Tag Archives: running

Boston Fearless!

As most of you know, I am a (very) proud 261 Fearless Ambassador.  Kathrine Switzer is the ultimate running role model.  I urge everyone to read the story of how she became the first woman to register for and run the Boston Marathon.  (Her book Marathon Woman is a must read!)  She was able to finish even after one of the race directors tried to (very) physically remove her from the race.  Fifty years later she is being honored at the 2017 Boston Marathon, and she is going to run the marathon too!  As a relative newbie runner who happens to be in excess of 50 years old, I am in awe of this woman.  On top of being a fantastic runner and fierce advocate for women’s running, she also is one of the kindest people I ever have met.

Kathrine is sharing her honor at Boston with the women’s running community.  Women can apply for a charity bib to run the Boston Marathon without a time qualification.  AND you get to start the race WITH Kathrine!  If you want to run Boston and be part of the celebration of one of the most significant events in women’s running history, I urge you to look into applying for a bib!  The charity  is Kathrine’s own 261 Fearless, self-described as:

Pronounced TWO-SIX-ONE Fearless, we are a global supportive community which empowers women to connect and take control of their lives through the freedom gained by running. Through a series of non-competitive running clubs and private communication channels, we provide networking, healthy running support and education, and a sisterhood to women all over the world.

It is the mission of 261® Fearless to bring active women together through a global supportive community – allowing fearless women to pass strength gained from running and walking onto women who are facing challenges and hence sparking a revolution of empowerment.  261® is the symbol that unites us as empowered runners and walkers.

Run Boston with Kathrine Switzer!

Random thoughts about (1) feminism, (2) shattering glass ceilings and (3) running in a sport bra.

 

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(1) I never really thought about myself being a feminist. I was too young (being born in 1963) when, in the 1960’s, the “second wave” of feminism began. (The “first wave” mostly being encompassed by women fighting for the right to vote.) What an exciting yet I’m sure confusing time to be a woman! Some of the basic goals of these feminists were equal pay for equal work, an end to domestic violence, women in managerial jobs, an end to sexual harassment, and sharing of responsibility for housework and child rearing. How sad that 50+ years later, women still are fighting these battles!

So many notable events occurred during this “second wave”; a great timeline can be found at Second Wave Feminism Timeline

The “third wave” of feminism began in the 1990’s, and continues to work for equal pay, reproductive rights, and to end violence against women.

I am so grateful for all of the brave feminists who fought and continue to fight so I (and my daughters) have a fair shot in life. That’s all we can ask for, and all we expect. Looking at my daughters now, so independent and with fierce opinions on social issues, I guess I raised two feminists. I’m proud to be one too.  And how lucky are we to have a President who wrote an essay on feminism that will be published in Glamour Magazine, stating that it is men’s duty to fight sexism. This dictionary definition is spot on, and describes the core of the feminist agenda from day one – equality to men.

feminism
/ˈfeməˌnizəm/
noun
1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I suppose this post was inspired by recent events. In May and July, I was fortunate enough, in my position as a 261 Fearless Ambassador, to be able to spend some time with Kathrine Switzer at two running events. Kathrine is a true pioneer for women. If you don’t know her story, I encourage you to go to 261 Fearless and read all about her. It is impossible to not be inspired by Kathrine, whether you are listening to her speak to a large group or in private conversation. I encourage all women to join the 261 Fearless movement to get inspired and get moving!

As an added bonus, the running event in May was held in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 and known as the birthplace of women’s rights. There is so much history to be found here, in additional to an excellent 19k race (special distance for the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote) and 5k race. May, 2017 will mark the second annual Right to Run event weekend, and will be extra special because it marks the 100th anniversary of New York State granting women the right to vote. Check out Right to Run and join me next May!

(2) Glass ceilings were shattered last week as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to receive the presidential nomination from a major political party. You don’t have to support her or even like her to recognize that THIS IS BIG. As of January, 2015, there were 22 female world leaders in power. How is it possible that it took the United States so long? I thought we were such a forward-thinking country, but when I read the negative and downright hateful remarks and comments on social media that have nothing to do with the qualifications of the candidate, but relate to appearance, speaking, etc., it’s maddening. Sometimes I feel like I am being dragged back to the time before the “second wave” of feminism!

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My hope is that with the Obama presidency and the Clinton nomination, we can continue moving forward, basing our opinions on fact (let’s start using Snopes before we post, people, I beg of you!). Don’t believe everything you read – do your own research and make informed decisions.

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(3) Lately I am seeing posts encouraging women to run in just a sports bra, shirtless, with the hashtag #sportsbrasquad, challenging women to “shed your shirt and actually enjoy your summer runs”. This “squad” has to do with accepting your body and not being self-conscious, which of course we all need to do. I myself have good days and bad days in that regard.  But I don’t need to join a squad or run in my sports bra to make a statement about accepting myself and I don’t have to prove my self-acceptance to anyone. Therefore, I’m declining this challenge, as running in my sports bra has nothing to do with my image of my own body, and frankly it doesn’t sound that appealing to me. I like my running shirts, with their inspirational and funny sayings. I like how my running shirts wick the sweat off me (because I sweat a lot!) so it doesn’t run into my bottoms. I like how my running shirts protect parts of me from getting sunburned, because that sun block does not last when I’m sweating. I like using my running shirt to wipe sweat out of my eyes. I’m comfortable in my running shirt. So I guess I won’t make the #sportsbrasquad, but that’s okay. If you want to run shirtless, go for it! Lots of men do it, and I doubt many of them care what people may be thinking. In today’s world, with all that is happening, we should be beyond the point of this discussion. If you decide to run shirtless, do it because it’s right for you. The key word in self-acceptance is “self”—do what you want to do, what makes you feel comfortable. Make your own decisions. Pave your own path. Don’t wait for someone else to pave it for you.

 

 

Coming to terms with my first DNF

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I belong to several running communities, and follow them all on Facebook. It is amazing to me how many of us are going down with injuries this summer. From minor issues to major issues, we are being forced to modify our running to adapt to our medical issues.

Personally, this year I have had several DNS races due to continuing problems from a car accident last September, and new issues that have emerged as I have modified to try to accommodate those injuries. The most humbling incident for me was at the Sehgahunda trail marathon, in Letchworth Park, New York, self-described:

“Sehgahunda is the REAL DEAL. It may just be one of the hardest trail marathons in the east. It’s 26.3 miles of single track trails, over 3000 feet of climbing, with more than 100 gullies that need to be traversed”

I was ill-prepared for this marathon, as I live in a very flat area of New York, and was not running regularly due to neck and back pain. On race day I was very excited to give it a whirl; unfortunately, the weather was excruciatingly hot, and there was no air flow on the trail. Getting to and from the checkpoints was so difficult – grass up to my waist and higher, and shoe-sucking mud beneath. I was not prepared for the severe declines and inclines, and each leap over a gully made me wince from pain. I made it to checkpoint 3 before it was decided that I (and many, many others) should not continue. Of the 300 entrants, there were only 206 finishers.

I was out there for 4:19:13 for 16 miles. Should I have pushed through the last 10+ miles? That question haunted me for a while. The way things were deteriorating, I probably would have been on the trail another 2 ½ to 3 hours at least. I may not have even made the 8 hour cut off. When I brought this up with my chiropractor, he affirmed that I made absolutely the correct decision. I was dehydrated, tired and in pain. I know I set myself back medically by doing 16 miles; now, I also have an issue with my hip. Doing the extra 10+ may have been satisfying at the moment I crossed the finish line, but I am sure I would have regretted it in the long run.

Hopefully I am learning from these experiences. Instead of being disappointed in myself, I should be proud that I completed 16 miles of the toughest race I have ever attempted, and while injured. I also learned that I do enjoy trail running, but maybe not to the extreme of this particular race. I became very nervous on the steep downhills when someone would come barreling up behind me. Sometimes there was nowhere to go to allow people to pass (the women start earlier than the men, but then some of the men end up catching up pretty quickly and passing some of the women). This just was not my race.

It has taken me six weeks to write about this. I am such a stubborn person and not finishing something I start is very frustrating for me. Reading all the stories my fellow runners have been posting on Facebook about their setbacks and comebacks has really helped me accept that my DNF is just another part of my growth as a runner. So thanks to all of you!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Maybe I’m a little late, but I feel like this is an appropriate greeting. A lot has changed for me since my last post – both my physical self and my perspective.

 

I’m continuing to work on my back issues since the September car accident. I have added medical massage to the chiropractic and I think I am continuing to improve. While Dr. Steve works at keeping me aligned, the massage is getting at some muscle points that still have not eased up; as she says, “hard as rocks”. I have added a stand up desk at my job and also purchased a stand up table for home. It took a while for my legs to get used to standing so much, but I definitely think it is better. I finished off a few races to the end of the year (I will review them separately), but otherwise really took it easy as far as running is concerned.

 

As the holidays approached, I was feeling overwhelmed with the traveling for races and holiday preparations. Then our beloved dog Samwise died unexpectedly over Thanksgiving weekend, and everything just felt “off”.

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After Christmas, I still wasn’t feeling myself. That’s when I sat down to re-think what I could do to feel better, do better. I wanted to be excited about the future, not just plan it and do it. I decided to get running again, but take it easy. No worries about speed, just get it done. I signed up for the 2,016 miles in 2016 challenge. I am on a three person team for running miles, but I personally am trying to achieve 2,016 all-purpose miles. I signed up for 1,000 running miles in 2016 challenge. I signed up for some virtual runs to benefit some good charities. I signed up for some trail runs – including a marathon that is said to be one of the toughest in the northeast. I signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon and some other local races. I started a marathon training plan, and I’m trying to stick to it.
What am I not doing? I’m not going crazy scheduling races in states to complete the 50 state challenge. I’m really enjoying the 100 Half Marathon Club – I could do 100 half marathons in my home state and complete the challenge. No travel worries and much less expensive. The club has a gazillion discounts not only for races but for running products, the dues are not high, and the club organizers are wonderful. There is no competition with other clubs. I highly recommend anyone who runs half marathons to join this club – just say I referred you!
Life is changing in other ways too. There is a high likelihood my husband will be retiring. My own job is winding down as well. We want to move. I will have to start over with a new job (in my 50’s!). I want to get some health and fitness certifications.
So this is my NEW year. Reevaluating myself and my goals at 52. Trying to stay happy and healthy for another 52.
Happy New Year indeed.

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I tried to run August, but August ran me!

August was a tough month. Like most, we suffered from unrelenting heat and humidity that made every day living, not to mention running and exercise, pretty much unbearable.  I tried to keep up with my training but some days it was just hard to breathe, the air was so hot and humid!

There were a few bright moments, starting with the Drake Well Half Marathon in Titusville Pennsylvania.  This would be state number 9 for me in my quest for a half marathon in each of the 50 states, plus D.C. The Drake Well Half is a small race at a beautiful park at the Drake Well Museum. It was a very hot day but luckily the latter part of the race was on a paved, shaded path which was heaven! For much of the path it seemed like I was running by myself but for the chipmunks and deer that ran across my path, and whatever other critters were lurking nearby.  Since my headphones were not working, I was very aware of the many sounds coming from the woods!  I ended up 2nd in my age group (thank you small races), and I was glad I chose this for my Pennsylvania race.

one lane bridge leading to the Drake Well Museum

one lane bridge leading to the Drake Well Museum

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seen on my run

seen on my run

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The following Friday evening after work I ran a 7.7k along the Buffalo waterfront called the Soaker to raise awareness of the importance of hydration.  We were squirted by hoses and fire trucks all along the route, and it felt good!  My husband, still recovering from surgery, was a real trouper and came along to be my cheering section.

I'm a little soaked from the Soaker!

I’m a little soaked from the Soaker!

The best of course was traveling to New York City to visit my daughter and see Jorge Posada Day at Yankee Stadium.  My favorite Yankee! Unfortunately it was so hot that we just could not stay for the entire game. My daughter was sunburned after the 2nd inning!

Hip Hip Jorge!

Hip Hip Jorge!

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Also that weekend I got in 2 fabulous runs in lower Manhattan.  If I could only train in New York!

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Run with a view

Run with a view

the inspiring Statue of Liberty

the inspiring Statue of Liberty

I love NYC

I love NYC

In my run around the South Street Seaport, I came across this yoga party!

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My first virtual run of the month was a 5k to benefit an organization I learned of in one of my Facebook running groups. I really enjoy virtual runs, it’s like training with a purpose.

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The month closed out with two more races; one road and one virtual.  The road race was a 10k to benefit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.  I was on a team with some of my in-laws, as my late father-in-law had been a patient at Roswell. I also ran in memory of my own sister.  The event was good except for the race itself; two loops on newly paved (i.e. smelly) roads with no scenery whatsoever.  It is fun to run as part of a team, though.

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The virtual race was organized by Gone For a Run, the 7 mile Sole Sisters race.  I ran this the day after the 10k, and decided to use it for speed training.  I ran 1 minute slow, 1 minute fast intervals, and the miles went by very quickly.  My sisters from Virginia and Oklahoma also ran this virtual, so we kind of ran it together.

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So that’s my month in review.  I’m very glad the weather is changing.  I have a ton of fall races and now know that I really need a more structured schedule to stay healthy and run well.  Stay tuned for a more disciplined me!

A few of my favorite [running] things.

I have tried lots of different gear, accessories and gadgets during my training and at the various races I have run. I know some people can just lace up their running shoes and head out the door, but it takes me longer to get ready for a race than it does to go to work. These are some of my favorite things, from head to toe, inside and out:

I have to wear some kind of headband, not really because of my hair but to keep the sweat from dripping down my face. For me, it’s a true sweatband! I have an unusually large head, so the headband has to be on the bigger side, and stretchy. One of my favorites is the one I got from the 50 States Half Marathon Club. It fits me just right, and I love representing the club by wearing the logo.

I also love the fit and feel of the headbands from One More Mile. The sayings and colors are just fun!

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Fifty State and One More Mile headbands

When it’s raining, there is nothing like a hat with a brim to keep the rain out of your eyes. Unfortunately, again due to the size of my head, I can’t wear a lot of hats. As luck would have it, the hat I received at the ZOOMA Cape Cod half marathon fits, and I love it!

A newer accessory for me is my Fellow Flower. I have one, and I gave one to each of my sisters. Each flower has its own story. The clip is extremely strong; it has never slipped on any of my runs. It’s just a fun accessory with an important meaning.

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ZOOMA hat, Fellow Flower, and Runningluv

I don’t have one favorite brand of race shirt. It of course has to be the right material, but the most important to me is the cut. FILA makes a nice race shirt, and it’s long which is something I need.

I mainly wear running skirts, and I still am experimenting to find the best one for me. I like the shorts underneath to be a bit longer, but the skirt not as long. (I’m not too picky, right?)

My feet – the bane of my running! Easily injured so I really try to pamper them when I’m running. Out of the blue this spring I started getting blisters between my toes and was overjoyed to find Injinji toe socks. I buy the thickest socks they sell and have not had a blister since!

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Injinji toe socks

For running shoes, I like a lot of cushion (these feet!). I was enjoying the Hoka Cliftons until my podiatrist said I really need some support. Both he and my sports medicine doctor recommend Brooks, so I purchased some Brooks Glycerin. I love them! They are very cushioned and have enough support for me. Hopefully they won’t be changed in future models (I hate when that happens!). The only problem is that I wear wide width, and there are no fun colors in wide width.

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Brooks Glycerin 12 and 13, with my Beecause charms

After a long run I like to slip into some nice Pro Compression socks. Keeps the post-run aches and pains under control!

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Accessories – I couldn’t run without my Amazon app music or Scribd app books. A few weeks ago I got my first pair of bluetooth headphones – heaven! Not having that cord run down my shirt and not accidentally ripping the buds out of my ears makes for a much more comfy run. These were very inexpensive. They may not be the best sound quality, but I can’t tell good quality sound from bad quality sound.

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Rev Jams wireless Bluetooth headphones

I use Runkeeper for my run tracking app. The best feature I have found is that I can set intervals “until my activity is completed.” That way, no matter the distance of the race, the intervals keep going. I haven’t seen that on too many other apps.

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Runkeeper with continuous repetitions

I have just started using a Tom Tom running watch.  I love the large numbers and it seems to be tracking distance similar to Runkeeper.  It’s a good backup in case Runkeeper shuts down.

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Tom Tom and Trust Your Journey bracelet

I think I already mentioned I really sweat, and I also have some outdoor allergies that cause my nose to run almost immediately when I step out the door. I used to carry a small towel but it was so inconvenient and made my hand sweat. I was thrilled to find Runningluv! I wrap it around my wrist and it’s like having a wristband and towel in one. True luv!

Where has Buddy Pouch been all my life? Carrying my phone in a pouch attached by magnets is so convenient. I hated when my belt would ride up, and I don’t like arm bands or to put such bulky things in pockets. This is the perfect solution. The pouch doesn’t move, it doesn’t pull down my skirt (I’m sure my fellow runners appreciate that), and after a few seconds I forget it is there. It is also easy to take my large phone out, something I struggled with using other belts. It also has an expanding pocket for other stuff.  Buddy Pouch also has a water pouch. I don’t drink too much on my run, so it is a perfect size for me.

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Buddy Pouches and MyID bracelet

Speaking of hydration, I just started using Nuun before and/or after my runs. Too soon to tell if it makes any difference, but it tastes pretty good and I do feel like I might be a little more energetic.

One thing I do like after my run is EAS Advantage. I know it’s not the best protein drink, but it tastes good and doesn’t have a ton of calories.

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I’m always running with my Trust Your Journey bracelet. I have one, and I gave one to each of my sisters and daughters. It is very meaningful to me, and when I am struggling during a run I look at my bracelet and tell myself to trust my journey.

My sister gave me and my other sister these Beecause charms, and I think they add some nice bling to my running shoes They have special meaning and remind me of my sisters when I am running.

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So there you have it, a few of my favorite [running] things. Give one, or all, of them a try, and let me know what you think!

My unscheduled seven day running hiatus.

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I haven’t gone seven days without running (when not injured) .. ever!  But … my poor husband had total hip replacement last Monday and other than sneaking out for a run Tuesday morning, I have been pretty much confined to going to work and going to visit him.  I should say, take care of him, as the care he received, in my opinion, was pretty mediocre.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect of good nurses, and I know I don’t have what it takes to be a good nurse, but it seems like a lot of the nurses we encountered didn’t want to be good nurses either.  I won’t go into gory details, but I was doing things I’ve never been trained for!  Other than administering pain medications (which we had to wait for, for what seemed like an eternity), we were pretty much on our own.  When he was transferred to rehab, things pretty much stayed the same, except the food was inedible.  I had to bring him all his food, it was that bad.  I feel so sorry for the people who are there long-term; I would pass them sitting in the lounge, just staring at their food.  More than one would ask me to please take them home — I so wish I could have!

You might think we were difficult.  Really all we wanted were the things that would help my husband be comfortable and get better — ice for his hip; water to drink; pain meds; help with hygiene, etc.  So began my crash course, because obtaining those things was not that easy!  Yes as a wife I expect and want to take care of my husband, but doing some of these things, I was so worried that I was going to hurt him, my nerves were frazzled.  He insisted on coming home today,so now I am really worried but happy not to have to go to the rehab center anymore.

These seven days I was out of my house at 7:15 a.m. and didn’t get home until 9:30 p.m.  Being so physically and mentally exhausted, I was afraid if I went running I might end up with an injury from “sloppiness.”  I decided to be smart, and now my seven days of “nursing” are over.  I am relegated back to wife and maybe a little “home health aide”, and hopefully will be back to being a runner tomorrow!