Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Running Class Recap

Last night, we kicked off Hingham Road Race training with our first Learn to Run class. We have a big class, which is exciting! We have a big class, which is scary, as I have to learn 90% of the names!

We headed out despite the weather. We have made a commitment, ladies, and our journey to the finish line on July 4th will happen no matter what the forecast is.

Great first time out there with me! It is important to take it easy these first few weeks while we acclimate our bodies. More important, we must not be our own first critics. Running is not about being fast or keeping up; instead, it is about a commitment to our health and ourselves. Appreciate what you are doing for both your body and soul- this, my friends, is what matters most!

You have all made the decision to have a coach to get you to your goal. Coaches are great as they make one accountable and also help to set milestones along the way. Tomorrow, your coach is starting with a swim coach. Like you, I realize that I will be much better off if I get some guidance in my quest to become better at a discipline. More on this later!

As a reminder, here is your homework- 20-40 minutes of ACTIVITY! It can be walking, riding your bike,etc. Just get your body moving!

Saturday's run will be an out and back, not a loop this time. We will journey out for 15 minutes, and then no matter where you are, head back for another fifteen. This way, we all start and finish together!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tomorrow Night's Run

Notes for Learn to Run students

Tomorrow night starts the first night of Learn to Run at the Hingham Rec- I will post our route in a separate post. However, I found what I wrote last year to my students, and all my advice is the same. I thought I would cut corners and repost here....


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!

Posted by Adrienne at 9:09 PM 0 comments
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 mainly 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,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boston Marathon Recap 2010

Marathon morning at the Ramsey household always starts off so uneventfully. I wake up before the husband, get Cisco the dog ready for the day, turn on the coffee and go about my morning routine. The one change in our schedule is that instead of the trusty Saab pulling up to the Hingham train station and Bill exiting the car, it travels up to South Boston and deposits me at the L St bathhouse. No wonder I start off the day a little nervous- my routine is not exactly how it should be.

As usual, we traveled out with multiple buses to the start line. My husband often makes fun of my running "cult", but even he agrees that L St is second to none when it comes to Boston. Our club has the opportunity to sit warm in the coach buses, helping each other get the body glide in those odds places and pinning the race numbers on our fellow runners. Gus are tucked into race ready shorts (or skirts in my case!), shoe laces are retied, and hugs are passed around as finish preparations for the miles that lay ahead.

My 3:44 from last year's marathon placed me into the second wave. I chatted amicably with a few ladies about our journey to the start line. And then, all of a sudden, we were off. I randomly found fellow club members Jen M. and Cindy J., and we traded last minutes hugs and well wishes. Though we may have raced the first few steps together, I soon fell into my zone.

Last year, I had my secret goal of running 3:45. I put the pace band on my wrist and just went with it. I am not a creative person, but I am excellent at following directions. I prefer the logic of baking to the flair of cooking. It is just who I am. Needless to say, it worked well for me last year, and I crossed the finish line in 3:44.

I made a lot of promises to myself for this year's race. I knew that if I broke them, I only had myself to blame. However, secretly, I had time goals along with the mental goals that I set. Although I did not have the same fire in my belly, I knew my running had been strong. I discretely placed the 3:40 pace bracelet on my wrist and decided it was go time.

Boston is such a techical course. I knew that the last miles after BC were the toughest, so I needed to place money in the bank to save it for later. I also knew that it is SO important to be steady at the beginning and not waste too much energy too early.

The first part of the race was such a blur. I felt confident and in control. My legs did not feel fresh, but I knew it was because they were not entirely warmed up yet. I did not feel like I was pushing it though, and my internal cruise control was on. I was super excited to see my Framingham cheering section, my friend Jaime and her kids. Olivia, Jaime's daughter, made me a "Go Adrienne" sign, and it totally brightened my day. I stopped and took a few pictures and then it was off to Natick.

Natick brought another surprise- my cousin Maureen was at a water stop that I went through. I was very excited to see her at mile 9. My good mood increased once we entered into Wellesley. I do not really care for the Wellesley scream tunnel, but I love running through Wellesley center. I crossed the half at 1:44:44. Perfect- I did not feel like I was killing myself effortwise and my bank of time was building. (But, seriously, how was I faster here than I was at my half in February?)

I love coming out of Wellesley and up and over the 128 bridge. Taking the turn past NWH builds the excitement for the hills to come. I also just love that L St runners who are not racing wait before the fire station to hand out some high fives for us as preparation for the hills. Rounding the corner on Comm Ave, it was go time. Maybe it hurt just a little bit, but I reminded myself that running was not supposed to feel good all the times. I also decided then that if I was going to hit a wall, bring it on. Walls are meant to be climbed over. I made the conscious choice there that I was going to give it my all for the rest of the race. I did not do this at the Hyannis Half, and I regret not pushing myself.

Earlier in the week, I read some advice on Runner's World that mentally, it is better to think of the Newton section as the Newton "flats" and not the Newton "hills". The hills are actually not awful; it is just the point in the course that they come that give them their bad reputation. As I started up the first hill, my pep talk began. "How many times have you run this hill? Remember, it is flat until Newton town hall after you get through it!" It worked for the next two hills as well, and all of the sudden, I was at BC and the hills were done.

I hit the 35K (about 22 miles) in under 3 hours. Perfect- I was on pace to finish 3:40 even if I ran ten minutes miles. I definitely was slowing down at this point. My quads were not happy with me. It was all mental at this point. I made promises not to give up on myself. I hate mile 24 plus of the marathon. I always give up here at this point. My mantra became "I will not walk. I will not walk." And, mission accomplished- I never did. Sure, I shuffled at times, but walking was not an option.

Turning onto Hereford is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. Seriously, I think I go back every year just to hit this emotional high. No matter how good or bad the race, knowing it is almost over is exhilarating. I realized that not only was get my time goal, but I was going to be below it. It also hit me that I enjoyed every second of the race. I even appreciated the pain as it made me realize that I was not wimping out. I acted like an athlete and placed it all out there. I gave it my all in this race and I raced smart.

3:36:15- Shock, disbelief, excitement, joy! I was so happy with my time. More importantly, I felt content. I conquered the negative feeling that occured and threatened to derail me. I looked at my insecurities about running and told them to hit the road. I did not give up on myself today and I discovered that I have more strength than I give myself credit for.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Promises to Myself

Today is marathon eve. Despite the fact that tomorrow will be my sixth marathon, I still have a tremendous amount of nervous energy right now. My coping mechanism is unavailable, as no workouts are on the agenda so that the legs can rest. To replace it, my frenziness is directed toward my house and preparation for tomorrow. My Gus are packed,my number is pinned on me shirt and yes, it is only 10:30AM here in Boston. I even took down the shower curtain to wash it. I feel that if I can get the nest in order, it will be one less thing to fret about.

I think I am most nervous right now, because 2008 and 2009 were the tale of two marathons. I think I am more in 2009 shape, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? This anxiety is the one that gets to me most.

I hated running after my disaster of a race in 2008. If we were friends on facebook, I would have unfriended it. I was never more disappointed in it or myself. It took a year to rebuild my oonfidence and to rediscover the joy that it brings to me.

With all these emotions swirling today, I thought it was good practice to make few promises to myself and to write them down. This way, no matter what happens to me tomorrow, I have firm sight on what my goals are.

I promise that I will enjoy tomorrow. I have worked hard to run a marathon. I naled my 22 and 20 milers along the course. I have earned the privilege of running in the Boston Marathon and I will not disrespect this by hating the experience.

I will be kind to myself no matter what the outcome. I have had a tough medical year that have caused crazy emotional blows. However, they have given me strength. If I have the power to get through these, I can get past a time, that in my head, seems like a "bad" race time.

I will remember that there is no bad racetime. This will be my last marathon for awhile. I need to enjoy the experience and savor every second.

These are my promises to myself. If I don't keep them, I am only disappointing myself. So, it is up to me to follow through on them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Boston Marathon Playlist

One week to go until the big day…. Wow!  It is hard to believe that another cycle of training will be over next Monday.  I love cycles of any type.  No wonder I work in college admission.  Knowing the start and the end exists gives me such satisfaction.

My poor Spinning students are probably happy that another cycle is almost over as well.  Now, I will have some new topics to talk about, and it will not be all about me and the marathon.

But, I will not let them go without doing one Boston Marathon themed playlist on the last class before the big dance.  This class debut is not until Thursday, but I thought I would post it now.  I take the students along the course and try to match the songs with the towns.

“Born to Run” Bruce Springstreen- Warmup- Hopkinton (At some point, there will be a speaker and it will be blasting this song)

“I Run to You” Lady Antebellum- 30 pickups- Ashland (everyone is running to someone, right?)

“I Run for Life” Melissa Etheridge- three one minute hills- Framingham (You run in this town for a LONG time- there are some slight inclines here, but nothing crazy.  I also dedicate this to all the charity runners out on the course)

“Running Down a Dream” Tommy Petty- 45 second intervals with slight incline- Natick (Rather flat town, time to pick up the speed, but stay steady to conserve energy)

“ Girls Girls Girls” Motley Crue- sprints- Wellesley (Wellesley College anyone?)

“Love Train (Workout Remix)” O’Jays- hill with downhills- Wellesley into Newton (on this part of the route, you follow the commuter line.  There are really no uphills here, but we need them to go downhill.  We will get to the infamous 128 bridge before Heartbreak.)

“Move Any Mountain” The Shamen- first hill medium and then hard (we have reached the fire station; it is time to climb)

“Mercy” Duffy- big hill- Newton (We have reached Heartbreak Hill- we are almost to BC- go Eagles!)

“Eye of the Tiger” Survivor- one minute speed intervals with increasing resistance-  Brookline (This part of the course is my least favorite.  You are almost done, but it is time to buckle down.  We keep running, and my motto stays in my head “I can do anything for one minute”)

“I’m Shipping Up to Boston” Dropkick Murphys- jumps- Boston (We have reached Kenmore Square and Fenway; it is time to dig deep and get to the finish)

“Long May You Run” Neil Young- cooldown

“Boston” Augustana- cooldown

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Recap

My weekend could not have been better. Our temperatures in Boston were wonderful, and I was able to spend a lot of time with my husband. We are very busy during the week, and it seems that we spend about one waking hour a day together. Thus, I am very grateful when the weekend allows us to actually see each other. (And, it involved a trip to Blue Hills Brewery - even better!)

Saturday, Leann and I set out to do our last long run in preparation for Boston next week. Leann recently moved to Melrose, so I headed up there early Saturday morning to explore a new running route. With my cup of Fresh Market Spring Blend in hand, I walked out the door in shorts, a long sleeve tee shirt and a vest. It was 40 degrees and windy. Yes, I am a crazy New England runner. Even Leann thinks so- walking into her house, she looked at me and asked me if I wanted pants. I declined. Spring has sprung here in Massachusetts, and I am determined to celebrate it, white legs and all.

Our exploration took us to Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. She warned me that it was hilly, but I shrugged it off. I should have listened better. It was a loop of rollers. Short but steep inclines that made me feel awful but good. One week before Boston, I am not sure that we should have challenged ourself the way that we did. However, it felt awesome to push it, and my inner adrenaline junkie was satisfied. I chased Leann up them- she is an incredible hill climber. She calls herself my friend, but in all these years of running with her, she has not let me in on her secret.

We looped this crazy route twice, receiving lots of looks from the numerous walkers and dogs that were present. Having our fix, we headed back to her house. On the way there, a realization hit us. Neither one of us had bothered to wear a watch, bring water or pack a thing of GU. The two of us have 16 marathons between us. You think one of us would remember those basic necessities. I did have a credit card in my pocket, but really, how would that have helped in a State Park? We think we ran about 10 miles based on our elapsed time, but two spaced out ladies apparently should not head out for long runs together.

Returning to the South Shore, I decided to head to Cohasset and pick up my race number. I was still filled with indecision about the race, but realized getting my packet did not mean that I had to race. I hemmed and hawed it for a day. Finally, at our water stop for L Street this morning, Leann convinced me that it was okay not to race it. My brother-in-law needed my help, I was nervous about my back and I had a kick butt run the day before. I was setting myself up for mental anguish, and I do not need a bad (in Adrienne's mind) race one week before Boston. Enough!

I love the Cohasset by the Sea course. It may be my favorite course of all times. The route is challenging with rollers and wind, but the beauty of the ocean causes me to forgive these details. While we were helping his brother, I suggested to Bill that we head to Cohasset afterwards and run the ocean part of the course and then run it back. My husband of the year was game. Our run was spectacular. He paced me well, and we ran strong. The sun shined on us, the ocean sang to us and all was good in my little world. Clearly, my stress free run on the course was a much better idea than stressing myself out with a race.

This week won't bring much running, but I am content with that. My back is better (knock on wood), and my runs have satisfied my soul this week. I have enjoyed running this week, and gained a fresh perspective on how it invigorates me. One week to Boston- if I can stay in this mindset, I know I can be happy with what the day brings.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Big Debate

Running returned to my life this week. This past weekend, I rode my bike a lot and did lots of back exercises that my PT friend gave me. After being on the Spin bike all weekend, it was a HUGE difference. I guess I better get used to it.

On Monday, I ran with my chaperone- my husband. He was very concerned that I would push it hard and reinjure whatever it was that I injured. It is very rare that we run together, so I knew he was REALLY concerned if he was willing to give up his alone time. Our run was picture perfect, and I convinced him that we could go a little bit longer than we had planned. I am tricky like that!

Tuesday brought a run with my favorite running buddy, Cisco the dog. The poor guy was stuck in the house all day and was ready to go when I arrived home from work. I love him so much- he is the perfect pal to be out with and he is always excited to go running. When he sees me change into my running clothes, he runs to the door and waits. I feel bad when I need to go by myself. (And, yes, I am a crazy dog person.)

The temperatures yesterday were near the 90s. However, I knew I could not run Thursday or after work so I needed to head out during lunch. Full disclosure- I hate running in the heat. Just standing in the heat causes the pins and needles that I constantly have in my hands from the MS to rage. Running then makes that feeling times 100. I headed out slowly and not that far, just on my little four mile Needham loop. It was a day when I just decided to take what I had at hand.

My runs this week have empowered me. I know my back is getting better, and the nightmares that I will have to sit out Boston have stopped. But, is it good enough for me to risk racing this weekend? I am signed up for Cohasset by the Sea 10K, one of my must races for the year. The thought of sitting it out makes me unhappy, but I am not sure how my back will feel about racing a 10K. Is it worth the risk this close to Boston? At least I have a few more days to decide....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carrots N'Cake

An old friend, Tina, featured me on her blog Carrots N Cake today. Thanks Tina! Tina and I went to graduate school at BC together and also worked in the BC admission office.

Here is the link- for some reason blogger is not allowing me to hyperlink it!