Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Little Something About The Office

Folks just wanted to share how great my office turned out. It's an oasis for me. I love coming here and settling into work. It feels like when I had my old painting studio in NYC on Broadway. The possibilities are endless...

(Chine collé print by Laura Sue Phillips)

(Bird sculptures by Rick Hartner and painting by Edith Isaac Rose)

(Native American basket, gift from Julia Kane)

(Photography by Beth Wesson)

100,000 Miles, Time For A Trade-In

So I am a little slower than I would like overall. This is the second post for the month of March. I had hoped to do four. Also I would have liked to be a bit further in my running process, but I have definitely started my splits at 1 minute of running with 4 minutes of walking. I can do more and tomorrow will finish that cycle and start the 2/3 combo on Tuesday.

I just recently finished reading an amazing book called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. I don't want to do a pitch here for the book, but for me, it finally explained why I feel so poorly after eating wheat and gluten-free substitutes and why I have found difficulty getting off wheat. I also loosely follow the Eat Right For Your Blood Type diet and I am starting to explore more on the Paleo diet, which I am learning about on Elana's Pantry website. I bring this all up because I am trying to figure out the right fuel combination for this old body.

At near 50 years old, I figure in car terms I am at 100,000 miles. Now things are starting to need ongoing maintenance to keep me humming along. Usually, I think the best time for a car trade in is at 75,000 miles (in my mind that would have been in my early 40's). Things are still running well and smoothly at 75,000 miles. Trade in, get a great price, start with a new car. If only it was that easy. The bodies we get are the bodies we just have to keep. So how to get more miles and really keep things running smoothly in this 100,000 mile body?

When I had my old 1978 Toyota pickup with the camper-shell, I used to change the oil myself like clockwork. I did regular tune ups with the guys at Bill & Jay's in Petaluma and was very diligent, if thrifty about general maintenance. Fuel wasn't just the gas I used, it was also keeping the spark plugs, filters, oil, alternator, brakes and everything else in tiptop shape. I put another 100,000 miles on that truck myself and when I sold it and I told the woman just listen to this baby and keep on top of the maintenance, and you should get another 100,000 miles.

So it is with my body. I am following a variety of "diets" because my personal fuel cocktail is unique to me. My body has told me a variety of things over the years and now I am listening to every little knock and ding. Sleep, food, exercise, emotional well-being all play a part in keeping this body going. Part of the goal of running a marathon is to really have a task that requires me to juggle sleep, food, exercise and emotional well-being into healthy habits. 

I would like to log another 100,000 miles on this body, but with a smooth ride, not coughing and sputtering like a car with bad fuel that needs a tune up. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eating An Elephant

Getting back to training feels good. Walking steady for 45 minutes really gets me going. On Friday, I will have two weeks back at it. So while I was slowed down in the physical aspect of running my marathon last month (February), I did keep my brain on task. I love the YMCA. They offered two courses that I signed up to do. One is a running clinic, which is ongoing every other week till the Whiskey Row Marathon (here in Prescott). The second workshop was a one day event. 

For this week's blog I want to talk about the workshop. This was a beginning runners workshop taught by Pamela Neimeth, a marathon runner and a gal in her fifties, probably. Wow...she was all about the fun and joy of running and taking things slow. I really liked her philosophy of success, particularly when running a race. She suggested doing shorter races and ending with a sense that one could do more instead of just finishing. 

Key take away points I got from her hour and a half workshop:
  • use a heart monitor to figure how much to push and when to back off (once I get my heart monitor I'll talk about more this);
  • date the back of your shoes to track mileage (400 to 600 miles per pair of running shoes);
  • really listen to your body and learn the difference between hurt/pain and soreness;
  • go slower and shorter distances than you think you can do;
  • pay for an event (a race), then put it on the calendar and map out the training for it;
  • volunteer at the finish of a race (to see the wonderful looks of satisfaction and accomplishment—great motivation);
  • consider finding a training partner;
  • consider doing a charity event/race (contributing to something bigger than oneself can be very motivating);
  • at a race, set goals, but not just a time goal (e.g. meet one new person, say thank you to three race volunteers, etc.).
The final thing that was so great was the formula she shared for building up one's running time. So much has changed in the running world. The formula she explained really helped me see that I could get stronger and work with my fickle back. Working in five minute increments using the formula below and I can move to the next step when the urge overtakes me.
  • 1 minute running / 4 minutes walking
  • 2 minutes running / 3 minutes walking
  • 3 minutes running / 2 minutes walking
  • 4 minutes running / 1 minute walking
These days it's not just about beating the pavement and high mileage. What a relief. My old body has a chance. I might actually be able to do this crazy thing called a marathon. As my husband likes to say: you eat an elephant one bite at a time. So here's to little bites. My goal for next week's training is to do that formula for step one: 1 minute running / 4 minutes walking during my 45 minute training time. Pam was encouraging, so that's my plan. 

Other thoughts: I am going to volunteer to do the finish line for the Whiskey Row Marathon (WRM) on Saturday, May 4th. At first I thought I would try to do the half marathon. Too much. Then I was contemplating the 10K. Still too much. The WRM is an intense course with lots of elevation changes, which I am learning about in the running clinic. Then I thought 5K, but there are a number of 5K races locally, so I think I would gain a lot by helping at the WRM finish line. 

I would really like to see what it looks like when you finish eating an elephant.