Sunday, August 31, 2014

MSF is So F**king Rock

I've decided to be "flexible" with my plan. Due to circumstances I won't bore people with here, I missed a run this week, and today's long run was only half the distance scheduled. I will get in the rest of the miles later, but I'm super excited to show you my route.

I'm ran this route to tell people that Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres to the rest of the world not in the US) is So F**king Rock. You may be saying, "Well, yeah, of course they are, but so what?" I'm going to ask you to donate money to them, tell you a bit about why they are So F**king Rock, and I'll be honest about why I thought to try to raise money for them.

First, here's my route:

I ran 3.55 miles, so I think it would be great if my friends, family, and blog readers would donate $3.55 to MSF. Or, you can round up to $5, or whatever amount you want! I will also take challenges over the next month to raise more money. if you want me to run a farther distance or make a different picture, comment with your request and what you'll donate, and I will see what I can do. You can easily contribute using this JustGiving page, (which is the group that inspired me to take up this cause- more on that in a minute).  Or you can donate directly to MSF here. If you donate on the JustGiving page, it would be awesome if you leave a note saying you are sponsoring Mary or snicketmom or use the hashtag #MSFisSFR so I can see that I've actually inspired contributions and feel good about myself.

So, what is this Angry (feet) JustGving page? I am a huge Tim Minchin fan. For the past couple years, I've participated in group birthday gifts for him through his fan forum, Angry (feet). This year instead of giving him a physical gift we are raising money for a charity he supports, Doctors Without Borders (MSF). I think this is a superb idea, the best birthday idea yet, and I am thrilled to participate!

MSF is an amazing organization, which helps people all over the world wherever there is a need, regardless of race, religion, nationality, or political affiliation. The doctors do this at great personal risk to their own health and safety. Right now, the work they are doing with the ebola outbreak is mind-blowing. Here are a couple short videos showing their work with ebola in Liberia and with Syrian refugees.

And now, to cheer you up, so Tim Minchin. Go donate to MSF; they really are so fucking rock.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cross-Training: Stairs! And Why I Want To Do Them

Most Sundays in my training plan will be cross-training days. One of my favorite cross-training activities is stairs. I am obsessed with stair training because there are two INCREDIBLE hikes I want to do on Oahu that involve lots of stairs. I was fortunate enough to get to do these hikes when I went last March. I hope to do them again. I will write posts about them individually in the future, but briefly- one is the Koko Crater Tramway, (link is to one of my favorite blogs for hiking information, Unreal Hawaii.) which is totally legal, and awesome, and is the location of my profile pic and this pic:

The other is Haiku Stairs (link to post by Unreal Hawaii again), which is totally illegal and very controversial, and I'm really uncertain about what will be happening with this hike by the time I get there in December and whether I will decide to do it. When I did it before, it was the most exhilarating and exciting thing I had done in my life. 

Koko Crater is 1048 steps and Haiku Stairs are 3,922. But more on those later. (I'll probably devote a post to each on future Sundays.) This morning I climbed about 784 steps. It was fun because I was with my best friend, Jennifer, and because we went somewhere we had never been before. But the stair workout we'd heard about was not what we expected. 

We have both been advised by our doctors that for the injuries we have, going up stairs is fine, but going down stairs is not so good. We had heard (but possibly misunderstood) that there was a set of stairs going up and a trail going down at Fort Creve Coeur. We found the stairs (169 cement stairs), but couldn't really find a path to go down immediately near by.

After some exploring and walking through the neighborhood to a different part of the park, we found the fort and a trail that led to the bottom of the stairs. This was about a mile walk, so we did this four times. So, we walked about 4 1/2 miles, but only got to climb the staircase 4 times, so it wasn't a lot of bang for our buck so to speak. The stairs had a lot of debris, and the route was very mosquitoey, but we always have fun together and it was a fun hike. I look forward to writing posts with details and pictures about the two Hawaii hikes that are motivation for me to hit the Stairclimber if I can't find some good outdoor stairs around here. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First "Long Run" of My Training Plan

Today was my first "long run". I just completed week one of Hal Higdon's Novice 1 Plan.

I love this: "In a marathon, except at the elite level, you do not beat others, as you might in a mile or a 100-meter dash. Instead you achieve a personal victory. If others finish in front of or behind you, it is only that their personal victories are more or less than yours. A person finishing behind you with less talent or of a different age or sex or various other limiting factors may have achieved a far greater victory."

One exciting possibility about my marathon training is that I will have a lot of personal victories along the way. Today, I ran 6 miles faster than I have before. It was 75 degrees and 90-some percent humidity. I felt awesome. In a few weeks, I will be running father than I ever have before. I'm excited for this process and these opportunities. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Trail Run at Forrest Park Nature Center

For day three of training, I ran three miles at Forrest Park Nature Center.

I love running on trails. At this point I plan to try to do a lot of my training runs on trails. The softer surface is easier on my joints, and the varied terrain strengthens more muscles. I run at a much slower pace on trails, but the level of exertion is probably about the same as running a bit faster on roads. I'm not concerned about pace at this point anyway, and running more slowly gives me more time to enjoy views like these:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I want to remember this day. I want to remember this run, this sun. It was hot and humid, a perfect first training run for my first day of training for the Honolulu Marathon.  Just three miles. It feels like a baby step at the start of a long journey. I'm no longer a "run if and when I feel like it" runner. I have a plan, a schedule, and I am now a "marathon training" runner.