Pages

Friday, July 21, 2017

#1 - Minnesota - Twin Cities Marathon

The first marathon I ever ran was in MN, which is also where I live, so a natural conclusion I guess.  The question at the time was more like marathon or not, as opposed to "which marathon?"  In my world at the, there were three marathons in existence.  Twin Cities, Grandma's and Chicago.  Side note: at present time, I've run all three.  I had previously done the Twin Cities 10 mile and signed up for TCM because it seemed like the 'logical' next step.  I actually signed up for and ran it before I ever ran a half, which is to say, I had no idea what I was getting into.

I also got injured (painful to even walk stress fracture, yes it was a doozy) that spring which brought running to a full stop period, let alone marathon training.   It was late June (to the October marathon), when I was first allowed to run again, 5 min intervals, with 5 minute walk breaks (and I could barely actually run the full 5 mins anyway).  So, even though I had signed up much earlier, I was on the fence about whether or not I would try.  It was a chance conversation in mid-July with someone who was also signed up for TCM, that convinced me to make the effort.  It wasn't really that monumental of a conversation, he just talked about his training, and made me realize "mortals do this".  My mantra was:  I paid for this, I should at least show up to the starting line.

I wrote out a training plan that was similar to the 10 mile plan I had followed, but with more miles...   as it turns out, it's not quite the same.  I did not anticipate whatsoever how my legs would feel after my first 15 mile run.  (Death, they felt like DEATH!)   That's when I actually read a thing or two and learned about cut back weeks and tapering... at which point I wasn't really on track, but I salvaged what I could and re-hashed my plan.  I also bought a book about marathons and skimmed, while mostly saying things like "oh gawd", "oh yup, didn't do that", and "well, that's out".  

When it came time to do the 20 miler, it was also the day of my birthday.  I had mapped out a route that encircled all four minneapolis lakes.  A really cool path by the way!  By mile 17 or 18 (I didn't have a garmin in those days), I was basically just walking and not well.  So when I saw the Nokomis beach front (mile 19.5), I decided it was time to be done.  I took off my shoes and waded in the water, and wallowed.  When I calculated my pace, I had averaged 14 min/ mile, which was shy of the 13:44/min cut off time required for the TCM.  I figured it was probably a lost cause, but I maintained that I would show up to the start line.

Before the race, I admitted my concerns to a fellow runner and TCMer, to which he said "don't worry about, on race day you'll feel great!"  Now, this was a person who ran a 6 min/mile pace, so I met this encouragement with some skepticism, but I also figured he might have a point.

And you know what, I guess he did, because I did do it and I not only made the cut off time but had 18 mins to spare.

I wrote my original recap here: TCM Recap 2011

and I came back the following year and shaved 41 mins off of my original time: TCM Recap 2012

.. and thus began the obsession.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

50 in 50 by 50

I've been resisting the urge to talk about running on here because I'm vaguely obsessed, and well, I didn't want to dominate the content with running related ruminating.  I would like to be seen as more interesting than that.  However, I recently 'broke down' and decided I would pursue running 50 marathons in 50 states by the time I'm 50.  It's a goal I've considered before, but it always felt a bit ostentatious.  So I went ahead and did a little SWOT analysis:

Strengths
-I ran four marathons last year with no injury.
-I'm connected with a pace team that can help me run some races for free  (Beast Pacing).
-I genuinely enjoy running the marathon distance


Weaknesses
-the expense
-not necessarily wanting running to become my entire life, such as dictating vacations.
-related: logistical challenge of getting to certain states. (especially, HI, AK for instance)

Opportunities
-joining other pace teams (talking to other pacers to learn more)
-mainly marathons puts on multiple-multiple state marathon events
-separately, there's a multiple marathon events I could do.
-double header gadget on Running in the USA
-figuring out cheap airfare

Threats
-the commitment could put a strain on my marriage
-potential kids
-people regarding me as insane (too late?)

After speaking to others with similar goals, encouragement from friends and even my husband, I decided to go for it.  I've since joined the "50 Staters" facebook group and spoken to people with similar goals to get tips and advice.  All this has lead to me feeling more and more secure about pursing the goal.  For instance, I've spoken to women who have families, modest budgets and aren't insanely fast.  It feels really exciting to have a BIG goal, that's maybe just barely on this side of the edge of obtainable.

One piece of advice I've received while doing all this work shopping is to record a journal and keep track of your experiences.  I couldn't agree more!  So, here I am beginning the process of documenting.  I 'spose I could have started separate blog, but after a moment's consideration, I didn't feel like it.   I hope to record various aspects of the journey here, but it will largely consist of race recaps.  Probably try to do a couple retroactive recaps as well, as I already have 4 states down. 


Thursday, February 2, 2017

TLDR -- Using : Facbook :: Drinking : Alcohol

I really love facebook.  These days, that seems to be a borderline shameful thing to say, but if I'm honest that's how I feel.  Let me elaborate.

I love connecting with people who would long since be strangers on a semi-regular basis.  
I love being able to forge new connections and meet people who I would otherwise not know from around the world.  
I love the format of being able to share interesting tid-bits, memes, videos, and sometimes more engaging material.  
I love the social organization features.  Setting up events, group chats really help me stay on track with 'real life' plans.  

Also... 
-Some people are annoying and facebook will only amplify that.
-Everyone is sharing their highlight reel, so even don't bother comparing.
-Politics have always been difficult to talk about and facebook doesn't change any of that.  (Longer post needed, but I wouldn't say it always makes it worse, depends on a lot of factors.)

Whether from reasonable expectations or otherwise, I don't *think* I experience some of the psychological negatives that some people mention....(I don't think they aren't there, but that I combat them okay.)

But...
...it has some downsides. Mainly, for me, it becomes a HUGE time-suck.  I've seen some people go on facebook fasts, and this isn't really desirable for me.  One) It's my main source of social communication.  Two) I use this for my work and other social groups I've managed in the past.

So... Basically, facebook is like alcohol, a little is pretty good, fun and can be a social lubricant.  A lot is physiologically damaging and can minimize your effectiveness in life.  Where that balance lies probably depends a lot on the individual.

All that to say, I've found a good spot of management, for me, for now, and here are the tips I have that might work for you too.

1) I disable most of my notifications.  I basically limit it to likes on post and comment replies.   Basically, only things that are directed towards me and might require my response.  Also, likes are fun!

2) I use a lesser known feature called lists.  I enjoy reading about politics and things that interest me, but like everyone else on facebook all my friends do not all share all my viewpoints.  For instance, I've created a specific politics list such that only people who are worth engaging with can engage.  I've tried to prevent myself from being insular by including people of different mindsets, but who are capable of being civil.

3) My newest/favorite tool: The Stay Focused chrome add-in.  This tool allows one to limit their access to a particular website to a certain number of minutes per day.  (I imagine firefox might also have such tool, so look it up!) Obviously, I've chosen to limit my access to facebook.  I still have the messenger on my phone, so people can 'get a hold of me'.  I've found a number that works for me and this prevents me from engaging in the endless scroll of doom, which I do find tiring and wasteful.

Otherwise,  the best 'tip' I have is learn how to use it.  Facebook is a tool, and like many tools you should read the instruction manual first.  For instance, understand the privacy settings.  Just like there is a difference between drinking a Budweiser vs a Martini, there's a difference between making a restricted post and a public post.  There are many resources out there that will teach you the basics of what facebook is and what each feature does.  The facebook itself has many great FAQs, and until you truly know what you are doing, proceed with caution!