Category Archives: Fitness

Rehoboth Beach Half – State #23

Ran state #23 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware this weekend.  Great race, perfect weather for running.  I’m too tired to write much, so here are some pictures from before, during and after the race.  A highlight was running about half of the race on a dirt bike trail in the woods.   Met up with fellow 50 staters for dinner Friday night, and enjoyed yummy crab enchiladas post race.  Glad to be racing in cooler weather again after my last two miserably hot races.

My pre-race inspiration was the guy behind me when I walking to the start.  He said to his friend “this is my 101st, but what I’m most proud of, is that 95 of them have been since I turned 70.”  Not sure if he was talking about full or half marathons… but either way that’s impressive!

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Half Marathon #18 – Rock and Roll New Orleans Race Report

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Unremarkable.

That one word sums up my experience at the Rock and Roll New Orleans Half Marathon.  It wasn’t a great day for me running-wise.  I didn’t particularly enjoy the course, except for the most scenic parts around miles 8-10.  And it was my first race traveling by myself without a running buddy.  Here are the highlights and low lights:

-It was unseasonably cold at race time.  Runners shivered in 40 degree weather for a start that took a very long time.  Not quite what I was expecting for New Orleans!

-The 3 mile up, 3 mile back run up St. Charles was sort of boring.  There is a trolley track down the middle of the road that’s dirt and it was a nice break to be able to run on this for several of the miles and get off the asphalt.

-A guy passed me on St. Charles wearing a New England Patriots Jersey and juggling three deflated footballs.  Everyone was laughing.  But by the time I got my camera out of my SPI-belt, he was too far away for a good photo.  Imagine running that fast WHILE juggling!  Geez!

-I think for the first time ever, I had to use the port-a-john during a half marathon. Too much water!

-The portion of the run past Cafe du Monde and the French Quarter was the most fun.  Bewildered tourists snapped photos of all these crazy runners going by.

-I got to meet a few folks from the Fifty States Half Marathon Club at my first race since joining.   We had a nice italian dinner the night before the race — and it was fun to color in another state on my jacket when I got home.

-The race took longer than I expected and it was past check out time at my hotel by the time I got back.  Because I was in a hurry, I pretty much skipped all the after-race activities, grabbed a banana and some water and headed straight for the shuttle bus and walk to the hotel. After showing ID, they let me back into the room to just to collect my bags. I stretched the rules and took at 2 minute shower to save my Jet Blue seat mates the agony of sitting next to me unshowered.

-No post-race pancakes were in evidence at the airport, so I scarfed some beignets — not a bad substitute.  When in Rome…

-The highlight of this trip was definitely NOT the race, but a 20-ish mile bike tour of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans designed to showcase the rebuilding effort there post Hurricane Katrina.  It was fascinating, depressing, informative and neat to tour by bike. I took lots of photos, but haven’t had a chance to weed through them yet.

I arrived home to be greeted with 2 – 3 of snow with another foot on the way tomorrow.  My Arizona Half is in just 2 weeks near Phoenix, so I hit the treadmill yesterday for my long run.  My calves and hamstrings continue to be tight – so I will keep stretching and rolling and hope that Arizona is a better race for me!  And New Orleans deserves another chance for some sightseeing — and a trip that does not include a 13.1 mile run!

New Jersey/Long Branch Half Marathon – Race Report

 

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New Jersey was cool. Literally. The planets lined up almost perfectly for yesterday’s Long Branch Half Marathon in New Jersey. Since I’m a little pressed for time, I’ll do a summary style race report for this, my 14th state half marathon (just 36 to go!).

Here’s what was good and bad about it:

1) Weather: The Good – The weather was perfect for running – it started off in the 40s at dawn with temps rising into the 50s. Even on a warmer day, the race is early enough (6:45 am start) that it is over before the mid-morning heat. If I could be picky, I’d rather not run with the sun in my eyes for most of the race which was the case since we were running mostly south and east. And the Bad? High sustained winds for the mile and a half along the beach just before the finish. Offsetting that … the cherry blossoms were out, which gave this spring-starved New Englander hope that summer will come eventually.

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2) Race Organization: Overall it was fabulous. Well-staffed, well-spaced water stops with great volunteers, and well-organized number pick up. Plenty of port-o-johns, plenty of parking at the start, organized corrals and a warm place to sit and wait for the race to begin inside Monmouth Park. The Bad? A really long walk to the shuttle bus post-race and similarly long walk to the cars from the shuttle drop off point. And mediocre food at the finish – a dry piece of bread that no amount of water would wash down, a banana, 2 pieces of salt water taffy, and a tiny granola bar. I hate to complain because it’s tough to be a race director, and this one gets a solid A with just minor things that need to be improved – darn good for a race of more than 10,000 people.

3) The Course: Great, mostly flat course, except for a few bridges. I found myself wishing for more spectators, especially during the first half of the course as we ran through quiet residential neighborhoods.

4) The Bling: The Good? Awesome medal. The Bad? Women’s technical T-shirts that were sized small with no warning of same, and insufficient XL T-shirts. The shirts are great, I only wish I had one I could wear!

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5) Pace Groups: The Good? Great 2:45 pace group – stuck with them for about half the race, and then they dropped me. I was smart to quit trying to keep up since 2:45 would have been a huge PR for me and I couldn’t quite sustain the pace. But they were funny and cheerful and did a great job coaching the group along. Ultimately finished at 2:52 and they were still there waiting for me at the finish to make sure I was ok. Even better, this race had a 3:00 Half Marathon pace group, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen. Since one of my goals was to beat 3:00, I was just glad they didn’t pass me.

6) Unexpected Pleasures – a high energy start to (first) a bugle “Call to the Post” – fitting for Monmouth Raceway, and (then) “Born to Run” – fitting for the Jersey Shore! QR Code on bibs for instant race results! Great motivational signs mid-course made Mile 6 seem to go more quickly.

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7) Unexpected Annoyances – NJ Tolls – $21.05 to go from northern NJ to New York? No coffee at hotel. No coffee at race. No coffee til lunchtime.

8) My successes – this was my fourth fastest half marathon ever, and my strongest race since recovering from my toe injury. I feel like I am still getting stronger and faster, and with the ten pounds off that I gain while injured and a little more training, I am pretty sure I can PR again despite continuing to get older (funny how that happens). I also feel like I’m getting smarter about pacing and race strategy. I felt strong through 11 miles and until I hit the headwind coming back up the coast.

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That’s me leading the pack (ha) through downtown Long Branch near mile 9.5.

What’s Next?  Still trying to find a race for late May or June that fits into my schedule and travel budget. Stay tuned!

Milestones

Five years ago I ran my first 5K in my hometown — the Stow Conservation Trust’s Run for the Woods.  It feels like a whole lifetime ago — so many things have changed for me since then. I had just completed the Couch to 5K program and remember it as a gorgeous warm spring/summer day.  I struggled with the heat, the distraction of running surrounded by other people, and with my pacing in that first race.

I completed this race again today, the first race I’ve done since last October when I limped the Hartford Half with a broken toe.  It was important to me to do because it was my 50th race and I wanted that milestone to be in my hometown and on the anniversary of my first race.

I’ve been training with a mix of running and walking — right now I’m running 15 seconds and walking 45 and have gotten up to 2 miles doing that.  I made the decision to walk this morning because I didn’t feel ready to bump up to 3 miles for the first time in a race setting and didn’t want to risk injury. I wasn’t sure how fast I’d be able to walk. Before today, my fastest walking mile was around 14:50 and my fastest 5K training time was a couple of weeks ago at 46:03.  Today I finished the race in 41:36, dropping my pace to 13:25 and my overall time significantly.  That felt great, as did the fact that I got 3rd place female walker and a trophy to go with it.

Over the next week, I’m looking forward to extending my training to three miles and looking for another 5K to run.  Slowly, slowly getting back to it.

Here’s a photo of my trophy!

RFTW

A Force… Of Nature

With a winter storm bearing down on the Northeast yesterday, I walked into the gym and it was overflowing with people, with every treadmill taken, and it stayed that way all morning – and up until the early storm closing at 1 pm. Seeing all those folks there got me thinking about the difference between motivation and commitment.

Those at the gym were the committed… the people who took time out of preparing for the storm to make sure they got their workouts in – knowing that it was unlikely that they would be able to get to the gym on Saturday during the blizzard. They had planned ahead, making themselves and their workouts a priority, even as the snow began to fall outside.

So often I hear people say “I’m just not motivated enough to get in shape or lose weight [or change whatever habits they’d like to change].” But it’s not really about motivation. Motivation is what happens when you see that picture of yourself looking unacceptable. Or when you realize that “enough is enough” and something needs to change. Motivation happens in the moment. Motivation is that resolution that you set on January 1st, pledging that this will be the year of the “new you.” Motivation is exciting – it gets you started, but it won’t get you the finish line.

That’s because motivation is transient. One day you wake up and you just don’t FEEL motivated anymore. Maybe you’re tired, or you’re stressed, or you feel crappy, or sorry for yourself. Your motivation needle drops to zero and before you know it, you’re back to your old ways. Not exercising. Digging into the freezer for that pint of Ben and Jerry’s. And probably feeling miserable about yourself for “just not being motivated enough to reach your goal.” Again. Damn. And the cycle repeats.

In those dark moments when motivation fails you, what you really NEED to summon is your commitment. Commitment is a powerful force that takes a stand for you and your priorities today, tomorrow, and the next day. Commitment is rooted in the why behind what you wanted to change. To be healthy, to be fit, to be happy, to start that business. It’s hard to put yourself and your priorities first. Somewhere along the way so many of us get taught that it’s “selfish” to put yourself first. But if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t truly care for others.

Commitment is focus. It means putting yourself at the top of your to do list, blocking out time in your schedule for your workout, and saying no to people who will sabotage your efforts. Commitment is a mindset that you have a new and healthier habit now.

Motivation happens in the moment. Commitment happens everyday.

Live your commitment.