Today’s Lesson: You gotta run fast, to get fast.

If this were a year ago and I called and told you I was done with a lactate threshold track workout totaling 9 miles on a HUMID AF summer day by 8AM you would have thought I was clearly pullin’ your leg. Like, hard. Up and out the door by Ass Crack O’Clock with coffee no less? To THE TRACK?  No way. No how. No never.

Oh, but wait….

omg

I JUST FREAKING DID!

I swear to you. I don’t even know who I am anymore. All of this shape shifting started about a month ago when I hired a Coach and got back to blogging. Since then, I have been diligently logging my prescribed miles, interacting with my Coach and sweating my face off. Humid summer runner I am not. But I need to be. STAT. Today was Track Tuesday. It’s been mega humid here in New England. Saturday’s long run was the worst 15 miles I have run in a decade. I’m not even exaggerating. Slowest run in 10 years. I can’t even believe how bad it was. “Long and Hilly, Colby!” did not bode well for me with 90% humidity and 83 degrees. That was at 6:30am. So much for early. I died a thousand deaths. And promptly sweated out every ounce of confidence I had in me. I hate when that happens. As I was reminded today, confidence and positivity training is just as important as physical training.

Track Tuesday

My Local Track, aka The Surface of the Sun.

After Saturday’s cluster fuck unfortunate run, I began self-sabotaging. You know, looking ahead to my workouts and straight up panicking at the paces and distances whilst weather stalking? THAT’S NOT PRODUCTIVE, COLBY. Not even a bit. So today rolled around and I told myself that I was not going to let a little humidity thwart me. So what I’m suffocating? I CAN run fast. And I WILL run fast. Dammit.

Today was a lactate threshold run which simplistically speaking means you hold a faster pace for a longer time, multiple times with a short recovery, then repeat it. I mean, that’s why we train for a marathon in the first place – run faster, longer. Once you’ve built your running base, lactate threshold training is the key to getting faster – at least according to Running Yoda’s Everywhere. Pushing yourself and maintaining a semi-uncomfortable pace with a short recovery then doing it all again. In my case, I ran 8 x 1k’s with a 90 second recovery. When your body produces more lactate then it can utilize and you’ve created more waste products than you are able to clear –  BINGO! – you’ve hit your lactate threshold. It’s a tipping point. Going beyond your lactate threshold makes your legs super tired, super fast. The goal here is to train them not to, to put it off as long as possible. Toe that line. Improve your lactate threshold and improve your tipping point.  So off I went, totally effen intimidated.

Stay in the Fight!

Here’s what I learned this hot, humid Track Tuesday. And, Dear Reader, I feel compelled to share these pearls of wisdom with YOU! #LuckyDuck

  • You can convince yourself that you are NOT imploding from the heat by visualizing yourself making snow angels in the buff instead of running circles on the surface of the sun. Just stop obsessing about it. It’s hot. Get over it. You can do this without melting. I promise.
  • Running fast is hard. It’s supposed to hurt. You’re supposed to want to give up. BUT DON’T. Stay in the fight! I yelled that out loud multiple times. Like a maniac.
  • Don’t be intimidated. It’s circles on a track. Figure out how to program a workout on your Garmin, and GO. Make it mindless. Stop thinking so much. Don’t be scared. Just run. For f*ck’s sake Colby, JUST RUN.

And the most important thing I learned today?

  • I am faster than I think. I need to tell myself that every day. And I’d better start goddamn believing it.

Xoxo,

Colby

Do you self-sabotage? Are you a hazy hot running rock star? Do you yell at yourself out loud while running?  Do you get intimidated by track workouts? 

 

 

Superbowl Musings

So, almost a week has passed since the Superbowl. Parades have been celebrated, Gronk appears to have clocked around 75 seconds of sleep, Memes have been multiplying like rabbits, endless discussion, rehashing, Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Thursday/ Friday morning quarterbacking, has ensued.

And oh, yeah, my beloved Pats won. In a spectacularly Disney-like way, with an incredible pick in the endzone by an undrafted free agent and former Popeye’s employee. #truestory

I love football. I come from a big football-watching family. But let’s be honest. Isn’t football just a backdrop for the commercials and halftime show at the Superbowl? Let’s chat about the real important stuff, shall we?

Nationwide: Oh, Nationwide. What made you think that I wanted to watch dead children during the Superbowl? One minute, I’m happily sitting with a Shock Top in my left hand and Tortilla chips in my right. A mere 60 seconds later, I’m on the floor consoling my shell-shocked children and explaining to them all the precautions we have taken in our home to prevent those childhood accidents that could kill them. WTF? If I wanted to watch dead children talk on TV, I would put on “The Sixth Sense,” not the freaking Superbowl. And I’d make my kids leave the room. Way to kill the Superbowl buzz, Nationwide.

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Although I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the parodies that followed. Almost made the therapy my kids now need worth it. Almost.

Budweiser: I don’t care that they manipulate my heartstrings ever year with something that is written for the sole purpose of making me cry or go, “Awwwwww.” I fall for it every time and actually look forward to it. Put those puppies and Clydesdales together in front of a frigging green screen and I’ll just cry at this point. It’s all good.

Shamelessly playing with my emotions. And I loved every second of it.

Shamelessly playing with my emotions. And I loved every second of it.

Toyota Camry: Didn’t really get the connection to the Camry, but loved watching Amy Purdy – World Class Paralympic Athlete – kick ass at, well, life, and I’m always happy to listen to Muhammad Ali do his thing, so I liked it. It would have been a perfect Warren Miller-like mini-movie if they just removed all the parts that had the Camry in it.

Awesome.

Awesome.

Always: Colby and I have always been fans of this commercial. Love that it was shown during the Superbowl. Love all the discussion it has prompted. And love that a Superbowl ad for feminine products was the one that probably received the most positive attention this year. My, have times changed since Superbowl I.

Special shout out to my 11-year old daughter, N, whose Instagram tagline reads “Playing Like a Girl Doesn’t Mean What it Used to.” Sometimes spying on your kids’ social media activity brings pleasant surprises. That’s our girl, Colby!!

Halftime Show: I am not a big Katy Perry fan, but she did put on a Really Big Show. Missy Elliott rocked (of course). But we all know the real star of the halftime show: The Left Shark. I love the Left Shark. I want to be The Left Shark when I grow up: Unafraid to do my thing, even if it is the wrong thing and in front of millions of people. Brave enough to express my own individuality even when trapped in a matching shark costume and with choreographed steps. A lot can be learned from The Left Shark. Left Shark embodies “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.” Even if they are! Millions and millions of them!

If they ever publish The Tao of The Left Shark – and they should – I will be the first in line to buy it.

Did you watch the Superbowl? What was your favorite ad? What did you think of the halftime show? Do you love The Left Shark as much as I do??

30 Day Push-Up Challenge. We’re half way there!

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Well smack my ass and call me Sally. We’re half way there! How did that happen?!? Day 15 of the 30 Day Spartan Push-Up Challenge has arrived! Look at you, all committed and junk! Tina and I are so proud of you! (Aren’t we T-Bone?) Isn’t this exciting!?

So. How do you feel?? Strong? Jacked? Bored? Plum tuckered?? Like Quitting?

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Quit?

No. Not you. Not now. We’re too close. We have momentum. Keep going! Homestretch, Friends. Homestretch. We’re at the turnaround heading home. Together. And we’re gritting our teeth. Sweating it out. STRONG FINISH PEOPLE!

Feel like kicking it up a few hundred notches? I found these 3 variations on Fitness Blender. Give ’em a go. They are sure to make you puke strong. Yeah I’m lookin’ at you, Push-Up Jacks.

Push-Up Jacks. Push-up meets jumping jack meets Satan for a Green Smoothie. Sadistic. High intensity muscle and cardiovascular challenge! Gah.

Single Leg Push-Up. The Traditional Push-Up with a twist! The wider you place your knees, the harder it gets. Go on. Try it.

Tricep Push-Up. Later, Bingo Wings. See ya. 🙂

The Saturday I Took Back My Long Run

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Who runs 20 plus miles with Dermabond and a black eye and DOESN’T wind up in the Emergency Room?

{Thumbs pointing at chest.}

THIS GIRL.

I took back my long run.

Every goddamn mile of it. I woke up and put on the same running gear I wore during last week’s Long Run Where I Wrecked My Face. I kept it all exact. I ate up. Drank up. And headed out. On the same route. Just me. And that godamn route.

I even ditched my music. (I know, Blogger Friend, Vous êtes surpris. Moi aussi.)

It was Me against The Long Run.

And I was ready for the fight.

It was a rainy, wet, humid morning. Slippery. Although I am sure that was in my head. Suck it up, Buttercup. And off I went.

Truth?

I was nervous. That unfortunate event wrecked my body. And not just my face. My back, neck, jaw, wrists, shoulder, forearms, hands. The whole gig. Wrenched. I’m not even going to mention what if did for my confidence. (Uh. Yeah. Gutter.) I ran every other day during the week. To test the waters. Each time I ran 6. I finished and said. OUCH. I’m not ready. Maybe I can’t do this? So I listened to my body (and Tina, My VOR, Voice Of Reason, god bless her heart) and rested the next day. Then 6. Ouch. Rest. Repeat. Better. Then Saturday rolled around. My Day of Long Run Reckoning. And it was GAME ON.

I didn’t feel as good as I did last week, truth be told. All I focused on was my breath. In. Out. Deep. Even. This was a very different run than last week. Last week I was happy! to! be! ALIVE!!!! And this week? Business. All business. I wasn’t happy. I was freaking determined. Eye of the Tiger, Baby. Eye of that godamn TIGER. The whole damn way.

I had a very decent run. At mile 16 when I got to The Dreaded Dip in the pavement? I had an awful flashback. So I slowed my pace, looked into that pit of despair, torn skin and broken dreams.

And promptly gave it the finger.

Yesssssssss!

20 miles. Done. Excised the demons. Got back on my feet. And kicked that Long Run’s Raggedy Ass. Let the taper begin! For the first time in my running life, I am ready to taper.

So freaking ready.

I Will Run.

I’m having a lazy Sunday. I’m still in bed, snuggled up in clean sheets, cup of coffee in hand, listening to the rain. My pups are snoring softly at my side. My Other Half hums quietly in the kitchen, fresh eggs crackling in a hot skillet. It even smells like Sunday.

Quiet.
Calm.
Perfect.

I’m in no rush to run. It’s pouring outside. And while I do love running in the rain, after yesterday’s 15 mile mess, I’m in no hurry to lace up. Some runs are effortless. Some runs are a chore. This was work. Unsatisfying, hard labor. It wasn’t fulfilling. My legs felt awful. My stride choppy and short. I felt “sticky” not fluid. It’s not the first crummy long run. And it won’t be the last.

I felt awful.

I know it is temporary. It’s just a bad run. One. Bad. Run. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t be able to run the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon at the end of May. I know I can. The body achieves what the mind believes. At least I keep telling myself that. It’s my mantra. I tell myself this every year at this time. Although this year, I will be singing a new tune. This video found me at the perfect time. I am re-inspired.

It’s been a long winter. And it’s starting to become an even longer spring. Spring may have sprung. But my legs haven’t.

Yet.

The Real Bullshit Meter.

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What’s legit?
Monika Allen.

What’s lame?
Self Magazine.

That’s the Real ‘BS Meter.’

Monika Allen ran last year’s LA Marathon dressed as Wonder Woman. Complete with tiara, tutu and jazzy knee socks. She ran with her tutu clad, supportive, superhero-friend Tara Baize. They ran as superheroes, since Monika was in the middle of her chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer. Monika channeled her inner superhero, slipped on that tutu and ran the LA Marathon. Like a boss. The friends made their tutus as part of the Glam Runner project they founded to support Girls on the Run San Diego. Those fabulous tutus have raised $5,600 for the girl empowerment running program.

I’d call that Legit.

SELF Magazine asked permission to use their tutu clad LA Marathon photo in an upcoming issue (April 2014). While I do not know Monika personally, I’ll go out on a limb and say that she was probably pretty stoked that a popular women’s magazine specializing in health, fitness, beauty, nutrition and happiness would publish her photo and possibly generate publicity for Glam Runner and Girls on the Run. Two wonderful, wonderful causes. Win-win. “Stoked” turned to “shocked” when she learned that her photo was used in the magazine’s April issue, in their “BS Meter” piece, mocking women running in tutus.

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That’s lame.

Actually. That’s bullshit.

Why are magazines that allegedly look to empower and encourage women to be their happiest, healthiest, best Self, tearing women down for running a marathon in a tutu in the goddamn first place? Really. That’s what’s lame? So I guess the “Die Tumor, Die!” written on her bib wasn’t a tip off that the two superhero-tutu-clad women running a marathon were running for an actual reason. I mean a reason other than a “What NOT to Wear While Running a Marathon with a Supportive Friend Who Has Brain Cancer” list. Heaven forbid a women battling brain cancer should don a tutu and summon her inner superhero to power her way through chemo AND a marathon. Monika is a Superhero. She’s exactly the person a women’ s health magazine should profile. She is a person all women should embrace. A runner. A survivor. A philanthropist. Christ. An inspiration. Can we please just stop the bashing, shaming, tearing down and judging once and for all? Like I’ve said. It’s fucking exhausting.

Here’s our next challenge: Support Glam Runner, Girls on the Run and Strong Women Everywhere by being Positive. Yup. That’s it. BE. POSITIVE. Screw magazines that Tear Down. Instead, surround yourself with friends, family and messages that Build Up. Call it the Anti-BS Meter.

Remember: You are fanfuckingtastic.

And even more so in a tutu.

30 for 30. Drop It Like A Squat.

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Anyone up for a Challenge?!?!
Anyone?
Anyone?!
Bueller?!?!

Our friends over at Reebok Spartan Race threw down the gauntlet. The Challenge: 30 squats a day for 30 consecutive days. No fancy schmancy gym membership required here. No sir. Just you, your body and a boat load of determination. We hopped right on this challenge because: A.) By the time this is over it will hopefully be Spring, and the words “Polar Vortex” will be a distant, God forsaken memory. B.) Our quads BEGGED us to and C.) We LOVE a Challenge.

What the Hell am I doing?

Body weight squats. According to Those Crazy Spartans, here’s how to properly complete a body weight squat in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Stand with a narrow stance and feet flared at 45 degrees. You can either keep your arms straight or folded behind your head.

Step 2: Relax your knees and let your hips drop lower to the ground while keeping your weight balanced over your heels and your chest straight.

Step 3: Rise to a standing position while keeping your entire body under complete control.

Stay at it. And focus on quality. Gaining mobility may take some gentle stretching and a bit of warming up. Never fear. You have 30 Days to Drop it Like a Squat. You’ll master it.

Remember. It’s not speed. It’s quality. No timing. If 30 become a snap, push yourself! Or, let us push you! Like us on Facebook!

We promise to motivate and inspire you (or minimally make you chuckle). We’ll be with you every squat of the way. Pinkie swear. Oh and by the way, Spartans aren’t paying us. We just happen to be obsessed with all things Spartan and really like their crazy, sadistic style. 🙂 Good stuff.

Let’s do this! AROO!

Grounded.

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Fever. Aches. Chills. Cough. I feel like I ran a marathon and then celebrated by drawing and quartering myself. I’ve been run over by the flu truck. Maybe those two long runs this past weekend were a tad foolish?

Nah.
Never.

A run is never foolish. Especially Saturday’s run which was for #megsmiles. The run for Meg Menzies was a smart run. That run was beautifully contemplative. And an honor to have run. I can’t seem to get her out of my mind. Sunday’s long run? Ahhhhh. That one. That’s the one that might have been dumb.

I didn’t feel 100% and I knew it. Instead I had the “Oh YES I am running in the great outdoors in the day light because I’ve been tethered to a treadmill all goddamn week” so SHALLOW BREATHING BE DAMNED. I was quickly reminded what a tool I was when my doctor essentially rolled up a newspaper and swatted me on the nose like an errant puppy during yesterday’s visit.

Doc: So. You have a 101 fever. And the lower right lobe of you lung is filled with glop. You have the flu. And bronchitis. I don’t want that to turn into pneumonia. When did you start feeling poorly?

Me: Ummmmmmm hang on lemme think {cough, cough, cough}….

Doc: {Interrupts and yells over the cacophony} Let me ask you this. When was the last time you ran Missy?!!!

Me: {Glazed eyes flicker, momentarily perks up} Oh! I ran 8 yesterday. Chilly, but not a bad run. Not bad at all. I forgot my Garmin. I headed out on a path I haven’t run in a……

Doc: {Eyes roll so hard I hear them. Hands up in protest.} STOP.

Bad Colby.
I am an awful patient.

So now? I’m grounded. Home. Laying on the couch waiting for Polar Vortex Number 2, something called Bombogenesis (which for all I know is a new release from the Gypsy Kings), 10 inches of snow and the End of All Things Out of Doors Forever And Ever Amen. I suppose it’s a good time to be flu-ed in. My sneaks look sad sitting there. Their laces flopped over, pooling like tears around their mud caked soles.

Even they look sick.

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30 Day Mile Challenge: A Day For Meg

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Ten days in. 20 days to go. We’re one third of the way there. {Insert wild fist pump here. Take THAT “30 Day Mile Challenge!”}

So.
How ya makin’ out?

Good? Bad? Sore? Frozen? Energized? Exhausted?

I hope all of the above.

Because that means You are doing it! You are creating a new habit. You’re getting out of your comfort zone. (And I hear that’s where the magic happens.) It doesn’t matter what your distance is- you are moving forward. And doesn’t that make you feel alive? Cherish that feeling. Harness it. Experience it. Especially this coming Saturday.

Day 12 for us 30 Day Mile Challengers is on Saturday, January 18th. On this day, no matter how far you decide to go, run for Meg. Meg Cross Menzies was tragically killed by a drunk driver while out for her morning run on January 13, 2014. Simply devastating. She was a member of the Richmond Road Runners Club as well as a Boston Marathoner. She was a Runner. A Daughter. A Mother of Three.

A Facebook page has been set up in Meg’s honor with the hope of raising awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere. The Facebook page (here) asks you to post pictures of yourself pre-run or post-run, post your distance, post your thoughts, prayers, condolences with the hashtag #megsmiles. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Let all runners unite and remember the loss of a beautiful spirit.

So. Saturday.
Lace up.
Breathe deeply.
Feel the fatigue in your legs, the burn in your lungs.
Be aware.
And be grateful for the moment.

#megsmiles

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Do the Fenway Spartan Sprint

The Green Monstah!

Tina, myself and a handful of our Crazy Friends did the 2013 Fenway Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park in Boston on November 16th, 2013. It was like Crossfit Meets A 5k in an alley after doing 100s of burpees, and beats the snot out of it. I’m just going to cut straight to the chase here.

It was EPIC.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons why YOU need to add The Fenway Spartan Race to your “Here’s How I Will Be Badass in 2014” to do list.20141106-201546-72946700.jpg

1. Because you’ve pledged “To Get Uncomfortable” in 2014. Comfort Zone, Shmumfort Zone. You want change? Then get uncomfortable. And lemme tell you, if this race doesn’t make you uncomfortable, I don’t know what will. (I limped for days.) It’s hard. And there are stairs. 1000s of them. You run just about every step in Fenway Park. You also haul sandbags, jugs of water and Your Tired Ass and up and down those stairs. When you’re done with stairs? Walls. Put on your Spidey suit ‘cuz you’re scaling them. (See Exhibit A: Tina scaling a cargo net, below.) Thankfully, your Crazy Friends are there to help. And if they’re not? Another Spartan will pay it forward and give you a boost. This aint yo’ mama’s obstacle race. This is nothing like anything I’ve ever done before. It forces you to do things you normally wouldn’t do- physically and mentally. Besides, Comfort Zones are overrated. Train for this baby and “Change” will become your middle name. Goodbye Comfort Zone.

Spartan Tina in Action!

2. Because you’ve a “Serious Runner” who needs to MIX IT UP. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously. I get it. You’re a runner. You’ve run 3 marathons a day for a year and your Garmin says so. Believe me, I understand. But, it’s time to loosen up! This is exhilarating. And difficult. This race tests your will, strength, and stamina. Like to the max. That’s what us Marathoners like. You’ll feel right on at home.

Not thrilled with a piddly 3+ miles and 15 or so obstacles? Then go for the Super Spartan, 8+ MILES / 20 + OBSTACLES.

Too easy? There’s the Spartan Beast, 12+ MILES / 25+ OBSTACLES.

According to the Reebok Spartan Race website the Spartan Beast is “An obstacle course race from hell.” Now that’s a race tag line. {Gulp!}

Spartan Colby!

3. Because you’re a burpee loving sadist. I ran an awful lot of races in 2013. And I am going to just say it: This was the most fun I have had while torturing myself all damn year. {See Exhibit B, above. That’s me, Colby. Running stairs. And laughing like a maniac.} When you run this thing, grab your friends, say a prayer and GO! There are around 15 obstacles—stairs, walls, cargo nets, spear toss (yes I said spear toss), rope climb, box jumps, push ups, sandbag carry, Hercules pull (You hoist a ridiculously heavy weight an absurd height then bring it down to the ground. Gently. This is where I found Tina, laying on the ground, teeth clenched swearing like a sailor. It was fantastic.), monkey bars, timed row and jump rope (with a weighted rope that I swear tied the Titanic to port). There are more, but I have chosen to repress all memories of them. If you “fail” at an obstacle (and you will fail at least once), there is a 30 Burpee penalty. Plan on doing a hundred or so. Minimally. Lastly, a Gladiator swats you with a giant padded Q-Tip. (See Exhibit C, Colby, below.) After that, you are crowned Spartan. Advice? Train. And train hard.

Spartan Swat!

4. Because misery loves company. There is no better way to bond with a friend than grabbing their ass and shoving it over a 12 foot wall. You’ll find yourself cheering, rooting, helping, hoisting and encouraging your friends at every obstacle. Worried? You’ll get through it together. Fail? She’ll burpee alongside you, all the while lamenting that next year you are really training for this shit. Over beers you will discuss strategy. You plan on doing burpees between meetings at work, box jumps while watching a Dexter Marathon on Netfix in your living room. You will draw plans for the wall you will construct in your backyard on a cocktail napkin. A friend will give you a Home Depot gift card for Christmas. Yes! You will be ready.

Team Marathoners AND Sprinters!

5. Because it’s in Boston. And who doesn’t love Boston? Love the Red Sox or not, there is NOTHING like running around the outfield at Fenway Park, under the lights, hands brushing along the green monster in left field as you run toward the next obstacle. (Ahhh the history!) Or doing push-ups in the club house only to find yourself running down a ramp and emerging out onto the field in the stinkin’ dug out! There is also nothing like running full speed into a seat in the stands TWICE and having the arm rest give you a bruise on each quad that lasts well past Thanksgiving. Holy hematoma.

Meh.
It’s just a flesh wound.
Spartans laugh at contusions.

You will too.
Trust me.

Happy Spartan Bloggers!