Wait! Ok…go on now with multiple exercise opportunities!
Start with a bicycle ride along the Baltimore Harbor waterfront Continue reading
Every once in awhile, you challenge yourself beyond what you think you are capable. You push the limits, and there is still a reserve to push harder. You consider the “Q” word, but somehow manage to talk yourself out of quitting. You think the worst is over, only to find you need to push yourself even more. You wonder what provoked the need for such a challenge? Or, maybe you just don’t realize what you have signed up for.
We had signed up for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in the dead of winter. The days when the temperatures were in single digits, the outdoor runs were slim to none and signing up for something that was advertised as the “worlds hardest half marathon’ seemed like a way out of the winter doldrums. We live at sea level in Maryland. Our altitude of 300′ with hills that might reach 1/4 mile at most is plenty challenging. Yet, we were drawn to an event that claimed to reach the stars. Words that touted 2 mountain climbs with nearly 4000′ of elevation change drew blank stares. Fixated by the claim of the worlds hardest half marathon – well, I had to see it to believe it. In that blissfully unaware cold winter day, sitting at my computer with a hot cup of Joe – I clicked on the “Register” button. Now, all I had to do was to convince my running partner to do the same. Fortunately she didn’t read the fine print. Continue reading
Many people consider the Chesapeake Bay as the waterway that divides the Maryland mainland and the Maryland Eastern Shore. However, hidden in the geography details, is a small island. Kent Island. An island where the “Q” sisters rule. Sisters Quaint and Quiet.
It is also a splat of land where the terrain is sculpted perfectly for runners. Perfect in my world translates to flat terrain, off road running trails, unbelievably scenic views of the Bay and roadways mostly devoid of traffic. Welcome to the karma of Kent Island.
Today, I will run the Charleston Half Marathon – which is a charity running event that supports the Arts in Charleston SC. We left our campground in Mount Pleasant by 6AM – for a 30 minute drive into downtown Charleston. At 36 degrees, I was expecting to be cold, bone cold while waiting outdoors 1.5 hours for the 8AM start. I was thrilled to find that the Burke Middle School was open to the runners, and all 4300 of us piled inside to stay warm.
This is where I met Rosanne – a lovely lady in her early 50’s who is a cancer survivor and has run over 30 marathons and a few Iron-Man triathlons. She was quite inspiring and engaging and I nearly forgot that I was preparing to run a half marathon. With 10 minutes before the race starts, I said goodbye to my new friend – and stepped outdoors. Brrr. I was wearing too many clothes for running – but I really need to stay warm at the start. Aaah, the runner’s dilemma boils down to how much clothing to wear. Continue reading
With temperatures rising to 32 degrees and a rain-sleet storm heading in our direction – I had a mid-day window to get in my 10 mile run. I’m wearing my usual wintertime running outfit — long sleeve moisture wicking shirt, thin insulated jacket, lined sweat pants, wool socks, mittens and a bright orange cap. Born-n-raised in upstate NY, I should be able to handle 32 degree weather.
After the first 3 miles of hilly terrain – I had worked up some steam. Apparently not enough steam. I was passed by an older man wearing t-shirt and shorts. That’s right – wearing summertime clothing. The last I checked, it was still winter in Maryland. And he zoomed past me. Continue reading
My day had the makings of ‘busy’. The novelty of laying low for the holidays was quickly wearing off – and an impromptu family gathering at my home later in the afternoon had me scrambling. The house would need some tidying, quick stops to the grocery store, cooking and entertaining. And all of that simply means — the workout must begin somewhere around OH dark hundred.
The necessities of a busy day translated into the need for a good kick-start, efficient, cardio blaster workout. I was ready to proceed with “same-o”. That same-o route, that I knew would get the job done. At 0700 – my creative mind has not kicked in. Thought ruts are deeply entrenched. Thankfully – my Workout-Partner-In-Crime (WPIC) Jill had this angle covered for me — and suggested that we mix some new route with the old route. And maybe a twist on the format could evolve? Continue reading
Day 10 of my thought rut challenge fell on Christmas Day. Initially I had planned to run a half marathon – a virtual run for charity. This would be a new adventure – running 13.1 miles on Christmas Day. Never have I done that. However, the gift and food coma thing took over earlier that I anticipated – so I allowed myself to take off an entire day from exercise. Mostly. Squeaked in a little 2 mile walk. And followed that by way too much food consumption. It is what it is.
Day 11 of my thought challenge had me curious about a recent injury to my left hamstring. It occurred at the end of a tempo run. I was lucky. It wasn’t a debilitating injury – but more of a wake up call. A wake up that I needed to be spending more time strengthening and stretching before and after I run. A wake up call that I took seriously. I do not want to be sidelined from running. Period. Continue reading
It’s day #8 of challenging my thought ruts – and I wasn’t quite sure what would appear. With a day of slow steady rains – the notion of visiting the indoor public pool suddenly sounded appealing. Somewhere in the midst of 5 months of marathon training – I lost all sense of exercise balance. The kind of balance that changes up your routine. The kind of balance that has you wearing out one part of your body – while the rest goes on vacation. The kind of balance where you wonder if you have forgotten how to return – to homeostasis. The kind of balance where the preferred exercise of choice is running above all else.
Today I opted to rediscover balance. Just a little. To see how it felt. To try it on, wear it around and see if I liked the fit. To see if balance is all that necessary. And, to see if I even remembered how to swim. Continue reading
I enjoy running so much, that it is easy to skimp on the formalities. You know, the stretching. The strength exercises. The core work. Those annoying formalities that get in the way of just running out the door.
Despite my zest to just ‘up-n-run’, the hardest part of the daily workout is often motivating myself to do the warmup. More than just 1 or 2 thirty second stretches. Or, not getting all twisted up in my TRX ropes and calling that my warmup. Continue reading
Today’s adventure was breaking through a running route rut. A rut of running the same 1-of-5 courses, the same route, the same general area, or the same roads or anything that has the bottom-line sensation of ‘same-o’.
It’s the weekend – so my running adventure is joined by my partner in crime – Jill. Apparently Jill forgot it is “winter” and we had to rendezvous for the Annapolis run (a different city from our regular runs) by 6:30AM – meaning the alarm goes off at 4AM – and breakfast is inhaled by 5:30AM. Sigh. Sleeping fully will occur another day.
It all happened by accident.
With the shortened daylight hours of winter – I happily sleep in (6am), and procrastinate my exercise routine until half-way into my work day. Yes, these are the benefits of working from home. I save time (and $) by not commuting, put in extra hours for my clients – and then take a break for myself mid-day to exercise. Sweet!
I knew that the temperatures were moderately cool (low 40’s), and I casually glanced at the online weather forecast. 100% rain by 1PM. That sounded pretty certain – for a weather forecast. By 11AM, I’m ready to go for a run, and hubby Pat is geared up for his daily walk. We step out onto my favorite gym (the outdoor gym) – and off we go in our separate paces.
Oh sure. You can Google the Alps of Crozet. And likely you find them located in France. Exactly where the Crozet Alps belong.
But, if you are not needing to cross the Atlantic, live in the burb vicinity of Washington DC, and have a “thing” for running uphill in an all femme half marathon – the Alps of Crozet – located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Crozet VA is for you.
If you only have time for the headlines – here it is: I started. I finished. And I’m going to take some time off to recover. Just a little. OK?
Now, if your curiosity is piqued about what this adventure was really like, the nitty-gritty, the behind-the-scenes-adventures – then keep reading.
I could tell you that the story of NYC marathon Sunday was the 20+ mph headwinds for 20.5 miles, the wind gusts to nearly 50mph, the crosswinds that snatched your feet out from under you, or enduring bone chilling 20 something degree wind chills for 4 hours waiting for the run to begin. I could tell you that 5 layers of clothing and 2 heat sheets were not enough to keep you warm at Fort Wadsworth. I could tell you that the weather conditions were so severe, that the race organizers had to modify the start for the wheelchair division athletes — so that they avoided the 2 mile Verrazano Bridge. I could tell you how I watched the winds rip loosely fitted clothing right off runners crossing the Verrazano Bridge, and at one point I even felt the need to hang on to my step-daughter Emma who was running next to me. I could tell you how the headwinds in the South Bronx were so strong, that I actually stopped moving forward. For a few moments, I ran “in place”. No forward momentum. Continue reading
Within days of the NYC Marathon — my thoughts are busy studying the weather forecast for Sunday Nov 2, 2014 (currently predicting wind chill at 23 degrees and 30 mph headwinds!), wondering if I have trained enough, wondering if the “taper” concept really works, and examining that elusive question – “Why run?”. For the longest time, I sought out a sole answer to “Why run?”. I’ve read countless books and running magazines that try to make sense of that question with sensible answers. Answers that range from “it’s childlike and adults need more childlike”, “it’s playful and adults need to get more play time”. There are more answers too — from feeling a sense of accomplishment, to having a gym the size of mother Earth, to not needing to pay a monthly membership fee, to leaving your responsibilities behind — to just plain “me time”. All of these make sense, and all of these I can resonate with at any given moment. Continue reading
The final long run before the NYC Marathon has arrived. A shorty (12 miles) by prior long run standards – but possibly one of the most important practice runs of all. The run that imprints a positive state of mind.
The day began earlier than I would have preferred. I had over-committed my day, and my running start time would be sacrificed. My alarm goes off at 4:45, and I’m eating breakfast by 5:00AM. I’m not the least bit hungry, but force down 1/2 wheat bagel, peanut butter and a banana. It sits in me like a boulder. Digestion is taking it’s sweet time, and by 7:30AM my gut is not feeling especially “well”. Continue reading