friends

HERE & NOW

Buffy

A great tragedy struck recently. Netflix didn’t get a new contract with Fox entertainment so they are cancelling Fox shows effective April 1st. This includes my favorite television show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No shows has been able to show the angst, pains and loves of growing up quite as well as Buffy. Combining searing drama with humor and a little horror, plus even a musical episode, Buffy has been my favorite since its inception.

And now it’s going away…..

Because of its impending disappearance, I’ve been watching as many of the 7 seasons as I can. One reason why I loved this show so much is that it took time to bring out life’s problems and dealt with them in a very well-written, entertaining way, sometimes with vampires, other times with the Apocalypse or even worse. Yes, worse!

So, there was one episode I watched last night, “Normal Again” in Season 6, that really hit home. It was one where the evil trio of the time, Warren, Andrew and Jonathan created a demon who stung Buffy and made her think that her whole life was just her imagination and that she was really confined in a mental hospital. The demon made her think that everything that was real was false and that she should stay in the created world because the false one (the one with her friends in Sunnydale) was part of her sickness.

It would have been easy for Buffy to stay in the safe place, in her imagination. To stay with her mother and father (who in her imagination had not divorced but were happy together). It would have been simple to live in a comatose state, her brain thinking that the pretend world was real.

But she couldn’t. She had an evil to fight and had to find a way to reality.

We also have to fight our way to reality. It’s very easy to dream of what our lives might be like. I find myself doing this a lot, especially when things aren’t going so well, like now. I think of what my life would be like living in an area where I could hear birds singing from my apartment, or hey, having green grass to walk on, instead of hopping over dog poop. I dream of having enough money to pay my bills rather than choose between paying a bill and buying fresh produce. It is a challenge.

But the more we daydream and pull ourselves away from what we need to do, what we MUST do, the more we pull ourselves away from the Here & Now.

We must focus on what is to be done, today, right now, this very moment. If we can complete today’s tasks, then our tomorrow will be brighter. This is a fact!

Keep Moving Forward!

FIRST RUN OF 2016

Buster 1-1-16

Buster in Golden Gate Park

It was one of the coldest tuns of my life, but this morning’s run was also the first one of the new year. So many possibilities for this Leap Year, so much ahead!

I bundled up in a long sleeved running shirt, Under Armor running tights, hat and gloves, but still felt cold to the bone. Instead of staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, I went to bed early and was up just before 5 am. I don’t drink and I’m not much of a fan of celebrating the new year anyway. It’s much more fun for me to be up and out early, even in the cold, to get a run in.

Ice on puddle 1-1-16

Icy puddle

There were only a few other early runners and walkers out as the sun peeked sleepily through the trees. It was the perfect morning to be a live, running, enjoying my run, I even enjoyed the cold while I ran.

I have big goals for this year. I reached most of the goals I set for myself last year, only a couple fell short. I got to New York City to see my beloved Rangers and visited the greatest city in the US, I ran my first marathon in 28 years; those were two huge goals I accomplished in 2015.

1-1-16

It’s cold, do I look cold?? 

For 2016, I have a few things I want to complete.

  • Lose 20 pounds and stay healthy
  • Run 3 marathons
  • Pass my CPT exam and move forward with my career
  • Save money

Those are my goals. I know I can move closer towards them.

Cheers!

PS: If you’re wondering what or who the little feline guy is at the top of the page, that’s Buster. He’s my running mascot. I found him on a run, took a picture, shared it on Facebook and then my friends wanted to see more pictures of him. So, you’ll see more pictures of him. If you have Instagram, he has his own account: @busterrunstheworld and you can follow me at: @Martha_Runs_SF

The Giants Race 2015

Empty AT&T

Empty AT&T

This Half Marathon was the second one for me in a month. I was confident it wouldn’t be as difficult as the first one because three days before that first one, my back went out. But I was wrong.

That’s one of the things I love about running. It is never, ever predictable. You can go to the same gym, day after day and do the same exercises, sit at the same bench and be predictable, but running never is. Even if you run the same course, you’ll find things you’ve never seen before if you look around.

Buster pre race

Buster pre race

And today’s race was really hard. I am completely at fault for this. I took it too easy yesterday. I rolled once in the morning, but that was all. I should have at least gone for a walk and gotten some nice stretching or maybe yoga in, but instead I had a lazy day.

This morning when I got ready to run, I rolled and stretched, but as I walked towards AT&T Park, I could feel my right IT band getting a little tight. I prayed it would be all right for the race.

Everything was fine, though. The weather was great; it stayed in the low 60s, which is perfect and didn’t warm up until near the 12th mile. I ran around 11-minute miles and even when using a porto-potty, there was no line, so I wasted little time.

I felt a little knee discomfort around Mile 3 and thought “oh no…”, but it went away and didn’t act up again. I only walked going up a steep hill around Ft Mason, both out and back and when eating or drinking. Otherwise, I kept a slow, steady pace.

Me with friends

Me with friends

But then at Mile 9 my right IT band started acting up. I took short walk breaks when needed until Mile 12 when I knew if I didn’t run straight through I’d never make my PR, and I so wanted that. So, I ran the last two miles with a bit of pain.

I had a great finish by nearly sprinting into the park, giving Lou Seal (the Giants seal mascot) the metal sign and high fiving him. After the finish line, I was beat, I gave this race and finish everything I had.

The 5K race started a couple hours later. I stuck around to meet up with friends and chill. It was fun to sit on the grass of the outfield. How many chances do we get to do this?

I’m very proud of this race and my finish – 3 minutes under my SF Marathon 2nd Half time.

SWAG! And Buster

SWAG! And Buster

Now I’ll take a couple days off to rest and recover and then I’ll start my full marathon training for the California International Marathon in December.

Oh you can follow me and Buster on Instagram! We each have an account. Follow me at: @Martha_Runs_SF and Buster @busterrunstheworld

Cheers!

Happy 4th Whatever You Do or Don’t Do

I haven’t been very social as of late. Mainly it’s because I’m so focused into what I want as far as getting into shape, but I think it also has to do with me being so broke. It’s hard to go out with friends if one doesn’t have any money to do anything.

Today, the highlight of my 4th of July was my morning run. I got up early, at 6:00am and ran 3 miles, 1/2 mile warm up, 2 miles tempo pace, which for me was around 9.5 minute miles and then 1/2 mile cool down. This was a really good run for me. I spent A LOT of time rolling and stretching pre-run and the same amount of time doing the same afterwards. I believe I need to do this for every run. Which is OK with me. If I feel this good all the time, I’ll be smiling a lot.

My workout at the Y Friday was great too. I can feel my body getting leaner, stronger. I pushed myself hard and was worn out by Friday night. Even if I had money, I probably would have stayed home, I was so beat out.

But it’s not easy to see all my friends posting really fun pictures hanging out with their friends and family. No chance of me hanging out with family; they’re 3,000 miles away. I could have found friends to chill with, but I don’t know….didn’t feel like it. Maybe next year. Until then, my run and my morning spent in the warmth of the early summer sun was splendid.

All my hard work is coming together. Tomorrow morning will be here very soon. It’s a 5:00am alarm for my 10-mile long run. And I’m excited about it. Weird, isn’t it?

I HEART NEW YORK

This morning, I went out for my first run in over a week. It felt good to get out in the warm San Francisco air and get in a little over 2 miles. Even though I had been away and couldn’t get any running in, my legs felt strong and I wasn’t too tired out running up and down a few hills.

And even in the warm morning air, I missed New York City.

I had would could be considered one of the best vacations of my life. Everything went really well. I ate, I walked, I laughed, I met fantastic people, I ate some more, I walked and walked, I saw spectacular Rangers hockey, I awed over beautiful sites, I ate some more, and I walked.

It was incredibly cold in NYC during my stay. The temperature fluctuated a few degrees, but it never got above 35 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, it snowed, and the city couldn’t have looked more beautiful with that fresh coat of white.

Because I’m a city girl and very familiar with public transportation, I had no problem figuring out the subway system. It’s much easier than MUNI. The signs are everywhere and the trains run much more often. You can get nearly anywhere you want to on the subways. And because they’re old, there are few escalators, so you’ll be walking up and down A LOT of stairs. I have to say this about New Yorkers; they have strong leg muscles to walk up and down those stairs every day! It’s what probably helped with me gaining no weight.

That’s right! Even with all the bagels, pizza, pastrami, Junior’s cheesecake (THE BEST!!!!), and everything else I had, I didn’t gain an ounce. So. Much. Food….

But so many beautiful places to walk and run. The next time I go, I will stay closer to Central park so I can run. It just wasn’t practical where I stayed to get a run in.

But now I’m back home, ready to get going and tackle my 2015 goals. They are: To lose weight, tone up, and run the California International Marathon in December.

Here are some pictures from my trip. If there was any way for me to move to New York and work there, I would in a NY minute….

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

The Mall - Central Park

The Mall – Central Park

The High Line

The High Line

1 World Trade Center

1 World Trade Center

GROUP CHALLENGES? I’LL PASS BUT THANK YOU

It’s a big thing now for running and fitness groups to set up challenges, especially at the start of the new year. It’s been a growing trend. A lot of people love these. I’ve joined a few myself in the past. They were fun, because I was able to help set up the guidelines and rules about the challenges.

But the new ones I’m seeing are more and more extreme. “Run 2015 miles in 2015” “Run 100 miles a month!” “Run 3 miles or Walk 3 miles or bike 3 miles every day!”..and more.

I understand that there are very good intentions behind these challenges. We all want to get in better shape and feel better. But, not everyone can do what everyone else can do. We all achieve our goals at different paces. And each of us have different levels of goals. There is no One Size Fits All. And these unfortunately make it seem as if everyone should do the same thing.

Add to that the appearance of competition and people feel badly if they’re not doing as much as someone else. I don’t mean to sound so politically correct, but running shouldn’t be keeping up with the Jones’, it should be a sport where one challenges oneself, not a group of other people.

I haven’t even mentioned the whole Rest Day. Many people who dive head first into these challenges don’t like rest days and don’t take them. It’s not a surprise that injuries happen. A runner’s rest day is JUST AS IMPORTANT as a running day. I truly wish runners wouldn’t look at a rest day with dismay. Enjoy your rest day. Indulge if you like, but realize that without a rest day, no muscle growth, and your chance of injury multiplies.

There are those runners who are “Streak Runners” – meaning they run without taking breaks in between. It’s not something I would ever do, or even think it’s a good thing to do, but a few people are okay doing that, the rest of us are more likely to get hurt, fatigued or sick. It’s better to slow down, take a day or two off and enjoy giving your body the rest it deserves.

And if you send me a request for yet another challenge, please don’t take it personally if I say “No thank you.”

Cheers,

No Running This Christmas

It’s been a bit of time since my last entry. These past few weeks haven’t been the easiest. I’ve been on the mends; my IT band problems are getting better, although I’m not at 100% yet. So, as of this blog entry, I’m not running.

Christmas this year was fun, I spent it with friends. It was nice and quiet. I’ve been sharing Christmas with this great group for years now and it’s something I really look forward to. But no running for this girl. My last run resulted in some not-so-fun IT band pain that told me if I did NOT stop and take some real healing time off running I’d have bigger and worse issues to deal with.

In fact, I took a few days nearly completely off, as walking was difficult without feeling pain. I kept doing my elastic band stretches and rolling though, and now I’m dragging myself back to the gym. It’s not easy going right now, but it is definitely worth it.

I’m going to take a trial run on Sunday and the minute I feel any discomfort I’ll stop and go home. I will not push myself too far or do anything stupid, but I have to keep trying.

THANKFULNESS

Sometimes our lives’ events go by so quickly we forget to take time out to reflect and honor those things that are most important. I would like to do that now.

I am not perfect and Goddess knows my life is not, but I try to do the best that I can. If I stumble, I get up and keep moving. If I take a step back, I take a step and half forwards. If I goof up, I try to pin point how, make amends and attempt to not make the same mistake again.

We are works in progress and it will take our entire lives (some say many lifetimes) to learn all that we need to learn.

I wanted to say how thankful I am to the many people and things in my life who have helped me over this past year. Without them, I’m not sure where I would be.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my sobriety. Nothing is possible without. Each and every single day I am happy to be sober. It is a blessing and I cherish it.

I am thankful to my dad and stepmom. I love them with all my heart and I am so happy they are in my lives, give me unconditional love and have sometimes been the only guiding light there is in the storm.

I am thankful for my friends for being there. Even when I am distant or busy, or we are far from each other, we still know that we have each other’s backs and love.

I am thankful for running; it has given me some of the greatest joys I’ve had over the last few months. I never feel as free or as strong as when I am out running on the pavement.

I am thankful for San Francisco for many things. Even though this city is too expensive, too dirty, filled with too many hipsters and tech bros, it still has some of the best produce, the best food, the best views, the best places to run and some of the best nature areas one could ask for.

I am thankful for the creativity I have been given and also for the stubborn determination I have inherited.

I am thankful I have a plan and goal for my future. There are bright lights in the distance and I will reach them.

Have a great Thanksgiving and appreciate who you are and whatever you do!

Cheers!

REST DAYS

So many times I hear my running friends say how much they don’t look forward to rest days. While there are a few disadvantages to them; one of them is cutting back on caloric intake, another is not being able to run.

But there are so many advantages to having a rest day, like getting the laundry done. And seeing one’s friends. And going shopping, and just relaxing. And hey, how about catching up on all those shows you’ve been missing all those nights you spent running and working out?

And besides all the obvious household needs, your body has necessary needs like muscle repair that will not get done if you don’t take one rest day a week. It needs downtime to get well. Then you take the risk of injury. Some people can run every day, but not as many as popular opinion wants to believe. I shy away from folks who cheer others on to “just go run” rather than say to “run smart” instead. Being a smart runner sometimes means running less, but staying injury-free. And, on top of that, muscle growth doesn’t happen unless rest time is taken. You think you get those great abs, thighs or biceps on the days you work them? Nope. You get them on the days you don’t.

What I’m saying may be obvious, but it does bear repeating. I think the problem arises when runners may see rest days as some sort of punishment. It isn’t. Think of it as a reward. Doing laundry isn’t a reward, of course, but your clothes smell awesome when they’re clean and your friends and that cute girl on the bus won’t mind sitting next to you. Trust me on this.

Cheers!

Just TRY Pushing Another Exercise Program….

So, I’m layed up for a few days with a sore knee. No running for a while. I’m not sure how long; it doesn’t feel great, not horrible, but I don’t want to make things worse, so taking it easy this week. 

I’ve been running over 20 years and this is only my second injury. I’ve followed all the rules to smart running….I swim, I spin, I weight train, I don’t run too much, wear the right shoes, yadda, yadda, yadda….

AND…I post most of my progress on Facebook. Just last week I posted about what a great weight training session I had with my trainer at the Y going over some leg strengthening exercises we did. But tonight, I realized that some people on Facebook don’t care at all about others. I know, this is nothing new, but I’m not talking about the self-centered, myopic types out there, I’m talking about those who don’t mean to be that way, but they still are. 

I’m talking about the exercise-obsessed maniacal types who think that you CANNOT LIVE without hearing about either their 1) workouts 2) weight loss methods or 3) self esteem programs. 

We all know the types. We all have them on our friends lists. Maybe some of them are very good friends, or maybe they are just friends of friends. And we’ve all thought of deleting them. I HAVE deleted a few. Once they start pushing weight loss programs, they’re gone, gone, gone, baby….

If a friend wants to hock a business once in a while, that’s fine, I have no problems with that, however, when it turns into all they’re doing it, I have major problems. Because it turns into SPAM. They no longer read anything myself or anyone else is writing. They do not care. All they care about is broadcasting their message, whatever it is. And I no longer care what they are saying. 

So their whole point of being on my friends list has disintegrated. 

Why don’t we try to be better friends. Pay attention to what each other is saying, make an effort to CARE what each other is saying, even on Facebook and other social media outlets and stop merely thinking of we can push our own agenda.