Lately, I’ve been experiencing "running blahs."Running blah is a state of mind.It’s a loss of enthusiasm, motivation, and desire for running.Here are some of the causes:
Routine- running the same route, mileage, or speed can cause boredom
Overtraining- causing tiredness or robbing you of the fun of running
Being off schedule- getting off schedule due to various reasons make it difficult to get back on track
The holidays and winter months got me to this state of mind.But alas, it is spring and spring brings fresh new blooms, mild weather, and fresh starts.So, now is time for me to get out of the running blahs and find my “mojo” again.
Here are some solutions I prescribed for myself.If you are suffering from the running blahs, try it.It may work for you too.
My husband and I are runners. When you are married with children, finding time to run together is a rarity. And going on dates with your spouse are far and few. So when my husband said, "Get ready. We're going on a date," I was thrilled.
This is what our date looked like:
One early afternoon, I got ready for my date. I donned my sexiest bun shorts and matching sports bra and topped it off with a stylish dry-fit shirt. I accessorized with a sporty running cap and Garmin. Right before heading out the door, I laced on my Asics Gel-Kayano 17. I was dressed to run. It was a beautiful evening along the Pacific coast. The gorgeous sunset set the tone for a lovely run. No words were spoken. Our eyes gazed on the road ahead of us. We engaged in spontaneous flirts of elbow tapping as we ran. I admired my date's long, curly locks blowing in the breeze and his beads of sweat glistening in the glow of the evening.
For our meal, we savored every morsel of energy bars as our appetizer for the evening. Instead of a Cabernet Sauvignon, we sipped some tropical Cytomax―a 2010 pomegranate flavored mix. For dessert, we shared a velvety packet of strawberry GU. The rest of the evening, we shared our hopes and dreams for our future...our "to-do list."
At the end of the run, we ended our date with some heavy breathing, exhausted. We capped the night off with a concert of yelling and screaming by excited fans―our kids who welcomed us back home. It was a date to remember. How about you? Next time you think about your next date, consider a running date! If it is successful, then you may have just found your sole mate! (Pun intended)
My guest blogger is my beloved cousin, Connie. She has been running for 2 years now. Fairly new to running, she has embraced the sport with enthusiasm and insight. Here is her review of the Vibram FiveFingers:
As runners out there know, the type of shoes used is very important. Chi runners advocate for shoes that allow for better balance and give you the most flexibility for a mid-foot strike. Since majority of running shoes focus on shock absorption for heel strikers, it became challenging to find shoes that did not have a lot of that shock technology.
I wanted something light, malleable, and without a thick padding around it. I considered Newtons, but they were outrageously expensive. Then I discovered the five-finger shoe after reading "Born To Run" . When I read the chi runners blog a few days ago, Vibram FiveFingers was listed among the shoes recommended, as well.
Intrigued, I tried it on the next time I was at a running shop. It was a challenge putting it on- slipping every single toe into the proper slot. But as soon as I looped the strap around my foot and took a few steps, I was hooked! I bought the Vibram KSO model in black (yes, they do look like gorilla's feet).
"As soon as I looped the strap around my foot and took a few steps, I was hooked!"
"Why would anyone want to run a marathon?" asked Bob.
Good question, I thought. Why would anyone subject themselves to running 26.2 miles? And for what?
When I decided to sign up for my first marathon in 2006, that thought never occurred to me. Running a marathon had always been on my bucket list. So, when I was nearing a milestone age, I just thought it was the thing to do for myself--without question.
"But most people list African safari, publish a book, see the Great Wall of China, and other fun stuff on their bucket list; not RUN a marathon," Bob argued.
He's right. Running a marathon is not exactly fun. It takes a lot of time and effort to train for it. What more, you risk injuring yourself. So why would anyone want to run a marathon?
Running-boy is free-spirited. He takes pleasure in the simple things of life. He especially enjoys running outdoors with the breeze gently combing through his dirty blond locks. He loves the warmth of the sun that caresses his shoulders, and the feel of the ground as it rolls beneath his feet. His stride is as effortless as an ice skater on ice.
Running-boy never passes up an opportunity to wave hello or flash his infectious smile. He loves to run and runs to live. Running-boy inspires me and I’ve fallen in love with him.
Running-boy is the main character in my children’s story titled, “Running Boy.” I created this fictional piece while training for my first marathon. I felt that there weren’t enough picture books for children that encouraged running. This led me to my creation. The purpose of my story, for readers ages 4-7, is to inspire children to run. Please visit http://www.smories.com/watch/running-boy/ to read about Running Boy and help me spread the love of running.
Follow Ned, Anna, Tommy, and Peggy on their quest to find the answer to the question, “Running Boy, why are you running?” Experience the feel, the sights, the sounds, and the smells that Running Boy experiences on his run, and you’ll find the answer to the question that everyone is asking.
Ever since I started running marathons, it seemed as if everyone I know has started running. My co-workers, my friends, my cousins, and even my husband started running. Maybe they were thinking, “If shecan do it, I can do it too!”
Yes, there have been a growing number of runners over the years. In 2008, there were 9.4 million finishers of U.S. road races. That is a 9.9% increase in runners from the previous year.
In 2009, 467,000 people ran marathons in the United States, which is a 9.9% increase from the previous year, according to Running USA, a nonprofit organization that tracks trends in distance running. However, the half-marathon is the fastest growing road race distance in the U.S. About 1.1 million people ran half-marathons last year. That’s a 24% increase from 2008 to 2009.
Running USA stated that “inaugural half-marathons added to the popularity of the distance as a number of relatively large half-marathons (>1,000 finishers) debuted in 2007.” Read more...
Apparently, there are lots of funny things that can happen on our runs. A discussion on LinkedIn's Marathon and Team In Training groups elicited many responses to the question: Has anything funny happened to you on a run? Here are a few of my favorite ones:
THE DOG CALL Have you ever received a call from your dog while on a run? John has, but it wasn't his dog. It was his running partner's dog. Maybe the dog was mad that his owner took John out for a run rather than him! Read on...
THE WILD GOOSE CHASE We all love scenic runs! Imagine running along a trail with beautiful ponds, a canopy of trees, roaming deer, and...a hissing goose from hell? Well, that's what Tom ran into one beautiful but interesting morning. Read on...
BOTTOMS UP! You know us runners have no shame when it comes to peeing. An early start time on a chilly morning and nerves can draw a crowd to the porta-potty. When nature is screaming at you, we have to look elsewhere than stand in the long line. So, we make do with what we have...bushes, trees, back alleys, and of course, the metal guard rail. What? You've never did your business behind a guard rail before? Okay, neither have I nor Steve. Read on...
TRASH BAG MAN When I run, I sometimes give other runners nicknames when referring to them in a conversation with a fellow runner. The conversation goes something like this: "Did you see Pinky? She seems to have hired a cheering crowd for every 2 miles," or "Headband guy looks like he's about to hit the wall." Well, in this story, find out how Trash Bag Man managed to refuel his energy. Read on...
HIGH-FIVE! At races, bystanders are great at offering motivation with their colorful banners, cheers, and high-fives. When it comes to high-5ing, there's something about the slapping of hands and the sting that follows that keeps us going. So, when runners see a hand stick out of the crowd, they take advantage of that opportunity. Mark took advantage of that opportunity, but I'm not sure I'd like to receive a high-five from him. Read on...
RUNNING FROM COPS If you've ever had the unfortunate event of injuring yourself during a run leaving you at the back of the pack in a race, you'll know what it's like to be escorted by a police car. It can sometimes feel humiliating. But if you're running a 150-mile relay, being escorted by a police car can make you feel pretty special. But imagine getting police escort all to yourself in the middle of a residential area where people don't know that what they are seeing is an actual race taking place. Read on...
I love exploring new places on my runs. It makes running enjoyable and new again. On a fourth of July weekend, I traveled 50 miles to visit my in-laws. It was a weekend I needed to do a 20-mile run. So, I decided to map out my run in their area—a loop run from their house. Fortunately, the area where they lived had miles of paved paths for runners and cyclist. As long as I stayed on a path, I knew I would be fine.
The weather was cool and the runners were sparse in the early morning, after Independence Day. My husband and I were having a great run and enjoying the scenery. The only problem was that we had to slow down to look at our map every time we hit a fork in the road to make sure we were headed in the right direction.
Seventeen miles into our run, I thought it odd that a golf cart made its way on our narrow path. The driver gave us a courteous smile as he passed by. He’s probably a little embarrassed that he’s on our trail and intruding on our run, I thought. I looked at my map to verify my route. Yes, according to my map, we were on track. Then my husband pointed out a sign in the distance that we hoped would further confirm it. It read:
Roast Beef Served Ahead
A few feet ahead was another sign:
BBQ Special Served on Weekends
“We’re definitely headed in the right direction!” my husband said with a big grin. Soon after, a golf ball rolled by. Turned out, we ended up on a golf course and was headed the towards the clubhouse. We were definitely off track. In my defense, the golf cart trail looked exactly like the running paths we've been running for the last 17 miles.
Imagine dodging low-lying branches, hurdling over fallen trees, skipping through running creeks. You pause for a moment to breathe in the fresh scent of pine and eucalyptus trees, while overlooking breathtaking views of the city below. Welcome to trail running.
Well folks, as much as I love this community, I'm sorry to say that I am moving. Running-girl's blog will be transferred to a new site:
Please visit and feel free to bring your friends. Of course, I'll be visiting my old stomping grounds here at active.com every chance I get. I love the feel of this community. We all have a shared interest, which is running. And that will connect us no matter where we are.
Giant Redwood trees as tall as a 30-story building paved the way for the 37th annual marathon/half marathon at the Avenue of the Giants run in Humboldt’s Redwoods State Park on May 2, 2009.
I felt like an ant running through the majestic redwood groves. The trees stood like skyscrapers in the forest. I was awed by the sheer beauty of the 2500-year old giants. But there was another giant lurking around.
The giant “elephant in the room,” was my achilles pain. I abstained from running for 4 weeks to allow for adequate healing of my right foot. When race day came my foot was only 80% healed, but I wasn’t about to opt out of my race. Many people expressed their concerns…and for good reason. Call me rebellious. Call me stubborn. Either way, I was going to finish my race even if I had to walk it.
Everyone who ran the race had the same determination as I did-even more. Amanda had blisters on her toes that pained her with every step. But she continued trekking along at a consistent pace with sheer determination, never once complaining.
Palmira took a nasty fall halfway through the run that produced 2 large, bloody lesions and swelling as large as a tangerine on her left knee. Risking a tendon tear or a fractured kneecap, she hobbled the rest of the way to the finish with courage.
Amber suffered from a stabbing sciatica pain early on in the race. Most people would probably throw in the towel and call it a day, but Amber relentlessly walked the entire 13.1 miles to cross the finish line.
And Matt, who endured radiation and chemotherapy, is in remission from his cancer. He ran his first half marathon that day. He is the reason why Team In Training members run. He is our hero and yet, he wanted to run for us. He called “us” heroes. It was an honor running with him.
The unbelievable tenacity of the redwoods to survive 25 centuries was representative of the tenacity of my fellow runners. They displayed courage, determination, and unwavering faith. Their spirits were as large as the giant redwood trees. Yes, I ran with GIANTS that day.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Bone spurs, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, ankle sprains, IT band syndrome. These are common injuries suffered by runners.
Ive been fortunate to not experience a single running injury in all my years of running until now. People go through injuries all the time, but you can never really understand the magnitude of the pain until it affects you. The pain that I am referring to is not just physical, it is emotional.
Its been 2 weeks since my achilles on my right foot started acting-up. A slight jogging step will trigger the pain. The sharp pain radiates from the base of my achilles to the sides of my foot whenever I take a step harder than a walk. Imagine the effect it had on my emotions.
Oh-no, I cant run!
What am I going to do?
My event is only a month away!
Will I have enough time to train for my event?
What if I cant run my event?
Ive been feeling a bit down about not being able to run. But you know what? My injury has helped me realize that there are things you can control and things you cant. I cant control the fact that I have an injury, but I can control how I feel about it. I am telling myself that I will heal, and Im going to do everything I need to help my achilles heal quickly as possible.
Ive been stretching my calf muscles, using my foam roller, icing my ankle, and putting a hold on my running until Im completely healed so I dont make it worse.
Instead of running, I have been biking. Biking doesnt hurt my achilles so I feel its a safe alternative to getting a good cardio workout and gaining strength. My quadriceps is getting stronger and that will help me with my runs once Im healed.
Im not going to let my injury beat me down. Im going to stay positive. Optimism is good for the mind and soul.
In life, I have choices. I can choose to be depressed and bitter about my injury, or I can choose to redirect my focus on getting better. I can choose to quit running or I can choose to try a different workout that will compliment my running. Its all about having a good attitude.
When my friends learned that I ran marathons, I received mixed reactions like, “Wow, that’s amazing. I wish I could run 26.2 miles like you,” to “You’re crazy! Why would you want to run 26.2 miles?”
Unless you participate in an organized run, you’ll never understand the excitement and thrill of being a part of a race. It’s very exciting to be among thousands of runners with a passion for running, and in the midst of the energy that they bring. It’s also heartwarming to be surrounded by an overwhelming number of people who come to see the race. These supporters are out there because they admire what we do. They offer us encouragement and support through claps, whistles, signs, and cheers. This is what keeps us going.
No matter how many marathons I’ve ran, each time feels like my first. I get nervous at the start of every race. It’s common. Afterall, 26.2 miles is a lot of miles to cover on foot. And I never know how my body will perform or how my mind will react at a given point in the race. Only one thing is certain; that there will be supporters, who I can rely on, to offer me encouragement.
I find that cheers help me run faster than I normally would run. When bystanders are sparse, my pace slows a little and my energy drops. But as soon as I hear the cheers of the crowd, my pace picks up, my energy rises, and my face lights up. It’s an instant adrenaline rush- my energy boost that carries me through a couple of miles until I reach the next batch of supporters. I love all the “hoopla” that comes with an organized race. Even if I am at a point of exhaustion, the encouraging words I hear from the crowd, makes me want to push myself a little harder. The cheers drive me to do the best I can in the race. The best I can do is finish.
Nothing compares to the thrill of crossing the finish line. That’s is when I get to experience what it’s like to be a rock star. The crowds grow thick and the cheers get louder. The cheers resognates in me like an echo as I fight to the finish. And when the race is over and I’ve settled into my cozy home after a warm shower, I will relive that final moment. I will recall all the cheers, the congratulatory remarks, and the excitement of the event to experience that feeling of worthiness a little more longer.
“A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." Emily Dickenson
Hill. The dreaded 4-letter word. A mere mention of the word and runners are quick to respond. I hear it all the time-the sighs and groans of runners-in-training at the base of a hill.
The last couple of weeks with Team In Training (TNT), were spent focusing on hills. We worked on drills at track and practiced hill repeats in preparation for our runs at Pacifica and Portola. Our 10-mile run in beautiful Pacifica started at the base of a long hill. And Portola turned out to be a 12-mile hiking adventure, instead of a run, for some.
Runners freely expressed their feelings about the hills.
"Are you ready for the hill?"
"This is going to be painful."
"I'm gonna die."
"Let's get this over with!"
As a seasoned runner, I too, can feel dismayed just hearing those comments. It makes a little hill sound like a huge mountain, which can be discouraging. When I run, I try not to think of the hill in front of me. I find it better to face the hill one step at a time rather than look at it as one long hill. If you look at the hill as a whole, it will defeat you before you start your climb.
Life is like a hill. If we look too far into our future and speculate what may or may not be, we can get overwhelmed. The bible reminds us that we only need to be concerned about today.
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things." (Matthew 6:34)
Hills will make you stronger. It will also add variety to our runs. We may not welcome hills, but it's good to face them because we will eventually run into a hill and it is better to be prepared for them. As in life, adversities make us stronger. We learn from our problems and grow. We become better people-better able to handle future adversities.
Our running coach recommends that when running hills, we do the following: shorten our stride, keep the same cadence, keep our body upright, and look a few feet in front of you (not at your feet nor the top of the hill). That's great advice when we tackle a problem in life. When we are faced with our own hills of life, it is better to handle a problem one at a time, keep our spirits high, stand tall, and take it day-by-day.
When I feel discouraged, on my runs, I always think about my team honorees. They are my source of encouragement. They are fighting cancer-the ugliest hill no one wants to face, but they do.
So whenever I feel that the hill is too hard for me to conquer, I think about how much tougher it is for my honorees to endure the physical pain and mental challenges of cancer.
"Every hill in life is too high if we think we must climb it all at once. But no hill is insurmountable if we take it one step forward at a time, with God." ~ Dave Branson.
I sometimes run on a trail called Sawyer Camp. It is a recreational trail with a never-ending path of twists and turns. Every time I approached a turn, I kept thinking that the end of the trail was right around the bend. I get excited, until I get passed the bend and see another turn...and another...and another. Every winding turn starts to look the same. It can be very daunting.
Running can be tedious at times. There are a lot of people who don't see the joy in running- even runners themselves. They run because they have to or they make themselves run, because they know it's good for them. I know this because I go through this everyday.
When I find myself getting tired and weary, I try to redirect my focus. Instead of dwelling on the repetitiveness of my run, I focus on God's blessings by taking notice of the nature around me--from the moss covered trees, lush greenery, and blue skies that surround me, to the little creatures like the deer, rabbits, and blue jays that sometimes greet me.
There will always be other runners running the same trail. When a runner passes by, it is common courtesy to acknowledge each other with a smile or a nod. It is nature's beauty, the little creatures, and the smile of people passing by that makes my run enjoyable and worthwhile.
Life is like a running trail. It can be redundant. As the day is ending, another one begins. We feel as if our life is a routine. We wake up, eat, go to work or school, eat again, go to sleep. Everyday is the same. But it doesn't have to be.
What we fail to do is notice the little things in life. Ironically, the little things are what give life significance. So when we go about our daily lives, and life seems so routine, remember to enjoy the people that make you smile and the conversations that make you laugh. Sometimes if we focus too much on the routines of our life, we rob ourselves of the beauty that's around us. Be thankful for your blessings. Look at life in a new way--with a fresh outlook and a new vision. Create yourself a New Year!