I Ran 40 Miles On My Birthday…Now What?

In conjunction with my recently celebrated 40th birthday, I accomplished something I’ve long promised to do. A big bucket list item I’ve talked about on and off for at least the last 5 years.

To commemorate my 4oth trip around the sun, I ran 40 miles in one day.

To a seasoned ultra marathoner that doesn’t sound like much, but given that it was the furthest I ever ran in a day (specifically 13.8 miles longer than any marathon I’ve run), it was significant, symbolic and meaningful to me.

It was also amazingly emotional, cathartic and fulfilling. I didn’t do it for anyone but me, but it was good to hear how impressed and proud people were that I actually did it.
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3 Lessons I Learned By Running 1,000 Miles This Year and How You Can Accomplish a Similar Goal

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday season, I accomplished one of my running goals for 2013.

photo by flamurai, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I ran 1,000 miles for the year.

As I mentioned in the post linked above, I was well aware that others have set much  loftier goals with some people running the year (2013 miles in 2013) or running a tenth of that in a 100 mile race all in one day.

Since I’ve started tracking my runs with my Garmin watch, I’ve averaged a little under 900 miles a year, so I also realized that while 1,000 miles would be the most I’ve ever run in a 365 day span, it wouldn’t be a huge jump. It was something that I wanted to have under my belt more than anything, but I also wanted to make sure I was in good shape for the Marine Corps Marathon this past October. It was a baseline for me to maintain my running endurance throughout the year.

Running over 1,000 this year also taught me a lot about myself, about running and about my relationship with running.
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Run Yoga Thrive Interview with Jeff Sanders, Host of the 5AM Miracle Podcast

There is a lot of crap on the internet – especially in the area of self-improvement.

Do a Google search for “self-improvement”, “self-help” or even “life coach” and you’ll find plenty of websites offering a quick fix or simple solution to everything that ails you.

There are a ton of web sites out there that will claim to help you find a better job, create better daily habits, or help you lose weight, but often times they’re just trying to make a quick buck by offering half-thought out advice. You might be even more discouraged and confused about where to turn after finding so many half-baked sites.

So where do you go when you’re really looking for sound advice and help?
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Setting Your Running Thermostat

Back in grad school, my friend Kevin’s thermostat setting hovered somewhere in the 50s from late October to early spring.

No matter how cold it got in the dead of an Ohio winter, his thermostat didn’t budge. No amount of his girlfriend’s protests over having to wear socks and sweats to bed or the ribbing he got about being cheap would change his mind. Kevin’s determination to keep his heating bill low would always win out  – no matter what anyone said or did. I’m pretty sure there were times when even he was bothered or uncomfortable by the cold temperature in his apartment, but he never wavered. The heat simply was not going to get turned up.

At first blush, you wouldn’t think that  Kevin keeping his thermostat ridiculously low during winter months would have anything to do with becoming a better runner, but stick with me here.
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How A Marathon Training Run Picked A Fight With Cancer

To be honest, when I first mapped out the route to what essentially would become the Happy Half Marathon course a little over two years ago, I was simply looking for a way to end a long run at a pub in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

At the time the pub I had in mind had one of my favorite beers on tap and since I’m a big believer in beer being a good recovery drink, I was all for having a beer or two after the run.

If there was anything extraordinary about that training run, the fact that we were going to end it by drinking a few good beers was it.
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The Secret of A Three Mile Run

There is a secret about training to finish a marathon that no one really tells you.

Even though it’s hiding in plain sight behind a simple Google search, for the most part no one comes right out and says it.

I’m going to do you a solid and spell it out for you:

If you can run three miles, you can train to finish a marathon. 

If you Google ‘marathon training for beginners’ or ‘first time marathoner’, you’ll find a ton of really good training programs to sift through. As you click-through all the first-time marathon plans, you’ll probably notice two things. The first thing is that all of them offer up a disclaimer of sorts telling you to spend at least a few weeks working up to the first week’s training distances. The second thing you’ll likely notice is that most of the first couple of weeks in these plans include several three mile runs.

Essentially what they’re telling you is that before you graduate to training to finish a marathon, you should be able to run three miles with ease.
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4 Reasons Why I Prefer Hot Yoga

My first yoga class was a prenatal yoga class in 2005. It was slow, unheated, seemingly built strength, and alleviated pain in areas I didn’t know existed. It was good. For whatever reason, I didn’t take another yoga class until 2007. It was hot yoga. When I got back from class P.J. said: “Your face is so red. Are you sure you’re okay?”  Okay?! I couldn’t wait to get back. Here’s why:

Flexibility

In my first hot yoga class, I could barely touch my toes without feeling pain in my hamstrings and lower back. I learned to bend my knees more and breathe deeply into the posture. After many classes I was able to increase the flexibility in my hamstrings – I had to keep going back to class and be patient with my body. My mantra: In due time.

Focus & Patience

Speaking of “due time”…. At first, I would set up my mat in the back row watching the advanced practitioners bend into fancy postures and I could still barely stand on one leg. I would quickly compare. Over time, I focused inward on poses, on my state of mind, on me. My mantra: Long, slow breaths.

Sweat

The first time I felt the burning sensation of sweat dripping in my eyes when I was in a forward fold was seriously uncomfortable. BUT! After I got used to the sweat dripping everywhere, I realized that sweat was cooling me down — and actually detoxifying. Whatever I put in my body the night before, was dripping on my towel (gross!).  My mantra: deal with the sweat.

It’s like a drug: I keep going back

People may disagree with this, and perhaps it’s psychological for me, but I swear….the heat helps me get into postures easier (also, following a plant-based diet helps too). Within hours after completing a hot yoga class, my body feels energized, healthy, strong, flexible. Within 12 hours I psychotically look at the schedule for when I can get back. My mantra: get me back in the heat.

Hot yoga may not be for everyone, but I encourage all to try 10 classes of hot yoga in a row. It just may change your practice and will open your mind to other ways of stretching, meditating, strengthening, twisting, smiling, and living.

 

And I Would Run 1,000 Miles…

With apologies to the Proclaimers’ for paraphrasing their hit from the 90s (and to you for putting that song in your head), I’m officially announcing my New Year’s Resolution (better late than never).1000+ Goal Image

Here it is: I will run over 1,000 miles in 2013.

How far is 1,000 miles?

1,000 miles is a long way no matter how you slice it. To put it in perspective, if I got in my car and drove 1,000 miles away from where I live in Bethesda, Maryland, I could almost make it to either Springfield, Missouri, Miami, Florida or just short of Halifax, Novia Scotia almost 15 hours later.

I don’t know about you, but spending 15 hours in a car headed in any direction – or for any destination – seems pretty daunting.
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