Tag Archives: running

Everyone Needs a Coach

I strongly believe that everyone needs a coach; someone who instructs, trains and directs you to achieve a specific goal. Coaches can come in many forms such as parents, athletic coaches, financial advisers, health coaches or spiritual leaders.
I can’t deny the enormous benefits I’ve received from having several coaches in my life. As an entrepreneur, our business coach has helped us navigate the ups and downs of business ownership. Our pastor, who is our spiritual coach teaches, encourages and guides us along our faith walk. As a Chiropractic Physician, I coach my patients along their health journey; not only helping them through their pain crisis, but also providing them with the tools they need to express optimal health.

Recently I decided to utilize the services of another coach, but first, here’s why. About 12 years ago I completed my first race; the Disney Marathon (26.2 miles). I literally went from couch to marathon with very little training. To make a long story short, I ran most of the race in excruciating pain.  (Notice the huge “ice pack” bulge on my right knee in the picture below.) The recovery was also long and brutal. After I foolishly signed up for and completed a half marathon (13.1) the next year, I made the decision that I didn’t like running. In fact, I stopped running completely.

disney-mara-2005-collage

Fast forward to 2012, three years after relocating to a new area, I decided to give running another shot. I joined two running clubs as a way to stay active and meet new people. Starting slowly with low mileage seemed to be a better fit for me. I eventually ran my first 5K. Since then, I’ve run a variety of races including 7 half marathons. Although over the years I’ve grown to enjoy running, one prevailing thought remained; I had no desire to ever run a marathon again…even after watching many of my friends train for and run their first marathon.

At the beginning of this year, however, I started thinking about the possibility of attempting the marathon distance again (long story). The thought persisted and I gradually convinced myself to take on the challenge. I registered for the Disney Marathon again…why Disney?… I have something to prove :-).  Plus I hope to replace the negative memories associated with my painful  first race with  more positive ones.

coaching2

Having had success with coaches in other areas of my life, I knew that if I wanted to also succeed at training and completing a marathon, I needed a coach. I sought the services of Coach Tia from Training In Action. The experience so far has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve been running consistently under her guidance and direction since July. I decided that during this process, I was going to be coach-able. Although I understand the anatomy, bio-mechanics and physiology of the body, I also understood that I needed to rely on her experience and expertise regarding running (and boy! is she an experienced expert having run several marathons and over 100 half marathons!!). I decided beforehand that I was going to follow her recommendations and stick to the plan.

She’s challenged my perspective on what I thought I could or couldn’t do… It turns out, I could do ‘it’ . So far, I’ve met or exceeded most of the goals that she’s set for me and have been injury free throughout the process. In fact, I’ve run my fastest 3 miler, 5 miler and half marathon…ever.  Although I still have about a month before completing this marathon, I’m becoming more excited and confident with each passing week. Having the right coach does that for you. All of a sudden something that once seemed difficult or unattainable, now seems possible and within reach.

Coaches are experts in their field. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge; and more importantly, they desire to help you to succeed. Set your goal and get a coach to help you achieve it.

  • Be coach-able
  • Follow the plan
  • Be flexible and open to change

If you’re already living your dream, become a mentor to someone and coach them through to accomplishing their goal.

In what area have you utilized the services of a coach? What was your experience?

From Wogging to Jogging

On my last post I mentioned that one of my goals was to run my best and my fastest at Ragnar next month by maintaining the 11 min/mile required for our team. I realize that for some folks, an 11min/mile isn’t that fast. But for me that pace is achievable only for a 3 miles or less, but anything longer than that is a “kick butt”  pace for me. iRUN collage

Somewhat recently (about 9 months ago), I set a goal  to become a faster runner. Of course, the word “faster” is relative. When I began training for my first and last marathon (26.2 miles) 10 years ago, the goal was to get moving. Speed was never an important factor for me. So I took it slow… and by slow I mean molasses slow…like a turtle in peanut butter slow.. you get my drift. Slow got me across the finish line in 6hrs 28min and I was happy with that.

Two years ago when I started running again consistently (after giving it up for nearly 8 years), “slow” was still ingrained in my running DNA. I enjoyed running wogging (jogging so slow I might have well be walking) 5 miles at a 13+ pace. I could laugh and talk and not get too winded. In the end I burned a few hundred calories, broke a nice sweat and felt accomplished.

It wasn’t until about 9 months ago after signing up for Ragnar Key West  (200 mile overnight relay race) that I realized my kind of slow was not going to cut it. The team is required to have an overall 11 minute pace. I was in trouble! So I enlisted the help of a running coach and signed up for several races to keep me motivated. The coach, in addition to giving me a running plan, monitored my progress weekly and made modifications and suggestions as needed.Two of the most important lessons he taught me was 1. Run Faster 2: Don’t take walk breaks just because you’re tired. That was foreign to me. Why would I want to run faster and ruin my fun? Being tired seemed like the perfect reason for a walk break. My coach advised that brief walk breaks should be predetermined…such as for water stations. Ok, I get it… I think.

Anyway, once I began applying those two principles, running changed for me. The conversations and laughter pretty much was exchanged for regular  breathlessness and side stitches. Leisure runs became the exception, not the norm. Running was no longer as fun for me, but it became so much more rewarding. My 13+ pace for longer miles is now a low 11 and sub 10 when I push. It wasn’t easy, but I’m excited with the progress I’ve made from “wogging” to actually jogging :) Hopefully next stop: Running…fast!

So I’m excited that next month I’ll have an opportunity to put all my training to the test when I complete my 3 legs (about 16 miles total) running with an overall 11 minute/mile pace.

This year I want to maintain a sub 11 running pace, diversify my workouts by adding more strength training (which I’ve recently fallen in love <3 with BODYPUMP) and fun classes like spinning and Zumba.

Ragnar was my motivation for achieving a faster running pace. It was a constant physical reminder of the goal I wanted to achieve.

  • What’s your motivator for achieving your goal? It doesn’t have to be fitness related…
  • Are you a wogger, a jogger or a runner?

5K…Fun K race recap.

I hope every one had a great Thanksgiving weekend. I’m still recovering from a half marathon I complete yesterday (recap to come), but I wanted to share my experience from the Women’s Running series 5K  in St. Pete that I completed last week. If you’ve been following this blog, you might recall that last year I ran the Women’s Half as my 2nd half  after 8 years of not running.

St pete 5k bling

Last week my morning started at 3:30 am. After getting ready, meeting my friends, I drove an hour to get to the race destination (yep, I drove an hour for a 5K :) ). We had a mild cold front that came through so it made for perfect, overcast running weather.  

Normally my race recap details the overall event and how I felt during my run, but this event was a little different for me.  Although the race was well organized, the course was fast and flat and the amenities were excellent and included a post race “freshen up” tent (complete with wet wipes, deodorant, lip gloss and a personal photographer), massages, tons of snacks and refreshments…even champagne; but the thing that I enjoyed most about this race was the camaraderie among the runners.

I’ve been running for almost two years now and every time I attend a race, I meet new people and reconnect with familiar faces. Overtime, I’ve gotten to know so many runners, many of whom I now call friends. When my two running friends and I arrived, we went directly to a predetermined meet up spot to take pictures with running groups we belongs to and friends.

I was able to hang out and reconnect with my friend and  former running partner Jan, who I ran my first 5K with almost 2 years ago. She is the reason I started waking up super early to run. This was our first opportunity to hang out since she moved to Atlanta over a year ago.

St pete women 5k

I also got to spend time with my girl Mel. When I decided I wanted to start running, I showed up for a run with a local running group on a night they were doing hill repeats. Needless to say it was horrible and I almost passed out, but Mel was the one who ran with me and stayed with me the whole time. She introduced me to Jan. Mel has been MIA from the run scene after giving birth to a beautiful baby boy. It was nice to see her again.

Oops, I almost forgot I’m taking about a race event. That was pretty much how it was. Before the race we socialized and took pictures. We ran. Then post race we socialized and took pictures.

But by far, the highlight of the race was being able to cheer people on at the finish line. It was such an encouraging experience. There were women of all shapes and sizes making their final dash towards the finish, many in under 2 hours. I was especially amazed at the determination of the runners to finish. It was obvious that some were in excruciating pain from the grimace on their faces and some were literally being pushed across the finish line. I stayed on the sideline and screamed and cheered for so many people I lost my voice. I was even moved to tears at some of their efforts. It gave new meaning to the term “finish strong”.

I very seldom get an opportunity to watch runners as they finish, so this was a real treat.

Have you ever participated in an event where you enjoyed the social aspect more than the event itself?

When was the last time you got a chance to cheer people on at the finish line?

Running in the wrong shoes…

Summer is in full swing here in Florida. It is also really hot, humid and sprinkled with thunderstorms and potential hurricanes. The average morning temperature when I go running is about 76 degrees and at 5 o’clock in the morning, it doesn’t always equate to a breath of fresh air. Summertime is also the time when many runners start gearing up and training for the running season; which typically starts in the Fall when the weather gets a few degrees cooler. When I started running more regularly over a year ago, I knew that I needed to invest in a decent pair of running shoes. I went into a running store, my feet were measured and a pair of running shoes were recommended. I purchased Brooks Adrenaline. These shoes are designed to stabilize your feet when running and the limit over pronation. Pronation occurs when your heel rolls inward as your foot strikes the ground (video definition of pronation).

gait_analysis_b

This is an example of how a stabilization shoes can minimize over pronation.

I typically replace my shoes every 300-500 (sometimes 700) miles and have always bought the same type of shoes. Recently though, after each run I began having foot pain. The pain would disappear in about 24 hours, just in time for me to run again. This happened for about a month. But the last several weeks have been a little different. I’ve had to cancel a few runs because the pain in my foot was taking longer to heal. Now that training season for me is here, I decided to get a gait analysis done at a local running store. (A gait analysis observes and measures the way we walk or run.) Once again, I had my feet measured. This time I stood on a  pressure mat that measured the amount of pressure I was placing on my feet at specific points and it also determined the curves of my arches (which has slightly fallen). I was then asked to run on the treadmill while my steps were video taped. The video revealed that my gait was neutral. I was not over pronating and therefore did not require the stabilization. I was shocked. I had been running in the wrong type of shoes for over a year. No wonder I developed foot pain.

I ended up purchasing a neutral running shoes, Minuzo Waver Rider 16. minuzo sneaks I try never to break in a new shoes on a run longer than 2 miles, however, I decided to take it for a test drive on my 6 mile Saturday morning run. I noticed my foot strike was landing flat on the ball of my feet instead of on the outer side of my foot as before. The best part was I didn’t notice any foot pain. I hope  that now I can actually focus on training pain-free.

Have you ever had a gait analysis done? I would definitely recommend it if you’re a runner; whether a sprinter or distance runner. Having the right shoes for YOU can help minimize the risk of injury.

Have you had to deal with injury that prevented you from working out? Were you able to identify the cause of the injury? How did you resolve the issue?

Stop trying…

Over a decade ago, I read a quote that have stuck with me; “Don’t try, commit”. I don’t remember who the author was, but this has been my mantra ever since. I’m sure you’ve probably heard this saying too. Trying implies that you’re making an attempt or effort to do something. Generally when we say we’re gonna try, we’re already giving ourselves an out; that just in case we don’t feel like it, or decide to change our minds, we won’t be held accountable.

But when we commit, we pledge ourselves to a certain course of action or policy. I’ll admit that occasionally, there are times when I’m asked to do something or be somewhere and although fully aware that I’m not interested, I still respond by saying ” I’ll try”. There are also those times, while in the midst of reluctantly obliging, I’m convicted and I either step up and fully commit or respectfully decline. old paper scroll Commit

I realize that there are those who genuinely feel that they’ll make an effort when they agree to “try” to do something or be somewhere, but I also believe there’s a greater level of compliance when we make a decision to commit. This one little nugget has change my perspective, influenced and impacted my life.

There are certain sacrifices that  often accompany specific commitments. When I committed to living a Christian life, it became necessary for me to do things that would strengthen my spiritual relationship with Christ. I shared my habits of spiritual fitness here. When I committed to my husband, I expected the good times, but braced myself for the hard work, consisntency and compromise that comes along with marriage. When I committed to be self employed, a complete paradigm shift occured and I embraced the sacrifices of doing the work involved to become successful. When I committed to becomming a runner, I knew that trying to get a run in here and there wasn’t gonna cut it. For me, a consistent  4:30 am wake up call was what it took to begin making progress. The same level of commitment goes with parenting or even completing  the blog challenge I participated in last week

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you up heave your life to commit to something that won’t bring fulfillment, I believe we develop a greater consciousness of our availability to commit, when we intentionally choose how we respond to life’s requests. Perhaps you’ve been asked to volunteer for an event, attend a meeting or speak at a function; you really don’t mind doing it, but  have been afraid to commit “just in case” you change your mind, you’re too tired or don’t feel like it. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about trying to be a better person or committing your life to God; stop trying. You’ll be surprised at how saying yes may cause the universe (so-to-speak) to align and come together so that you’ll fulfill that commitment.

Are you ready to stop trying and start committing?

What have you committed to doing lately? Have you ever said you’ll try knowing good and well you have no interest?

Mace in your face…just in case

Last Thursday, there were reports of an attempted abduction right on our local running route. My  running buddies and I ran at 5:15 Thursday morning, and later that morning around 10:30 am in broad daylight, a guy jumped out of the bushes and tried to abduct an 18-year-old while she was running with her running partner. You can watch the news report below:

WFLA-TV Newschannel 8

As you can imagine, I was very shaken up by the news. Natures Way Blvd is a very popular route for runners and walkers. It’s in a residential area and has always been considered very safe. But now, the thought of running there in the dark of the morning has become extremely unsettling to me. I recently blogged about why runners ran in the street. During that post I included some tips of how to remain safe while running. But realizing that none of those precaution would protect me from some crazy lunatic made me really nervous, especially because he lives in the community.

Before leaving the house every morning, I pray and ask God to protect us on our run, but I also decided to take seek additional protection. Over the weekend, I went into a sport store to inquire about purchasing a can of mace. When I got to the store, I was delighted to see my running partner also buying one for protection. I wanted to get a taser too, but that particular store didn’t sell them.

Mace 2-IMAG0593

I haven’t run that route since this happened and I’m hoping that my morning run tomorrow will reduce my anxiety. I hope I never have to use my mace, but I will if I have to.

Have you ever started having second thoughts about doing something that you previously thought was safe? Have you ever had to use Mace or any pepper spray? Would an incident like this deter you from continuing to run that route? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

DIY: Running Medal Display Rack

As you may know by now, I’ve been participating in a week-long blog challenge sponsored by Joi, The Rx Fitness Lady. In case you missed any of those posts, feel free to check them out below.

Today’s day 5 prompt is: An Appropriate Do-it-yourself project. I am super excited to share this project. I posted a while back that I’m partially motivated by the race medal or “bling”. At that time, I only had 3. Well, over the last year of running, I’ve accumulated a few more race medals. I’ve seen several display racks, but thought to myself that I could probably make one myself; so I did. Here’s what I did.Final Medal Rack CollageFirst, I gathered all of my supplies. I ended up spending about $40 dollars total. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I made a few costly mistakes that hopefully, I can help you avoid. Medal rack supply Collage

I spray-painted the edges pink. When it dried, I placed tape over it then spray-painted the surface black. (I forgot to add tape to the supply list because I already had some and didn’t have to buy any) medal rack black

Then I placed the decorative stencil across the center and the letter stencils spelling the word “running” across the top. I used tape to cover and protect the remaining surface from unwanted splatter. (If you look carefully (through all that pink) you’ll see where the stencils were placed)

medal rack stencil paint

While I waited for the paint to dry, I also spray painted the brass cup hooks black.

Medal rack Spray paint hooks

Now for the big reveal! UGH! The spray paint smeared under the stencils. By the way, this was attempt #2. I had to erase the first attempt by repainting it black.

Medal rack bad stencil

I also had to touch up some areas that smeared on the decorative stencil as well. I simply used a black permanent marker to sharpen the edges of the design.

Medal rack save Collage

Finally after getting frustrated with the stencils, I headed back to the craft store. I racked my brains trying to figure out the best and easiest stencil to work with. Then, there they were…wooden letters. Ahhhh! *cues Hallelujah chorus*. I spent about $3 bucks for them, spray painted them and pasted them on with wood glue.

Shalacked-medal-rack

Finally! I have a beautiful rack to display my run medals. I didn’t even realize that I had so many.

Finished Medal display rack

It took about a total of 2-3 hours to complete this project including drying time. But because of work, kids and other responsibilities, I didn’t have the time to knock it out in one shot. It took me almost 4 days of working on it 10 minutes here and there. I learned that I am much more patient with people than projects. Before being married with kids, I’d spend hours on a craft project.  Now, it seems less enjoyable because I don’t have time…unless I’m doing crafts with the kids. All in all, it was fun to tackle and I absolutely love the way it turned out.

How often do you do craft projects? Do you enjoy it? Are you a patient project person?

Why do runners run in the street?

Last week while on a routine morning run with my running partner, a guy yelled from his truck ” Get out of the road!” as he drove by. I was a little taken aback considering it was dark and we weren’t in his lane or even on his side of the street. His angry tone reminded me of the last time I was yelled at from a man in a truck like that. It was during my freshman year of college when me and my friends were crossing the street (in the crosswalk) on our college campus and some guy yelled “Get out of the street n****r!” I quickly dismissed the memory of my past experience to a few ignorant folks and proceeded to enjoy what was left of my run. But that’s not what this post is about..lol. I digress.

Anyway, I couldn’t stop thinking about the guy who yelled at us.  Honestly, although I would never yell at anyone outside my car, before I started running, I used to wonder why runners ran in the street and not on the sidewalk. After several months of running and several injuries later, I took to the streets as well. I’ll admit though, that when I run by myself in bright daylight I try to use the side walk as much as possible, but here are the main reasons I prefer running in the street:

  • The sidewalks are often times damaged and uneven. Tree roots tend to elevate the concrete in different areas and they can be very dangerous. I’ve tripped several times on different occasions, causing serious ankle injuries. I’ve also witnessed other runners fall flat on their faces, sustaining pretty bad injuries also. (Even the slightest elevation can cause a runner to trip and fall. See picture below)

    uneven sidewalk

  •  It is very difficult to squeeze onto the narrow sidewalk when I run with a partner or in a group.  Twisting my ankle off the edge of the side walk and trying to maneuver between tree branches is a common occurrence when running on the sidewalk.
  • Also, running on the road seems less jarring for me. The concrete is much harder and offers less shock absorbency than the asphalt. 

I understand that road running can be dangerous for pedestrians. When I run, it’s usually very early in the morning. So my running friend and I try to use as much precaution as possible.

  • We make sure that we can be seen. We always run with reflective gear, head lamp, flash light and blinking red or white light.
  • We make sure that we can see the cars. When we run on the road we always run facing the oncoming traffic so that we can begin moving out of the street at the first sign of a distant head light.
  • As the car approaches, we slow down and move completely off of the road and on to the shoulder until the car passes. There are a lot of very courteous drives out there who also slow down and if the road is empty will move completely in the opposite lane to give us as much room as possible. I always thank those drivers with a hand wave. There are also those drivers who drive really fast and make no effort to slow down. We take no chances with them and will stay totally clear of the road. They also get a hand wave.

As runners its important to remember that we are the pedestrians and we should take responsibility when it comes to sharing the roads. Other safety precautions should include

  • letting someone know where you’ll be
  • running with a cell phone in case of emergencies
  • If you run with head phones, make sure the volume is turned down so you can hear what’s happening around you.

I hope this post will give both runners and non runners a better understanding of why some runners take to the street. For most of us, it’s not a matter of total disregard for vehicles, traffic rules or safety, many of us are just trying to enjoy our time on the pavement and do so without injury.

I’d like to know: Are you a street or sidewalk runner? Are you often impatient with road runners? Do you encounter runners who seem to have disregard for traffic or are most runners compliant with the “commonsense” rules of safety?

Habits of Spiritual Fitness.

I absolutely love running. It’s a wonderful metaphor for life. I’ve been inspired, enlightened and convicted in my thoughts while on the pavement. Over the past year, there have been a variety of patterns I’ve had to change and healthy habits I’ve had to develop to get to the level of physical fitness I have today. It was on one of my routine runs while thinking about my physical fitness, I thought about my habits of spiritual fitness. In this post I’ll share three of the ways I develop my habits of spiritual fitness.

Bodily vs spirtual fitness

  • Quiet Time: I love running early in the morning. There’s something about the fresh, unpolluted morning air; the stillness and quiet of the morning that refreshed me and wakes me up…even if I didn’t feel like getting up. The same is true when I spend quiet time with God to read the scriptures, reflect on the Word and pray. Jesus set a great example of spiritual fitness when He withdrew Himself for His quiet time to pray (Luke 5:16). I try to have my quiet time in the morning when the family is still asleep. During this time I seek God for direction. I talk to Him and listen to what He says. I find that I become stronger spiritually when I develop an intimate relationship with Him through my quiet time.
  • Fellowship: A huge part of my success as a runner is being around other runners. I’m a member of two running groups in which I actively meet with and participate in on a regular basis. I also have a running partner who meets with me and helps to keep me accountable. Similarly, we develop spiritual fitness when we meet together and fellowship with believers on a regular basis at church or in small group meetings. We can share, encourage  and pray for one another.  Hebrews 10: 25 reminds us to “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some; but exhorting one another…”
  • Discipline and Consistency: Finally, the road that  got me from barely running a quarter mile to running 13 miles is paved with discipline and consistency. I try to run or do some form of exercise at least 4 days/week. On the days that I’m too tired, too busy, too lazy to run, I lace up and go for a short and easy one mile walk. Almost always, I find the energy to go an extra mile.  In general, I pray and talk to God through out the day, but there are days when I don’t feel like having quiet time; days I don’t feel like reading my bible or spending time in prayer. Discipline tells me to do it anyway...even if I don’t feel like it and consistency tells me to do it regularly. 

As I continue to grow  both  physically and spiritually, I’ve found that the more I apply the principals of physical fitness to my spiritual life,  I develop greater endurance, stamina and strength as a Christian. I am better able to deal with the stresses of life by casting all my cares on Him and overcome obstacles with less fatigue knowing that He is the strength of my life.

While we are building, developing and caring for our physical body, let’s remember to do the same for our spirit, which will last forever.

What are some of the ways that you are developing or maintaining your spiritual fitness?

Boston: Bent, but not broken…

Ever since 9/11, the majority of events that I attend at large venues, I almost always think what if some crazy person decides to do something stupid. Usually the thoughts are fleeting, I say a quick prayer and forget about it. Sunday, at the Iron Girl race it was no different. I had the same fleeting thought, but I quickly rationalized to myself that this is just a running event. There are probably just runners and supporters here….Of course to maintain my sanity, I said a prayer and dismissed the thought. I probably would not be writing about it if the terrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon had not occurred.

Boston-We Remember It’s been really difficult for me to wrap my mind around it. The stories, videos and pictures are heart braking. Other than the sickening feelings of sorrow and disbelief, thoughts of whether it’s safe to continue to participate in major races entered my mind. Are races being target now?  I also dismissed those thoughts when I think about the numerous tragedies and acts of terror that have bent, but was unable to break our humanity. We unite, come together and support each other.
I am praying for the runner’s of the Boston Marathon, the victims, their families, the spectators, volunteers, friends, first responders and everyone who has been impacted by this horrific and senseless act of violence. I pray that God will comfort their hearts and give them strength through this difficult time. As for me, I will continue to train, work hard and run knowing that my life is hidden in Christ. My faith in Him is stronger than my fears. I’m reminded of the scripture that says “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28.

Runners Unite Boston

As a show of solidarity in the running community, thousands of runners have decided to participate in this virtual run event between April 16 and May 4th, sponsored by Run Junkies. A bib can be printed from their Facebook page and worn as you run in honor and support of the victims and those affected by this tragedy.

Also members of the Black Girls Run! group are also sponsoring a virtual run where you can run 26.2 miles, 2.62 miles or 26.2 minutes over the course of 3 days from April 16 -April 18. “Three days, three distances to honor our friends, our family  our running community.” –BGR!BGR for Boston