Monthly Archives: October 2005

10/30/05 Kick Off (7)

Sunday. Last Sunday before the marathon. 7 days away. 168 hours. How did this happen? I distinctly remember sitting here writing my blog with well over 300 days left to go and now we are down to 7? 7 days? 7 more sunrises, 7 more breakfasts, 7 more sunsets and we are at the starting line.

Just got back from running the Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff race. 5 miles with the same finish line as the marathon. I tried to run it slowly as our coach told us that we have to hold off on the first half of the marathon — that we had to feel like we were deliberately holding back. So I did that and still ran the 5 miles in 1 hour 2 minutes. Then I realized, “hey, wait a minute, I ALWAYS feel like I’m holding back, I don’t have to practice that.” I am the mistress of Chateau du Hold Back. I have to say that 5 miles this morning was pretty damn easy. I realized afterwards that I absolutely could have done that twice, I definitely could have done it 3 times. I know I could do it 4 times if I had to, but 5 times? Ugh, that’s still in question.

A lot of the people running the race in the park this morning are doing the marathon. I met a nice couple Michael and Katherine. He has done 15 marathons — she eleven. He did his first marathon when he was 61. I hold out some hope that this event won’t be a total fiasco — after all if they have gone back for that many marathons, it must be somewhat enjoyable, right? (Just say right even if you don’t buy it either.) Right.

Everyone keeps asking me how I’m feeling. “Are you ready? How do you feel?” I have narrowed it down to resignation. I am resigned to the fact that I am doing the marathon. I am resigned to the fact that it is going to hurt. I am resigned to the fact that I will finish even if I am one of those crossing long after the sun has gone down. I don’t think that’s what people want to hear, but that’s the truth. Nerves are not playing so much of a role. Perhaps if I was some super runner I might be nervous. For me, I’m resigned. It’s kind of like going to the dentist for a root canal. You know you have to go. You know it will hurt. But you also know that after it is done you will not regret it and the pain will be far behind you…..

We are in our final taper. Yesterday I ran for 45 minutes. Today I ran 5 miles. Then I am supposed to do 40/30/20. I’ll run 40 minutes with my group on Tuesday. 30 minutes on Thursday and 20 minutes on Saturday. I am going to a lecture by Sakyong Mipham on Saturday. I want to buy his new book and have him sign it for me and put some kind of Buddhist Blessing in it for my first marathon (he’s a marathon runner himself.) I know, corny, but I’ll use whatever I can find to get me through the race. I accept all forms of encouragement — talismans, mass cards, blessing, spells, prayers, cheers, mantras, meditations or even light a candle for me. None can hurt and some might help.

I ran into a girl named Heather who started running with me way back when in the advanced beginner classes at New York Road Runners. She is a back-of-the-packer like me. She usually runs about 1-2 minutes per mile slower. Today she looked awesome out there. She took 10 minutes off her best time. Talk about peaking at the right time. Of course she won’t run that pace for the marathon, but that was really a good result for her. What a great time to PR (personal record) — a week before the marathon. She said this year is about finishing the marathon. Next year is about beating her time. I think that’s the right attitude. For me this year is about not crumpling in a heap at mile 22.

Went to WW yesterday and they said I was down 1 pound after my week in Napa. I’m not getting all excited about that because I’m starting to realize there is about a 1 week delay. I think that pound was really from the previous week and next week I’ll show my increase from ALL the eating and drinking I did in Napa. This week I’m forgiving myself all transgressions and just trying to relax, get rested and ready for Ssssssunday.

I have a busy week ahead with a lot of preparation for the marathon. Tuesday is our final practice. Wednesday I have my last Pilates workout with Erica before the marathon — we are going to do a lot of stretching. Wednesday night is our team send off and Pasta Party. Thursday I have to run 30 minutes and then I have my final massage and the Marathon Expo opens (I’m going to try to pick up my package early.) Friday I have my final acupuncture appointment (which I think is working very well.) Saturday I run only twenty minutes. I have an all day lecture and then at night a bunch of us are getting together for a pasta dinner. And then it is get up at the crack of dawn and head to marathon town. I just hope I don’t miss the bus.

Namaste

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.”

Ellen DeGeneres

wha ha ha

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10/24/05 Run Like a Girl (13)

Well the half marathon in San Fran is over and it was well worth the trip. I flew in on Thursday. Went sightseeing on Friday and Saturday and then the race on Sunday. Then we went to Napa for three days. I had a cold the whole time but other than that all went well. The weather was foggy (kind of goes with my mental picture of San Francisco) but the temperature was just right — cool. In a nutshell I think I did very well for me. Just shy of 3 hours (2:59:22). Yes there were some pretty big hills there but I did amazingly well on the uphill. I was shocked when I actually made it up. The downhills were another story. They killed me. I basically had to walk down them they were so steep and long. That took a little off my time. But other than that — I did well, I felt very strong and pretty much pain-free. It was worth the trip and we all LOVED our Tiffany necklaces as our blue “Run Like a Girl” T-shirts that we received for finishing as well. I give the Nike Woman’s marathon a big thumbs up.

As usual, it was an inspiring event. I had a lot of energy that day so after I was finished I went back out onto the course to cheer in some of my full-marathon teammates with whom I had been training all summer. It was great. I got to see up close how painful it was for most of them at mile 24 and 25. Lots of tears and pride and come-to-jesus-moments. It was so great to spend some time with them out there. My friend Donna M. was so determined she was the face of true grit. She kept saying “this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” I was so proud of her. Some made it look downright easy — smiling right up to the end. Others were having bad days. One girl on the team was doing great up until mile 18 then her IT band went out and she had to limp the next 8 miles to the finish line. 8 miles is hard enough to run never mind limp. That’s determination.

Pretty much every pace under the sun was represented. The winner came in in 2:52:57. (YES, the winner lapped me by finishing the entire marathon in less time than it took me to finish the half!!! Ouch!) The last runner came in around 8 hours 18 minutes. Yet, once again, each runner showed the same fortitude as the first and last.

Nike’s catch-phrase for the race was “run like a girl.” I like the phrase because it takes something that was once said as derogatory and flips it into something positive. I remember growing up the worst thing you could say to a boy was “you run like a girl.” That was before Deena Kastor, Paula Radcliffe, Kathrine Switzer, Joan Benoite just to name a few. To “run like a girl” meant you were slow, uncoordinated and clumsy. Now it means setting world records, breaking through male-only events and inspiring other young women everywhere to be strong, athletic and goal-oriented.

I think one of the most awesome aspects of the race is that of the 15,000 participants only 1,000 were men — definitely a lot of estrogen flying around the course. But, big kudos have to go out to the guys who came out to run a race entitled “Nike Women’s Marathon.” Good for them for considering a women’s race to be a challenge (and it was, believe me). Did I mention that the winner of the race was in fact a man? I don’t think he cared one bit that the necklace was of a silver woman runner or that the t-shirt said “run like a girl.” I think any guy confident enough to go out there and bust a gut trying to beat out 14,000 women deserves applause — and a necklace! The guy who won is 45 years old. I couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe once a long, long time ago someone said to him “hey you run like a girl!” Instead of taking it as an insult, he just said “hey, why not?”

Namaste

Here are some pictures of me from the race:


As I’m rounding the bend about to go up the first hill. Smiling because I didn’t know any better (and because I’m a ham and getting good at spotting the photographers hiding!)


(As I said, Ham. If you see my thumbs up you know I am doing that for the camera! LOL)


Crossing the finish. What is the woman behind me wearing on her head? Reminds me of the whacky Canadian Ladies who chased me in the Alaska Half. They wore funny hats too…… Or is it one of them stalking me for revenge?!?!?

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10/19/05 If Only the Butler Would do it! (18)

Wednesday. Wisdom Day. Ugh, 18 days til marathon day. It seems like yesterday we were in the 300’s didn’t it? Wow, you just can’t stop time from marching on….

I didn’t work out yesterday. Boy do I feel like a big cheat. I didn’t work out Monday either because my trainer called and cancelled. You’d think I’d work out on my own, but nooooo. I did manage to get my weekly massage in with Leslie though — she’s really good and I think this massage/acupuncture/pilates combo is really the perfect training support system. I didn’t work out yesterday because I had to go to the dentist and to a meeting and had a ton of work to do to get ready for my trip to San Fran (leave tomorrow).

Today I will do an easy, light run and then do my pilates with Erica. I really feel the pilates is starting to straighten out my legs. I’m starting to build the supporting muscles to keep my legs in alignment (no caving inwards) which in turn is helping to keep the pain at bay. There is still pain but now I think it can be managed with good doses of Tylenol during the race.

So this weekend the big Nike half marathon in San Francisco. I’m looking forward to it. Big party. A lot of my friends will be there. The race itself is supposed to be a lot of fun — they have different fun themes at different miles. One mile is the chocolate mile where they give out chocolate. I thought I would just get to that mile and keep running it over and over until I collapse or they catch on. I can’t wait to see my finish line picture with big chocolate smears all over my face! Chocolate as a motivator. Now THAT’S what I call a training run. I mean the TNT coaches could learn a thing or two from NIKE — chocolate miles, spa miles and a tiffany necklace handed out by a gorgeous guy in a tux. What more could a girl want? I’m going to suggest to the Danskin women’s triathlon series that they have gorgeous surfer boys waiting on shore to hand us towels (and assistance if we want 😉 ) lol

After Nike a bunch of us are heading up to Napa to start training our taste buds. Equal time, I say. I am most looking forward to our sip and ride tour. We are taking bikes out and riding from vineyard to vineyard tasting wine. At the last stop we get trashed and they take our bikes home for us and drive us back to our hotels. Okay maybe we are not supposed to get trashed, but I guarantee you that after 4 wineries and 20 some odd tastings, we’ll be a bit buzzed!!!!

After my California trip I have to make a short trip up to Boston for work. Then I come home and voila! C’est Marathon!!! I’m actually getting less nervous because all of my friends are systematically freaking out and I’m spending time trying to comfort them. I find it really funny that I’m consoling people who will run a 4 hour marathon or friends who have run 3 already but are doubting that they can do it. I’m thinking to myself not only can you do it, you can go out to dinner afterwards and still come back to the finish line to cheer for me!! It really cracks me up. Everybody is so worried about it and I just look at it now as this ridiculous task — in the true sense of the word ridiculous — WHAT THE HECK WERE WE THINKING?!?!?!?

So here is my final approach to the marathon. I am acknowledging it is going to be freakin’ hard. I am going to hurt. There is no doubt in my mind so there is no big wondering, gee can I do it? Gee will it hurt? Yes, yes it will hurt. But I will be out there anyway so nothing I will be able to do about it. I’m going to take two Tylenol right before the start, then 2 more at mile 10, 2 more at mile 20. Miles 5 and 15 I will take salt tablets. At mile 15 I think I will also slather on some Tiger Balm. Of course every 40 minutes eat a gel and take an Amino Vital pill. That’s my big strategy. Medication!!!!

So now that I have come up with my strategy, I’m not going to worry about it any more. I still have a secret fantasy that I am going to run the whole thing in 5:40, but the reality is it will probably be 6:10. I am going to try to enjoy it. I know I will finish it — if I have to walk it I will finish it. And since I am no longer afraid of the pain — I know I’ll live through that — I’m just going to visualize and relax. Worrying about it is not going to change it.

I have so much to do today that I am laughing at the ludicrousness of my schedule. I have my big “test” tonight at Buddha School. I’ve been studying my dharma off — there is so much to know — who knew you needed a PhD to find enlightenment? I mean the Buddha did it by just sitting under a tree — but I have to study and take a test. I got in the wrong line at birth I guess. (That’s my attempt at a Buddhist joke.)

Okay that’s it for today. I’m going to smile a lot, think positive thoughts, eat well, hydrate, pack, work, pilates, acupuncture, work, work, work, exam, sleep. Where are those Tylenol? Better yet, where is my surfer-dude butler with my workout towel, Godiva Chocolate and Diamond Necklace? Yep, we should all have one of those around at all times.

Namaste

“American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers”

William Somerset Maugham

Yes, that’s true and if the husbands would just get with the program the world would be a better place!

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10/17/05 Week 39 Check In (20)

Monday. Mindfulness. I’m in total study mode for my Dharma Exchange on Wednesday night so I’m about as Mindful as I can get. This will be my first “Zen” exam, lol. They say to not stress about it and then tell us that we’ll be put in the middle of the room with everyone circled around us and they’ll ask us questions about Buddhism. We are to give concise, thoughtful answers — no rambling. No rambling? I only know how to ramble! It is impossible for me to not stress about an exam (particularly if I have not finished all the reading) no matter how enlightened the subject matter may be.

Weigh in this morning shows me exactly the same weight. Okay, at least not a gain.

On Saturday I went out to do a race in New Jersey with Missy and Steve for the Cerebral Palsy League. We all had a really nice time. The weather was beautiful and the people were sooo nice. The course was extremely flat (and when I say flat you know it was flat as I consider running over drain grates downhill and uphill). It was a 5k and I did well for me. I did an 11:27 minute mile. I took the first mile slow and then picked it up for the second and third. I was pleased with the result. That’s definitely my best 5k result so far, but I do have to take into consideration there was not so much as a bump in the road to call a hill and the weather was cool and crisp. I didn’t kill myself but I tried to run at a faster than normal pace. I gave it an 80% effort.

Missy came in first in her age group and won a medal! She ran it in 22:16 which comes out to a 7:10! Woo Hoo Missy! We joked that we are now going to start going to all the small races in driving distance and start racking up medals — I said we’ll call it the hardware tour. Back in the day when trophies were important, my friends and I used to enter tennis tournaments just to get the hardware — we needed a lot of validation back then, lol. But it is nice to get a recognition now and then particularly for something you love to do. Missy loves to run and let me tell you if I ever in my life ran a 7:10 even for 1 mile, I want a huge trophy! 7 minutes 10 second miles! You can’t even make pasta in 7:10. You can’t take the bus cross town in 7:10. You can’t read this blog in 7:10! (Sorry bout that, I know I’m wordy). Medal? I think they should give her a tiara! I’d want one. I’d walk around town with my tiara giving my little queenly wave, nodding to the townspeople…. Oh sorry I digress — I was living vicariously through Missy. It’s Missy’s medal, it’s Missy’s medal…..

Steve did well too — he did a 7:32. Unfortunately Steve didn’t put his age down on his application otherwise he would have won a medal too!! Just goes to show you, fill out all the little boxes!!! I came in 4th in my age group — 1 place off from a medal. Okay, okay, there were only 5 people in my age group but do you think I care? I’m going back next year. 1 minute 42 seconds and I would have beaten that 3rd place winner. Watch out Cranfordites! I’ll be bahhhhck!!!

A good time had by all and for a good cause, The Cerebal Palsy League — what more could you ask for? (Oh yeah, Steve’s Mom Roz — a real sweetie with her own inspiring story I’ll tell another time — won the big prize, a Trek Mountain Bike.)

Yesterday was the Staten Island half marathon. I have to say I’m very pleased with my performance. I took 10 minutes off my Manhattan half marathon time. My goal was to do the race in 2 hours 50 minutes (I did Manhattan in 3 hours.) I did it exactly in 2 hours 50 minutes 52 seconds which comes out to a 13:02 minute mile. My goal was to average under 13 minute mile so I came pretty darn close to that.

I was doing all 11 and 12 minute miles up to mile 8 — that dreaded mile 8 where my knees start throbbing. I refused to stop this time. This time I said I will keep running through it, but I started going slower and slower. I saw one women going up our first big hill. She was going slow but steady — I recognized that she was pretty much my pace and she was passing a lot of people who stopped to walk up the hill. I was very determined not to walk. I just locked my eyes onto her feet and kept going. She stopped at the water stop and I caught up to her. We chatted for a bit and she told me she did the marathon last year in 5:40!!! I was impressed because I know I won’t be doing it in 5:40, but kudos to her. She was very steady throughout the run.

She pulled out some gu and said “time for gu and pain killers.” I had no pain killers on me (I couldn’t find my San Qi pills before I left). I asked her if by chance she had any extra because I was in pain, she did and gave me some Motrin. Then she took off as I was definitely slowing down. According to my splits, mile 8 was a 15 minute mile that was the hill. Mile 10 was also a 15 minute mile — that’s when I was hurting and she gave me the pills — I was doing a kind of hop/jog thing.

Then everything started to feel better. I started to feel the knee pain going away. We had to go up a small hill that was little bridge. I saw two guys who had passed me were walking up the hill. I set my sight on them and decided that if I did nothing else that race I was going to pass those two guys — they had ran past me but were now walking — I wanted to let them know that I might be slow but I never walked. Not only did I pass them but then I saw the girl who had given me the pills — she was in catch-up distance. I didn’t want to insult her by running up to her and then stopping. I said to myself if you are going to pass her you better keep going. I hate it when people catchup, pass me, and then start walking. If I passed her, I pledged I would not walk no matter what. She could pass me again, but I would still be running.

I worried about what I would say to her as I passed her. I wanted to be respectful because she was running a nice even race and even though I was catching up to her, it was because of her that I was there. I didn’t want to make a big deal, but I wanted to acknowledge her. So as I passed I just said “thank you very much I was in real pain and you helped me more than you know.” She said “oh I know how it feels.” Then I took off. That was mile 11 and I did it in 11:22 — excellent for me.

The last two miles seemed to be all up hill and into a wall of wind. I’ll never forget how hard that was. Everybody around me was walking. Where I got that sudden burst of energy and determination, I’ll never know but I was determined to run through that wind and up that hill like a warrior. I actually said outloud as the wind was trying to push me back down that hill “I WILL NOT BE DENIED.” The harder I tried, the harder it blew. I couldn’t believe it. The race started out with a possibility of me doing a 12 minute mile the whole way. With those couple of bad miles now I was in danger of not even making my 13 minute mile goal. I was pissed. I wanted that so badly and the insult of the hills and wind at the end of the race just made me mad. So I pushed. I did those last two miles in 13 minute miles which consider the hill and wind was excellent. It was hermana a hermano. Me against the wind. Boreas.

You remember Boreas from your Greek Mythology? The North Wind God. He appears in all the big books — Odyssey, Iliad… Not a particularly nice fellow. Always causing a ruckus during battle and I think he got really mad at the Persians and wiped out a whole load of them. Well I went into hand to hand combat with Boreas on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island. (Yes it was a North Wind, I looked it up on the map so I would know exactly which God to be yelling at!) I used my Weight Watchers technique of Anchoring and I kept repeating “wind, wind, wind” to remind myself of my own fortitude next time I am in a similar situation. Next time I am riding through a head wind like St. Anthony’s or running through a head wind like Staten Island you’ll find me shaking my fist yelling “Damn you Boreas!! Damn you!!” But I’ll remember the word “wind” and know that I have the strength and determination to beat Boreas at his own game.

Namaste.

Here is a little blast from the past. One of Aesop’s fables. Number 18

CONTEST OF BOREAS & HELIOS

“Boreas (the North Wind) and Helios (the Sun) disputed as to which was the most powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the victor who could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes. Boreas (the North Wind) first tried his power and blew with all his might, but the keener his blasts, the closer the traveler wrapped his cloak around him, until at last, resigning all hope of victory, the Wind called upon Helios (the Sun) to see what he could do. Helios (the Sun) suddenly shone out with all his warmth. The traveler no sooner felt his genial rays than he took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly overcome with heat, undressed and bathed in a stream that lay in his path. Persuasion is better than force.”

Aesop

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10/15/05 Stop Shoulding all over Yourself (22)

Sat. 22 Days to the marathon. Today is Ironman Kona. Let’s keep our eyes on Heather Fuhr. 27 years old 30 (yes thirty) Ironmans completed and 14 (yes fourteen) Ironmans won!!! Wow. They are having live coverage on ironman.com unfortunately I am going to have to miss it as I am doing a 5k out in NJ today.

It has been raining – no pouring for a solid week. Right now the rain has let up for a minute and I’m hoping it holds off for the rest of the weekend. I just don’t want to repeat last weekend’s running in torrential downpours. I’m looking forward to doing the 5k today, because it is a 5k. Yeah!! 3.1 miles — yes!! Not even enough of a workout to earn significant WW points but I don’t care — I’m looking forward to an easy and hopefully fast run. I want at least 12 minute miles. 36 minutes as my max and the closer I can get to 33 — all the better.

Tomorrow the Staten Island 1/2 marathon. I’ve been mentally rehearsing all week. I’ve been mentally rehearsing good posture, good knee alignment, good stamina. While I’m running I’m going to focus on feet, feet, feet, and roll, roll, roll. Feet, feet, feet to remind me to move them faster. Roll, roll, roll to remind myself that I want to roll off my toes as fast as possible. No lingering on the ground.

I feel my body has peaked for the marathon and right now I’m just going to try to keep it in optimal order for the next 3 weeks. I think our training season was a little too long, but that’s okay, hopefully I can spend the next 3 weeks really healing my body so it can come out in full force.

I had bad week of eating. Really bad. I was up another pound at WW and I went to my meeting very frustrated. I’ve been concentrating so much on being aware. I’m aware I’m not hungry. I can’t figure out why I keep eating when I’m not hungry — almost compulsively — oh wait, not almost, it is compulsively. And impulsively. At first I thought it was procrastination — a way to avoid getting my work done. Then I thought it was guilt over not getting my work done. When I went to my meeting I started to lament to the group that the marathon is coming up, I should be at my 40 pound weight loss already. I should have this food thing under control. I should have all of these techniques mastered. What’s my problem?

I feel like I have a little kid inside of me. As much as my adult voice says “that’s not a good choice — you shouldn’t have that,” my kid voice goes “na, na, na, na, na — I’m going to have it anyway.” I should have more control. I see the situation coming. I prepare myself (after late night class I’m going to come home and go straight to bed) and yet I still find myself having a snack (or two) and watching Boston Public on Tivo. Why? I should be farther along in this process.

Did you notice that I used the word “should” six times in the last two paragraphs? I didn’t notice how many times I was saying “should” until they mentioned it at the meeting. Should is a crippling word. As soon as you say “should” to yourself, it becomes a punishment, an assignment, something to avoid. Instead, they recommend saying “I want.” The inner child will always respond with rebellion to “should.” But the inner child will clap her hands when we do something we “want.” It a small shift in words, but the power is really exponetially greater.

It really does work. I tried it on my kitchen yesterday and it seemed to work right away. The kitchen is the bane of my housekeeping existence. I feel like it is always a mess and I’m always having to clean. The problem is I like a clean kitchen. Some of my compulsion about always thinking I “should” clean the kitchen stems from my wanting a clean kitchen but when I say “should” something inside me says “yeah, put it on the list.” Yesterday I had a lot of work to do but I really wanted a clean kitchen. So I simply said outloud “I want a clean kitchen, it will make me feel good.” In ten minutes my kitchen was totally clean. (It really wasn’t that messy, but it’s the principle I’m trying to illustrate here.) Had I said to myself “I really ‘should’ clean the kitchen” I would have felt it was just another assignment to add to my already long list of duties. This small shift in thinking was huge to me. I felt like someone gave me a secret code into the chamber of WW secrets.

Our leader is really good. Maggie gets deep into the psychology of why we do what we do. One of things she was really trying to stress yesterday is to start listening to how we speak to ourselves. I’m very hard on myself. My self-talk is very harsh. Even now I was about to write that I “should” work on that. I constantly think of myself as lazy as I don’t accomplish the laundry list of a million self-improvement items. Learn Russian, study Buddhism, attain enlightenment, run a marathon, do an ironman, teach, start a new business, do, do, do. I feel like I am constantly wasting time. Even writing which is a great joy of my life becomes a burden when I give myself assignments like “you SHOULD write for an hour every morning.” Boy that really gets me up and at the keyboard — not. But when I say “I WANT to write something this morning, I have something to say,” I miraculously sit down and find the time to write.

Maggie really illustrated the power of words. Everybody in my weight watchers group was so impressed that I’m running the marathon. My reaction? Big deal, I’m not even doing it well. I’ll probably have to walk some of it. Negative, negative, negative. I kept trying to pooh-pooh it — “everybody has their version of a marathon” I said — “you might have two kids and a job — that’s a marathon too.” But the other people in my WW Sangha kept saying, “no it’s a huge achievement.” I am constantly struck by how little value I put in my achievements. I actually say to myself “well, if I can do it, it can’t be that big of a deal.” It is such negative self-talk. I really “shouldn’t” do that — lol.

Yesterday I got on the elevator with one of my neighbors. She said to me that one of her friends had done the Danskin Tri in Sandy Hook. She told me that she had told her friend that I had been an Angel at the Tri. Her friend was very impressed — “ooh, she must be a good swimmer.” My friend in the elevator looked at me and said “I told her I guess so, but I remember when you first started and how hard it was for you to do the swimming — remember how you used to complain about that?” I stopped and laughed for a second. “Yes, yes, I do.” I said. I remember like yesterday, May 2003 in Amelia Island spending the entire weekend with one goal — swim two consecutive laps without stopping. In the HOTEL Pool!! (That’s not even 25 meters.) I worked for 3 consecutive days on that. On the 3rd day when I did it I had not been so proud of anything in a long time.

Last Sunday I was doing the training running in the rain in the park. As I was coming up toward the carousel a woman ran up next to me and said “are you doing the marathon with Team in Training?” (I as wearing my training shirt.) “Yes,” I replied and then we looked at each other and realized we recognized each other from my very first season of training. We reminded each other of our names — hers was Kristen. I remember my first meeting with her very well.

It was a couple of weeks into training and we had to run around the reservoir twice. I thought I was going to die. First of all we had to run up the westside drive which I couldn’t make up that hill without walking for the entire first season (and everytime I run up it now I’m still surprised I can do it). Then we had to make it around the reservoir twice (1.6 miles each time). I could barely make it 5 lampposts without having to stop. I remember getting to the opposite side of the reservoir and thinking “not only can I not do two loops of this thing, I don’t think I can make it back to the start!” I made it around and just started walking the second loop. This woman Kristin came up to me and said “you are doing great. When I first started I couldn’t run around the reservoir and now I’m doing a marathon.”

I remember that moment like yesterday. Now here it is two and half years later and I’m training for my marathon and I run into Kristin. She said how’s it going? I told her I had just completed my first twenty mile training run and she said “geesh you are ahead of me!” Of course I realize that was figurative as we said our goodbyes and good lucks and she sped off into the distance. The milestone was not lost on me.

This brings around to what I used to tell my computer students a lot. Many times they would say to me “there is so much to learn about computers, when will I learn it all?” I would always, “you’ll never learn it all — it’s constantly changing. But you must always pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come.” I realize that I am guilty of not doing this for myself.

So today I want to say Kudos to me. Good job to me for sticking with training, for trying to eat healthily, for keeping my goals in sight. I’ve come a long way. I have a long way to go, but I’ll never get there because there is no there. (ooh, how zen!) Marathons and Ironmans are just stops along the way. Water stations in the big endurance event called life.

Finally we talked about anchoring in our meeting. Maggie had us think of an attribute we wanted to adopt into our life. I chose bravery. I want to brave going into the marathon. I want to be brave when I have conflicts with food. She told us to think of a time when we were brave. I could only think of being ready to swim at St. Anthony’s. I felt confident and brave. I knew I could do it and even though I knew it wasn’t easy, I was going to face it head on. Once we established that feeling, Maggie asked us to assign a word or a gesture to that feeling. The only word I could come up with was “Rumble.” LOL. So now when I want to conjure that feeling of bravery, I simply have to say “Rumble” and I will be filled with that same brave spirit. I’m willing to give it a try. Can’t hurt, might help.

Rumble, girl, Rumble.

Namaste

“A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.”
Albert Einstein

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10/12/05 Picture It (25)

Tuesday. Did you hear the fight going on this morning? It was between me and my guilty conscience. We were pretty loud. I had a workout scheduled for 6:40 a.m. this morning in Central Park with our running coach. I didn’t want to go. I was trying to come up with every justification in the world not to go. It’s raining. It’s cold. I’m tired. It’s too early. My knees hurt, really I shouldn’t go. I was kicking and screaming I didn’t want to go. But I have to say if I show one half the strength of my guilty conscience on race day, I will do fine. My guilty conscience tackled me, threw me to the ground, put on my running shoes and dragged me out the door by my collar. “If that coach can come in from New Jersey in the pouring rain, you can get up there too. Let’s go you lazy sot.” I got to Bethesda Terrace (grumbling all the way) and was standing there all by myself, I was about to leave when the coach walked up and told me the others were standing under the bandshell. There were 4 of us in total that showed up. We did squats and sprints, running backwards, squats and sprints, one legged running, squats and sprints, side squats and sprints. I actually did much better than last time. Just goes to show you, just because you think you are tired and weak doesn’t mean you are! Now if I can just find a way to wipe that smug look off of my guilty conscience’s face….

I’m hearing a recurring theme in many aspects of my life right now. In Weight Watchers, Buddhist studies and in running — everyone is talking about visualization. In WW on Friday (sorry I was up 2 pounds — yuck) we spent a good amount of time talking about visualizing a winning outcome and how this is the cornerstone of achieving your goals. It is not good enough to say “I want to lose 40 pounds (or 10 or whatever).” You have to visualize your outcome. You have to imagine how you will look, how you will feel, how things will taste, how your clothes will fit. What the weather will be like. I thought about it for awhile and I started to visualize LP 2007. I saw myself wearing my tri-life outfit. I saw myself with long, lean muscles. I saw myself with great posture. I saw myself RUNNING up the Degree of Difficulty hill at the end of the marathon. I saw Scott jumping up and down yelling “yes, yes, yes” (Just like he did when I finished my first triathlon in 2003.)

Maggie, our WW leader, was talking about a study that had been done on some basketball players. There were 3 groups. The first group was told to continue their regular practices everyday for several hours. The second group was told to do nothing. The third group was told to just visualize sinking baskets. After they came back the first group was slightly improved, the second group had become a little worse, but the third group improved the most supposedly because they had been visualizing making perfect basket after perfect basket.

One of the gals at WW has done several marathons (I find a lot athletes at WW meetings — just trying to maintain I guess.) She was talking about how for her first marathon she felt illprepared. She had been injured and about three weeks before the marathon her coach pulled her off of training and said — “no more running, just rest.” This freaked her out. She didn’t know how she was going to complete a marathon without running. They told her to take the deep water swim class with Doug Stern through NYRR.

She said that they did a special 26 minute workout. Each minute of the workout was dedicated to one mile of the marathon. They visualized it while they were running in the water. Each mile, different efforts, different images. Of course you know the outcome — she did great. She hadn’t been on the road once in the last 3 weeks before the marathon — just deep water running. She passed by all of her old training partners because she had visualized every mile of the marathon. Hmmm. Gives you something to think about…. ING has put up a great little tutorial with something to help you visualize each mile of the marathon. Click here to view it.

I went to a seminar last night on Visualization Techniques given by the NYRR Click Here to read the handout. A lot of the stuff was pretty standard but I learned a couple of interesting tidbits.

The lecturer (Ethan Gologor) talked about a study that had been done with some students down at NYU. They were given 5 words and told to make a sentence out of 4 of the words. For example if the students were given the words cat, pink, old, purr, fish, they might come up with a sentence of “The old pink cat purred.” They were given 15 sentences to make. The trick was, however, embedded in each word group was the word “old.” Then they asked the students to get up and leave the room. Each and everyone of them walked out like they were old. (So he says.) The did further studies with aggressive words and calming words and each time the students behavior changed according to the subliminal messages they were hearing.

So the moral of the story is you will eventually believe whatever you tell yourself. If you keep repeating “I can’t, I can’t” you won’t. If you keep saying “the wall, the wall” there will be a wall. (In golf they always say you have to visualize you are hitting up a hill when you are hitting over water — if you see the water you are screwed.) If you keep repeating positive words you will start to take on the attributes of those positive words. Our WW leader asked us each to come up with a negative word we have found ourselves calling ourselves. My word was “lazy.” I’m always getting down on myself for being lazy. She had us write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away in the garbage can. Then we had to write down our replacement phrase. I wrote down “Strong Tenacious Athlete.” That is what I want to be — strong and tenacious. It is not enough to be just strong. I want to be the one who never quits.

I’m starting to think about the marathon a little differently. I know it is going to be hard. I’m ready for the hard. But I will not hide under my covers getting all freaked out about it. I am going to be strong and fight back. I am going to visualize myself floating up those hills. I’m going to visualize myself with perfect posture, strong legs and an easy stride. I’m going to keep my head up and my shoulders down. I’m going to feel the oxygen in my lungs and keep relaxed. I am not afraid because I am a strong, tenacious athlete.

Will the marathon be hard? You betcha. Am I going to hurt? Probably. Will I stop? No way! I am not afraid. BRING IT ON!!! I’m ready to rumble, girl, rumble!!!

Strong, tenacious athlete. Strong tenacious athlete. Strong tenacious athlete.

Namaste

“I study pitchers. I visualize pitches. That gives me a better chance every time I step into the box. That doesn’t mean I’m going to get a hit every game, but that’s one of the reasons I’ve come a long way as a hitter.” Mark McGwire

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10/10/05 Week 38 Check In (27)

Monday. Sorry to report I’m up 2 pounds, but I feel very bloated, I think this is a temporary gain. Busy day ahead so I’m just going to post a few pix from my Westchester race. Finally got a couple of good ones of me on the bike — looking like I’m having fun but actually am not!!

Click here to see all the photos.

Big shout out to all my friends who finished the Chicago Marathon yesterday. Congrats!

Deena Kastor finished the Chicago marathon in 2 hours 21 minutes and 25 seconds. Just to put that in perspective, I can’t finish a HALF Marathon in that time. She was running five minute miles. OMG!!!! Congrats to her.

But, how would you feel to be the number two person who came in 5 seconds behind her? Constantina Tomescu-Dita from Roumania came in 2 hours 21 minutes and 30 seconds. Can you imagine running neck and neck with someone in 5 minute miles for 2 hours and 21 minutes and come in second? Ouch that has to hurt. The next person was 5 minutes behind them. That wouldn’t hurt as much. Five minutes is a lot to try to gain on someone at any speed. But 5 seconds? Constantina has to be saying to herself that she should’ve been able to find 5 seconds somewhere. But you know what? Deena would have found 5 more!!!

Namaste

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