Thursday, April 30, 2009

Woman's Best Friend

Tonight, I arrived home from work, and a certain little golden retriever awaited me. I was a bit tired; it had been one of those days at work, and I had taught my early morning Spin class. Cisco, my golden, looked at me with his big eyes trying to gauge if I was going to take him for a run or not.

I did not want to; I just wasn't it the mood. But, Cisco motivated me out the door. Running with him is always a joy- seriously. He just loves to be out and moving; he does not have a race to train for and a time to beat.

Good thing that he guilted me out the door- I received two mental boosts. I ran by one of the Running students doing her "homework" (Yeah, someone listens to me!) and literally ran into my old high school friend, her husband and their eleven week old son. If my little friend had not needed his run, I would have missed both! Talk about unexpected little surprises!

Now, he needs to take a nap.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The First Step

The first step is always the worst as we have to commit to putting ourselves out there.... But, we all made it tonight and completed our first workout! Great job to everyone- remember the hardest thing in life is showing up sometimes. There were many Sunday mornings this past winter that I had NO desire to get out of bed to drive to Boston to run with my training group. However, I knew that the marathon would be a lot tougher if I did not show up to practice.

Homework reminder- please take 1 30 minute walk either tomorrow or Friday. It will help your body acclimate to impact exercise. On Friday, I will post Saturday's workout.

We all are here for a reason. My reason is to intrcduce you all to one of my great loves in life. Please do not hesitate to email me with questions. I will post all answers to them on the blog. (Don't worry- I won't reveal who asked it!)

Nicole asked a great question about how should the foot hit the ground when running. There is SO much debate about the oorrect way to do it. There is a great article on "The Science of Sport" blog if you want a break down of the debate.

See you Saturday, and remember to walk for 30 minutes!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wednesday Night Run

Tonight we will be starting with an approximate 2.5 mile loop. Our workout will be as follows- 2 minute walk followed by 1 minute run. We will repeat until we finish the loop. I have pasted the route below- don't worry I will get us to that 2.5! Wear running clothes and sneakers. We will also stretch to close out class. See you at 7 PM!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Learn to Run 101 Introduction Email

Dear Students:

Hello and welcome to Learn to Run 101! I want to congratulate you on taking the plunge and registering for this class. Commitment to a goal is scary at times, but it is somewhat liberating once we make such a decision. (And, yes, that quote from the Starbucks cup resonated with me!)

I look forward to meeting you all on Wednesday night, but I thought I would send a short email to you all to introduce myself.

I never ran in high school or college. Instead, during high school, I was a competitive figure skating. My college years found me on the water as a member of the BC Varsity Sailing Team. My point being, I was never involved in a sport that involved any sort of running. In 2001, a year out of college, I joined a gym. It was completely new to me, but I stuck with it. I progressed as we all do and will, and I hate to be so cheesey, but I fell in love with exercise. I loved the way I felt (endorphins are not a myth), I enjoyed that there were clear physical benefits to it (no use to lie!), and most importantly, I adored that NO ONE could interrupt me while I was at the gym. I was not a cardio afficionado that first year, but mainly focused on Pilates and Body Blast classes.

My second year I started Spinning. I was afraid of it the first year and never tried it, (the people looked too intense!) but my second grade teacher was an instructor at the gym and made me go to her class. I started doing a walk/run on the treadmill, and I made the 2003 Hingham Road Race a goal. I finished and was so proud of myself. I set a goal and accomplished it! It is probably my most important milestone still, as I NEVER thought I would be a runner.

Since then, I have run marathons, become a Spin instructor and run every Hingham Road Race since. In my non-exercise life, I have changed jobs twice, earned a Master's Degree and married my husband. I don't want you to think that I am trying to express how great I am- I am not great by any means. However, what I want you to know is that anyone can become a runner, no matter how busy or how hectic your life is. It is all about making time for exercise; it will not have to be the main priority in your life.

Okay, so that's me! Now, here are some things to know.

(1) I will be posting all of our workouts on my blog that I have created for the class, and will also recap the class, post answers to questions, etc. It is if you want to look at it now. I have a few postings not about our class, but it will be dedicated to our class once we start Wednesday.

(2) I sent you my phone number via email. I am best reached between 7:30 and 8:30 AM and 4:30 and 5:30 PM. (That is my work commute; did you figure that one out?) However, you can call me at other times at well. You should NOT hesitate to call or email me if you have ANY questions or concerns that you think of outside of class.

(3) We will be following a WALK to RUN program; you will see how this works on Wednesday. Please do not be impatient with it. We are acclimating your body to running to ensure that ten weeks from now, your body will be injury free when you approach the start line on July 4th. There is a method to the madness!

(4) You will work with me two days a week, but you will need to have two other workouts during the week. You will have flexibility on the days. I will tell you exactly what you need to do each week.

(5) Please make sure that your sneakers are up to date. Old shoes that are from five years ago will lead to injuries. If you need suggestions here, please let me know.

(6) First workout is Wednesday. Please come dressed to run outside. We will do introductions, do our workout and then return to the Rec to stretch. We will meet in the game room.

I look forward to meeting you all!

All the best,

Biker Girls

Today, we were blessed with unusually warm weather. It was in the 80s with not a cloud in the sky. My friend Courtney and I decided this meant one thing- first bike ride of the year.

(Actually, I should back this up. My husband gave me a beautiful new bike for my 30th birthday this past November. Besides my initial test it out ride, I have not ridden it at all. The roads around here are just too bad during the winter; I did not want to put my new baby through that havoc!)

Courtney and I had one of those glorious days. With the marathon just six days ago, we decided that we would just ride for the sake of getting out on the bike. No time goals, no need for long distance, just two friends out tooling around on our bikes looking at the ocean. I might also add that we wore tops that were strategic for sunbathing rather than riding. I think I was hoping she would let me take a swim at some point.

We rode through Hingham and around the harbor, then into Hull down Nantasket Beach. From there, we went up and over Atlantic Ave, past Gunrock Beach and onto my most favorite road to run, bike, gawk, etc, Jerusalem Road in Cohasset. Court and I stopped to chat and grab some water at Sandy Beach, marveling at how many people were at the beach and those kids who were brave enough to be frolicking in the water. Back on the bikes, we headed past Cohasset Harbor and onto Scituate, climbing the hills of Border Street into North Scituate. Court and I rode down the beach roads in Scituate, turning around at Scituate Harbor and then spun past the lighthouse. We circled back to Hingham. I hate out and back type of runs and rides; however, this ride is so full of water views that it is one that I cherish.

And, that ride- about 35 miles in just over two hours. Nice job for an easy effort day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Great Advice from 'Runner's Rambles" Blog

Aron from "Runner's Rambles" posted her great advice about marathon training. Reading through them, I realize they are applicable to ANY goal that we might have regarding a race.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Boston 09

Isn’t it a shame that it is over?

Crossing the finish line of a marathon always brings a mix of emotions. Crossing the finish line of Boston only deepens them for us locals, as we know that our family and friends eagerly await our arrival, and remember that during each mile, we said a little prayer for each of them. The race encompassed everything in the world that it just so much bigger than us.
As many of you know, last year’s Boston was my ABSOLUTE worst marathon by a long shot. I was married to my terrific husband Bill just three weeks before the marathon, and let’s just say that the bachelorettes cut into the training a bit. (I guess running down the Strip at 4 in the morning does not count as cross training.) On top of that, I had recently started a new medication for Multiple Sclerosis, and it certainly was fighting some sort of internal war within my body.

Finishing Boston 08, I doubted my identity as a runner. I was not sure if I deserved it or not. Honestly, a half hour slower than my slowest? My husband, a very practical man, told me to stop my crying and focus on the positives. Did I run for a time, or was I running to celebrate the fact that I could run?

All summer, I refocused. I ran the bike paths in Nantucket and the beach of Nantasket. I rediscovered running with a friend, both of us with I Pods in tow, along the beautiful little way that we on the South Shore call Jerusalem Road. No fall marathon for me; I bagged New York. Instead, I ran the most awesome Eiffel Tower to Versailles Race while I was in Paris for work. (And then wore m y finishers’ medal at USA College Day.) I helped a friend at work discover the joys of running, stepping out with her at lunch time to get a few miles in and have some fresh air away from our office. My husband and I ran up Diamond Head to watch the sunrise in Honolulu, and I remembered that there was more to running than our marathons.

Why do I mention all of this? I know that these months, and this shift in my thinking made running fun again. It turned away from looking at BQs and marathons, but focused on why I loved running. I love the sense of accomplishment that just one mile gives, I love L St (go figure) and I love that for those times that I am on a treadmill or on the road, the rest of my life must wait. And, I just adore my friend that made sure I was at the start line this April 20th.
With this attitude, I traveled out to Hopkinton. We had a great training season. No, we were awesome! When we finished the 20 mile run from Natick, I think we all realized just what we were capable of. We had tested our mettle. And, I realized that running with some great company through the rainy streets of Boston cements both friendships and memories. It certainly helps that we all act as each other sherpas, guiding us through to the end, bringing us to the top of our own personal Everest that we face in the run.

The morning of the race, I was mellow. For those of you who don’t know me, there is NOTHING mellow about me. I work in college admissions, teach Spinning at the crack of dawn and talk faster than the normal Bostonian. After saying goodbye to the L St bus, I walked up to the start line, joined my coral and then we were off. From step one, I was in a trance. I was the definition of runner’s high. No offense to Ashland, Framingham or Natick, but I don’t remember them! In fact, it was so relaxing and every mile seemed to go so easy. I thought of something positive each mile, rather than focusing on the road ahead. Mile one was definitely for my husband, and throughout the race, I thought of each of you who gave me encouragement throughout the training season. All of a sudden, I was at the half way point and the Newton Hills loomed. I faced a problem I had never experienced before- I was “afraid of the bonk” and slowed down because I could not figure out why I felt so good! I did not have my own personal sherpas- Leann and Maureen- near me to pace off of! Could I finish this final part by myself?

I made it, over the hills, past my alma mater and into Brookline. Kenmore Square appeared, and I was into Boston, onto Hereford, and running into the wind down Boylston. I crossed the line, making the simple sign of the cross. I made it thanking the heavens. Not just for the ability to run, but I also gave my respects for such a positive experience. Don’t get me wrong- I trained hard, showing up on Sunday mornings and running on the treadmill during lunch when birthday cakes were served. (I am a sucker for frosting!) But, I think that my renewed attitude toward running helped me to remember that I will never be Kara Goucher, but I can be thankful for the fact that I am healthy, surrounded by a wonderful support crew and that my husband’s birthday (April 20th) was not ruined by a grumpy wife who had a bad day!

Boston 09 will go down for my records, not just because I was happy with my time. I rediscovered my identity as a runner this training season. I tested my mettle. Most importantly, I experienced how allowing myself to be part of the network of support that we all offer each other produces energy that cannot be described. We may all have a bad race now and then, but we can utilize the great tribe of runners as we round the bend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anyone can run!

I am a big propent of the fact that anyone can run! Yes, it is true. With the marathon on Monday, the Boston Globe has a great article for those who want to become runners but are not quite there yet.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, this is my first venture into the blog world.... I hope it goes well!

Although I have been a runner and a fitness instructor for a number of years, I have never ventured into the world of blogging. However, I am starting a new class at the Hingham Rec department, Learn to Run 101. Every year in Hingham, the town hosts the annual Fourth of July Road Race. We have a great Recreation Director, Mark Thorell, and he has been a friend for quite some time. Mark is used to my crazy ideas (I teach the Spinning class at 5:45 AM on Tuesday and Thursday.) I approached him with my thought that we should host an affordable class that would train people for the annual race, a walk to run program where students would be empowered to get to the finish line. Mark bought into it and told me to go ahead with it! I am happy to say that with about two weeks to go, I already have enrolled students.

I plan to use this blog to post information and training tips for my students. I will also post the workouts as well and give recaps of each training week.

Read along; you are about to learn of something wonderful- the birth of new runners!