What’s Your Motivation?

Marla cleared her head beachside.

Over the weekend I traveled to one of my favorite places in the entire world, Narragansett, Rhode Island. I know Rhode Island seems like a random place to fall in love with, but after living there for four years while studying at the University of Rhode Island, I have considered it my home away from home, and jump on any chance to visit.

One of my favorite things in Narragansett are the beaches—they used to be my “go-to” spot when I needed to clear my head and think—but when the weather was nice I used to run along the shore line. Since I had not visited for a while, I decided that making a pit stop to the beach before heading home was necessary. But with the crazy wind and bitter cold, I opted to save my run for when I got back to New Jersey. In the midst of reminiscing, I reflected on how much my life has changed since living up there—training for this half-marathon being one of them, and the motivation behind my training being another.

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Pushing Through Running Roadblocks

Marla's ready for some sunny, treadmill-free running.

So I hit a rut this week. I don’t know if I was stressed from work, tired and lazy, of maybe even a combo of both, but I did not have a great week of training.  Since it is dark when I wake up AND get home from work, I don’t feel super comfortable running outside (even in the crimeless residential area of New Jersey that I live in). So I have been training on the treadmill at my gym. However, I had a few late nights in the office which completely threw off my running schedule. It’s been too late to train when I get home (after 9 p.m. one night!), and I’ve been so tired that I hit snooze on my alarm clock when it’s time for me to hit the gym in the morning. Not good! I need to get myself back on track.

I realized that I was stuck in a runner’s rut during my training on Wednesday. I have been so tired of running on the treadmill and the idea of having to run for another 30 minutes was torture. I tried to push through as much as I could, but at 25 minutes, I got so frustrated with staying in one place, that I jumped off the machine and headed for home. Looking back, I should have just pushed myself for the last five minutes, but at the time, going home seemed to be the only option. It must have been my stubborn side kicking in!

The week ended on a semi-good note though. Even though it was chilly out on Saturday, I bundled up and headed for the streets of my neighborhood where the sun was shining—finally! I ran for 40 minutes and felt pretty good. It perked up my attitude about my progress a bit and it made me want to push myself a little more for this next week. With the warm weather settling in for a the next few days (as long as Mr. Weatherman is right), I don’t think that will be a problem!

For those of you training along with me, keep up the good work. We only have seven weeks to go!

How Do You Track Your Runs?

Susan needs suggestions for a mileage tracker, like this Garmin 210. (Photo by David Laurence)

Susan needs suggestions for a mileage tracker, like this Garmin 210. (Photo by David Laurence)

I woke up on Monday with a sore left knee. My knee has never bothered me before so I decided to take a day off of running and ice it. I felt guilty, but figured it was smarter to rest than have it get worse and seriously injure myself. It ended up feeling better, but I didn’t push myself super hard this week. I got my runs in, but ended up racking up a few less miles and focused more flexibility training. By the time the weekend arrived, I felt better and was energized and really enjoyed my nine-mile run.

Before my long run, I used Google Maps and the Central Park Running Map online to plot out the exact course. When I finished mile six, I realized that the route for my next three miles was completely iced over and too dangerous to run on. While continuing to run, I had to quickly recalculate a new route. I felt a bit thrown off, since I feel more comfortable when I know exactly what I need to do. But overall, I think I came in pretty close to my distance goal.

This experience made me realize that I definitely need some type of device to help me track my speed and distance. It needs to be very simple to use because I am not too tech-savvy. Everyone is telling me different things to buy. Do you have any suggestions?

Marla Warms (and Lightens) Up

Marla loosens up her legs. Afterwards, she felt like she was gliding while running.

Marla loosens up her legs. Afterwards, she felt like she was gliding while running.

One week down…how many more cold ones to go?! Seriously though, this cold and snowy weather has been horrible!  It’s hard enough waking up to get ready for work on a normal day, but having to wake up an hour earlier (5:45 a.m. to be exact) to go for a run in the cold…not my cup of tea! Give me sunshine and a beach to run on, no problem. Icy, snow covered roads, no thanks!

But after some trial and error in the snow, I am trying to make it work and have resorted to training on the treadmill at my gym. This seems to be doable for now, but I know once the longer distances start rolling in, I am going to have to bundle up and fight the cold. Working in the fashion department here has allowed me to see all of the cool winter running gear that is out there though and I think I am fully prepared to face Jack Frost! My key bundling pieces this week were these awesome running mitts by Saucony (they also kept my hands toasty while watching my brother’s college ice hockey game the other night!), and these fleece-lined running tights by Champion. Hopefully with other winterized running pieces like these my outdoor training sessions will be somewhat bearable!

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