A Peek at my Running Diet

1280px-Good_Food_Display_-_NCI_Visuals_Online

It’s been said, you are what you eat; there maybe some truth to that.  Nine out of ten runners will tell you that food is a very important part of their lifestyle, it dictates how they are able to perform and even if they run at all in some cases.  Starting off the year on the right foot demands that we not only address the issue of exercise, but also that of our diet, as both are equally important in helping us achieve our health goals.  Rather than go the way of a long list of suggestions of do’s’ and dont’s, I’ve decided to give you a peek into what foods work for this runner girl.

healthy-breakfast-120516Breakfast: my best and most important meal of the day.  I get an early start at 5am but don’t get to have breakfast until about nine by which time I’m so hungry, I could eat the proverbial horse.  I tend to go a little cereal crazy here and generally have a bowl of some type of whole grain and granola mixed with oats and banana. A slice of toast with either peanut butter, cheese or margarine often follows with a glass of orange juice.

Snack: generally consists of yogurt with granola and nuts and fruit. Because I’m not a big snack person, I often miss this part to my detriment as I don’t have lunch until around 1pm. Of course by then I’m entering starving mode and a build up of gas threatens. This is a recent and very uncomfortable occurrence, which my doctor explains can be remedied by eating throughout the day. According to him, my high metabolism burns calories at a faster rate than most, therefore I need to eat at least six times a day – obviously not huge amounts – to make sure that I have the proper amount of calories my body needs.

l956566279Lunch: I love food. By which I mean home-cooked meals. A Caribbean girl at heart, I’ve inherited the practice of having full-blown meals for lunch and I generally walk with my lunch which would often include vegetables ( my favorite), chicken breast of some kind, or ground beef or turkey, some type of grain such as cous cous or brown rice, or whole grain pasta or soup ( a Caribbean soup consisting of a multitude of roots, vegetables, seasonings, meats and dumplings) now that it’s winter, peas or beans or a combination of any of the above and salad.

9-10_9999_54hummus-sandwich-appleAfternoon Snack: Most times this includes a fruit such as banana and part-skimmed mozzarella cheese or apple and humus or, sometimes and, an organic peanut butter and jelly whole wheat sandwich.

fotolia_1607767_XSDinner: may include whole grain spaghetti and meatballs with veggies or some variation of a pasta dish with either a seafood or type of meat or even salami and a fresh salad.

images (2)Quick Snack: I usually have an apple or trek mix on my way home from the gym or from running.

 

Supper: consists of cereal and milk or hot chocolate, now that it’s cold, with crackers and margarine or cheese.

Of course I’m not perfect and so this is a typical day. There are those crazy days, which happen far too often for my liking, when I fall off the wagon and have to make do with some version of the above; but for the most part I stay on course during the weekdays. On weekends, I allow myself to go off schedule somewhat to satisfy the party animal in me but never to the extent that I’m left with consequences to deal with. As a runner and health enthusiast, I try to always make healthy choices, fully aware that those choices are the reasons why I look and feel great, and perform so well.

Dress for Success in Confident, Goal-getter Running Gear this Year

exerciseDuly noted, our goals remain the one thing that stands between us and us being persons of our word.  It is not enough that we’ve made a list, written it down and stuck it somewhere; it remains our greatest challenge to realize those plans of ours.  How do we remain fitted in the zeal, confidence and enthusiasm, that surely had us in its grip on the onset of planning, during the succeeding months of reality which can oftentimes be brutally harsh and unyielding.  I posit that there are a few key ingredients to realizing a successful 2015.  While a big part of success in any area of life depends on planning and execution, another just as or some may argue even more important part, depends on our attitude and perspective.  In running and exercise, attitude really is everything.  It is the one thing that will keep you going when everything else and everyone says you can’t.  The course of history has been changed on the account of its movers’ and shakers’ attitudes.  Your health and lifes’ ambitions are no different nor are they any less important in terms of their ability to change your world and thus impact the larger world.

Dress for success with:

  • Preparedness; there is no goal killer like having a plan without preparation.  By definition it is what planning entails and so it is super important to not only dress the part but be mentally, physically and emotionally ready and able to carry out your plan.  If you’ve decided to join a gym for example, then getting gym oriented and learning about the services, classes, equipment etc. that are available will put you in a better position to plan your activities and time around what you decide to do thus affording you the opportunity to maximise your participation and the benefits which can be derived.  Talk with a personal trainer, an instructor or even sign up for a trial to see if it’s a good fit.  If it’s running, then start of with small goals and even a running group, get a couple of books and read up on beginning running techniques or even watch a couple of videos.
  • Confidence; a big part in carrying out any physical goal is how we perceive ourselves.  We are sometimes our worst critic, while this is not always bad, it is our worst attribute when directed at our perceived flaws and shortcomings.  It is important to be able to face yourself – take a long, hard look in the mirror – and like what you see.  It is because you love yourself, you want better for you. Don’t chaff at that.  Meet your eyes and tell yourself what you are going to achieve together..yes it’s a mind and body effort, one you must continually be engaged in encouraging and uplifting.  While it is important to get this affirmation from others as well,  it would mean nothing if you didn’t believe it first.
  • Passion; I’m sure you’ve heard it said that if you like something it’s easier done.  Discovering your passion, something you really enjoy, is a key part to realizing your potential and being successful.. whether it’s running, a cardio class, yoga, swimming, whatever you decide to love -sometimes it has to be a decision- do with passion, enthusiasm, commitment and diligences, you will reap the benefit.
  • Focus and Wisdom; it is better to stick with what you know and apply yourself to perfecting it than to be divided among competing interests where you can’t get anything right.  Let’s say for example co-ordination is a challenge, then skip the dance class for a spin or yoga class.  That being said, there’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself to try different things and acquiring different skills, on the contrary, more power to you.  In all things apply wisdom so you never end up biting off more than you can chew.

A Happy, Successful and Goal-Achieving new year is up to you.  Have so much fun!

Gyming and Running Fun Workouts

treadmill17n-3-web

The new year appears well underway while some of us are still struggling to get out of the Christmas mindset, if I had my way it would be three months from now, but of course time runs along and rightfully so should we. There, that’s my bit of pep talk.  Seriously though, the arctic weather we’ve been having around the country doesn’t help to put us in a get-up-and-out frame of mind either so I figure I’ll share my secret, which is really no secret at all, on how to get those new ambitious goals on stream and have some fun while you’re at it.

I try to keep a gym membership year round but in the beautiful, late Spring to early Fall months, it’s hard. Sunshine, trees, flowers and birds are the sounds of nature calling and I’m a sucker so I rarely go the gym them and when I do, it’s mostly because I must have some type of cross training for a run. On the other hand, Winter sends me literally running to the gym and there the treadmill and I tough it out. You guys know my history with that piece of equipment… so anyway, I figure I have a good thing going this time around; always running, but coupled with either a class, weights or stretches and, what I call, tummy time. This variety keeps my workouts interesting but more importantly, keeps me interested. I try for three to four times a week these days and really with these conditions, it’s as much as I can make, as well as 10-12 miles being the maximum I can handle on there. If you can handle more, I say run with it.  On any given day, here’s what I came up with:

  • 8-10 miles of increased speed and incline beginning with 7 and flat respectively, increasing in increments of .5 followed by complete body stretches to include some yoga poses, squats, crunches, planks, push ups etc… add some bonus jump ropes
  • 45 mins of a high intensity Spin class followed by 8-10 miles of varying speed and incline as above with some light stretching thereafter
  • 8 miles per above and by 2 miles on the elliptical with incremental incline and speed as well followed by a yoga class and some crunch time either freehand or machine-assisted
  • Kickboxing Class followed by 10 miles, 5 of those flat and fast-paced and 5 at a level 3 incline with medium pace and light stretching afterwards
  • Boxing Class followed by a tempo-paced 5 mile with slight incline, light stretching then leg weight training and some bonus crunches
  • 8-10 miles of incrementally increased incline and speed followed by light stretching, kettle bell squats and an arm and chest weight workout
  • Belly Dance or Zumba class followed by 10-12 miles at set pace and incline level and light stretching
  • Total Body workout class: includes cardio, weights, floor exercises & stretches followed by 8 miles at medium pace with incline at level 3 and light stretching
  • 5 mile easy run followed by an interval run or hill test set by the machine followed by a Pilate’s class
  • 10-12 miles at half-marathon pace with varying incline levels simulating that of a road run followed by a long deep stretch
  • 8-10 miles with pace and incline of your choice followed by light stretching and a back and shoulder weight workout

I’ts possible your gym may not have all these classes so you may have to adjust here and there to suit your situation and your needs but hey.. who ever said you couldn’t go out there and have a blast of a workout, even in winter. Winter 2015 presents the ideal challenge and opportunity to kickstart your new year goals and if the suggestions above help just a little in that regard, I’ll be totally tickled. So while the ideas are mine, it’s up to you to make the workout suggestions yours. As always, Happy Running!

Hit the ground Running in 2015

imageWow… to think that a new year is here. Last year seems to have run away and along with it all our hopes and dreams of winning the lotto, shaking off the weight, visiting Rome, going on a safari, running an ultra (shh..some of my dreams) and all the other very ambitious goals we had set in what seems like yesterday of Jan 1, 2014. Have no fear though, this is a new year with an opportunity to do it all over again; not the same things obviously but to continue where we left off, to start what we never begun and to try again where we have failed.

We welcome 2015: we welcome the chance to live, to love, to run , to grow, to become the very best versions of ourselves. Each year we try and oftentimes we don’t succeed completely but I’m big on putting one’s best foot forward and if that was you last year, then kudos to you. If for some reason you fubbed up, then this is especially your year – your opportunity to make right by you. No pressure except what you outline for yourself. We’ve spoken before, rewind to last year, about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) and I feel that if we really stick to that model, we will accomplish more and so be happy with the results. Being overly ambitious can be seen as setting ourselves up for failure where we end up feeling dejected, stressed and unfulfilled; no good to ourselves or others.

A simple, objective and honest approach is to consider our health, happiness and that of those we care about, to try to enhance each of these in a pragmatic and focused manner. As per always, I encourage you to:

. List your SMART goals, place them where you can see them daily
. Seek God’s direction and guidance in setting and carrying them out
. Share your goals with a friend who can hold you accountable and viz a viz
. Do a journal so you can track your progress
. Be thankful, appreciative and conscious of cultivating the right attitude and perspective every day. I believe this counts for at least 75% of goal attainment

While it may sound cliché, above all, remind yourself of the gift you have been given of another year and do not take it lightly. Many did not make it and many others are in a sad place, you are loved and have been given the gift of life – make it count.

imageHAPPY NEW YEAR!

Motivational Quotes for Winter Running

e6c2b4a48a9e8fd4_5e5487dfffdcdd03_lace_up-copy_1_~2
It’s cold. You’re tired, It’s been a late night. Everyone’s inside having fun. You’re just not feeling it; the desire to lace up those running shoes and step out is nonexistent. You know you should, but really the thought of a snuggle is so much more inviting right now. What to do? How do you motivate yourself past that.. past a few more minutes of sleep, past the delicious tasting Apple Pie, that second helping of turkey or even your favorite Home Alone movie or worst, past the family and friends gaming and wining and dining to embrace the seclusion and quiet of a beautiful frosty day?

I so feel you! And because I do, I did some digging around and put together some of the funner ( my word), heartfelt, inspiring, kick-butt sayings/ quotes to help you remain fit, keep you focused, always smiling, and running this winter. Here goes…

1. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

2. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

3. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn

4. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. –Joshua J. Marine

5. The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at.
-Jesse Owens

6. I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn’t. -Unknown

7. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. -Henry Ford

8. You don’t always get what you wish for, you get what you work for.
-Thumbpress.com

9. Think you won’t make a difference with one run, you won’t make a difference doing nothing.
-Thumbpress.com

10. If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want – Why? Because…
(a) you’ll burn all the calories you consume, (b) you deserve it, and (c) you’ll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway. –Don Kardong

11. Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic. –Tim Noakes

12. You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will…those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t get to the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted. –Joe Henderson

13. Today I will do what others won’t, So tomorrow I can do what others can’t. –Unknown

14. The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.
–Unknown

15. Everything is funner with a runner because we can go long and hard, short and fast, and we even get pretty dirty sometimes (for mud races of course). Endurance is key, although everyone can appreciate a quickie, aka sprinter.
-Unknown

16. It starts about the time I walk out my front door. I reach the woods, smell the river and I just feel myself come to life again. It’s like yeah, I’m back.
-Unknown

17. I’m a drinker with a running problem. -Unknown

18. Mind is everything: muscle–pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind. -Paavo Nurmi

19. I run so my goals in life will continue to get bigger instead of my belly. -Bill Kirby

20. Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run! —P. Mark Taylor

I know! Pretty cool right? Thank me later.

Quick Disclaimer.. so not my words, wish they were but nope, some attributed to their owners others unknown.

Cause Running

RunningHD_1-(2) (web optimised) It’s Christmas time; the season of giving. What better time to look at making a difference in the life of someone. Earlier this year, I had decided that I was going to incorporate more charity runs into my racing. I figured it was a way of giving back to the running community and a big thank you to the sport that has given me so much in terms of self-development and taught me a great deal about drive and perseverance. Turns out it’s easier said than done and so yours truly have not fully engaged the process of running for someone or something other than self. Truth is, I find it somewhat intimidating to ask others to help a passion of mine. What’s in it for them? See, when I first thought of running for a cause, it seemed easy enough; sign up for a race and give a donation..pretty easy, no strings attached and doable only for a smaller number of races. It turns out that meaningful giving in running is a bit more involved than that.

You have only to google running for charity and a host of events and information will come up, which indicates the popularity of this method of entry into races from 5ks to marathons. So it’s not for a lack of information that I view this with some trepidation, as races are eager to impart how to best access information and support on how to proceed. What I’m a bit wary of is actually getting on a platform and committing to raise a certain amount of money within a specified period of time; the amount being a big issue and then the time frame allotted in which to do this. I’ll admit right off that a sales person I am not so the pitch just doesn’t come to me nor does it ever sound right, which leaves me questioning my motives cause this is not about me right?

rise_8k_undercliff_run_start_line

Cause running has opened up the field of runners to just about anyone with a heart to do good, the bonus is exercise and the chance to do something one might not have attempted but for the pull of the greater good. In addition, there’s the added benefit of training teams and cheering sections This makes it a win-win situation as there are multiple groups with different models that allow runners to consider the cause – which runs from cancer research to providing animal rescue – race distance, fundraising minimum and training programs. The recent addition of crowdrise, peer-to-peer fundraising site, to the running platform allows runners who don’t find a cause they’re interested in to create a page and run for a group of their choice.(Runners World)

r_london_marathon2_0

The causes are endless and the opportunities to make my running count are better now than they’ve ever been; all I need is social media, my friend lists and the ability to pitch my cause. I’m giving it a go for the New York City Half Marathon in March. A couple thousands shouldn’t be hard..wish me luck!

For the love of Running

image

Like it or not the cold season is upon us and many are going to be the days when we will not feel “it,” when the couch and a host of other things will seem more attractive than lacing up those running shoes and hitting the road. Let’s face it, the cold season brings out the human in most of us and running really becomes “second” nature as we become the worst form of cheaters and yes, liars, full of excuses and reasons for ditching, sidelining or just giving up. Goals determined in the Spring and dreams designed in Summer are oftentimes not winter proof and many fall through, no pun intended, lose momentum and may even die. If you’re a new runner it can be even harder to stay on track and true to the decisions you made early on in the year. We need help.

Here are 10 things we can do to keep us motivated and running through the worst of Fall and Winter:

  • Dig into some Running Reading; there are lots of good reads by tried and true runners to keep your interest and inspire your run
  • Movies, Clips and Videos about running or races can sensitize and facilitate positive thoughts and feelings about running
  • Group Running is a sure way to create solidarity and provide support and motivation; you can hook up with a meet up group or join a club
  • Friendships are forged and cemented on cold runs and there’s the added layer of accountability; invite, encourage and share a run with someone
  • Join a gym or YMCA; packed with equipment, classes and various opportunities for running and exercise, there are no lack of things to peek and keep your interest
  • Choose Indoor Running; various arenas like schools, the gym, stadiums and the like host indoor tracks and with the right connections or just plain brass you can get access
  • Use Music to Inspire Your Runs; create a kick-ass song list to keep you company on your runs
  • Run In Company; choose to run in locations where other like-minded runners frequent such as parks and various popular running routes in your area
  • Shopping for Running Gear is always fun for us girls and staying trendy can provide the impetus for stepping out as we’re more likely to want to get a feel for how it fits
  • Sign Up for a Race or Two; this is a sure way to get you training and keep you in a running frame of mind

For sure there are a whole lot more ideas out there, maybe even more fun ones, that’s all well and good we’ll take it any way we can get it, just as long as it keeps us running. Maybe you have some ideas and tips, please share. We, runners love to encourage others and be encouraged ourselves.

image

This Thankful Running Heart

Photo Credit: Jim McWilliams / The Philadelphia Marathon

To think that it’s Thanksgiving already, that we’re already so close to the year’s end..sometimes I feel as though we’re in this race against time, only we’re getting left despite our best efforts to up the ante and increase our speed. In spite of this, and time’s steady progression, it is important that we take a moment to reflect on what we have been able to achieve thus far and in so doing be better able to continue in our pursuit of excellence and fulfillment.

Thanksgiving provides us the perfect opportunity to look both within and around us to account for our blessings and/or areas in our lives that we are thankful for. For my part, I’m particularly full of running thankfulness, thankful that:

– thus far this year I’ve had very minor running injuries
– I’ve been able to run four marathons within a 12-month period with a faster time each time
– I feel healthy and strong
– I qualified for Boston again
– my knowledge of running grows more and more each day
– I have a running group to train with
– I live and run in beautiful New York
– I’m able to share my running thoughts and dreams with you here on this blog
– I can now appreciate that there are no limits to what I can achieve if I want it badly enough
– through running I have met the most inspirational and dedicated people
– I know and love my body

Of course I’m thankful for a lot more than running; like family, friends, the gym, my job, my faith and yes, completing Philly in 3:34:33! I. Did. It. Last Sunday, I ran the Gore-Tex Philadelphia marathon. Here’s a short recap; downtown Philadelphia is a beautiful and historic city with pretty architecture and happening restaurants. The scenic route of the marathon was pretty cool and saw approximately 30,000 runners take off from center city around 7am. Save for the seemingly endless miles around a reservoir on the course, what can I say – I enjoy variety – this became the most challenging aspect of what was basically a flat and fast course, it would have been a phenomenal sub 3:30 run. Reflecting on my performance, I feel I need to particularly work on my pace in the latter half of a marathon if I’m to really maximize the negative-split concept, which is basically running the second half of the race faster than the first. Around mile 19 the forefront/ underside of my feet began complaining, I am convinced there is an issue there either with my shoes or feet, and I found myself struggling to increase and even keep pace. This led to some challenging moments from which I eventually emerged on top. Still, it was touch and go for a while there and though I’m always up for a challenge, a masochist I am not, so given this is my second time dealing with the same issue, I think this warrants looking into. All in all though, it was a great experience and my fastest marathon thus far, which makes me feel pretty confident moving forward; for this, I am extremely thankful.

Setting goals are great as it provides initiative, momentum and accountability. Realizing your goals are greater still for providing satisfaction, self-confidence, inspiration and a sense of achievement. There’s just over a month left in the year and more than enough time to express our thanks for life’s many blessings while yet keeping our eyes on the goal.

philadelphia-marathon-manayunk-680uw

Stay Healthy, Warm & Running as Winter Approaches

runningwinterHonestly,  this is my worst weather for running. Those who know me, know that I’m a summer baby. Born and bred in the Caribbean, I have a very low tolerance for cold weather while the heat doesn’t bother me one bit. I could live a thousand years of Summer just to not have to deal with winter but wishful thinking does not Summer make, so being the realist that I am (not), each year that I’ve lived here, I have had to dig deep down inside and find my New Yorker determination and fortitude; there is such a thing. See, living in New York has been good for me, I’ve become a more of a roll-with-the-punches sorta gal who believes that running will fix most if not everything. Survival can do that to you. Pardon the expression, but this concrete jungle out here leaves very little room for the timid and hesitant; my experience has taught me the value of dealing with things in a practical and straight forward way, especially when there is no way around it. You gotta love this place; it’s a pull-yourself-up-by-booth-straps kinda city and winter presents the perfect opportunity to do so.

My first experience of snow in this country was a beautiful thing, then I came to New York. See, before I arrived in the peachy state of Georgia, it hadn’t snowed there for eight years. Those beautiful southern folks hadn’t a clue how to deal with even a dusting and so their response was to shut down the town, city, state, everything, which suited everyone just fine. Holiday anyone? So, the most beautiful sight I had ever seen was the fairy-dust of snow that was just enough for playing in: snow fights, not-too-much-of-a-snowman, rolling around, picture-posing.. It was a ton of fun. One day of snow and then it was all gone, nary a thought to it affecting running. Christmas 2007 altered all that; a snowstorm hailed my arrival in the big apple that shut down the city airports, grounded flights and left people stranded in the airports along the north-west for a few days. That snow was to stay on the ground for weeks; commuters nightmare realized and the end of my romance with the white monster called winter. Not that I minded snow in the least, it really does paint a pretty picture and then there are the sporting uses it’s good for, but really it’s the effects and affects of the season: the blinding cold, the discomfort of piling on layers, the inconvenience of using the bathroom as a result, the inability to be warm no matter how many layers, and of course the limit it places on my running adventures – who really enjoys running with layers of clothes, frozen cheeks, breath, fingers, toes and not being able to sweat..that’s how you gauge how hard you’ve worked, by the sweat of your brow..that sort of thing, and of course who feels like guzzling down water and other liquids to keep hydrated when you really don’t want to be visiting the bathroom as it takes twice the time it typically does. Plus, I am one who wants nothing that even resembles cold to drink. So there you have my dilemma, which has only slightly diminished in its intensity since my advent into cold weather.

I try to have more of a positive outlook and think in terms of winter wonderland these days. Acclimation to cold weather not being my thing, I’m still always cold but I complain less – hasn’t helped since so what’s the use – to my way of thinking. But mainly what has helped with my attitude change is my ability to run around it. I learnt pretty fast the tricks to staying sane during the winter months and this among others may be the reason I like to say I’m a new yorker. Here are some of my tips to not only survive but to thrive while running in winter wonderland.

The Run is truly for those who endure:
. Winter is the perfect season for the gym. I can vary my days depending on the weather between gym workouts and running outside.
. The treadmill is not my enemy and can actually be put to good use on those bad weather days when I’m training.
. Wearing the proper cold running gear is paramount to staying well and fit. Breathable material allows pores to absorb and let out air and perspiration.
. It is essential to properly cover up ones’ extremities such as hands, feet, face and ears.
. It’s absolutely necessary to hydrate when exercising and running outside as you are less likely to feel thirsty because of the cold air thus leading to dehydration.
. A winter or late fall race is ideal to keep the running momentum going. It keeps you focused, training and gainfully exercised.
. Winter is already cold and can be quite isolating as lots of runners travel, hibernate, whatever… You want to make sure you stick to your running group or find one and/ or a partner to help you through your cold sessions.
. I find it extremely fool-hardy to run on black ice, the one you can barely see but can have you slipping and sliding. Living to run another day is way more important.
. Running around noon is usually the best time to run..You get to maximize your vitamin D intake which sometimes can be extremely low during the cold season and it’s as warm and enjoyable as it will ever be.

During winter months, I find that I run harder to get the results I want; this could be because the air is colder and sharper, which lends itself to a slightly more strenuous breathing pattern for me, as well as it could be that I run harder because I feel I don’t achieve as much due to my sweat level which is almost non-existent. And let me tell you, I sweat..like clothes-soaking, body-dripping sweat so it feels strange in the winter not to do so even while I understand that the cold air dries it up before it even sets on one’s skin. In any event, if you’re half-way determined as I am and you’re getting ready to amble out, be sure to stock up on winter running gear and talk and listen to your body to put yourself in a winter running frame of mind. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Redefining Running (Part 2)

ultra_marathon_tatry_5_by_gupol-d73yise
In the first part of this topic we discussed the evolution of running and I highlighted some of newer aspects of our sport, which takes us beyond the typical run-for-health-or-exercise reasons to that of fun and competition. We explored this in the context of ultra running events for those of us who wanted to expand our horizons and push our limits; no longer accepting of the status quo or what it means to be the average runner.

I find this new push for endurance racing or running quite interesting, first because it indicates the presence of a relentless and demanding drive in our personalities that mirrors that of the competitive athlete: supremely confident and highly driven to achieve one’s personal best, and second, because now I’m curious about the extent of our drive for self-actualization in running: what does this mean for the future of running and how far can our desire for more take us?

While those questions are sure to set us a’wondering, it behooves us to consider how far we’ve progressed since the days of Pheidippides (our marathon namesake) and to see the evolution of running as the natural progression of a sport of passion, which brings us to my first point: the personality of the runner who determines that a marathon is no longer enough. I can safely say I identify since I know what it is to achieve your first marathon – the anticlimax of a build up of complex emotions: demanding physical and mental preparedness coupled with extreme psychological and physical adjustments. The finish line is now associated with time, medal and the next event. Crazy right. I recall completing my first marathon, was it only last year – deep in the bellies of pain – and there I was thinking of the next one, which was to be less than two months away, and the next, a month later. Now I’m at crossroads, considering my first ultra event next year. Sure I have set other goals along the way, like completing the World Marathon Majors and running some of the most amazing and toughest courses, however, now I have a new goal: completing a triathlon next year while vaguely in the distance I can detect the shaping up of an iron man. I have demanded of my mind to stop there though I suspect there are a lot more ideas buzzing around. In this instance, I find the challenge to be one of keeping focus on one goal at a time and not splitting oneself into various parts attempting to achieve different things. But it’s always right there on the periphery of my mind; what’s next, where to run, how can I get faster, be stronger, do better next time? For there is never a doubt that there will be a next time only a matter of when.

Many runners share this crazy passion, always on the look out for the next big race or event. Whether it’s cross-country, over trails and mountains, across ice, over rocks, through streams and in valleys, over five hours or a couple of days, I will go so far as to say we thrive on it; our aphrodisiac if you will – what stimulates and motivates us to being better people and better athletes. If you’ve ever faced the question of – why do you do it – then you know deep down that it’s as simple as, why not. The training, sacrifice, dedication, and various daily deprivations, that’s the hard part. Then again, it comes with the guarantee of an utter sense of fulfillment upon completion of each big one. So indeed, why not.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 166 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers

%d bloggers like this: