Archive | July, 2013

Monday Meditation: Transform your life

29 Jul

If you do a search for “How running changed my life,” you are bound to find pages and pages full of stories about how this sport has completely transformed people in many ways. You’ll see account after account of physical, emotional, and spiritual change. There will be instances of tragedy and triumph, heartbreak and joy, dreams shattered and goals attained. The common thread will be perseverance – putting one foot in front of the other over and over again.

Pounding out a few miles has an immediate therapeutic effect that can shift your mood from negative to positive and change your whole perspective on the day. If it can have such an impact for one day, imagine the possibility of running throughout your lifetime. The effects of running on the mind, body, and heart are cumulative. And I’m not just talking mileage here.

Running allows me to simultaneously lose and find myself.

To me, this means that I can let go of all the things that can weigh me down (doubts, worries, painful realities and the like) and just be free in the moment and present with the world around me. I can enter into the movement and enjoy it.

On the other side, running has shown me who I truly am. It has given me a natural mechanism for self-reflection in which I’ve stretched my limits and discovered unknown strength deep within. I’ve gone distances I never believed I was capable of.  I’m more in tune with my body and appreciate it for what it is and strive for health rather than size. I even carry myself more confidently and talk to myself more gently. I’ve healed, I’ve changed, I’ve grown.

Additionally, running has enhanced my life in ways I couldn’t have predicted. It has given my husband and I a new reason to travel and another way to connect. I’ve formed new friendships and bolstered others. I’ve participated in some inspiring and fun events and feel excited for more to come. I look forward to sharing this love with family and future generations.

My story may not be as harrowing or moving as others, but it’s real. It may have taken me a few years to rekindle the running flame, but it’s burning brighter than ever now. I can no longer imagine a life where I choose to stop and I hope I never have to.

I’ll just keep running.

The beauty of a long run

27 Jul

This morning at 7:00 AM, I met a group of runners from the Albany Running Exchange at a different section of the bike path than I usually run. The run was posted with a goal of 13 miles.

I woke up ready to get out there and run long! I’m glad I decided to go because it was a beautiful morning and this view was totally worth it.
riverrunWe kept a 9:30-10:00 pace, which is slower than I typically go for a long run, but a change of pace is good once in a while. (Ba dum bum)

The slower pace allowed for some great conversation and a general feeling of ease. I got to know a few new people over our miles together and that’s always a wonderful thing.
riverrunAfter we hit the 13th mile marker (approx 2:07 total time) and stopped, I felt like I could have gone longer. The sun was shining, my mind and body were in complete sync and I was running with a happy heart.
runpathThat’s the beauty of a long run. When you are connected to self (and maybe others) and fully present for every moment of the run, it transforms into a journey.

Just keep running.

Etiquette for Runners: On the track

26 Jul

The weather has finally been beautiful lately with lower temperatures and less humidity. On Wednesday evening I took advantage of the gorgeousness and headed to the high school track for another round of 600 meter breakdowns. Have to keep working on some speed for upcoming races – a 5K next Saturday and a half marathon on August 10!

600 meter breakdowns

Workout:

1.7 mile warmup, stretch

600m – 2:10 (5:37 pace)

400m – 1:31 (5:57 pace)

300m – 1:11 (6:11 pace)

200m – 0:44 (5:39 pace)

1.75 cooldown, stretch

Total: 5 miles, 48:00

This workout kicked my butt! I didn’t feel as fast and strong as I did last time I hit the track and it took my lungs a long time to recover. I’m going to attribute that to the strong headwind on the back stretch of the track, I was definitely sucking some wind and it hurt!

tracksunset_rbbSeveral other people had the same idea about the track and were getting their run on as well. Awesome! However, I think a couple of the track goers could have used a little lesson in etiquette. So I will just leave a few tips here and maybe somehow this information will find its way to them. I’ve also added some general points that can be helpful to anyone considering a track workout and wondering about the do’s and don’ts.

  • A little friendliness goes a long way. If someone nods, waves, says hi, etc. and you aren’t in mid-sprint, at least smile or nod back for crying out loud.
  • Run counterclockwise. Unless you’re on a track south of the equator.
  • If others are on the track, reserve the innermost lanes for people doing speedwork or going at a faster pace. If you’re moving slow or walking, take an outer lane.
  • If you’re passing someone in the same lane, pass on the right.
  • If you’re coming up behind someone or passing, let them know by calling something out such as, “behind,” or “on your right.” This can help avoid collisions in case the person you’re passing suddenly decides to switch lanes.
  • If you bring any gear, stash it on the grass, on the bleachers, or anywhere nearby that is off the track surface.
  • Stretch in an area out of everyone’s way.
  • Unless everyone else is in agreement with your choice in music, don’t blast your tunes at max decibels.
  • Check the track schedule to make sure there aren’t any practices or events going on. It’s also helpful to find out any policies the school or facility has.

There you have it! Now you can head to the track with some confidence and manners.

Question for you: Any track rules you would add? Have a bad track manners story to share?