Winter Blues

The time has come.  Seems as though it gets earlier and earlier every year.  I have had it with Winter.  Dread it getting here, dread it even more in the midst of it, and eventually fed up completely with the cold and bitterness.  Jesus, and I don’t even live in the north.  My blood has completely thinned out in the years that I have lived in the south.  Winters here have been a walk in the park compared to those when I lived in NY.  That day is here though, I am ready for Spring!

So many of my usual things get hampered by the lack of daylight, the lack of sunshine, the lack of warmth.  My energy levels suck this time of year.  Why do I find this time of year is best spent on the couch or in bed?  The weather just lends to lack of motivation for me.  I have to force myself to bundle up and get outside for a run.  Does this happen to you?

My training miles really suffer at this time of year.  Looking back on my running calendar I realize just how unmotivated I am at this time of year.  60 something miles in January?  How pathetic is that?  What’s even more pathetic is that of those 60 miles, 26.2 of them were during a marathon.  I didn’t even take my running shoes on vacation.  Didn’t run once.

I can only hope Spring gets here soon.  I have a bunch of racing to do in the coming months, and that means training if I want to perform well.  I have Asheville Half and Full in four weeks!  Then All American Full three weeks later.  Then Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Full the week after that.  I need training miles to feel ready.  What do you do to motivate yourself to get those training miles in for the races ahead?  Dreaming of Spring, warmer temps and sunshine doesn’t seem to be cutting it for me these days.  I need something more! Bring on 101 degrees!

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Krispy Kreme Challenge for Charity

A while back I announced that my son and I would be running/eating our way through a local event that draws thousands of participants.  It will be his second time participating in the Krispy Kreme Challenge, and my first time.  There’s something about gorging on a dozen day old doughnuts in the middle of a five mile race that’s just a bit daunting to me, and probably the reason I haven’t signed up prior to this year.

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This race is a charity event, with proceeds going to the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, so I figured I must finally give it a go.  Hey, it’s all in the name of charity, right?  So, why not?  On February 6th, on what I hope will be a crisp cool morning (no snow/ice), we are running in the name of charity, and trying not to vomit during the second half of the race.  🙂

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Since I found it extremely gratifying to raise money for the James Blake Foundation last year for the New York City Marathon, I figured why not try to raise some money for the kids in need of medical help here locally.  So, without further ado, I created a fundraising page on crowdrise.  This platform is so user friendly, all you do is click on the link below, and it will take you directly to our fundraising page.  I am trying to raise $200 for the kids, so in essence, that’s 20 $10 donations, so it should be a cinch, right?  So, help us get our fundraiser off the ground by donating today.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

I really hope you will consider a donation to this worthy charity.  Thank you!

Cyber Monday Race Deals

Who doesn’t love a deal?  My two favorite days of the year for scoring a race registration discount?  National Running Day, which takes place annually in June, and CYBER MONDAY!!!

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I am not a shopper, so Black Friday means nothing to me other than the best day of the year to avoid crowds.  But Cyber Monday, now, I can get into that!  Deals, specials, discounts on everything from carpeting to compression socks, Hi Res TV’s to running shoes, and best of all?  Race discounts!!

Many race directors take advantage of this special online buying day to offer up one-day-only deals off race registration.  It’s simply one of the best days of the year to sign up for your next race, your next marathon, your next destination race weekend.

So get ready!  I know of a few races that are planning big discounts.  Discounts too good to pass up!  So, keep your eyes on Facebook and Twitter come Monday, and get to Googling first thing in the morning scouring the internet for those deals!

Happy Cyber Shopping!

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National Running Day Discounts

If you are anything like me, you look forward to this day!  Not just to celebrate all things running, but for the various discounts that can be found on races.

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For me, I celebrate running everyday.  It really has transformed my life.  It has given me so many things…

A way to stay fit.  Time to myself.  Goals.  Health benefits.  Reasons to travel.  Reasons to make new friends.  So many things….

Running has taught me patience, and understanding.  I has taught me how to breathe and relax.  It has taught me how to push myself further than I ever thought possible.  Running has given me a real zest for life.

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Why do you run?  Fill in the blank!  And don’t just say you run for the bling.  Running is way bigger than just a medal.

Don’t just visit happiness, LIVE IT!

It’s a plain and simple truth…

Life is not always easy.  It is never certain, most times unclear.  We live in a world of earthquakes, floods, war, death, inequality, racism, hunger, divorce, poverty.  Many aspects of life challenge us as human beings every day.  We must push through and persevere.

Isn’t life full of amazing wonders though?  Sunshine, family, nature, love, warmth.  The list is endless.

Sometimes it is very difficult to watch the news these days.  It seems that most of the time the world is focused on what’s wrong.  I wish we could focus more on what’s right with the world.

We need to smile, and laugh, and love.  Hug your loved ones.  Be polite.  Care for your neighbors.  Reach out and help strangers.  Uplift, and enjoy life.  We only have one life to live, and doesn’t it make more sense to be kind?

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Let negativity go, or use it to inspire positive change.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more of us smiled?  Live in your happy place today, and every day.

Run Big Cottonwood with me!

With 37 days and 20 hours until the race begins, the time is now to make the commitment to run!  @runrevel race series offers fast and beautiful courses located in Utah, California and Colorado.  

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I am running Big Cottonwood on September 13th, and probably the other two races in 2015.  A price increase is coming up within the next week for this race, so if you want to run with me, the time to register and save a bit of money would be now.  Follow this link to save:  

http://brooksee-events.appspot.com/bcm/register?team=6306024403238912

You can register as a part of my ambassador team and save $5.  There is also a $5 Facebook discount during registration.  

Current pricing is good until August 14th, which is next week.  You can register for the Half for $84.95 minus the discounts, or $104.95 minus the discounts for the Full.

Registration Includes:

Free race day photos, a free personalized highlight video, an epic medal, the best technical shirt ever, great swag that you will want to keep, gloves and Mylar blanket for the start, great food and fun at the finish, and a very generous transfer/refund policy.  

Check out the website at http://www.bigcottonwoodmarathon.com

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All American Ambassador

http://www.fortbraggmwr.com/allamericanmarathon/registration/

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I got got some really great news today!  One of my favorite marathons thus far in my marathon career has chosen me to be an Ambassador for the 2015 race.

The race this last May was the inaugural event, and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it.  They will be returning stronger, and more popular than ever I am sure, so don’t miss out on early registration, which can be accessed with the link above.  

The race date for 2015 is March 22nd.  

More to come, as I will be sharing my Ambassador experiences with you.  Who knows, I may even be allowed to offer special discounts or goodies along the way.  Details to follow.  Hold tight!

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…I Need A Vacation

What I am in serious need of is decompression time.  Time to sit, time to ponder and not have any obligations.  Time to do things for myself, and enjoy the things that mean the most to me.  That means family, that means running…. and cooking, hiking and breathing in the clean air.

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I haven’t been on vacation since March.  Contrary to popular belief, even though I was at the beach last week, I worked about 46 hours, and barely had time to even see the ocean.  

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What I need is some serious time in the mountains.  Time away from the terrible, oppressive heat and humidity.  It makes me think of the many times I have been to the mountains, and had the most relaxing vacations.  I’ve rented cabins or homes mostly, because we like to have the space to spread out, and also be able to cook.  A fully equipped kitchen is a must while on vacation.  I know, some of you may be saying, “there is no way I am cooking on vacation”.  I love to cook though, so I find it a necessity while on vacation in the mountains.  I would much rather cook than go out to eat constantly.

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What I look forward to are the crisp, cool mornings.  A nice run, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.  A good hike with family.  Taking pictures.  

Yeah, now I’ve got myself all worked up, yearning for the day this a Fall where I will be able to get away and enjoy “me time”.  Family time.

Luckily for me, I have time away planned for September.  A few months back I signed up for a Half Marathon in the Great Smoky Mountains.  This will be the weekend following the Big Cottonwood Marathon (another mountain getaway, yeah!) so extending my vacation to a full week and a half, and including two runs will be just amazing.  Vacation Races has several great National Park Half marathons on their event list, so check them out.  I am really excited about it.  I am now in the process of finding the perfect cabin to rent for a few days so that I have time to relax while in Tennessee, as well.

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While I am enduring long, tedious training runs in the North Carolina heat of Summer, I guess I just have to dream about my upcoming vacations, and hold tight, knowing that they will be here before I know it.  

Do you run while on vacation?  Maybe you plan your vacations around a race?  I like to be able to do it all while on vacation.  Relax and run.  How about you?

Body Double Runner

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I’m tired.  I worked all day.  Yet, I still want to get out there for a short run.  Feeling it?  Not really, but still want to?  Yes.  If only I had a body double.  Let’s face it, sometimes a nap seems more the proper end or a work day.  Maybe I can take a nap while my body double laces up and dons the Garmin for a quick jaunt around the hood.  I certainly am trying to talk myself out of it right now.  “You’re tired, it’s ok to skip a run”.  “Turn on CNN, and put your feet up for a half hour”.

Oh man…. Now I am starting to really come up with excuses.  Excuses are not what helped Meb win the Boston Marathon.

Speaking of Meb, and Boston.  I had to work during the race this year.  I completely missed all of it.  Yeah, bummer, I know.  I did however, record it on some strange sport channel I found about a week after the fact.  Then I forgot I did, but remembered last night.  So I watched Rita and Meb last night.  I watched them intently.  I watched the strides, the body mechanics.  Just amazing!!  It’s all I can say. Amazing!  If only I looked an ounce like Meb when I run, surely I would have a new PR, or BQ in the bag.

Excuses did not win the Boston Marathon.  Excuses will not get me a BQ either, but..I would like to request one thing…..

Meb, will you be my body double?  I could use a nap right now and you could run for me.

Stretch Hamstring (Stretch Armstrong)

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I really need to be stretching more, both before and after my runs.  Over the past few months, my distance running has led to some pretty irritated hamstrings, and as a result my pace is affected.  I have really spent some time doing some research on the best stretches that I should be doing to help the cause.  I have found a lot of useful information during my research, and have incorporated simple and more complex stretching into my daily routines.

I am not one to spend fifteen minutes just doing a series of stretches, as I find this incredibly boring.  What I have done however, is incorporate several hamstring stretches into my daily routines.  I turn normal activities like sitting on the couch into a stretch.  Instead of laying my legs to the side, I sit up straight and prop my legs up on the coffee table.  I lean slightly forward and do mini stretches while watching TV.  Or, while playing a game on my IPad, or while blogging, I stand up straight, and bend at the hip, stretching my hammies while typing away while the IPad is on the countertop.  I find that doing stretches while I make my way through the day doing regular activities makes the stretching more tolerable.

I found that as I age, my aches and pains associated with running are becoming more frequent.  Hard effort usually results in more lengthy recovery time.  I can’t just lace up and run like those young 20 somethings do.  I don’t just walk away from a run or race feeling non-affected. I need recovery, and stretching has really helped.  I just need to continue to put focus on this.

My birthday is coming up this weekend, and guess what?  I don’t have a foam roller.  I’ve only ever used one once.  Are you a believer in foam rollers?  What can you share about your experiences with them, and is there one that you would recommend?  Do they really help? Do you think it would help with my hamstrings?  Maybe I need put one on my wish list.  Please share…..