runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

IT

I know it’s all over the news. Probably every other runner-blogger and non-runner-blogger is talking about it. You know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t live in a hole, you’ve probably heard way more about it and seen more gruesome photos than you’d care to see. And for that reason, I don’t care to post any more. It makes me feel sick, seeing the tragedy that shook so many people’s lives. I can’t begin to imagine what that bomber was thinking, but I’d almost want to say that if only they would try to run 26.2 miles, maybe they could find a better way to take out their anger through their running. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of the three people whose lives were taken, as well as those of the 176+ others who were injured.

But then, being a runner myself and aspiring to run Boston sometime in my life, the events of yesterday afternoon make you rethink. I know it’s unreasonable and unhealthy to live your life in fear that you’re gonna be next, but the bombing yesterday really struck home for myself and for runners worldwide. As part of the running community, we share a certain connection through our shared love of running. We understand the pain that we all have to go through, we give advice to each other, we encourage each other, we inspire each other. And sometimes, alone with nothing but our pounding feet on the pavement, the sound of our breath, and the beating of our hearts, we almost feel invincible.

And then our façade is ripped away.

We can’t run from everything. You can train as much as you want, you can run hundreds, or even thousands of miles, but you still can’t run away from danger if the time comes.

And that’s a scary thought.

But what can we do? We can keep running. We can be there for those affected by the bombings yesterday. We can pray for them. Runners are known to be generous, to run to raise money to help other people. And that’s what we’ll keep doing to help our fellow runners and the spectators hurt yesterday. It would be foolish to not be more cautious, in light of yesterday, but we will keep running. Boston will continue to be the famously prestigious race that it is. I’m not taking it off of my bucket list just because of what happened this year. I’m still going to run part of my friend’s marathon with her this saturday. I can’t and won’t let some terrorist change the way I live my life and my dreams. Runners are not invincible, but we are strong. And we will continue to be strong for everyone affected yesterday.

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Just keep running, running, running!

When I’m running in track or cross country, whether it be at a meet or at practice, there are always those days when I just feel like giving up. I think that mental strength is the hardest part of running. I start races strong, confident, and motivated, but then in the middle when it starts to get hard and my legs are burning but I can’t see the finish line yet, it’s so tempting to give up a bit. It’s always the hardest to stay strong through the third quarter of a hard workout, when you’re tired but you’re not close enough to the end yet. I keep running, but I’m not all there mentally and I’m not giving all the effort that I could be giving. I start thinking things like “why am I doing this, it doesn’t really matter” or “I pushed hard at the beginning, I don’t have to go quite as hard now” or “Ahhhh my legs are killing, this hurts so bad, I just wanna trip over a tree so I can have an excuse to have a bad time!” I know it’s bad to let my mind wander so much that I’m trying to figure out how to get myself spiked or something so I can quit, but it’s so hard to stay focused the whole time. On monday, we ran five miles at a faster pace than usual, between a 7:25-7:50 minute/mile pace. It was freezing and snowing a bit that day, and my legs were numb from the cold but at the same time they were burning from the effort. On the way back of our out-and-back route, we slowed down so much more than we should have, to run the second 2.5 miles over a minute slower than the first 2.5 miles. We should’ve been able to keep up our pace, but it was so hard to stay strong all the way through. If that only happened at one practice, maybe it would be okay, but it happens every single time. Every race, every practice, I can’t seem to keep my pace even and keep it up through the middle and last half. Or if I could run negative splits and get faster as I go on, it would be even better. But my motivation and effort always drops off and I can’t do it. I start to doubt myself and think that I can’t do it, and I give up. I need to be more like Dory in Finding Nemo rather than being like Marlin!

Just pretend like she’s singing about running – when my legs want me to give up and feel like a Mister Grumpy Gills, I gotta just keep running, just keep running, just keep running, running, running! Cuz what do I do? I Run, run, run! Ha ha ho ho ho ho I love to RUN! And when you waaant to run, you gotta run!

If Dory can do it, so can you and I, right??

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i want abs

I’ve been thinking, for quite some time actually, that I really need to work on my core strength. I keep saying to myself that I’m going to do an ab workout, but it never happens. I go running with my friend and we always say we’re going to work on our abs after we run…but then we get done running and are tired, hot, cold, sweaty, and we never actually do anything. I really want to be good this year in track, and I think that having a strong core would help my running and my form and efficiency, but I’m so lazy! Doing an ab workout is so hard, and my abs are so weak! I love it when my abs are sore, because it makes me feel like I worked hard (I know, I’m weird). But I hate doing the actual workouts to make them sore and to make them strong. When it starts hurting a lot, all too often, I just give up rather than pushing myself further to make me stronger. My abs often get sore after I run a really hard race or after some hard, fast speedwork on the track. Running uses not only your leg muscles but your whole body, including your core. If I worked more on improving my core strength, I think that I would become a better, faster, stronger runner.  (plus it’ll make my stomach flatter and more beach-ready in the summer! 🙂

I’ve looked (probably not hard enough) for core workout ideas, but a lot of them involve all of this fancy equipment that I don’t have. Most of the time, I just end up doing a few crunches and 30 seconds to a minute of planks and I call it good enough, but really I should do more if I truly want a strong core.

I’ve recently found this ab workout video on YouTube, and I really like it because it’s easy, doesn’t necessarily require extra equipment, and it’s a break from the ordinary crunches and planks that I would normally do. I think another reason I am lacking in core strength is because I get sick of the monotony of my core exercises I’ve also been trying to focus more on my form when I’m doing crunches, because it makes a world of difference when you’re doing them wrong to when you’re doing them right. Here’s the how-to from Livestrong.com. I hope it helps!

Begin flat on your back with your knees bent and the heels of your feet only a  few inches from your buttocks.  Bring your hands to your temples with palms out,  and elbows out from the body at about thirty to forty-five degrees.  While  exhaling, bring your shoulder blades off the ground fairly quickly, until you  feel an intense pressure in the rectus abdominus muscles.  Hold for a one to two  second count, then slowly release, beginning the next repetition when the head  and shoulders are just about to touch the ground.

If you have any other good ab workouts that you like, let me know!!

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