Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ultrarunner Rose: In The Woods

I see a lot of myself in this post.  I asked Rose if she wouldn't mind me sharing her post on my blog.  My running turning point happened the very next day.  December 6th, 2009 when I ran my first 26.2 down on the greenbelt!  Rose is competing in the Across the Years 48 Hour Ultramarathon in Phoenix, AZ this weekend!!  I will be rooting for her!


Ultrarunner Rose: In The Woods: Today I celebrated the 2nd anniversary of the day I fell in love with trail running. It was December 5th, 2009 and though I'd been running.

It was December 5th, 2009 and though I'd been running for about a year I'd never ventured onto the trails. I was deeply depressed because in a two week period I'd gone through an unexpected and extremely painful break-up and found out that I was losing my business due to the economy. I woke up that day, which was my birthday, and all I wanted to do was stay in bed, drink whiskey and eat chocolate. I felt sad and pathetic and alone and mad at myself for taking a chance on a relationship and a business and seeing both fail.

But for some reason I dragged my pitiful self out of bed and resolved to try the trails. My best friend had been encouraging me to go check out the Wildwood for months but I'd put it off as I focused on my fall road races. I'd just completed 3 marathons in 61 days to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs and my body felt as beat up as my heart and soul did. I thought, might as well go check out this Wildwood, just so I can say I did, and if it sucks, well I'm already miserable.

I went to what I thought was the Wildwood trailhead, but later found out was the Birch trail, and immediately headed down a steep hill. I picked my way slowly through the mud, feet slipping in my worn out road shoes, and willed myself to keep moving as I intersected with Wildwood and headed into the woods. I ran slowly, scared to death of falling on the uneven, muddy trail and as I ran I cried, I cried until I couldn't cry anymore.

Then a funny thing happened. As corny as it sounds, I felt like I was reborn that day. It took a while for the peace and beauty of the woods to seep into my soul but when it did, it washed over the hurt and the pain like cream on a burn. I felt comfort among the trees, listening to the birds, breathing in the fresh cold air and I realized that that although I was in pain, I was strong and I would survive. There in the woods I resolved to keep moving forward and make some changes in my life.

When I tried that first trail run I'd never spent much (or any) time in the woods, though I'd lived in Oregon for many years. I just didn't think of it. We didn't have woods growing up in Chicago and I didn't realize the appeal. Since that first time I ventured out to do a few miles on Wildwood I've traversed all 31 miles of that trail, and many other trails throughout the area. I love the trails and feel fortunate to be so close to so many incredible places I can run.

Running through those woods I feel happy, I feel like a child. I didn't have the privilege of a childhood, living with fear and neglect and poverty, but in the woods I'm the child I wish I could have been: young and carefree and light and happy. In the woods I feel alive.

One year later I recreated that first trail run, re-tracing my steps, and today I did that again, my annual homage to that "special day" that for once really was special. I run not only to commemorate that fateful trail run but also to celebrate another year of life, another year of being active, another year of evolving and growing.

During my first trail run I vowed to eliminate the negative people from my life and only surround myself with people who treated me the way I deserve to be treated. I resolved to work less and play more. Today I find myself surrounded by a wonderful circle of friends who share my interests and lead healthy lifestyles. We run together, go to classes, have a beer. We laugh, we share, we spend days cooped up in van doing a relay. And while I haven't found love again, I'm open to the possibility that it can happen, that it will happen some day.

Before that first trail run I didn't find a lot of joy in my running. Although I was thrilled to have qualified for Maniacs I started each race with an anxiety attack and grim determination to not embarrass myself. I had a secret fear that someone would realize I was an impostor and ask me to leave the race. I finished my races feeling only relief, no sense of accomplishment or joy, the negative voice in my head criticizing my performance. Today I start a race excited, usually surrounded by runners I know, and even when I finish last I'm thrilled to be there and actually enjoy racing. Where I used to be embarrassed by how slow I am, now I proud that I can do it. In the 2 years since I found myself on the trail, I have run farther and longer than I ever dreamed I would go, farther and longer than most people ever go. I've dug deep into myself to find the determination to keep going no matter how much it hurts, no matter how tired I am.

I've changed in other ways as well. Today as I ran I saw someone I know on the trail. Now I hardly ever go for a run or to the gym without seeing someone I know now. The old me had a very small circle of acquaintances, the new me is blessed to be a part of a large group of some of the most kick-ass women runners in Portland, to have lots of real and virtual friends on DailyMile and lots of buddies in the Maniacs.

The old me would have been embarrassed to run with people faster than me, worried they had to slow down so much. Now I regularly run with people who are several minutes a mile faster than I am. The old me wouldn't reach out to people to make plans or try new classes or go to events or attend a group even, but the new me puts herself out there.

As I ran today I reflected on all the positive changes in my life, and I felt content. I also thought about a colleague who died this week, and how fleeting this life really is. I thought about friends who have had the gift of running taken away from them, betrayed by their bodies, and I thanked my body for hanging in there with me for 44 years, even though I haven't always treated it the best, or always appreciated what it can do. I don't have the perfect body, I carry around much more weight than I should, and eat too much crap, but my body still gets me through a marathon - and farther. There are steel rods in my spine and other various issues that cause me pain, but my body perseveres through long runs and yoga and all the activities that make up this active lifestyle I love so much now.

The forest was quiet today. It was a beautiful day, cold but dry, the fog low in some places on the trail, like a children's fairy tale. Today I ran without a watch, without a thought for speed. I ran when I felt like running, I walked when I felt like walking, I stomped through puddles and up and down hills with joy. Today, like the forest, I'm alive.

10 tips for De-Stressing your LIFE

Thanks for sharing Flora!


"The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”

- Norman Vincent Peale

“Life is a journey and an experience.” We have all heard that before haven’t we? Well, that is true, it is a journey and we have the opportunity to make it great or mediocre. The choice is ours.

Stress in our personal and professional lives is ever changing and constantly on the rise. Everyday we’re expected to do more and more with less and less - less resources, less energy and less time.

In order to master the ability to manage stress, it’s important to first remove one of the biggest obstacles that stands between chaos and calm - SELF.

Often we are one of the biggest contributors to the calamity and chaos we experience in our lives. Stress management is the recognition that life is all about the choices we make.

So starting today, choose to take control and follow these ten commandments to help you lead a stress-free lifestyle:

I. You shall not be perfect, or even try to be.

Think of how many things don’t get done because someone is waiting for the perfect time, place and circumstance. Working with perfection as your standard is both a mental and physical drain.

Lose the need to get everything done “perfect.” Know that it’s far better to accomplish a task at 85% perfection than to procrastinate and wait for 100% perfection.

II. You shall not try to be all things to all people.

Whether you like it or not, others will try to put who you are and what you do into a particular category in their head. They’ll label you with one or two words and resist - indeed be revolted - by anything that breaks that mold. That’s just the way the world is, and it’s better to work with it than to fight it.

Trying to be all things to all people may seem like a great way to cast a wide-net. But really, it’s a way to turn people off. Being everything is equivalent in most people’s minds as being nothing. What can’t be categorized is likely to be rejected and forgotten.

In business, career and relationships, decide who you are and what you stand for in a sharp fashion. Try to summarize it in only a word or two for the area you’re focused on. This is a much better strategy than trying to be all things to all people.

III. You shall sometimes leave things undone.

Charles Hummel, author of Tyranny of the Urgent, wrote: “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that many important tasks need not be done today, or even this week… The urgent task calls for instant action. The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible, and they devour our energy. With a sense of loss we recall the vital tasks we pushed aside. We realize that we have become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent.”

Overcoming that tyranny of the urgent and focusing instead on those things that are truly important is one sure way to propel us on our way toward a stress-free life.

The way to overcome this problem is to leave some things undone. And that is especially hard for those of us who may have perfectionist tendencies and are driven to excel. We want to get it all done.

The irony is that we will accomplish more by attempting to do less. The key is to prioritize and set aside those things which are not as important. Put your effort into moving those long term projects a little further forward. Then you will eventually be able see success in that area.

IV. You shall not spread yourself too thin.

Don’t spread yourself too thin or lay it on too thick. You really cannot be the best at everything that you want. It is better to be known for a little of something than a lot of nothing.

Don’t try to do it all. Find a couple of things and stick to those. Also organize your time well.

V. You shall learn to say “no”.

Learning how to say “no” can be hard, but it’s something that I feel can really help you be more productive, reduce stress and do a better job with the things you do say “yes” to. Saying no to some things can actually help everyone involved.

The bottom line here is that there are times when you simply have too much going on to stay productive. In order to keep moving towards your goals you need to know when to say no and when to push things off your plate.

It can be hard, and you may feel badly about it, but in the end you’ll be happier, you’ll get more done and the people you live and work with will actually be better off for it as well.

VI. You shall schedule time for yourself.

If you have trouble finding time to relax, put it in your schedule. Give yourself one hour on certain days to do an activity you truly enjoy. Work on a hobby, do some exercise, go for a walk, or read a book. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you enjoy it. These breaks will help you renew your energy and concentration.

Adding non-work activities to your schedule will give you extra motivation and focus for the times when you are working.

VII. You shall switch yourself off, and do nothing regularly.

Feeling stressed and unfocused? Try doing nothing. Or rather, try sitting in a quiet room thinking about nothing for at least 20 minutes, twice a day.

It sounds simple, even boring, but transcendental meditation isn’t just for mantra-chanting yogis or herbal-tea-drinking hippies. Maxed-out professionals are turning to daily meditation to lower blood pressure, prolong concentration, and crank up creative juices.

“It helps me slow down,” says Erica Kalick, founder and president of Erica’s Rugelach & Baking Co., a 10-employee gourmet pastry manufacturer in Brooklyn, N.Y. Kalick took up meditation to help her cope after a personal tragedy. “We run around all day, usually thinking about ourselves,” she says. “But if, for example, I’m pissed off at an employee, I can slow down and think about it from the other person’s perspective.”

When you meditate thus before you start working on a task, your stress levels decreases and a great deal of clarity arises.

VIII. You shall not even feel guilty for doing nothing, or saying no.

An all-or-nothing attitude is why so many people have so little success; we choose structured programs because they relieve us from making choices for ourselves.

And if you begin to make changes in your life with the assumption that any deviation from your plan will ruin it, you might as well not even begin.

Life is full of unplanned obstacles, distractions, and temptations. Your best approach is to prepare for them, keeping an open mind and maintaining a positive attitude.

IX. You shall be boring, untidy, inelegant, and unattractive at times.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, known for her acting talents and physical beauty, recently took a bold step many of us would shutter at the thought of - she posed for a magazine minus make-up in a crop top and shorts. She posed for all the world to see the “real” beauty she is - a confident women who doesn’t definite herself by other people’s standards.

Chasing after beauty defined by others (media, family, friends, spouse, co-workers and others) is detrimental to your peace of mind.

You don’t have to look and feel your best every single day. Be bold and love the skin you’re in right now - crooked nose, warts, corns, receding hairline, wrinkles, sags, bulges and all. Appreciate your natural beauty and love yourself just the way you are.

X. You shall not be your own worst enemy. But, be your own best friend.

Far too often, we are quick as a whip to complain when we feel we did something wrong, yet we are not as quick to lavish praise.

Complaining about every little thing is very stressful and draining.

Starting today, make a point to praise yourself every time you have a positive impact on your life. Doing so will not only make you feel good, but will make a difference in a positive way and help you manage stress.

Remember that a stress-free life is all about choice – what are you going to choose today

Friday, December 23, 2011

Base Building

I found a great article from Running Times on building a good base early in the year. Courtesy of An Ultra Runner's Blog  Click here for the full article.......this is just a bit of the article.

But remember the fundamental insight, Arthur Lydiard's great contribution, that distance running is an aerobic sport and that the best way to build aerobic strength is through steady, aerobic running, not by racing, blasting 200s, or grinding out race-pace kilometers. "Just keep building those aerobic enzymes, year after year after year," Culpepper says. "You have to put in a good solid block of just training, where you're not racing, where you're not running workouts, where you're just running a lot and your body is getting used to running a lot and recovering. That comes from running long runs and running good mileage -- week after week after week."

"Running is a continuum," Kennedy says. "It builds on itself. And it doesn't build on itself just from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, it builds on itself over years. The reality is, the more you can do, the better you will be. Within reason -- there's the balance of injury and illness and overtraining, and that kind of stuff. But up to that point, the more you can do, the better you can be."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Heart Rate Zones

More to add but here is the raw data after finding my Max HR of 204 this morning....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bear training looking back....

Jay ( letsrunhomey ) got me thinking about my training for Bear in relation to what I had planned in the beginning.  Mine looked something like his although my average planned week was in the mid 60 mile range with a peak week of 73 three weeks before the race.

Well, the summer was busy and I got in what I could.  My chart starts on April 18th, the day I ran in Boston, and goes to raceday on September 23rd.  I had three 50+ mile runs and three 30+ mile runs.  I peaked in week 14, mid July, instead of late August.  A couple of weeks I just couldn't get the miles I needed for the long run but that's ok. 

Running for Overall Health

Guest post written by Jackie Clark
 If you’ve ever though about taking up running, go for it. Running is a good way to whip your body into shape, improve your existing health and help you maintain your overall well being. Although running may not be for everyone, if you make this activity a regular part of your life, you will reap these rewards.

Reduced Risk for Disease

A sedentary lifestyle can leave you unhealthy and overweight. Lack of exercise has been shown to contribute to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, strokes, and high cholesterol. Running is one of the best ways to get off the couch and ward off these conditions. If you already suffer with weight-related illnesses, running combined with appropriate medical care can help you manage them better.

Weight Loss and Maintenance of a Healthy Body weight

If your goal is to lose weight, running is a great way to accomplish this. Running is a total body workout that gets the heart pumping and helps you burn off the extra calories needed to lose weight. If you are a 37-year-old woman and you run at a high intensity, you could burn more than 500 calories per hour. Once you reach your ideal weight, keeping it off will be a piece of cake because running keeps your body from storing excess fat.

If you are not currently struggling with your weight, now is a good time to start a running routine. This will help keep your metabolism revved up so you stay in shape. Running is also a weight bearing exercise, so it’s a great way to tone the legs and calves and whittle your waist.

Stress Management and Relief from Symptoms of Depression

Chronic stress from jobs, family and other sources can contribute to headaches, muscle tension, high blood pressure, heart attacks, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain types of cancer such as mesothelioma. Running can strengthen your immune system to prevent diseases and help give you an outlet for stress.

If you feel depressed and go for a run, it will encourage your body to secrete endorphins and other hormones that naturally improve your mood and help relieve symptoms of depression.

If you are looking for an all around good exercise for weight control, maintenance of physical health, stress management and relief from the symptoms of depression, consider running. You won’t be disappointed by the results.

Jackie joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2009 as research assistant after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in fitness and nutrition. Jackie’s experience in technical and medical research has allowed her to assist in the development of medical content and outreach efforts, with specializations in alternative care, cancer support programs, and social media campaigns. As well Jackie has been an avid runner who has seen first hand the benefits of exercise. Jackie has blended her passion for cancer research and running through various marathon charity runs that not only help with her overall health, but benefit patients in financial need.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Vision of a Champion

I saw this on FB (photo credit: ) today and it reminded me how I felt before I made the decision to attempt a 100 miler last year.  I think I was caught up in the excitement of watching others do it and thought if they could do it so could I.  Then I asked myself these questions. First, would I be signing up for this race if none of my friends did.  Second, if I had to do all of my training alone would I still be signing up for this race.  Once I could answer those two questions with a resounding yes, I signed up.

Don't get me wrong, racing and training with friends is wonderful.  Three of my friends ran Bear 100 with me and we did several training runs over the summer together.  The point is that I wanted to make sure it was something I truly wanted to do and not just because it was something everyone ELSE was doing.

I have learned along the way that if I am 100% committed, I will be out training and running toward my dreams......when no one else is watching.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Western States Update

UPDATE: 12/10/11 Apparently the lottery gods had other plans for me this year.  9.1% wasn't enough of a chance so I'll have to wait until next year to try again.


A number of applicants were removed after qualification verifications and the draw increased from last years estimate of 218 names to 265 names.  So now I am nearly a sure thing with a 9.1% chance of getting drawn. HA!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What you do in those moments when all hope seems lost.....

I ♥ to run post.

Not all of us have running stories that include Olympic trials and world championship races. Most of us fight our running battles in community 10k runs, in marathons, or just in our daily workouts. But the lessons are the same...

Heart Rate Stuff.....

WARNING: I don't claim to be a professional. These are my experiences that worked for me. I have read arguments that say this is not the best way to train or lose weight. All I know is I did and I thought I would share...........

A friend and I were talking about a food plan in relation to our running and this was part of the email....

.........When I was losing weight I always worked out in the morning. I got up, had a cup of coffee, and went and did my thing. Came home, then had breakfast. So I was fueling back up after a nights rest and my workout. If you worked out after dinner I think it would be unreasonable to think you wouldn’t have SOMETHING to eat afterwards and before bed.

I read once upon a time that while you are trying to build your cardiovascular system it is good to exercise on an empty stomach because you are trying to train your body to burn fat stores. If you wake up and eat breakfast and then workout your body will use the most readily available fuel source for energy….the breakfast you just ate. The article said this works best when you are exercising between 60 and 90 minutes in the fat burning zone or, 75% of maximum heart rate. The 60 to 90 minutes was because there is a ramp up period where your body gets into the ZONE. The longer you are in the ZONE, the more you train your body to rely on fat stores. This doesn’t really work when you do speed or tempo workouts because you are above the aerobic level and your body will burn glycogen over fat.

The other trick was the coffee. Since it is a stimulant, a cup of coffee before the workout would rev up the metabolism according to the article.

This is basically what I did every day I was losing weight. THEN I found running. I found myself running faster than I should to stay in the fat burning zone and I had a lot harder time losing. PLUS, I was always hungry as can be afterwards. I believe this is because I was burning up all my glycogen during the workouts and the gas tank was empty. Before I found running I was burning fat and still had my glycogen to fuel me the rest of the day. Moral of the story, slow down to lose weight. In the meantime, you develop a great cardiovascular system and are able to perform at a higher level with the same input over time.

The first time I recorded my HR was 2/4/10 during a 1 hour run. I had a 150 heart rate at an 8:20 pace over the course of that hour. Fast forward to 9/11/10 on my last long run before the St. George marathon. I ran 20 miles at basically the same heart rate of 152 at a 7:09 pace. Cutting over a minute off of my pace and holding it for an additional 90 minutes made me a believer!

Not sure if I have ever sent you this link but this is the guidance I used while building up over that summer.  Elite athletes have the same aerobic and anaerobic limitations as everyone else but with proper training to develop your cardiovascular system you can get a faster pace with the same HR. It’s hard to imagine the elite marathoners cruising along at a 4:45 pace and a 155-165 heart rate, but they do……  If they weren't, they would bonk.  Just like the rest of us when are in the anaerobic zone for too long (see my Boston splits from mile 9-16 followed by the bonk).

Food for thought.

This data is from three separate 20 mile runs in the summer of 2010 on the same course and starting at the same time in the morning.  The last one is the one I referenced above.  The 7/10 run looks like a disaster next to the others.  I had a Clif bar for the first and last time on that day and was barely hanging on at the end.  The 7/31 run was a great improvement and I was very happy with my time.  The bad thing that day was I felt like I had absolutely nothing left at the end of 20 miles which would have made for a disappointing finish at a marathon.  One interesting note is my time was 27 minutes fast with a LOWER average HR, 158 v. 159.  The 9/11 run was my last 20 miler before St George and it gave me a lot of confidence going into the race.  I needed an average pace of 7:29 to qualify for Boston, so 7:09 through 20 helped clear my mind and keep me focused.  I only shaved off a few minutes but did it at 152 HR, down from the 158 from 7/31.  As a result I felt like I could have kept going the additional 6.2 miles at that pace.  Another note, on the 9/11 run there was frost on the ground and it was cold most of the way, which was a big boost to help regulate my core temperature and HR.

This is a comparison of Boston to St George. I stayed very level at St George with my HR throughout and it showed in my pace at the end. I actually decided to let up a bit at the end since my main goal was to BQ, not push myself to the brink of exhaustion to shave off 2 or 3 minutes. Another note, it was 88 degrees when I crossed the finish line....  Boston on the other hand, I didn't do such a good job on. I was very happy with my time actually. The bad part was, I had been sick with a cold in the days leading up to the race, so it was a monumental effort. That said, it is easy to see why I tanked at the end. I crossed my AT during mile 9 and remained there for 8 miles total.  After mile 16 was where the bonk started.  From there my pace slowed along with my HR.  By the time I crossed the finish line I felt like I was doing the ultra-shuffle.....and it was one of the happiest moments ever!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heartbreak Hill?

Saw this on FB and thought it was interesting......

Profiles of some of the more well known 100 Mile Races compared to Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill at the bottom.   The first hill at the Bear accounted for about 3,500 feet of gain and 9 feet of loss in the first 4.5 the second aid station in Leatham Hollow I had 6,000 feet of gain and 5,400 of loss.  Luckily I was still fresh and only had 81 more miles to go!!...........

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2 years ago....

This is a repost from March 5th, 2011.  It was 2 years ago today, December 6th, 2009, that I ran my first marathon with my wife Michelle at my side the entire way.

My sister Rachelle inspired me to set my goal to run a marathon originally. When I started losing weight, I did two things primarily for exercise. I swam for an hour each morning during the week and I would go for a 20-mile bike ride on Saturday and Sunday. In August 2009, after losing about 90 pounds, I developed an umbilical hernia that needed surgery. After surgery, the doctor told me I couldn't swim until the incision healed. He suggested I try running which I reluctantly tried. I didn't really enjoy it at first but learned to tolerate it!

Rachelle had set a goal in the summer to train for a marathon over the fall. She wanted to get in shape to run the 2010 St George marathon the following year and asked me if I would like to follow the training with her. Here is my response to her via email on October 21, 2009, "By the way, when is the St George Marathon? When you asked me about it I thought you were crazy!"

Somewhere along the way, I learned to love running. I think the reason I didn't enjoy running in the beginning was it was too hard on my body since I was so overweight. As I ramped up the running, the weight continued to come off and I felt better than ever. I agreed to train for our personal marathon with Rachelle. She lives in California, so we would email or call back and forth so she could tell me what was on the training plan for the week. The long runs really scared me at first but I figured if she could do it I could do it right? We stayed on the same schedule for the most part but I ran mine a couple of weeks before her in December. After running for just over 3 months, I was able to finish in 4 hour and 18 minutes. My wife Michelle rode her bike along side of me and it was 20 degrees with a 15-degree wind chill from start to finish. Amazingly, I had a fairly even pace the entire time. Instead of hitting 'the wall’, I felt like I had more energy at the end. In the last mile, it felt as though I had someone pushing me to the finish and it seemed like the fastest mile of the day.

Rachelle was super excited for me, just as I was for her when she ran hers just after Christmas. Afterwards I told people I ran a marathon and the first question was always, "Which one?” Then I would tell people that it wasn't a ‘real marathon’, just me on the greenbelt. Somehow, that felt like less of an accomplishment when I put it that way. In my eyes, the distance and accomplishment is the same whether you are running in Boston or on the greenbelt. So, after a while, I started telling people it was the "1st Annual Ryan Anderson Invitational"...and there was only 1 invitation.

In the email where I told her she was crazy, I also told Rachelle, "You inspire me to accomplish great things that I could not envision without your example. Keep up the good work and I’ll try and keep up the pace!"

Thank you for inspiring me Rachelle.

P.S. Thanks also for giving me that lucky shirt you're wearing in this photo!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Problems and Attitudes.......

If you want to get over a problem, stop talking about it. Your mind affects your mouth, and your mouth affects your mind. It’s difficult to stop talking about a situation until you stop thinking about it.

Your attitude belongs to you and it's your choice if you want to have a good one.

I found these on Joyce Meyer's Twitter page.  Not sure who is the original author..........
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...