Monday, November 28, 2011

Using Visualization and Affirmations in Your Running

Training your mind along with your body is an important part of training for performance.  You can complement the physical side of your training by developing your mental skills with the use of visualization and affirmations.  One of the better articles I have read on the subject comes from Shawn McDonald found here on the website.

In the following video, distance runner Billy Mills talks about how he won the 1964 Olympic 10,000m gold using visualization.  Watching the footage of his phenomenal finish gives me goose bumps...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Very BEST Thing You Can Do For Your Health

I HAD to post this (comes from my spiritual teacher) because it is so important.  With Thanksgiving just two days away, please read:

"Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic." ~John Henry Jowett

and then do:

7 Ways to Find Joy Even in Gridlock Traffic

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dreaming of Ultras

Now that I am running again--not a lot and definitely not fast--I've been thinking about what I might be able to do in the future.  For so long it seemed like I would never even run again, much less anything long, but I'm running every other day 5-6 miles now, still have issues and pain, but seems to be getting better.  Two months ago, when my PT gave me the go-ahead to try to run, I couldn't even run two minutes before the pain was too much, I had to stop and walk.  So, I jogged for one minute and walked five, jogged one, walked five...   for 20 minutes.  I gradually added more jogging, less walking, and for 30 minutes, then 40 minutes and so on.  And now, here I am running 6 miles, slow but steady!

So, of course, I'm thinking of marathons and ultras, especially ultras!  I really don't care if I can run fast or not, just being out there, running through the woods all day long...  ahhh, heaven! 

Looking around at events for the Fall of 2012, I came across a bit of news in the ultra world.  The fastest 50-mile time for 2011 in the US was achieved by Zach Bitter on October 22, at the Door County Fall Classic in northern Wisconsin.  The 25-year-old teacher from Marinette, WI, won the race in 5:26:52 (a 6:33 average pace).  Alisha Damrow, from Menasha, WI, won the women's race in 6:57:22.

                                                        Zach Bitter Winning the Fall 50

                                              Door County Pennisula and the Fall 50 Route

                                                             And the Elevation Profile

The "Fall 50" bills itself as "the MOST Scenic Distance Run in the Midwest," and I TOTALLY believe it.  Door County is BEAUTIFUL--especially Washington Island, which is at the very northern tip of Door County peninsula and can only be reached by ferry.  Here are a few pics I took the last time John and I were up there.

It's probably WAAAY too soon to have all this on my mind, but what the heck, I can dream, can't I?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Penguin-Stepping My Way Back to Running

My running is coming along...    I actually believe I will run long again.

I had lost my faith for a while; it seemed like nothing was helping me heal...   but I am and have been seeing progress for a couple months now.  I wanted it to be instantaneous, like I would be running marathons in six months, right back into it.  Well, that was silly, wasn't it?  I stopped running last December when the pain in my leg was just too much, finally had the surgery March 31, recovered from surgery...    but that was just the beginning.  Finally figuring out, with my PT Martin, what was REALLY going on with my whole leg and slooowly getting it back into a normal groove.  First I had to know WHERE and WHAT the problem was, and then I had to do the RIGHT exercises to CORRECT the problem.  I wasn't healing because I didn't see the problem and wasn't doing the exercises to correct the problem.  And THEN I wasn't giving it TIME.  In this world it takes time to heal...  and I always want it NOW, so impatient..

So, I am learning to take penguin steps...   as in the film documentary, March of the Penguins...

The original film was a French nature documentary following the annual journey of the Antarctic emperor penguins, directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet and co-produced by Bonne Pioche and the National Geographic Society.

Here's a French trailer I found (the original French version was called March of the Emperor)...  funny!

I am penguin-stepping my way to new life  :-)
     (Thanks, Jacob! xoxo)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Break from Running and Blogging

My daughter has been here from L.A. with my 15-month-old grandson, and this is what I've been doing...   and loving it!  Notice the shoes...    they are soft-soled thin leather, meant to just protect the child's foot, allowing the foot to move naturally..

Thursday, November 10, 2011


That's what my husband says... he loves to row. He had a rowboat some time ago, but we ended up having to let it go... storage was a problem. We live in a condo where the condo commandos rule. We tried everything to try to not have it be a problem, an "eyesore," but in the end, they won.

But he LOVED his rowboat.  He would say, as he headed out the door on a Sunday afternoon with those long oars, "I'm going out to row to joy."

My husband likes to run, he likes to swim, he likes to kayak, he likes to walk... but he loves to row. He loves the upper body workout he gets from it, that he can row really, really hard if he wants to, or not so much but just in a nice rhythm for a while. He threw the discus in high school and went to college on a track scholarship throwing the discus, so he has that overall body coordination thing. (Which I do not have at all; that's why I run long distance... no coordination required.)

Now, here's a secret: the very best workout machine at the gym is...       the rowing machine. You use every major muscle group in the body without pounding the joints, and you can burn more energy per hour than either running or swimming. Granted, there is a technique to it, you have to practice a little to get the hang of it. But, if you live where you're heading into cold, snowy winter weather where you might not be able to get out and run... instead of doing the same old treadmill run, try out the rowing machine at the gym. You'll find it over there out of the way...   with no one using it.

John rowing...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running Inspiration

This really could be the most inspiring video you will ever watch...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NYC Marathon 2011

Such excitement in New York City today!  On the women's side, Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia won her debut marathon in a time of 2:23:15, with fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba right behind her in 2:23:19 for second place.  Mary Keitany of Kenya, who was third last year and led today's race from the beginning until hitting Central Park, again came in third with a time of 2:23:39.

                                                                      Firehiwot Dado

Geoffery Mutai won the men's race, demolishing the course record (2:07:43) with a time of 2:05:06.  Mutai ran 2:03:02 in Boston this past April (currently, the world's fastest marathon time but not considered a world record because of IAAF governing rules; see Kenyan Runs Fastest Marathon in Boston).  Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai (no relation) was second in 2:06:28 and Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede came in third in 2:07:14..   the top three men all breaking the course record.

                                                                     Geoffery Mutai

Top Americans were Kim Smith in the women's race, 5th place in 2:25:46; and Meb Keflezighi on the men's side, 7th place in 2:09:13.  Our U.S. debut marathoners I posted about a couple days ago..

     Ed Moran                  12th place          2:11:46
     Bobby Curtis             15th place          2:16:46
     Molly Pritz                12th place          2:31:52
     Lauren Fleshman      16th place           2:37:23

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ironman Marathon and Finish

I got in again..

Bike Split 3 17 mi 1:01:28 16.59 mi/hr
Total Bike 112 mi 6:35:35 16.99 mi/hr

Run Split 1 5.7 mi 1:12:44 12:38/mi
Run Split 2 7.35 mi 1:28:24 12:01/mi
Run Split 3  5.3 mi  1:06:20  12:30/mi
Run Split 4  7.8 mi  2:00:05  15:23/mi
Total Run 26.2 mi  5:47:33   13:15/mi

Her Transitions:

T1 - Swim-to-Bike 13:22
T2 - Bike-to-Run 15:42

Finish        14:37:06

Jane did it!  At age 52, finished her 2nd Ironman!  I am so proud of her!

                                                          Ironman Florida Run Course

NYC Marathon Tomorrow!

I cannot get into the results of Ironman Florida anymore..  too many others trying to get in now.  I probably will just have to wait to hear from Jane after she finishes.  I am guessing it will be within the next hour...

In the meantime, here is a little New York City Marathon inspiration.  I love New York!

Bike Split 2

She's doin' good!  Second bike split:

    at 95 miles..   Bike Split 2 - 40 mi      2:07:17        18.86 mi/hr

Bike Split 1

I wasn't able to get into the results for a while but I finally have and got Jane's first bike split:

                                       55 mi         3:36:50           15.95 mi/hr

                                                      Ironman Florida Bike Course

Jane's Ironman Today

I am following Jane in her Ironman (Florida) today.  She has finished the swim--1:44:54--that's a great time for her!  She's on the bike now, her strongest event.  Will keep posting updates..

                                                   Ironman Florida Swim Course

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Article by Christopher McDougall... 100-Up

 I read this article by Born to Run author Christopher McDougall  in yesterday's New York TimesThe Once and Future Way to Run.  The gist of what he's saying, I believe, is that it's not necessarily the running barefoot, though the contention is still that we don't need all the cushioning and anti-pronation devices of the modern-day running shoe, but running with correct form that makes the difference in whether you're going to wind up with running injuries.  And barefoot (or nearly barefoot) running can help your form.

Then he goes on to talk about something called "100-Up,"  an exercise devised in 1874 by a 16-year-old boy in England trying to become a miler.  Here is how it's described by McDougall:

I snapped a twig and dropped the halves on the ground about eight inches apart to form targets for my landings. The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the "Minor," you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. "Now raise one knee to the height of the hip," George writes, "bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg."
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: "The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running."
 Well, what's interesting to ME about this is that I have been doing similar exercises lately in my physical therapy sessions to get me back to running.  I mentioned some weeks ago how whacked out my whole leg had become from having the disease go undiagnosed in my hip for so long and it changing the way I walked and ran.  And now I have had to, first, get my leg turned back straight and my foot to step all the way down (yes, it really was that bad--and still not there yet).  Lately, I have been doing more dynamic exercises, some kinda like the ones mentioned above...   cool!

I posted a little about Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run and barefoot running back in 2009 (see Archives Sept and Oct 2009).  He's an excellent writer..  the book is really entertaining and fun to read.  Read the Times article, and then read the book, Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  You can get a copy of it here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Also Running New York - Michael Wardian

Michael Wardian...   37 years old, married and father of two little boys, employed full-time as a ship broker...     and one of the best distance runners in the world right now.  His list of running accomplishments goes on and on and on.  Currently...

2nd place at 2011-Disney Marathon
3rd place at 2011-ING Miami Marathon
14th place at Empire State Building Run Up
1st place at 2011 Lower Potomac Marathon-set Guinness World Record-Fastest Marathon as Superhero (Spider Man)
3rd place at 2011 Shamrock Marathon
1st place at 2011 National Marathon (5 time winner)
19th place at Two Oceans Marathon (56K)-First USA
11th place at Comrades Marathon (87K)-First USA
3rd place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-50 Miler
1st place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-1/2 Marathon
13th place and Olympic Trails Qualifier (2:17:49)-Grandma’s Marathon
3rd Place at Badwater Ultra Marathon
1st Place at Grant and Pierce Indoor Marathon (4 days after Badwater)
1st Place at San Francisco Marathon
1st Place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K-Kansas City
1st Place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 1/2 Marathon-Kansas City
2nd Place at the Kauai Marathon
2nd Place and Silver Medalist at 100K World Championships and First ever Team Gold Medal for 100K World Team for USA-The Netherlands
2nd Place at the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100K

Wardian was named USATF Athlete of the Week last week after winning the USA 50-Mile Championship at Tussey Mountainback in Boalsburgh, PA, in a time of 5:33:46.  He has qualified for the Olympic Trials with a 2:17:49 this past June at Grandma's Marathon in Minnesota.  Wardian will be toeing the line in New York this Sunday.

                                          Michael Wardian Wins Tussey Mountainback 50-Mile
But the COOLEST thing about Wardian is his graciousness, his attitude toward his running, his confidence, his spirit, his genuineness...   An excerpt from an interview with Jerry Armstrong on the blog Conversations with the Trail (

" Q: Many people say they are too busy to stay active. You are a full-time employee and father of two young boys...can you briefly share the daily schedule that allows you to be a high level athlete and dad?

A: I think you can always do more than you think you can do and you need to explore your limits and I try to live this way. I wake up early...usually around 5:00am or earlier if I need to. I normally run on the treadmill, so I can help with the guys. Then I either run or ride my bike to work. At work, I run at lunch and run or ride my bike home. After I get home, I normally am done with training and "on-duty" with the boys and my wife, Jennifer.

Q: What advice to you have for athletes who compete in marathon or ultrarunning? Do you feel that, generally, athletes could improve if they focused in one area....perhaps mileage, intensity, consistency, diet, or another area?

A: I think the biggest area that is going to gain you improvement, or at least it has for me, is to be consistent.

Q: Athletes all over the world are going to read this interview before heading out for their daily training run. What would you like to them?

A: I would suggest that everyone think about one super cool, outrageous goal/dream and then go for it.  It motivates me to try and explore my limits and choose lofty goals and I hope my adventures can inspire others to do more than they think they can.

Michael, thank you.. Your advice means a lot because you truly live by example. Thank you for sharing your time with us.  On behalf of all the athletes who will read our interview...good luck in your upcoming races. We will be cheering for you!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

U.S. Marathon Debuts in This Sunday's New York City Marathon

This coming Sunday, November 6th, I'll be rooting for several young American runners making their marathon debuts in the New York City Marathon.  On board is:
  • Bobby Curtis - NCAA 5,000-meter champ at Villanova, and currently holding the 7th fastest male 10,000-meter time in the U.S. (27:24).
  • Lauren Fleshman - Two-time USATF 5,000-meter champ, she says she's running New York because she believes doing the marathon will make her stronger for her 5,000-meter run in the 2012 Olympics.
  • Ed Moran - U.S. men's 10k road champ in 2010, born on Staten Island and psyched about realizing his "childhood dream of running across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge."
  • Molly Pritz - U.S. 25k women's champ for 2011, she says that she began long distance running as a result of watching the 2008 NYC Marathon.
                                                                    Bobby Curtis

                                                                    Lauren Fleshman

                                                                        Ed Moran

                                                                       Molly Pritz

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