- Meditate: even 10 minutes a day will help you.
- Gratitude: Be grateful for all you have and remember there are people truly suffering in this world and you really do have it good.
- Exercise: It is so important and I can't stress it enough. Studies have shown that running alone has done more for to relieve depression than any prescribed medicine.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
~ Robin Sharma from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
We’ll get right to the point here: WHAT DO YOU TRULY LOVE?!?
And what % of your energy are you putting towards it?!?
I truly love _____________________________
I dedicate ____ % of my energy to doing what I truly love.
How’s it lookin’?
You know what you love?
If you do know what you love, how much of your energy are you investing in it? You need to take more risks and give yourself more fully to the world?!? What can you start doing NOW to invest more energy where it needs to go?!?
Remember Goethe who advised us: “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” ( Check out The 80/20 Principle .)
And Maslow. He said, “What you CAN be, you MUST be.” AND, he said, “If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” So…)
If you don’t know what you love, DISCOVERING it is your primary job. Figure it out. Passionately and joyfully seek to discover your Highest Calling. Read, journal, meditate, contemplate, discuss ideas, take a sabbatical. Whatever you need to do. KNOW THYSELF. Know who you are, what you love, what you’re here to do. And… DO IT!
And, if you’re diggin’ Robin, get his book(s), check out his site (robinsharma.com), read all his blogs, etc. As Joseph Campbell says quoting Ramakrishna, “Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.”)
So, what will happen when you put all your energy into that which you love? Per Robin:
“You will wake up every morning with a limitless reservoir of energy and enthusiasm. All your thoughts will be focused on your definite objective.. You won’t have time to waste time. Valuable mental power will, therefore, not be wasted on trifling thoughts. You will automatically erase the worry habit and become far more effective and productive. Interestingly, you will also have a deep sense of inner harmony, as if you are somehow being guided to realize your mission. It is a wonderful feeling.”
OK I borrowed this Post from my hero/guru Brian Johnson, the guy just rocks and he full of good energy. I just wanted to share this one with you.
Check out Brian on http://www.philosophersnotes.com/
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I've been a vegetarian for longer than I can remember, I've also been known to go months at a time eating nothing but a raw food vegan diet. I still lean toward raw food but I must admit it's easier not to be, so out of sheer laziness I will forgo the raw food and eat whats convenient. But just the same I thought I would add this in here to help those out who are looking for direction.
- Shed extra pounds, yep on an average vegans and vegetarians are up to 20 lbs lighter than meat eaters
- Every vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year
- A Vegan diet is great for your health, vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than mean eaters and that's a fact.
- Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the USA. In fact scientist at John Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 % of Tyson chicken was contaminated with camplylobactor, a dangerous bacteria that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year.
- It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals in fact it takes 16LBS of grain to produce 1LB of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used more efficiently if it were fed to people directly and help feed the world.
- Adopting a vegan diet is more important to than switching to a greener car in the fight against global warming because the meat industry is the cause so much pollution and waste.
It is true that very low B12 intakes can cause anemia and nervous system damage.
The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms.
Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid anemia and nervous system damage, but many do not get enough to minimize potential risk of heart disease or pregnancy complications.
To get the full benefit of a vegan diet, vegans should do one of the following:
- Eat fortified foods two or three times a day to get at least three micrograms (mcg or µg) of B12 a day or
- Take one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms or
- Take a weekly B12 supplement providing at least 2000 micrograms.
If relying on fortified foods, check the labels carefully to make sure you are getting enough B12. For example, if a fortified plant milk contains 1 microgram of B12 per serving then consuming three servings a day will provide adequate vitamin B12. Others may find the use of B12 supplements more convenient and economical.
The less frequently you obtain B12 the more B12 you need to take, as B12 is best absorbed in small amounts. The recommendations above take full account of this. There is no harm in exceeding the recommended amounts or combining more than one option.
Recommended movie: 'Food Inc.' See the meat industry behind the scenes.Why? because you are what you eat and maybe you'll rethink your diet for the better.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Let me say I was pretty pissed off reading that, the writer basically admitted that it was more important to look the part of a champion than be one. What if say Denis Rodman had gotten all of Michael Jordans credit for being the greatest baller ever because he looked cooler? What if the Monkees got credit for all the Beatles songs? Yeah they'd be pissed and you would be too. So here's the letter I wrote Running Times which may appear in a future issue.
"I enjoyed your article on Dean Karnazes and I feel you made some valid points: hey, Dean inspired me and a few friends to run ultras (no 100 miles for me though.) But I thought it was a little hypocritical on your part to go on and disrespect Scott Jurek, I have met both men and both were really nice and genuine people.
In Scott’s defense, here you have someone who is basically the Lance Armstrong of the sport breaking every record in sight but acts like it's no big deal, and then sits around after each race to cheer every last finisher, a guy who also volunteers for many races himself if
he's not running them and has not made or asked for a penny out of winning any race he's done. So from his perspective you might be a little annoyed that someone is getting all the credit that, by and large, is due to Scott.
Like I said I think Dean is great and he inspired me many people to go out there and do it but let's give credit where credit is due: Scott is the real champion.
It's not about stunts to keep you in the press but it's about the love of the sport."
By the way, unlike the writer for RT I have met both runners on separate occasions and like most runners they were extremely nice to say the least. What Scott had said about Dean was a couple of years ago and when asked about Dean and his publicity machine (probably for the jillionth time)he said, in so many words he had said "it's getting old" And from his perspective it would be, Scott with all his accomplishments in the sport of ultra running hasn't even made the cover of Runners World or Running Times. Imagine if Lance Armstrong had never made the cover of a cycling magazine and your biggest write up is buried in 'the weight loss issue' of Runners World? Now that's being dissed.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Two years ago today was the last time I saw my mom. It was mothers day 2008 and my mother was dying of cancer though I was in complete denial. When I saw her she down in Florida that day she had gained weight and was puffy looking, a result of the medicine she had been taking. We spent the day watching an old Joan Crawford movie called 'Mildred Pierce' and we talked and laughed about her childhood. It was a typical day with my mother and maybe the best day of my life.
When it was time to leave we hugged each other and she told me something that will always haunt me " next time you see me It will be different." She was trying to tell me that she was dying and that things were worse than they were which was difficult for me not only to see (since I live in NYC and she was in Florida under the care of my older sister) but it was difficult to understand.
When I left I took one more picture of her on the balcony and thought about what she had said about things being different and then I felt like I may never see her again which I brushed off because she was my mom, strong and stubborn, nothing was going to take her down.
Two weeks later I saw her again but it wasn't her, it was just a shell of my mother lying in the hospice, hooked up on an I.V. and doped up on pain killers. She couldn't speak and she barely knew I was there and to be honest I felt like I was looking into her coffin, it was awful. On my birthday I got news that it was official she was going to die and on July 8th she was gone.
The irony of us watching Mildred Pierce on that day was that the story of Mildred Pierce was basically a mother going to extreme lengths to protect her child from danger even though she had to suffer for it. My mother hid from me the fact of how sick she really was, she didn't want to be "a burden" to her children. She put herself in front of me to the end trying to protect me from the pain even though she knew she was dying and was most likely scared out of her mind.
When she did pass my siblings and I had to go back to her place to pack her belongings. As we walked into the condo and looked around we saw what everyone else saw when they walked in wall to wall photos of of us, her children and grandchildren. No longer were they the tacky pictures we saw with embarrassed children's eyes but these photos were like sheer love radiating through the room. We became aware instantly of something we took for granted for so many years, no one will ever love you like your mother does and we'll never have that again. It was a hard pill to swallow.
I can't believe I lost my best girl. Thank you mom for all your love and sacrifice, you're always in my heart.
Happy Mothers Day.
Friday, May 7, 2010
OK folks let get one this straight here, ALL yoga classes are suited for runners. I've been doing yoga longer than I've been running (really.) What I've noticed is that yoga tends to market itself to whatever is style or fad is popular. But really it's all the same poses structured more or less the same way. Yoga is beneficial to runners mostly because it strengthens the core. In fact yoga will not only strengthen your core but it will teach you focus, discipline, calms your mind and stretches your your body in a way most stretching routines don't, this is all very helpful to runners.
So next time you see a something labeled 'Yoga for .... '(you fill in the blank) know that it's a marketing tool for beginners and novice practitioners unsure of how yoga benefits them. In fact it seems kind un-yogi to me to fool the public with gimmicks and nonsense.
By the way there are a bunch of DVDs out on the market also labeled 'yoga for runners', 'yoga for pregnancy' (OK this is a good for gentle yoga practice to do while you're pregnant), 'yoga for kids', 'nude yoga', 'Hot Yoga' or 'Bikram Yoga' etc. all the same poses just a different label.
Remember in order to get any lasting benefits from yoga you must practice at least 3 times a week.
P.S. Favorite Yoga studio: http://www.greenhouseholistic.com/index.html
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
May 2nd 2010, a day that will live in infamy (or maybe just till after the Brooklyn half in 2 weeks.) With temperatures in the mid to low 70's at the start you begin to have a hunch it might be a warm one today. Lining up with me are members of the North Brooklyn Runners A.K.A. NBR. Out of maybe 300 members about 20 had said they were going to run this race out of that 20 there were about eight that remained including first time marathoners Allison, ( designer of our team shirts and pick up truck driver.) Marie (the school teacher who needed a medal to show her class that anything is possible) Christine (jewelry designer and Kombucha bootlegger) and there were the veterans Sherry R., Beverly W., Erin P., Markus and myself who was running because last years race was held in the freezing rain and I demanded retribution and that PR I so rightly deserved.
Like I said weather started out in the low to mid 70's with a cool breeze on the beach and Bruce Springsteen's greatest hits blasting in the background , it felt like it might be a good race after all. So with 'born to run' blasting in the background and some dude dressed as Mini Mouse blasting past me I knew the race had begun.
Now here's my reactions to the first few miles.
Mile 1: “wow I feel great,I only have to do this 25 more times but I'm going out a little too fast better slow down”.
Mile 2:” OK that's it I'm right on pace to reach my projected goal."
Mile 3: "man it's getting hot around here.”
Mile 4: “hmm I'm 30 seconds behind,I can still make it up or just go with this pace and still have a nice. PR”
Mile 5: “Holy crap it's like being inside a clothes dryer!”
Mile 6: “I have to do 2 laps of this and is that a guy passed out on the side of the road or is he taking a quick nap? ”
Mile 7: I hear people cheering me on and it's NBR, and it looked like 20 of them but I think I was hallucinating at that point so it was hard to tell, I picked myself up ran over to them and high 5'd the group and ran off thinking about how crazy it was that they took the train for over two hours to cheer us on. These are seriously nice people who clearly have a warped idea of what fun is.
OK now that I threw any ideas of a PR out the window because it was just too hot to care. I had to run into a friend who was running the half and listening to the weather on her headphones, "it's 88 degrees". Awesome, and did I really need to hear that? Let's face it that's hot for any race not just a marathon and mind you Tuesday night while running it was in the low 40's with a wind chill that made it feel like mid 30's.
With the sight of more runners laid out on the side of the road I thought it would be best to throw in the towel before I became road kill as well. Besides who needs sun poisoning? So I picked it up and decided to run to the halfway point and go to the beach and jump in the water, but not before losing my chatty friend who was slowly making me nuts so I ducked into a Porto potty to lose her. After realizing that 5 gallons of Gatorade in the last hour just sweated out of my pours before it had time to reach my bladder seemed like a sign I was making the right decision by ending this thing.
Then of course it happens (drum roll please) I reached the beach and it was 20 degrees cooler. It was as though someone turned on a giant air conditioner and just like that I felt awesome all over again. I think to myself, "wow, I will finish this thing".... until I came to the halfway point and see that it had taken me 2 hours to get there, my jaw must have dropped, I don't think I did my first half marathon (also in the extreme heat) in 2 hours. So it was a crushing blow to my ego. At that point the whambulance came out and all these tiny little people played their tiny little violins for me then handed me a tissue to wipe my tears and with their tiny little feet gave me a kick in the ass and told me move on. Actually the whambulance was Kristy and she gave me a big kiss and a Probar and after 5 minutes or so, convinced me to keep moving. How could I let her, or the team down for that matter?
And so I went on and about a quarter mile later it got hot again. But I ate my Probar and realized i was more than halfway done. At mile 17 I saw Jennifer from NBR and wondered if she had a stop watch on to call out our splits (no, but she later paced injured Allison for the last 9 miles.) By mile 18 I started thinking about Badwater. In case you don't know Badwater is a 135 mile ultra marathon that runs through Death Valley in July, it can get up 135 degrees. So there I was thinking about this and I started to realize that in the scheme of things this is nothing. Badwater is the distance of 5 marathons in more extreme conditions and I only have another 8 miles to go. No big deal just get in ultra mode and realize time and PR's don't matter today it's just the challenge of the course. Suddenly 18 miles into this I began to lighten up and have fun.
Meanwhile around me people are still dropping like flies, some guy fell right in front of me and people rushed from their homes to give him water and help him out. The 3:50 pacers that sped by me 2 miles previous were in the medical tent up ahead drooling all over themselves. I never did see any other pacers besides the 3:30 (which I was originally following) aside of that all I did see were pace flags on the course left in cones. Also on the side of the road away from the carnage was NBR, Matt handy with orange slices and Chris along another part of the course again cheering me on. Amazing.
By the end at the end Beverly caught up to me we ran together for the last half mile to the sounds of people calling out our names that were printed on out NBR shirts. It made it fun and I'm glad she caught up she also confided that she wanted to quit halfway but she didn't want to let the team down, I agreed. Beverly encouraged me to speed up to the end and so I did, my chip time was 4:20 which put me in the top 25% of finishers Beverly's time was actually 4 minutes faster even though I came through first (she kicked my ass) Markus finished in the top 10. As for that PR "I so rightly deserved" I was 35 minutes slower than last year but they'll be other marathons.
After the race we laughed about the conditions, talked about how awesome the locals were for hosing us down like 1960s protesters and just how great it was that people came down to support us and that the team scattered themselves along the course to cheer us on, we are not the fastest runners on the team (except for Markus) but they treated us like rock stars anyway. Thanks guys.
As a side note I'd like to add the lessons I've learned.
1. It's just another race enjoy the run for what it is.
2. Over doing it makes you road kill
3. Be grateful for all the things that did go right
4. S Caps rock
5. PRs will take care of themselves
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
First thing you want to remember is that running is more like a controlled forward fall, lean from your ankles about 10 degrees without bending at the waist (hold that core straight.)
Next you want your eyes gazing down at the road ahead of you. I like to look at other runners feet while racing to keep this position, be sure not to tuck your chin to your chest you want your head and neck nice and relaxed.
Breathing. This was a challenge for me when I first started running. I just couldn't figure out how to breathe right. Really the only trick to this is breathing through your mouth only and relax as much as you can and it will come naturally.
Most runners don't realize that your upper body also plays an important role in your form so let's look at the shoulders. You want your shoulders low and relaxed. To help you get the picture right now you should raise your shoulders toward your ears then let go. Which feels better? Low, of course, but most runners tend to tense up during runs and this tension is wasting energy that you can be using to run faster.
Arms: you'll want to hold your elbows in at a 90 degree angle with your forearms parallel to the ground, swing your arms forward and backward in a straight line and avoid swinging your arms across your body which will again slow you down. You want to drive your elbows straight back when you're picking up the pace with your hands reaching the side seam of your shorts.
Keep hands slightly cupped with thumb and index finger resting on each other and push down with your hands and elbows while in motion.
And now for everybodys favorite part, your feet!
Yes there are a few different type of strikers out there, heel, mid foot, and forefoot. Here's the skinny on each one.
Heel strikers can be injured if they land too far back on their heels because the position over flexes the foot but even more common is that heel striking can hurt your over all pace because you are literally breaking as you come down on your foot.
Forefoot strikers put extra stress on their calves which can cause a host of lower leg injuries.
What I think works best is to strike on the mid foot, it enhances stability through your stride and promotes more turnover so your feet stay on the ground for the least amount of time.
Changing your form takes time, I have been heel striking for some time and changing to mid foot is taking a lot of effort, but the better I become at it the better my race times become.
So where do I begin and what brought me to this point and time right here? well the marathon of course 26.2 miles of glorious hell and then some. Including a few ultras I've done 15, a lot for some not much to others it's more of a hobby than an accomplishment.
It all started of course in NYC 2005 my first marathon which I ran in an unseasonably warm day, it was my first so of course I was nervous but I ran it and went through all the emotional turmoil that goes on while running it, I loved it, I hated it, and I just plowed through it.
New York is a hard course the second half being mostly hills bridges and a steady incline that you don't even notice while you're running it but it tends to take it's toll add the weather in the mid 70's and humid it along with the non stop screaming of the crowd and it becomes overwhelming.
Along 5th avenue bodies of runners lay on the side of the curb like war casualties, some on stretchers some fell right in front of me the whole time I thought to myself just let me get through this, and I did under 4 hours which was my goal. As I crossed the finish i swore never again,that lasted 10 minutes when I spoke to my sister who asked me if I had decided to run the Rock n' Roll marathon with her in 2 months, as if I had already forgotten what pain I was in I accepted.
Marathon #2 just 2 months later raised a few eyebrows from some experienced marathoners but what did I know? just do it and that's all there is. Turns out my sister got injured and couldn't run it and decided to be my cheer leader, OK no big deal I figured it was an excuse to see AZ anyway. 2 Things I will take away from this marathon, 1. it was hosted by PF Chang and they had coupons for runners which i learned the hard way was the wrong way to fuel up before 26.2 the next day, unless you like multiple porto john stops, 2. I was on my feet the day before computer shopping with little sis. bad move and 3. I was running in the desert and though at the halfway point I remember being glad for running it by mile 16 the sun had come out and knocked me on my butt, still I finished in 4 hrs great
The next time i ran NYC I still had no expectations and was still kind of a rube at this, i ran according to how I felt and and finished in 3:38 awesome, I felt great it was effortless and I just ran for fun, but most important had hadn't any expectations what-so-ever and mind you my shorter distance races were no where near as quick as they are now.
By this time I started to do ultras and more back to back marathons trained non stop and you can say i probably over trained for any of my regular marathons trying different training plans doing lots of miles and so on. Because I was becoming competitive and I saw my race times and my endurance getting better I just assumed I would do well in marathons, errr, maybe not.
One of my problems with running marathons is sleep, I'm a light sleeper and I wake up a lot at night so when i having something pressing to do the next day it becomes challenging to fall back asleep because my nerves get the best of me, yes this is my runners excuse and every runner has one. I could have run a .......... but my leg cramped, but my toe hurt but, but , but oh I hate the runners excuses, the only real excuse is I didn't train right.
Great marathon excuses and the real story behind these lamo sob stories.
1. I didn't get enough sleep A) start going to sleep earlier and get into a routine most people don't sleep well before the big race so just own up to the fact you had too many late nights. Translation: you didn't train right.
2. I had a cramp A) waaaah, my heart bleeds for you, but did you not eat right leading up to this? did you hydrate before & during this or did you go out too fast? Translation: you didn't train right.
3. I was on pace for XXX but my I.T. band , my knee, my back, acted up A) you went out to hard. Translation: you didn't train right
It's not rocket science just listen to your body and train right.
Other factors include the weather which yes will slow you and everyone else down but a sour attitude while running will waste too much energy and keep you further from your goal than you need be.
In 2009 i ran the NJ Marathon and it rained and rained and rained, I simply blew that because of my attitude and my lack of confidence. I trained better than I have trained for any other marathon and I was miserable because of the rain I didn't enjoy the run and every step i took in my rain soaked Brooks felt like torture. Another uninspired time. Mean while my girlfriend PR'd and had the greatest run ever, the difference? she didn't agonize over every little thing she just ran, stayed focused and kicked ass and that's all there is to it.
Next I decided to train for the JFK 50 which unknown to me had sold out, the thing about ultras is you never concern yourself with a PR because really who cares ? so few people do them and the ones that don't only think of the distance and not the time, in other words there's no pressure, awesome.
Not so awesome, it sold out so i decided to do the Knickerbocker 60K in central park 2 weeks after the NY marathon, no big deal the marathon was part of my training run and I had run 26 mile runs 3 times before NY so no big deal right? WRONG!
Just how many times can i get this wrong?? yes I went out too hard in NY expecting to be as fast as I was in the spring with double the endurance which clearly was not the case. Within the first 6 miles my I knew my goal time (there's that thing again) was out the window I made it past the first half but damn why did it feel so hard, I've run this course dozens of times leading up to this and today it's going to be a problem? well actually yes. By the time I made it to the 59th street bridge runners that I knew that were not as quick as me were passing me, oh my ego once again bruised and tarnished. By mile 16 it was over i saw girlfriends parents and they encouraged me to move on which lasted a half mile and then I walked all the way to the finish expecting to run again at some point. By mile 20 I saw my pretty girlfriend Kristy running along and I cheered for her, she offered to walk with me but I told her to run her race best she could, she could take 10 minutes off her time for hanging with me. As for me, I finished in 5:30 got my medal and went to the medical tent.
Though I couldn't walk for a week just 2 weeks I ran that 60K, not just that, I actually ran to it and put in 40 miles that day, my intention was really just to do half that if I could but it seemed easy to just run a few loops around the park plus my good friend Lynn Bradley and he boyfriend were there cheering me on, and they waited for my to finish so I ran it in and thanked them for being so kind.
It's not all bad though, as I said I've run shorter distance races and picked up my pace considerably. My pace for a 4 miler was 7:04 per mile which is now down to 6:52, my last half marathon I ran as a bandit and without the pressure my overall pace was 7:34 per mile which of course led me to believe my latest marathon would have me in my goal time of 3:29 seems like I'm right on target doesn't it? well I'll have to do a race report on that one another time.