Saturday, May 5, 2012

I can not even believe I'm saying this, but.... THE MARATHON IS TOMORROW. Training for this race has changed my life tremendously and has really made me a better person in my opinion. I have lost weight, got in amazing shape, changed my eating and drinking habits, and become much happier. I have put in so much effort and time, so I feel confident that I can do this! I've had really great runs the past few weeks and have been feeling stronger and more confident ever mile that I run. All this hard work of the past year will be put to the ultimate test in just a few hours. Wish me luck and I'll see you on the other end of the finish line. If all of the rumors are true, once I finish my whole life will be changed, but my life has already changed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One and a Half Weeks Away...

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

Emil Zatopek, Czech runner; winner of four Olympic gold medals

A look at the runs I've completed this year

 

Well, after a rather long absence, I am finally writing again.  Throughout the past months, I've gone through so many ups and downs with my training that it was almost depressing to try to write all about it.  I've had a few injuries and lost weeks of training which really scared me and almost made me want to give up and run the half marathon again, which I know I can complete.  However, I kept telling myself that I made this promise to myself and to so many people to complete the marathon this year, that it would be such a let down to give up. I know that I would always look back on this failure with nothing but disappointment.

 

Lately, my training has been phenomenal.  I have been feeling so strong and amazing on my runs, that I am finally starting to get some confidence back that I CAN DO THIS.  I know that I won't have an amazing time or even feel great during the race, but I do know that I'll be able to push through it and finish.  This, my first marathon, will just be about proving to myself that I'm able to set an amazing goal that seems unobtainable, and just one short year later achieve it.

 

There's only 11 very short days left until the big day.  Nearly every minute of the day, my thoughts center on the race-what will the weather be like? what should I wear? how much should I eat? what time should I eat? It keeps me up at night, prevents me from being focused on anything else.  By the time race day is here, I'll feel like I already ran it ten million times in my thoughts.

 

There are only 11 days until I can be my own hero, and hopefully make everyone that has been so supportive of me during this time proud.  I think I'll be ready, and every day that goes by I become a little more confident.   

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Huffington Post

Hello everyone!
Last week, I had the privilege of hearing Arianna Huffington speak at Penn State, and she inspired me very much during her speech. She has been one of my idols for a while, and she's a big inspiration to me. Wanting to thank her for taking her time to come to my school, I sent her an email, which she followed up with an invitation to submit an article for the website . Over the weekend, I worked on an entry about-what else-running. Below is what I submitted. I'd love to hear your thoughts and hopefully one day it'll end up on the Huff Post!

I am high right now. I got out of class about an hour ago, and couldn’t even go back to my apartment before getting my fix. During class, I kept imagining the amazing feeling I’d soon have, the feeling I have now. I feel free, happy, completely and utterly alive. I just got done running six miles, and I have runner’s high.

Runner’s high, a term coined in the 1970s, can more accurately be described as a release of endorphins that leaves the runner feeling stress-free, pain-free, and overall happy. This feeling doesn’t happen immediately; endorphins are released slowly during a long and vigorous workout. For me, this happens after about thirty minutes of running or other activity. The first few miles are strenuous, and it’s tough to continue to run, but I push through this. Once I pass the wall of pain, I come out the other side a new runner. Suddenly, any pain I previously had in my body vanishes; I float over sidewalks and down side streets; I lose track of time and miles and become immersed in the music pulsing through my headphones into my ears.

Similarly to a training run, my running career has not been a smooth ride. When I first began running more than ten years ago, I was very eager to start and couldn’t wait to sign up for races with my older sister and dad. As I began training and competing, I realized what a physically and mentally difficult sport running was. No longer was it the fun hobby that I wanted. I began to loath speed workouts, long runs on weekends, and even recovery runs. Instead of being an outlet, it became a punishment I had to endure a few times a week.

​Once I began college, I promptly stopped running. I joined the marching band, student government, and organizations in my major to keep busy. Without being under the watchful eyes of my parents, I closed the book on my short-lived running career, thinking that I would never want to open it again. How wrong I was.

Last year, on a whim, I decided to join my dad in a race. This wasn’t just a puny 5-k or 10-k that I was used to running: I signed up to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. After a few months of half-hearted training, I faced the most difficult challenge of my life. The race not only tested my physical limits, but also put my hard-headed, “I will finish even if I lose my legs” mindset to the test. Although I finished with my legs burning and completely out of breath, I finished with a new frame of mind. Running 13.1 miles around the streets of Pittsburgh, I rediscovered a passion that I had only begun to discover in my pre-college days. As soon as the race ended and I was able to breath normally again, I made it my goal to do better at the race next year. In fact, I would do the full marathon, twice the distance I had just run, in less than twice the time.

Since that race and setting that goal, my running career has entered the “runner’s high” stage that I wait for when I’m on a training run. I’ve decided to throw myself into training. Rather than subscribing to fashion magazines and blogs, I wait for the new issue of Runner’s World in my mailbox at the beginning of every month. I search the Internet for post-workout muscle cramp remedies (pickle juice is my secret weapon) rather than a new outfit to wear. Instead of scouring sales for a cute pair of heels, I stock up on Brooks running shoes whenever they come down in price.

With the marathon only twelve weeks away, I will continue to push my body past its limits, running further and faster than I ever thought was possible. While my high from the six miles I just ran is wearing off, my high of being a runner is still going strong, and I have a feeling it won’t go away any time soon.


UPDATE! Huffington Post published my article, and it can be found here


As far as training goes, last week was a recovery week. I was able to do some 4-5 mile runs that I tried to take very easy. This upcoming week I have a 10-mile and 4-mile run as well as speed work. Also, I got a new pair of running shoes, which I will do a review of. They are the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12.My last two pairs of running shoes have been the Adrenaline 11, and I wanted to test out a newer version hoping to solve some issues I had with the older model. From one test run (1 mile) they work great and I can't wait to test them further!

Thank you all for your support in my training and helping me achieve more than I ever thought was possible! Your continued faith in me is very inspiring and helps me to push myself every day. I hope I continue to make you all proud!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Turn it Up!

Hello! What a week this has been. I did my longest training run yet and also went home for the weekend to surprise my mom for her birthday. While I was there, I got the chance to run with my dad, and had a terrific hill workout with him.
Here's a look at my workouts from the past week:
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Monday 1.30.12, Wednesday 2.1.12, Friday 2.3.12
Volleyball tournament. My team unfortunately came in last. Hopefully next time I'll have more luck!
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Tuesday 1.31.12
This was my long run. I felt really great during it, and didn't really get sore or tired at all until mile 8. At that point, a little boy with his dad started to run alongside me for a block, and when he couldn't run any more he yelled back to his dad "I want to run like that when I'm older!" It was a great motivation to keep going, and hopefully I've inspired a new generation of runners!






This is what I'm most proud of: This is a list of my mile time splits for the 9 miles. As you can see, I stayed in a pretty good range during the entire run. For some parts I slowed down, and in others I sped up. This is a good range for me for a long run, and I hope I can maintain that when I start doing more distance!





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Thursday 2.2.12
3-mile run on treadmill, speed 6.0
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Saturday 2.4.12This is the run that I did with my dad on Saturday. We ran in the trails at Frick Park, which is in Pittsburgh. At the end, we ran on some side streets. It was a tough, hilly run, but was a lot of fun running at home again.










This week, I have an easier, recovery week planned. I'll do two 5-mile runs and one 4-mile run. I'm also planning on going to Total Muscle Conditioning to do some cross training! Wish me luck and see you next week!

PITTSBURGH MARATHON : 87 Days

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reflections

Believe deep down in your heart that you're destined to do great things. - Joe Paterno

Last post I said that I felt that I was running for more than myself, and that couldn't have been any more true this past week. When the news of Joe Paterno's death swept the campus, people were very upset and emotional. After hearing all of the stories of his philanthropy and love of Penn State, I was so moved and thankful for him...more than ever before. Every run I did that week I did for Coach Paterno, and did it with the intensity, desire, passion and dedication he expected from everyone. Rest in peace, Coach.

I had great workouts last week. I did a long run of 8 miles on Monday, easy run of 3 miles on Wednesday, and a tempo run on Friday. During the tempo run, I did an easy 1-mile warm up and cool down with 3 miles at a 8:30 pace.

I'm taking a volleyball class, and last week we began our first tournament. This consists of playing three games per day three times a week for two weeks. This was a great way to "cross train" and was a lot of fun! Unfortunately my team isn't the best, and we're currently in last place. Hopefully that will change this week!

This week, my runs are:
9 mile long run
3 mile easy run
5 mile tempo run

Starting next week, I'm going to begin taking a workout class called Total Muscle Conditioning. This will hopefully supplement my running and make me stronger. There are only 94 days until the marathon!

I took some pictures of a few places I run that are gorgeous, and will be adding those later this week. I hope you all enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dog Days are Over

This might be a weird title for a post of a running and training blog, but I was listening to the song by Florence + the Machine, and one line in the song stuck out to me:

Run fast for your mother run fast for your father
Run for your children for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind you
Can't carry it with you if you want to survive


This line really resonated for me. I feel like I'm no longer running just for my own satisfaction, but for all of my friends and family. They're all just as invested in my progress and training as much as I am, and truly motivate me every day to keep working hard. No longer am I just running fast for myself, but for everyone in my life as well.
Running is also an extremely emotionally and physically intensive activity. To me, it's much more psychologically taxing than physically, and in order to do well I always have to leave all doubt or uncertainty behind in order to "survive" this process, and have grown so much already.

With all that said, I had a great week.
On Monday I went on a beautiful run during sunset and was able to do a long run of 7 miles. I felt incredible and just wished I had my camera with me to share the beauty that was around me.
On Wednesday I went to the gym and ran 4 miles on the treadmill and did a half hour of weight lifting.
On Friday I did some cross training of biking and elliptical.
On Saturday I played volleyball with my roommate for an hour an a half...and she really beat the crap out of me! I'm taking a volleyball class and needed some practice. Afterwards I did a speed workout on the treadmill:
1 mile warmup on a speed of 10:00/mile
1 mile at speed 8:34/mile
1/2 mile walk
1 mile at speed 8:34/mile
1/2 mile walk
1 mile cooldown at speed 10:00/mile

Thank you all so much for the support you've given me. I really do appreciate everything, and will continue to push myself to make everyone proud of me.
The marathon is just over 100 days away! Time to finish strong.
Here is my upcoming week:
Long run: 8 miles
Easy run: 3 miles
Tempo run: 5 miles

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Year, New Mindset

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
- Beverly Sills

Happy (very belated) new year! I had an extremely hectic and crazy end of 2011/start of 2012. I took trips across the country and across the state, played in my very last football game, and had an amazing Christmas and New Year. In top of that, I was able to keep running and working out...maybe not as much as I'd like, but a substantial amount.

Now that the marathon is right around the corner (only 112 days away!!) it's really time to kick my training up. Luckily, Penn State hasn't had a typically frigid winter until very recently, so my training has been great so far this year!

I've been a bit slack on tracking my runs and have just enjoyed being outside and running for fun, but it's time to get a plan and track miles!

My friend, idol and amazingly talented runner John sent me a great tool he uses to create customized training plans. It's from Runners World and can be found here. This tool came used for every race distance from a 5k to a marathon.

According to this plan, I have 15 miles to run next week. On Monday I'll be doing a long run of 7 miles, easy run of 4 miles, and a 4 mile speed workout. Can't wait to get started!

Thank you all for reading, and I look forward to making 2012 the best year possible by becoming the best Gretchen I possibly can!