Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
"You Mean You Didn't Run the Entire 9 Hours?"
I’ve met many runners who can’t believe I take walk breaks. “Doesn’t that slow you down? Isn’t it hard to start running again once you stop running?” They hold to the belief that whatever you do, “DON’T STOP RUNNING!” I’ve been passed so many times in the first half of races, only to come back in the last 10K and fly by all those who fatigued their legs too early.
When Josh and I decided to run our first marathon we picked up Jeff Galloway’s marathon training book. The Galloway method encourages runners to follow a run-walk-run pattern. Even Galloway himself, who ran a 2:16 marathon in his day, uses this method. I still employ the run/walk methond in my training and my races. My run/walk ratio depends on the length of my run, the purpose of my run, the conditions (95 and humid = lots of walk breaks), and how I’m feeling on any particular day. I’m not super strict about my ratio and in races I go more by how I’m feeling than my watch. The longer the race, the more valuable walk breaks become both mentally and physically. I probably won't take walk breaks in a 5 K race but you better believe I live for them in a 90 K race. Walk breaks, my friends, are glorious.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
So many store bought energy bars are high in sugar and preservatives but low in fiber, quality fats and proteins. These bars provide us with a quick spike in blood sugar but ultimately leave us worse off an hour or so later. Let’s take back the energy bar! Beans, baby, are where it’s at.
These bars can be made in advanced and then stored in the freezer. They are great for a pre-workout snack or a 4:00 pick me up. Skip the Nature Valley bar and grab one of these bad boys.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I am a habitual stress case. When I quit my full time teaching job I thought I would calm down a little but what I discovered was that I was so used to being stressed, I didn’t know how to chill out. I found so many things to fill my time. I made these to-do lists and would practically have a melt down if I didn’t accomplish everything. I had to take immediate action so as not to waste this season of my life on stress.
One of the things I have been practicing as a means to calm down is the art of saying “no”. As a person who likes to please, this scary two-letter word does not come easy for me. But the more I practice, the more natural it feels and the less I throw myself into things that I really don’t want to do.
Monday, August 29, 2011
There’s no way around it, I LOVE CHOCOLATE. It is truly one of my weaknesses. Fortunately, veganism does not mean you have to give it up, just be more discerning about what kind and in what form you are eating it. These brownies, adapted from allrecipes.com, are not only gooey and chocolaty, they are jam packed full of fiber, protein, and omega 3’s—making them ideal for a not-so-sinful treat.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
I love running solo. It’s not that I don’t enjoy running with others, it’s just running alone energizes me like nothing else. Running creates a sanctuary for me – a time for me to reset my brain chemistry, pray, and reflect. Running alone is also when I have my best ideas. In grad school I’d be out running in the beautiful hills of Cape Town and before I knew it, I’d outlined an entire research paper. Sometimes, when I’m starting to doubt myself, all I need is a good run to get my confidence back.
My desire to run alone has often troubled people and left my family feeling a little nervous at times. Its not that I’m fearless or naïve—I know I’m not invincible and that bad things can happen anyone anywhere. In Cape Town I was constantly reminded of this. I met so many girls at my university who would say, “I would love to run but I just don’t feel safe here.” I wouldn’t have it. Cape Town was the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived with the most incredible hills and accessible trails. I was not about to let fear keep me from my long meditative runs.
Friday, August 26, 2011
The week following my participation in Comrades, a 90 KM road race in South Africa, I was distraught with horrible knee pain that left me hobbling around and kept me out of my running shoes and off the trails. After trying to fix it on my own for a couple of weeks, I ended up with a double knee injury and a very gloomy spirit.
After returning from a hiking trip in which every step was practically unbearable, I headed to the physical therapist. The PT did some strength and flexibility tests in both legs, and then sympathetically told me: “Your lower limbs are jacked up.” My glutes (which I always thought were rock solid) were lazy, my previously sprained right ankle was stiff and weak, my IT bands were both tight has heck, and this was all working together to cause Runners Knee on my left side and ITB syndrome on my right. She gently put her hand on me and said, “Melissa, you’re going to have to lay off running while we rehabilitate your lower body.” With tears in my eyes and a trembling voice, I accepted my lot and asked her to fix me.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
This morning during my yoga practice I found myself frustrated because I was wobbling all over the show in my balance poses. Warrior 3--forget it. Half-moon--2 breaths max. I was all tangled up in Eagle Pose, falling all over the place when I heard someone say, "You're all you need to be right now." I sunk deeper into the pose, pulled in to my center, and focused my attention on my breath. Finally, I was still and I had tears of relief running down my face.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I tend run much quicker when I have tunes playing which is fantastic if I’m doing a tempo run or mile repeats but not so much for days when I should be recovering. That being said, this past month I’ve been trying to get my stride back (I took a few months off to heal). Its been a little awkward to tell you the truth and I’ve found that listening to music is a great way for me to find a tempo that feels challenging yet comfortable. I think the key to choosing running music is to choose songs that make you want to move. Most of my favorite running songs also happen to be the songs I like to boogy to. I also have a few songs that I associate with good memories and the release of endorphins I get from remembering those good moments is like a shot of espresso.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
This recipe makes about 4 loaves of bread. The idea is that you make the dough, store it inthe fridge, and then rip off a chunk when you want to bake it. The book claims it saves for up to 2 weeks but I say more like 10 days. Again, this is the easiest thing in the world and your friends will think you’re AMAZING.