Faster, Fitter and Freakier at Forty

Faster, Fitter and Freakier at Forty.

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Faster, Fitter and Freakier at Forty

me and danny

I’ve been getting quite a few side-long glances lately, and I don’t mean from strangers. No, its mostly been my long-time friends and a few relatives that have been looking at me curiously. They aren’t quiet sure what to make of it, this new me, the old me but different.

My friends that expect me to drop everything and rearrange my schedule to go for a sixty mile bike ride or the friends that expect me to show up at the local race are wondering what has happened to their cardio junkie that could never get enough miles and their overly competitive buddy that could never acquire enough trophies to convince herself she could actually run.

The other homeschool moms are asking why I’m all dressed-up. What’s the occasion? My sister quit waiting for a fight, because I stopped starting one. My kids even stopped being afraid to ask a question, because I stopped jumping down their throat with the answers. My husband still does a double blink expecting his old wife to appear after he clears his eyes. But she hasn’t returned (thank the gods). And the new me is still here. Get used to her, because I’ve fallen in love with her (and so has my hubby).

Don’t worry world, I’m just as vain as ever, I just care less about what the world thinks and more about what I think about myself. If I fall asleep knowing my husband loves the hell out of me, my kids think I’m a superstar and I like myself, I’m gonna sleep well.

You may wonder what the hell all this has to do with running, biking and all the other bullshit I like to blog about, well here it is. I’m fitter, faster and freakier than ever at forty. That’s right, I am faster and fitter and freakier than ever. If you care to be the same at forty, I will attempt to explain what I’ve done without elaborating on how the transformation came about. Just think of it as a transformation that took place because I was exhausted of being my old self.

I may no longer care if the community knows I’m a fast runner, but I still care that I can run fast. A matter of fact, I am running faster now, just shy of age forty, than I have ever run in my life. My latest training run pace was the same pace as my fasted 5K ever. I’m proud of that (and yeah, I did just kind of brag about it). If you are wondering how it’s possible here it is in a nutshell: I run less, do more core and weights, and spend less time working out.

I used to average about 35-40 miles running, squeeze in about 100+ miles on my bike and a 3000 yards swim each week.

Now I run about 17 miles a week, do core/cardio 30 minutes five days a week and swim about 3000 yards one day a week. I work out no more than one hour a day and take off Sundays.

Here’s the thing, I used to run distance because I loved it. I would run away from my problems, contemplate life, indulge in my alone time. I would return refreshed but tired, too tired in fact, to have the energy to keep up with my two growing children. I would drag myself through the remaining portion of the day, dreading chores and schoolwork. By the time my hubby got home I was not only too tired to converse with him, I was resentful that he got to come home and relax while my day was still going. I was a resentful bitch and absolutely no fun to be around.

So now I workout for different reasons. I’m no longer escaping my life, quite the opposite really, I hate to leave for even 30 minutes because I don’t want to be away from my family that long. No, now I work out for my physical health and to look the way I desire to look. That last statement seems really vain, I know, but it is true. My personal happiness is directly related to how I look (so shoot me) and providing I have any control over that, I will work out to meet those needs. My husband appreciates it too, so why not?

Do I worry about gaining weight? No. I figured out a long time ago that weight has nothing to do with how much you work out. I was my heaviest when I was training for my marathon. Weight has everything to do with what you eat (not how much you eat). A calorie is NOT a calorie. If you want to hear more about this, you may have to wait for another blog.

Here’s another tip for those of you pushing forty, especially the cardio junkies: you need more weight training and less endurance training to maintain your lovely figure, especially you ladies. I promise to write a blog about my take on looking hot into your forties next.

So to wrap it up, here is my new me and the philosophy I live by:

Go short and fast (running), do more core and weight training to be leaner not meaner, ride for pleasure not distance, never use a workout as a reason to eat, carb-up, or replace calories.

Always look your best. I don’t care if you are going to the grocery store or to the homeschool co-op, look and be the best you can be. Why the hell would you want anything less for yourself?

If you are too damned tired from your workout to listen and keep up with your kids, then you are being a selfish bitch. Cut it out. They will grow up to hate you.

If you don’t have the desire to jump into your husbands arms and kiss him all over (literally) when he walks through that door, then it’s time to stop and evaluate yourself. Nuf said.

And for those of you who don’t think I was funny enough in this blog, please check out my new favorite website: www.chocolateanus.com. All my runclub friends are getting one of these this year:)

and please, if you like what I have to say, can you please share my blog with your friends?

#running #forty #biking #relationships #racing #kids

The Running Junkie and Fear of Recovery

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As I looked out my window this morning watching the pounding rain, I thought to myself, ‘I should just stay inside and do yoga’. But then the rain lightened up for a brief moment and I said, “Oh, it looks like it’s gonna stop. I’m going for my run.”

At mile four of my hilly-six miler, when the cold spring rain was pelting me in the face like shards of glass as I ran, I had two thoughts:

1. I am so glad I opted to leave my expensive Garmin Watch at home, although I would REALLY like to know what my pace is right now.
and
2. I am so glad I didn’t opt-out of my run and do yoga.

While most sane people are looking for a good opportunity to back out of a scheduled run, the Running Junkie dreads having to back out of a run. The Running Junkie’s worst day is when he/she is sick, and not because he’s on his knees vomiting into the toilet, but because he is too weak to go outside and run. He fears he will lose fitness and God knows what else.
yoga
While creating today’s blog in my head today during my stormy run I discovered the ‘God knows what else’ of the above sentence…I think.

You see, staying inside and doing yoga this morning would have been perfect for me and my fitness. This is especially true since I did two speed-workouts yesterday (one of them completely unplanned and off the cuff) and my left leg was wound as tight at a pretzel.pretzelAn easy day full of stretching and meditation would have probably allowed my leg to mend and my muscles to repair so that my long run tomorrow would really be awesome…maybe even brag-worthy.

But I didn’t choose yoga, like so many Running Junkies out there, I chose to run.

Now I’m going to tell you a dirty little secret that only a small handful of people (maybe 3 people) are aware of. I think it is pertinent to my discovery this morning so I am willing to scar my perfect image with the sad truth of my youth.

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As I ran along, my shoes sloshing through mud puddles I dialed my brain back about 18 years to a time before I was married and long before I became a runner. I was in college, alone in a strange town in Montana and using pills to get me through my long days of school and work. During my college career I had developed a nasty dependency on these pills so much that I was taking them every day and barely able to pay for rent to feed the addiction. I was convinced that without the pills I would fail; fail at school, at work and in life, that I couldn't imagine a single day without my precious pills.

Occasionally I would decide to take a 'day-off' of my pills, to let my body recover and my tollerance to bounce back a little. I was taking more and more all the time, I had hoped that with a day off, maybe I wouldn't require so many pills to keep me bouncing through my day. But the planned 'day-off' seldom came. ???????????????????????????????????????
I feared it. The only way I could manage it was to stay in bed all day and sleep. A day without my pills was like a day without the sun.

Now fast forward to the me you see today, the organic food eating, running, swimming, biking mother of two and wife. I’m so far from the disaster I was almost twenty years ago. But if I look deep into my soul I have to admit I still have an addiction, I’ve just replaced it with running.

mom and kids

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Like so many Running Junkies, whether they are running from a past, a drug, a relationship or whatever, we are junkies. We can't imagine what will happen if we don't get our fix for the day. We run in the rain and do speed workouts the day before a race and choose running over yoga because there is a piece of our brain that just plain cannot imagine what will happen if we don't run. Even when we know we would be a faster runner, win more races and suffer less injuries if we just gave ourselves the recovery/rest days we need…we still run.
runner

In the last few months I have pledged to take one rest day a week. I often end up hiking or doing something active, not sleeping, but it is a day off. In return my body has rewarded me with faster tempo runs and new race PR’s (personal records). When I wake up on my rest day and think about going for a run, just a short one, I think back to my youth and tell myself, ‘No, Diane. You’re a grown-up now. You know what will happen if you don’t run…and it’s a good thing.”

But today was Wednesday, not Saturday, so I couldn’t possibly miss my run:)
must run

So, to all you Running Junkies out there, and to Tim, whom I know is going to try to squeeze a quick four mile run into his layover at San Francisco two days before his big marathon, you are not alone. At least we understand each other. Have a great run, I hope you find what you are looking for.

Happy running to all my fellow Running Junkies AND to the Sane Runners we will never be. (Yes, Running Junkie and Sane Runner DO need to be capitalized:P

#running #junkie #racing #recovery #restday #drugs #pills #training

RUNNER DOWN! When You Can’t Run

feet in flipflops
UNABLE TO RUN!

In 2009 I decided that after just three years of running, I was going to run my first marathon. Knowing I would need a mission behind my goal, I chose a foundation to raise money for : The Larry Frimanslund Oral Cancer Foundation. I signed up for the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon and went about my training.

It wasn’t until my 17-mile long run, just eight weeks before the marathon, that I ran into trouble. It was my IT band. I took 4 days off and went out for a seven-mile test run. At three and a half miles I was unable to walk let alone run. The pain brought tears to my eyes and a sadness to my heart. The thought of not being able to finish my training and having to back-out of the marathon paralyzed me.

I sat on the side of the road contemplating how I would manage to get the 3.5 miles back home to my house. I thought about the book I was reading: Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and made a rash decision. I took off my shoes and started walking toward my house, there was no pain. With a shoe in each hand I worked my way into an easy jog and amazingly remained pain-free.

By the time I reached my home I had decided that I would finish my training, even if I had to run stocking-footed to do it.
It didn’t take too many mid-week runs to realize I couldn’t afford new socks every day and besides, my feet needed a little more protection from the gravel on the roads.

I experimented with shoes, finding that my flip-flops were the best for running in. I used medical tape to keep them on my feet and more tape to cover the blisters caused by the straps. My training went on without IT band pain.

Eventually I decided to purchase a pair of Vibram 5-fingers. It was those shoes that I ultimately ran (and jogged…and walked) my marathon in.
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What I did was stupid. I mean, yes, I finished my marathon and met my goal, but no one should go from a full shoe to a minimal shoe in the middle of training for a marathon. That was proven to me on the first run after my marathon. After a few days rest I went out for a simple three-mile run with my run club and returned with a stress fracture. Boom, six-weeks of no running.

I am still a minimalist runner, I don’t believe in arch support and especially believe that kids should start with a minimal shoe and remain in one their entire life. But that isn’t what this is about.

This is about not being able to run.

Running junkies the world over can be heard moaning when they are sidelined for even a few days. Many, like me, will risk major injury instead of taking much-needed rest and recovery. Our intense desire to run is remarkable, impressive, maybe even honorable…but it isn’t conducive to longevity.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR UNABLE TO RUN?

1. Take the time to research your condition and learn as much as you can about it. I guarantee you’re not the only one suffering with your condition. Find out what worked for others in your situation. Don’t take your doctor’s advice as gospel, he doesn’t know everything (especially if he isn’t a runner). Get second opinions, don’t be afraid of physical therapy, chiropractic’s, and alternative treatments like acupuncture, supplements and diet change to get you well.

2. Don’t return to running too soon. If you have a stress fracture, you need 4-6 weeks off, period. Coming back after 3 weeks because you don’t feel any pain is stupid. Don’t be stupid.

3. Don’t just sit there (not that you would anyway). Just because you can’t run doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. With most injuries you can still swim, cycle, do yoga and you can most definitely weight train. Even with a huge boot on my foot I could still ride my stationary bike for hours at a time and I could swim to sustain a certain amount of fitness.

4. Don’t get out of the loop. Don’t avoid your running friends or your run club. While your buddies are out running you can walk. Take part in the social time with your running friends. Talk about your injury, express the difficulty of not running and let them assure you that you’ll be back.

5. Don’t worry! Just because you are taking some time off doesn’t mean you’re going to have to start from scratch. Nor does it mean you will come back as a mediocre runner. I’ve seen it over and over, people not only return to run strong, but they run faster and stronger than ever before. I can only assume it is a result of the forced extended recovery time. After my stress fracture I returned to run my fasted half marathon ever.

I hope to bring some examples of people who have returned from injuries to inspire you. If you have a story, please feel free to tell everyone about it in the comments below! Happy running.

#running #injury #marathon #stressfracture #fracture #vibrum #borntorun #racing

Learning From Longevity: an interview with Dick (Running and Weight Loss)

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I know I’ve been a little obsessed with Dick in my last few posts. I’ve teased you with Dick but not actually given you any real substance. So here it is: an interview with Dick, a man almost 70 years old who has been running for 50 years.

(Dick will list his favorite books on running and strength training at the end of this blog).

DS: Welcome to my Blog Dick.

Dick: Thanks for having me Diane.

DS: First off, how did it all start?

Dick: Back when I was nineteen, my baseball coach in #Texas told me I needed to run a mile before breakfast every morning to be a better #baseball player. Since then, running has evolved like so many other things. It turned into 2 miles on the track, then in the late 60’s and early 70’s during the running boom it turned into racing 10K’s.

DS: You’ve been running for 50 years, why do you run?

Dick: I get asked that question a lot and I ask that question a lot. I hear good answers: lose, weight, get in shape, feel good, etc. But there is only one correct answers, it’s “Because I enjoy it, it’s fun”.

DS: How do you avoid getting bored, and breaking down?

Dick: I always tell people the same thing: Never run the same distance, in the same place, at the same pace two days in a row. Change it up. This keeps you from getting bored AND hitting a plateau in your fitness.

Choose beautiful places to run, that helps too.

I used to run every day, but now that I’m 69, I run about 4 days a week. The other days I am in the gym. I am huge believer in weights and resistance training. All of my exercises involve my core (The core involves all muscles that attach to your hips, pelvis and lower back). Everything we do in life requires a strong core- running, lifting, bending, even sex.

DS: Thanks for mentioning sex Dick. If you were losing any of my readers, they are back now. I should mention that you have run 31 marathons since October 2001 (before that you had only run 3). What is a typical week for Dick?

Dick: Monday: 7-10 miles with 5-miles of intervals (my intervals are from repeat 400’s through repeat 1.2 miles)
Tuesday: 5-6 easy miles
Thursday: Hills 8-10 miles with a 5 mile tempo run in the middle
Saturday: Long run- Hills- 15-23 miles

DS: People always ask me if I’m scared running on these remote and narrow roads here in Kentucky. What about you, do you worry about getting hit by a car?

Dick: No, and here is why: 1) I don’t listen to music or wear a headset while I run. I can hear a car at least a mile away. 2) I wear bright clothing. 3) I run low-traffic roads. 4) I get off the road if necessary. Run smart.

DS: What is your advice for dealing with the highs and lows in temperature when running?

Dick: Dress appropriately, know your route, and prepare with water. Wear good high-tech clothing in layers that you can take off as needed. Know your roads, know the houses you can go to for help, the barns you can dive into if there is lightning. Plant water bottles along your route before your run if it’s really hot. Freeze them the night before if you need to. You can even drop some dry clothing mid-way in your run if you think you will be sweating a lot. I change right on the side of the road (see limited traffic roads above).

DS: A lot of people out there run to stay trim or get trim. Do you have any advice on losing weight?

Dick: Many people want to lose weight and think that if they run/jog that’s all they have to do. NOT so simple. My thoughts are:
First, don’t be concerned about “weight”. To me, body shape is much more important. How do you get on appealing body shape? Two ways: Diet and Exercise

Diet: Stay away from fad diets. Use basic common sense.
a) No fried foods
b) cut out/reduce simple carbs like sugar; candy, cereals, ice cream, etc.
c) EAT BROWN: brown rice, brown (whole wheat) pasta, brown (whole grain) breads
d) limit processed foods
e) very, very, limited fast foods
f) very, very limited soft drinks (see b above)
g) eat lots of fiber
h) eat beans
i) eat lots of fruits and vegetables

All of this must be in moderation. Limit your calorie intake.

DS: Now for some random questions. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while running?

Dick: Once on a run at 5:30pm, about 50 yards from a main highway I ran up on a couple screwing in a pick-up truck. Boy were they surprised.

DS: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened?

Dick: One early morning, when it was completely black out, no moon, I ran head to head into another runner! I was so surprised, I thought I was the only one crazy enough to run at that time on my road. We both suffered black eyes, but other than that we were fine.

DS: What is the longest running stretch you’ve ever had?

Dick: Back in the 70’s I went 34 months without missing a day of running at least one mile.

DS: I know you have a list of books that you swear by. Let’s list them for people who want to still be running at age 70?

Dick:

Books on weight management: The Okinawa Program by Willcox, Willcox and Suzki
Dr. Bob Arnot’s Revolutionary Weight Control Program by Dr. Bob Arnot

Training: Power Training by Robert dos Remedios (A must read for weight training
The New Rules For Lifting for Abs by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove

Running article: The Life of A Runner by Amby Burfoot in Runners World

#Running #training #weightloss #fitness #marathon #racing