Posts Tagged by endurance

For All The Slow Pokes Out There

With runDisney race season fast approaching, so many of us are kicking our training into high gear.  Whether you are a newbie with your first race coming up or a seasoned veteran, we all worry about pace.  Some are trying to be the fastest, some are trying to beat their last time and some are just trying to finish without getting swept.  Whatever your goal, if you don’t have the slightest bit of anxiety about pace when going into a race you are either a machine or you’re lying.  It’s always somewhere in the back of your mind.

030 LB Half_Time

Me, I’m slow.  My pace ranges between 12:30 and 14:00.  I am a run-walker and I find it’s the best way to keep my endurance up for a long race…it works for me.  I’m not built like a runner, but I like the challenge so I do what works best for me.  So imagine my feelings when I read this article from 2009 that has been recircling the interwebs lately.  Basically, the author and other elite (i.e. fast) runners are questioning whether the act of simply finishing a marathon is worth the title of “marathoner.” This paragraph pretty much sums it up:

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’ ”  

That makes me sad.  Just because there are those of us who can’t complete a marathon in 4 hours, doesn’t mean our accomplishment is worth less.  We still traveled that same distance on our feet, don’t we deserve a medal too?  We’re not trying to win, we just want to finish and be able to celebrate that finish without being judged.  Completing a marathon is HARD.  Hell, just having the guts to even attempt a marathon is HARD.  That hard work should be rewarded, no?

And really, what does our slowness matter to those speedy runners?  They start way before us and finish way before us.  We are in no way inhibiting them from running their best race possible.  Just because we are taking 2 more hours to finish, doesn’t make their accomplishment any less valuable.  Are they annoyed that the roads are still closed when they are trying to leave and they get stuck in crazy traffic jams?  That MUST be it!  Because otherwise why would they even care?!?!

To finish a marathon in 4 hours takes an insane amount of training.  Those people are serious rock stars in my eyes and I am in awe of the dedication they put in, and I recognize I will never be among them.  I just don’t have that dedication to training, but I do love to push myself and run races.  Maybe that’s why I like runDisney so much.  There’s no pressure.  The elite runners take off in corral A and then the rest of us are there to have fun!

While this article was saddening, I was glad to find a reaction to it by Jeff Galloway who basically negated everything stated there.  He works with thousands of runners every year and confirmed that Ms. Wald is in the minority of how most runners feel about long marathon times.  Most runners have respect for those who even attempt a marathon because they know how difficult it can be.  Jeff goes on to say:

The finishing of a marathon bestows a unique sense of worth that can last for a lifetime – regardless of finish time.  We need to salute the efforts of those at the back who did not inherit the genetic material to run on a collegiate cross country team, but who inserted training into busy career and family schedules, improved their health and inspire others.

To me, running is personal.  You run as fast or as slow as you can or want to.  You are competing against yourself and proving to yourself that you can accomplish what you set your mind to.  Just get out there…get moving…walk if you have to. But just remember to NEVER listen to anyone who says that you are too slow and not a “real runner” because no matter what they say, they can’t take that medal or sense of pride away from you!

SO WORTH IT!

I’m a Marathoner Bitches!

CFM Gladiator Gauntlet – A Humbling Experience

Gladiator Gaunlet

This past Saturday was the Gladiator Gauntlet and it was tough…way tougher than I thought it would be.  I’ve been having mixed emotions about the event for the past few days because it challenged everything I feel like I’ve been working towards and made me feel weaker than I have in sometime.  But let’s start from the beginning…

Three of my CFM friends and I signed up for the Gauntlet a few weeks ago as the Honey Badgers…yeah we don’t give a f*ck.  We had been talking about getting customized shirts leading up the event, but nothing ever materialized.  So the day before, a few of us met at Dick’s Sporting Goods to try and find some matching outfits.  Clearly we like color since this is what we came up with…

HoneyBadger Uniform

Um…those are some short shorts…can’t you see the skepticism on my face?!?  WAY too short for me.  I was starting to chafe just walking around the house, so I couldn’t imagine what a 2.5 mile trail run would produce…yikes!  You can read more about my feelings on shorts here.  Needless to say, I decided to go with my tried and true Moving Comfort Fearless Bermudas for the event and Keira was nice enough to switch her neon striped socks for my black ones since my shorts were black.

Striped Socks

My Saucony Kinvara 4s were the perfect match!

Team Honey Badgers

Team Honey Badgers

We were in the 5th heat, which was set to go at 10:15 am so we had time to see some of the other teams go through parts of the course.  We didn’t know a lot of details about the race, but we did know there was mud, a river, a wall climb, air squats, burpees and a 2-person wheelbarrow.  The order was unknown…I hate unknowns!  We figured we’d finish in about 45 minutes…that seemed totally doable!

The waiting area was right in front of a large field where the wall climb was set up, so we were able to see those attempts and I was immediately terrified.  My upper body strength is severely lacking and I’ve never even attempted to jump a wall before…I’m going to look like a complete ass in front of my entire gym!  Lovely…

We were also able to see teams in the first few heats finish and they weren’t as dirty as I had expected, so that was comforting.  I had never attempted a trail run or mud run before this, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  All I know, I was worried about running in wet shoes.

I wanted to stretch a bit before heading out, so I decided to start with some lunge complexes.  I do these EVERYDAY at CFM, so how I managed to pull my right hip flexor/psoas while doing my first one is a mystery to me.  Now my fear of the Gauntlet was getting worse!  Having sustained this injury last year in my left leg, I knew this could be bad.  I didn’t want to say anything to my teammates right away because I was hoping it would work itself out with some targeting stretching and walking.  It helped a little, but I was still sore.  I decided to let them know, but that I should be ok.  Fingers crossed!

Ready to Go!

Ready to Go!

Our team was called and we were ready to go.  There were 3 other teams in our heat and after a very brief run down from our coach we were off and into the woods!  After a short trail run, we came to our first obstacle…air squats.  The team had to complete a total of 200 air squats while standing in a muddy stream.  Yay!  Wet shoes right off the bat!  We broke the squats up into 25 a piece for 2 rounds so we didn’t tire our legs out too quickly.  We blew through this pretty fast and were back off into the woods.

We came across a giant tree down across the path that we had to go over.  I gracefully slipped in my wet shoes as I was going down and landed right on my left shin.  This was going well.  It hurt like hell, but not bad enough that I couldn’t keep going.  I brushed it off and kept moving.  After probably half a mile, we came to a small field where our next obstacle was…burpees…ugh.  The team had to complete 100 burpees and while one person was doing them, the other 3 had told hold a plank.  This was where things started to unravel for me.  Burpees are hard, but after running a half mile faster than my usual pace, holding a plank, and being in wet slippery grass, these were daunting.  All I could think was…what did I get myself into.

The burpees took a while and we were the last team in our heat to finish.  The worst part was that a team from the heat behind us actually came into the area just as we were finishing…ahhh the pressure!  After we burpees, we had to run up a hill to that open field where the wall climb was.  I already felt like I had no gas left in the tank and there was NO WAY I was getting over those walls.  Ari was awesome and got on all fours so we could step up over the wall, but I couldn’t even do that (plus I didn’t want to break her!) so I just walked around the first wall.  We had to army crawl our way between the 2 walls, the second of which was higher than the first!  So clearly I walked around that as well.  The penalty for that was 5 additional sit-ups (25 were required) on the other side…oh I’ll gladly take the sit-ups.

Wall Climbs

Wall Climbs

I just wanted to stay lying in the grass, but nope we were back into the woods for more running, mud and water.  This area was very muddy and I walked through a lot of it.  Partly because I was tired and partly because I didn’t want to fall.  It was also around this time that my colitis decided to kick into gear and every time I ran, I felt like I had to go!  This just kept getting better!!

The next “obstacle” of sorts was a flooded out field where we had to trapse through water that was up to our knees out to a parked truck and then back.  My teammates made it to the truck and I was about 100m behind them as which point I just motioned for them to head back.  Here’s where all the self-doubt started really kicking into high gear.  I felt like I was slowing them down and I didn’t want to disappoint them!  They were working just as hard as I was, but I couldn’t keep up.  Aren’t I the marathon runner of the group?!?  What’s going on?!?

The next obstacle we came across was actually fun and refreshing.  As a team we had to cross a rapidly moving stream.  The water was about up to our waist and there were large rocks on the bottom which made the footing difficult.  So we all grabbed hands for balance and crossed…it was actually a nice break and we got a few laughs in.  But before I knew it we were off to the next obstacle and I was just praying for this to be over.

This was the final real obstacle…2-person wheelbarrows.  This is when one person holds the other persons legs as they walk on their hands.  We had to go about 100m down and then back.  I was really worried about this and my lack of upper body strength.  I knew I could carry Ari, but could I walk on my arms?  We started by holding each other by the ankles, but it was tough to support that position and walk on your hands.  About halfway down the field, we noticed another team that was holding each other higher up on the thighs so we gave that a shot.  WAY easier and we ended up flying through the 2nd half.  Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself in a wheelbarrow situation!

Now it was down to the final stretch…a sprint back up that first hill we hit after the burpees, tag a coach, go back down and sprint back up to the finish.  I had to walk some of it…I just couldn’t and I LOVE hill sprints.  I can’t thank my teammates enough for their encouragement and Ari’s slaps on the butt to get me through that last hill.  I’ve got some awesome friends!

At the finish!

At the finish!

We finished in 42:58 which I was actually shocked by…it felt like we were out there forever!  I’m so proud of the whole team for getting through the race faster than we anticipated!  I was so excited to see B waiting for me at the finish line.  He rode his bike 15 miles to be there…he rules!  We hung out for a bit to see who the winners were and then headed for some much needed food and beer.

Post race beers!

Post race beers!

The Honey Badgers!!!

The Honey Badgers!!!

Oh and there might have been some cupcakes.  This place won Cupcake Wars…we had to try it!!

I will take ALL the things!

I will take ALL the things!

This was definitely one of the most difficult things I’ve done and it made me very frustrated because afterwards I just kept feeling like I could’ve done better!  I’ve completed 5 half marathons and 1 full marathon, how could I not keep up for 2.5 miles?!?!?!  I didn’t even TRY the wall climbs.  Really?!?  I couldn’t give it the ole college try?!?  It was incredibly disheartening and I was actually beating myself up about it for the rest of the weekend.  But I’ve come to realize that this was just a completely different experience and here’s why:

  1. Competing with a team is totally different!  I felt a lot of pressure to keep up with them and not let them down.  All of the girls on my team probably weigh at least 30-50 pounds less than I do, so running and burpees are just harder for me due to simple physics and I felt like I was just slowing everyone down.  I know we were out there to have fun, but it’s hard to get past that feeling.  They were incredibly supportive, but I still couldn’t help put that pressure on myself.  It’s much easier when you’re just competing against yourself.
  2. We ran the majority of the time.  I think I went out of the gate much faster than I should’ve instead of properly pacing myself (like I ALWAYS do!) and then instead of doing my typical run/walk pace, we strictly ran.  I’m really not used to this and it killed my endurance early on.
  3. The obstacles.  There is something to be said about doing strenuous exercises between runs…it’s DAMN HARD.  We do this often at our WODs in the gym, but usually for must shorter periods of time and often with rests in between.  To keep up that level of endurance for a long time is no joke.
  4. Uneven terrain.  Trails and mud force you to really pay a lot more attention to where your stepping and you can’t just run with your head held high and looking forward.  Surprisingly though, I didn’t find the wet shoes as horrible as I would’ve expected.  I think the fact that I chose lightweight, mesh sneakers helped with that.

I don’t think I went into the Gauntlet fully prepared for what lied ahead.  I was looking at it as more of a 2.5 mile fun run, which would be no big deal!  This was something completely different and I can’t beat myself up over it.  Needless to say it was a humbling experience and I did actually manage to have some fun along the way.  At least I now know what to expect for events like this in the future and will go in with realistic expectations!

Have you ever done a competition like this?  Do you like them?  Would you consider doing one in the future? 

RAD Reads and Weekly Review: December 16, 2012

After my horrible travel experience getting to South Carolina, I’ve had a pretty great time so far.  I don’t get to see my Mom very often, so this was a nice treat.  After they picked me up at the Columbia airport, we all went to this great place in Aiken, SC called Magnolia Natural Market and Cafe.  I completely fell in love with this place from the moment I walked in!  I’ll take you for an in-depth look at the yummy food later this week.

I am VERY far behind in my blog reading this week, so sadly I don’t have any RAD Reads.  But I promise to bring you some good stuff next week 🙂  Let’s jump right into my weekly review…

Weekly Review
Well this was the week of PRs and I loved every minute of it!!  Sunday started with the Christopher Martin’s Christmas Run for Children 5K.  My official chip time was 35:52, which is 48 seconds faster than my last 5K time.  I actually felt pretty good during and after the race, with only some slight soreness in my left quad/hip area.  Even better news is that at this race last, year I had a time of 39:37 and I was struggling to get that…it’s amazing what a year can do.

I also owe a lot of this improvement to CrossFit, which you all know I am in love with (are you sick of my gushing yet??).  I’m stronger, fitter and have more endurance than ever.  I also hit some pretty huge PRs in CrossFit this week as well.  For dead lifts, I hit 193# for a one rep max – 50 pounds more than my last one rep max back on November 1st.  That’s a pretty big improvement in 6 weeks!  I was totally psyched 🙂

I also PR’d a 100# front squat this week and that felt amazing.  I love hitting those triple digits!!  Last Week I made that 73# one rep thruster, which was quite amazing to me.  I never in my life thought I would be able to lift 73# over my head.  I’m not saying it was easy, but damn it felt good!

Here’s my full week of workouts and to see my full WODs, head over to my page on dailymile.

Sunday: Christopher Martin 5K
Monday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Lots o Squating
Tuesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Dead Lifts, Romanian Dead Lifts & Shoulder Press
Wednesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Box Jumps & Kettlebell Swings
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

While I’ve been in SC, I’ve had both a laser therapy and a reflexology treatment in preparation for the upcoming marathon.  They felt uh-mazing!!  I’m hoping this will help with the rest of my training this month and overall with the marathon.  I’ll keep ya updated on the progress.

Last but not least, I received the results of my chest x-ray, blood test and my allergy test back this week.  My chest x-ray was normal…yay!  For the blood test, the good news is that everything was normal.  The bad news is that we have no idea what is causing my night sweats.  I’m relieved, yet frustrated.  Blech.

The allergy test showed an egg allergy…so interesting!  The results showed that I have a severe allergy to egg whites and a moderate allergy to egg yolks.  I never would of thought of eggs…ever.  All of the other 88 foods tested were in the normal range.  I’m not 100% convinced of that since I have found certain foods that don’t sit well with me.  Anyway, the plan is to cut out eggs for at least 3 months and see if it makes a difference with my colitis.  Fingers crossed it will 🙂

Oh wait there’s one more thing…the winner of my RAD Holiday Giveaway!!!  There were 116 entries (awesome!!!) and I used random.org to select the winner.

Giveaway Winner

And the winner is:

Katherine of Food Fitness Fantasy!

RAD Giveaway Winner_Katherine

Katherine, I hope you enjoy and that the hat and Bondiband come in handy when you run the WDW Marathon!!  I’ll be in touch via email to get your address 🙂

Hope you all have a great week!  Stay healthy out there!