Boston Marathon 2014 in a Word: Epic

If you’re a runner and you’re not still reeling after the Boston Marathon maybe check your pulse. Epic.

Sorry my International friends, but as an American, seeing Meb Keflezighi take the title and bring Boston back is spine-tingly. Scroll through some of the pictures that have been shared of him crossing the line, the poignant olive wreath placed upon his head, medal around his neck, eyes moist. Raw emotion. An image captures so much more than thousands and thousands of word could ever portray. I’ll only waste an effort with two: #meb #epic

Meb Keflezighi

Photo Credit: tdurden6 Click image for Source

Along with all other runners I’ve devoured the race coverage with the insatiable appetite of, well, a runner. There’s no OD’ing on Boston Marathon coverage thankfully. HERE and HERE are two really great articles, though there are myriads. Having not been there, I can only get my fix vicariously but will share some of my thoughts:

A Tale of Two Leaders

Both Meb and Shalane Flanagan in the women’s race took the lead from the gun. People can argue until they’re blue in the face over whether this is the kiss of death move or not. Meb held on until the end, unfortunately for all her American supporters Shalane did not.

However, regardless, both runners prove this: they were HUNGRY. Tenacious. Willing to put it ALL out there. Shalane quoted HERE, “I literally ran as hard as I could…I feel pretty ill right now…I’m proud of how I ran.” Rightfully she’s probably pissed she didn’t win but she’s NOT left with lingering questions over whether or not she put it all out there on the course. She crossed the line, 3-minute PR, physically ill later her body proving as such, no questions in her mind. She’s also sure as hell going to be back. Quoted from Competitor, “I will be back here until I win it,” Flanagan affirms.

Meb was just as hell-bound to win, but surprised he was left to lead most of the race. Marathons can be tactical just as much a test of fitness. He knew he didn’t boast of the fastest PR going into the race but he proved today he was the smartest racer.

Loved this quote found HERE from him;”I knew it was a loaded field. I didn’t have a 2:04, 2:05 PR, but guess what? I have the Boston Marathon title.”

To Hell With Age and Doubters

Meb is just about to turn 40. People were shocked and amazed when he won the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon and he’s now older. He runs in Sketchers. Sorta enough said. There’s a lot changing in the world of running sponsorships and contracts which is a whole different matter…but the point is Meb had doubters.

Everyone has doubters, but he also had supporters and trust in himself. So he ran in Sketchers, put in the work, and just stepped away the Boston Marathon Champ. “I was delighted to have 99.9 percent of my career fulfilled, but today – 110 percent,” he’s quoted HERE.

Shalane has still got plenty of years. She makes it quite clear she’s still just as hungry for the Boston Marathon title. Her fans are only going to be cheering louder and louder.

Everyone, us mortal runners of the world, should take a cue from both harriers. Both of them are confident as hell…they are humans so do have moments of doubt like the rest of us…but they tell those doubts and their doubters to suck it.

Then they step to the line as fierce competitors, and go.

Defending My Runner Status: Marathoners, milers, 5k’ers, ultra’ers and all those between, are we not all still runners?

It happened again, I was forced into the awkward position of defending my runner status. I was getting some treatment for my foot and got to talking to a man who was also in there getting treatment for his back.

runner in shoe

The all important marathon. What distance is stamped on your runner sole, errr soul, I mean sole?? ;)

“Is this helping you?” him.

“Yea, actually it is and my foot is feeling better…I don’t care if it’s mental or not I’ll take any signs of improvement. Trust me I’m a horrible beast when I can’t run!” me.

“Oh, you’re a runner? I am too, I had been training for such-and-such marathon but once that was over my back flared up and now I can’t run. But I’m hoping to be better to run this-and-that marathon. I’m not very fast though, I’m sure you’d beat me. What marathons have you run?” him.

Two things caused me to pause and formulate a way I could possibly explain to the man that I AM in fact and runner. 1) I have never run a single marathon, let along him using the plural term 2) Obviously this man isn’t going to respect me if I admit to him point one.

What did I do? I sort of side-stepped the issue as best I could, “Well, err, I’m definitely a one-speed kind of person and like the longer distances and had always thought the marathon would be a distance I’d like to race but I haven’t yet…maybe once this foot is healed up?” Yes, I even ended in a question mark leading him to ambiguously interpret that as he wished.

When what I REALLY wanted to do, to shout, was this:

“I haven’t run a marathon, okay?!!? I have friends who have run them and power to all that have, but just because I haven’t doesn’t mean that I’m not a runner either. Sheesh, you know there ARE other distances to run, right?” sort of defensive I know, but that’s how I often feel when put on the spot by others who assume that all runners are marathoners and to earn runner status the two are intrinsically linked.


Hey, even if you're best race is the 5k you are STILL a runner! ;)

I haven’t run a marathon but I consider 4 miles a ‘short run’ and sort of the ‘minimum distance’ for me to go out and feel like it was worth putting my running clothes on for. I feel best when I can get in at least 8 miles for the day.

I’m not a marathoner but I think in miles, meters and minutes rather than dollars and cents, which seems to be the norm for the mass public.

I’ve never run a marathon but I love long runs. I’m not afraid of going long, actually speed is the factor that intimidates me.

A marathon I have not run but I spend more money of running shoes, clothes, watches, socks (where are they always running off to?!) and food (because I run and need to fuel the beast) than anything else. I swear I could probably be driving around in some Porsche if I weren’t a runner.

No, I have NOT run a marathon, but you know what, I’m still a runner. I mean it is in the header of this site after all, so it must be true. ;)

1) Have you run a marathon? If not, do you ever feel trapped into having to explain that you are still in fact a runner?

2) If you have run a marathon or marathons, has your perspective ever shifted to feeling a little ‘superior’ to other runners. Now, I know that could be putting you on the spot, but I think I want to stir the pot a bit, so c’mon don’t be shy and fess up! ;) To counter though to any ‘yes’ answers, there is a guy running under 10 seconds for the 100 meter and I know he hasn’t run a marathon, do you think he’s still a runner? ;)

3) What is your favorite distance to run or race? For everyone, can you list something that makes you a runner or that you are proud to have accomplished not tied to the marathon distance

4) If you haven’t run a marathon, do you plan to or would like to one day?
Like I said, I’m not averse to it, it just hasn’t happened yet…maybe one day. ;)

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London Done and Come Early: What us mortal runners can take away from the elites

Yes we’re all excited for the London Olympics this summer but there’s plenty of action over there prior to that with today’s London Marathon. I know I can’t be the only person who feels like a total slacker, slow-poke reading and watching all these amazing races; odd how it’s a mixture of that and then of course jaw-dropping inspiration, right? ;)
track runner
In case you missed it there’s plenty of motivation to vicariously soak up (try not to feel too much like a slacker, slow poke…instead, channel these amazing athletes as examples to reach higher in your own goals.) on both the men’s and women’s side.

2:18:37. That’s what Mary Keitany blazed through the streets of London today in her quest to victory. That’s the third fastest women’s marathon ever recorded, and disregarding the whole hoopla on re-establishing World Records for women it does sit behind the fastest ever time of 2:15:25 that Paula Radcliffe ran at London in 2003. I had to throw that in there because Radcliffe’s run there is just beastly to just an insane level.

Keitany tackled the race in a phenomenal demonstration of the power of negative splits. While the pace ‘dawdled’ early, I’m speaking in relative terms for them because it was 5:30-ish, she then knocked down the pace and ended up throwing down 5:07, 5:02, and even a 4:59 split for mile 25. Let’s take this as a lesson for the mortal: negative split running works, don’t go out to fast due to over-excitment and end up crawling to the finish line.
man running
However, there is something to be said for going out blazing saddles from the gun IF you know you are capable of hanging on to that heated pace as Wilson Kipsang and his 2:04:44 win is an example of just that. (Shout out to all Prefontaine fans here, we know our American harrier was known for running all out from the gun regardless too.) Kipsang literally creamed the field as second place was over 2 minutes behind.

Going out in 4:39 for the first mile, even a 4:30 14th mile, is a risky move even if you are in fantastic shape. The marathon is a tricky beast of a race, a lot can happen over those 26.2 miles and to an extent there are some variable you just have to leave up to chance and hope that things line up in your favor come that day. Even so, when pulled off, such feats are astounding and have to be admired.

Back to mere mortal running realm, there is always something we can take away from what these top runners achieve and accomplish.
* Have confidence.
Both of these races are examples of running with confidence but in two different ways. On the women’s side it takes confidence to have patience. It’s been said that it is the runner without confidence who isn’t secure enough in their ability to stay controlled early in a race, as they doubt that they will be able to close strong. Mary Keitany had patience and the confidence in her fitness, and herself, that she could still beat out her competitors come the latter stages of the race. On the men’s side, Wilson Kipsang clearly had the confidence in himself to go out in those heated times. No doubt he’d been assured of this from previous workouts; he knew he could handle that on race day. Have confidence in yourself; it’s natural to be nervous on race day, but know you’ve put in the work and are ready.

* Run your own race. Don’t run someone else’s race or get too hung up on your competition and what they are doing. Races can always play out a myriad of ways so be prepared for that; go into each one with a few different race plans depending on how the actual race plays out and how you are feeling. Having a few different plans to choose from mapped out beforehand makes it infinitely easier to run YOUR race; making decisions on the fly in the thick of things can be stressful and lot harder in the moment.
* Reach and run. Everyone is motivated by different things; for some it’s the elite runners and for others it is their neighbor who never ran a step until they were 50 and now is avid about fitness. Whatever motivates you to keep at it is great; the London performances should still be able to inspire you to keep setting goals for yourself and are fine examples that CONSISTENCY and staying the course with training and the bumps along the way are worth it. Running will always come with up’s and down’s…be prepared to handle both; relish the up’s so you can recall them during the down’s. Set goals for yourself and reach for them; they don’t have to be PR’s or even times but perhaps just staying consistent. Whatever it is, your mind is often your biggest limiting factor and the thing holding you back.

That’s enough words out of me for a Sunday! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and getting your run or sweat on in any way…if you were throwing down some 4:59 miles too en route to a marathon then my hat is tipped to you. :)

1) Do you follow elite running? Do their races inspire and motivate you to achieve your own goals? If not, what does inspire you?

2) When you race, do you tend to go in with a few different race plans and goals?

3) What do you think an example of running with confidence is? How do you gain confidence in your running and yourself with running?

4) What is something you are reaching for? A goal with running or anything related to fitness?

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The 2012 US Olympic Marathon Team

I’m not usually one of those addicted to Twitter, but this morning had me doing the instant updates. Thanks to NBC’s little monopoly over any live video feeds of the US Olympic Marathon Trials, going viral was how most of us could get any word on what was going on in Houston.

By now the world knows; for the women the team is Shalane Flanagan, Desi Davilia, and Kara Goucher. For the men it’s Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, and Abdi Abdirahma.

In what has to be the deepest women’s field to day, we see a 2008 Bronze medalist in the Olympics not even make the team. Over the last nine miles it came down to a four person race for three available slots and in the end it was Amy Hastings who, while putting in a valiant effort, was left with the heartbreaking 4th placing. Still, if you look at the progress she’s made in recent years you can’t deem it a failure…more that the field was just THAT good.

All the pre-race bettors were pegging Shalane, Desi, and Kara as the top three favorites but the marathon is a long race and there are no sure things. In the end, I’m partial yes, but I’m overjoyed that Kara Goucher will be making another trip to the Olympics.

For the men, the word beast has been flying around regarding Meb Keflezighi’s race. At 36 years old plenty of people were saying he was too old, past his prime, and out of the game. Ryan Hall appeared to be the one to beat, in fact there was some article was quoted as saying, “Hall could walk the last .2 miles and still win.” Ummm…I don’t think that was accurate regardless, but everyone likes to cause a stir.

A late race surge by Meb proved you should never count out a champ and while it may have been a while since Meb’s distance running dominance days, he’s proven he’s back and those days aren’t behind him…he’s now got a marathon PR no less. Ryan Hall hung on for second, and Abdi rounds out the team…but what is almost hard to look at is the post-race finishing picture of fourth place, Dathan Ritzenhein. He missed third by a mere 12 seconds.
Dathan Ritzenhein
I have to admit I was really pulling for him to make the top three…the poor guy has had one heck of a year between injuries and infections. He’s one of the most mentally tough runners I’ve ever seen and I really hoped his day would come. Though, as Meb proved, he’s got years ahead of him and while the sting is incredibly raw now, surely it will act as motivation in the future.

As in any huge race, there are those that rise to the top and really step up their game…whether or not it’s a top three birth to the Olympics or not. Just in getting to the starting line these runners have much to be proud of. I don’t know about you but they’ve all supplied plenty of inspiration and motivation to make every day count!


1) Any thoughts on the Trials? How did your pre-race picks or anyone you know end up doing?
I did call the women’s race right. :P

2) Did you look for online updates or are you waiting for the race videos set to go on in a bit?

3) Most inspirational piece you can take away from these races?
I’m torn between Meb and Kara. Meb, so many people said he had no shot in heck…but he never gave up and pushed it baby…he’s a beast! Kara, she’s been through so much this past year, but I knew going in that she’s got the heart of a champ and runs with no regrets…if it was in her legs today I knew her heart would pull her through.

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All About the US Olympic Marathon Trials – So Many Incredible Athletes to Root For

We are fast approaching the US Olympic Marathon Trials…the gun will be going off in Houston on January 14th. If you’re a running fan it’s hard not to get swept up in all the pre-race buzz. Lots of sites have amazing coverage; Running Times, Runner’s World, Flotrack has a great video series featuring the Hanson’s Group, and Hungry Runner Girl has some great stories as well.

It’s been a big year for the marathon in general, without going too far into the debate of what should or shouldn’t be counted as a record this year’s Boston Marathon was, in a word: Epic. For the women Desiree Davila was THIS close to becoming the very first American woman to take the race since 1985; regardless she set the American Course Record with 2:22:38. She further established herself as one of THE women to beat in Houston as well as the tough as grit, rise to the top stories we all love to read about.

On the men’s side, sure they weren’t Americans but Geoffry Mutai and Moses Mosop ran mindblowingly fast times: 2:03:02 and 2:03:06 and if Boston’s course were certified to be deemed World Records they would have been.

What’s more is the marathon in general has spread like wildfire amongst the general public (seems like everyone wants to run one these days!) but the elites who previously were 5k or 10k track runners have decided to take the plunge. Honestly it’d be easier to name the Nation’s top harriers who have yet to run one; between Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, Desi Davila, Dathan Ritzenhein, Ryan Hall, and Meb Keflezighi I think we’re nearly covered. I’ll apologize for the myriad of top harriers not mentioned I know there are too many to rattle off!
girl runner
Still, the amount of emerging talent in the marathon is what’s been almost more inspiring. We have athletes like Molly Pritz who establish themselves on the radar in break-out races; she was our top American at the 2011 NYC Marathon in 2:31:52…this was her first marathon! Amy Hastings’ years of hard work and perseverance have all come together at the right time, and we can’t discount the women for who this is hardly their first experience at the Trials: Deena Kastor (hello Olympic Bronze for the Marathon!), Blake Russell, Magdalena Lewy Boulet and Tera Moody who was the feel good story of the last US Trials. Again, I know I’m missing people.

For the men, personally how can you not root for Dathan Ritzenhein after all he’s been through and overcome? Injuries are part of our sport but they take an insurmountable amount of motivation and belief to get through them…especially when it feels like one thing right after the other. Tim Nelson and Brent Vaughn from the Oregon Track Club, the aforementioned Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi are never ones to count out.

The Hanson’s Team have established themselves as the guys we all want to see do well because for so many years they were flying under the radar…again, check out FloTrack’s coverage. But, for each runner’s story we HAVE seen there are so many more we haven’t.

There’s Michael Wardian I wrote about and I just saw that twins Drew and Kyle Shackleton are going into the race running for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease Research. They’ve already amassed $20,000 and have a goal of raising $10,000 more by the 14th! Seriously please go check out the link and make a donation!
women runners
I’ve read about a woman entrant who moonlights as an exotic dancer…I’m not kidding. Remember that lots of these runners have ‘regular’ duel lives with jobs and families all while putting in all of those miles.

Again, how can you not get swept up in this? There’s still a bit over a week to go and daily more stories emerge…come gun time, who will you be rooting for?

1) Name your picks for the top three who will make it to the Olympics?

2) What’s the best story you’ve read or seen so far about a runner going in?

3) Does all this make you want to go run a marathon…or not? Hehe.

4) What’s your weekend plans?

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On the Ever of the NYC Marathon, it’s Worth Remembering That…

I’ve gotten sucked into NYC Marathon hype…not unduly of course because I think there are plenty of things to be excited about. Is it strange that I’ll post all of this and I’m not even running the race? Oh well if it is, I’m a runner geekette so I can be a fan and post if I want to. I do think it would be really awesome to run it one day.

I thought it worth doing a couple previous NYC highlights over the years, and a part of the idea came to me cause Cecily over at ReRun Running did something similar for another race she IS running in. :)
nina kuscsik
The first woman to run in the NYC Marathon was Nina Kuscsik in 1972; she actually took part in a sit-in with all the other female entrants on behalf of gender equality. They waited ten minutes after the gun and then took off; Nina won NY two times, snuck herself into the 1969 Boston Marathon before being officially recognized as the Boston winner in 1972. Further, she was a propelling force in getting the Marathon instituted as an Olympic event for women.
grete waitz
What has made a lot of press recently is that one of the legends of the NYC Marathon, Grete Waitz, died earlier this year and thus the organizers have dedicated this 2011 running to her. Between 1978 and 1988 Grete won nine times, set the world record for the event a total of three times (even in her first attempt) and what I found astonishing was that she really entered the first time kind of on a whim. She had been a track star, setting twice the world record for the 3000 meters, and I read in one of her tributes something like, until the marathon her longest training run was about 10 miles! She is certainly one of the greatest female distance runners, but she also did a lot of wonderful charity work and co-founded a cancer federation. She is certainly missed.
alberto salazar and cait chock
Another one of my great running idols, Alberto Salazar, won three times from 1980-1982 set the world record for the event in 1981. He was the last American to win until Meb Keflezighi finally changed that in 2009.

Paula Radcliffe, the current women’s world record holder, has won three times. Kara Goucher made her debut at the distance in 2008, Shalane Flanagan also made her first attempt at the 26.2′er in 2010, coming in second and making her the top finishing American female for the span of 20 years.

This year it’s going to be Lauren Fleshman’s turn to tackle the marathon for the first time. On the men’s side there is plenty of talk of a new world record in the works…only time will tell.

So I don’t feel like I’m the only one who should be excited for this year’s event even though I’m not running. Like I’ve said many times before, running IS the best sport around…GOOD LUCK to those racing! :)

1) Are YOU excited for the marathon? Do you have any tidbits you’d like to add?

2) What else are you excited about this weekend?

3) Who are some of your running or athletic heros?

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When You’re in a Pinch You Have a Decision to Make

“But my biggest fears come from things like, what happens if I have to, like, go poop? I mean, what do you do? Really. Do you stop or do you just do it?” This comes from Lauren Fleshman as her biggest fear going into the NYC Marathon. I’d have to say that would rank up there in my list of fears should I be entered in a marathon. So today, it’s all about poop.
I have horrible GI issues, my mom too, I guess I inherited some poopy pants in the gene pool. Fair warning, this post may disgust some, but I’m going to put it out there because 1) it is what it is…c’mon, if you’ve been running long enough you’ve experienced this on some level 2) perhaps we can take some solace in the fact that we’ve all been there and 3) maybe we can swap tips and if nothing else stories…oh, let the good times roll.

I remember the first time I had to go on a run; I was with my mom and up until that point I thought the whole pooping behind the bush was just disgusting. But we all have that breaking point…you know, the butt clench waddle, then the feeling of, “I need a bush NOW!” It then becomes more a matter of, it’s either going in a bush or in your pants…what would you rather choose?

From that day on, I’ve cast aside any judgement on making your own personal port-a-loo…and can joke with other runners, “If you go out on a run and someone in the group comes back with one less sock, you just don’t ask questions.” I’ve compared poop stories with the best of them, and what really gets me…what REALLY bugs me is that the blasted ‘issues’ can be so unpredictable…it’s like a nasty game of Russian Roulette, you never know when it will hit.

Will it be in the middle of a hard workout, a long run, or horror of all horrors, a race?! It’s one thing to be nervous about time, place, feeling good, but how about soiling yourself? Not so settling on the nerves.

I know some of it just comes down to the person, I love how Shut Up and Run’s philosophy is just like mine, in that she isn’t afraid to speak the truth. We’re all friends here, we won’t judge, and if you do judge I’m sure your day is coming, just trust me.
road runner
In marathon prep, part of it comes down to finding what works for you fueling-wise, but even then, if you do all things ‘right’ there is the unknown of the GI Monster. Forget the Gila, this thing is far more terrible.

So Lauren poses the question right, “I mean, what do you do? Really. Do you stop or do you just do it?”

Paula Radcliffe had to choose during one of her marathons and she opted for the pop and squat. Over the years I’ve gotten my P&S to a very short interval, so you wouldn’t lose too much time…it’s just a matter of hoping there is the right bush in the right place.

Where do you stand on the issue?

1) Are you going to take part in the poopy debate?

2) Do you admit to the pop and squat, or the bush dive?

3) What would you do in Paula or Lauren’s situation, obviously on their level they wouldn’t be able to hide the fact of either choice?

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A Century-load of Motivation

If you’re feeling tired in a race and cave to sneaking a peek behind you, if you see this man behind you it should act as a swift burst of motivation!
100 year old marathoner
(Image Source)

Fauja Singh, at 100 years old, recently set the World Record for being the oldest person to complete a full marathon. This was done last week in Canada’s Toronto Marathon. (Actually, what’s really cool is you can read a first person account of Singh’s journey because the rocking Christina ran alongside him for a part of it, so go check her story out!)

You see, that’s where I want to be when I’m 100. Actually, let me correct myself; I’ve said many a time in regards to the ever-increasing life-expectancy: “I only want to live as long as I can still be ‘me.’” Read that as: I can still run and relish in snarky, sarcastic humor.

So, IF I make it to 100, I better still be kicking and living in sweating running clothes…just saying. So, to those who feel they can’t do something and set limits on themselves, take a look at Singh. What I find even more incredible about his story is that his FIRST marathon wasn’t run until the spry age of 89. You see, it’s never too late to turn to the ‘running side’ and become one of us crazy masses. It also proves you should keep challenging yourself and setting new goals, step out of your comfort zone.


His time for this century-aged marathon was 8:11:05; interesting to note that in completely the Toronto Marathon he also established the records for 100-agers in the 100 meter, 5000 meter, and five other distances along with the 26.2 miles. His sights are ever looking forward and up next is of course the grand-daddy of them all: The Olympics.

Juuuuuust hold it…he wants to be a member of the torch relay for the London games. :)

1) How old do you hope to be?

2) Do you plan on running/being active up until that last sleep?
You bet, if I can’t I may just go senile.

3) Most inspirational thing/person/quote/etc. that you’ve seen or heard of lately?

4) Do you have a current goal you’re working towards right now?

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Battling the Race Day Nerves — Use the Nerves to Your Advantage

Sunday again already, eh? Well, we are approaching the ‘GO TIME’ for races here; whether it’s the high schoolers gearing up and going through all the sectional/regional races, the college athletes doing the same, the road racers continually make the circuit, and of course the marathons. We have NYC Marathon fast approaching, other ones going on all around the world, and then come January the US Olympic Trials…exciting stuff!

Though, whether you are racing in a huge meet or a low-key fun run, there is something special about putting on that race bib. Even if you are going into a race using it more as a workout or a tune-up, you still get that little buzz right before that gun goes off.
cross country girl runner
Races wake up that competitive beast just a little more…if tough workouts are just poking it with a stick than having a gun go off is like kicking him in the mouth. I’ve talked about how people have different perspectives on races: for some they just want to survive, others don’t care a lick about time and are all about the fun, and then there are those who are out for time and want to push themselves to their absolute limits.

Any and all of those goals are valid and great; but if you do fall into that last category and each of these races are upping the ante: read as you need to hit a certain qualifying mark, place as high as possible to make it to the next round, and there is a lot on the line, you CAN’T let the nerves get the better of you.

You want that buzz of adrenaline, the prick of your hairs as you crouch at the line, because that’s all a part of racing. But you don’t want to take it to the extreme and sabotage yourself. Don’t ‘think’ yourself out of a race.

Out-thinking it can happen even days or weeks before you start your warm-up. For whatever reason I think I was pretty good at not psyching myself out to the point where it ruined my race before it even started; I think it was because of a few things, and I’ll just share a few tips or pointers that might work for you:

* It’s just a ‘workout-plus’: the thing is, I get nervous before hard workouts too. I can’t really put into words why exactly, part of it is because I want to do well of course, part of it is that I know it will hurt but I want to test my mental toughness and see how far I can push that. I am a big believer in that being a mentally gritty and tough runner is one of the best attributes to have; I respect that probably the most in other people. How to use this for the race then: just think of this race as you would a tough workout; yes, there is more ‘on the line’ but just like in hard track sessions, go out there and give it the best you’ve got. The ‘plus’ part comes from the extra boost the excitement, adrenaline, and competition will give you; usually that will happen on it’s own and will help push you a little harder.

* Go in with multiple goals: the races I’ve been the most nervous for were the ones where I wasn’t exactly sure where my fitness was. Maybe I was coming off on an injury, perhaps I hadn’t raced for awhile; whatever the case if you haven’t built up enough workouts to gauge your level of fitness that can be daunting. In this instance, I’d suggest looking at what workouts you HAVE done, (here is where a coach helps a LOT as they can help you predict and set a goal for the race) and set a few goals. Set one for what you would consider ‘acceptable’, another a little bit higher, and then have a third that you might think is a reach but you still have to put it out there. Now, the three goals things still works even if you are in good shape; you always want to have a third goal where you really put your neck on the line and set it; even if you don’t tell anyone but yourself.

* Carry the confidence: now if you DO know you are ready to rock that race, then I’d suggest thinking back on your key workouts. The ones where everything clicked, you did well, and they are proof you are in good shape; so then when there is the point in the race where it hurts like a beast you can tell yourself, “Okay, I did such-and-such workout and that hurt way more, I CAN do this.

* Power-down, Power-up: leading up to the ‘big race’ just try to push it out of your mind with about two days to go. If you stress out too much about it, what happens is you will physically just wear yourself out. Your body will produce this hormone called, cortisol, which will, come race day, leave you wiped out. Not only that, your mind will have been stewing and could just work against you. So set your goals in advance, then tune out the days leading up…flip the brain back on when you are starting your warm-up because then it’s GO time.

* Relax: ummm, thanks for the obvious advice? Haha…no but seriously, I know we all handle nerves differently; for me I used to sort of turn into this weirdo-yabber mouth. I was the one on the line saying good luck to people or making some dorky joke; for whatever reason that helped me let off some steam by keeping it light. There is a limit of course, you don’t want to be outright rude because some racers are the opposite and like to be completely stoic, so give them their quite. I respect that everyone works in their own way; for the relaxing though, it helps to sometimes just shake out your arms because your shoulders can be up to your ears without you knowing it.

cross country boy runner

We're equal opportunity here, here's one for the guys. :)

I hope a few of these things help. Lastly, if you’re running with a team, use the camaraderie to your advantage, not your undoing. Yes, let it propell you to pick off that last person down the stretch, to really reach…but don’t let the opposite happen where you just absorb all that pressure to perform. The funny thing about it, the more you focus on ‘wanting to do well’ that is usually when you are working against yourself the most. Often times the races or times I’ve felt my best is when I wasn’t thinking about ‘wanting to do well’ but instead just letting it happen.

I’ll share a quote my mom used to always tell me when I would be nervous: “If you weren’t nervous, then I’d be worried; that means you don’t care.”

1) Best way you’ve found to channel nerves to your advantage?

2) Do you get nervous before key workouts?

3) Did you race this weekend? If so…share!

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Pregnant Running’s All the Rage

Everyone’s talking about it so now I will too, the woman who gave birth after the Chicago marathon. I’ve read people making jokes, being outraged, and some people I guess just plain don’t care, they’ve got bigger things to occupy themselves.

pregnant mom
I did read a really funny one that I will cite from our own TX Runner Girl, “running a marathon = your uterus falling out.”

Here is where I stand. My mom has had four kids and ran up until the day she popped for all of us; she was lucky in that all of her pregnancies were relativley ‘easy’ and she didn’t get any bad morning sickness or other issues. I’ve had friends who were runners and hard-core fitness folks who also were able to run, even train through theirs.

Kara Goucher is one example and she goes into plenty of detail in her book and has talked about it on her blog. There is also Paula Radcliffe who has been open about both of her experiences. The thing is, I feel that if you can and are willing, why not exercise or run? Of course take the necessary precautions, but if your doctor gives you the green light, I’m all for it.

That said, none of them ran a marathon while pregnant. I know there is the exertion level to take into consideration. I’ve never been in the situation myself, but I feel that it’s probably not a good idea to go for broke or empty the tank in hard workouts in the final stages of pregnancy…just a thought.

mother in bath

If I were her this would count as recovery...bath with the kiddies tied up.

So running the marathon? I read she did it somewhere over 6 hours, so she wasn’t blazing…that said she was on her feet for 6 hours and that takes a toll. Apparently she ran two other marathons while pregnant with her other two kids, this one was just the closest to the actual delivery…contractions just past the line and 7 hours later, welcome new baby.

Seems like all is fine and healthy…maybe she was just tired of being pregnant and figured, “What the heck?!” Some choose spicy foods, she chose a marathon. But I guess I just ask, “Why?”

I love running as much as the next person, but couldn’t she get the same kind of endorphin rush off of a ‘regualar’ run? Maybe she signed up a long time ago and just couldn’t stand to see all that entry race money go to waste. Heck, actually, that right there could be it, take that race directors and your insanely high costs! ;)

1) This is a rather extreme case, but I’ve done some pretty crazy things to get a workout in too. Do you have any funny/embarassing/quasi-ridiculous stories where you just had to get that workout in?
Quite a few, but some I don’t even want to put out there…haha. I guess one I will say is sneaking out during my ‘break’ for a quick run in the wee early hours. I got back and one of my siblings had woken up in the middle of the night and noticed the door unlocked so they locked it. Locked out, I was caught. :P

2) Running with a second person in you seems very odd to me (having a second person seems odd), if you have been or are pregnant did you run or workout? If not, do you think you would?
I would.

3) Everyone’s about Taco Tuesday, I love Mexican food, so what is your favorite Mexican place?
Don’t hate, I know it’s not ‘real’ Mexican, but I love Chipotle. :)
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