spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

Posts tagged ‘marathon’

Day 10: Marathon-like Hope

Did the 10am with Swyann this morning… got there about 15 minutes early to find a PACKED class. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the torture chamber, the more people there are in the room, the hotter and more humid it gets since everyone’s bodies are radiating heat and energy . I thought maybe today would be a little easier than yesterday.

It wasn’t.

At this point, I feel like the experience is becoming purely a mental challenge. Yeah I can do most of the postures, but if I’m thinking of how hard it is, or how I want to take a break because I can’t breathe, or how lightheaded I feel… my body will automatically stop what it’s doing and take a knee. Interestingly enough, right as I was thinking of how I wanted to die, Swyann said: “You can do this. Don’t let your mind control your body. The mind is a powerful thing. Push through it.” This helped tremendously so I pushed on.

I also kept thinking, especially during the floor series, how much this felt like running a marathon to me. I remember during the long runs in training, or even during actual races, when I would repeat my usual matras “I can do this” or “F*** you hills.” But this time, it was more like “F*** you heat” …!

I cried a little during camel pose, which is rare because recently my mind has been just coming to a blank during that posture. I cried because I felt like I was mentally too tired to handle this. But I’ve come so far… 10 classes down, 20 to go… and after my last day, I get to pick up my sweetheart from the airport after not seeing him for a month. While that is a beautiful reward… the greatest reward will be merely getting to the finish line.

I can do this…

My Baltimore Marathon Report

baltimore-marathon-logo

I’ve never actually written a race report before, but felt that my experience at Baltimore this past weekend is worthy of one.

A girlfriend of mine who lives near downtown was kind enough to let me stay with her the night before. I was up at 5:30am after about only 3 hours of sleep (pre-race jitters REALLY got to me the few days before!). I had my throw-away sweater on thinking it was going to be cold.. and walked outside into 74 degree weather. This is when panic set in. Last time I ran in warm weather (Parks Half 2008), I got my worst time. But.. I tried not to let it bother me and left my sweater behind.

After meeting up with my friends Hai (a former 11:20-er) and Amanda from the 10-minute group, I was relieved to learn that 74 degrees was the warmest it was going to be all day! We chatted at the start which helped calm my nerves. At the start of the race at 8am, I told them to go ahead and not wait up for me, for I knew that they would be keeping a much faster pace than what I’m used to (they finished at a 9-minute overall pace…outstanding!).

The first few miles were rougher than expected. I didn’t time my bathroom breaks correctly and ended up having to run in pain until mile 4 when I finally found a port a john. This resulted in terrible cramps up through mile 6 or so. These eventually went away, and I breezed through miles 6-13. At some point around mile 7, it started to drizzle and the temperature dropped considerably, which helped out a lot!

At mile 9 near the Dominos factory, Under Armor (the primary sponsors of the race) had a huge water station set up with loud speakers blasting some black eyed peas song – this was a huge boost 🙂 Around the halfway point, I saw my Dad who walked with me for a bit and offered some words of encouragement. It was around this time that my quads and hips began to hurt, so I stretched them out.

By mile 16, I thought I would be prepared for the 5 or so miles of hills that were to come. Well, I wasn’t. I have never had to run up so many consecutive hills in my life! I was mentally kicking myself for not incorporating more hills into my training.

Miles 20-21 was a flat loop around Lake Montebello, what a lovely view! It definitely helped keep my mind off the pain, which at this point had traveled down to the arches of my feet. From this point on, I began stopping at every water break to stretch as much as possible.

By mile 22, I wanted to cry and just walk the rest of the way… until I heard some music coming up ahead. It was “Eye of the Tiger” blasting out a parked car’s speakers… with the owner standing on top of of the car. Not just any ordinary guy, though. He was fully dressed in a tiger costume with a huge smile on his face, pointing to each and every runner and nodding his head in the cheesiest way possible. Let me tell you.. he couldn’t have popped up at a better time. With a smile on my face, I pushed through to the end (with a welcoming downhill from mile 25 through the end) and finished the race.

Hallucinations kicked in around mile 25, when I thought paparazzi was snapping endless photos of me… only to realize that it was the flashing lights atop a cop car 🙂 And speaking of the police… although we ran through some really sketchy parts of the city, I never once felt unsafe, with officers patrolling each and every corner!

While I didn’t beat my goal of 5 hours, I’m just happy I finished (5:24:32). Unfortunately, I missed my time from Marine Corps 2008 by 2.5 minutes. This had me really upset at first, but after a day, I promised to redeem myself in a couple years 🙂

My Favorite Running Sites

After a 10K in DC with my boyfriend (left) and brother (right)

After a 10K in DC with my boyfriend (left) and brother (right)

When I first started running competitively almost 5 years ago, I had close to zero knowledge on the subject. I just wanted to get out there and feel my feet hit the pavement and the wind on my face. Looking back, I sort of regret not reading enough on the subject and mentally preparing myself for what was ahead.

I consider myself an average runner. I don’t aim to be the best out of everyone out there, but I do try to beat my own times. I keep track of my workouts using a personal excel sheet. I’d rather not pay for an online “trainer” to help me with those. Joining an actual running group (i.e., RoadRunners) is a much better alternative in my opinion.

LoveToKnow.com posted a list of Top 10 Running Web Sites. The top two are definitely in my top four (RunnersWorld.com and Active.com). Runner’s World has a great set of blogs, and Active.com is a wonderful sign-up service. However, they failed to mention my other two favorite sites:

  • MapMyRun.com: An excellent resource for those of you who can’t afford a pedometer. You can map out your running route via the embedded Google Maps application, keep a training log, share stories/photos, and participate in forums (there is a large community here, some focusing on beginning runners). The only downside is that their events page is very limited because users post events.
  • RunWashington.com: This is my primary means of searching for local and distant races. They also offer race registration (directed to Active.com) and provide official race results after the race.

After training 6 months for the Marine Corps Marathon last year (with the Montgomery Count Road Runners), I encountered IT band problems in my right knee (but went on to complete the race anyway!). The pain was excruciating. As a result, I searched for blogs that focused on health and injury. My favorite is Ask the Running Doc written by Dr. Lewis G. Maharam. Although not every topic applies to me, I certainly learn a lot about preventative measures.

I hope you find this information useful and, better yet, hope you get out there and try running if you haven’t before! My advice: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. And pace yourself!

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