc.) see a lot of action while putting in the miles. On any given day, I see people without a home, trash blowing across the street, someone struggling to get their bike on the bus, or a person with too many bags to handle. These are all opportunities to do something positive. This morning 11 people decided to not be a passerby, but instead took the opportunity to help.

There’s always a chance to do a little good in the world. Try it out. After all, we’re all in this together.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Runners in their 30s

Tomorrow I turn 30 years old. Some people fear this age, but I am super excited. In addition to the birthday festivities, I am looking forward to entering a new era. A new era in my life and of course, a new era in my running.

I’ve always heard that women runners peak in their 30s. I’m not sure where the science is to prove this, but I like the idea. It means I still have hope. In looking at the top 20 finishers in the London 2012 Marathon, 14 were over the age of 30. And Irina Mikitenko from Germany, who finished 14th, was 40 years old at the time. This makes me realize 10 years is a long time and A LOT can happen in 10 years.

If it is true – that women distance runners peak in their 30s – I have a few guesses as to why. First, your time is very limited. Every workout matters and if you need to get to a meeting on time, you better run a little faster. 🙂 Second, how many things have you experienced in your 30+ years of life? I’m thinking quite a few and therefore, you have a mental toughness that younger 20 something year olds don’t quite get. And perhaps the  biggest reason, at least for me, is experience. I feel like if there were a checklist of all the missteps runners should take before they hang up their running shoes, I coud check off 90% of them. I’ve run a lot and I’ve learned a lot. Although they have been hard and not always fun lessons to learn, I’m thankful for every single one of them. It’s because of these lessons and these experiences that I will eventually be the runner I know I can be.

Here is to a new decade!

Happy Trails & Happy Running,


Running Update: Ran with run club tonight. I went out for 4 easy miles beforehand and ended up doing another 4 with the girls. I’m going super easy and short tomorrow. Stats are here and here.


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,


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 😉

The Crazy Ones

Today a coworker asked if I planned to stop running marathons.

Someone else asked if I was afraid of big races.

Then a student told me he would one day run the Boston Marathon.

My faith lies with those who never give up. 

Happy Trails & Happy Running,



Today, my heart is heavy as I am sure are so many others. A dark cloud has been cast over one of the greatest running events in the world and tonight, many are experiencing a pain that I can’t even imagine. But the running community is resilient. We endure. We help. And we are kind. This will only make a strong community even stronger, and in this darkness, goodness will prevail. My thoughts, prayers, and all my love in my heart go out to those in Boston tonight. May you hold your loved ones a little closer.

Praying for Boston,



Fred Rogers

Dick Beardsley

If ever there were a person who was followed by bad luck, it would be Dick Beardsley. Yes, there is the famous Boston Marathon of 1982, when he came in 2nd place by less than 2 seconds. But it’s everything that came after he retired from competitive running that really portrays the fighter that is Dick Beardsley.

When I went to Fleet Feet last night to hear Mr. Beardsley speak, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Maybe some awesome training advice? His thoughts about what happened 31 years ago in Boston? I knew about the famous Dual in the Sun and his arrest for forging drug prescriptions, but nothing could have prepared me for how moved and inspired I felt when I left Fleet Feet over 2 hours later.

The talk started off with a video showing those last few minutes of the 1982 Boston Marathon. The video stopped right before Salazar and Beardsley crossed the finish line,  but I think we all knew what happened. As Mr. Beardsley started talking, I could tell this was going to be an entertaining event. He is funny, charismatic, and sincere. From his stories of how he started running to his stories of drug addiction, everyone there laughed and I’m pretty sure most people cried, including the runner himself. Like I said, it was sincere.

1982 Boston Marathon

1982 Boston Marathon

His running stories reminded me of why I love the early marathon runners from the 70s and 80s. Marathoners now have gadgets, gels, and detailed training plans. The early marathon runners had a passion for the sport, and the determination to win. They ran with their hearts. I’d like to share a few of his stories…

For Beardsley’s second marathon, he decided 5 days earlier to run the race. After searching through running magazines for a 5 day training plan and coming up short, he found an article from an ultra runner. The ultra runner, who said he felt like a butterfly when he ran, said he fasted for one week before an event. So what did Beardsley do? Fasted for the remaining 5 days. Yes, I’m serious. When he arrived at the start line, he decided he needed to warm up. Eight miles later, he was ready to start the race. And to add to that, he decided he needed to run with those people who looked like they knew what they were doing. To the front line he went and his first mile was run in 5:05, 15 seconds from his fastest mile time. However, somehow Beardsley found the mental fortitude to continue and ended up finishing 7th overall. And we worry about carbo loading? 😉

Another story he shared was about the 1982 Boston Marathon. It was an 80 degree day and the race started at noon. Gatorade, Accelerade. or any other electrolyte drink didn’t exist so he downed water… all morning long. 40  minutes before the race, he downed another 2 quarts. Hyponatremia what? He talked a lot about the mental battles he fought during that race. However, the thing I remember most about his recount of the race was this: the one thing that you have, that is better than any gel, any drink, or any food, is something you’ve always had. It’s your mind and it can truly get you through anything. As he told the rest of his story, that very much proved to be true.

I think I would be doing an injustice to Mr. Beardsley if I tried to retell his many near death experiences. I can’t deliver the emotion or the words, but I can tell you this. For someone who has been mangeled in a tractor, T-boned in a car accident, hit by a truck while running, fallen off a cliff, nearly suffocated, had a tree branch stab him in the eye, and suffered a severe drug addiction, Dick Beardsley has defied the odds and he is a survivor.  He told us that you could mix every bad thing that has ever happened to him and nothing would come close to the pain of his drug addiction. At one point he was taking 80-90 pills a day and forging prescriptions. Once he was arrested, he was forced to get off the pills… with the help of methadone, another addictive drug. As he tried to get off methadone, he described the absolutely awful withdraw symptoms – not sleeping for 7 days straight, pain in his bones so bad he probably would have sawed his own arm if he had access to the saw, waking up in his own vomit… It was a very hard story to hear. But then he said, one night I slept a little. Then I slept a little more the next. And a little more the next. I knew I was going to be okay. 

Through it all, Dick Beardsley has been a fighter. As he ended last night, he said he tried to wake up every morning with four things. (Right now, I can only remember two but I have tweeted him and asked about the others. I’ll update as soon as I hear back.) He tries to wake up with a smile on his face, joy in his heart and… When I woke up at 4:30am this morning, I did my best to put a smile on my face, regardless of how early it was. Thank you Mr. Beardsley for inspiring me to be a fighter. (Update: the four things are a smile on my face, enthusiasm in my voice, joy in my heart and faith in my soul.)

Me with Mr. Beardsley

Me with Mr. Beardsley

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery/RUNNING update: Guess what I did today? RAN! I had to. After last night, I honestly felt like I had to. It was an easy 3 mile run and I have no idea the pace. I left the Garmin at home. It was quite glorious and it made my week. Being outdoors, on the pavement really does warm my heart. I feel slightly normal again. My hip feels about 95% better, which is very encouraging. Perhaps it’s all that yoga at 4:30 in the morning. Tomorrow I will not run but I will go out again on Thursday. Yay for running!

Dick Beardsley: Part I

This morning I saw on Twitter that Dick Beardsley would be in Raleigh tonight, giving a talk at a local running store. OMG!?!? Dick Beardsley in Raleigh? I would be there, no matter what.

I just got home not too long ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about everything Dick Beardsley had to say. I cried, I laughed, and I left more motivated and inspired than ever before. If for one second, I ever thought I had real problems in my life, that completely changed tonight. I do not have time right now to write everything I want to say about Dick’s talk. I will save that for tomorrow. But for those who do not know who Dick Beardsley is, I want to share with you perhaps the race he is most famous for – the 1982 Boston Marathon:




1.2 seconds is what separated Beardsley and Salazar. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone who was fairly novice to the sport. Not to mention it was an 80 degree day in Boston, the race started at 12:00 pm, and as Beardsley shared with us tonight, he spent the entire morning drinking lots and lots of water. Apparently hyponatremia wasn’t yet a condition runners knew they could have.

I look forward to writing my post tomorrow. There are so many amazing things to say.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


My Running Goal

My goal can best be describe as the following:


I will not be sad my training has been derailed. I will keep in mind that my local running hero ran her marathon PR at the age of 36. I am only 29. I will take this in stride and be thankful for my awesome base building. I am a lifelong runner and 1 off week of training will not ruin me. I will be better because of this. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Yea, I don’t have much to say other than my husband is always there to help me through my meltdowns.

Kip Keino and the Kenyan Community

I just spent the last 47 minutes watching perhaps one of the most inspiring documentaires I’ve ever seen – at least in my opinion. Being that today is Friday, I went to YouTube in search of some motivational videos. Apparently YouTube is already two steps ahead of me and recommended the documentary Run… Read more