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ODE TO SUMMER 2015

the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

In spite of being exceedingly broke this summer, I managed to get a lot of running done. It doesn’t take much money to run. Sure, a few bucks for shoes, GPS devices and such, but the running part is pretty cheap. And on those very difficult days, running was and still is my escape from all things bad.

I increased my average long, slow pace by 30 seconds. I finished and PR’d in two half marathons and am now working towards my first full marathon (CIM, Dec 6th) in 30 years.

Grand View Park

Grand View Park

Some things I have not been successful have been losing weight and saving money. My weight has been a battle. I’m hungry all the time as my miles increase. I am now eating more protein, hoping this eliminates the feelings of hunger I have nearly all the time.

I’ve also found that my leg muscles get more and more tense. I do a lot of core exercises and strength work, as well as roll with a foam roller. Oh boy do I roll! I roll out my legs at least twice a day, but they still feel tight and sometimes hurt. Hopefully, all the work I’m dong will eventually come to fruition. I would love to get a sports massage, but those cost money…

But, even with the snags, I’ll keep going forward, adding on the miles while making my body stronger. I will eat better and get the extra fat weight I’m carrying off. This is a must!

And I will remember that it’s been a pretty good summer.

But now it’s officially Fall and the real work begins. I’m ready!

Cheers!

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Martha’s Running Truths – Part 1

During my Five-Miler Thursday night, I started thinking of Running Truths….running things that to me, just ARE. Truths may vary depending on the runner, but these do not for me.

It goes without saying…your mileage may vary. 🙂

Truth #1: The first mile is a liar. Everything hurts during that first mile. Your whole body tells you to stop. Don’t listen, keep running. You are using anaerobic energy and until your body switches to aerobic, it will feel like shit. Have patience, it will happen.

Truth #2: NO MATTER THE WEATHER, runs are always nicer outside. Sorry, but I’m an outside runner and no one on the planet can convince me that running on a giant hamster wheel is better. It sucks. And it’s bad for your knees, that’s a fact, jack.

Truth #3: Everything starts to feel really good after the 5th mile. I can’t speak for anyone else, but after mile 5, sometimes mile 6, but usually 5, I feel really good and if things are going well on a run, I have the amazing feeling like I could continue running for hours. I love this feeling more than any other feeling in my entire life. I live for these moments.

Truth #4: I think the weirdest thoughts when I run. It’s a runner’s thing, we have lots of time to fill up, it gets boring, our minds wander to places you don’t want to know about.

Truth #5: whatever leg muscles I don’t roll before a run will be the ones that start hurting during a one. This is ALWAYS THE CASE!!!

Truth #6: I may never win a race, but that doesn’t mean I’m not competitive, I’m always finding ways to run faster, farther, better.

Truth #7 – Songwriters really need to focus on lyric writing. Bad lyric writing has made me question many things during my runs.

Truth #8 – I don’t mind running with other people, but the runs that stand out as my best runs are always done solo.

Truth #9 – No matter how many times I’ve run the same route, I will spot something I have never seen before.

Truth #10 – I always feel sorry for the other MUNI passengers sharing my ride home from a run. Always. At least it is fresh sweat.

Buster at Delores Park

Buster at Delores Park

Want to Feel Better About Your Runs? Teach Someone Else to Run

Post Run Stretching

Post Run Stretching

Some days and sometimes weeks, are harder than others. 2015 has started out with some rough edges. I’m still having problems with my right leg, and certain things in my personal life have not been going the way I wish them to go.

In fact, if I run for too long, or too many times a week, my leg was becoming quite painful. I know the smart thing to do would be to stop running altogether, but maybe I’m not that smart. So, I’ve slowed down, decreased my mileage and got a better knee brace. All of which have helped.

This morning was the Vint free training meet-up. Vint is sponsoring training runs for a 10K, Half Marathon, or Marathon. It’s a nice way to be in a group of like-minded runners and get some advice and help and maybe see if Vint would be good to sign up for more personal instruction.

It was cold when I headed out. I was nervous and hesitant. I wanted to run strong and be a good leader and instructor. I didn’t want to have problems or not be able to do what I promised to do.

Much to my relief and happiness, everything went well. I ran with the 10K group and stayed with the slowest runner, promising to stick with whoever was in the back. It was a great run. The runner I ran the 2.5 miles with said he had always felt uncomfortable running because he didn’t know how to pace himself and always felt tired so quickly. He had been working out to the Insanity program, so his lungs and legs were strong. We ran slowly; 5 minutes at a time with a 1 minute walk in between. We did 6 sets of these, which was the perfect amount for the first time out.

After the run, everyone participating had a great time and we all enjoyed water and Clif Blocks. Since we were near the Ferry Building, some of us headed to Blue Bottle for delicious coffee.

I can’t wait for next Sunday!

Cheers!

Some of the 10K group

Some of the 10K group

It’s Not Just the WorkOuts

Now that I’m back at about 85% physical capability, I’m increasing my workout intensity and enjoying my runs much more. I look forward to every workout, as I did this past weekend.

Saturday morning, I woke at 6:00am and headed to the near-empty gym with some coffee and a light breakfast in my system. I spent 40 minutes working on my back, IT Bands, core, thighs, shoulders and arms. Afterwards, I was tired, but still headed to the Ferry Building Farmers Market. I had an 8 ounce pure coconut water as nourishment afterwards before my usual Blue Bottle coffee. I skipped the calorie-laden pastries, but oh, I so wanted one! Instead, I enjoyed a luscious, juicy apple I bought, just picked the day before.

Sunday morning I went for my long run, which right now is only 3 miles, but it was 3 miles pain free. I could never have said that a month ago. Ever when I ran the Giants’ race at the beginning of September, I felt a bit of knee pain after the third mile, so this was a very good 3-mile run.

Along with increasing my mileage and getting my core and muscles stronger, I also have to work on losing weight. This is probably the hardest part of the equation. One reason I know why my knees took so much pounding was the extra weight I’m carrying. It isn’t a giant amount. I’m about 26 pounds over what I should be, but that’s enough to make a difference.

There’s a constant battle between my appetite and what I should/must/need to eat. When one is young, it’s much easier to get away with that burger, or a double scoop of ice cream, or an imported chocolate bar every so often, but when one turns 50, it isn’t so easy to “live a little” or have something special. I ate a bit too much this weekend and because of it, didn’t lose a pound. Now, I know it’s not all about losing weight, but it IS part of it, and the weight on the scale is too high. Let’s be real.

So, along with working out, getting my runs in and paying attention to everything else, I need to be more vigilant about my diet. This all works towards my goal and I can’t lose sight of it.

Cheers!

farmers market 9-27-14

Farmers Market Goodies

See Krista Run 5K

The skies were relatively clear for my race last night. It was windy, though, as it usually is in China Basin, with few trees along the water to block to gusts. I was both nervous and excited as I rode Lightrail N down to Mission Bay Resort, hoping that I wouldn’t be the slowest runner there.

View of the SF Bay from Mission Rock

View of the SF Bay from Mission Rock

 I signed in and got my bib. I took a seat on the back balcony which was protected from the wind and have a nice view of the southside of the San Francisco waterfront. I had been to this place once a long time ago, but I don’t remember it well. It was nice meeting some of the other runners. Everyone was fun to talk to.

The City Beer Runs happen once a month, or thereabouts. This one was a fundraiser to help out a runner who through a bad infection lost her arm and her leg. It was the least we runners could do. There was no showy bling, no t-shirt, but everyone got a free beer at the end and the chance to help someone get closer to running again, which to me, means much more.

“See Krista Run” was the race’s official name, and it included a raffle and silent auction for things like yoga instruction and massages afterwards.

Here’s the Facebook page that will give more information about it:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1465649617011603/?ref=br_tf

The course was flat and fast. It started and ended at Mission Rock, going up the course of the Bay, along Third St, over the Third Street Bridge, past AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, up the Embarcadero and back down.

I started slow, the way I usually start races. Most people pass me up when a race starts. It used to bother me a lot until I realized that starting slow is not a bad thing to do. I kept a steady pace, finding my rhythm, breathing in time with my footsteps, going in a good pace, faster than my long run pace, but not fast enough to tire me out too quickly.

And then I felt good and knew I could keep this up for a while. It was then when I started passing up runners, runners who had started too fast out the gate. I passed up about nine total in the race. I was still more towards the back of the racing pack than the front, but I wasn’t last and for that, I was satisfied with my time, which was 33:05. Considering this was an evening race and my first 5K race since last fall, I’ll take it.

City Beer Runs is a great group of people, I’ll definitely be doing more runs with them. I want to thank Steve Snyder for inviting me and the ride home. I’ll see you at a race soon, Steve!

Unless I sign up for another race, my next race is the Giants Step Half September 7th and my running is gearing up!

Cheers!

Me and my friend Steve

Me and my friend Steve

Catch Up and an Idea Spawned

I’m back into my workout routine now. I’m back into my newly revised workout routine. No more triathlon training. Now, the major focus will be on distance running, although I will not completely abandon cycling and swimming. I love them too much to do that. 

But, the price of a racing bike is too much for me, so it will have to wait for a while as I train for at least one or two halfs and then a whole marathon sometime in 2015. 

I got back into my training Friday with a great 2-mile tempo run. It felt so good to be out running in warm weather. i do love warm weather workouts. The sweat pours out and it feels like I’m ridding my body of the toxins of the day. 

Saturday morning I had a dentist appointment so I didn’t make it to the gym until that afternoon, which actually turned out to be a great time to go. I completed a great weight and core session and finished it with some time on the cycle. 

I got my long run in Sunday morning – 5 miles. It was warm out, but I really enjoyed myself. After my run, I stopped by Blue Bottle and relaxed with a great cup of coffee before heading home. 

Monday was a kick butt spin session. She really gives it to us and I love it! I come out of there knowing that I gave everything I had in those 45 minutes. “Remember why you’re here!!!” Anna, our instructor shouts. And I do, as I push hard! It’s one of my favorite workouts and when I can’t make it, I miss it. 

Tonight, a Tuesday, I just got done with 2 miles of hill work. Even though it’s been about three weeks since I’ve run 3-4 times a week regularly, I still feel stronger than I did on the hills. I haven’t lost anything. I know all the cross training I’ve been doing is really helping. All the weight and core work, the extra sleep, and the healthy eating is really helping. 

Now, about my eating. I’m getting back into eating right. I’m limiting my amounts, because I know it’s the only way I’ll shed this fat, I’ve stopped white flour and sugar (with the exception of once in a while treats), and no processed foods (as much as possible). I can’t say i’ll never have this stuff, because sometimes it happens, but in the normal course of my day, it’s not going to be there. 

Last week during my run, I was thinking to myself of an idea. I shrugged it off because it’s not something I have experience in. But the idea has been gnawing at me, whispering to me…so much so that today I made some notes and will continue to think about it some more and see if it’s even a possibility. 

It has everything to do with fitness and this blog, so I will let you know more later when I can. 

Tomorrow is swimming and weights day after work, I’m looking forward to getting some laps in the pool for the first time in a while. 

A Change of Goals

We’re always being told we can do whatever we want, we’re constantly being shown great motivational pictures telling us not to give up on our dreams. And I do believe that nearly any goal is possible if we work hard enough, no one ever bothers reading us the fine print in these bold statements.

There is always a cost. To reach one goal, we may have to give up another, or many others.

This became too apparent for me a few weeks ago when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to purchase the racing bike I so wanted this year. That’s not exactly true. I could buy it, if I gave up going to Giants games, forget about my New York vacation (AND seeing my NY Rangers) next year, and completely abandon having decent coffee in my life. But I’m not willing to do that. 

So, my goals for the next year have changed. I still want to pursue triathlons; they hold an appeal to me that nothing else does. But I live in the most expensive city in the US and I don’t make enough to save for a racing bike. It’s a depressing fact and I’ve been battling with it for a while…..

To keep me from being completely down, however, I’ve revised my goals and challenges. I’ve decided to run a full marathon. I ran one over 20 years ago, so it will be like running one for the first time. I’m nervous, scared and not sure, but I can run, I can afford the gear and it’s something I know. 

I’ll still keep my YMCA gym membership. I’ll still swim and spin; I love them too much to stop and eventually I will get my racing bike, just now in the near future. 

 

M.A.V. Won’t Stop Me

I have M.A.V. (Migraine Associated Vertigo). It’s a lesser known chronic condition caused by migraines. Rarely do I get the headaches, I get vertigo. Four years ago, it affected me so badly that I had to take time off work to find out what was wrong with me. They first thought I had Meniere’s, which has many of the same symptoms, but I wasn’t losing my hearing, so the specialist was able to ascertain is was indeed M.A.V.

After getting back to work and getting on the correct medications, I have it under control for 90% of the time. I can lead a good, normal life. But sometimes, the symptoms rise up, maybe once or twice a year and I have to deal with them.

M.A.V. is not life-threatening, but it makes life not a lot of fun. Everyone who has it suffers differently. Like migraines, it is personalized and not much is known about it. Without my meds, I would get vertigo so badly, I couldn’t stand up. I would be so sick for hours at a time, I would lie on the bathroom floor praying to make it back to bed. And the vertigo would hit whenever and wherever it felt like it. I could be out on the street, on a run, at work, no matter, and it would hit me. I would be sick in minutes. Along with vertigo, I would get extreme light-headedness, nausea without vertigo and dizziness without vertigo. It was a terrible, scary and also lonely time in my life. 

The week before last, I had the first vertigo attack I’ve had in over a year. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the ones I used to have, but it scared me. It was on a busy day and I hardly had time to rest it out. Rest was all I could do when it hit. Fortunately, it went away and I continued on with my life. 

When I had my M.A.V. under control, I made a promise to myself that I would not let it control me. I promised that no matter how bad it got, I would never, ever let it take over my life as it once had. Even if it meant I had to crawl to go where I needed to go, to do what I needed to do, I would do it, because I never wanted to go through the helpless, isolated feelings of despair I lived through. 

Today I ran for the first time in two weeks. It was a great 4 miles I enjoyed thoroughly. I haven’t gotten the rest I should have been getting these last couple of weeks, and my eating hasn’t been great. But these things will change starting tomorrow. June 1st will mark the beginning of my training for the Giants Step Half Marathon, happening in early September. 

So, back to clean eating, back to regularly scheduled workouts and saving up money for my racing bike. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to afford that, if not sooner, than later, but I’ll get it eventually.

So, there’s no giving up for me, no going back, no falling down and not getting up. Onward I go!

 

A TALE OF OPPOSITES

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(Martin St. Louis)

I watched two games last night on television, two different games in two different sports. Both important games in their sport yet each athlete I honed in on are so polar opposite I felt the need to share.

It’s NHL Playoff season. The series are long and brutal. Each series lasts seven games. The winner of each series moves up to the next stage until the reach the championship for the Stanley Cup, the granddaddy of all pro sports awards. Nothing beats it. Nothing.

My New York Rangers were 1 win, 3 losses against the Pittsburgh Penguins. One more loss and they’re out of it. So, they had to win last night. One of their new star players Martin St. Louis also had a personal tragedy. His mother, after a long, extended illness, passed away on Thursday the day before yesterday.

He flew home to Montreal immediately to be with his family and after a brief visit talking it over with them, decided to play Friday night, his father telling him that’s what his mother would have wanted him to do. He played with a courageous face and a brave heart. He put it all on the ice. He commented that she was with him the whole game and indeed she was, in his heart and in his soul.

Contrast that emotionally charged, beautifully touching picture with this: a bravado, cocky young Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team player, Yasiel Puig so full of himself he makes a big deal out of every hit he gets. In fact, he celebrates nearly every walk, every hit, every on base that comes his way. He throws a tantrum each time a pitcher dares throw a strike past him. And if he’s out, he nearly stomps up and down in protest. He flips his bat even when getting a single and saunters to first base, taking his time. He hit a home run last night and took extra time to brag about the moment towards my team (SF Giants’) pitcher Madison Bumgarner. This angered the more mature Bumgarner, as it would anyone, which if it had been an isolated incident wouldn’t attract any attention, but because Puig does this every time he’s at bat makes him the Justin Beiber of Major League Baseball. Puig’s behavior is tolerated by the Dodgers’ organization as Beiber’s disgraceful behavior is tolerated by the commercial music industry.

But what do these individuals have to do with a fitness and health blog, namely MY blog? Because like St. Louis and Puig, we all have the chance to act in life. We CHOOSE how to act in our lives. We’re never perfect. Humans make mistakes. Each and every moment we’re given the chance to make choices how we treat ourselves and other people. If we screw up, we can choose not make those same choices again.

When someone like Martin St. Louis, who knows his team is relying on him to him to help them win the team’s most important game of the year, even in his moment of pain and despair chooses to stand tall and put aside such heartbreak and be the stronger for it, he’s made a choice. When Puig acts like a spoiled princess because he can’t get his way and stomps his feet, treating others like crap, that’s the choice he made. But he makes that choice over and over and over again. He never learns that this is not the way to behave. Whether he has no one to teach him otherwise, or if he’s been told this is the way to act to get what he wants is unclear, but somewhere along the line, something went wrong.

So, we have a choice to make. Will we be our stronger selves today and make the right choices or do something else?

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(A tearful Puig?)