Recipe Idea before Night Runs {Cincinnati Marathon Training}

YOU DO NOT NEED A PASTA DINNER BEFORE A RUN!!!!

I was as skeptical about this as anyone – and I’m still experimenting on shorter runs to see what works for me – but I am finding that I perform BETTER when I avoid processed sugars.

Here is what I had for dinner before my run last night. Baked Lemon-Dill Chicken with a Mushroom Glaze, Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Brussels Sprouts with a Bacon Cranberry Sauce

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Cincinnati Marathon Training {'Twas the Night Before Spring Training}

A Little Poem for All My Running Friends! See ya in the morning...when it's a balmy five degrees outside...

‘Twas the night before spring training, when all through the group; All Runners were ready, our bodies recouped.

Garmins were charging on counters with care, in hopes our favorite pace coaches soon would be there.

Running shoes were nestled at the foot of our beds, as visions of 5:30 wake-up calls danced through our heads.

Two layers of pants plus our favorite neck warmers, Lord – keep ice from falling off overhead dormers.

When outside on the sidewalks there arose such a clatter, the bums sprang from the street corners to see what was the matter.

Away to the streets we flew like a flash, praying no ice would cause us to crash.

The wind through the streets of the sleeping city, beats us alive and leaves us all gritty.

When what to our wondering eyes should we see, but a water stop with Kleenex... “Achoo!” “Bless, Me!”

More rapid than eagles the runners we came; and they cheered, and encouraged, and called us by name.

“Now Group A, Group B, and Group C all Alike, Continue to Run…Have no Fright! From the top of the bridge to the base of the Flood Wall! Now Dash Away! Dash Away! Dash Away all!”

So up through the city-streets of the course we flew, with pouches and pockets full of beans and GU.

We were dressed all in dry wick, from our head to our feet. And our clothes were all sweaty and boy did we stink.

Blinking bright lights were attached to our backs, and we looked like mental patients…totally out of whack!

But our eyes – how they twinkle! Our dimples how merry… Our cheeks like roses, our noses like frozen cherries.

And our half-visible mouths all drawn up like bows, and the sweat on our chins as white as the snow.

Sticks of Gel Blocks we held tight in their teeth; frozen temps and chewing give us some grief.

Some of us are chubby and plump; others are slim with washboards. But the road doesn’t care…it doesn’t keep score.

Groups travel in packs, others like to be alone; some torture their bodies for a few hours from home.

We travel the course, we make every turn... returning with only minor windburn.

But we all exclaim as we run out of sight – Happy Marathon Training to all, and to all a good night!

 

 

 

 

 

My Marathon...Finally!

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

- John J. Bingham

 

This quote is resonating with me today. I saw it on one of my running partner’s Facebook page this morning – the first day I’ve awoken as a Marathon Runner!

            I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet… that I ran 26.2 miles yesterday. I wasn’t fast, I won’t ever qualify for Boston, and Nike will never call me for an endorsement deal; but I am officially part of a very small group of people who can say they’ve completed a full marathon.

            Over the past few weeks, I’ve been an emotional wreck. I would literally begin weeping if a certain song from my running playlist came on the radio, if I opened a motivational e-mail from my running coaches, or if I saw a quote – much like the one above – on Facebook.

I was convinced that I was going to be a blubbering idiot as I crossed the Finish Swine (You don’t run the Flying Pig without a little humor…) But I wasn’t. I shed not one tear yesterday – partially because I quickly realized – as I saw my daughter along Mile 25 – that I couldn’t run and well up at the same time. But as I’ve had time to reflect over the last twenty-four hours I’ve decided I didn’t get too emotional yesterday because of what the above quote says.

Running the actual marathon wasn’t the miracle. (I mean… it was only four miles more than the 22-mile training run I’d completed two weeks prior.) The miracle was the fact that I, nervously, drove myself to that very first meeting at the Running Spot in Newport, Kentucky all those months ago. It was a miracle that I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., drug myself out of bed, and drove forty miles to run with a group of complete strangers that cold, dark January morning. It was a miracle that I didn’t throw in the towel and give up after having not one, but two ‘BAD’ runs where I thought to myself, ‘There is no way in hell I can run a marathon! I can’t even run 16 miles!’

“The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” AMEN, Mr. Bingham!

I’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement throughout this process, and I can’t begin to thank everyone for that. But at the end of the day, it was me, myself and I who achieved this goal. And this has gotten me thinking a lot too.

            So often people approach me and say, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ Or  ‘I could never do that.’ And to those people my response is always, ‘Yes you can!’

And I’m not just talking about running marathons (lets face it…a lot of people hate to run). This whole goal setting, training and achieving process is not about the Flying Pig – it’s a metaphor for our lives.

Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, that dream you’ve always felt was out of reach, that career path you felt you were too old to pursue…That, my friends, is your life! And it is out there just waiting for you to start living it, pursuing it and making it happen.

 

Tips for making your dreams a reality

 

1) Become Best Friends with Failure

When I was in elementary school, several friends and I auditioned for a production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I got up on that stage and belted out my best Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I was confident. I had fun. I didn’t get the part.

            The real kicker of it was three of my friends were in the production. I was devastated! Our class took a field trip to see the play, and as most people smiled I sunk down in my seat with defeat.

            I would say I was acting very child-like…but I was a child, so I had every right to pout. What I didn’t have every right to do was carry this feeling of defeat into adulthood.

            For the longest time I was too scared to try new things because of the feeling of rejection I remembered from all those years ago.

            You know what I finally realized though? Every actor and actress looses roles – even Tom Hanks and Gwyneth Paltrow. And you know why? Here’s the best way I can describe it: Take Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Anniston. Two insanely gorgeous, successful, philanthropic women (who both happen to have Brad Pitt on their resumes.) Now try to picture Angelina Jolie as Rachel on Friends and try to imagine Jennifer Anniston as Laura Croft Tomb Raider. Eww!!!! It doesn’t work!

            We’re not all meant to play every role & life has a funny way of knowing which roles are meant for us. I’ve found if we step out of the way and let life lead, it’s amazing how we end up where we’re suppose to be. But we’ll NEVER know which parts were meant for us if we don’t audition.

            So get out there and sing your little heart out!

 

2)   Skip the Excuses

Nothing infuriates me more than hearing someone spout off a laundry list of reasons why they can’t do something. I don’t care what it is – from running a marathon to going back to school…when someone says, ‘Oh, I just could never (fill in the blank)! I just haven’t got the time,’ that is code for ‘I just don’t want to,’ ‘I’m too scared of failure,’ ‘I might not be any good at it.’

            I really wish people would just be honest with themselves. We are the BEST at wasting our time! I’m right up there at the top of the time-waster list! I have five kids, a business, just ran a marathon… yet somehow I still manage to never miss an episode of Project Runway, Nurse Jackie, Scandal, or Mad Men… And I could tell you what approximately fifty of my closest ‘friends’ are up to at this very moment courtesy of Facebook.

            I love television and social media! And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I know I have to prioritize my time, so if there’s something I really want to do or accomplish, that would be the first place I would look to free up some time during my day.

            Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have time,’ I try saying ‘It just really isn’t going to fit into my priorities right now, because I’d rather be getting a pedicure or watching Teen Mom.’ That really helps me remember how precious my time is, and that I only have one life! So I’d much rather spend it starting a garden with my family, training to run a marathon, or re-writing that book I have half-written in my desk drawer.

 

3)   It’s NEVER TOO LATE

Today on Facebook I saw a post from a mother of two. She was encouraging the young generation to pursue their dreams while they’re still young because she so wishes she’d done things differently.

NOOOOOO!!!!!

Of course, young people should go out and pursue their dreams. But so should she!!!! Who said that once we have children and turn thirty that our lives, our dreams cease to exist? NOBODY BUT OURSELVES!!!!

If you’re unhappy with where you are, where your life is taking you, what job you are in – you have but one place to look for change and that is inward. (For me, looking inward means having a one-on-one conversation with God about what we’re going to do to change ‘our’ situation. Because for me; God and I are in everything together.) But even if you don’t believe in God, I still encourage you to look inward and ask yourself, ‘What are we – meaning me, myself and I – going to do to change this?’

I ran my first half marathon in June 2010. Shortly thereafter I became pregnant with my twins. And the most athletic thing I accomplished between October 2010 and August 2012 was pulling my groin during a two-mile jog. I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to do yoga, sit Indian-style on the floor with my girls, or run again. But after six weeks of rest and physical therapy, I signed-up for my second half marathon, and I crossed the finish line in Disney World last November.

I am proud to say that – after almost two years of a sedentary lifestyle – in the last six months I have completed two 5k races, two 10 k races, two half marathons and a full marathon (one 5k, one half marathon and the full marathon all being in ONE WEEK!)

But as proud of myself as I am about the races – and believe me, I am proud – I am more proud that I had the determination, dedication and drive to stick with it during all those months of training when it would have been so easy to give-up.

I first set the goal of running a full marathon in January of 2006. It took me more than seven years to accomplish this goal. I had pregnancies and injuries and roadblocks along the way. But those were just life’s way of telling me, ‘It’s not yet time…Someday…’ I never lost sight of my goal. I never gave up.

JUST NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!

 

 

 

Runner's High

My Friday To-Do List started with a 5:30 a.m. wake-up followed by a short run. I’d be home by 6:00 a.m. to stretch, shower and eat breakfast before waking the kids up for school at 7:00 o’clock.

            My husband had given me a hard time the night before when he saw the yellow, memo pad resting on the bathroom counter where I’d see it first thing in the morning. “You’re getting-up at 5:30 in the morning to go run? What, running a half marathon on Saturday isn’t enough for you?”

So when I FINALLY hoisted myself out of bed at 7:15, frantic about getting the kids up for their showers and breakfast – Chuck looked at me and said, “You're about six lines behind on your To-Do List.”

            It’s not that I’d missed the alarm. No, I heard it loud and clear. I just chose to ignore it – rationalizing in my head that the week before the marathon we’re suppose to be getting as much sleep as possible (a miniature hibernation if you will.) So I’d convinced myself to sleep while I could. I was ready for the half marathon in Louisville I was running the next day, and I didn’t want to over-do it before the full marathon the following weekend.

Fast-forward to 2:00 p.m. I’m cranking along, crossing things off my To-Do List left and right. I’ve been to work, I’ve been to the radio station to record some PSAs for the Relay for Life, and I’ve been to the post office and grocery store. Now I’m home where my To-Do List is telling me it’s time to shower and get packed for Louisville.

I’m suppose to be pulling out of my driveway at 3:00 o’clock, and I’m sitting at my computer calculating whether or not I have time to squeeze in a quick run before showering and packing… all, supposedly, in an hour. ‘There’s just no way!,’ I’m telling myself while downloading the last few songs to my running play-list when my heart starts to race. It almost feels like I’m beginning to have a panic attack, so I try to breathe deeply while reminding myself that I am prepared for the half and full marathons. I don’t need to stress myself out over a twenty-minute ‘tune-up’ jog.

By this time, however, not only is my heart racing…but my lower back is beginning to ache and my legs are getting twitchy. ‘I can’t imagine having to sit in the car for an hour-and-a-half feeling like this,’ I’m thinking as I notice myself gnawing on the end of my pen.

‘Oh my Lord!’ I think. ‘I’m jonesing for a run!’ (I don’t really know what Jonesing means, and it’s not a word I would use in normal conversation, but it seemed to fit in this scenario. Not only do I not know what Jonesing means, I’ve never experienced it before since I’ve never tried drugs that would cause you to Jones.)

            Now, I have NO idea the agony that drug addicts go through (and I do consider it a real medical condition), so I’m not trying to make light of their struggles… But I was NOT getting in that car to drive to Louisville feeling the way I was feeling! I would have been miserable – tight, fidgety, anxious, uncomfortable… All words I’ve heard used when describing drug withdraw.

            So I decided to throw the schedule out the window, lace-up my running shoes and hit the pavement. And as soon as I took that first deep breath of fresh air that sent oxygen to my moving muscles, I began to calm down. And after I got home and stretched-out really good, I felt like a new person.

            I’ve often had people ask me about the ‘runner’s high’ associated with long distance running. Until now, I’ve always answered with, ‘I’ve never experienced a euphoric experience while running…I’m usually just thankful it’s over when I’m finished.’

            And I still might not get the rush while in the actual act of running, but I now know what it feels like to go through withdraws!

 

It’s been a few days since I began writing this blog, and I’m now only 2 days, 16 hours, 31 minutes and 12, 11, 10…seconds away from my first marathon (thanks flyingpigmarathon.com for adding that extra surge of anxiety); and the amount of adrenaline, endorphins and nervous energy flowing through my body feels unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

            So, it is my unprofessional opinion that the runner’s high – for me – is felt in the days leading up to the marathon. (I mean, I’ve been up since 3:50 a.m. cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking dinner, running, writing, taking care of my three little girls… like I have the energy and focus of five people.)

      If I could bottle this feeling and sell it I’d be a rich woman – or in prison because I’m pretty sure this is what being on cocaine would feel like.

Am I A Runner?... Maybe I’m A Runner… I’m A Runner!

*This is a blog I wrote the week before the tragedy in Boston. While I didn't want to post it last week, I still wanted to share. This is for all the running moms out there. Let me know if you agree.

Does anyone remember the show Mad About You? Helen Hunt? Paul Reiser? Newlyweds living in Manhattan? I know I’m dating myself, but it was one of my favorites.

Anyway, there was one episode that has always stuck with me…especially during my pregnancies…where Helen Hunt’s pregnant character finally has the revelation that she’s going to be a mother while arguing with her husband. “I’m the Mommy!” she keeps repeating to herself until it finally sinks in.

Well that is how I feel right now about being a runner.

You see, I’ve been training to run my first full marathon for almost four months now – and until recently I really haven’t spoken much about it outside of my running group. Subconsciously, I think I’d convinced myself if I talked about it – made it official – then there was no backing out. Where, if I kept it to myself – nobody would know if I ever actually ran a full marathon.

But the other night while I was lying in bed, unable to sleep due to the throbbing pain in my aching legs & the nervousness in my stomach about race day, it hit me – I’m a Runner!

This revelation finally sunk in when I made the obvious correlation between running and pregnancy. ‘Hey,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’ve felt this way before… unable to sleep due to aches, pains and apprehension…’ I just NEVER thought I’d feel that way again because I’d vowed to never have another baby!

 

The first trimester of pregnancy is a joyous time. You are sooooo incredibly excited you can hardly contain yourself, but – if you’re anything like me – you only want to tell close friends and family because there is always that chance that something could go wrong.

You might be feeling a little nauseous and – in my case – a lot tired…but overall your excitement makes up for it. You find yourself calling every girlfriend you know who’s had a baby and asking her a million-and-one questions to try to fill your brain with as much knowledge as possible. Little do you know, none of her advice will amount to a hill of beans as you blaze your own pregnancy trail…

            Well, this is EXACTLY how I felt when I joined my running group! I was nervous, yet excited. I was a little unsteady on my running feet, but the distances were short so I was fine. And like I said earlier, I was quiet with my news… Let’s face it, there’s a HUGE difference in running six miles & twenty-six miles!

And I asked as many questions as I could of the other women in my running group. What do you eat before the marathon? What do you do if you have to go to the bathroom during the marathon? (BTW - The unknown answer to this question – just like it was during pregnancy about what would happen during childbirth – remains my biggest fear about the marathon!)

 

Then comes the second trimester… my personal favorite! You’re over your morning sickness!!! Yippee! You have some of your energy back, and you can finally start telling people that you’re expecting. (Somehow, just like with my marathon training… this is the part of pregnancy that seems to fly by.)

            I felt great in the middle of training! We were up to about half-marathon distances & I was running negative splits. (I even knew what negative split meant!) I was making friends in my running group, figuring out what foods worked and what foods didn’t (PS - Don’t eat broccoli for dinner before you run! DUHH!), and actually enjoying this process! I felt like I just might make it to 26.2!!!!

 

Then… Tragically, the third trimester must come! Now, I know the importance of this time, I really do… But that doesn’t mean I have to like it! This is the time when your baby is growing strong enough to survive outside of the womb. The lungs are developing, weight is adding protection to the bones and organs, the brain is transforming…It is a true miracle from God how this all happens in such a short amount of time! But on the outside… Poor mom is swollen, her feet hurt, her BACK HURTS! If she’s anything like me, she can hardly eat due to heartburn and indigestion.

You’re so tired you can hardly move, but the second you lie down to rest your mind starts racing about the fact that, ‘You’re The MOM!’ One way or the other, this baby is coming out of YOUR body! There is no turning back! OMG!!!! And as absolutely, completely, one hundred percent terrified as you are about labor and delivery – you want nothing more in this world than to NOT be pregnant anymore!

            Well, my friends, I am at that place! I lie awake at night trying to imagine what is going to happen to me at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, 2013. What if it’s raining? What if it’s 90 degrees? What if I am so nervous the night before that I can’t sleep? At the same time all of these thoughts are racing through my head, my body is reaching its breaking point. (I truly thought it impossible that my lower back would EVER hurt as badly as it did while carrying around two six-pound babies in utero, but I was mistaken!)

            While I was pregnant and couldn’t sleep due to the leg cramps, I would carefully lower my heavy body into a warm soothing bath. Now, I’m carefully lowering my aching body into a tub of ice after twenty-mile runs.

The positive thing about having experienced childbirth is that I know – one way or the other… natural, c-section or epidural – the pain is short-lived compared to the joy it brings.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing a marathon medal to one of my children – but I’ve heard the feeling is pretty exhilarating. And I’m assuming it must be somewhat similar to birth…because – after all – why would people keep doing it if it wasn’t?