Ambassadors

Finding Myself Through Running

As I write my second installment for The SF Marathon blog, an article was published recently in The New York Times entitled Running as Therapy.   In summary, the author writes about how distance running helped her through some of the most difficult experiences. The article is something that I can totally relate to.

Besides struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression in my early twenties. I rarely disclose this because I fear that people will judge me.   Life is sometimes not fair. The depression was different than the blues.  I went through some rough periods where I felt that I could not lift my head to see the light.  I battled with self-doubt, self-loathing and low self-esteem. I wanted to be alone.  It hurt to be around my friends.   At my lowest point, I contemplated ending my life because my spirit was so broken.

I was prescribed antidepressant medications such as Wellbutrin and Luvox in addition to psychotherapy. Though the treatment helped manage my depression symptoms, I still felt a fog of sadness that I couldn’t get out of. I struggled to find happiness and purpose.   I had the support of family and friends but it wasn’t something that they could take away.  It was something I had to work out on my own.

On November 12, 2012, I signed up to run the first half of The 2013 San Francisco Marathon. It was the next item to check off on my list of goals on my weight loss journey.   I did not think it would change me. I had doubts that I could even complete the race since it is a challenging course.

It was […]

By |March 25th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

The Agony and the Ecstasy of The San Francisco Marathon

This July, I’ll be running The San Francisco Marathon for the third year in a row. The race was my first road marathon in 2012, and I’ve yet to pound the pavement for 26.2 miles in a different city […]
By |March 24th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

The Art of Falling

Hitting the trails for a run can be a beautiful way to spend the morning. The dirt underneath your feet, the trees waving overhead as you pass by, the fresh smells of nature in the air. Trail running however isn’t always euphoric.

There comes a time in everyone’s trail & road running life where you are bound to hit the ground from tripping. You might fall hard. It will be frightening, and yes, there might even be blood. How do I know? Perhaps I have fallen just as many times as I have lost toenails if not more, and maybe, just maybe, I have more scars than I have scarves. And, that’s saying a lot!

You would think with all of the falling I have done, I would be an expert on the subject. But sadly, I still have yet to master the art of tumbling. I did manage to gain some insight on how to fall gracefully though.
• Rather than tensing up with the horror of “I’M FALLING” try relaxing the body, (easier said than done).
• Keep your elbows bent and use your hands as shock absorbers. The closer your arms are to the body, the better. Arms that are extended can cause serious injuries like broken wrists.
• If on smoother terrain, try to roll. – I have actually seen runners who fall, roll and are back in a standing position all within a blink of the eye. I only wish I could be this coordinated!
• Not able to roll, try to at least fall on your bum. While not ideal, the bum can endure far more than the head can.
Falling can be not only painful and emotional, but at times embarrassing. It is comforting […]

By |March 19th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

Importance of the Long Run

The Long Run.  Every runner who has trained for a marathon has had that seem feeling of dread when they see numbers like 18 or 20 appear toward the end of the schedule.  We will do almost anything to make a long training run tolerable: group run with friends, find a race close to the required distance on the same weekend, darn near anything to avoid having to go run for HOURS by ourselves.  When no other out presents itself you may try rationalizing your way out of doing the long run; I’m here to explain why you need to do it if you want race day to go well and not dissolve into the dreaded death march.

There are multiple reasons why you need to do long runs as part of your marathon training which I will break down into 2 areas: physical and mental.  The physical part is the most obvious so we tackle that first.  On race day most of us will be on the course in excess of 4 hours.  That is a lot of pounding on your legs and there is no good substitute.  If your legs are not prepared for that kind of beating you will be a sad camper on marathon day. Equally important are the physical changes your body makes during training. When it comes down to it what your training is meant to do is force your body to adapt to running long miles. One of the most important adaptations to occur is you force your body to make more mitochondria, which are like little energy generators.  The more of them you have the more energy you will have during your race and those long runs […]

By |March 17th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

The Challenge of Pacing

Running. We humans have been doing it as long as we’ve been humans—always running from someone, something, running to save ourselves from becoming some predator’s next meal or, as is more often the case these days, running to prove it to ourselves that we can—and for the most part, it’s this simple thing. One foot in front of the other.

By |March 13th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

My Favorite San Francisco Mile

The San Francisco Marathon wants to know – what’s your favorite mile? Of the 26.2 miles, my favorites are easy: miles 2-4 take me through the streets of my childhood summers in San Francisco – memories that will forever connect me to this city.

By |March 10th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

10 Reasons Why I Love to Run

Everyone runs for a different reason.  What started for me as a way to lose weight has become a way of life.  There are many different reasons why I love to run, here are my Top Ten:

By |March 6th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

The Incredible Community of Runners

It’s not a course, it’s a community.  A community of runners who convene at a start line and run for their purpose.  That purpose could be a mom, a husband, a child, themselves, a friend.  That friend could even be you, and you both just don’t know it yet.

Over the past year, I’ve met remarkable people with remarkable stories, all on the course.  Don’t underestimate a simple ‘hello’ or ‘what brings you here’ and what the subsequent miles of conversation can become.

I met Suzy at the Tinkerbell Half.  She runs for her mom who inspired her to run after having completed multiple marathons, all while raising 3 daughters on her own.  Suzy’s mom would push them in a stroller and when they got old enough, bought them bikes to ride along-side her.  When a tragic car accident ended her running career, Suzy’s career began.  She committed to running every run for her mom, who now gets to keep Suzy’s medals.

I met Sharon on a training run. That she carried my mom’s namesake meant instant trust.  She was new to running and training for a 5K.  Her mom was recently lost to cancer, so Sharon runs for her.  Having gone through a seemingly parallel experience, even down to the run in mom’s memory (though for me, it was the Chicago Marathon), we bonded instantly and are still friends today.

Rock n Roll LA was for me.  I had just completed Chicago, felt great and so donned in my Wonder Woman costume, I hit the course.  It also happened to be the anniversary of my first half marathon ever, RnR LA 2012.  Naomi, a stranger, approached me for a picture with Wonder Woman and I happily obliged. […]

By |March 5th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

History, Hope (and Running)

I am going to talk about history for a moment – bear with me, it will make sense to running, I promise!

I am a college history teacher by day (runner by early morning and afternoon). And I often tell my students that history is not teleological, meaning that it does not always progress forward (it does not always get better). Rather, history shows us that people, societies, and nations move forward, then take giant leaps back, sometimes it goes sideways, and sometimes it seems static. College students often struggle with their disappointments in our nation’s history. They become pessimistic and sometimes ashamed. For a long time, I didn’t know how to help them with this. As much as I loved the study of history, I knew how hard it could be to remove the rose colored glasses and see the painful events and choices of our ancestors.

Then I realized, where we can find hope and optimism is by focusing on those who resisted and consistently fought to improve our country and world. From women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton who refused to accept that women should have a second-place status throughout the 19th century and men like W.E.B. DuBois who fought for civil rights 60 years before the Civil Rights Movement “began.” These people who pushed, spoke out, and risked their lives are the ways to mediate a difficult history.

I was thinking about this today. (Here comes the running part!) Running is a lot like the study of history. It’s not teleological, our runs don’t always get better, longer, and faster. We might PR and then watch that PR hang around for way too long. Life sometimes gets in the way, we lose time for […]

By |March 4th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off

My Running Canvas

When we are born, we begin with a blank canvas. Along the way, we add different strokes & colors to it. Running is such a canvas. Every runner begins on the same blank page. Some are blessed to run long, some short & fast, some slow. If you are born with fast twitched muscles, you might become Usain Bolt. Slow, you might become John Bingham -“The Penguin.” Or long, you might become Dean Karnazes.

In my eyes, they are equally successful. The common denominator is that it all involves running.

Running is like getting your degree. We begin as kindergartners: learning the basics, how to run from the 1st lamp post to the next. Then we go further from one block to the next, 1/4 mile loop, 1 mile loop and so on. The knowledge we acquire along the way allows us to venture further and further. What a feeling when we are able to run non-stop for that first half hour to one full hour.

It really is about putting one foot in front of the other.

As you build up your canvas, you become more confident, and your life becomes more colorful.

One day you’ll wake up and say “I AM A RUNNER!!!”. From that day onward, you will begin to build your dreams.

My running dreams began with my first marathon. I trained for a full 16 weeks. I bought all the running books available for first time marathoners. I followed the training program to a tee. I even did hill work! My “hill work” was this ramp that I would run up & down for about 10-12 times once a week. I laugh about it now. But I was so determined! On marathon day, I had […]

By |March 3rd, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off