Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Little Inspiration

No one can ever get too much inspiration. About six years ago I passed out on the YMCA pool deck after the BEST swim workout of my life. I totally forgot it was the best swim workout because I was blinded by the incident which included my face and body planting on the metal bleachers and finally on the hard tile pool deck. It was one of those moments you would only expect to see on TV: Person passes out, doctor is present to be the good Samaritan, Pool staff has banana in back pocket, and another swimmer gives me Gatorade. I recovered quickly; as a matter of fact that same night I was at the bar getting drunk with my bestest friend!

It took me years to get over that incident. Every time I went to the pool I was worried that I was going to pass out again, every time I went out for a run I thought I was going to hurt myself, and every time I hopped on my bike I thought I was going to get hit by a car or fall off. I still went to the pool, hit the trails and rode my bike but never comfortably. It is many years later and I rarely think about that moment anymore because I started drawing inspiration from new, positive sources.

I realized that when I would experience a 'tragic' moment in my life I would focus on the tragedy rather than what I learned from that moment. I am now in the habit of focusing on the good things. Do you remember that extremely difficult run I had a few weeks ago? Do you also remember that I finished that run and felt great afterwards? Yeah, I do too. Of course I remember that I broke down, but what I learned from that moment is that I can get through any struggle.

This morning, while engaging in my favorite Sunday morning activity, otherwise known as Facebook, I ran across a video posted by both my sister and cousin about Rick and Dick. Dick wanted to run a marathon and Rick instead of focusing on why Dick couldn't run a marathon, focused on making Dick's dream come true. This is not the same video I saw on facebook but it is a great interview with Rick. I am going to draw inspiration from this for quite some time. Take the five minutes to watch. It will change your life:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What I Learned this Week

After last week's misery I can tell you I have accomplished a lot this week. Aside from the sore knees both four mile runs and the six mile run were FANTABULOUS!!!

Let me start by breaking down my week for you. On Monday I went out after work with my running buddy to run our four miles and I approached that run with dread. All I could think about was the fact that I had failed miserably on Saturday and I was starting to think running should be left for the elite. After the first mile I realize that it wasn't all bad. I ran through the flooded portion of the path and felt like I was getting my 'hard core' nature back. Mile three and four felt amazing!

On Wednesday I had to squeeze in four miles again between a conference, finishing my preparation for a presentation, baking bread and cleaning my house for company the following night. I went into work at 5:30 and set out for my run at 7:00 in the morning. I was having one of those clear your head kind of runs. Nothing could get in my way. The streets were empty, the people I passed along the way were friendly and spirited, I felt accomplished. By the time I went to bed at one a.m. I was pleasantly surprised with all I finished during the day.

Dukie Hiking!

Yesterday my running buddy and I went out for our run. The sun was shining, the air was brisk and fresh. We ran and had some good conversations about self actualization, friendship, running and life. We enjoyed our morning. Oh and did I mention we ran six miles?

Lastly Dukie and I hit up one of my favorite Metro Parks. We hiked for miles. Dukie took a rest in the middle of the trail. While he laid there I kept thinking about how great my training had been that week and how awesome this hike was. Right then Dukie looked up at me with, what I call, his Elvis smile and I realized that remembering the bad days only make you appreciate the good days that much more!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Five Mile Meltdown

Whenever I am in doubt about my blog topic for the week something presents itself and fills in the blanks very nicely. Well this story isn't so nice but the learning opportunity I'm sure will be nice...

My running buddy and I went out for our long weekend run. We both admitted within the first mile that we were hoping the other person would cancel. We both have huge amounts of pride and wouldn't cancel just to cancel. We both admittedly need a very good excuse like lightning, major illness, car accident etc. as our excuse before we would even consider cancelling on the other person.

We were running, I was in a negative place making comments such as this run sucks, I can't find my groove. On top of it we both kept checking our watches or ipods respectively to see where we were in our run. We were melting down, well actually I was melting down. We got to the turn around point for our run when I told my running buddy to go on. I started walking and promptly the tears began to fall. It reminded me of the time I was skiing with my brother and sister on a "hard" run (which mind you would not even be notable at this point in my skiing career) and they were trying to give me instruction. They were getting frustrated, I was getting frustrated and I told them to leave me. They did just that and it has provided us a very funny story to share with people from time to time.

Anyway, I was walking, crying and beating myself up because I couldn't find my groove. I started thinking about the movie Top Gun. Now where that came from is 100% beyond me. I kept thinking of the scene when Maverick had lost his friend but had to go into combat. Maverick was keeping up and then all of a sudden disengaged. He was talking to himself trying to find meaning after such a tragic loss of his friend Goose. While watching the movie you can see the moment Maverick regains his confidence and reengages in the fight. Ultimately Maverick saved the day AND the Top Gun anthem starts playing. You know the scene, it is the one in which my Dad turns the volume up on the TV as loud as possible so you can experience the moment, not just watch the moment.

The soundtrack started playing in my head and I started to get back in the 'game'. Now I was seriously in the depth of all depths you will inevitably encounter during a training regimen. My mind was all over the place. I was thinking about how upset people get when their team loses the Superbowl, how sports commentators can sometimes be heard saying it as if 'they' (meaning the team) didn't show up today, the Olympic athlete who will never be able to truly win but finishes anyway. I was trying to figure out how you get through those moment, where do you find the strength...

And then it happened I kicked it up a notch and told myself I am not a wuss. In runners world magazine this week one article featured a runner who wants to compete in the marathon of all marathons, otherwise know as the Olympic marathon. The article talked about how she wanted to go as a competitor not JUST a participant. I didn't understand that statement until I broke down today...

We are all competing against something when we sign up for an event. Whether we want to be first, cross the finish line or beat our last time. The only way we can 'compete' is by facing our fears, failures and disappointments and learn from them.

Ultimately I had a meltdown that included mind games, big fat tears and terrible pain. I did not give up. I faced those fears, fought those fears and I conquered!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Runners Trots

Ever heard that term before? Nope I didn't either...

I was contemplating whether I would blog about this problem or not because it is kind of a sensitive issue and I don't need every person knowing what is going on with my body, however I have learned that not enough people are talking about this problem...

So now you may be wondering what I am even talking about. I'm talking about Poop, people!!!

Perhaps I should buy one of these bags!
Oh and this is a 100% REAL product.

First I want to point out that there are always TONS of porta potties along race courses and I now understand why. My running regimen has amped up a bit over the last few weeks. Last week I ran about 15 miles, this week I will run 21 miles, and the mileage is only going to increase throughout the year. While out for my four mile run last week I had to take a side trip to the bathroom. The next day (3 miles) same thing. Then again the next day during a short 2 mile run. There is nothing more frustrating than having great momentum and then having to stop because you have to go the the bathroom.

I thought my problems were over today and simply attributed it to being off my game last week and not being 100% healthy, but the problem came back during my 5 miler today. Luckily I didn't have to divert to a bathroom mid run, but I certainly tried to get into the LOCKED public bathroom at about 4.5 miles. I called my sister to talk about this and she told me it is a common problem that happens to a lot of people. I couldn't believe it because when I talk to runners they talk about their achy joints, sore muscles, their runner's high, sore backs, boast about mileage in a week, and the list goes on. No one openly talks about the achy stomach, the rumbly intestines, the yearning for intestinal relief or the mad dash to the bathroom at the very end of a run, or the poop...

Well here I am talking about it. I am dealing with it and really need to figure out how to relieve this issue. My on-line 'research' has provided me with some strategies to fight this problem. In no particular order I have learned the following may help runners trots:

1) Stay hydrated
2) Avoid high fiber foods
3) Don't eat immediately before a run
4) Avoid dairy before a run
5) Take Imodium 1 hour before the run (although this should be in consultation with a doctor)

Let us all be real here, we all deal with some type of struggle and this is me being real. Over the next week I am going to try out these strategies and keep you posted on what works for me. If you have suffered from what I am now calling 'the trots' please share your tricks, I'm sure there are others reading who can benefit!!!