Tag Archives: Running a marathon

What does Running Marathons/Ultramarathons and the Myth of Sisyphus have in common?

We all know how much dedication and hard work running a marathon or ultramarathon require. This year, I am training for two ultra marathons, Salmon Falls 50K and AR50 mile, which is my first 50-mile race. I also have to log in 50+ miles every week to run these races strong and not get injured. Every single week, I start adding my check mark next to the miles I ran all the way to Sunday when I write in the total mileage with a big smile and satisfaction of a work well-done. Then Monday comes along and both my paper schedule and my Strava running app stare back at me with a big 0 MILES. No big deal, right? I just need to start over and enjoy the cycle of life and the joy of logging in the miles week after week till race day and then find another big boulder to roll uphill just like Sisyphus.

 

Sisyphus and his rock.

 

In his book The Myth of Sisyphus Albert Camus sees the futility of Sisyphus carrying the boulder up the hill over and over again as a triumph, for Sisyphus knows himself to be the master of his days. Are we thus runners the modern Sisyphus logging in our miles through our smiles? Are we looking at our running as a huge reward and not a punishment as in the case of Sisyphus? Is there joy, satisfaction, and a sense of hard labor achieved at the end of climbing a hill, where we are rewarded with breathtaking views?

 

The views at the top of a steep hill that I climbed with my trail running friends Rob Schmidt and Nicola Elliott.

 

Climbing a steep hill on the lake loop around the Folsom trails – no boulder, although it felt like we were carrying one.

 

Lesson from the first hill

 

Before climbing this hill, our friend Rob asked us if we wanted to take the steeper route, or the flatter one.  I deferred making a decision to Nicola, who said that she always makes herself do the hard things that she is not so fond of, or as good at in order to get stronger and better at things. Life’s wisdom while running, I thought to myself grateful for the moment of joy carrying ourselves up the hill. Unlike Sisyphus, our actions had meaning, purpose, and satisfaction, knowing that we didn’t have to keep running up and down the hill. We could just relish the breathtaking views on top of the hill and continue running until we achieved our mileage and called it a day.

Lesson from the second, longer, and much steeper hill

 

During our 22-mile run, my friends and I climbed K2 hill in Auburn twice, which is a long steep hill comprised of five sections, as my awesome ultra runner friend Keather Kehoe, who ran 45 miles that weekend, explained to me. It felt long and hard the first time we did it, but the second time, it felt much easier, which reminded me that our attitude towards the difficult things we do is everything. This bad-ass hill taught me this: it is easier to accomplish hard goals when you surround yourself with like-minded people, you surrender to the task at hand with joy, and when you feel confident that you have what it takes to conquer challenges.

 

This long, steep hill brings many trail runners to despair. Hiking up the hill replaces running in most cases.

 

Experiencing a sense of joy, pride, and satisfaction during my climb of K2 famous and infamous hill.

 

 

Despite his scorn of the Gods, Sisyphus had a tremendous passion for life and an intense hatred of death. While carrying his boulder up the hill, Sisyphus knows himself to be the master of his days, which is how I feel as a runner, too. After I get my run done, whether it was a short or long one, I triumph and revere in all moments of joy and desperation when tiredness sets in. I also smile remembering the man with the rock, as my friend Rob calls him. We saw him recently at the end of our run. He was walking across Sunrise foot bridge with a big, heavy rock that he hurled around from one hand to another. He made me think of how we all have to restart our days carrying our rock with the same joy and gratitude that he displayed.

 

Just like Camus’ essay concludes: “The struggle itself is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy,” so does my journey as a runner continue with elation, resilience, perseverance, and hope for a bright future, in which I can carry my boulder up and down hills and mountains with the purpose of getting stronger, happier, and healthier.

 

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Works consulted:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/camus/

17 Life Lessons I Learned from Running in 2017

“Running is like a blooming rose – each petal encapsulating its own beauty amidst thorns. Running is also peeling off the layers of life one petal at a time to achieve the ultimate magic.”  Carmen Micsa

 

At the end of each year, there is reflection and remembering all the lessons we have learned.

 

Physical Fitness Lessons

 

  1. When your first injury as a runner strikes, learn to let your body heal through cross training, such as swimming and biking.

I consider myself pretty fortunate to avoid injuries, as I do have a decent form and I am good about listening to my body if something hurts me during a run. However, this year I got my first injury that sidelined me from running for almost two months after doing a tough track workout with my Fleet Feet Sacramento Racing team. We did mile repeats and I felt great during the workout. However, when I returned home, I was visibly limping, which is why my husband asked me if I got injured. I replied that I felt great during my track workout and that it is probably just temporary. I was wrong: I had peroneal tendonitis, which hurt my foot when I walked, so I had to take time off and heal using acupuncture and my new best friend the TENS machine, which is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

 

Although my tendon was not completely healed, I have decided to race my favorite 5K race the ZooZoom Run. I finished second in my age group, but at the end of the race, I was barely able to walk. I knew I had to listen to my body and start healing and take time off from running. Poor decision to run the race.

 

2. Let aqua jogging be thy medicine!

Although we runners believe there is no such thing as swimmer’s high, swimming is one of the best methods to recover from an injury. I did different pool jogging intervals to keep my cardio fitness up and the tendon loved the gentleness of the water. http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/training/cross-training-101-swimming-for-runners_82017

 

 

I was lucky that my California Family Fitneess club had the hydro-fit belt that helped me do pool running, gave me joy, strength, and helped me heal my tendon.

 

3. Biking is another great cross training method for runners. 

Biking is extremely beneficial to keep your cardio level up, as well as one of the favorite with injured runners, but I have decided to continue biking as cross training when not injured.

 

Preparing for my first triathlon. Combining swimming, running, and biking is quite fun and challenging. I have also enjoyed doing bricks workouts, such as biking followed by running.

 

4.  Getting injured can help one put perspective on things, as well as become more adventurous in trying other athletic endeavors, such as a triathlon. 

After I healed from my injury, I gained a new perspective on things and learned to appreciate swimming and biking, which is why I have decided to do compete in my first triathlon on Sept. 9 organized by Total Body Fitness. To my great delight, I finished third in my age group, doing very well in swimming, OK in biking, and outstanding in running.

 

I finished third in my age group, even though I did my very first triathlon. Yet, the highlight was the discovery that I can have stamina and strength to swim, bike, and run.

 

5. Learning to trust our bodies after an injury and come back stronger. 

It took me almost a month to regain my speed and confidence in my ability to run strong and continue to get PRs in all my half marathon races, my marathon, and my 10K. At first, I tried to stay away from track workouts, but I realized that I needed to continue my running journey with passion and confidence.

 

Running together with my friend Andrea Brizendine helped me bounce back from injury and made me look forward to my runs.

 

6.  Learning to respect my body and to strengthen it with key workouts and specific exercises to avoid future injuries. 

 

One of the best exercises to strengthen muscles are kettle bells thrusts. My gluteal muscles often hurt after long runs, so I knew that I needed to do specific exercises to keep strong and be a better runner because of weekly strength workouts.

 

7.  Learning to trust your body when running higher mileage weeks in preparation for a marathon.

Getting my own coach to prepare me to run my strongest marathon so far was the best decision I made, as Robert-Ressl Moyer, a top ultra runner and winner of many 50k races, taught me to trust my body when running between 50 to 70 miles a week. He helped me get my body stronger by having me do a few easy runs after every tough speed workout, which kept me healthy and uninjured through California International Marathon.

 

Running strong and faster with the help of my amazing coach Robert Ressl-Moyer.

 

8.  Running fast on tired legs is not a myth!

With the help of my coach, I have learned to finish my races with negative splits, meaning running faster at the end.  The main workout to help me accomplish this were my weekly progressive runs for the first month I trained with him to get me to run faster on tired legs at the end of our workout.  I succeeded to negative split the Urban Cow half marathon finishing with a 3-minute PR in 1:43:56 with a 7:56 pace, The Mandarin half marathon finishing in 1:41:21 with a 7:45 pace another 2:30 mins PR only a month later after running Urban Cow half marathon, and the California International Marathon, where I had a 7-minute PR and qualified for Boston for the first time.

 

My awesome friend and training partner Andrea and I after finishing a smooth progressive run together.

 

Boston-Bound at California International Marathon, where I finished my fourth marathon in 3:40:41.

 

Mental Fitness Lessons

 

9.  Dig deep literally means just that when you use your mental toughness during your training runs or races. 

Digging deep as a runner, or a human being on the quest of achieving a big goal means just that. Although I am not a gardener, I find this expression to represent physical and mental strength when digging a hole, but more importantly, the strength is imperative to dig one’s way out of the hole. As runners we have to find that inner fortitude to run strong through the pain when our bodies rebel against us. My revelation came during the middle miles of my fourth marathon that I ran on Dec. 3rd, 2017. I was getting really tired and my gluteal muscles were sore and hurting. I slowed down by 30 seconds from my goal marathon pace of 8:16 and I was even thinking that marathons are not my cup of tea and why was I insisting on abusing my body like that. I even wanted to stop and use the bathroom, but I decided to harness my mental strength and focus on good form technique, and running the best I could to Loehman’s Plaza past the 20 mile point. Sure enough after that my body stopped hurting, or was it my mind overwriting the body? I started to run at 8:14 pace and felt rejuvenated and confident in my ability to finish strong.

 

I was able to run part of the CIM with my wonderful friend Karen Clark who ran ahead of me during the middle miles. I managed to catch up with her around mile 22 when my mental strength helped me dig deep and get out of the pain hole that slowed me down.

 

10.  Find another gear. 

How do runners differ from bikers? They just don’t have as many gears. Nevertheless, once we allow our brains to process and transcend physical pain, we become stronger and able to find faster gears that we did not know existed and were available to us. The way I learned to access my faster gears was by finishing many key track workouts with a few 200 meter repeats on tired legs. The first time I discovered that I could run super fast at the end of the workout on tired legs, I felt like a legit athlete.  Running strong at the end felt like pulling a rabbit out of a magician’s hat, since the pain had disappeared and allowed the legs to do their thing.

 

My super fast and supportive team mates Genevieve Clavier and David Pai made me look forward to our 5:20 a.m. Tuesday workouts, when we all gave it our best and felt as if we were hanging off a precipice, but somehow managed to stay in control of our tired legs and finished the workouts strong.

 

11.  Overwriting our doubts and mental weakness.

I was doing 800 meters on track with my awesome team mates, when my body and legs rebelled and started to slow down. My coach who was timing us noticed that I slowed down, so he said: “Your legs are not tired; it’s all in your mind.” I smiled and tried to process that statement. My next 800 was stronger, and the last one was the strongest. I had to simply overwrite my brain that was giving wrong signals to my body. All of a sudden, I found renewed energy in my running and knew I could do it! I felt in control of my body, thoughts, and managed to subdue the doubts that were creeping up like tiny spiders ready to weave their web of lies around my tired legs that were capable to give more that morning on track. Positive thoughts and reinforcement are an important tool for runners to have when needed.

 

Doing track workouts with friends is always more fun and motivating.

 

12.  The power of visualization.

It is essential to visualize our goals and even more important to let our friends, our social network and media know about our goals, so that they can keep us accountable. Besides visualizing our goals, it really helps to repeat to yourself what you wish to get out of a race. For instance, when I ran the MandaRun half marathon, I kept telling myself that I wanted to finish with a 7:45 pace, since my pace during my Urban Cow half marathon was 7:56. During the race, I felt great and the speed was effortless, but I kept pushing myself to run a little faster than 7:45 to account for slowing down on a few hills. To my great surprise, I finished the half marathon in 1:41:21 with a 7:45 pace. I was elated and surprised that I finished third in my age group, as half marathons are harder to place. This was my first time finishing in the top three at a half marathon and felt that repeating the magic pace numbers worked well for me. The brain and the body were focused on the same goal and worked as a team!

 

Showing off my two medals that I earned at the Mandarun half marathon. First time getting an age group award for a half marathon race.

 

Spiritual Lessons

 

13.  Jumping with Joy.

To me running is the perfect harmony between body and mind. In order to celebrate that inimitable feeling, I often jump with joy suspended between Heaven and Earth and rejoicing in the runner’s high.

 

No description needed. Too much joy and exhilaration!

 

14.  Running is divine.

I have enjoyed doing trail runs for the change in scenery and for the divine beauty I see all around me. Just like we need to break up the monotony in running and run trails instead of road all the time, it is the same with life. We need to find the divine in various activities, in the people we meet, and in the ordinary that we can easily transform into extraordinary. The divine is within each of us and once we learn how to access it, we will feel our hearts expand with love for others and ourselves.

 

Serendipity and divinity.

 

The divine nature of  wild flowers.

 

15. Running is finding God in nature.

Even though we need to watch our feet and pay attention to each step we take on the trails, I always rejoice in connecting with God during my runs. This year, I saw a cross in the sky right before Easter and I teared up thinking how much God loved us and how much I enjoyed discovering and talking to God during my runs through nature.  Then on Christmas Eve when I ran the Foresthill Divide Loop with a few wonderful friends from our racing team, I stopped on the trail enthralled to discover God’s Temple.

 

I took this picture on Good Friday before Easter this year. At first, I thought it was just the evening sky right before sunset, but when I looked at the picture on my phone, I was in awe to see the clouds forming a cross in the sky. I cried, prayed, and wrote a poem about this divine apparition in the sky.

 

 

The light filtering through this old, mature bent over tree stopped me in my tracks. I felt God’s infinite love for me and all mankind. This deep spiritual connection filled my heart with love and gratitude for the existence of a higher BEING and for being ALIVE and closer to GOD.

 

16. Running is transcendence. 

Whenever I run, there is a calmness descending over me that transcends any worries, crazy thoughts, doubts, or fears. Moreover, running becomes my way of transcending time and space and propels me in the NOW.

 

I love bridges, as they connect two ends, two worlds, two souls, two hearts, and many transcending moments in time.

 

17. The Zen of Running.

 

Running is controlling the shallow and deep breaths into a rhythmic breath, which I call the Zen of running, for it gives me inner peace, calmness, and composure to be the best human being possible. I also feel serene when I enter the Zen realm and know that no matter how difficult or long the run is, I will end up overcoming pain and come out cleansed and elated.

 

This art reminds me of the Zen of running, of breathing and living a meaningful and joyous life.

 

I am humbled to share what I have learned from running in 2017 and hope to hear your stories, too about your ultimate running experiences. Please share any special moments and lessons  you have learned during your runs. Namaste!

 

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Marathon – Big PR and My First Boston Qualifier- Thoughts, Tips, & Insights about running marathons faster and stronger!

“Marathons teach us to be patient, to persevere, and to apply the Bible ‘s scripture there is a time and a season for everything. The more marathons we run, the more likely to chip away minutes and seconds.” Carmen’s quote the day after running California International Marathon

 

The day before any race, I find myself unusually calm, collected, and happy. The day before California International Marathon 35th anniversary was not any different. After my husband dropped my friend Karen and I off at the start line, I took in the morning fresh air and said to myself: “This is my day.” The temperature in the high 40s was perfect. The overnight rain dissipated the frost and brought a balmy and warmer morning to the approximately 11,000 runners running from Folsom downtown Sacramento by the Capitol.

 

At the start of the CIM with my friend Karen Clark whom I met during the Parkway 20-mile race in 2016. We kept in touch and have had very similar goals in our running.

 

Hanging out with Andrea Brizendine and Zina Claunch, my friends and Fleet Feet Racing team mates.

 

Elisia De Bord and I went to graduate school together getting our Masters in English. We reconnected through running during the training runs put together by Fleet Feet. She always has a smile on her face and is ready to tackle new challenges.

 

After doing some dynamic stretches, using the bathroom twice, Andrea, Karen, and I headed over towards the start line to find our 3:37 pace group. I did not recognize anyone from our group and I didn’t know the pacers, but I already knew that I wanted to run the first 2-4 miles about 10 seconds slower to conserve energy and to finish strong. From the very beginning, our pacing group took off in the high 7s, even though our average pace needed to be 8:16. My friends and I paced ourselves and did not start too fast, trying to preserve our quads, since there are so many rolling hills for the first 10 miles of the CIM. My pace stayed in the low 8s for the first 6 miles, after which I dropped into 8:16 pace and kept it all the way to the half marathon point.

After the half marathon, I was looking forward to get past Fair Oaks and Grant Blvd.,  so that I switched my water bottle and see my husband and my sweet kids. Sophia had a special sign made for me, saying “run like a cheetah,” “run fast and don’t stop, ” “you got this,” and so on.  Alex gave me the water bottle and my husband took this picture of me running by with my big smile, knowing that a little more than half of the marathon was behind me.

 

Running through Carmichael and meeting my beautiful family on the course. I am always so happy to see them!
Photo credit: Catalin Micsa

 

After I passed by my family, I tried to keep my pace, but for some reason, I slowed down to 8:30 pace for the next 5 miles, or so. My left gluteal muscle was a little sore and aggravated. I struggled to have a steady leg turnover. I even contemplated stopping at the porta potty, but then I told myself that I didn’t have to go too badly and that I needed to get to mile 20 and then try to run faster.

Indeed, mile 20 came and the spectators were spectacular with their screaming, shouting, cheering, joking, jostling things around. I felt uplifted and my gluteal muscle was not as sore and decided to cooperate more. I ran through the fake wall with conviction and renewed determination to finish the marathon faster and stronger.

After mile 21, there were no more hills and my pace improved from 8:40 to 8:27. Soon I was running again in the low 8s about 8:15. By the time I ran to mile 24, where my super awesome and supportive coach Robert was waiting for me with a peeled banana, knowing that I requested one, I was gaining momentum and speed. I refused the banana and Cliff gel from him. “Keep your pacing, Carmen,” he urged me. I felt strong. The crowds went wild – electrifying atmosphere. It felt amazing to be able to power through and catch a lot of my friends from behind. Seeing my Fleet Feet racing team mates on the course, cheering on me was super fun. Their loud and enthusiastic cheering motivated me to run faster and reach two super important goals: my PR and my Boston qualifying.

By the time I ran by the Capitol towards the finish line, I realized that my feet were happy, barely touching the asphalt, levitating almost… My family was cheering on me at the finish line. I crossed in 3:40:41 with a strong kick at the end and a big smile, knowing that I had PRed by 7 minutes from last year’s marathon and that I had qualified for Boston with more than 12 minutes under my 3:55 time based on my new age group.

 

My favorite picture at the finish line with my beautiful family against the historic and iconic Capitol backdrop.

 

At the finish with my wonderful friends Andrea and Karen. So blessed with amazing and supportive runner friends.

 

The smile says it all. After waiting in line for more than 30 minutes to take this picture, I got to ring the Boston qualifying bell and announce to the world that I was a real runner and that I was inspired to continue doing great things in running and life.

 

VideoofmyBQ_Dec317

In looking back at my fastest marathon to date, I realized that there were three ingredients to my big PR and qualifying for Boston.

 

  1. Track workouts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was so excited about doing ladder workouts and finishing the workout with 4X 200m, as it gave me the chance to practice speed on tired legs and it was so invigorating. I soon learned that doing the 200m made me forget that I already did mile repeats, 800 meters, 400m, and whatever else we were doing.

 

Track workouts not only test our speed, endurance, lung capacity, but also our patience to lap around the track hitting our target times. My coach Robert Ressl-Moyer never disappointed with his strategic ladder workouts, which built me up as a runner and prepared me to run my fastest California International Marathon on Dec. 3, 2017 .

 

My super fast and supportive team mates Genevieve Clavier and David Pai made me look forward to our 5:20 a.m. Tuesday workouts, when we all gave it our best and felt as if we were hanging off a precipice, but somehow managed to stay in control of our tired legs and finished the workouts strong.

 

2. High mileage training weeks.

I thought that speed and endurance were enough. Yet, this year, after four months of intense training with my amazing, dedicated, and intelligent coach Robert Ressl-Moyer, who has won trail marathons and many 50K races, I realized that logging in 50 to 70 miles a week meant fortifying my body and mind to prepare me to run on tired legs when I needed it during this year’s California’s International Marathon.

 

As I was building up my mileage base, my amazing, talented, fun, and athletic friend Andrea Brizendine ran many mid-week miles with me, making it easier to run on tired legs after Tuesday’s track workouts. We pretty much followed the message on our matching tank tops: “eat, sleep, run, repeat” for four months before running the CIM marathon.

 

Doing long runs with my friends Adam McLearan and Andrea Brizendine made the runs more fun and less painful. We also felt invincible, as you can tell from our bulging muscles- ha!ha!

 

3. Progressive Runs.

Before I started working with my coach Robert, I was only used to doing 3-mile progressive runs. My first month of training, I had to do 10 to 12 mile progressive runs, which felt terrifying in the beginning, but with the help of my Strava app that provided my pace estimate every half a mile, I managed to execute some great progressive runs that left me exhilarated at the end, knowing that I could run in the mid 7s on tired legs.

My progressive runs were always the day after my speed workout, so I had to start slowly and build up to finish strong. Not only did this teach me to be disciplined and conservative with my starting time that needed to be slower, but it also taught me to feel the pace and know when I needed to pull back, or when I needed to accelerate and keep the mile within seconds from my previous one. As much as dreaded them in the beginning, progressive runs have quickly become my very favorite workouts.

I loved to feel my body progress in time and space, so to speak. I also loved running on the edge of time – each second quintessential to the overall time and my progress as a runner. These training runs helped me finish my CIM marathon with the last 5 miles progressively faster than my previous ones without me planning on that. My last 5 miles splits were: 8:49, 8:40, 8:39, 8:15, 8:13, 7:49. Once I developed a good grasp on how progressive runs need to happen, running each mile faster than the previous one became innate and just happened.

What can I say? I had a terrific CIM marathon and looking forward to my very first Boston marathon in 2019. As to 2018, I will be running a 50K and a 50-mile race, as well as two marathons besides other races in between. Vamos!

 

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

 

5 Ways Progressive Runs Make You Stronger & Faster

Ever since I became a runner, I held onto the false belief that I had to run strong in the beginning while having fresh legs and just try to  keep steady at the end, which almost never happened, as I normally slow down. My preconceived ideas about running this way changed due to my amazing and super positive running coach Robert Ressl-Moyer, who provides me with a personalized training plan and who made me excited about progressive runs and hill workouts.

I am very lucky and grateful to have two excellent coaches for my upcoming California International Marathon that I will run on Dec. 3rd trying to qualify for Boston: our Fleet Feet Racing team coach, Chad Worthen, whose marathon personal best of 2:22 in 2002 qualified him for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Birmingham, AL and who is an outstanding athlete and coach training over 200 athletes, and Robert, a terrific marathon and ultra-marathon runner, who finished the San Francisco Marathon 10th overall in 2:46:45 in July this year.

 

My training friends’ smiling faces after a tough hill workout. Coach Robert Ressl-Moyer is in the back right behind us, encouraging us with every hill and sending us the message that we can strive for more in our training. His positive and personalized training method has me working harder than ever.

 

What are progressive runs? First, let’s look at the definition of the word progressive, as I am sure you would want to become a more progressive person and runner.

Progressive means:

  1. Favoring progress.
  2. Making progress and moving forward.
  3. Continuous improvement.
  4. Relating to progressive education.

When applied to running, we all understand that progressive means increasing speed with each mile that we run. We start slower and we make each mile faster. When applied to life, being progressive simply helps us become more open to changes. Additionally, we don’t mind making sacrifices to constantly improve physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

Until this month, progressive runs meant running three miles faster, which did not seem too hard to do. Yet, when I received my new training schedule from Robert and saw progressive runs of 10 to 12 miles, I cringed. I did not think I could execute them, but being the problem solver that I am, I immediately jumped into action and turned on my Strava to talk to me every half a mile so that I can adjust my pace. That made me feel a little better, especially since I have difficulty staying at a slower pace in the mid 9s. My tendency is to run faster, so starting slower and increasing the pace for so many miles was definitely new territory, but I was ready for the challenge.

Today, on the bike trail I executed my 10-mile progressive run perfectly, even though I had to constantly adjust my pace, as I kept running too fast. I started the workout with a positive mindset at 9:50 pace and worked down all the way to 7:44 pace, feeling like a sculptor who chisels a piece of wood to give it the perfect shape.

 

The challenge was not to run fast at the end; it was to keep steady and slower for the first 6 miles. Progressive runs require great discipline! Good for the body and the mind.

 

Hitting my 5 miles of the progressive run and realizing that I was feeling great and ready for more fun.

 

As I kept running and counting down the miles, I realized that this 10-mile progressive run is a perfect training tool for half marathons. I loved it and continued running and writing in my head as I often do.

Here are the five reasons why progressive runs make you stronger and faster:

 

  1. They help you hold onto your pace, or even run faster on race day.
  2. They prepare the body to run stronger when fatigue kicks in.
  3. They increase mental toughness in runners of all levels and abilities.
  4. They help you tune in and feel the pace.
  5. They turn you into a more disciplined, patient athlete and human being.

Next adventure: doing a 12-mile progressive run.

For more info on running, training programs, or hiring a coach, feel free to check out Fleet Feet store, as they have the right training for everyone.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

Running Later in Life and How Running Keeps Us Younger, Healthier, and Happier!

It takes courage and determination to change at any age, but taking up running later in life to increase one’s health and fitness level is not what the every day person does.

Meet five incredible athletes all in their 70s who are not interested in joining any senior’s classes soon. Their passion and joie de vivre: running.

 

Last year while training for California International marathon, my third marathon since I started running, I had the pleasure and honor to meet these four amazing women Charlyn, Barbara, Carolyn, and Linda all in their 70s – so driven, radiant, humble, and truly inspiring.

 

Big 70 to 74 age group winners at Valentine 4-mile race this year. Carolyn in the red, Barbara in the middle, and Charlyn next to her.

 

We met during our Fleet Feet Fit track workouts led by our amazing coach Chad Worthen. Being the  gregarious and curious person that I am, I made friends with them and started asking questions. Charlyn amazed me first, as I talked to her and learned about her transformative and inspiring fitness journey . I even used her story on my mom to get her moving, which worked. My mom started running with me short half a mile distances the  summer of 2016. I have to say that her form was perfect  and that she did not want to run slowly. In 2017, a few months later after getting to know all these wonderful women, I have decided to interview them and learn about their extraordinary journeys.

 

Charlyn Frazier’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

Charlyn Frazier started to run in February 2011 at the age of 66 after joining a local gym. She had played a lot of tennis in Southern California in the 70s and 80s, but after moving to Sacramento in 1990, she became inactive and put on a lot of weight in the next 21 years.  Luckily, her trainer at the gym suggested that she kicked up the cardio and try running.  

 Charlyn ran her first 5K race in 39:33. It was so exhilarating and she couldn’t wait to do it again.  Soon after that, she ran her first 10K in July 2011, her first half in October 2011, and her first marathon California International Marathon in 2012.  This was just the beginning of her enthusiasm and passion for running. As of February 2017, Charlyn has run 104 races, four of which are marathons. 

 

Charlyn finishing CIM 2016 with a big smile on her face. Another marathon in the books. Marathons are actually her favorite distance and she loves to train for them. Charlyn admits that  even though she is not nervous on race day, she is as excited as a child on Christmas Eve.

 

Her breakthrough in running came in January 2014 when she decided to join Fleet Feet Fit program. She immediately loved having coach Chad Worthen hold her accountable and give her positive feedbacks, while reminding her to get in her miles and stay focused during workouts. 

 

Charlyn wearing bib number 70 to match her age at the Urban Cow half marathon in Sacramento. What a joy!

 Charlyn’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. Taking up running for the first time means to start out slow with short distances and work up from there. 
  2. Be ready to be amazed at how quickly your endurance and pace will build-up. For example, Charlyn finished her first 5K on May 30, 2011 in 39:33 and less than three months later finished a 5K in 36:08. Note that she set 5K PR at Run to Feed the Hungry in December 2016 with a time of 27:58.  
  3. It is very important to have a network of running buddies. It was a major step for Charlyn in her running journey when she joined up with Fleet Feet to train for her first Urban Cow Half Marathon. The camaraderie in a training group is a phenomenal motivator for setting that clock and meeting up on the road on a cold winter morning. 
  4. Meet and run with other runners who can inspire you to become the best you can be.  Charlyn has become friends with Barbara, Linda, and Carolyn all featured in this blog.

  Charlyn’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • In 2015 Charlyn finished 9th in Buzz Oates Run-Sac competitive division. In 2016, she finished 7th being rewarded with $75.00 and $150.00 respectively. She also earned a place on the 2016 Milestone 100-Mile Club having logged 116 miles in Buzz Oates races http://runsacseries.com/. This earned her a cool shirt, hat, and jacket! 
  •  Charlyn’s greatest honor has been receiving the Sacramento Running Association’s Award for 2015 Veteran Women Athlete – Marathon and SRA’s Award for 2016 Veteran Women Athlete – Road Running https://runsra.org/.

 

SRA (Sacramento Running Association) Achievement Award for Veteran Woman Marathon Athlete.

Barbara Rinker’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

Barbara finishing the California International Marathon in December 2016 with a bright smile on her face. Running brings her so much joy and she loves competing. Her favorite distance is the marathon.

 

Barbara Rinker started to run at 50.

She remembers walking from the 20-mile mark of the American River Trail to the Fish Hatchery as part of a weight loss contest with Weight Watchers to lose pounds and get healthier. Then the walk progressed to a jog next to her long-legged husband. She eventually got pretty efficient at jogging and signed up with Buffalo CHIPS together with her husband. After running her first 10K in 58 minutes, Barbara was hooked by the joy of running. She also realized that running is as mental as it is physical.

 

Barbara’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. The more you move, the more capable you are of moving.
  2. Appropriate rest days are just as important as running and workout days.
  3. Barbara’s advice to women 60 and older:  “make yourself available to other runners; you could find them to be great confidence builders. Find a good training group and talk it up with others of like mind.” 
  4. A proper running schedule will help you set and accomplish your health goals and increase the fun in your life.  Heavy breathing is good for the soul and the lungs.

Barbara’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • Barbara has run 11 marathons: 9 California International Marathons, 2 Boston Marathons, and 1 Avenue of the Giants.
  • Total number of other races: 172, including 1 30K, 23 Half Marathons, and a mixture of 5 and 10Ks.

Carolyn Slavich’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

Carolyn Slavich was 62 when she started running.  She decided to try running when her daughter ran the CIM that year. Carolyn started to run around the track at the tennis club with one of her tennis friends. She doesn’t think she made it even 100 yards the first time she tried it, but kept at it until she could run 5 miles. Her first races were Susan G Komen 5K and Run to Feed the Hungry.  When she was 65, Carolyn’s daughter talked her into doing a half marathon. Carolyn ran the Sacramento marathon half, which became the Cowtown and the Urban cow about five times.

When Carolyn was 70 years old, she decided to try a marathon. She looked for the perfect training program, but they all were for people faster than she was. Then she found Harry Tortuga training for the Urban Cow half and was able to combine that with a marathon training program she found on line. Carolyn completed her first CIM at 70 in 5:39.

Carolyn’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. Running is very personal for everyone and the desire to start running has to be there for an individual.
  2. Carolyn encourages everyone interested enough to give running a try, because the end result is an amazing feeling, especially once runners reach their goals.
  3. Running certainly keeps you fit.
  4. Runners are such great people and running is such a wonderful social sport.

Carolyn’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

Carolyn Slavich’s 1st AG (Age group) place at the Shamrock’s half marathon in March 2017.

 

  • Carolyn has completed 6 marathons and Boston will be her 7th.
  • Carolyn is not totally sure, but she thinks she ran 100 races.
  • She attributes her running accomplishments to her coach Chad Worthen and the Fleet Feet FIT training.

Linda Hall’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

 

Linda won 1st place in her AG at the ZooZoom 5K race on March 26 (5K races are her favorite).  We’re both displaying our stuffed animals that we received for placing in our AG. I finished second in my AG.

 

Linda Hall was 32 and just starting her first job as an assistant professor of biology at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts when she started running.  She was working in a high stress job, setting up her own research laboratory, competing for grant money, teaching really bright students, and living in a big city. Linda had a husky-shepherd dog (Nikki) who loved running around Fresh Pond in Cambridge.  Once Linda started running with her dog to and from work, she was hooked. Linda has been running for more than 40 years.

Linda did not run any races until she moved to New York City in 1979 when she joined the faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was a professor of molecular genetics and neuroscience. She joined NYC road runners and also Prospect Park Track club. Linda’s first race was Leggs mini marathon, which was really a 10 k race in Central Park. That year Dustin Hoffmann was in the movie Tootsie.  He ran in that race in drag and was just ahead of Linda. The crowd was cheering for him, which was an indelible moment.

 

Linda’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. Buy yourself a pair of good running shoes and vow to wear them out (it takes 300-400 miles).
  2. Then buy another pair of shoes and keep going.
  3. Running is a great way to relieve stress and to solve problems.
  4. Running can teach us patience and to approach problems systematically: one step at a time.
  5. Nothing seems bad after a nice run alone or with friends.
  6. Listen to your body and don’t try to do too much, too soon.
  7. Find a group of friends who are a little faster than you and stick with them.
  8. Running is a great way to maintain your weight, but you still can’t eat everything.
  9. Have fun with running, but listen to your body and you can keep running for many years. …more than 40 years for Linda!
  10. Running teaches you the importance of running your own race, but also the importance of encouraging others.

Linda’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • Linda has run 7 marathons: NYC marathon (4 times), Marine Corps, Grandmas (in Minnesota), and the San Diego rock n roll marathon

Besides these wonderful and dedicated women athletes, I also had the honor to meet and interview David Ghent, who competes and wins in the Senior Games in the 70-74 age group, which used to be Senior Olympics.

 

My friend Andrea and I met David Ghent at the American River College track stadium. We started chatting with him and found out how much he loves to sprint. We also learned that he is in his 70s and living life to the fullest. His favorite event is the 100 meters dash.

 

David Ghent’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

David Ghent is a different type of runner; he is a 73-year-old sprinter who loves sprinting due to the fact that it is over quickly. David has attempted distance running, but found out that he didn’t have the mental fortitude for it. David started sprinting for exercise and fell in love with it. He was sprinting at American River Junior College one day when this man asked him if he ever thought about sprinting in the Senior Games, which used to be Senior Olympics. The Senior Games are divided into 5 year increments from 50 years on up. David had never heard of it before, but started checking into it and decided to enter his first competition in 2014. He won three gold medals and has competed ever since.

 

David’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. It is never too late to start something.
  2. People put too much weight into numbers when discussing age. It is almost expected that when one reaches a certain age, one is to stop living and “take it easy,” which is a big mistake.
  3. If more people could experience the feeling of when endorphins are activated into the pleasure center of one’s brain and the positive effect that endorphins have on the thoughts and feelings of the person, maybe more would choose to run.
  4. Joining a running group is such a positive and motivating environment. It is more enjoyable to participate in doing something with other like-minded people than alone.
  5. Completing a marathon doesn’t have to be the end all of a goal. Just go into it with the thought of moving, as they say from couch to 5K.

 

David’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • To medal is the ultimate goal, but to be a participant and take in all that the Games have to offer and meeting the athletes is truly a privilege. To witness a 92 year young woman shot put and a 101 year young man shot put, throw both the javelin and discuss, and to run and finish both the 100 and 200 meter dashes is truly inspiring.
  • Every two years there is the National Senior Games which are held in a different state each time. One has to qualify to participate and each state has their own qualifying events. David was fortunate enough to have qualified in 2015 which was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota and again this year in Birmingham, Alabama. He will be participating in the 50, 100, and 200 meter dashes. He failed to advance to the finals in 2015, but that is his goal this year in Birmingham.
  • David has run many 5K races and finished 2 half-marathons.
  • David’s big goal and plan for this year is to run and finish the CIM, which will be his first marathon. He hopes to erase that from his bucket list.

When it comes to running and exercising to stay healthy and happy, running can be a great outlet. After all, life is rarely a sprint; it is a marathon, so why not run your first marathon at any age and find more inspiration from others who have done it and have transformed their lives, one step and mile at a time.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog, and if you have your own amazing stories to share, please comment here.

http://nutritionfacts.org/2017/01/24/exercise-as-a-treatment-for-depression/

http://www.runnersworld.com/walking

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Run, Eat, Pray, Love! Thoughts about Running my Second California International Marathon with a 26 minute PR From My First CIM!

RUN

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

I am using Elizabeth Gilbert’s book title Eat, Pray, Love book as part of my blog title together with a few quotes from her book, because I am deeply interested in the philosophy of running and what it takes to razor time, so to speak, when slashing and shaving your old PRs (personal records).  And, yes I shaved 26 minutes from my first marathon, finishing CIM in 3:47:47 and only missed my Boston qualifying time by 2:47:47 minutes.

At the start line, walking to my 3: 43 pacing group.
Trying to stay warm at the start line. We had the best weather we could have asked for.
With my friends Karen and Nikki and our pacers 10 minutes before the start.

To run a marathon well it takes dedication, hard work, perseverance, and many good choices, such as how to train, what to eat, what to wear, and, most importantly, what and how to think  about an upcoming marathon.  As the above quote says, I selected only positive, radiant, and confident thoughts during all my months of training and before the marathon. I also visualized myself smiling and running , such as in this picture taken by our sweet son Alex when I came by our house around mile 14. I also smiled and tried to defeat “the wall” coming up at mile 20 – see video below, as my quads got tight  and slowed me down enough to lose my pacing group. The video below was taken by Robert Fausett, the son of one of my good tennis friends, Janice Cowden.

Smiling and running. Waving at my family at mile 14 . Picture taken by our son Alex Micsa.
Smiling and running. Waving at my family at mile 14 . Picture taken by our son Alex Micsa.

 

https://www.facebook.com/robfausett916/videos/1343230939042508/

EAT

Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

During my intensive 3-month training with Fleet Feet Fit, a more customized and demanding training group than Fleet Feet CIM training program, I constantly worked on my nutrition and what made me feel well-hydrated and fueled.

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat real food during all my runs, but especially during my marathons. I have discovered what works for me and I am happy to share with you so that you don’t have to choke and get a stomach upset on gels and other highly engineered foods. Not only do I like to eat real food, but being pesco-vegan, I have even more restrictions. The pesco-vegan diet follows the vegan diet, meaning no dairy products, no meat, no eggs, but adds seafood and wild fish, which are good sources of Omega-3s and are great for brain function.  In less than a month, after I changed my diet in 2012, my energy level doubled and I felt twenty years younger.

Favorite marathon food I ate every 5 miles during CIM. I did not eat the fig bar, but ate the other two.
My favorite breakfast before long runs. I add a little blueberry jelly on top and also eat a banana.
Post run bar that’s healthy, has little sugar, and has my favorite ingredients: dark chocolate and nuts.

 

PRAY

“There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.”

I am a firm believer that God is present in my life and trust his/her timing, guidance, answer to my prayers, and his/her amazing grace. Whenever I pray for something and ask God to help me accomplish a higher goal, a loftier pursuit, or something as difficult as running a marathon, I ask God to help me if he/she thinks I am ready for the next step. Pushing for things that I am not ready for can end in disillusionment. However, by letting the door cracked open, I invite just enough light, wisdom, and sunshine that my heart, soul, and mind needs.

I was listening to a podcast and the author said this quote. I turned my back and saw God’ radiant light and reveled in this sunrise. Running is mystical and answers many of our prayers.

 

When running a marathon, I feel that praying is particularly important and gives us the extra strength we need to conquer the marathon beast lurking out around mile 21, or so. I also believe that running

a marathon is the most humbling experience that reminds us to stay grounded and run in the moment. We all have goals, but we need to understand that our times can derail up and down, more likely down depending on the day, the course, and our physical and mental preparation.

In my case, during the CIM I started to really feel my sore quads, especially the left one around mile 20, which made me slow down, lose my 3:43 pacing group,  and reevaluate my goal. I accepted that I would probably lose the Boston qualifying time, which needed to be 3:45, but I really needed 3:42 to make sure I got accepted, and that I needed to continue to run strong to get a big PR from my last Pony Express marathon that I ran in May, and an even bigger PR from my very first marathon, last year’s CIM.

I prayed, ran, and stayed focused not even hearing my name being called by friends and spectators, or seeing my friends’ special signs for me all the way to the finish line.

Sign made by my awesome friend Holly and her daughter. I gave Holly a high five at Fair Oaks and Arden and loved seeing them cheer on me and the other runners. Cheering gives us energy.
At the finish line with our son Alex. So special!
At the finish line with my husband and our daughter Sophia
At the finish line with Andrea, my friend and amazing training partner.

LOVE

“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.”

“What does love have to do with running a marathon? ” You might ask. The answer is: everything! When you run with joy and smile through the miles, you feel an immense love for others, for yourself, for exercising, for being together, and for the whole world. Another aspect of our love for running is the stillness of our minds and thoughts while hitting the pavement and while fatigue wants to steal our joyous stride.

During training for CIM, the love for running with our training buddies and our dear friends keeps us going during those four weekend of running 20 miles to be well-prepared for the marathon.

During a 20-mile training run- jumping with joy with my amazing friend Andrea.
Running track with my crazy fit runners Adam and Romero.

Running with love and appreciation for our families, friends, and our happy feet will make any marathon training and race so much more meaningful  and give us a new perspective on our lives. And when in doubt: run, eat, pray, love, and then repeat for your next marathon.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!