Thursday, March 27, 2014

You CAN do yoga while running!

So the other day I went out for a pretty usual morning run. I did not run a PR, see a talking dog or a 90-year old lady breakdancing. Nevertheless, it was amazing. Like every other morning. 

There is so much craziness in this world so a simple sunrise hardly ever makes for interesting news. In other words, our threshold for "special" has been raised and the bar is super high for that "guess what I saw this morning…" conversation starter. 

It was actually a beautiful morning and it got me thinking more about incorporating yoga into running. Because I really like multitasking. I'm not talking about hopping up into handstand at every mile marker. Although that might be interesting. 

One of the basic guiding principles among the 8 limbs of yoga is something called santosha, or contentment. Being content with what is, rather than what should be or what we wish we had / were / could do. I think runners generally have a hard time with this one. We often take the act of running for granted and then strive to be faster, more efficient or have more endurance to run longer. We rarely stop to think, "Wow, I'm running! Thank you, legs!" Or "Look at the pretty tree! Hey, a squirrel! The grass smells so good! That's a weird-shaped car!" etc. Ok so maybe I just described a runner with an attention problem. Still, I hope you see my point. 

If we always look for what we wish we had, there is a very good chance we will miss the beauty of the present moment. Because I'm pretty sure you can find something special in every moment - you just have to look.

And on that note, every pace is a happy pace. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

LA Marathon Recap

This is race is pretty great, and I say this year after year. You really have to try not to have fun - even when the weather tries to throw you a curveball. There was…
- 2011 with its notorious storm (and I loved that race, by the way…after re-adjusting finish time expectations)
- 2012 with crazy winds by the ocean (which I noticed mainly because I was running with a balloon) and
- 2014 with the hottest race day in a decade.

To runners in Texas, Arizona and other hot places, running a marathon when it's 80s out probably isn't too remarkable. I guess here in SoCal we weren't really prepared for this in early March. Some medical tents looked like the new *it* bar in town and I saw runners on IVs, being wheeled away on stretchers and even collapsing in the middle of the road. But regardless, the other 20,000+ runners looked like they were having fun. At least by a marathoner's definition of "fun".

Curveball #2: Daylight Savings. Apparently, even when your iPhone is set to adjust time only manually, it will still change the time for DST. So thank you, Apple, for the extra-early wakeup call.

Starting at Dodger Stadium and running through all the neighborhoods in LA, finally ending up by the ocean in Santa Monica is as amazing as it sounds. The course simply never gets boring.
ChiliDogs around mile 5 or 6…brilliant idea (??)

So, this was the little dog's 10th full marathon. And yes, his ears were dyed green. Duuude...
This was my 3rd year running with the LA Roadrunners as a Pace Leader so my focus was less on my own race and more on the amazing people whom I have been training with since last September. It really is a privilege to help runners, especially first timers, get to that finish line.
Allan the day's grand photographer w/ PLs Gail, yours truly and Andrea pre-race. Before we lost 3 of the 6 balloons.

Since the race is now over, I will admit that I trained very little and was a tad nervous about not only running 26.2 miles, but running with smiles and encouragement for those around me. My knee injury, which kept me off my feet for a large part of 2013, had prevented me from doing most of my weekday training so basically I was running once a week, doing a ton of power yoga the rest of the week.
So colorful.
Thankfully, my injury never resurfaced. I ran back and forth for a little while, looking for runners who fell back from our goal pace. I eventually ended up with a great pseudo pace group with runners from my and a few other groups and we finished the race strong.

A few things to keep in mind for running a hot race:
- Hydration is key but integrate electrolytes, i.e. not just water. If you are a salty sweater, you will need to replenish additional salt, so consider using salt tablets.
- Cramping happens for many reasons. You could be dehydrated, you could be out of balance with electrolytes but you could also be low on energy. Electrolyte drinks may not provide enough calories and glucose to keep you going so make sure you are extra careful of taking gels / food.
- Perceived effort is higher when it's hot out. Slowing your pace might by key to finishing well. The last thing you need is heat exhaustion at mile 25 holding you back from finishing.