What I’m Listening To in March

I’ve said it before, I love music. One if the things I love about running is that I can listen to music with no interruptions. Here are some new additions to my iPod as well as some older favorites.

  1. Labrinth- Jealous (Bakermat remix)
  2. Phantogram- You Don’t Get Me High Anymore
  3. Petit Biscuit- Sunset Lover
  4. September- Cry For You (radio edit)
  5. Muse- Uprising
  6. Orbital- Halcyon and On and On (hold the skip button down for about 12 seconds to get to the good part of the song)
  7. Saul Williams- List of Demands (Reparations)
  8. Black Eyed Peas- Meet Me Halfway
  9. Katy Perry- Unconditionally
  10. The Airborne Toxic Event- Sometime Around Midnight

Lifting Weights as a Runner

I’ve run 19 marathons and have trained differently for most. My first few marathons I only ran, no cross training or weight lifting. After these marathons, I was achy for days and my legs, back, and shoulders felt like they took a beating. It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed to add something different to my routine.

In 2009 I joined a gym that was near me and began lifting weights, lightly, eventually using a plan I found in Muscle and Fitness Hers (which is one of my favorite magazines,  Oxygen is a favorite too). I felt a little stronger at this point and noticed a slight change in my very skinny (from running nearly 50 miles per week) frame, with more muscle. I would head to the gym right after I left work and get my weight training in and then go directly for my run. It sounds time consuming, and it was (still is), but I really enjoy doing both so it’s time well spent. I was feeling stronger during my marathons and felt as though recovery became easier.

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Go Sharon! You’ve Got This!

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Excited about joining the ranks of other Legacy Runners! Photo by Hardeep Thind.

What a great day yesterday, 1/15/2017 was. I officially became a Legacy Runner and was able to finish with a smile on my face! I have mentioned before that my training wasn’t really that ideal, mostly because I just wanted this to be a finish rather than a time I was going for. I finished in 4:22, not my best, but certainly not my worst.

The night before the race, I didn’t get much sleep because I would keep waking up in a panic worrying that I overslept. What’s funny is that I usually run pretty well with a lack of sleep. If I get in too deep of a sleep, I struggle getting up. I woke up, got dressed, had my granola bar and water/Gatorade, and made sure to go pee as much as I could. At 5:30am, it was time to head out the door!

On the way there, I was actually more calm than I have been at any of my other races. Knowing that I wasn’t trying to go for a particular time made it so much easier, I could just relax and enjoy myself. There’s always a pressure you put on yourself when you’re trying to go for a certain time, but I felt none of that yesterday. Plus, with the temperatures already being in the high 60’s, even if I did have a goal time, that high temperature would have messed with my head. I’m definitely someone who mentally can’t handle the high temps. I shut down when I realize it’s going to be over 60 degrees or so.  Continue reading

What Happens While Running a Marathon

What happens during a marathon can be a matter of what happened the few days that lead
up to the marathon. A marathon
is 26.2 miles (although you usually end up running about half a mile more) and median finish time for women is 4:44. In those four hours, a lot can happen! Keep in m
ind, I speak from my own experience. Of course, not all marathons are the same. I’ve run some where I can barely walk after I finish, and others where I can leap across the finish line for a cute finish line photo (it wasn’t cute).blisters

The first thing that happens is that you usually stand there waiting in your corral, freezing. Sometimes up to 20 minutes. I start in the A corral at the Houston Marathon, which closes at 6:40am and the race doesn’t start until 7:00. So if it rains and is cold as it was a few years ago, you freeze your booty off and you make buddies with the people who were smart enough to bring an umbrella.

Let’s talk about what’s know as Runner’s Trots. So gross, but such a reality. It’s my biggest worry during each marathon. As you’re bouncing up and down for hours, taking in the sugars of the Gatorade and gel packs, you may get an upset stomach. Or in my case, you weren’t smart about what you ate in the days leading up to the race or long run and you suffer the consequences. Without getting into the details, I can say that( thank goodness), I’ve never experienced an upset stomach during a marathon, however, I’ve had many long runs which I have. In one 20 miler, I stopped at nearly every Starbucks inside the loop and even the Kindred Hospital on Main Street where I had to bang on the window at 5 am, so that the janitor would let me in. My what-was-supposed-to-be 3 hour long run turned into a 4:15 run. If you have to pee, most of the men are lucky enough to just run over to a bush and take care of business right there. We women on the other hand have to hold tight until the next port-o-potty is available, which is one of the nastiest things.

Another delight of running is the chafing. Everyone chafes in different spots. For me, it’s under my arms, kind of where my arm connects to my back. The motion of swinging my arms back and forth rubs the skin raw, to where even showering burns. I also chafe under my sports bra, between my breast along the rib cage. I have permanent scar there, about an inch long that’s visible in a bikini from all the times it’s been chafed.

Have you ever seen a runner’s foot? There may be a few toenails missing, some calluses may have formed, and there’s probably dried up and peeling skin somewhere. Somehow I have managed to avoid any lost toenails, but I definitely have experienced all of the others. I’ve had giant blood blisters under neath my toenail, to where I have had to stick a needle into my nail bed to drain the blood for some relief.

During the 2007 Chicago Marathon, I became so dehydrated (there was a heat wave that year) that I got several horrible leg cramps. Another runner had to help me stretch out because I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. The worst cramps for me are usually in my calves. I’ve had them in my hamstrings as well. I’ve worked extra hard on strengthening this muscle to help.

Not everything that happens during the marathon is gross or painful. Sometimes, you meat some really great people as I did during the marathon in Greece. Meeting Alex and Bollas was the only way I was going to finish that race. You also run into some amazing people, like Dick and Rick Hoyt, I’ve run next to them twice.

Here’s to hoping that on Sunday, during the Houston Marathon all goes smoothly, no chafes, trots, or cramped muscles from the inevitable heat! Good luck everyone!

This Marathon is a Special One!

2007

Running my first race at 24, 10 years ago. Obviously, clueless as to what to wear (t-shirt, soffe shorts, big headphones, socks not meant for running).

Well here I am, one week before the Chevron Houston Marathon and feeling a bit unprepared, but very ok with it. I managed to get a few long runs in, not as many as I would have liked, but I feel confident I will finish with a decent time. I didn’t train as I had planned to, but if you read my previous post, you’d know I am totally ok with it. Instead, I enjoyed a few extra meals, a bit more sleep, and gave my body a break. I’ll get back on track this year, as I have some pretty big goals that I’ll write about later. This race will be about having fun and enjoying each step!

The 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon will be my 19th marathon, and a very special marathon as it is the 10 year anniversary of my very first road race ever, the 2007 Aramco Houston Half Marathon. It’ll also be my 10th consecutive Chevron Houston Marathon. Once I cross the finish line, I will be considered a “Legacy Runner.” This is a big, big deal to me. I have waited for this moment for the past 10 years. There are currently only 1,664 runners who have completed 10 or more of the Houston Marathons in the CHM’s history. Of those runners, only 377 are female and of the females, only 14 are in their 30’s. I will be one of the youngest female legacy runners (there is only one girl younger than me on the current list). Once I qualify as a Legacy Runner, I have the opportunity to be a pace leader, which means I can lead a group of runners who are trying to finish the race in a certain time. Legacy Runners also get a special bib for race day and are granted guaranteed entry for future marathons. I know to anyone reading this, it may not seem like a big deal…but it is to me!

I’m looking forward to taking it easy and enjoying myself, with no pressure, on the 15th. I really just want to finish with a smile on my face and no aches and pains. I’ll enjoy all the crowds, seeing my loved ones, and maybe even some of the Michelob Ultra around mile 21.  If you’re in town, and don’t mind waking up early (hopefully cold), you really should come out and cheer on the thousands of Houstonians (and from elsewhere) running throughout the streets!

When You Don’t Feel Like Training

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I’ve realized that spending time with people I love is better than worrying about getting a run in! These are some of my favorite people/New Yorkers! ❤

I have to admit, for someone who blogs about running, I’m not doing too good of a job of running lately. By lately I mean the past two years really. Ok, so that’s sort of true. I am still running weekly, and getting in at least (for the most part) 25 miles, but that’s far from the days when I thought my life as a runner would be ruined if I missed a run, or worried so much about missing a long run that after teaching for eight hours a day, I would go home and get my shoes on and run 20 miles, into the evening. Yes, I did that several times in 2009…ran long runs during the work week. Well, it paid off, that was one of my best years as a runner.

I am currently training for marathon number 19, the Chevron Houston Marathon. This will be my 10th consecutive CHM, which I am REALLY, REALLY excited about. I’ll write more about why later. But the fact is that I am a little burned out of marathon training at the moment and have been since about 2014. It takes a lot of dedication, time, and discipline to train for a marathon. A lot of waking up REALLY early on the weekends, having to watch what I eat the night before the long run, missing out on fun weekend dinners out, etc. I trained REALLY hard for seven years straight, even training for three marathons back to back at some points…and that burned me out mentally. I also got to a point which I reached some pretty big goals so I had a “Well, I got there,” attitude about it. My ultimate goal as a marathon runner was to qualify for and run Boston. I did that, several times so I was really happy! I don’t plan to try and requalify for Boston again until I get into the 35-39 age group, so I don’t have sense of urgency with training.

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10 Reasons To Run

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Running one of my favorite marathons, the Marine Corps Marathon

There are so many reasons why I think you should give running a try. Here are a few: no monthly fees, you can do it anywhere, you can start at any level, it makes you feel good, it’s alone time, it’s friend time, no one is in your face yelling at you, an extra bowl of ice cream, to breath fresh air, to improve your cardiovascular fitness, build stronger bones…I can keep going.

And then there’s those reasons why you might say you can’t run: you can barely walk to the mailbox (ha-ha, a joke we’ve all heard), you don’t have time with work, you don’t have time with kids, you get shin-splints, you don’t like working out alone, you don’t know where to run, you can’t breathe when you run, you don’t want to ruin your blow out, or you just don’t like running…well I can’t help you with that one, instead, go ahead and click here: SoulCycle or Equinox.
Here is a list of 10 reasons why I think you should run.

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