17th September 2012 | Megan
Fall is the most popular time of year for distance running. Athletes take advantage of daylight and warm summer temperatures to train, then the onset of Fall allows for cooler, ideal race day temperatures.
- Train in Layers: As temperatures cool during training it’s best to peel as you go, allowing your body to warm up adequately. If you are training for a race that is in a warmer climate, keep a layer on so your body remembers the heat.
- Race in Layers: Race day nerves can cause the shivers and it’s best to stay as warm as possible to conserve energy. Many races keep you waiting for hours before the gun goes. Be prepared! Make sure what you wear on race day you are willing to donate to the race as you may not be ready to shed before the gun goes off.
- Test your Socks: What works for the short runs may not work for the long. Experiment now with thicknesses and features. Take into consideration the race day location, terrain and temperature and experiment.
- Replace Your Running Shoes: We all know that you shouldn’t buy a new pair of shoes for the race, but what does that mean? If you are happy with your current shoes and have run your long runs in them without issues, it’s okay to buy a new pair of the SAME a few weeks before race day (as long as the manufacturer has not changed the design). Mentally, knowing you have the support of a fresh pair of kicks is a good idea. If you are really struggling with your shoes (blisters, numbness, pain), seek help sooner rather than later. Making a shoe change should happen before your last long run.
- Love the Magic Gloves: The stretchy gloves from the dollar store are a wonderful way to keep your fingers warm and can be disposed of without breaking the bank. On days when it’s not cold enough for a lot of layers, try wearing a short sleeve and gloves. This will keep your hands-always the last to warm up-from freezing,
- Double Knot Your Shoes: Refer to “Love the Magic Gloves”. Double knot your shoes before the race. Loose laces are hard to tie when your fingers are cold and your heart is pounding.
- Tinkle Before Take Off: Emptying your bladder is always recommended before the gun goes but especially when it is cold. Keeping urine warm in your body takes a lot of energy and draws heat from the rest of your body.
- Warm-Up Well: Take time before the race to move around. Try functional warm-up moves to get the your heart rate up and keep your muscles warm. If space allows, a brief run then high knees, butt kicks and “running arms” will help loosen your body up. This is especially important if your race requires a lot of waiting time before the gun goes off.
- Hydrate Appropriately: If the expected temperature on race day is cooler than your training runs, make sure you continue to hydrate. Too often the cooler Fall temps, lead to skipped aid stations. Make an effort to take a take a little liquid at each aid station.
- Start Slow, Finish Fast: The first mile of many races is slow and precarious as athletes try to jockey for position. Don’t waste energy bobbing and weaving, rather use it to warm-up slowly, building into the miles. Since the weather is cooler it is likely that you will want to push through and be speedy. Resist!
5th September 2012 | Megan
As Moms we are always harping on our kids. Call it what you want; harping, nagging, “encouraging”, our goal is universal, to motivate our offspring to get something done! This time of year as we wean our kids away from summer and nudge them to wake up early, brush, floss and dive into the school routine; we are focused on getting them of the right foot for the year ahead. But what about us?
We often forget to look inward and see what we might need for ourselves. Who has the time? Now is the time! Back to School, back to a regimen. Take this opportunity to schedule in some time of your own to run. The precious training moments may be squeezed in between work and kid’s activities but the routine will allow for running normalcy, even if the kids are over programmed, there is a consistency to the days. Time for you to settle into a schedule and carry on, back to school preparedness graduates to our level; Back to Run Like a Mother!
New eco- friendly lunchboxes, endless school supplies, the “right” pair of shoes that are comfortable and yet possess some cool, class lists and “moving up” anxiety; the weeks before school are jammed packed with the newness of another school year. For your children, but what about you?Even if you don’t have children, you certainly remember the excitement of finding “just the right” pencil case to set you apart from the mundane plastic supplies.
Run Like a Mother has taken some of our favorite Back to School rites for our children and applied them to our running lives. Just as you motivate your children to begin their year, take this opportunity to get your Back to Running list accomplished to get yourself out on the road.
New School Shoes: “Momma always says there’s an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been. I’ve worn lots of shoes” ~ Forrest Gump
Invest in a new pair of running shoes. Treat yourself to the attention of an independent running retailer, someone that can fit you properly. Have them bring out a few pairs and choose the one’s that fit your flair. As your child has likely exhibited; You won’t wear them if you don’t like them. Visit lace Up Local to find a specialized running store near you. http://www.laceuplocal.com/find-a-local-retailer.html
First day of school clothes: Oh, what to wear?
We all love a new outfit. Treat yourself to a Back to Run outfit that says you are serious. Go tech-y with a secret key pocket or thumb-holes, running clothes today can often take you from PTA meeting to the streets without screaming RUNNER. Be proud in your new digs! Look for clothes that have reflective elements as we lose daylight quickly this time of year.
The Lunch Box: If you are preparing for a longer distance race, it may be necessary to carry water and food on your run, or perhaps you just need to carry keys, a cell phone or tissue (in case a jump into the woods is necessary). There are many types of nutrition carrying options from the technical Fuel-Belt brand to simple waist packs that are waterproof and lightweight. Many waist packs come in fun colors and nearly all of them have a reflective component.
A New Back Pack:Running to a PTA meeting and don’t want to scream “I am runner!”, find a gear bag that has pockets to keep shoes and stinky items away from your laptop or meeting minutes. Many bags take into consideration our sweaty moments and provide protective barriers for damp items. Just remember to empty
out at the end of the day…some smells shouldn’t be grown!
Book socks, binders and #2 pencils only get a student so far, just as the new running clothes won’t set the PR, or even get you out on the road, we must think of non-material ways to get ourselves out the door.
The Class Schedule: A few weeks before the start of school, the “who’d you get” buzz happens with the kids as they receive their school schedule. “The Schedule”. We all need it, something to tell you where to go and how to get there. Without a schedule, you wander aimlessly and without purpose. If you are serious about getting into a running groove, find a plan, a program, a method to the madness. Even the most knowledgeable coaches and athletes follow schedules as it is a sure way to stay on task. Even if you don’t have a goal race planned, the simple act of scheduling out a run increases adherence and leaves little room for excuses.
Plan your Holidays: As soon as our children start school, they want to know when the first holiday happens. The excitement of starting school lasts moments before the reality of homework spoils the fun. It is always great to have a “carrot” dangling in front of you like a holiday. As you plan your workout schedule, fit in a treat now and then. It can be a pedicure or a walk with a non-running friend; choose something that is a little indulgent, leaves you refreshed and inspired to return to running. You work hard and deserve to treat yourself! Recovery days are essential to your mind and body and will strengthen you as an athlete.
The Progress Report: Often times taking on a big project is daunting, hard to see the end when it looms so large. Cramming at the last minute doesn’t work (at least that is what we tell our kids), so chipping away at small bits at a time is the tried and true way to accomplish the big task. If you take a 12 week running goal and make three weeks mini-goals it will keep you fresh. For example, in preparation for the a ½ marathon, celebrate your first 10K distance, and then 10 miler; mile markers that are milestones themselves.
So now that the kids routine is set, it is time to set yours. Make a habit happen now and reap the benefits when you need to slip on that cute little black number for your holiday party. Your routine will pay off!
If you are just beginning an exercise program, please consult a physician. An exercise stress test may be used to help plan an exercise program that is suitable for you.
Please always know your route, run against traffic and make sure you are visible!
17th July 2012 | Megan
I am readying myself for my 7th Ironman competition, which is happening in 6 days and a few hours. Most “Ironmen” ready themselves by packing gear, checking nutrition, evaluating pace charts and predictive finish models. As a “Run Like a Mother” Ironman; I am still driving summer carpools, packing kids underwear, preparing the dog for her staycation, putting the newspapers on vacation hold, making refried beans, loading the rice cooker and making sure there is a surplus of wine and snacks for the pre and post race vacation. Never-ending. Oh, and we have relatives visiting. Truthfully, I am lucky and wouldn’t have it any other way.
There are many reasons why Ironman is what I like to do. Mostly because it is the icing on the cake of the training that I love so much. I used to feel I needed to train with Ironmen to be one, now I feed off the training time with my friends, knowing that it can’t all be the easy, comfort-zone effort but that the largest portion of it should be. Don’t get me wrong, most of my friends possess the ability to push me beyond comfort…it’s just I am talking and laughing so much, I don’t really realize it.
Every time I have done Ironman it seems there is a deeper meaning to the race. This year is no different. In fact, in so many ways, I am driven to work my hardest out there on Sunday. I am so lucky to be able to push my body in this extraordinary way and while it is happening draw a lot from what is happening with my friends and family. If there is some way that I can exhibit perseverance, it may be enough to encourage others to stand-up, push on and conquer. As trivial as Ironman is, compared to what so many are up against, it is a symbol of what a mind and body can do.
This year in our little circle of friends; children have lost parents, friends have been diagnosed with cancer and others with incurable disease. It is devastating. None of these obstacles can be corrected, cured or resolved by crossing a finish line, nor will endless training make them disappear. It is a helpless sort of feeling, when situations such as these are out of our control.
Since January, I have logged nearly 5,000 miles for this race on Sunday. I am lucky and prepared. My friends did not have time to prepare for their challenges, rather plunked right into the middle of them. Not fair. Though, each one of them is an athlete, a warrior and competitor; it is as if the gun went off while they were still lacing knotted shoes.
I keep all of them on my mind constantly.
The father that was lost this year was an amazing, loving Dad and also an incredible runner and lover of the outdoors. When I struggle in my run, I yell to him for help. I pray that his kids understand that their Dad is working for all of us in so many ways. Both of them will be with me on race day and see me across the finish line. I am lucky.
My dear friend’s husband, was just diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease. He is robbed, as his body begins to fail him. A former triathlete and active guy, I push ahead for him, knowing that he would have loved to be competing. I think of him often as my body moves, wishing I could transplant some healthy cells from my body to his.
One of my training partners, and bestest friends recently received the BIG C diagnosis. She has a mountain to climb, and I don’t doubt for a second that we will see her standing on top triumphant, but her path to get there is daunting and precarious. I worry for her, then I snap to it and realize that worry is not what she needs. She needs to see courage, strength and stamina, to keep her spirits in the right place. She is a mother and a runner, two vocations that are tested time and time again, though her “Ironman” journey will test her even further.
So I am lucky. On Sunday, I chose my challenge. It is a daylong event that can’t even begin to change the world, bring back a father, halt or cure a disease. But maybe for a brief time, I can help lift the spirits of those affected, and some healing can happen.
Sometimes we choose the challenge
Sometimes the challenge chooses us.
Running prepares us for life’s challenges in its own way.
Through training good days and bad, we learn to push through mentally and then the physical part follows.
Learning to persevere on the road is priceless during the difficult curve balls that come our way.
You are prepared for this challenge you didn’t choose.
You are a runner.
To learn more about the partners that help me get to the start line and continue to support me and all of my crazy ventures please visit their websites listed below.
My Bike Shop- Bethel Cycle- www.bethelcycle.com
My Coach- Eric Hodska- www.hodska.com
11th May 2012 | Megan
I have been fortunate to meet so many incredible women in my Run Like a Mother journey and continue to be inspired by each unique story. My cycling friend, Maria, is an incredible athlete, mom and wife. I have admired for years her steadiness, strength and composure on the bike, however this year those qualities where present as always…just not on the bike. Here is her story:
2011 was going to be a great year, I was super fit after completing several bike races as well as an early season Olympic distance triathlon. My oldest son just turned 10 – yup double digits and I still felt like I was 25, even though I am almost 40.
Then came July 12, after 46 miles on the bike and only 2 to go, I was drafting a male teammate when we were both hit by a car head on. An 84 year old woman miss-judged our speed and thought she could make a left hand turn in front of us before we made it to the intersection. Unfortunately she was wrong, my team mate went over the hood into the windshield, resulting in a compound fracture of the tibia. I was just inches behind his wheel and I full body slammed the front fender and side view mirror, resulting in a great deal of trauma to my torso. Broken ribs, collar bone, unknown back issue and the most serious was a severed liver and partially collapsed lung. My internal injuries kept me in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks. The neurosurgeon wanted to perform back surgery to correct 2 ‘jumped’ vertebrae, but my husband was very leery of consenting to an operation on his young and very fit wife – THANK YOU HONEY! – his instinct was right.
My body was able to heal it’s self – with time of course- but a much more natural recovery than major back surgery. The neurosurgeon agreed that 4 months in a back brace might just do the trick for me. Not to say I escaped this traumatic injury without surgeries, I required several surgeries as a result of necessary medical procedures performed during my hospital stay as well as a hernia repair, again a result of the trauma to my torso. My doctors were pleased with my drive to recover and allowed early activity, slow walking, stationary bicycle and elliptical trainer.
I am a positive person and I hate to dwell on the tragedy of the driver’s poor judgment. I rather focus on the fact that my husband thought so highly of my physical abilities and that I was able to prove him right. After 5 months of recovery and rehab I was able to get back on my bicycle and it took just 7 months to be able to run again. For the time being I have lowered my expectations of myself, but as I build my strength back up, I hope to meet more personal goals such as a 1/2 iron man, September 2012!
Have a wonderful day Maria! We will be cheering you through the finish line!
7th May 2012 | Megan
When Run Like A Mother started, the intent was to provide a healthy way to kick off Mother’s Day morning, celebrating with family and friends the accomplishment of a race, and motherhood. It has grown to much more than that, still keeping the women only premise, Run Like a Mother has motivated not just Moms but women from all walks of life.
Many years ago, BMW of Ridgefield became a sponsor of Run Like a Mother; they supported our race, gave away a car for the weekend (what Mom doesn’t want to drive up to a soccer game in a sporty convertible or do carpool in an X3?!?) and provided package pick-up, but this year the story changed.
There is a group of women that work at BMW of Ridgefield who are RUNNING Run Like a Mother this year. Interestingly, none of them are mothers. They are young women that have chosen this race to support a BMW employee that is a Mom to be; to run in her honor as she is in the final weeks of pregnancy. They have formed “Kristen’s Team”, and are training on their own to reach this goal. I met with them the other day and was impressed with their commitment and supportiveness as they shared their stories about why they run.
The average age of this group is 21! They work at the front desk, dispatch, and in the service department and it is apparent they are integral part of this BMW team. Their commitment to “Kristen’s Team” is evident: “We are very much a family here at BMW and we are very excited for Kristen and her new adventure! With Team Kristen we made a unique way of showing our support as a team, and as a dealership.”, says Jessica, a BMW athlete who is using Run Like a Mother to prepare for a half marathon goal she has next year.
Meghan began exercising last year and her commitment has paid off, she has lost over 40 pounds to date and is excited to test her body at the race. Brittany, a former soccer player knows what it takes to run, while Laura and Nicole who exercise together, will be racing for the first time. Their enthusiasm and support of each other is evident and we can’t wait to see them on race day!
Kristen is very fortunate to have such a supportive group of friends and co-workers at BMW of Ridgefield! Run Like a Mother ladies!