Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1st-Distance, 2nd-Speed

A while back, I was working with a newbie runner. She had never ran in her life, and she quite out of shape. She set her sights on a completing a half marathon within 6 months.

This is a goal that can easily be completed by sticking to a good training plan. And 6 months was more than enough time to train.

I worked with her for the first few miles, assessing her fitness levels. Working up from .25 mile runs, we were up to doing 3+ miles comfortably with a 12-14 min mile pace. A really good pace for a newbie and for her fitness level.

However, after the first few weeks, she got the idea stuck in her head that she needed to be faster.

Rookie mistake. I've been there. We've all been there. 

You tell someone, "Hey I'm training for a half marathon"
and they (non-runners) instantly ask, "how fast can you run a mile?"
and honestly NO matter WHAT number you tell them, it most likely wont impress them if its not Kenyan time. 
So I usually reply, "How fast can you run a mile?" and change the subject.

So she ditched our training plan, and said, she didn't want to run any more distance until she could run a mile in 7:30. Then at that point, she would run mile 2.

umm.. 7:30? that's a really good pace, that even experienced runners have trouble getting towards. To drop from a 14 to a 7 min pace in < 6 months, and then to add 12.1 miles to that.. is gonna be a little tough, (aka.. nearly impossible)

I kept urging her to just focus on doing the distance. Don't worry about the time. Once your body can handle the endurance, the speed will come. You will get faster.

In the end, she didn't get past mile 1, and she never made it to her race.

Remember to just focus on distance. Don't be embarrassed by whatever time you're coming in at.
You have the courage to start, which most people will never have.
Focus on finishing the race. That's all the counts.

Happy Racing!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Taste your Food

Recently I read the book "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" and certain parts of the book really stuck with me.

The author/protagonist writes about how he inhales his food, and how he learned to slow himself down to really taste all the flavors in his mouth.

Now I know this is not a new concept, but for the first time, it really made sense to me.

During an insanely scrumptious meal I was inhaling, (like I've always done with all my meals), I paused and thought to myself..
"Wow I want to eat more, even though I'm getting full, I want to eat more!"
Then I thought to myself, "why?"
"I want to consume more of this food because it tastes so good, I want to taste more of it"

Then I realized, I can taste more of it if I just chewed it a few more times, instead of consuming more food.

For the "math geek" in me, I thought, I chew 3 times before ingesting.. If I chewed 6 times, then I would have doubled my amount of "taste" without consuming more food.

At your next meal, ask yourself if you're really hungry for more food, or are you not really tasting your food?

Happy tasting

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Diversify, Diversify..

As you all know you should diversify your 401k and IRA's, its also best to diversify your workouts.

Doing the same thing over and over, no matter how many body parts are moving, will become stale, mentally and physically. You will find yourself reaching a plateau.

If you're primarily a runner, add in cycling, yoga, and weight/strength training.
If you're primarily into aerobics or zumba, try adding a spin class and stairs.
If you're doing bootcamp and circuits, get some long distance cardio in.

Embrace change and embrace something new. Your body will thank you for it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nike Women's Marathon 2012 San Francisco

aka.. "The Tiffany Run"  (because you get a custom made Tiffany Necklace as your "medal") Its actually the only "medal" I wear around and show off. hehe

Entry into the Nike Women's Marathon is by a random drawing lottery system. Around April, they will open the registration period for 2 weeks. During that time I think +40k people try register for the 20-25k spots they have available. You register, and if you get "chosen" your credit card will be charged the registration fee of $100-150.

For the past few years, I've tried to get into Nike, but I never won the "lottery". I would get the sad email saying "Thanks but no thanks" from Nike and I'd feel depressed and defeated.
However, every year, I've noticed that 1 month before the race, they'd send out an email saying, "Hey you can still register with this 'last minute entry code!' " but by that time, I would have had no flight or hotel booked and it would be impossible for me to get to SF. So I'd pass.

Finally, last year, 2011, I won the "lottery" and it was amazing.

Fast foward to 2012.. during registration period, I felt that I was going to be a sure win. I booked a hotel during Day 1 of registration. Then after the 2 weeks, I instead of a "congratulations confirmation" email I was expecting.. I got the dreaded "Thanks but.. No thanks" email..

I read it over and over and over again.. This can't be.. I felt sad. I felt angry. I felt cheated.

However, I never put 2 and 2 together until this year 2012.. I decided to keep my hotel and wait for the 3 week "last min entry" into Nike. I waited and waited.. It usually happens around 1 month before the race.. As that week approached, I started to give up hope and made other plans.. The day before I was about to cancel my hotel, my runner friend Pam, who won the lotto this year, got the last min entry code and informed me about it.

I raced to the nearest computer and quickly registered. Hooorray!!! I was IN!

Now the tough part.. I didn't train, at all, all year. The most I ran was 5 miles.. So I had 3 weeks to train for a half marathon.

I know I could do it without training, but I wanted to race well, and to finish strong. I didn't want to walk and half ass it, since I wanted this all year.

So I trained hard for the 3 weeks leading up to the race. I had a bad case of runner's knees. Every night my knees ached and throbbed. But I pushed forward with my training.

Finally race weekend arrived. My running partner Connie and I drove up from LA to SF early Saturday morning.

Sunday Morning, Race Morning, we "planned" to leave the hotel around 6:15 and arrive at the starting area by 6:30, however it didn't happen. As we repeatedly hit 'snooze' we remembered, it took us 30 mins to get to the start line last year.. We can wait.. So we left our hotel at 7am, (race starts at 7am) and got to the area in 12 mins. The corrals were still slowly walking to the start line. Perfect timing!

As we ran, we felt strong. We didn't need to stop or walk, but we did have to pee. We passed through the 3 massive hills during the course. I love hills because its a great way of passing people who see the hill and immediately give up.

If you do have to pee, during any race, wait for mile 5 or 6. the lines will be significantly less. Mile 2 port-a-potty will have a crazy long line. Even though I had to pee really bad, I wish I didn't have to stop because I'm sure my end time would've been 5+ mins faster. after we collected our T shirts and our necklaces, I grabbed all the food I could, and headed straight for my $20 shuttle ride back to our hotel where I got a late checkout and slept until housekeeping woke me up. :)

Overall a fantastic weekend.

Tips for Nike Women's Marathon

  1. If you don't get in, try again during the 3 week "last min entry period" 
  2. Buy the shuttle ticket when you register $10. The Price doubles at the expo $20. 
  3. If you don't buy a shuttle ticket during registration, but really need to take the shuttle at the last min, try to sneak on. They didn't even check if we had our tickets. Then use the $ you saved and donate it to charity!! Karma will get you. 
  4. Pee after mile 5.
  5. Run to the END of the water station. Everyone crowds in the front. 
  6. If you need to walk, Move to the right, and don't form a line with the person next to you. Leave space for people to pass you
  7. LOOK behind you when you stop and move out of the way. You will most likely get run over the by runner behind you.
  8. There are 3 major hills, which get progressively worse. 
    1. After Fisherman's Wharf. ~mi 3
    2. When you see the Golden Gate bridge on your right ~ mi 6
    3. When you're out of the park and enter a residential area, (worse hills)  ~ mi 9
  9. After when you enter the Great Park, you only have 3 miles left, and its pretty flat.