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A Tale About Training For My First Marathon

Two weeks ago I ran 21 miles. It’s a goal that I’ve been working toward for months (years, actually), but was never really sure I could accomplish. I have friends who tell me I’m crazy for training for a marathon or say “I could never do that”. It’s pretty crazy thinking about it, because these are statements that I’ve said to myself numerous times. People tend to think that just because I work for the marathon, that I must automatically be a marathon runner. But let me tell you, I’ve looked at friends who run insane amounts of mileage each week and thought, “how does someone do that?” If I’ve learned anything in the past few months, it’s that accomplishing a marathon goal is only partly about the physical training  and knowledge – it’s also about the strength I’ve gained from those who support me. And it’s about learning to reach out and asking for that support.

For a very long time, I’ve been held a mentality in which I feel like I must do things on my own in order for me to be worthy of my accomplishments.  Five years ago, when I began running, it was very much a solitary activity to help me get through a difficult transitional phase in my life. At that time, I ran by myself, trained by myself and embraced the solitude.

In the beginning of my marathon training I’d had several weeks of difficulty. I’d been plagued by recurring plantar fasciitis, back spasms and hip and knee pain. Making it through a 10 mile run, something I’ve done on enough occasions for it to be a tolerable distance, was bringing me to tears for the last couple […]

By |February 7th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||2 Comments

LA/SF Challenge Update!

41 days away from the first part of the LA/SF Challenge, which starts with the Honda LA Marathon. As the count down continues to the upcoming events with the Honda LA Marathon on March 17 and the Wipro San Francisco Marathon on June 16, most runners have started off their 2013 race season by pinning a race bib or two onto their running attire and gear. For those of that have committed to running a marathon or two in the first 6 month of 2013, I think taking part in a couple of races prior to the big race has it’s benefits. For me running events prior to any race I consider a focus race, such as the Honda LA Marathon, provides me with opportunities to train on different running routes I would not otherwise run, train around people that run at different paces, and most importantly provide me with and opportunity to practice my marathon day routine. I treat many of these races as “dress rehearsals” for the big day.

After taking the month of January off from any races to focus on my newest training program for the Honda LA Marathon, the first weekend of February opened up with 2 opportunities to practice for the big day as well as continue to get my training miles in. On Saturday February 2, I took part in the Jed Smith Ultra Classic in Sacramento, running in the 30k distance. The 18.6 miles was perfect to test out my race day gear, race day breakfast, and in race fueling. For me the race day breakfast is very similar to my pre training run breakfast. However, one of the key focuses I had outside of the actual […]

By |February 4th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment

Accepting Limitations – Not Excuses

Life has been throwing me a lot of curveballs lately as I attempt to take on some pretty significant fitness goals. Lots of international travel amongst other significantly schedule impacting events have made finding time to complete long runs and other training pretty much impossible as of late. Big goals have faded to the background as my most salient goal these days is to get enough sleep to make it through the next day. Things have just been a tiny bit crazy. And I have to face the facts that I’m dealing with a few limitations these days when it comes to capacity for training.

Unfortunately, dealing with limitations has recently equated into a lot of excuse making on my part. I don’t know how it happened to this girl who used to barely be able to skip a workout day without feeling antsy. One day I’m just a little too tired to get up. Another day the lure of happy hour keeps me from the gym, just this one time. And then another. Jet lag keeps me in bed for a few extra hours. The junk food flows and it’s free. And the dangerous cycle begins – one skipped workout becomes several. Good nutrition is neglected. And I’m definitely not feeling any better!

It came to a head this last weekend when I went to a trail race and ended up cutting my distance by a significant margin for no particularly significant reason – driven more by excuses (I’m tired. I fell and sprained my ankle and cut my palm but know I’m fine. I’m bored. These hills are hard!). Recognizing this and turning back anyways was a hard moment for me. I realized that […]

By |January 31st, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off

Packing My Running Shoes

A Bay Area native, after thirty something years, I am moving away from the place that I know and love. Thankfully, it is not too far away so that I will be back to visit often, but still far enough that I won’t be able to call up my running buddies for an impromptu afternoon run on the trails.

Moving is both exciting and scary. As a creature of change, I welcome the new adventures that await me. As a social runner, I fear that I will spend my days running alone. This of course is a silly notion for runners are everywhere! I just need to have some courage and do a little research.

Thanks to social media outlets and apps like Twitter, dailymile, and Banjo, I have already connected with a few local runners who would be happy to show me around their neck of the woods on a run tour. What a great way to explore the area!

While there are no running stores in the town that I am moving to (gasp), I have been successful in locating ones nearby that have run groups during the weekdays. Sure, I have to drive a bit, but totally worth it for me to connect and meet other runners.

There is a ton of run groups located in the surrounding area. While most require a membership fee, the opportunity to run and connect with like minded individuals is priceless. I have also searched on Meetup.com to happily discover that there are active running meet up groups that meet on weekends for a bit of trail running. I am currently training for my first 50k race and am absolutely excited to participate in some of these meetup groups […]

By |January 25th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment

All Shapes and Sizes

Anybody who has ever been to a sanctioned race has been able to see all types of people.  The skinny dudes in short shorts, moms with baby joggers, normal 9-5ers out bettering their health, and even people like me.  Hi, my name is Kelsey and I am an overweight runner.  Most races I tend to stick towards the back so that I don’t get in anybody’s way and so that I don’t get passed as much.  I have been “running” off and on since my freshman year of college when I had to complete a health project that included completing a 5k.  I stopped running after that but still participated in several half marathons and other various races, mostly walking the entire distance. After that I was selected for a marathon weight loss team which trained for a half while losing weight.  During the program I lost almost 40 pounds and knocked 37 minutes off my half marathon time.  But yet again, I stopped running.  Last spring I tried out for my university’s division one rowing team and made it.  The two-a-day workouts combined with early morning track sessions and afternoon long runs got me back in relatively good shape to help me complete a PR half marathon that spring.  But guess what?  You guessed it…I stopped running after the season was over.  And I packed on the pounds I had formerly lost.

So here I am today starting from scratch.  I’ve started, stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped.  Learning to run again is at the top of my to-do list.  I’m slow, can hardly run a mile without stopping, and I”m fat.  Is that going to stop me?  NO.  One foot is going to go […]

By |January 24th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||5 Comments

The Challenge Update

Over the course of training for a marathon you get to meet and know individuals not just locally, but globally through the wonderful world of social media. The encouragement from the virtual world has helped runners of all levels stay focused and motivated through their journey towards their next 26.2-mile adventure. For me preparing for the LA/SF Challenge is more than just throwing in the miles, while mixing in tempo runs, intervals and long runs with recovery miles sprinkled in between. To me training is greater than the race itself, it is the meat of what we do, and the race is just the icing on the top of the cake, not the cake itself. If we as runners only look forward to the finish that means are spending moments of our day to day life, enduring some pretty exhausting task and going toe-to-toe with what mother nature has to offer just for a tenth of a second as we cross the finish line for a photo. If a photo at the end of a race is all we went then, why not run a 5k instead of the marathon?

I know I can only speak for myself, but I have to say that most runners opt for the marathon for several reasons, it keeps us fit, it provides us goals to work for, we get to experience the world in which we live through our day to day running, we meet some pretty awesome people, and of course we run marathons for the bling! Outside of the bling, we get to meet some interesting people along this journey, like each moment in a marathon or training, each person has a unique story to offer […]

By |January 21st, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off

A Love for the Trails!

In early 2013, I plan to run an ultramarathon. The very idea strikes some fear into my heart – not so much the five-ish extra miles past my comfortable 26.2 distance, but the endless climbing and hills. (I am much less proficient at running hills than a San Francisco local should be).

Despite the fear and quad-burning hill climbing, working towards an ultra has provided the butt kicking I need to hop in my car, head out across the Golden Gate and hit the trails. To me, trail running has hundreds of wonderful qualities, but three stick out to me:

Gorgeous views. Hooray!
You can run very, very slow.
You can walk. A LOT.

Road running, at a certain point, can become routine – Golden Gate Park is beautiful, but I see it every day. Paying close attention to speed and pushing the pace can be invigorating, but exhausting and can take some of the joy out of running just to run. Getting off the road has been the change of pace I’ve needed to rekindle my love of running.

This weekend, Alyssa and I headed to the Muir Woods area to catch up over a 10ish mile run. The terrain was varied – three hours of sun, shade, jagged coastlines, and serene woods.

Our pace never went above a 10 minute mile (and that was downhill and felt like flying). A couple miles were pretty much just hiking uphill. And that was fine. There was no worry about hitting a target or to hurry through as fast as possible. We were just enjoying the ride.

On the road, I find myself subconsciously competing with myself and with other runners much more than I’d like to. Don’t let her pass you. Don’t […]

By |January 16th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off

Running Injuries: Recovery via Cross Training

New blog post from Ambassador Elise! Running Injuries: Recovery via Cross Training
By |January 11th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off

The Challenge

New blog post from Ambassador Chris!
By |January 7th, 2013|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off

Do. Not. Quit.

New blog post from Ambassador Courtney!
By |January 2nd, 2013|Categories: Latest News||1 Comment