Sunday, May 31, 2009

Identity Crisis

As many of you know, I ran a personal best this past year at Boston for the marathon. I ran a great race, and I attributed it to great training and even better training partners.

After Boston, the New England racing scene shifts to much shorter races. With the weather heating up, the distance gets shorter. Our speed starts to pick up from marathon pace, and we shake out those winter cobwebs that have built up. Every town seems to have some local 5K for a cause, motivating the marathoner to see how their long slow distance training translates into speed and the weekend warrior who thinks “Yes, I can complete 3 miles even though I haven’t done anything all weekend.”
I dread this time of year. One would think I was a sane person and look forward to it, knowing that I do not have a nice twenty miler waiting for me on a Sunday morning. But, I as you know, have not a sane bone in my body. The thought of running only three miles at a REALLY fast pace freaks me out. I cling to my identity as a long distance runner, telling people often that I can run far, but I am certainly not fast.

Even though I do not care for the 5K, I seemingly get dragged into a few each spring. There is always a great cause to support, and always an obliging heart that will say yes.

Given this context, I signed up for two recent small local races, the Pembroke Titans 5K and the Scituate SHORE Run. Both were within a week of each other, one on Memorial Day and the other the Saturday directly afterwards. I prepared really well for both; not running any speedwork sessions and actually, as a complete fluke, I shared beers with my husband rather than actual dinner and food the night before each event.

The Pembroke 5K was a super cute event, with lots of local kids joining the race. I love these races when the starting line is literally lined full of kids ready to go. We headed out, and there were no mile markers. So, I just ran, having absolutely no real idea of where I was. I also was completely unfamiliar with the course, so I ran completely oblivious of where to save myself for hills, etc. Somehow, I managed to finish in 21:39, good enough to win my division and set a personal record.

I completely thought it was a fluke; the race distance must have been short. There was no way I could run a 5K at a 6:58 pace. Bill, my husband, tried to tell me that I was just a little speedier than I thought… but I told him he was crazy.

Less than a week later, and after running with my learn to run class that morning, I found myself at the starting line of the SHORE 5K. And, we were off…. The race did have mile markers. At 1, the timer yelled out “7:07”. Yikes- I better slow down. At the 2 mile mark, it was “14:10.” What was going on there? When I checked the results later that day, I saw that I had ran a 21:38. What? Another sub seven 5K?

I still am a little perplexed. I know I earned my Boston time, but I am a DISTANCE runner. My body is made for it, right. So, where is this little speedster coming from? It goes completely against my identity as a runner. I hate 5Ks. Why doesn’t the 5K get that?

A day later, I am starting to realize the moral of the story. I set my expectations for myself too low. I don’t want to disappoint myself, so I always think I cannot run fast because I am a distance runner who runs Long Slow Distances!

How often do we all do this? How often do we set expectations low for ourselves because we don’t want to disappoint our worst critic, our inner self? How have we limited ourselves because of this? How often do we cling to an identity that may actually not exist?


30-40 minutes of walk/run as you feel!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday's Run

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our First Four Miler

Are you ready? We have been flirting with going the distance, but tonight is the night!

Walk for 5 minutes
3 minute run
1 minute walk
Repeat until done!

I am super busy at work- presenting at a conference on Friday and working to get transfer deposits in and settled. So, I don't have much time to be reflective or inspiring. However, I was reading an interview on Runner's World and this caught my eye as applicable to us as we train for the race.

As backrgound, Rick Ball is a single leg amputee who just set the world record in single leg amputee 10K. "

"My coach told me running is a very honest sport -- if you miss your training runs, then the truth will come out on race day. It is OK to have a big goal, but you need to set smaller goals in order to reach that."

Enough said! Promises for a more orginal blog after Friday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Runner's World Quote of the Day

Love this one! Such a reflection on how we emerge as runners.

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

Mark Twain

Monday, May 25, 2009


Oops, forgot to post!

30 minutes, walking and running as you feel.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Saturday Workout

Here it is... we are venturing a bit off our usual path

We will do the same workout that we did on the track

5 minute warm up
Repeats of 2 min run/1 min walk/3 minute run/1 min walk
We will turn around at 24 minutes, no matter where you are on the route. Again, for now focus on time on feet and not distance covered!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What is Next?

I have not been running with that much purpose lately. I get out there, run some, but it is so different from my runs of only a month ago. During marathon training, I was counting miles, running repeats and spending Sunday mornings with my band of runners. Since the marathon a month ago, there has been a total switch in my focus, with my struggles shifting to trying to withstand a few laps in the pool. (Which, I ended up not being able to get any workouts in this week- slacking!) As bad I want to be an triathlete, I just cannot get myself to find the joy in swimming. I love the water; it is just so much better when there are waves to catch and fish to observe.

Tonight was one of those perfect almost summer evenings. I came home from work, ate a little cake because I was hungry, walked Cisco and then changed into my running clothes. I headed out with literally no purpose except to escape the housework that awaited me at home. (Newsflash- I am cleaning because my husband’s bachelor friend is coming for the weekend. I obviously have much more wrong with me than my inability to love swimming.) I had no plan; I just put my ipod on and went. It was pure zen as there is nothing like pretty little Hingham on nice evening before mosquito season starts. I started thinking about what I would do next; what was my next running goal? I don’t think there is a marathon in my near future, and I really do not think I am going to get any speedier. I am running a few local races in the next couple of weeks, but with Boston under my belt, I have no qualms about arriving at the finish line.

Do we need a purpose to our running? Do we need an end goal? Or, is it about making the commitment to do something for yourself?


Class recap- AWESOME job last night! 47 minutes on a track of walk/run. Talk about boring. But, you did it! Great training of time on feet.
Homework: Walk/Run as you feel like for 35 minutes

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vroom, Vroom

Start your engines runners! We are headed back to the track tomorrow. Here's some great reading from Runner's World for you about why we use it!

We will meet behind the Rec at 7:00 and then we will get our workout in until 8.

5 minute warm up
2 minute run
1 minute walk
3 minute run
1 minute run
X seven

Then, we will stretch and head over to the Greater Boston Running Company for our evening out. 20% off- bring your family and friends! Then, onto Rustic Kitchen for a cocktail we go.

It may still be hot tomorrow, so drink your water!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Being Present in the Moment

Like all busy people, I try to manage many things at once. It is a necessity of my life; if I was not able to, my life would be utter chaos. However, the responsibilities and activities that swirl around me cause one of my greatest flaws- my inability to be completely present and focused in a moment. When teaching Spinning in the morning, I am running a mental list of things I need to do at work today. At work, it is sometimes hard to focus solely on one task, rather than continuously thinking about the next meeting or the other project that is in the mix.

This is my constant struggle. As I race to the next event, I am thinking about what comes after. I want to be one of those people who have found zen, one of those people who can be totally focused on the person with whom we are with at a particular moment. I want to work on it, but I am lost on where to start. I do try to focus my attention when I am working with a student or chatting with a friend. But, I have to consciously choose to do so! Frustrating!

I guess that is why I run- because although my mind swirls with too many things, it is a time that thinking about too many things is acceptable. I don’t stress out that I am not completely present in the moment, because running doesn’t have rules and only requires that I show up.


Even though we missed Saturday due to my Miami trip, a small group of us got out for a 42 minute run/walk on Sunday evening. (Kudos to those who showed up without me on Saturday morning and thanks to Tara for organizing!) It was a solid effort of a little over 3 miles, and we ran more than we walked. Nice work to all!

Homework- 30 minutes, running and walking when you feel like it.

Wednesday evening- meet at the track. We will be working out for 45 minutes. Then, we will reward ourselves with our trip to Great Boston Running Center.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I am going to Miami.....

Did I get the Will Smith song in your head? Don't kid yourself- you remember it.

Well, I am just finishing my packing for Miami, and as usual, there are a million and three things going on in the Ramsey household.... And, mapmyrun is not working and I need to post your workout! I am so frustrated!

So, here is your workout. Just so we have a pretty picture, you can follow the same route we did on Wednesday evening. We are actually going to follow the same workout, but with an added segment. So, you will want to turn around at 20 minutes.

Minutes 1-5: Walk
5-7: Run
7-8: Walk
8-10: Run
11-12: Walk
12-14: Run
14-15: Walk
16-18: Run
18-19: Walk
19-21: Run
21-22: Walk
22-24: Run
24-25: Walk
25-27: Run
28-29: Walk
29-32: Run
32-33: Walk
33-36: Run
36-37: Walk
37-40: Run

Have fun! I will see some of you on Sunday at 7 PM.

Thursday, May 14, 2009



Map out a mile, whether it be from your house or at a track.

Run the mile and time yourself. The goal is to run a COMFORTABLE mile, not a mile that is the fastest that you can go. If you feel like you ran too fast, you did!

Take a break. Walk around for about 5 minutes or so. Then, run that mile again as a comfortable mile. If you need to walk in the mile that is fine! Just allow yourself to only walk for one minute and then start running again. You can do this- we have only been allowing one minute walks anyways.

More to come later- right now, I need to get back to work!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rec to High Street....

Is exactly one mile, for those of you with curious minds!

I will post again tomorrow, with reflection and workout details. Thank you in advance to Tara for agreeing to jumpstart the Saturday morning group while I am enjoying mojitos in Miami!

Runner's World Quote of the Day

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."


How weird is it that the RW quote of the day directly related to yesterday's post?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I love being a teacher. Even though I left formal teaching five years ago, I continue to act as a teacher in my career as an exercise instructor. It may be the older sister in me, but I love to instruct and encourage.

Certainly, I have changed much in the way I teach from when I started at Notre Dame right out of college to now as I work with exercise students at the age of 30. However, the most important lesson that I hope to bring to my students is that of consistency. We achieve goals when we are consistent in meeting the stepping stones to them. Our relationships are strenghthened when we act in a consistent manner, whether it be in our personal or professional lives.

Why consistency? Well, simply put, it does matter that you show up. It does matter that you can be relied on.

In exercise, we build a relationship with ourselves. We promise that we will take this time to strengthen our body while nurturing the spirit along the way. Whether a beginner or more experienced runner, we all strive for consistency. It can be showing up to our practices each week or it can be dragging yourself out the door when you really would rather relax a bit.

All of us have these moments regardless of our ability level. Sometimes, we don't want to head out for a run.... there is dread there. That is the great equalizer for us all- none of us will improve or achieve our running goals unless we do not allow such thoughts to distract us. We grudgingly lace up our shoes some days, and afterwards when we finish, we realize that it wasn't so bad but was in fact pretty good....

Okay, enough of me.... Here is your workout tomorrow.

Minutes 1-5: Walk
5-7: Run
7-8: Walk
8-10: Run
11-12: Walk
12-14: Run
14-15: Walk
16-18: Run
18-19: Walk
19-21: Run
21-22: Walk
22-24: Run
24-25: Walk
25-27: Run
28-29: Walk
29-32: Run
32-33: Walk
33-36: Run

I have posted the route below- we are using another out and back. It is about 3.2 miles. Once we hit 18 minutes, you will turn around head back to the Rec. Not everyone will do the entire route, but it is NOT about the distance. Tonight is focused on time on your feet!

Mea Culpa

I broke my promise- yesterday ended up being a very busy day at work with a doctor's appointment thrown in. When I returned home, there dinner to make, laundry to do and a mother in lsw who needed help using the computer.

I managed to DRAG myself downstairs to the treadmill while dinner was in the oven. I was mad- it was gorgeous out and here I was stuck in the basement so that I did not burn down the house. The first mile was tough, but I am not sure any first mile on the treadmill is appealing. I forced myself to change my attitude, reminding myself that I needed to make this effort work. Falling into a trance, I listened to feet plod left, right over and over again. I emerged off the treadmill, thankful I had made the choice to start, because the reality is, a short run is better physically and mentally than none.

So, isn't that life? I promised you that running would not taken over your life but would instead become a part of it.

I am really happy with how you are all progressing. We went over 3 miles on Saturday! How great is that!

When thinking about your group, I always smile. It is so hard for anyone to make the commitment to exercising, because it is all about showing up to each practice. Amby Burfoot, of Runner's World fame, states it best:

The beauty of running is that it's so simple, so adaptable, and so positive. Any healthy person can run. ( And many others, despite assorted physical and mental handicaps, have also succeeded) you learned to walk when you were a child. Running is nothing more than glorified walking.

You might not run fast. And you might not run far. But you can do it. And even if you have to mix walking with your running, you'll lose weight, lower your blood pressure, reduce the street of daily life, and feel a surge of energy.

And those are only the physical benefits. The mental benefits include lowered risk of depression and increased Creativity. Many runners take up the sport because they want to lose few pounds or decrease their inherited risks of heart disease. They continue running for the way it clears their minds every day.

Running is the ultimate individual sport. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are relative to anyone else. You set your own pace and you measure your own progress.You can't lose this race because you're not running against anyone else. You're only running against yourself, and as long as you are running you are winning!

Amby is just so smart!

We are emerging as runners! Tonight's post later about tomorrow's workout....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick Recap

Runners, I promise I will reflect and write more tomorrow. I have had a busy weekend with housework and fun gatherings with friends.

Great day yesterday- we held off the rain and accomplished over 3 miles! Bravo!

Homework- IN THE ZONE- 35-40 minutes,run when you feel like it, walk when you feel like it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Saturday's Route

We will be doing 2 minutes on, 1 minute walk, after a 5 minute warmup. It is 3.1 miles. For those who want to might want to keep in under 3, I have mapped the out 2.5 miles and 2.8 miles as well.


"Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get."


How applicable is this to most things in life? We can always push ourselves to improve mentally, physically and spiritually.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Today, I woke up to rainy skies and chill in the air. New England weather does funny things and by afternoon, it was sunny and sixty. Clearly, someone wanted us to have no excuses for our run tonight.

My trusty friend Detective Galvin lent me the wheel so that I could run around the track and see how long it is. Mike Perraino handed it to me at the police station and I headed out back to complete my measurements. I really wanted to be accurate for you all.

Past the baseball players and around the soccer players I went.... and it was 1207 feet long.... What did that mean? I completed my run, keeping that number in my head as I journeyed through Hingham. Once at home, I opened up my laptop, found a conversion calculator, and found out that 1207 feet equals .23 mile.

.23? How did the town ever make an imperfect track? (Then I remembered that we are training for a 4.6 mile road race....) I contemplated what to do as I made my way back to the Rec, deciding that it would be my mantra for the evening. You see, we all are imperfect. Yet, we all manage, despite our flaws and inconsistencies, to set goals and achieve them. We work through our imperfections and grow beyond them.

Great job tonight. The track workout allowed us all to settle into our pace and not that of our neighbor. I am sure that bumping the run up to 2 minutes was challenging, but you all achieved it.


Minutes 1-4: Walk
4-6: Run
6-10: Walk
10-12: Run
12-16: Walk
16-18: Run
18-22: Walk
22-24: Run
24-28: Walk
28-30: Run

See you Saturday!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wednesday Workout

Here is the preview for Wednesday runners! We will be using the gravel track that is in the back of Town Hall. Our plan is as follows:

Minutes 1-5: Walk
5-6: Run
6-7: Walk
7-8: Run
8-9: Walk
9-10: Run
10-11: Walk
11-12: Run
13-14: Walk
14-15: Run
15-17: Walk/Grab water
17-19: Run
19-20: Walk
20-22: Run
22-23: Walk
23-25: Run
25-26: Walk
26-28: Run
28-29: Walk
29-31: Run

As you can see, we will be upping our running in this workout. Our first 5 intervals will only be for one minute, and then our next five will be for 2 minutes.

It is important that you go at your own pace! For this reason alone, we will be using the gravel track in the back. Meet back there for class. Please feel free to bring your I Pods, your watches, your cheering section, etc. I will not lie to you- running the track will be boring sometimes. Track workouts give us a sense of making a deposit at the bank- we know that these give great return on our investment. Moreover,my goal is for everyone to find their own pace and to not worry about competing with one another. The track will provide us with that environment. We will all be running "together" and getting some group love, but our bodies will all be able to find our own pace.

Little funny story- I actually do not know how long the track is..... Detective Galvin, who I hope that none of you have had any encounters with, is letting me borrow his measuring wheel that he uses at crime scenes. I will know tomorrow and let you know.

I was thinking of you all yesterday when I was swimming. I am not a great swimmer; in fact, I admittedly struggle with swimming. My ego hurts when I think about my lack of aptitude here; I can run marathons but one lap in the pool makes me cringe. I have trouble pacing myself, breathing, you name it. There would be no mistaking me for Michael Phelps' sister in the pool.

However, I am going to stick with it. I am going to keep doing my little swim drills and putting my time into the water. I cannot tell my mother that I don't feel well and do not want to go today, but I can tell myself that only hard work in this sport will give me the confidence to not be so fearful of the freestyle.

Marathon Finish

My friend and L St photographer Paul sent me this picture from after the marathon!

I think that we both must have been pretty happy with my time!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Sunday Strolls

I was bad today- I bagged the plan to get up early and head up to L Street. My friend Katie had invited me to her house last night for dinner, and then of course, some Celtics game watching was on the list! By the time I got home, I decided that sleeping in to put some ZZZs in the bank for the week was in order.

Of course, sleeping in for me is 7:30. So, that meant that Cisco and I were out for his run at about 8:00. We did our usual 2.8 mile loop, and even visited Carol's spin class before they got started at 8:30. Cisco loves his grandma Carol!

Leann, my bestest running friend, came over a little bit later. She was with me at Katie's, so we vowed to just chat and not push it. (Leann also ran a 3:31 at Boston; I am lucky that she runs with me!) Before we knew it, we were back at my house and more chatting and waffles were in order. There is nothing like two friends catching up over a run and waffles.

My gears are definitely switching with the changing of the seasons. During Boston training, I was so focused on getting quality runs in on Sunday morning and getting in the mileage neccessary to train for a marathon. Now, I am focusing on reconnecting with myself, spending time with my friends and strengthening my relationship with running by sharing my passion for it with others.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday's Run

Another Running 101, another success. Despite the threat of rain, it was a solid recap. And, none of you seemed to notice that we switched to one minute on, one minute off.

A few recaps- first, what to eat before you arrive at 8 AM? I ate a a slice of wheat bread with some peanut butter on it; other suggestions that I have would be a banana or a yogurt. For some of you that may be too much or too little. If you learn anything from me over these next ten weeks, here it is- everybody's body is different, and the key to fitness success is coming to peace with that. If we try to compete with others, we cheat ourselves of finding healthy ways to seek improvement. We don't all fit into one mold!

Next thing, invest in some cool max wicking shirts. Especially as the temps rise, you will want the sweat to be off your body and not sitting in your clothes. On that note, a great new shop focused on female athletic gear (Sorry Wil!) opened up practically across the street from my house this week- Gettigear. I met Laura, the owner, today, and she is carrying some great items. She has crossover items as well as running specific items. (She carries a lot of great sports bras as well; I know personally that this is my most important running item!)

Homework- walk for 36 minutes. (I just mapped it out and I added one minute.) After every five minutes, run for one minute

1-5: Walk
5-6: Run
6-11: Walk
11-12: Run
12-17: Walk
17-18: Run
18-23: Walk
23-24: Run
24-29: Walk
29-30: Run
30-35: Walk
35-36: Run

I am going back to my running club tomorrow morning. It will be the first time that I have run more than 5 miles since the marathon. I will let you know how the legs hold up!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tomorrow's Workout

1:30 walk, 1 minute run times 5

1 minute walk, 1 minute run times 5

We will use this loop twice:

Runner's World Daily Kick in the Butt May 1

"Life is complicated. Running is simple. Is it any wonder that people like to run?"

Kevin Nelson, The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration

I will publish tomorrow's route this afternoon!