Pacing

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One of the many things I’ve learned from running is pacing. Many beginners tend to start  off too quickly whether it is a long training run or a local road race. The object is to find your pace so that you can run efficiently throughout the race and finish with a kick.

Ironically I’m slow so my pacing is sloth, turtle, tortoise or in other words stop, walk, slog. All kidding aside, I do mind and record my pace more to understand what my body is doing rather than to win a race or obtain a PR.

Being a martial artist and a former nurse and a student of human nature I love learning about the mind-body connection and its effects on our daily lives. For instance yesterday I was feeling less than my usual self, I had a scratchy throat and general malaise – So I skipped my mid-week training run and opted for rest. I paced myself.

Even a few years ago that wouldn’t have happened, I would’ve ignored the signals my body was giving me and I would have gutted out the run. Probably feeling aggravated because nothing felt right and could have injured myself or exacerbated my mild cold symptoms to a full-blown bronchitis or pneumonia (it’s happened in the past).

Not running wasn’t the only way I paced myself, I also got extra rest and rescheduled a few tasks I had in my calendar. I’ve also learned to say no (not an easy task for me). Putting my health first has me saying no for the moment and rescheduling or if the task is too large absolutely no. A student of mine phrased it well when he told me, “It is easier to change a no to a yes, than a yes to a no.” He is right, how often do we agree to do something as a favor and it becomes a huge burden on your mental and physical health? By putting you first, pacing your self – You’ll make it to the end, of a race, a run and more importantly a healthy life…

Run on

G

Commitment…

This is a word that’s been in the forefront of my thoughts for a while now… Why does it seem more difficult for people to commit more now  than ever?

Commitment is an issue we deal with every day in almost every aspect of our lives. Relationships are built upon it, showing up for work, school, the gym a run, paying your mortgage… Endless!

Maybe it’s the fact that we have too many commitments — We have so many more choices now than we ever did and with choice comes commitment. Being overcommitted is a sure way to lose focus on some of our bigger ones. For example how many marriages or relationships are taken for granted while attending to the work, social, and financial commitments. How many of us quit on ourselves? Diets ended because it was easier to grab fast food on the way to pick up a child from soccer practice or the dog from the groomer? Who’s joined a gym in January and hasn’t been there since February because “life” just got too hectic? Does your day planner or google calendar look more complicated than the plans for D Day?

Believe me I don’t have the magical cure and some of what I’ve written I can’t totally relate to, being single and sixty-one I have different complications — Such as elderly parents, and a business to run. We all have our “busy” but what I’ve come to realize the “hard” way is by avoiding the number one commitment “OURSELVES” we’re never going to be any good at keeping the others.

Believe me if you are sick of being unhappy or unfulfilled and you are just going through the motions of the other commitments. Everyone knows it sometime before you realize it. So before you start looking to change where you live, your hair style enhance your mood with food, drugs or alcohol. Sit quietly for a minute and think about what is it you need? What are you passionate about? What drives you?

For me I love people, I enjoy teaching and helping people but it starts with me… My routine for keeping me at my best goes like this; I commit to daily meditation and a few lines of spiritual reading, routine exercise and I block off Sunday mornings as nonnegotiable time I run for at least one hour. There is also my martial art training. Again my situation is different, but can’t you get up 10minutes earlier tomorrow to sit quietly or however you’d like to feed your spirit?

Believe me commitments are always going to be there, so why not embrace the most important one your mental, physical and spiritual health! Because if you don’t you’ll never be able to commit fully to anything or anyone else…

Run on

G

Single Focus

Two weeks ago I was rear ended in bumper to bumper traffic, the accident woke me up to a new view.

We’ve all have been there (most of us) minding our own business and then “BAM” out of nowhere you’re now here… with a smashed in back bumper, trunk and a sore neck and back. So between holding back the angry frustrated tears and trying to compose yourself to do the right things on the insurance check list. You think what now?

You go through the bureaucratic hoops set up by your insurence and their insurance companies — You humble yourself to family and friends for rides once your car goes in for repair. Then maybe if you’re lucky like me you get to drive your old car, your best old car!

I borrowed my stepdad’s 92 Toyota Passeao which was mine until I sold it to him in 2000. It is a tiny five speed with no bells or whistles (no air conditioning, old radio, and no power anything). However it had one accessory my current car didn’t have PEACE!

No hands free to answer my phone, no radio flashing the song tital and artist, no compass directions or air tempeture to keep me from what I was supposed to be focusing on DRIVING! Oh and what fun this car is to drive!

I’ve since got my car back, but the basic driving reminded me of all the tings I enjoy most, running, martial arts, cycling and kayaking all of which require nothing but my power, my single focus on the task at hand simple uncomplicated just like my old 92 Passeao…

Where do you find your single focus?

Run on

Gin

Running with Gratitude…

This past week has been trying. I was in an accident on my way to work (rear-ended by a distracted driver in bumper to bumper traffic). I didn’t exactly have the most cooperative insurance agent (in her defense I was a bit shaken up). Then there are the all too many sad posts on Facebook from former colleagues and friends who are suffering major losses.

To top it all off, the accident agrivated some old issues from a previous accident — Nothing major just stiffness and soreness that limited my normal training regime. Admittedly I was very concerned about the future of my running. Sixty-one isn’t exactlly spring chicken teritory , so I iced and took ibuprophen as directed along with light stretching. The reduced activity gave me time to take invintory not on what happened but what I have and for that I am greatful.

Life can turn on a dime — You can be stopped in traffic and be jarred into a nasty reality, or you can be talking with someone in the morning and hear they passed that evening. There can be this little bump somwhere and the next thing you know you’re in an oncologists office discussing options. Which is why we need to be in the present, not griping about what’s passed or focused on a future event or wish that hasn’t happend. We need to practice gratitude and share what we have — Not gifts, but our gifts.

Give empathy along with or instead of sympathy, lend a hand rather than give a handout,  listen rather than preach, be present and appreciate all these moments, don’t wallow in regrets, most importantly Be Kind…

By the way I ran yesterday eight miles, they weren’t easy and it wasn’t pretty but I was running with a greatful heart, because I was running…

Run on

G

Run Pretty?

Ok, I so got this from Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty… In my defense I’ve thought about this topic frequently — Almost every time I run!

Let me begin by saying I dress for comfort and function. I own two pairs of dressy shoes one pair for warm weather the other pair for cold. So if you think my running attire is brand centered and color coordinated you’re wrong! I wear good running shoes, I’m currently using and loving Brooks Pure Flow 6 (I call them Sure Slow) when on my feet. I have some Rebook running tights and Turtle neck, and one Under Armor long sleeve shirt. Thats the gist of my branded running gear.

What do I wear? I’m 61 years old and let’s say not everything is what it once was. Heck I’m not sure if it’s where it once was? I wear compression socks, they serve a few purposes; they don’t bunch up in my shoes, no leg cramping, they hide my spider veins and they keep people from wondering if I’m running in baggy pantyhose. I also use woman’s soccer shorts; again function and comfort, they are longer, so there is less chafing and great cellulite cover up! My shirts are all the free racing T’s and then there are my hats I’ve got close to 40 ball caps that are rotated daily (I’m a bit obsessive) but they do serve a function as sun protection. So not dressed pretty.

Running, I’ve witnessed all sorts of beautiful people running: The petite ponytailed blonds who are outfitted in brand and color coordinated running attire. The ruggedly handsome gentlemen running in tank tops and running shorts. Yet they don’t run pretty. Because stuff happens when you run; sweat, runny noses, dry mouth, post nasal drip. So “Spit” happens! You blow your nose on your shirt or wipe it on your hand, or as I witnessed this past weekend you block one nostril and clear the other over a gutter (BTW this was done by one of the petite blonds). Which made me realize why bother wearing an expensive outfit if you’re not going to bring along a tissue?

My takeaway Run for the beauty of it, how it makes you feel because lets face it’s rarely pretty!

Run on

G

 

Off The Rails

I’ve been off from work this last week of December. It’s a time I celebrate the holidays and take inventory of the past year, while looking ahead to goals for next year – It is a time for me to go “Off The Rails.”

Yes, I leave my very scheduled disciplined life to experience the art of unscheduled nothing. I get up when I want eat what I want; for example sleep until 8:30am and eat homemade cookies for breakfast. I even went to the gym in the afternoon! Okay my off the rails isn’t exactly going over to the dark side, but I did go to see the Last Jedi. The bigger point is I’m letting go of my need for structure and control to clear my vision. Often routine prevents us from seeing other options or opportunities. Like reading a book verses watching a rerun, enjoying holiday treats without feeling guilty, spending evenings watching game shows with an elderly neighbor instead of surfing the net. I have managed to get things done – Necessary things. As the week nears the start of the New Year, my disciplined self is contemplating goals and structuring my schedule to fit them, but at least I still have cookies for breakfast.

Here’s wishing you a great 2018 on or off the rails,

Gin

13.1 Thoughts

Last December on a whim I decided to enter the Amica Newport Half Marathon. It was held yesterday and yes I ran and completed it, here are my thoughts on that run.

Mile one; December of 2016 reading through my emails I notice one from Grey Matter Marketing announcing the Amica Newport Marathon. Deciding this would be an interesting goal for turning 60 I registered. No where in my wildest dreams did I realize what a profound effect this would have on my life.

Mile two; Shortly after registering for the race I happened upon a Facebook ad for MyIntent.org and their bracelets. They ask you for one word to put on the bracelet and I chose INSPIRE I wanted this to be a year where I was inspired and could inspire others.

Mile three; In February my mother hit a speed bump she had a heart attack and required four stents. At the time I was also contemplating training for my seventh dan in martial arts. I decided to table that to be a larger presence in my mother’s life and to focus my energies on the half. My mother’s illness also brought into focus my less than ideal physical state. I was nearly ten pounds overweight and out of my customary shape. I know a few of you may find being ten pounds over weight hardly out of shape. Those ten extra pounds on my small frame would make running difficult. I increased my cardio at the gym and started using the Lose It ap.

Mile four; I turned 60 on March 24th, part of my birthday celebration was to head to Arizona visit my brother and sister-in-law, where we’d also road trip it to LasVegas. While in Pheonix I got in my first outdoor tun of 2017. The half marathon was over six months away but this is where it started to become real.

Mile five; Zeal by Zurvita became my go to training and life supplement, if you’re unfamiliar with this great product go to my web site zurvita/va02885.com and check out the great benefits of this amazing product. I use it everyday most days twice a day. It was also a part of my long run regime and had a bottle with me at the half.

Mile six; Chi Running by Danny Dreyer; I knew if I was to run a half marathon my body wouldn’t be able to endure the way I had run in the past. It was time to seek a new way. I had taken a mini course of sorts on Chi Running several years ago at the karate studio of a former training partner. I was intrigued to say the least but didn’t pursue any further training because I was only doing one or two 5k’s a year, but a half marathon would require longer and more training runs. I bought Chi Marathon and downloaded Chi Walk/Run from the Chi running web site. I used these valuable tools to set up my training and to get reacquainted with running.

Mile seven; On the road again, armed with my sixteen week Chi half marathon training guide, now eight pounds lighter I took to the roads and to the track to practice. Believe me running or slogging with a metronome is no easy feat, when you’re rhythmically challenged! However I persevered and found an ap for a running metronome that played behind the music in my headphones – Which also alleviated the strange stare I got from people who heard me beeping as I ran.

Mile eight; Running longer and further than I’ve ever ran before. The first time I ran more than eight miles I though I’d die. I was in the heat of August and I’d run a hilly course. It was one of the few times I had a twinge of doubt regarding my goal.

Mile nine; Learning about running shoes and choosing the right one for me. The great thing about running is it doesn’t require much equipment. The bad thing is the equipment required has to be good or you’re toast! After reading Chi Running and understanding how the body works, I wanted to be sure I was wearing the best possible shoe for me and my goal. I had run in a stability shoe that was recommended for me for over ten years, but after investigating my foot, reviewing my wear patterns and assessing my hip discomfort I found out these shoes were wrong. I went to Brooks and did their shoe finder and found the perfect shoe. My runs are smooth with very little discomfort during or afterwards.

Mile ten; having friends, coworkers, and family members support your mission. I can’t tell you how important it’s been to have people ask about my training and encourage my slog posts on Facebook. Knowing you have people who believe in you or that you inspire makes those Sunday morning training runs so much easier.

Mile eleven; Having a bigger purpose than just running; Yes this was about seeing if I’d be able to complete the goal, get into shape and cross another thing off the bucket list, but to me it was more much more. I wanted to do something difficult and meaningful to celebrate my 60th year because so many friends, and family members weren’t lucky enough to reach 60 – Including my father. When it got hard to run up a hill or something hurt I’d remember the pain they all endured and I’d go on for them as much as for me, maybe more…

Mile twelve; pre-race doubt and some paranoia. To say I was a bit paranoid about getting sick before the race would be an understatement (to all who endured the nutty instructor, my apologies). Then there was the thought of horrendous weather or being unable to finish on time or at all. The pre-race insomnia (thankfully I had to be up at 4am so I didn’t have to toss and turn as long).

Mile thirteen; the race, let me begin by saying initially this was going to be a one off. Done box checked on to the next thing, but after experiencing the people and the event I’m hooked! I had the most amazing time! This was one of the best days of my life and I want to relive it again….

Point one; After crossing the finish line and spending the remainder of yesterday, reflecting on the incredible experience. I know these things to be true, I will do it again, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself; I’m in better physical and emotional health than I’ve ever been. I will toast myself with the homemade beer given to me from one of my black belts and enjoy a Lean Cuisine pizza (don’t want to go too far off the rails).

On to the next thing,

Gin