MOTIVATION MONDAY: OUR NATION’S FINEST!

Think you don’t have time for a run?

Even the busiest men in our nation’s history make time for a jog.

As a social studies teacher, I couldn’t help myself—>in honor of President’s Day, here’s a presidential Motivation Monday!

jimmy carter

Jimmy Carter enjoying a nice stroll on a seemingly beautiful day.  Remember when we used to be able to see the ground and it wasn’t covered in snow??? Carter supposedly also ran track for the Naval Academy back in the day.

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George Bush Sr. making an appearance on the roads.

Here’s a two-for-one—Al Gore and Bill Clinton refueling with some McDonald’s after working out. Too much to say about this one…so I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

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And our incumbent, Barack Obama, with admittedly better athletic apparel choices than Clinton.

Running, therefore, is an act of patriotism. Do your part today and get in a run!

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Richmond Half Marathon: Race Recap

Last year, I had a really positive experience running a half marathon in Philly.  Although my thoughts immediately following that race were anything but running another half marathon, I really, really enjoyed the distance and the event and wanted to come back to Philly to run it again.

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Upon further thinking, I opted to run the Richmond Half Marathon instead.  I love this city and wasn’t sure when I would ever get a chance to run it.  State championships for high school typically falls on the same weekend but this year it was on a Friday!

The weather... Yes, it poured for 20 minutes before our race.

The weather… Yes, it poured for 20 minutes before our race. Yes, I wore mascara today.

Training the past few months has been non-existent. If I thought I was under prepared last year for last year’s race, this half was going to be a shock.  I have started student-teaching for the entire semester and have struggled finding a balance between teaching, coaching, planning, grading, and remaining sick-free and not completely sleep deprived.  I thought about backing out of the race but instead lowered my expectations and decided to focus on the experience and having fun running in the RVA.

My new uniform for Team NBRVA (site needs to be updated).

My new uniform for Team NBRVA (site needs to be updated).

Per usual, the pre-race excitement got me motivated.  I love watching other runners warm-up and race and do strides. I love pre-race chatter.  I love meeting new people, particularly for a larger race like this that brings in many new faces.

The race went off. It had rained earlier but thankfully stopped right before our race started. I felt good the first few miles and tried to focus on clicking off the miles steadily, as opposed to thinking about what specific mile I was at.  The first time I realized how dead I was was at mile 6 where I saw the 10k marker and realized how much longer I had but already felt dead (these miles were also hilly..).  The next hardest mile was mile 8, where I felt completely spent and actually thought about stopping.  It wasn’t until I engaged the crowds and got them to really cheer while I passed or smiled as I read their signs that I began feeling a little better (or at least I distracted myself from the pain)…

My best friend Kristen came down from CT to run her first half!!

THE START: My best friend Kristen came down from CT to run her first half!!

Crowd support is really important to me.  Although Richmond is nicknamed the “Friendliest Marathon” I certainly felt more love at Philly. The rainy, cold weather may have contributed to how spread out the fans were but those bare stretches certainly made the run lonely.  I DO applaud everyone who came out though. The signs were indeed hilarious and the tents with music got me pumped up! Philly is just a whole different animal of race and it is unfair to compare the two.

We made it! Kristen and I at the finish. Party didn't last too long. Rain+cold=sprint to car and skip cooldown.

We made it! Kristen and I at the finish. Party didn’t last too long. Rain+cold=sprint to car and skip cooldown.

The last hardest mile was the 12th mile.  I hit a wall, just like I did in Philly.  Thankfully, the last few miles are downhill so that at least allowed me to feel my legs back under me. Finished in 1:03:03…Was hoping to go sub 1:30 so it was close.

SPLITS: 6:30, 6:41, 6:45, 6:46, 6:43, 6:56 (41:59 at 10k), 6:54, 7:07, 6:58. 6:59, 7:03, 7:02, 6:48

Generally, I can’t complain. I averaged less than 13.1 miles a week and somehow expected to race all 13.1 miles in one day.  I certainly wasn’t competitive but embraced a more relaxed attitude about running. Unlike last year where I burnt myself out after forcing myself to train when I was struggling, I still enjoy running and training and don’t plan on quitting. I think it is important to cut yourself some slack sometimes.  This race got me motivated to train hard for next year and look for some more big races to schedule!  There may even be a new project for 2014…but you’ll have to wait and see to find out more. ;-)

Team NB RVA post half marathon.

Team NB RVA post half marathon.

Spiders after the half!

Spiders after the half!

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place

I feel very blessed to have a job doing what I love.   Although it means I sacrifice many of my weekends, there is no place I would rather be than watching my athletes compete.  My weekends, for as long as I can remember, have been taken up by track meets and road races and so it would make sense that weekends in my professional life would look no different.

One of my favorite places to be is at the finish line of a cross country meet.

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I love watching parents and teammates cheering on their athlete, screaming at them to run faster, running along the sidelines with them, and watching the seconds tick off the clock as they run by.

I love watching the finishers, eyes focused on the clock, determination evident in every facial expression, giving every last ounce of energy they have before reaching the finish line.

I love that sudden burst of energy runners get when their is a competitor suddenly in their reach or if they realize they are about to get passed.

I love watching interactions with fans immediately following a race: the ecstatic hug and squeeze if the athlete ran well or the silent embrace to recognize they did their best for that day.

I love watching runners interact with their coach, the frantic search if they haven’t found them at the finish, the dissecting every aspect of the race.  I love the notes jotted down on the quintessential clipboard.

I love the honesty.  No matter what the preparation looked like beforehand, I truly believe every runner that toes line has intentions of giving it their all and testing their limits, even if it is just down the final 100 meters.

I love the energy.  When you are standing down the final finishing shoot, there is no one there that does not want to be there. You take a look around and everyone is eager. People clap for athletes that aren’t theirs.  There are flags; there are team banners. Everyone is excited.  Everyone is there to support one another.

Runners understand each other and we can relate to the pain of the race, to the constant desire to better ourselves, and to the addiction we have to the sport.  I don’t know where I am supposed to be right now or what I am supposed to be doing but I do know that I am supposed to be doing this but it means a lot to me to able to give back to the community in an area that I am passionate about.

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I also volunteer for a seasonal kids racing series (Healthy Kids Running Series) that helps teach kids about healthy living and holds weekly races and awards points based on participation, not necessarily ability!

TASTE OF MARATHON TRAINING

I know nothing about marathon training.

I know I need to do long runs. I know I need to practice fueling before the marathon. I know marathons start ridiculously early in the morning.

And that is all I know.

 

Last year when I was training for my first half-marathon, I referenced the training plan found in the back of Jack Daniels’ Running Formula but as with most things in life, I didn’t follow the plan to the T.  I am also incredibly stubborn when it comes to my training sometimes and didn’t understand the purpose or the attainability of some of the prescribed workouts/paces.

The only workouts I really did were fast finish long runs, before I knew that was a thing. To make up for my lack of training for the week, I would load up my long runs with some added to quality to make me feel better about myself.

What are some of your go-to marathon workouts?I got a little taste of REAL marathon training a few mornings a go when I met with some new women to run with who are training for half-marathons/full marathons.  The plan was to do six miles alternating between tempo pace and a fast recovery pace (6:30/7:10) as a tune up before their half this weekend.  It sounded easy enough in my head but actually doing the run was really, really tough.  I struggled a lot, mainly from doing a fast recovery which I have never done before in any workout.  I don’t have my actual splits since my GPS was a little off but let’s just say I didn’t hit those goal times.  It was a good effort but certainly a humbling experience as I start to transition from short distance road races to the grit of long, arduous marathon training.  I can’t wait until I can run a workout like this again and crush my paces-I know what to expect now and look forward to meeting more marathoners and learning a lot more about marathon training.