Posts in Running
Mission Accomplished: Marine Corps Marathon October 22, 2017

I used the opportunity while I was waiting to see Dr. Andrew Wolff at Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine on the Tuesday before the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), my second marathon ever, to read the race FAQs.

He squeezed me in after I limped out of my chair late Monday morning. Usually Mondays are my workout day off, but my MCM training schedule included short runs every day except for Friday the week of the race. I felt so good during that early morning 4-mile run that I remember thinking, “This is what it feels like when running feels good.”

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"There is no joy without gratitude"

Two Sundays ago I crashed after running 18 miles as part of my Marines Corps Marathon training and was trying to nap.

I limped downstairs into the kitchen and told Bob my legs were twitchy.

"I'm so exhausted but can't fall asleep."

"Have a shot of Old Bushmills," Bob said.

"A real shot." 

It was 2 o'clock.

"No sipping."

I poured myself a glass of whiskey and drank it. In one shot. 

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Marine Corps Marathon training update

JSYK I'm 6 weeks away from the Marines Corps Marathon (MCM) on October 22. This will be my second marathon ever and my first MCM.

Back at the 24-week mark I shared my proposed 20-week training plan with Kevin and Zach and both expressed the same perspective. Even though I've been running for 3 years, I chose a RunnersConnect training plan for beginners in order to ease in slowly.

Still, Kevin especially was worried about my committing to any training plan while I was still dealing with my typical issues - hamstring strain and glute pain. Both of these are overuse injuries, Kevin pointed out, so diving into even a mildly rigorous running schedule before these are completely healed just didn't make sense to him. Zach, too, worried about this. Remember I have hamstring and glute soreness after simple body-weight squats. Forget about kettle balls.

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Harder, better, faster, stronger: And now, smarter

I always found it ridiculous that high schoolers who never played sports thought the football team was made up of dumb jocks especially when many players ended up at our best colleges and universities.

Where did the stereotype of the dumb jock come from?

Just watch a professional soccer game or Major League Baseball or any Olympic event and think about how much stuff the players are pouring into their brains before, during, and after the games. Ok some of these athletes might make stupid decisions off the field in their personal lives, but these have nothing to do with smarts.

So I'm not surprised to read about another study showing that exercise is good for your brain.

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 2017: Call It Love and Devotion

"We need to head home early so this one can get into bed," Bob gestured at me as he told our friends at a Vassar event at the National Museum of African American History and Culture last Saturday night that we'd need to duck out.

"She's got an early race tomorrow."

It was true, I did need to be up by 4:30 am Sunday morning, but it's not like I'm a professional or even competitive athlete. I've been running and doing these races for 3 years, and this idea always crosses my mind.

But still.

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Rock n Roll Half Marathon, Washington, D.C., 2017: The Good Ol' Days

"Girl, go faster. We're late for brunch."

Among the many political signs at last Saturday's half marathon was this one, my favorite, because whenever anybody asks me about my experience as a runner, I always say that I'm a 50-something who wanted to go to lunch but went for a run instead.

We were lined up at the start when a group of three women around my age asked me if I would take their picture. Through the lens of the iPhone camera I could see one of them wanted to be at brunch instead of shivering on 14th Street and about to run 13.1 miles in 26 degree weather.

"Have you done this before?" I asked.

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Where it began

By last Thursday afternoon I was feeling the effects of the upper body workout I did with Zach Schumaker, my trainer, on Wednesday night. My pecs were so inflamed and sore I wasn't 100 percent convinced I wasn't having a heart attack. In general I welcome delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) because it means I'm placing stress on my muscles, allowing them to adapt.

But then of course I'm forced to change up my training. So on Friday, instead of cross training on the elliptical or swimming, I did walking intervals on the treadmill at a 12 percent incline; no stress on the upper body but I got my heart rate up high enough to feel great getting ready for work and throughout the day.

I was planning to do a long swim Saturday morning but still felt sore. A year ago I would have pushed through but if I've learned anything through all of this it's the value of deloading. So instead, with my head still on my pillow, I smiled.

I'll do an easy run.

It wasn't the run that made me smile, although I enjoy these shakeout runs.

It was the bagel. With peanut butter.

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But, oh, I got stamina

Why it matters what I tell myself when I run

I reconnected over the summer with a woman I first met when I was living outside San Francisco and our daughters had become friends. We were having coffee in Palo Alto late one afternoon when she told me she had lupus. 

The subject came up because she was apologizing for meeting me in her workout clothes as she was just coming from the gym.

Really? Everyone in Palo Alto looks like they're in exercise clothes.

She told me that one of the ways she copes with bouts of extreme pain in her joints is by exercising regularly.

This memory popped into my head a few weeks ago as I woke up after sleeping nearly 12 hours. The last of my Thanksgiving guests had left late on that Saturday, and I practically passed out within minutes.

My plan had been to do a longish run that Sunday morning, but when I stepped out of bed, my sides and lower back were so sore and stiff that I nearly crept down the stairs to make myself a cup of coffee.

I assumed I had suffered a sleeping injury by being in bed so long.

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As long as I can feel the beat

“Will this affect your exercising?”

My cousin Jonathan was hosting his annual summer barbeque for the Washington Belkins. While most of my family members are still in New York, there’s a respectable number in Washington as well as in Florida.

It was a little more than 24 hours after Dr. David Moss, a hand surgeon, removed one of the joints from my right ring finger and fused the bones together with 3 wires.

 “Yes,” I started to say, “more than I anticipated.”

“I’m sorry,” he said.

Jonathan’s mother, Leslee, was visiting for a few days. Stanley, Jonathan’s father, died not too long ago.  He was a celebrated master chef, and Jon himself does an awesome spread year after year.

“It’s ok. Thanks for asking."

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Invite the Whole World to Play: Meet Gini Fellows

“You’re continuing to grow.”

Actually, no, I’m not, and wouldn’t that be wonderful, but I know what she meant.

Jamie Dodge is my new running coach at RunnersConnect, and in our initial meet and greet we were talking about how ridiculous I feel sometimes about training hard and doing races.  I had just joined RunnersConnect, an incredibly supportive online community of 600 runners of all ages, coaches, a team doctor, and a team nutritionist.

I had a great experience with my first running coach, Ann Alyanak at the RunSMART Project, who got me across the finish line at the Reggae Marathon in Negril in December, and it was a natural progression for me to join RunnersConnect as I began to understand how my personality can impact my fitness goals.

 

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Coastal Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon: Give into Low Tide

Here’s the thing about doing races.

Running is hard. "Easy runs" always appear on my training calendar, but they’re never easy.

Whether I’m sprinting and doing intervals or going easy or going long, running is always hard.

So signing up for races keeps me motivated. It’s just that simple.

Because although running only gets easier but never easy, like anything else, the more you expose yourself to difficult or uncomfortable things, the less difficult or uncomfortable they become.

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Take it all in your stride

I’m in the habit of checking myself out, body part by body part, when I wake up in the morning.

Ok I’m checking out the status of the ring of fat around my abdomen I’m working hard to crush but mostly I do this so I can decide how much time I’ll need to warm up before running.  If it’s a swim day, I just make a mental note of what’s achy or crunchy and figure I’ll sort it out in the pool.

If I don’t self-assess in the morning I usually regret it. 

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A whole lot of history

I hesitated for a moment but decided I needed to do this. Before my swim on Saturday, I stepped on the scale at Equinox Bethesda.

Down 6 pounds.

I was having lunch with my colleague Sarah Budds the Tuesday after D.C. Rock n Roll when Sarah told me about an article she had just read in the New York Times about a guy who starts every day with a cold shower.

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Rock n Roll Washington, D.C.: It’s a Good Life

“It’s a hill,” the sign read as I approached Calvert Street from Beach Drive.

“Get over it.”

That hill is also the spot where volunteers from Wear Blue to Remember line the marathon race route honoring the legacy of fallen service members.  They carry photos of loved ones and American flags on heavy poles. They offer high fives to runners as we scramble up the hill. 

I saw the sign just as I passed the last volunteer and lifted my head.

Yeah man, get over it.

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If you're waiting for the moment, here it is

“Just go do something else.”

I was 1 mile into my long run last Sunday when it occurred to me I’m still having the same conversation in my head a year after running the D.C. Rock n Roll Half Marathon, my first half marathon.  It was a miserable day that day in Washington in March 2015. There was a steady downpour and the air was cold and raw. I was soaked, my phone was soaked. My gloves were soaked.  Yeah I was exuberant at the finish but I couldn’t move my fingers they were so cold.

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Call it a moment, I call it life

Here is what I know now. Being an athlete is about being resilient.

If I had thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the Reggae Marathon on Saturday, my first marathon, I would have canceled the trip. So even though I didn’t feel 100 percent, I trusted my training, stuck to the plan, and arrived in Negril on Wednesday evening. For the five days I packed two suitcases...

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Switch up the batteries

I was half watching the Redskins – Giants game in my kitchen when I happened to turn my full attention to the TV screen just as the Giants’ Odell Beckham made that catch.  My house was quiet after the long Thanksgiving weekend.  It had been wonderful having everyone home, and cooking for 24 was therapy for the stress I was feeling as I continue to rehab my hamstring.

I’m a Ravens fan but since I’m originally from New York I’m also a Giants fan.  I had my laptop open, and I was thinking about my plan to get ready for my run in Jamaica on Saturday.

But that catch?...

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Woke up an optimist

My race in Jamaica on December 5 is one of the 100s of marathons happening every year all over the world for regular-people runners like me. So if I skip it there will be another one around the corner. Maybe not in Negril but probably in some other beautiful place.

But when I heard, and then felt, my left hamstring snap on Friday morning during my run with the Nike Run Club in London, I wanted to know right away whether I could heal in 3 weeks...

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