Corremos por Boston

We run for Boston

Even in tragedy there is hope and kindness in our World. Praying for runners, spectators, families, and friends in Boston.

Even in tragedy there is hope and kindness in our World. Praying for runners, spectators, families, and friends in Boston.

“It was a rare, rare moment when the city seemed truly whole; when people came together—for free—to watch an event, and they cheered the back-of-the-pack plodders as enthusiastically as they did the whippets who led the way. I was so moved by it that I was choked up for most of the twenty-six miles, seeing this crazy display of community and generosity… The special thing about big-city marathons, like New York and Boston, is that they are occasions when the clashing and whirring of urban life quiets, and everyone stands together to see a bunch of people trying to do something very simple that is also very hard. It’s marvellous… If the explosions were purposeful, whoever did it knew that it would catch people at an exceptional, joyous moment, when they come together in the sweetest way, helping each other fly.”

Susan Orlean

I am one of two things: an optimist or a masochistic. My bet is on the latter.

November 18th I ran the Philadelphia Marathon. I crossed the finish line and crossed “running” off my to-do list. I completed my goal. The rest of my life I would know that I could make it 26.2 miles and that was enough. Only, it wasn’t. Now, three months later I realize that by accomplishing one task I in turn added on a multitude of other goals to my list. Don’t get me wrong, the months that it took me to have this “ah-ha” moment were a test of endurance in themselves, just not the kind that would win me any medals. I traveled and went days with out sleep, ate fried- well, everything, and tested a selection of wines and my fair share of nose-scrunching shots. (All for educational purposes of course.)

Just me training at the Heineken Factory in Amsterdam, Holland

Just me training at the Heineken Factory in Amsterdam, Holland

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Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run is nothing short of inspiring, entertaining, and educational. McDougall’s knack for concise yet memorable language makes this book an easy and entertaining read. Not only is his style of writing impressive, but the presentation and content is thought provoking. Born to Run explores human nature and calls readers to question their own beliefs on running. Each piece of his story affirms the title of the book. We are born to run.

Memorable passages:

“I could just make out at the mighty river at the bottom of the canyon; it looked like a thin blue vein in an old man’s arm.”

“Korima sounds like karma and functions the same way, except in the here and now. It’s your obligation to share whatever you can spare, instantly and with no expectations: once the gift leaves your hand, it was never yours to begin with.”

On life: “You never know how hard it will be. You never know when it will end. You can’t control it. You can only adjust… No one gets through it on their own.”

“You live up to your own expectations, man.”

“Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.” -Ken Chlouber

“You don’t have to be fast. But you’d better be fearless.”

I was not fazed by the guy who paused to chug a solo cup of Natty Ice, that the Drexel University frats passed out to runners, only to pass me moments later. The man who managed to effortlessly juggle 5 balls as he ran passed me at mile 8 did not upset me either. Nor was I concerned with the man dawning lime green, Converse low-tops who floated by me at mile 17.

I was focused on my feet, the road before me, and the roaring will to push forward within me. Running novelist, George Sheehan, said, “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is
against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”

Throughout this journey I have learned just that.

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Found this great article on No Meat Athlete!

  1. Don’t plan on running with a partner. It’s tempting to want to run with your training buddy, but it’s asking for trouble.  You won’t both need water and Porta Pot stops at the same time.  And what’s going to happen when one of you is going strong and the other starts to lag?  Awkward!
  2. BYOTP. That’s “Bring Your Own Toilet Paper.”  Thousands of runners + race-day jitters = bad news for the TP supply.  Stash some in your bag or your shorts.
  3. Wear technical apparel. Shirt, shorts, socks, bra.  Cotton is rotten!  RaceReady makes shorts with lots of pockets for holding gels, keys, salt tablets, etc.  Consider lubricants for chafing and blister powder for your feet as well.
  4. Don’t try out any new goodies. Especially if your marathon is a big one, you’ll get all kinds of free samples at the expo.  Just don’t use them on race day; stick with the same gels, bars, and gummies that you’ve used throughout your training.  I once tried some caffeine pills that I got at the Disney Marathon and broke out in a weird sweat, before the race even started.
  5. Count your safety pins. When you pickup your number, make sure they give you four safety pins for securing it to your shirt.  Scrambling to find a safety pin on the morning of your race is the last thing you need to be doing.
  6. Get yourself a new pair of kicks. Good running shoes last 300-500 miles, but they lose 50% of their cushioning much sooner than that.  Get some new ones and break them in during your tapering period.  I ignored this in one marathon and got a nice stress fracture in my foot to remember it by.
  7. Skip the pasta party.  Have a big meal at lunch the day before the race, but take it easy with dinner.  This gives your body time to assimilate the nutrients, and having a huge meal so close to the race is risky if you’re at all worried about stomach issues.  For more, see my post onwhat to eat before a race.
  8. Don’t do much the day before. Like I said, the San Diego Zoo was a terrible idea.  Take it easy on your legs and mind, and give your body a chance to relax before the big day.
  9. Don’t stress over sleep. Try to get a good night’s sleep before the race, but chances are you won’t.  But take heart, oh sleepless one: the amount of sleep you get before a race has little to do with how you’ll perform.  As long as you’ve been sleeping well during the previous week, your body will have plenty of energy to draw from.  Bonus: not stressing over this might even help you stop tossing and turning. Read the rest of this entry »

The following is a short work of fiction that is still in the process of being edited. During the critique in class today my peers provided me with great insight and ideas on how to tighten and tune this piece. I welcome any additional thoughts as I continue to develop this story. 

People don’t read in hospitals. The lazy sway of salty eyes dutifully fall into a cadence. Every few lines they catch a word or two. Mostly, it is just a series of blanks that the eye perceives, like a typewriter running low on ink. Though their stare just barely reaches the page in front of them, those eyes are searching. By the time they arrive at the bottom of the page they do not know what has happened in the lines leading up to that moment, and what has yet to come frightens them. I know that fear. I know those eyes. Those eyes are my eyes.

A swift close of the book does not bring the relief I crave. Instead, the shift of focus brings an entirely new stab of pain. Once again I am forced to confront the reality around me. I am suddenly hyper-aware of the brutal symphony of beeps screaming from foreign machines and broken intercom announcements.The incessant drone of florescent lights and the squeak of white rubber soles smacking against tile comes to a crescendo. I find myself straining to quiet the other sounds and thoughts in my head and single out the thudding of sneakers. This sound is safe. This sound is home. And for a moment, I can see my self out there.

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John L. Parker’s Once a Runner pulls readers into the mind of a true runner. Each character explores a different sector of the running world. The story leads us through the “Trial of Miles and the Miles of Trials” that each of the characters experience. Below are a few of the quotes that resonated most with me. These particular excerpts from the novel stood out to me for a few reasons. Some depict running in a completely innovative way, others had me nodding my head furiously in agreement, and the rest I simply cannot put out of my mind.

“In mind’s special processes, a ten-mile run takes far longer than the 60 minutes reported by a grandfather clock. Such time, in fact, hardly exists at all in the real world; it is all out on the trail somewhere, and you only go back to it when you are out there.”

“You can remember it, he told himself, but you cannot experience it again like this. You have to be satisfied with the shadows.”

“The key was not how fast he could run, but how fast he could run while tired. ” 

“The secret is this: there is no secret.” Read the rest of this entry »

I have never been shy about my non-runner status. I never spent hours at the track when I was younger. In fact, I despised the track growing up. The curious oval-shaped plot of land did not resonate with me. You mean I keep going around the same circle over and over? Look at the same ground before my feet? The same trees and a limited skyline? Tempting… but, no.

I have never liked to be confined by limits. Needless to say that during the little time I spent on the track, I felt suffocated. It was during the forced days of pre-season conditioning for high school field hockey that I was corralled like cattle into the loop of boredom. The coaches directed us to begin our run until they said stop. This was the coaches’ method for scaring girls into quitting and cutting girls on the spot. Even today I can remember the heat of the sun. Each lap a deeper tumble into the vertigo vortex that was “right- left”. As ipods were not allowed during these runs, I found myself clinging to the rhythm of footsteps. The steady snare drumming of tired rubber enveloped my ears until one moment brought the symphony of sneakers to a halt. Five feet in front of me a girl began projectile vomiting. I held my already ragged breath and carried on.

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Found this awesome article on Women’s Health. It describes the amazing changes that take place in your body within just 30 minutes! Pretty neat huh?

*The picture above was on the website and I could not resist sharing it. If any of you have seen someone running recently, it does not look like this.  (At least not for me.) A popular quote backs me up in affirming, “If you still look cute at the end of your workout, you didn’t train hard enough.”

In the first few seconds
Your muscles start using adenosine triphosphate (ATP), energy molecules your body makes from food.

That burst of power you feel? It’s ATP converting into another high-powered molecule, adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Muscle cells–expert recyclers–will turn ADP back into ATP after the initial surge.

In the first 90 seconds
In order to unleash more ATP, your cells break down glycogen, a form of glucose fuel stored in your muscles. Cells also pull glucose directly from your blood (one reason exercise is helpful in fending off high blood sugar).

Your body gobbles more glucose, and your muscles release lactic acid–also known as the burn in the age-old workout mantra “feel the burn”–which signals the brain that you’re under physical stress.

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