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Marathon Mind Monkeys

Have you ever run a marathon and hit the wall?  Or perhaps gone on a long training run and ended up stumbling through the final few miles?   Maybe you’ve found yourself complaining about the huge crowds at a race, or wishing you had worn different running shoes, or becoming upset at the smelly runner in front of you who really should have taken a bath sometime in the past week.

It’s in these unhappy moments when the Marathon Mind Monkeys show up, and there is a very good chance that something will happen that causes you to meet them if you run a long distance event.

“Mind monkeys” is, of course, simply a metaphorical phrase.   When you begin to experience negativity creeping into your thinking, you might jokingly say that the mind monkeys have taken over.  Your thoughts are your own responsibility, but during a marathon, it’s not uncommon to begin to feel as if you are unable to control your own emotions and thoughts.  The mind monkeys infect you with sadness, anger, despair, even depression.

This lack of ability to control the mind is often part of the larger physiological phenomenon known as “hitting the wall”.  When glycogen stores reach a dangerous level of depletion, various effects occur on a runner, one of which may be a harsh visit from the mind monkeys.  You may become discouraged and feel hopeless.  You might become angry at your body’s inability to perform at normal levels.  Some runners lash out at volunteers or spectators.  Some drop out of the race, too discouraged to go on.

There are other times when emotions and thoughts turn negative during a marathon.  Runners expecting aid stations might become upset when water runs […]

By |February 26th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Marathon Mind Monkeys

George is My Reason

Ever have someone so small change your life in so many ways? George came to us abused. He was found in a barn chained by his back legs.  He was rescued and brought back to health before he came to his furever home with us. When he was brought to us, he came scared, shaking and not wanting to get to know his own family.

By |February 25th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on George is My Reason

26.2 Miles at Home

I’ve always been very proud to say that I am a “true” Bay Area native. I was born in Oakland, have lived here all 39 years of my life and don’t see myself moving away anytime soon, if ever! I know my hometown like the back of my hand and have worked and played in San Francisco as often as possible over the years.

By |February 21st, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on 26.2 Miles at Home

Real Food on the Run

While training for my first (and only) 50k last year, I started seeing visions on my long runs. White clouds suddenly turned into hamburgers dancing through the sky. Pine trees were now hot dogs doing a comedy act, nestled in the dirt were all different styles of cooked eggs yelling at me to eat them. It was then that I had the epiphany that I should probably eat more protein.

By |February 20th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Real Food on the Run

The Gift of Running

I get asked many times why do I subject myself to running. Isn’t it painful? Don’t you get bored running so long on the weekend? My short answers: yes, it is sometimes painful and no, I don’t get bored on long runs. In all seriousness, here is my story. In my twenties, I caught the running bug. I completed various 5ks and 10ks races. My doctor told me that it was too risky to keep running due to my weight and high blood pressure. Heartbroken, I stopped and became a couch potato who developed diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol.  It was a low point in my life and my health paid a price for my inactivity.

By |February 19th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on The Gift of Running

Because I Can

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” — Vince Lombardi I spent a lot of time writing and re-writing this blog. I tried to be funny, creative, smart and inspirational all at the same time, but it just sounded so phony. If there is one thing I pride myself on, it is my authentic nature.  So, I hit delete and started over. Here’s the deal.  When I weighed over 300 pounds, I was constantly telling myself two “truths”.

By |February 18th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Because I Can

The Second Time Around

When I decided to train for my first marathon back in late 2011, I wasn’t at all sure there would ever be a second one. I loved running; I’d run several half-marathons, and I’d been kicking around the idea of training for a full for a while. But running 26.2 miles seemed a little nuts — I’ll be honest: it still does! — and I wasn’t sure I’d like it enough to want to do it again.

By |February 17th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on The Second Time Around

Enjoy the Climb

Hills, you either love them or you hate them!  It really comes down to how you look at them.  Respect the hills, they train your body like nothing else.  Some refer to them as speed work in disguise.  I love them because I get to use my muscles in a different way, and the pay off is huge:

By |February 16th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Enjoy the Climb

Try

I’ve been training for months now—losing track of just how long it’s been, because it feels like forever ago that I started this journey into ultra-marathon running.  I decided to try to tackle The San Francisco Double Marathon for a few reasons–to raise money for a charity close to my heart, to push myself, to see what my body and heart are capable of, and because the desire to run an ultra marathon had been like a spark building to a flame in this runner’s heart.

 

I listened to the song: Life and Death one day on a training run.  As the worry of: will I finish the race? has been creeping into my mind lately, the song helped me put things in perspective and refocus and calm my heart.  Like many other runners, I’ll be running for an important charity and in memory of dear loved ones.  And though I have hopes, big hopes of crossing my first 52.4 mile finish line–I know, for me, running is not life and death.

 

Life was the moment I met my husband and realized, he is the one meant for me.  Stepping into the sunshine, arm in arm with my dad as he walked me down the aisle, and locking eyes with my happily ever after.  Life was saying goodbye to the man who had taken care of me my whole life, as I stepped into the arms of my husband, my future.  For me, life was the wonder and magic of meeting my four children on their birthdays–having my breath taken away, when I met them for the first time.  Life was seeing the faces that had been so close to my heart for 9 months and finally, finally getting to hold them there.

 

Death was […]

By |February 15th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Try

Eating Healthy

Like many people I started running as a way to help lose weight.  After I got a heart rate monitor I quickly realized that I burned just as many calories running for 40 minutes as I did doing an hour long cardio-kickboxing class.  It wasn’t until I ran my first race that running became something other than a means to an end. Running was an easy gateway to fitness and extra calories to eat for quite awhile…until I started marathon training.

 

The trap many of us find ourselves in is this: training for a marathon involves a lot of hard work, a lot of hours on the road, and the need to replenish the calories expended doing that work.  It is very easy to justify a half pound 50/50 burger with avocado mash and chipotle mayo after a 15 mile long run.  Unfortunately that is a 1200 calorie meal BEFORE you add fries and a drink.  Oops.  Pretty much all distance runners can relate to “runger”.  Olympic level distance runner Shalane Flanagan lists “being hungry all the time” as one of her top 10 things she hates about running.  Here are some tips to help you stay in the box while doing your training.

 

1. Track what you eat and what you burn.  Looking at the in/out of what you are doing each day is critical to maintaining your weight.  If you are trying to lose you need to see what kind of deficit you have but you should try not to lose more than 1 lb a week.  Most coaches recommend not trying to run a deficit during training because it prevents you from optimising your training.  Most of us aren’t preparing for the Olympics […]

By |February 13th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Eating Healthy