I started off my Saturday with a 13 mile run, half of which was with my dear friend C. I’ve started referring to my Saturday runs as my endurance mileage maintenance run. No, I’m not currently training for anything, but I love being able to do a reasonably long run, feel like I’ve pushed my body to the max, and then replenish it with good food, rest, and yoga.
C. and I have started exploring new trails around NWA, ones where we haven’t run in a while or where we know the fall color will be shyly peeking out. A new terrain keeps things fresh and helps running continue to be an adventure.
After our run, we slipped passed the hubbub of the BV farmer’s market and sat for a while at one of our favorite local coffee shops. The convenience of SB is always nice but there is something special about a local coffee shop that grinds their own coffee and follows their own tune.
I always feel like my Saturday runs and coffee finally put the previous week to bed and welcome in the weekend.
The rest of the time has been spent sending warm birthday wishes to my wonderful mother, hanging out with with Al and my dogs and getting things prepped for a whole new week.
The 2016 election is 18 days away. And oh my, the campaigns leading up to it have been a circus.
I was naturally drawn to Clinton when she announced her intention to run for president. She’s tough, smart, and experienced. She has made many mistakes but has admitted to them, apologized, and is ready to move on and get some things done.
Politicians have to make tough decisions which won’t be popular with everyone. Clinton is aware of that and isn’t afraid of backlash. She chooses her words carefully and strategically and doesn’t allow fear tactics used by her opponent to intimidate her. I respect and admire that.
She’s admitted freely that she has problems connecting with people and being herself. She also prepares and does her homework. She is in the position that no woman has ever been in and I’m sure it must be exhilarating, wonderful, and terrifying all at the same time.
Her messages have been positive and full of hope. She wants to grow and bring people together. She doesn’t think the country is a mess and understands that all wounds can heal if we work together.
I believe in her. She’s human. She’s a mother and grandmother. She is fierce, strong, capable, smart, and doesn’t give up. She’s just what we need and Obama gave us a great start.
So fingers crossed as the final countdown begins. It’s time to shatter some glass ceilings.
Imagine that you just ran 12 miles. You’re tired, sore, and your muscles feel like goo. Obviously you stretch after you run but sometimes that isn’t enough. What else can you do?
If this sounds like you, do yourself a favor. Stop whatever you’re doing and go to the nearest athletic retail store and buy a roller.
I am a recent convert into the roller way of life but now that I’m here, I simply can’t go back. It’s an intense massage that you can basically take with you anywhere.
I understand that not everyone is a runner but this is a universal tool. Who doesn’t like a massage??
The benefits of foam rolling have to do with the mobility of the fascia. Fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in our body. Without proper mobility, fibers of the fascia become cross linked and they bind to muscles and nerves, inhibiting normal motion and causing pain.
The roller will quickly become your favorite workout buddy. Don’t worry- your friends will understand.🙂
Completing my 11th marathon has truly made me realize the insignificance of numbers….numbers that in any way try to limit you. It’s kind of bizarre that’s it’s taken 288.2 race miles + countless other miles of training to get me to this frame of mind.
I have two of the most wonderful parents in the world who always told me I could do anything (they let me major in theater in college without batting an eye, for goodness sake!). But I guess I had to see for myself what I was truly capable of, before I could believe it.
The problem with running in a marathon is that there are SO MANY factors that can affect your running. You can train for weeks but if you don’t fuel well the night before, are dehydrated, don’t get enough sleep, etc., your finish can be affected and/or you can be very sick. It’s a learning process and a commitment. One teeny tiny thing can cause a big problem.
Thankfully my second crack at the Twin Cities Marathon happened on a day that dawned with a temp of 35 degrees. My heaven. My parents and I walked to the starting line in the hazy dawn that was speckled with dark forms gliding along the sidewalk in multicolored tights. I’m not going to lie. I was FREEZING.I was wearing shorts, a light long sleeved shirt, and a hat. My camel pack was strapped securely to my back. I just knew though, once the sun came up, I would be warm. I kept that golden image in head and kept moving forward.
The avenue of 6th and Portland in downtown Minneapolis was swelling with people, loud and upbeat music, and the race announcer’s booming voice, who sounded excited that he wasn’t the one running the race.😉 Bright blue porta potties lined the streets, welcoming the runners and the morning sun.
Before a lot of past races, I’ve had a moment doubt or regret that I have to run. I think “What if I just didn’t run?” None of this crossed my mind at this starting line. I was excited. I felt strong and fierce. I wanted those miles that were waiting for me.
The Twin Cities Marathon is called one of the most beautiful urban marathons in the country and for good reason. We wound in and out of quaint neighboors and by all the area lakes that sparkled like crystal in the morning light. Everywhere we went, there were spectators, some in costume and many holding fun signs. My favorite was “Trump is still running…so can you!” During this first part of the race, I flew. Up and down hills (and there were several fairly large hills). I tried to read every sign, smile as much as I could, and listen to my body to know when to give it fuel and water.
This is where I hit my wall. I was able to divide up the race into segments on 5 miles to keep my mental stamina but for a brief moment when I hit 13.1 miles, my mind took over and said “you’re ONLY half way done!” I pushed forward and kept moving. Around mile 15, I saw a runner with a bright yellow vest that said “Blind and Deaf” and a woman leading him with a similar vest that said “Guide.” That man gave me the inspiration I needed and I stopped struggling. I also started thinking of those people in my life that I know (or have known) that have a physical ailment and would do anything to be able to even walk. I decided to run for THEM.
I broke past my wall and started to see the light. The crowds and spectators were growing faint, though. I felt like I was in one of those movies where the general surroundings are dim and fuzzy and everything was moving in slow motion, except me. I felt like my breathing was being broadcast through a loud speaker and I’m sure I started talking to myself more than once.
Pain. Just pain. Not injury pain…just “I have been running for over 3 hours straight and I’m not done yet” pain. So..so tired.
The dreaded .2
I crossed the 26 mile mark and could see the finish line. It was down a big hill. I forced myself to smile and I actually laughed…mainly in disbelief.
I finished with a new PR of 3:48:57. Three minutes and three seconds faster than my last PR. I was crying and laughing as the volunteer handed me my finisher metal. It was done. I was so incredibly tired and sore but I had honestly never felt more invincible.
The only thing that made my new PR sweeter was the fact that I didn’t feel horribly sick post race. Obviously I was sore and incredibly tired. But I stretched and slowly ate and drank and I was fine.🙂
So….breakthrough, I guess. Marathon #11 is in the books and my training, determination, and sheer stubbornness paid off😉
This morning I’m heading back to Arkansas after a week with family and setting a new PR in the Twin Cities Marathon. I’ll write more on that experience soon but for now, I can relish the glow that always stays with me after I spend time with those that I love. 😄
That means it’s time to taper (hardest thing ever) and to eat all the things (i.e. good stuff that’ll fuel my body). As always, the key is BALANCE. I have to mentally realize that I’m ready, while physically I need to rest so that by Sunday, I can dive head first into those 26.2 miles.
As per usual, I have chosen a race near family so that I can visit, eat well, and then run. I’m lucky that I come from a family where running is in our blood (well, cross country and track – my sister). Distance running for me came a bit later. Regardless, they all are extremely supportive and always come to watch, even though I can’t even imagine waiting around for a 4 hour race to finish.😉
So here’s to eating lots, stretching even more, and most importantly, visiting with family🙂
If you know me well…heck, even if you’ve just met me, you know I’m always eating. One of the main reasons I carrying a large purse is that it fits all of my snacks and my water bottle. If I’m held up anywhere or have to wait, I’m set. Hangry Kate stays at bay.
Some of my recent eats that I managed to snap before I devoured them….
However, my eating habits are always a constant struggle, especially when I’m training for a marathon. I eat pretty clean and am a vegetarian, so I’m often not full. Okay, I’m NEVER full. But as I’ve gotten more races under my belt, I’ve started to try and be smarter about what I eat before a long run and a few weeks out from a big race. After a lot of miles, any food I can get my hands on (as long as it’s not meat) is far game. And that means I’m not always fueling my body properly. I’m not 21 anymore. I can’t eat crap and expect to run well and feel good😉
One thing that I’m really trying to be mindful of is actually reading the nutrition label of products to see how much sugar, fat, etc. they contain. Like, sure, I can pack away a full bag of dried Mangos, but it has way more sugar than I need in one sitting and it won’t fill me up. And it’s also important not to obsess over these labels. Just be mindful and observant. Again, it’s all about the balance😉
Kelly Roberts is one of my favorite running bloggers (and I secretly believe we’d be good friends if we ever met). She’s gearing up to run the Chicago Marathon on the exact day I’m running the Twin Cities Marathon (yay!) and has been doing daily vlogs of her runs. Today’s vlog has some great advice on nutrition for distance runners and really anyone in general who is wanting to balance fitness with proper nutrition.
The bottom line is to figure out what works for YOU. There will be a ton of people and literature out there that will try and tell you what you need to eat, how much you need to exercise, how much sleep you need, etc. Find what what routine works for your body, soul, and heart and stick with that.🙂
I had to take a breath. I was almost angry…which is weird.
For years I wanted to be called “skinny.” I wanted to be thought of as tall, thin, and willowy. The tall thing wasn’t going to happen, so I focused on being skinny….for all the wrong reasons and in all the wrong ways.
I’m not skinny. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’ve run a sub 4 hour marathon. I can hold a plank for 5 minutes. I leave the Arkansas hills in my dust during my runs. So, when I was called skinny, I just smiled and said “Well, I feel amazing.”
As a distance runner, my body is kind of my instrument. It’s all I have. I love every step and every mile I get the privilege to run. I do hours of yoga and strength training so that I am injury free. I eat as clean as possible so that I can feel my best. I work hard to balance this intense hobby with my day job, relationships, and real life.
I really hope that sometime in the future, all women will erase “skinny” from their list of things they’d like to be called and replace it with “strong.” Strong in mind, body, and spirit.
…. basically bad ass super women that can do anything. Yeah. That’s us, ladies.😉
It’s early in the week but already things have been busy, mornings have been short, and the late September/early October weather that I look forward to every year has yet to arrive. It got up to 91 yesterday😦
But during this week, which is guaranteed to be a little insane, I plan practice fearless and unapologetic optimism, appreciate the good moments, learn from the bad ones, and throw myself headlong into the beautiful mess that can sometimes surround me😉
I was talking to someone earlier this week about goals. They mentioned that they knew mine. “What do you think they are?” I asked, curious.
“To run faster and qualify for the Boston Marathon.”
Okay. I know I run a lot. A LOT. I average between 30-40 miles a week when I’m not training for a marathon, of which I have run 10. So…to most people, that might seem like I’m going towards a BQ (Boston Qualifier).
To be honest, the thought has never crossed my mind.
To me, running is the only thing in my life of which I can be completely in control. I can choose where I run, what time I run, how far I run, how I feel when I run (ie have I had enough food, sleep, etc). It is 100% up to me. There is no drama involved, no bad emotions. Once I start putting expectations on that (apart from the yearly marathon I run), I’m afraid of what I might lose. My oasis. My escape. My time where I can drift away and just BE (well, I can’t draft too far, as I usually run at 4am in the morning. Safety first!).
I won’t deny though, I’ve enjoyed getting stronger and faster. Being able to spin out miles after mile while my body breaks down and builds back up. But that alone is what I’m chasing…that feeling of strength. Not a BQ…at least for right now😉