100 Reasons I Run, #86

  • Who doesn't love a 6:30 am race start?

Actually, truth be told - early mornings are my least favorite part of running (or rather, training and racing). At one point I was as consistent as clockwork - up weekday mornings at 4 am and logging 10-12 miles before work. Saturdays and Sundays meant sleeping in until 6 am, and meeting my running partner at the Lake by 7 am.

These days, I'm lucky if I roll out of bed by 6:30 am during the week (barely enough time to shower and dress for work, much less get in a run). Weekend runs have been pushed to 8 am (much more humane, if you ask me) unless we're heading out for a 20+ miler.

As much as I loved getting all my runs done before work - the early mornings were taking quite a toll on my life. When you're getting up by 4 am (or 5), you're pretty much toast by 9 pm. And considering that I generally get home from work around 8, that didn't leave much time to just...be. Wake, run, work, sleep. Not particularly healthy.

So, the runs are less frequent. Generally in the evening. And a lot shorter.

Now, if that whole work thing didn't get in the way...just think of the distance I could cover mid-morning on a week day :)

A girl can dream, can't she?

Tuesday's Tip, September 29th

"The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live." -- Confucius
I have NO idea what this means, but it intrigues me...

Does it refer to people who slice their meat entirely before digging in, as opposed to slicing each piece and immediately eating it? Are these people who plan ahead and always have a clearly defined game plan, whereas the latter are more spontaneous?

Or does it refer to people who make sure to cut against the grain, so that they get a clean, easy cut each time - are these cautious people, afraid to make a mess?

And where do vegetarians fit in, since they don't even EAT meat?

Thoughts? Comments? Reflections?

Food Find, September 25th

My new favorite snack food - Dates! Now I know why almost every raw, "healthy", vegan, organic or otherwise hippie dippie snack bar is made with them :)

I am not exaggerating when I say that they make raisins taste like health food.

Dates are seriously nature's crack candy.

Mmmm, dates.

Lost and Found

The following is unashamedly a copy and paste of a friends' Facebook status.

The Professor: Ultrarunning journalism at its finest - 2
runners missing in the mountains for 3 days; massive search & rescue; and
they STILL mention their race performances from this year

Thankfully, we can find amusement in the report since the runners in question were found.

Speaking of getting lost and being found, have you thought about adding one of these to your running paraphenalia?

Watering the Plants

I don't know about you, but I wake up most every morning parched. I've learned to keep a bottle of water beside my bed - after hitting the snooze button on my alarm for the umpteenth time I will guzzle down water like a man who has wandered the desert.

So I wasn't terribly surprised to read the following:

"as you slept, your body also lost water in your breath, through your pores, and during any bathroom visits. First thing in the morning, your body may be down 20 ounces from normal hydration levels. Failing to replenish right away sets you up for dehydration and a disastrous race or workout."- Loren Cordain

So I guess it's not just the two martinis or the bagel with brisket for dinner :) We are naturally dehydrated when we wake up - and if you don't drink some water first thing, you'll spend most of the day trying to catch up.

Tomorrow morning, grab a big glass of water on your way to the shower and top off the tank!

Cheers ;)

Tuesday's Tip, September 22nd

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its
." - Albert Einstein

Road Rules

Wow. What gorgeous weather we had here in NY this past weekend. It seemed that everyone found a reason to spend some of the day outdoors.

My running partner and I ran 22 miles in and around Rockland Lake on Sunday - along with trails, the run included a fair amount of roadway (in particular the roads that loop around the Lake, leading to the parking lots, picnic areas and the few residences that boarder the park).

It was during a portion of our road run that I was shocked to realize just how recklessly people have taken to driving around the lake. No less than 10 times during our run were we passed by vehicles speeding around turns, rushing past with seemingly no care towards anyone else using the road.

Had this been on a regular thoroughfare I might expect it, even be resigned to it. But the roads around the lake are known to be full of bicyclists, runners and walkers. Add to that the fact that the ring roads I'm speaking of lead nowhere but to other portions of the Lake or the exits - there is absolutely no reason to speed.

Sadly, you and I have no control over other people's idiocy. But we can (and should) take it upon ourselves to be as safe as possible when out on the roadways. For me, this means:
  • Always run facing traffic. It's far easier to see something come at me than to hear it from behind.
  • Always assume that drivers and bicyclists don't see me, and therefore I give them the right of way.
  • Wear bright (godawful) clothing. As a New Yorker who is short and curvy, I love black. But being little, I also want to be seen. So when picking out my running gear, I gravitate towards brighter, more garish colors and prints.
  • Carry I.D. - if you don't want to carry your license, check out RoadID. Mine is pink :)
  • Carry money.
  • Carry a cell phone. This used to be easier before I crossed over to the dark side of the Crackberry - I'm still trying to find a comfortable method to keep my phone with me.
  • Loop courses for long runs. Particularly if I'm running alone, I prefer to run a loop course that brings me back to my car every hour or so.
  • Tell someone. If I go out alone, I let someone know where I'm going and how long I expect to be.
  • Always assume that everyone else is stupid.

Obviously, there is no accounting for chance. But it certainly doesn't hurt to be prepared.

An Apple A Day

The weather is gloriously crisp and cool - this weekend hit up a farmer's market and grab some fresh, local produce! While some people tout eating local as a way to eat "green" , reducing the toll transporting produce around the globe takes on the environment, I'm far more interested in taste :) Seasonal, local fruit just tastes better!

If you've ever wondered what's actually in season where you live - check out the "Eat Local" application on the side bar. Just punch in your state and time of year- voila! A list of what you should keep an eye out for either at the supermarkets (just make sure they're from local farms) or at farmer's markets.

As for me - it's September in New York, and the Jewish New Year. My weekend menu will be full of apples :)
Stress. No, not a stress fracture. Not stress on your cardio vascular system. Not stress on a particular muscle group. I'm talking run of the mill, pull-your-hair-out stress.

How do you deal with it?

Me, I don't deal with it particularly well. Some would say I don't deal with it at all. I tend to let it consume me, leaving me short tempered, frazzled, disconnected and imbued with a severe lack of humor.

And when I say a severe lack of humor - just think bitchy. Seriously. Don't try to make light of whatever is stressing me out, or attempt to distract me. You might wind up in need of a tetanus shot.

I'd elaborate, but I have entirely too much to do that should all have been completed a month ago.

Perfectly Passive (horse) Poop

On November 7th, the 2nd Annual Rockies 5K will take place at Rockefeller State Park in Tarrytown, NY.

For anyone reading this who is local to the area, and is perhaps thinking of running this race - I ask that you consider refraining from doing so.

The park officials have recently implemented a ruling that bans runners around the Swan Lake portion of the park from 11 am to 5 pm on weekends and holidays. It seems that they will, in fact, even resort to herding runners off the trail.

The ban applies only to the 1.2 mile Swan Lake trail - for now, the remainder of the park is not off limits.

Apparently, they came to this decision after receiving multiple complaints about rude packs of runners, clogging the trails and overrunning anyone else who happens to be on foot.

Now, admittedly, I don't run at Rockefeller very often. But when I have been there I've never seen any evidence of such behavior. On the contrary, my running companions are incredibly considerate - we make a point to go out of our way to be as unobtrusive as possible. I can't make that claim on behalf of all runners, but I'd like to think that there are more polite runners our there than there are impolite ones. I would, in fact, go so far as to say that walkers are by far more difficult when approached on trails, as they often walk two or three abreast and do not move aside (whereas most runners will adjust to running in single file when things get congested).

So that leaves me to question why park officials would choose to alienate an entire group of athletes who look upon Rockefeller State Park as their open-air home? What makes my mode of sport less valid and more disturbing than walkers, cyclists and equestrians? I particularly question the justification that:
"the preserve is designated specifically for passive recreation such as hiking, horseback riding and walking, but the language does not mention running". - Alix Schnee, park manager (as quoted in the Journal News)

I wonder if Ms. Schnee has ever hiked, walked or ridden horseback. I certainly wouldn't classify any of those activities as passive - would you?

It pains me to suggest that anyone refrain from helping to fill the coffers of the State Park system - the budget cutbacks were felt all throughout the winter (they didn't winterize the restrooms at Rockland Lake, but thankfully our local running club arranged for Porta-Potties) and it seems as though boycotting the race may well be a case of "cutting of your nose to spite your face". But local runners need to take a stand and let park management know that the new restriction is unjust.

If there are rude and inconsiderate runners - then by all means police THOSE individuals who are causing a problem. But don't presume to punish us all. That may have worked in pre-K, but I can tie my own shoes now. Treat me as an adult and I'll afford you the same respect.

Tuesday's Tip, September 15th

"Always be sure to consult with your significant other before registering for an out of town race." - (sheepishly) me

Weekend Warriors

Weekend focus. I'm not sure about you, but I do NOT have any focus at all once I've completed my Saturday long run. Zip. Zero. Nada. I can squeeze those runs in at night during the week, even when it's the last thing I want to do. We push dinner to 9 pm, I sqeak those miles out, and I stay on track.

But on weekends? No way.

This past week I was short 5 miles, and had every intention of making them up on Sunday. Good intentions, however, didn't manage to get me moving.

The same thing happens with lifting - I can plan them out during the week, fit them in either at the gym or at home, and follow through with my plans. But when I schedule training on a Saturday or Sunday - never gets done.

The solution, of course, is to make it a non-negotiable plan. Pick a time of day, keep the schedule clear, and just DO IT. Tell someone, hold yourself accountable, and get the work done. Period. No excuses.

What about you? How do you manage to stay on track and focused during the time of the week when it's all about relaxing?

A Moment

Today I offer my thanks to those who epitomize grit, guts and gumption - the men and women of the NYPD, FDNY and all the other first (and second, third, fourth and so on) responders on September 11th, 2001. To call them (and those who continue to protect and heal us) heroes would be an inadequate description of their sacrifies, both past and present.

Thank you.

Walk Like An Egyptian

Walking is hard. Really. I'm not referring to a casual stroll around the mall, or walking through the city. I'm talking about walking with a purpose. Whether powering up a hill or taking a walk break during an ultra event, the demands that walking puts on your body are drastically different than what a runner is accustomed to.

I, for one, SUCK at walking for exercise. Just last night, I was doing quarter mile hill repeats on my treadmill. I was OK at 5 and 10% inclines, but once I upped it to 15% I had to revert to a slow jogging shuffle. I even found myself slouching. Urgh. I'd like to be able to say that my walking deficiencies are due to my itty-bitty legs, but chances are it's really just a matter of technique.

So today finds me trolling the internet, running Google searches on Powerwalking, Speedwalking and Racewalking. And since I know that I've been beaten at races by people proficient in Racewalking, I've decided to concentrate my efforts on that skill set.

While I don't intend to compete, or to become proficient enough that my technique will pass muster with judges - it is my hope to learn how to more efficiently cover ultra distances without beating my body to death :)

So if you pass me on the trails or in the park and I'm walking, don't worry! There is no need to offer encouragement or to nudge me on my way. I'm not walking because I can't run. I'm walking so that I can run further. Longer. Stronger.

The Walking Site

Umstead. 100 miles of cool.

Today is the day. I had it programmed in my calendar. Got an alert message at about 8 am. Umstead. At noon, on Active.com, registration for the Umstead 100 mile (and 50 mile) races opens up. Last year the online slots were filled in 19 minutes (if you're on a dial-up connection, I think you're screwed).


ALL the cool kids are doing it. ALL of them. Going to Umstead is like getting a limo with all your best friends for the senior prom.

Sadly, Umstead falls during a time of year when it's difficult for me to get out of work and leave town. Add to that the fact that from mid February to mid April I work 10-12 hour days, 7 days a week....the odds of being well trained for a 50 mile effort are slim to none (I keep trying to wean myself off of this sleep crutch, but it just isn't working!). Hmm, I could probably justify the time away from work for a 100M effort, but I can't do that until I tackle 50....

So with a heavy but joyous heart, I wish all the cool kids who comprise the in-crowd lots of luck! May your registration go through and your Umstead dreams be realized.

And make sure Meri stays AWAY from the canteloupe.

Tuesday's Tip, September 8th

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it
." - Aristotle

And so the summer ends....

Happy Birthday. AGAIN!

Yay for being an aunt AGAIN! Yesterday, at 6:36 pm my sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!

I now have TWO nieces! Who, oddly enough, share the same birthday - DOWN TO THE MINUTE AND HOUR.

Now if only both niece's were here in NY (Maddy lives right around the corner). Ah well, I guess I will have to travel to LA to meet Isabelle Renee...

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece Madison! She recently took to her feet and started walking - I wonder when I can start taking her to kids' fun runs?

100 Reasons I Run, #87

  • I've been told that I have a pretty cute butt, and that's got to have something to do with moving my tush through all those miles :)

Tuesday's Tip, September 1st

"Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance." - Samuel Johnson