TiaRT- Sponsored By: Yours Truly!

Yeah! This was my week to sponsor the TiaRT question over at The Runners Lounge!!! I am really exicted to see all of your answers and I am looking forward to meeting some new readers/writers through this project. 

My question was: You get to run the last six miles of your next marathon with 6 different people.  They can be dead or alive; famous or not famous.  Who are these people and why did you pick them?  Furthermore, why did you pick them for the specific mile you did?  Remember, you get an extra .2 miles with runner #6.

I have been thinking about this answer for quite some time now but have narrowed it down to my six (kind of, and you’ll see what I mean by that as you read).  I should also note…while I think she is amazing and would have added her if I had more choices, I might be the only person who doesn’t have Kara Goucher on the list.

Mile 21- Burt Yasso–> he pretty much has the best job ever and has had some of the most amazing experiences of all time.  I met him once and he was the most laid back cool dudes.  By mile 20 I think I am going to need a serious pick-me-up and I know he would force me to bust my ass.  Plus, I would probably get a good story or two out of him as well.  As an added bonus, maybe I could talk him into getting me a job at Runner’s World ;).

Mile 22- All my blog friends–> I know this is WAY more than one person (but it’s my question, so I can cheat!) but I could never pick just one.  You all have our own stories and I am inspired by each and every one of you.  I look forward reading about all your races, the ups and downs (I like the ups better!) and advice.  I would have this blog even if I had only one reader, but I sure am glad to have all of you 🙂 I have a few blogger meet-ups planned for future 2009 races and I hope I can meet more of you in 2010!

Mile 23- Sandy and Tessa–> these were my beloved doggies growing up (I also had a dog Bandit, but I was too young to really remember her) and I still miss them both terribly.  Both of these dogs loved to run and I wish I had them now to run with me.  They, while very different in personality, were both the best dogs ever.  They look a lot like Aron’s dog’s, Kylie and Emma and they often remind me of them too. 

Mile 24- Ryan Shay–> The sky that was his limit, is now his home.  In short, this would give him another chance to run and it would give me a chance to run with one of the greatest runners of all time. Ryan Shay; a life cut tragically short.  Every time I run 5.5 miles, I think of Ryan. 

Mile 25- Chrissie Wellington–> I don’t really get all hyped-up about famous people, but I am in straight awe of Chrissie.  Teammates of mine have been given their medals to them by her and it is the #1 reason I want to do the Timberman 70.3, for the chance to meet her even for only a few words/moments.  I am inspired by her and I admire her.  She came into the sport and took it over, but without ego which I highly respect.  Although by mile 25 I would probably be falling apart, I would kick it into serious gear if Chrissie was there with me.

Mile 26 (+.2)- My Mom and Dad–> I could never choose between them.  Neither of them are runners (my mom is a “walker girl” as we like to say!) but they are my biggest fans and supporters.  They come to as many races as they can, listen to hours of triathlon/running talk and most importantly, support every goal I set for myself.  I would love for them to know the feeling of crossing the finish line.

Here is My Slideshow that accompanied my question.  Warning: it plays music, so if you are at work or being sneaky, turn off your volume!

Thanks to all of those who participated- and if you haven’t yet, it is never too late…I believe you can take it and run any day you want!

TiaR-WDIW

TiaR-WDIW….huh, what????

Clearly, when it comes to doing TiaRT on time, I have recently been a FAIL.  So I bring to to you- Take it and Run- Whatever Day I Want!

This weeks questions is from Lindsay at Chasing the Kenyans.  She asks: whether training for a specific race or just running for the fun of it, we all experience the ups and downs of running. what do you do to get yourself motivated to run when it feels like it’s the last thing you want to do?

Honestly, I don’t really “run for fun”.  Sure, I think running is fun, but I generally don’t do it for that reason.  I keep myself focused on my race schedule to keep me motivated for training.  I have a feeling that if I didn’t have a race to train for, I wouldn’t run as much, or often, as I do currently.  That doesn’t meant I don’t have down days, it just means I get over myself quicker when it comes to getting it done!

Excuses I often have for not wanting to run:

  • I want to sleep in.
  • I want to go out the night before.
  • It is too hot, too cold or too not perfect weather for me.
  • Too much else to do.

Why I run anyway:

  • Accountability.
  • I know once I am out there I will feel better.
  • I know once I am done I will be glad I started.
  • That schedule that stares me in the face on my fridge.

Things I do if I am struggling:

  • Create a new playlist- new music, new attitude.
  • Buy new clothes/gear- if I have something new, I look forward to wearing/using it.
  • Remembering my goals- knowing why I am training in the first place.
  • Rest- sometimes it is the only answer.

It isn’t always easy, especially recently with marathon training which at times has felt daunting, but I get out there and do the miles because I want to be the best I can be.  Without the training, I cannot be at my best; therefore, whether I want to or not (unless I need the rest) I get out there and run.  Regardless if I want to sleep in, or go out the night before…regardless of the weather or what else I have to do; I remember why I am out there and what it is all for. And then it is worth it.  Up day or down day, the run is always worth it!

Here is a pic of me from this morning.  Getting up at 630am on vacation wasn’t top priority, but getting the miles in was, therefore I got up, sucked up my desire for sleep and ran 6+ miles.  And when it was all said ran and done, I was happy with my miles and time.

shore 062Getting ready for a run down the shore.

Yeah, I Am A Rebel

I am doing my TiaRT on a Friday.  I like to get crazy sometimes, what can I say!

Recently Runners Lounge asked bloggers to submit questions; each week a different chosen blogger will ask a question (mine is coming in a few weeks- shameless plug!).  This weeks question is from  Marlene! She asks:

When did you know you had become a runner? Was there a defining moment, or was it a gradual progression over time?

I struggled with calling myself a runner or a triathlete for a while and I would always get uncomfortable when someone would refer to me with the statement “she runs” or “she is a triathlete.”  I always felt like I had to back it up with amazing stats that didn’t exist.  I felt like I needed to be a winner to give myself the title of runner or triathlete.  That is, until I had my revelation: Finishing is Winning.  No matter where I fall on the results list, I still swam, biked and ran the same miles as everyone else in the race.  And I have the T-shirts and medals to prove it!!

A few other indications when I knew I had become a runner/triathlete:

  • I WANTED to run/bike.  Swimming was never a problem and I always chose it over running and biking when it came to training.  When I started choosing to run and bike I knew something in me had changed.
  • When my bedtime became that of a pre-schooler because it was important to sleep well before an early morning training session.  Not too many years ago 4am was the time I came home and now it is the time I get up.
  • I traded my high heels for sneakers.  I get WAY more excited about new sneakers than I do new heels. I would prefer to buy new sneakers over new heels as well.
  • I was okay with using a porta-potty. And did it often.
  • I would rather spend my money on new workout clothes than any other kind of clothing.
  • I knew the definitions of brick and ringer.
  • I began eating things like GU, blocks and beans.
  • I started to plan much of my social life around training; not planning my training around my social life.
  • My magazine subscriptions included: Triathlon, Triathlon Life and Runners World.
  • I know when it is time to do laundry by the amount of workout clothing I do or do not have in my drawers.
  • I started mapping out running/biking routes while driving.
  • Things like hydration, nutrition and recovery had a whole new meaning in my life.
  • I CHOSE to get in a bathtub full of ice.
  • I started requesting my sick days off work to recover from races.
  • I started using wasted time, for example waiting in line, to stretch.
  • I would get a run in before most of the people I knew were awake for the day.

To answer the question more straightforward, I think it was a series of defining moments of time that led to me “becoming” a runner.  It was the reasons listed above but more than that, it was finding the strength within and focusing on the discipline to reach my goals that ultimately gave me the confidence to call myself a runner/triathlete.  I carry those titles very close to my heart and have no problem telling people “I am a runner” or “I am a triathlete.”

Blog Fireworks

This week’s theme is … Running Fireworks.  In honor of the 4th of July, let’s talk conflict, controversary, and commotion.  It can be serious, technical or even fun.

There are so many wonderful reasons to have a blog.  For one it has been an amazing resource for racing; from training to finding good races and race locations to recovery and more.  I have found a whole new world of support through this blog and I hope to keep writing for a long time.  I really genuinely appreciate my readers-I value their comments, their advice and their posts from which I have learned so much.     

But (you saw the but coming right??) I have also found that there are some downsides…and it kinda (ok I am stretching a little lot here) connects with this weeks TiaRT.

Not too long ago, Kristin asked “What bothers you about blogging” and the response really generated some great conversation.  I had given some thought to this before I read her post but ever since I have been thinking about even more.  Since this weeks TiaRT was all about “fireworks”, I figure it to be the best time to air what bothers me.

For me personally, there are five things that bother me most when it comes to the blog world.

1. Cliquey blogs– this actually kind of surprised me at first, although I don’t know why, but I came to realize real fast that their are some serious blogger cliques out there.  When I first started blogging I would comment on some blogs that had a lot of followers and I began to notice a trend- no matter who commented there was a group that only commented each other. I feel like blogs should be about connections and since in the tri/running community we are all striving towards a somewhat common goal, I feel like this is a no-brainer.  I am not saying everyone should comment on every post all the time, but a little blog reciprocation would be nice now and then.

2. Being Ignored– This pretty much goes hand in hand with number one, but deserves it own spot.  There is nothing worse to me than a blogger who completely ignores your existence.  If I ask a question on a bloggers post, I feel like the least they can do is answer me.  I have seen this happen on big blogs with a lot of readers and even small blogs with a few readers.  There is no excuse for this behavior as far as I am concerned.  Again, I don’t think every comment a person leaves warrants a response from the writer but to be completely ignored is just wrong.  I was reading one blog for a while and the writer not only never responded to me but she also never responded to anyone.  I am amazed she even has readers.  On the other hand, I read a few blogs in which the writers havea mass following, yet they always manage to get back to the commenters, especially if a questions is asked.  This is proof that you can blog and not be an asshole all at the same time.  This used to bother me a lot more than it does now because I made a decision that those blogsaren’t worthmy time, but I still felt is was worth touching on the subject.

3. Surprise music attacks– I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading people’s play-lists.  However, music on a blog is an entirely different story.  Here’s the thing:  I like to blog at work; it’s while I am on a break, like right now and sometimes during my lunch…but nonetheless I am in my work place and the surprise music means I have to asnwer questions from my co-workers.  If you must have music, at least give readers the option to hit play.

4. Whiners and Complainers– Look, I have been guilty of the occasional negative post and I have done my share of bitching and moaning, but some people take this to the extreme.  I used to read a blog where the writer would find something to complain about in every post.  Her parents, her siblings, her boyfriend (her biggest punching bag), her coach, her clothes, her food or even random people who just gave her a reason to be her unhappy self.  She offered a lot of good information, especially about food, but the posts became less about the food and more about everything that wasn’t right in her life.  Everyone has bad days, everyone gets down in the dumps…but come on, enough is enough.

5. Picture-less posts– While this won’t keep me from reading a blog, it certainly makes for a more enjoyable read.  I have been making a conscience effort to post more pictures on my blog as well recently, after reading how much readers like them.  I didn’t give much thought to the picture thing at first, not until I started seeing lots pictures popping up on people’s posts and getting responses to the few I had posted.  So if you got em, post em 🙂

What bothers you about blogs??

Okay, enough with the “fireworks”- I hope everyone has an enjoyable 4th of July weekend!  Jersey weather forecast looks great, I have a tri, a few BBQ’s and there is going to be ample relaxation time 🙂 I can’t wait!

4th

I think this was actually Memorial Day but still…it works.

And I know what you’re thinking…and the answer is my favorite Elton John song is Tiny Dancer.

Sweet Summertime :)

Tomorrow is the official start of summer. School is out…kids are gone…teachers are gone 🙂

This week’s theme is … Summer Gear and Tips.  Tell us about your must have summer gear to get you through hot runs, long runs, and your favorite races.   Running is a simple sport made more enjoyable by shirts that keep us cool and hats that keep the sun out of our faces. Share your tricks of keeping cool.

I started running in December 2007…it was cold. My first 5k was cold. Then I ran an 8k in 100degree weather.  It was brutal to say the least.  I was chafed, sunburnt and downright unhappy.  I had two choices: don’t run in the heat or learn how to run in the heat.  I chose the latter. 

I depend on manythings to help get me through summer workouts but here are my top 5 recommendations:

1. Timing is everything-  As much as I might not want to wake up before sunrise or go wait until the sun goes down, those are the runs/bikes in which I perform best.  It’s still light out enough to be safe but dark enough to be cool out.  While the humidity is still bad (it’s New Jersey…the humidity is ALWAYS bad) at least I am not contending with the hot sun on top of it.

2. Body Glide-This was the best thing I ever found when it comes to running.  The idea of running without it makes me cringe.  It’s entirely possible I am addicted.  I used it on my underarm area and inner thighs to prevent chafing and on my feet to prevent blisters.  The stuff goes on easy, isn’t sticky and lasts forever! 

3.  Use (the right) Sunscreen– I am pretty obsessive when it comes to sunscreen but I didn’t realize how important the right suncreen was.  I was using the same sunscreen products for running as I do for everyday use.  Now I know how important it is to use a sport specific sunscreen.  I am a big fan of Neutrogena Ultimate Sport.  I also use their Sports Face.  It is clean, lightweight and doesn’t drip in my face when I sweat.  It also stays on for a long period of time so even during long races I don’t get burnt. 

4. Hydration- drink drink drink.  Hydration is important year round, but even more important in the summer heat.  Drinking before, during and after workouts is of the up-most importance.  I am not a big fan of plain water (gasp!!) but I am a fan of GU mixed with water, powders mixed with water and most sports drinks.  If I am running a short distance I will either hydrate well before I go out or carry a small bottle in my hand.  I don’t like to carry anything too long so I use a belt when I am on long runs that holds two small bottles.  For the most part, when racing, I don’t carry or wear anything to hydrate which means I depend of well run fully stocked water stations. 

5. Clothes: When I first got into training for a Tri, I would go to the gym and run/bike/workout in whatever I had that looked remotely like gym clothing.  Now I have clothes for running, biking, yoga, swimming, spin….it is actually quite ridiculous.  Of course, you don’t have to spend a lot of money; most of my tank tops, shorts and running skirts come from target and I purchase my more expensive items like Run Ready Race shorts at RunningWarehouse.com on sale/clearance.  There are items I am willing to spend more money on like wicking socks and I highly recommend them to help stay clear of blisters.  My best advice would be to stay away from cotton.

There you have it folks- a little advice from a novice runner 🙂

Daddy’s Little Girl

This week’s theme is … Salute to Running Dads.  With Father’s Day around the corner, we thought it was only fair and fitting to redo our Salute Week that we did for our favorite running moms – but for all those great running dads.

My dad isn’t exactly what I would call a “running dad” but he is a supportive, loving and encouraging dad.  I don’t think that many girls have the kind of solid relationship with their dad’s as I do.  I have always been really lucky to have a friend in my dad.  When I was little my mom worked part-time at nights, thus leaving my dad and I at home together.  We would color, play hide and seek, play outside….you name it, we did it.  As a small kid he would take me fishing and miniature golfing.  Growing up he came to all my softball practices and helped out with coaching my town team.  We spent many nights watching basketball and baseball (and much to my mothers dismay, movies like Porkys and Revenge of the Nerds).  As an adult, I have maintained this great relationship with my dad; we get together every other week or so and watch a movie, a sporting event or sometimes just grab dinner.  I have always thought that the years I spent as a little girl really getting to know my dad laid the foundation for the great relationship we have today. 

Here is a picture of my Dad and I when I was little (obviously!).  It really epitomizes the beauty of our relationship. 

daddy

Food for Thought

This weeks TiaRT theme is:  Runners version of Eat This Not That…..what foods you have cut out or reduced? And even better, tell us what “good” foods you substitute for the “bad” ones.

There are two things you need to know before reading this post:

  1. I love food.
  2. I love to eat.

I really can’t think of any foods I have cut out completely but I do (try to) avoid anything high-fructose or that includes hydrogenated oils and/or sugar alcohols.  I also realize that I cannot always be in control of foods that are available (some restaurants, work functions, BBQ’s…etc).  So while I cut them out of my everyday life and I don’t keep them in my home, sometimes they do sneak into what I am eating.  Crap happens.

In terms of reducing foods, the best thing I did was reduce my consumption.  I started this journey on the WW program and by measuring what I was eating, I really began to see what I was eating.  In terms of serving sizes I was clueless.  Being educated on how much I was eating has meant a lot in terms of being healthier.  Often times I cut things in half, ask for to-go boxes before I start eating or I share with someone.  So it isn’t so much that I reduced what I was eating but rather how much I was eating.  I still enjoy most of the foods I have always loved, just in smaller portions.

Overall, the biggest changes to my eating habits were all the new foods I began eating and substitutions I began to make.  Not too many years ago my diet consisted of mainly chicken fingers and grilled cheeses.  I was not adventurous in trying new foods and had no desire to broaden my horizons.  As I got older though, I started eating different foods and finding out how much I was missing!  These days I eat everything from Mexican to Thai to Japanese and I am open to new foods as well.  I also realized that for every food or drink item there were a myriad of choices available.  Everything really could be healthier.  I traded JIF for BetterNPeanut Butter, LightNFit for Oiskos, Iceberg for Spinach and Soda for Flavored Water just to name a few.  Each trip to Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods is another chance to find something new.

As far as food in relation to my training, my training plays a huge part in my healthy eating and my healthy eating plays a huge part in my training.  They go hand and hand.  Food is my friend and it always will be.  I will always love to eat.  The only differences are that I eat less of the bad and more of the good and I focus on what is going to fuel me instead of just fill me.  And lastly, I always remember to treat myself when necessary. 🙂