Who’s up for a Marathon?

The 2nd Asheville Marathon is about 21 weeks away on March 16, 2013.  It is run on the grounds of the beautiful and behemoth (8,000 acre!) Biltmore Estate and is a Boston Marathon Qualifier race (for 2015). Here is a link to the qualifying times.  The course is a mix of paved and dirt trails so it’s easy on the joints along with being fairly flat to rolling.  This is a great 1st marathon and in an amazing location during a great time of year!

I was invited to be an Asheville Marathon Ambassador which means I’m advertising the race, signing people up (use my name :), getting a local Birmingham training group together with the help of some experienced marathoner friends (thanks Donna & maybe Dan!), blogging about race nutrition/injury prevention, and hopefully running the thing in 5 months.  Your first question is probably, “WHY would you want to torture yourself like that?”  If you know me well or even if you don’t, you know that I like to push myself and experience new things.  You also probably know that I have struggled to stay injury-free since I started running/biking/swimming again 2.5 years ago.  So although I’m not healed I am a woman on a mission to learn to cope with almost constant pain and maintain an active lifestyle, while hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

My hope is to inspire others to set goals, find support, and achieve those goals.  You’ll never know if you can until you TRY.  So who’s up for a marathon?!

power of the mind

We will begin training this Monday, October 21, 2013, with an informational meeting/email on Sunday or Monday.  There will be 2-3 different pace groups, one of which will be doing run/walk for the LSD – long slow distance runs on the weekend.  We will give out training schedules and try to meet/run as a group 1-2x/wk (at least for the LSD weekend run).  I’m setting up a Facebook page so we can share our strengths and struggles along the way as well as to maintain some accountability.

My pacing group will be using Jeff Galloway’s Marathon Training Plan which is a gradual build of mileage with short week day runs for those of us who are either first-time marathoners and/or injury prone. I am so fortunate as to be BOTH.

As another incentive to participate, we will invite runners to raise money for a cause.  Those participating from Baptist Church of the Covenent will choose a ministry to fundraise for such as the Capital Campaign, Youth Program, SouthTown Leadership,etc.  One way to do this is ask someone to sponsor 1 to 26.2 miles of your race OR commit an amount to each mile you train leading up to race.  We will keep a log of each person’s miles so that you and your sponsors can see how far you’ve come and how far you’ll go during the next 5 months!

Contact me if you’re interested in joining the group.  When you register for the race, please mention my name so our group gets credit.  Let’s bring a big ‘Bama group to the Mountains!

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Beach Blast Triathlon

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This weekend in Mexico Beach, FL, I raced in my first triathlon of the season. Last year was my first time to EVER participate in a triathlon and I chose the one race with an ocean swim. For a person who loves scuba diving (over 150 dives), I sure do struggle with open water swims. So all year I have worked on my swim and visualized killing this course, especially the swim & despite the uncomfortably small wetsuit I have to wear.

Of course though, two weeks before the race, I start attending CrossFit classes because a studio wants a yoga teacher…who understands and participates in CrossFit. Being the stubborn, “I can do it myself” person that I am, I jumped right in and by the second class, I couldn’t put weight on my left shoulder. Uh oh! The day after my longest swim ever (1.2 miles), I screw up my already unpredictable shoulder. Way to go Lyndsey!

As would be imagined, over the next 2 weeks my attitude was less than pleasant, complicated by a major allergic episode to the 1″ of pollen that covered everything in Alabama. I could barely breathe, talk, or move. I began to doubt whether Beach Blast was going to be a blast or a blow-up for me. The one good thing though was at least I was going to the beach with people I loved.

Fast forward to Friday, the day before the race, where I decided to downgrade to the Sprint vs. Olympic distance because I hadn’t not swam in 2.5 weeks. At almost sunset, in a flurry of anxiety and panic, I demanded we do a practice swim in the wetsuit to the buoy about 100yds off shore. Great way to begin your practice swim when you’re already frazzled. I had my usually swim panic and frozen breath as I tried to lower my head in the cool Gulf waters for the first 50yds. Then suddenly with more determination than I’ve ever mustered when it came to fear and panic, I looked at my partner and said, “I’m GOING to the buoy!” Lowering my head I took off calmly and with focus, slapping the yellow buoy once I reached it then turned and swam steadily back to shore until I could grab sand with hands. I WAS READY!

I was a bit testy race day as usual but my stomach and mind felt more settled than usual. We had friends coming to cheer us and take photos so I focused on how happy I’d be to see them throughout the course. I took a quick spin on my bike, racked it, then went down to the water to practice until race time. The water was about 70-72 degrees and perfect with a wetsuit…..if it fit properly. Some early race humor helped further calm me as the second buoy began to drift away during the Olympic distance swim. Granted if I’d been the one chasing a moving buoy, it would NOT have been funny, but for us Sprint racers it was comic relief.

By the time they called Sprint Triathlon under 40 to the water’s edge, I was a little nervous but a deeper calm and determination. I would walk into the water behind the faster swimmers and swim MY race at MY pace. And I did. My breath stayed calm, my body stayed relaxed and I exited the water in ~11 minutes (about 2 min. faster than last year). Leaving the water I was laughing and almost crying at how calmly I executed the swim and overcame my fears. Unfortunately, transition was a quarter of a mile from the swim exit, uphill and across Hwy 98. My heart rate became my focus from them on out, climbing from 75% to 90% by the end of race.

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My new TT bike helped me shave 7 minutes off last year’s time, placing in 4th place after T2, but by then, my heart race was around 85% and the temperature was climbing. A few minutes into the run, I realized I hadn’t fueled enough during the bike so I grabbed a chocolate fit chew (Thanks Arbonne!) and let it slowly dissolve as I padded away on the windy but not windy road through a neighborhood. The run is usually my strong point, but as soon as I left T2, I knew this run wasn’t going to be easy. I was already thirsty, slightly hungry, hot as hell, and felt like I was dragging sandbags behind me. Thank God for fuel belts! Usually 5k races are short enough not to need water, but with only one water stop at the halfway point and the overheating I experienced last year during the run, I decided not to chance it. It was like an oasis in the desert to have those two tiny bottles. About .75 miles from the finish line, I timed a sprinkler pass perfectly and got showered head to toe in delight. Despite my body’s nagging for me to walk, I kept my focus on my breath and my cadence. Inhale 3 steps, exhale 2 steps, inhale 3 steps, exhale 2 steps.

As the final turn into the park & finish line approached, I knew I had one short steep hill to climb before the 25-50 yd sprint finish. I took a deep breath and quickened my step. A woman began yelling, “You can do. Get up this hill. Come on baby!” While she was clearly not talking to me, I pretended she was and began pumping my arms and pulling myself uphill. As I hit the turn, my heart was pounding and I was gasping, but I could see the finish line. I began to sprint as best I could, chick-ing an age grouper down the chute to yells of “Strong Finish! Good Job!” While that might not be the kindest thing to do unless it’ll change your placement, I had to prove to myself that I was prepared and capable of not only starting strong and steady but finishing strong by giving it all. And I did. I left everything on the course. All the worries and fears and doubts about not only my participation in triathlon but in many aspects of my life. I had arrived uncertain and afraid, but I left centered and complete. I finished 5th in my age group with 1st & 2nd also finishing 2nd & 3rd overall in the female division. Despite having a secret goal of finishing in 1hr 30min, I shaved over 14 minutes off last year’s finish time and was only 4 minutes short of my 1:30 goal.

What’s your next goal? How can you break it into small manageable steps to ensure it’s success?

My next goal is an Olympic distance. Race unknown…maybe Chattanooga on July 14th.

Finish strong!

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Rest Day!

crooked sleepingRest days are considered vital to recovery, strength, and endurance.  It is not just the doing but not-doing that makes us stronger, healthier, and more successful athletes and human beings in general.  The notion that we have to be “doing something” to get in shape, burn calories, increase muscle mass or develop our endurance is only partly true.  When people don’t sleep, they go crazy because sleep is when the internal healing and growing within the body takes place.  Our conscious body needs sleep so that the automatic, internal healing mechanisms can take place.  Remind anyone of that quote, “Be still and know…”  We cannot do it all and we cannot take credit for it all either.  I love to use the example of breathing.  Do you think about breathing?  Do you remember to breathe while sleeping?  Most people say, “No, of course not!”  But we have the ability to pay attention to our breathing and somewhat control the depth and quickness of it when we want to.  This is result of having two types of muscle tissue in the lungs: striated and unstriated.  One set is automatic and out of our control (i.e. it keeps us breathing when we are too busy talking or working or watching TV), the other set is what allows us to take a deeper breathe, control our inhale/exhale in a yoga class or on a run, and even hold our breath when we go underwater.  So if our lungs have a fail-safe then so does the rest of our body.  If we don’t take our rest days – and sometimes we need more than one per week – our body will begin to break down via injury, illness, or simply exhaustion.

I usually don’t look forward to “Rest Days.”  In fact, I’m usually forced to take days off because of injury or illness or exhaustion then beat up myself for being human and still healing.  This week is one of few that was successfully traversed leaving a rest day before my long run & ride this weekend.  While those hurdles are still to come, I have had huge successes this week. 1) Continued swimming endurance with decreased times and only some shoulder stiffness.  2) Finally able to RUN 5-10 minute repeats with NO knee/IT band/hamstring pain.  Guess the strengthening, icing, foam rolling, and RESTING is finally paying off.  Here’s to respecting, enjoying and looking forward to rest days!

Think like a bee. Train like a horse.

Quick Overview:

1) Believe in yourself. Never doubt you can do anything you set your mind to.

2) Trust your training and your process. Be consistent and stick to the plan.

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(From Joe Friel ‘s Triathlete Bible)

“Not long ago NASA scientists found interest in the bumblebee for its flight abilities. They extensively examined the bumblebee to determine how such a hairy round torso could be lifted by a relatively tiny wingspan. After much study, they finally made their conclusion: the bumblebee is incapable of flight! Fortunately for us, this scientific deduction was not told to the bumblebee, which happily and effortlessly continues its flight. The bumblebee thinks it can fly, so it does! The power of positive mental thought…

Think like a bumblebee.

Racehorses have also been studied, not perhaps by NASA hoping to make a scientific claim, but rather by individuals who desire to understand such ultimate performance on race day. Interestingly, the equine competitor shares similar physiological traits as a human and thus is trained much like an endurance athlete, with interval training, endurance runs, periodization, rest, and good nutrition. Differing from the human however is the psychological aspect. Racehorses do not question their training protocol, they do not wonder if their workout is tough enough, they don’t go into the field and run a few extra miles “just because”, and if they have a bad day, they leave it behind and don’t take it with them back to the stable.
When race day approaches, the horse demonstrates signs of anxiousness similar to that of a human athlete, but the horse is not caught considering the size of the equine’s legs next to him; instead its one and only focus is the purpose at hand: run and run fast!

Focus and trust in your training… Train like a horse.”

“Think like a bumblebee; train like a horse.”

Training for an Ironman…sorta

IM yoga tattoo
Well, actually a 70.3 or Half-Ironman, but “half” sounds so second rate. Some half-marathoners are pushing for a rename to “Pikermi” which is name of the city in Greece that is in the middle of the original route Pheidippides took from Marathon to Athens (which was less than 26.2 miles by the way), but what would you rename a Half-Ironman?

Anyways, I digress. I have been lusting over Ironman triathlons since I was a kid, watching the Kona World Championships every October around my birthday (or December when it viewed). I researched the IronKids races that were highlighted on some kid’s bread packaging to no avail because my mother was already overwhelmed with hauling us from softball to tennis to gymnastics to golf to …. the list goes on. Plus I didn’t think I had a great place to ride my cheap bike (although I lived in the woods and had miles of trails!) and my swimming was average (goggles and a swim cap might have helped). Still I dreamed of the guts and glory, ever the athlete seeking bigger challenges.

Fast forward twenty years to a physically broken 28 yr old under chiropractic care three times a week still yearning to regain her younger years and athletic feats. So as my 29th birthday and the 29th Ironman World Championships in Kona approached, my doctor encouraged more swimming and okayed my desire to start cycling with my partner. Easy cycling, no aero, no hills, short distance. You can guess how that went down – 2 weeks later and a 25 mile race later 🙂 Been hooked since! But that wasn’t what re-invigorated the Ironman itch. One day while swimming endless laps of front crawl, breast and backstroke, I realized how I raced everyone swimming in adjacent lanes. I missed competing and challenging myself and was feeling renewed and hopeful with my steady improvements under Dr. H’s care. By the time of the October Ironman, the memories of IronKids and Ironman Kona were flooding back every time I got on my bike or went for a swim. Maybe I could do this, but could I ever run again with my history of ruptured lumbar discs, shin splints, tendonitis, etc.? Would 2012 would be the year? Not only of my 30th birthday but of my athletic reawakening?

LR BB Swim

January 11th was the first run of many to come….and April 28th was the Beach Blast Triathlon in Mexico City Beach, FL, my 1st! Despite my initial swim panic after a mass start in a new wetsuit with an ocean swim, I was able to finish in 1:48:28 placing 5th in my age division. I got to see my partner at various points during the race which bolster my spirits and made my finish sweet…even though I knew no one and no one knew me when I crossed the finish. That has changed since joining Vulcan Triathletes as their new secretary and the Birmingham Track Club. The camaraderie along with the plethora of experienced athletes, doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, yoga teachers, etc. has made my journey and decision to Tri- harder and farther and much more pleasant and safe undertaking. One month before my 30th birthday, I finished my first half-marathon, the Talladega 21000, in under 2:15, with a good friend who has used running to lose almost 100 lbs and heal all his health problems. This stuff transforms your life – mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally!

So it is in that vein that I am committing to the lengthy but doable training for a 70.3 race this year. Definitely Augusta 70.3 because many Vulcan Triathletes and Birmingham locals race it. Plus the swim is downstream in a wetsuit – I can float to the transition if I get panicked! I will race the Beach Blast Triathlon (Olympic distance – 1st tri- at this distance) in late April again as a tune-up/season opener. If it goes well then an earlier 70.3 may be on the horizon.

Note: I do not race just for me though. I race for those who have risen from their own fiery transformations via addiction/abuse/injury/etc., for the orphaned kids I worked with in South Africa, for the SouthTown community in Birmingham, for the church on the corner where “All Are Welcomed,” for my deceased father who never saw my healing and my adulthood, for my unborn niece/nephew, and for my dear grandmother who taught me how to cook and how to love everyone.

…and I race for you in hopes that you might be inspired to reach for the goals and dreams you felt would always JUST BE DREAMS. Time to create some realities.

 

Time to Tri- with Me!

triathlete belly tattoo

Age 30: part-Paleo, part-CrossFit, part-Athlete, all ME

If you  haven’t heard about the Paleo Caveman Diet or the Crossfit (IronTribe in Birmingham) workout style, then do not be afraid.  If you HAVE, then also don’t be afraid either.  I’ve gone from hate to indifference to curiosity to personal guinea pig in order to determine the what, how, and why of this recent craze.  Between my injury-prone history, my all or nothing athletic attitude, and my obsession with finding harmony, health, and balance, I became humbled enough to seek outside advice and inside experience.

I’ve always been the person who had to try it on before believing it.  My famous last words before every break-through or breakdown, as it more often seemed to be, were, “I can do it myself.”  And oh how I tried, sometimes succeeding but usually ending up with stitches (head, finger, nose, chin, etc.).  My ego and/or excitement seemed to always get me in trouble or hurt, until I realized how to embrace as a lesson that I desperately needed to learn.  Too bad it only took 30 years, a severely weakened and pulled hamstring, and a painful finish to my 1st half-marathon to learn it.  That was the spiritual 2×4 that has so lovingly followed me around for decades.  Of course I didn’t even realize its’ presence until about 10 years ago.

So now I’m 30 and the realities of fitness, family, work, and spiritual reality are booming loudly around me and inside me.  I can’t keep going full blast until breakdown like I did in my teens and 20s.  Unless I want blown out knees, hips, back, and more (Dr. Sophia Lal already pointed out the bursitis and arthritis in my hips, least I say more).

In an effort to minimize and eventually eliminate my pain and join inflammation, I’ve not only been going to physical therapy at Eskridge & White for 4 month but I’ve started working with new chiropractor, Dr. Jessica Dietrich-Marsh, in Pelham.  Strengthening muscles, aligning bones/vertebrae, discovering nutritional deficiencies, and being my own patient, has given me patience and insight into what true healing is about.   While no one “diet” or “food plan” is for everyone, I do believe we have much to learn from each other.

WHY the Paleo, Cross-Fit, Spinning, Yoga-Extravaganza?!

PALEO: This caveman approach says we need to go back to our ancestral diet because they didn’t have diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc.  Paleo people blame the previous on excess fats, carbohydrates, sugars, and dairy.  In particular, sugar (i.e. simple/double & even complex carbohydrates like grains/wheat) can feed the body’s stress response along with overtaxing the the liver & other digestive organs leading to an accumulation of toxins (and fat: the “tire around the waist” kind).  It does give us energy but we have made sugar a food group and the main one at that in the past 30 years.  No one needs that much energy, nor that poor of a quality which is found in sodas, desserts, and all sorts of pre-fabbed  (i.e. processed) foods.  Basically, sugar feeds the Stress Response  which creates Toxins = Inflammation.  Enough said.  I’m inflamed enough so good by wheat, dairy, refined foods, potatoes, rice/quinoa except at lunch/dinner with protein and veggies.  I’m still going to eat my legumes though; the vegetarian in me is still quite alive.

For more ideas on a gentle balance way to try it out, check out Paleo for Athletes.

CROSS-FIT/IRON TRIBE go hand in hand with the Paleo diet.  The point behind their WODs (workout of the day) is to keep your body and brain guessing but also use dynamic, functional movements like lifting, swing, pushing, pulling, etc.  They only have you do it with weight, quickly, and timed.  This method builds endurance and quick muscle firing = strength and agility to name a few.  My weak muscles and extra-stretchy body via Yoga called for major strengthening if I was ever going to swim, bike, run or even walk again pain-free.  I might can stand on my head, balance on one foot, touch my toes, and fold over backwards but what functional purpose does that have if I can stand or sit for more than 5 minutes without hurting? So strength it is!

SPINNING & YOGA: These two things probably seem like polar opposites depending on the type of spinning and/or yoga class you attend  but for me that create a dynamic balance of cardio, flexibility, and mental focus.  Spinning makes me physically strong like the Cross-fit moves but it also requires focused breathing which I hone through my yoga practice.  My yoga is more breathe work and meditation these days than an endless series of body contorting poses.  It’s all good but only if it fits YOUR NEEDS.  Stretching wasn’t working anymore and I couldn’t figure out how to strengthen while I stretched so I pulled the two a part and created a practice for me.

This is the introduction. Look forward to the reports.  Y-Cross starts in T-30 minutes.

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WATCH ANOTHER LOCAL ATHLETE & WRITER named Kim Cross as she takes herself through a similar journey under the tutelage of IronTribe Instructors and the healthcare professionals at Fagan Sports Medicine and PhysioFitness.  Check out Kim’s journey at Operation IronTribe.

 

NEW Yoga Classes starting Feb. 2014!

Here’s your chance to register for the yoga class that fits your needs.

Starting February 2014, Chair Yoga and Gentle/Moderate Mat Yoga (1hr) will be offered via Birmingham Yoga‘s studio.

Schedules is TBD depending on interest.  Options are Monday – Thurs from 11a & 2p.

Wednesday @ 1p will probably be the Gentle/Moderate Class but it depends on who speaks up.

Drop-ins and 6-wk Series will be available.   ALL ARE WELCOME and can find a place in one of these two classes.

Call/email/respond with the day/time/class you’re interested in attending along with questions.

Tri- Yoga

Some people are curious, others are confused, and the rest seem indifferent when they hear “yoga.”  The comments range from “I don’t like yogurt” to “I’m not flexible enough.”  The 1st comment I tend to ignore, the second follows with, “that’s exactly WHY you need to do yoga.”  At the age of 8 my mother enrolled my in gymnastics because I couldn’t touch my toes.  We practice something in order to learn it.  Yoga is not just for the flexible & fit.  In fact, it was never really about exercise & flexibility in its’ native home of India.

There are several branches of yoga, many of which emphasize disciplining the mind, but Raja (hatha) yoga, as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, focuses the mind by concentrating on health and purity of the body.  Hatha yoga is performed via behavioral disciplines (yamas/niyamas), physical postures (asanas), and breathwork (pranayama), which prepare the whole self for meditative concentration that can lead to an awareness of oneness with creation (samadhi/nirvana/spiritual connectedness).  These 8 limbs of Raja yoga outline a way to life a whole, happy, healthy life.  While it is not a religion, it is definitely spiritual in its’ nature.  Also, it can simply be a way to improve flexibility and mental stability.

Whatever your need, there is something yoga can offer you because after all yoga means union.

***What feels disconnected in your life?

***Aren’t you curious to see how a plan of yoga/union could help you connect the dots?

As a Registered Kripalu Yoga Teacher & a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner & Group Facilator, I offer individual sessions for all levels to create a health & wellness plan that works for your goals & abilities.

Here’s a sample:

This pose sequence focuses on the core areas worked during swimming, cycling, & running. Be careful when performing postures if you’ve never done yoga…in fact, make it a priority to seek out a class or instructor.

Tri Poses
By RunningYogi
1
Bitilasana_CowPose_150
Bitilasana
Cow Pose

2
Marjaryasana
Cat Pose

3
Ujjayi Pranayama
Conqueror Breath

4
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose

5
Seane_in_Marachi_Pose_st
Marichyasana III
Marichi’s Pose

6
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Dandasana
Staff Pose

7
Paschimottanasa_150
Paschimottanasana
Seated Forward Bend

8
UpavisthaKonasana_150
Upavistha Konasana
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

9
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Ananda Balasana
Happy Baby Pose

10
Fish_Matsyasana_150
Matsyasana
Fish Pose

11
HP_216_Halasana_150.jpg
Halasana
Plow Pose

12
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Supta Baddha Konasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose

13
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Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Bridge Pose

14
savasana_150
Savasana
Corpse Pose

Nature vs. the iPod

To iPod or not to iPod?  This is a question I have heard & asked myself and others as the growing majority of people seem to have grown wires even when they go for a walk, run, ride, or like.  Just a few decades ago, you had to carry a boom box on your shoulder if you wanted to move with your music, but now it’s often small, wired, and light, not to mention that the battery lasts a lot longer.  Before this technological explosion, what did people DO when they went to workout?  I often hear panic or disbelief in people’s voices when they see me running or moving my body without sound-inducing paraphernalia attached to me or nearby.  Maybe it’s a question of INTROVERT or EXTROVERTPITA or VATA, ONLY CHILD or ONE OF MANY.  Or maybe it’s just become a habit.  Not knowing how to shut off when we are conscious, much less unconscious, seems to be a growing dilemma, hence the 1200% increase in diagnosed cases of anxiety since 1980, the beginning of the technology revolution.

I’m reminded of Isaac Newton who said “an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by a equal or stronger force.”  In other words, our brains & body will continue to crave and expect constant stimulation until they experience something that is more powerful or profound (i.e. Your Brain on Nature).  While using headphones during walks, workouts, & wanderings can serve a purpose, I find it unnecessary (especially on workouts <1 hr), unsafe (especially when cycling or walking in a cycling area), and yet another distraction from the healing that Nature provides us when we immerse ourselves in it with mind, body, and spirit.  Our days are already jammed pack with the stimulation and noise from kids, spouses, co-workers, TV, radio, computers, phones, etc.  Sleep seems to be the only time we are free from the constant stimulation unless you fall asleep with the TV or radio or computer going.  If you fall in the latter category, How is your quality of sleep?  Do you feel rested when you wake-up?  Are you frequently injured or sick?  When constantly bombarded with noise from sun up to sun down, our minds and bodies can’t rest, heal, and integrate properly.  Multi-tasking isn’t a biological reality according a recent study in the NY Times.  You may multi-task and multi-task fairly well, but your brain and body are suffering for it.

Granted, the longer the distance the more challenging it is to train without a partner or an iPod, but what great mental training for race day when we must go it alone to a great extent.  By running or walking with Nature as my companion, I’m able to stay better connected to my body and how it’s being impacted, whether it be gratitude for a breeze or shade or awareness that it’s gotten warmer & I need to slow down or take some water.  In many ways, the longer we go, the more deeply we need to be in tune with our bodies and our environment because training can only take us so far.  The rest is up to the elements and how we flow with them or fight with them.

Experiment

Go solo & sound-free on your next outing and see what arises.  Keep it short to start.  Notice where you’re mind wanders to and gently bring it back to “this moment, this breath, this sensation or sight.”  It’s really a form of meditation, learning to concentrate and focus your mind so that you are in charge of it vs. it being in charge of you.  The first time may be miserable but full of information about your edges.  So keep trying it and see how it can serve you.  Sometimes our greatest insights come through our greatest (& smallest) trials.

Hydration, Medication, and Rest

During an hour-long run Wednesday, I chose not to bring water with me, a choice I rarely make.  Also I assumed that the water fountain at the end of the Lakeshore Trail was working (big mistake).  In addition, I had taken an herbal decongestant earlier in the day.  Between all of that and improperly hydrating with more coffee and tea than H2O, I find myself not only thirsty but madly craving water.  My mouth and throat were painfully dry & salivating seemed impossible.

The discomfort began immediately but I falsely and insanely thought it would go away soon.  It didn’t.  So I began telling myself that the turnaround at Columbiana Rd wasn’t that far and a water fountain awaited me (didn’t know it wasn’t working).  Still, as I ran and the parchment further occupied my attention, I intensely scanned every person that I encountered to see if they had a bottle on them.  The cyclists whizzed past and made me long for my bike and the water bottle cage which held the magical elixir.  The few people with bottles had on headphones which signaled separation and disconnection from the world around them to me, so I kept running.  At times, I just focused on the ground in front of me or how I would “never ever!” run without water again.  Almost finished, I spotted what looked like a park across the creek and made a mad dash for it when the road detoured towards it.  I found a bathroom and took several handfuls of water with great relief then took off for the last 15 minutes.

I am forever scared with that desperate feeling and will seek to avoid it, BUT I also learned that I can move through it, not forever, but within a certain time frame.  I can push and succeed but that must always be tempered with rest and recovery.  In a recent article in Triathlete Magazine, Shaw provides a remedy or adjustment to the LONG SUNDAY RUN.  I know many who choose to run Saturday morning because they are just runners and many triathletes join them so they aren’t slogging out the miles alone, but this change to the LONG RUN can work for all.  The successful coaches that were interviewed spoke of “9 days hard, 5 days recovery,” which is foreign to many Type A, push harder sorta folks. But proper rest and timely pushing can lead to greater success and more stable health, than pushing it all the time except when your body forces you to collapse…never good.

How do you train? what model do you follow when it comes to exercising your body? whether you “race” or not, what does your workout week look like? when do you change it up (if you do) & why? How’s that working for you? I’m eager to hear your responses.  I know I could use some recovery.  How about you?