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Posts tagged ‘training’

Change, Willpower, and Happiness

Friday I watched the documentary Happy. (Check it out on Netflix if you have the chance.) I learned that other than social interactions and being in nature, one of the things that makes humans happy is change. Doing things differently. Then for some reason, this quote about insanity popped in my head, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” And then I related it to running…

For so long I have planned on the rest of November and December being my months off from running, yoga, correcting body alignment issues, sleeping in past 6:00am on Saturday mornings, and taking a mental break from the mileage. Having done two marathons just 5 weeks apart, I figured my body could use the rest. Well the Las Vegas marathon was November 17th and since then, I have taken at most 5 days off from running. Why? Because it literally takes willpower and mental strength to not run. It requires more effort to do a yoga class instead of putting on my running shoes as soon as I get home. Running is a habit and to do anything else requires my brain to go off autopilot.

Thankfully, however, I just finished a book on willpower, which I followed up with the film Happy.  Friday night I reevaluated my weekend workout plans and Saturday morning I was at a hot yoga class with my best friend of 25 years. Change is good.

January I will start my training for the Boston marathon. I have been down this road many times. Excited to start my training, workouts planned, scheduled off days, planned yoga classes, time set aside for body maintenance. It all sounds great in my head but the hard part is actually doing it. And because it’s hard for me to run easy or take a day off, I’m never able to reach my full potential as a runner. I end up injured, mentally drained, and arrive at the start line 50% prepared. It’s a vicious cycle that I’ve been through over and over again. In other words, it’s insanity. 

I think I’ve finally realized that I am going to have to exert some willpower in order to make a change. It’s crazy to think I will reach my running goals if I keep doing what I’ve always done. It doesn’t work that way. Habits are hard to break.

For the month of December, I will not worry about running. Every day I will make a conscious effort to step out of my running “comfort zone,” and do something else. Maybe a pilates class, another hot yoga class, some hiking at a nearby park, a juice cleanse, or even just a few days of doing nothing. And perhaps once I realize that I can break the habit loop, it will not be that difficult to actually follow my marathon training plans. Perhaps I will actually run slow on easy days or even start practicing yoga at home. Any maybe, just maybe, the end result of my marathon training will be success and not injury.

Here is to a month of change, and happiness.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Tight Glutes

Any time I’ve ever had a sports massage, I have always been told I had extremely tight glutes. In my mind I took that to mean you have really strong glutes but it seems this isn’t the case. This morning, as I started out my run, I could tell I was holding a lot of tension in my glutes and it was affecting my running form. Once I focused on letting the tension go, my stride really opened up and my running felt so incredibly efficient. It was awesome.

When I got home, I decided to look into tight glutes. Well it turns out, I think this may have been a big contributing factor to my injury in February. Glutes are important.

Your glutes are the largest, most powerful muscle in the body. When they are inhibited, they can affect everything from your hip flexors to your lower back muscles. (Wait, isn’t that what was wrong with me for 5 weeks?) If your glutes are inhibited, this means they can be either too tight or too weak. Want to know if you have inhibited glutes? Try the hip extension test. Right now it seems mine are pretty normal. (The goal will be to keep them this way as I slowly pick my running back  up.) Your glutes are the muscles that help keep your pelvis, femur, ankle, and knee in alignment. If that gets out of whack, you could potentially have issues with your lower back, your IT Band, or even your knees. Um, not good.

This website has some great stretches and exercises for getting the glutes firing properly. In addition, it has some stretches for the piriformis. I know I’ve said this before but it continues to amaze me how running is a complete, whole body, activity. In order to be an efficient runner, all the parts have to be in sync with one another. Kind of like a nice, fancy car… 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: This morning was a glorious run. The weather was perfect, my body felt great, and everything went by effortlessly. I ran 9 miles and that is my longest runs since my injury. I keep reminding myself that some of the best female runners are in their 30s. I turn 30 in two weeks so maybe my time is approaching. 😉 Stats are here.

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?

The Necessary Steps

Currently I’m on vacation with Mario in Oregon Wine Country. Therefore, my last few posts were written pre-awesome trip. I haven’t had a chance to write about how my running world has been going since we left way too early Friday morning.

Yesterday I finished Chrissie Wellington’s book, A Life Without Limits. Chrissie has been an inspiration to me for probably about 5 years. Partially because of her amazing Ironman record and partially because of her very contagious smile. She is truly inspirational. There were many notes and bookmarks I made while reading her book and many lessons I took away. As my running is starting to progress in the right direction, this one lesson in particular stands out to me: We have our goals but we have to take the necessary steps in order to reach our goals.

Last week I started running again. It has been a very exciting and happy time for me. I knew I wouldn’t overdo it because we were going on vacation and I wouldn’t have the chance. (Oh but I can always find a way.) Saturday morning Mario and I went out for a 5 mile run. I had already done a 3 and 4 miler so 5 easy miles along the beautiful Oregon countryside seemed very doable. We ended up getting lost and did a little over 6. No biggie. Hip felt fine, weather was beautiful, and there were llamas, deer, horses, and cows for scenery. No complaints.

Lot of happy cows in Oregon

Lot of happy cows in Oregon

 

After a cross training day yesterday, another run today seemed completely reasonable. Maybe I shouldn’t have set out along the same 6 mile route but I did. As I found myself checking my Garmin, I had to make myself reign it in. Several things went through my mind: take the necessary steps, build that massive aerobic base (thanks Predawn Runner), enjoy the scenery, and Chicago is over 6 months away! Chillax! I can’t go from nearly 6 weeks off to dishing out 7:30 miles. I have to take the necessary steps. I need my base building. Once I was able to wrap my head around this, I slowed down and really enjoyed my run. I have nothing to prove right now. I only need to find consistency with my running. It’s actually a very nice change of pace.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Here are some pics from our trip so far… I’ve eaten way too much food!!

Dinner at Jory in Oregon

Dinner at Jory in Oregon

 

Oregon, Day 1 of our Trip (AMAZING weather!!)

Oregon, Day 1 of our Trip (AMAZING weather!!)

 

Day 3 in Oregon

Day 3 in Oregon

 

 

Rest and Injuries

There are many reasons why I don’t like going to the doctor about a running injury. But the main one is because the typical recommendation is restRest? Mmmm… not going to happen. I’ll take a break from running but I can’t just sit around with ice on my hip.

Ryan Hall did an interview discussing life after his DNF at the Olympics. He dropped out due to tendonitis and a hamstring injury, but within 3 weeks, he was back to normal. He didn’t follow the take some time off and this will heal itself approach. He focused primarily on strength training and his tendonitis went away. Check out what he had to say about the importance of strength training and injuries:

Ryan Hall, Life after the Olympics

Ryan Hall, Life after the Olympics

I always notice that when I suffer an injury, I always feel stronger when I return back to running. It’s because I spend all the extra time focusing on strength. That really needs to become a non-negotiable part of my training.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Failure

I’ve always been afraid of failure. It hurts, it sucks, and I can’t stand the thought of someone judging me because I didn’t do what I set out to do. Last April, I set out to run the Boston Marathon. I failed. This past November I started training to run a sub 1:30 half marathon. Two weeks of missed training and sickness have brought me to the conclusion that I will also fail at that tomorrow. But through these “failures,” I have learned that I will be okay. And even more so, I have learned that I am a fast runner. When it’s my time to do so, I will run sub 1:30 and I will run a sub 3:15 for the full. I’m learning, I’m making mistakes, and I now know that I don’t care if people judge me for my failures. At least I tried.

This Michael Jordan video inspires me:

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Well tomorrow is race day. I had a dream last night that I didn’t run because of my leg. It’s still bothering me. It still hurts. I think I’ll make my decision on whether or not to cross that start line tomorrow morning at 4:30am.

Krispy Kreme Challenge

This morning I had the pleasure of watching 8,000 runners run to the local Krispy Kreme, eat 12 donuts, and run back… all from my living room window. Today marked the 9th annual Krispy Kreme Challenge and I much prefer to be a spectator for this event. I have never once desired to participate in the challenge. However, a few of my crazy friends are brave enough to stomach the challenge. I guess some people really like donuts.

Raleigh, NC is home to the original Krispy Kreme Challenge. The challenge involves running 2.5 miles from NC State’s campus to Krispy Kreme, eating 12 donuts, and then running 2.5 miles back. In other words, 5 miles, 2,400 calories and all under 1 hour. Crazy!

The challenge started back in 2004 as a dare between a few college students. Only a dozen people showed up to the first race but it has since grown into an event with 8,000 participants. The proceeds from the race go to benefit the North Carolina’s Children Hospital and as of this year, close to $500,000 has been donated. The winner this year, Tim Ryan, completed the race in 31:31. That’s an average pace of 6:18.mile, not including eating the 12 donuts. The female winner completed the challenge in 37:42, which averages out to 7:32/mile (again, not including eating the donuts). I just don’t know how they do it.

Back in 2009, a reporter from ESPN did a story on the race, while actually completing the challenge himself. Check out just how crazy the people in Raleigh, NC can be:

 

Congrats to all the runners this morning! You have a stronger stomach than I do!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: This morning I woke up with a slight fever and have since developed a pretty bad cough. You know how life goes up and down and up and down? I’m definitely at one of the low points. Therefore, I watched Hakuna Matata from the Lion King to cheer me up tonight. 🙂

 

Haile Gebrselassie

Many of us are familiar with Haile Gebreslassie and his world record performance in Berlin back in 2008. A 2:03:59 marathon is nothing short of amazing. However, I did not know much about Haile outside of his superb running performances until a few days ago. CNN did a special on Gebreselassie – Haile Revealed. Although done before his 2008 WR performance, it still highlights Haile’s incredible character. Simple, happy, giving, inspiring, motivating, hard working, funny… those are just a few words I would use to describe him.

Each video is about 7 minutes long, but they all make you want to work a little harder and be a little better. Check it out…

Part I

Part II

Part III

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Well today was no fun. I ran to the greenway to complete my 8 miles and it was closed!! Why the heck it was closed, I have no idea. But it left me running circles around downtown Raleigh just to get in the 8 miles. My legs are starting to feel like they could use a good massage. I wonder if I can convince Mario?? Stats are here.

A Personal Record (or Personal Best)

A personal record can be defined as a person’s best time at a particular race distance. Many of us bloggers have our PRs posted on our About Me page or somewhere easily visible. We are proud of what we have accomplished and want to share that with others. However, this morning I came to the conclusion that the definition of a personal record is too limited. Sure, it’s about the time on the clock when you cross the finish line but it’s also about the challenges along the way. A 23:45 5K along a flat course on a cool day isn’t the same as a 24:00 5K on rolling hills during the heat of the summer. For me, the latter is a PR.  Read more

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has enjoyed a day full of love and laughter with friends and family! And perhaps some running too!! Right now I am finishing up celebrating with the family but I wanted to send many happy running thoughts your way. I might have to run a few extra miles to make up for the cookies I ate today. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Today I had to do 6×800 repeats at 5K pace. I was nervous considering the mimosas and food beforehand but I actually had an amazing workout. I was under goal pace for each repeat. I ran a 3:09, 3:03, 3:07, 3:03, 3:07, and 3:03. One thing I am learning about myself (and that I am actually quite proud of) is my ability to be consistent. Since I’ve started doing more intervals, I have noticed my last interval is always consistent with my first, if not faster. Maybe one day I’ll actually negative split during a marathon! Stats are here.

 

Post run in some of my new lulu

Post run in some of my new lulu

 

Christmas Cheer!

Christmas Cheer!

 

I wear these shoes once a year. My best friend gave them to me when I was in 7th grade and I still wear them every Christmas. Best present ever!

I wear these shoes once a year. My best friend gave them to me when I was in 7th grade and I still wear them every Christmas. Best present ever!