10 Miles a Week

When Matt told me that he was only going to run 10 miles PER week for the marathon, I was skeptical. He tried to reassure me that his CrossFit training would get him across the finish line, but I still couldn’t buy into it. About a month ago, Matt did a half marathon and finished in just over 1 hour and 40 minutes. I was impressed; but still, that was only half the distance of a marathon.

Well on Sunday, Matt proved me wrong. He ran his first marathon in 3 hours and 46 minutes. And while the last 5 miles were rough, he finished with a smile on his face. I am so proud of him and totally inspired to run next year!

 

On a totally unrelated note – be on the look out for the very first GUEST BLOGGER post. It is definitely going to be a good one. And if you want to write a guest blog, let me know!

 

Born To Run

I have to admit it, I don’t LOVE running. It is hard. And unlike biking, where you can coast and soar downhill, it is always hard. Unless you walk – but then, that isn’t running. But despite my sometimes negative relationship with running, there have been a few moment where I have loved running. The problem is, I had to suffer through weeks of hatred to get to that point. Weeks where I forced myself to get out the door and run the 4-5 miles, every step a challenge. But slowly, my body got used to the act of running and eventually, I found myself enjoying it. And I could time, I even thought, “hey, this is awesome.” Unfortunately, I am not quite at that place right now. And considering I am overseeing the Robin Hood Marathon Team, that isn’t a good thing!

During the honeymoon, Matt read the book “Born To Run.” I picked a much more advanced book… “Mini Shopaholic.” After finishing our respective books, Matt couldn’t stop talking about how good his book was, while I was slightly embarrassed to even tell him the title of mine. I decided that I needed a little more substance in my life (I don’t want to be the weak link in our marriage), so I decided that I would read Born to Run as well. And who knows, maybe I would learn how to enjoy running again.

The book is written by Christopher McDougall, a journalist for Men’s Health magazine and casual runner. The question “Why does my foot hurt?”  leads McDougall on a journey into Mexico’s Copper Canyon.  In his quest for answers, McDougall discovers the Tarahumara Indians, who are quite possibly the and greatest distance runners on the planet.  Their real name “Raramuri” translates into “The Running People”.

The Tarahumara are literally born to run and from an early age Taramuhara children play running games which continue well into their old age.  It is not uncommon for 80-year-old Tarahumara to run literally all day long through rough, mountainous terrain on little more than Pinole (a corn mixture used as a type of superfuel – There are no gels in the Copper Canyon!)  Not only are the Tarahumara excellent runners, they are also known for incredible health, long lives, serenity, and their peaceful nature.

Born to run tackles many issues, including why are so many runners injured every year (some data suggests as many as 80% of runners get injured every year), does running make a great man or woman or does a great man or woman make a great runner, and ultimately – aren’t we all “Born to Run” by our very nature, history and bio-mechanical makeup?


The book details facinating stories that include many of today’s well-known names in ultra running such as Scott Jurek, Ann Trason (there is a great account of the history 1994 Leadville 100 showdown between Ann and the Tarahumara), Barefoot Ted, Jenn Shelton and Luis Escobar, among others.   All these runners (aside from Ann) are involved in the final climatic story of this book which centers around the first ultra-distance race in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. 

In the end, the book was both educational and motivational. Mid-way through the honeymoon, Matt took me on a 3 mile trail run that wound along the cliffs lining the ocean in Kauai. And while I have a very long way to go before I am able to participate in an ultra marathon, it was inspirational. Not only was I inspired to run; I am now on a search for Pinole (the magical corn superfuel that keeps the Tarahumara going!)

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who runs, even casually. And even if you aren’t a runner, it is a very interesting story, filled with unique characters.

Below is a rather long video that tells the story of the Tarahumara that was shown on the Discovery Channel. I got to say, I LOVE the dramatic narration!

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

Hello. My name is Molly and I am addicted to the Olympics.

It doesn’t matter the season, the sport or what year. I love the thrill of the competition, the pride and spirit you feel for your country, and the Olympic creed:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
– Baron Pierre de Coubertin founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894

Every two years,  athletes more than 200 countries come together in celebration of a sport, their nation and our world. Spectators glue themselves to their tvs to see how many gold medals their country can win, or more simply, just to see if their country can win one medal.

Today marks the 2 year count down to the 2012 Olympics in London. It will be the first time that a country hosts the olympics three separate times since the modern games were started. The presence of the Olympics is already felt in London, with the construction of stadiums and various sports venues well underway. 

They celebrated this two-year milestone, with top athletes Sir Chris Hoy, Michael Johnson and John Amaechi, showcasing the latest progress on the Olympic Park. They will be joined by local school students to ride the first lap of the Velodrome; sprint on a temporary track in the Olympic Stadium; and shoot the first hoop in the Basketball Arena respectively.

So while the celebrations begin and the construction continues, the athletes continue to train for the biggest stage of their lives, the Olympics!

Personal World Records

“What was my time?”

After each race, as I climbed out of the pool and looked to my timers, these were the first four words out of my mouth. As I got older and technology got better I was able to turn my head and see my time posted on the scoreboard high above. In a sport that is based entirely on your time and results are clear, you begin to become obsessed with the clock. Getting your hand on the wall faster than your opponents is crucial and making various “cut times” for different meets, is the sole focus of your season. As age group swimmers, Abby and I attended the “Top 10 Banquet” nearly every year. This event recognized swimmers at various age groups, who had posted a time that was in the top 10 for New England Swimming. (Interesting side note: Matt and I were both invited to these events as 10 & under swimmers, but it was before we  officially met. I am fairly certain, that the little boy who used to cut in front of me as I waited patiently in line for a  Shirley Temple, had to have been Matt). Although going to these events meant missing  crucial hours of Trick-Or-Treating, we loved going and being honored for our “fast times.”

The faster you became, the harder it was to drop time and your focus on dropping seconds, became tenths of a second, and finally to hundredths. So many races are won or lost by hundredths of a second. I am sure that almost everyone witnessed Michael Phelps’ miraculous win at the Beijing Olympics in the 100 Butterfly. He out touched the second place swimmer by just 1/100th of a second.

After graduating from college, my swimming career sadly came to an end.  Transitioning from an athlete to a young profession has been hard. I wish that there was a way  to document success in the workplace that is black and white like a time. While there are performance reviews and successful “deals,” there is no score board to look to at the end of work day, to see where you pan out.

Over the weekend, Matt and I competed in the JP Morgan Run As One that was held in Central Park. This four mile race is one of the many events that New York Road Runners puts on during the year. Matt and I joined Road Runners this year and have already competed in 4 races this Spring. This past weekend, I achieved a Personal World Record (PWR)! While I have only run that distance once before a few weeks ago in the Run for Haiti, knowing that the second time I ran the course, I improved and achieved a better time, brings a smile to my face. Now, if only I could figure out a way to achieve a PWR at my job, or in terms of my “fiance-abilities”, I would be all set.

I Love NYC (in the Spring Time)

When people visit New York they take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, ride the elevators up the top of Empire State Building, walk on Wall Street and see the Bull statue, or visit one of the many renowned museums. They see a show on Broadway or eat at an acclaimed restaurant. There are certainly a lot of experiences to write home about in New York; however, sometimes, it is the little things that most people who live in New York enjoy the most.

Today is the last day in March. It has been rainy and gross for the majority of the month which are the days where, “it sucks to live in New York,” to quote my sister. But today, the temperature hit 55 degrees and by the afternoon the sun was shining down on the city.

After an uneventful day at work, I came home and found the motivation to put on my workout clothes and lace up my running shoes. With my iPod set to repeat on my all Miley playlist, I ran out of my building and down to the park. All of the recent wedding stress that I have been feeling disappeared as I practically skipped down the road that runs through the park.

Although I ended the run red faced with blisters in my feet, it is times like this that make me love my life.