Pledge of Success

22 02 2010

Today is a new day, a new beginning.

It has been given to me as a new gift.

I can either us it or throw it away.

What I do today will affect me tomorrow.

I cannot blame anyone but myself if I do not succeed.

I promise to use this day to the fullest by giving my best, realizing it can never come back again.

This is my life and I choose to make it a success.


I am not sure who wrote this pledge, but ever since I found it at the end of 2008 I have tried to read it every morning.  I truly believe the words in this pledge and want to share it with all of you!


Week of February 15 Recap

21 02 2010

I am very pleased with all of my runs this week.  I ended up putting in 27.5 miles on my “step back” week and they were all very high quality miles.  Here is what the week looked like:

  • Monday – 30 minutes on the stationary bike and lifting
  • Tuesday – 5.4 miles
  • Wednesday – 3.6 miles
  • Thursday – 3 miles and lifting
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 6 miles and lifting
  • Sunday – 9.5 miles

Today’s run with my friend Jeff was the PERFECT capstone to the week.  The weather was beautiful and I ran at a very comfortable pace on a rolling hill course with three big hills on it.

Tomorrow starts my 7th week of my training schedule for the Delaware Marathon and a memory from last summer.  My 7th week of  training for Chicago last year ended in the start of 6 days off of running and then many more weeks of reduced mileage and intensity.  I’m thrilled that I am approaching that point and have yet to feel any major discomforts in my body.  I think it is a combination of my new running form (I started wearing Newton shoes), reducing the intensity of my runs, and being strict to my mileage (last year I’d gladly run an extra 4-6 miles on top of the 10 I already ran if someone asked me).  We’ll see if I can meet one of my goals for this year by running injury free!

Volunteering at the Frostbite 5 Miler

20 02 2010

Photo Credit: Jeff Lofton

Today I had an opportunity to volunteer at a race put on by my running club.  It was my first time volunteering at a race rather than running in it and one heck of an experience!

I have seen my share of good volunteers (those who offer support and are actively cheering you on) and bad volunteers (those who stand there with their hands in their pockets staring at everyone) so I knew what I wanted as a runner and I tried my best to exhibit those actions.

My position on the course was around .3 miles into the race at a turn and I clapped and told everybody good job.  Nothing too special but at least I was trying.  After the 1,200 plus runners and walkers went past I made my way over to my next position, about 4/5 of the way up a huge hill, .4 miles from the finish.  Not only was I at a point where everybody was going to struggle (the end) but their efforts were magnified by the hill.

Clapping, cheering, and encouraging words are what I brought to the table and I think that I did a pretty good job.  I received quite a few “thank you’s” and many people (mainly at the back of the pack) went from walking to running again after seeing/hearing me.

There were quite a few people racing as part of Back On My Feet and it was so inspiring to see people who most people count out (the homeless) engaging in running as a means to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem.  I’ve actually been thinking about running as a part of the organization in one of my races this fall and this encounter may have pushed me even closer to joining them.

To all the runners out there, I highly recommend volunteering as a course marshal sometime.  You know exactly what encourages you when you are racing so why not take a little time to give back to the running community and volunteer?

Be sure to check out two great race reports from two women who ran the race and whose blogs I follow.  Here is a link to Denise’s Race Report and to Leslie’s Race Report.

Running Acronyms & Keywords

19 02 2010

After a comment on one of my posts asking about an “ultra” I decided to define a bunch of acronyms and keywords that often times don’t make sense to non-runners.  If you have any more that I could add to the list, please let me know!

AG – Age Group
ART – Active Release Therapy
BMI – Body Mass Index
BQ – Boston Qualifier
Chip Time – Amount of time it takes from when a person crosses the starting line until they cross the finish line
Clock Time – Amount of time it takes from when the race starts until a person crosses the finish line
DNF – Did Not Finish
DNS – Did Not Show
FM – Full Marathon
HIM – Half Ironman
HM– Half Marathon
HR – Heart Rate
HRM – Heart Rate Monitor
IM – Ironman
ITB – Iliotibial Band
ITBS – Iliotibial Band Syndrome
LSD – Long Slow Distance
MHR – Maximum Heart Rate
NRR – Not Running Related
OAB – Out And Back Course
Over Pronation – When a person’s arch collapses upon weight-bearing
Pace – The rate someone is running
PF – Plantar Fasciitis
Point to Point – A race that starts at one location and ends at another
PR – Personal Record
RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
RR – Race Report
RR – Running Related
SRD – Scheduled Rest Day
– Some Running Related
Ultra – A race longer than 26.2 miles
WR – World Record
XT – Cross Training

My 2010 Running Goals

18 02 2010

Every winter I think about what I want next year’s goals to be from a running standpoint.  Winter is usually the time when the running season is over and all I am doing is training (not racing).  That’s all fine and dandy, but this year I want to publish my goals, make them visible for all to see, and work hard towards to accomplish them since I can now be held accountable.  Let’s get right into it:

  • Have an injury free season
    • Every year I end up getting injured in some shape or form.  It typically pays a toll on my running and often times causes mental fatigue as well from being away from something that I love so much (when I have to rest).  My plan to help minimize an injury from happening it to listen to my body, stretch, and use a foam roller.
  • Run at least one 5K (and PR it)
    • I have never been a quick runner and maybe that is what draws me to the 5K.  The 5K is almost a sprint and I want to set a PR during one this year.  I don’t currently have one picked out, but am open to suggestions.
  • Run at least one 5 Mile race (and PR it)
    • There aren’t a lot of 5 mile races around, but ever since I was in grade school I have been running a 5 mile race every Thanksgiving.  My PR at this distance has stood for too long and needs to be broken!
  • Run at least one Half Marathon (and PR it)
    • What a great distance!  It’s the longest race where it is only your legs that have to overcome the conditions.  Let’s see if I can set another PR!
  • Run at least four Marathons (and PR it)
    • Why four?  No particular reason.  It was a number I picked (one in the spring and three in the fall is the plan) so I’m sticking to it.  My goal is eventually to make it to Boston and I have a loooong way to go!  The marathon is so much different from a half marathon in my opinion because it turns into a mental game.
  • Get faster
    • By accomplishing this goal I should be able to accomplish many of the ones above.  I think joining my running club for track workouts will be a great start to this, but if anyone has any other suggestions on how to get faster, I’m all ears!
  • Become more lean
    • My weight has always fluctuated and I have always packed a little more fat than what I desire.  I don’t have any specific weight that I want to be or anything like that, but I want to be under 10% body fat and have more muscle definition.
  • Complete an ultra?
    • This has always been a goal of mine, but always a future one.  After making a new friend in Denise (ultra runner herself) I have become more inspired to try one out.  We’ll see if I get to this one or not.

That does it.  My goals are now public and I can now be held accountable for them.  I plan to come back to these every few months or so to talk about the progress I am making and it will be interesting to see if it makes any difference this year since I am making these public.  I have a feeling that I will be a tad more motivated but who knows!

My running club is hosting a 5 mile race this Saturday which I am volunteering at, so maybe I’ll be able to race it as well and knock out one of my goals.

Is It Summer Yet?

16 02 2010

I’m normally not one to complain because I know that complaining typically doesn’t get you anywhere.  I enjoy winter and absolutely love the snow, but I’m ready for some warmer weather.  Not because I am sick of the snow or want better driving conditions, but because I want better running conditions.

My running club holds track workouts on Thursdays when the weather is better and I cannot wait to join them!  I have always done track workouts on my own or with my good friend Matt but with a group of people I always end up pushing myself harder and in turn, get a better workout.  My ultimate goal is to qualify for Boston and I know that track workouts are one way to make myself faster.

On top of being able to run on the track, I love being able to go out in shorts and a t-shirt and breaking out in a full sweat.  The snow doesn’t stop me at all from running (hence my Running in a Blizzard experience) but it can make running a little more difficult.

I’m really glad that I live far enough north to experience the seasons.  I’m always looking forward to the next season and the change in the air.  Each season has its own meaning to me in terms of running.  Winter is the offseason, spring is training and round 1 of marathon running, summer is training season, and fall is round 2 of marathon running.  I think that if I lived down south I would miss being able to feel a huge difference between the seasons.  My friend Eric lives in Florida and loves it, but I have this feeling that I would miss the seasons.  Plus, you never know what the weather is going to be like on marathon day, so being able to train in the snow, rain, wind, sun, heat, etc. helps prepare me for any season.

Spring will be here soon and then I’ll be anxiously awaiting summer!

Three-Day Weekend

15 02 2010

Thank you very much to all the President’s who I owe this day off to.  I love federal holidays because it means that most of the time I are off work!  There is something special about a three-day weekend and it isn’t just that you get a day off of work.  It’s an extra day to get your chores, errands, and training done.  Most people tend to always do some of the same things every weekend.  For Laura and I, we always go to church and do some cleaning.  For me it always means my group run on Saturday morning (unless there is a race).  A holiday means you get one extra day to get things done, and the day is completely open because you don’t have any of your repetitive weekend activities to get in the way.

Monday is always my cross training day, so I woke up and went to the gym for 30 minutes on the bike.  It feels great letting the legs get in a solid workout without having to pound the pavement for a few miles.  After my ride, I lifted for about a half hour.  I have been getting more and more into lifting weights in an attempt to help my running.  Help my running?  Yeah, you heard me right.  Your upper body is crucial to your success as a runner even though you probably had no idea.  Don’t believe me?  Try jogging while keeping your hands in your pockets.  It’s extremely difficult and you aren’t very efficient.  If you think back to some of your runs, you’ll probably remember your arms getting really tired towards the end and your form getting worse and worse.  It’s because you don’t have enough upper body strength to make it through the workout.  Your upper body helps propel you through the miles you are running, especially when you are tired.  By paying attention to your upper body, you can in turn help your running performance!  Maybe I need to do a post solely about this in the future.

Anyways, I am glad to have this extra day to get things done.  I had a nice solid workout, and now I going to go buy running shoes for Laura, drop things off at Goodwill, clean the apartment, do some laundry, read, and go volunteer tonight with the Knights of Columbus.  It feels great to get so much accomplished in a day and I challenge you to make the most of your day off as well!  Just remember: a day doing nothing is a day wasted!