Monday, November 29, 2010

California dreaming

Blake and I traded e-mails over the Thanksgiving weekend. She talked of running the historic trails on the East Coast with her husband, I talked of walking the shoreline on the opposite coast with my wife and son. She admitted being a little jealous. Why? It was about 35 degrees warmer in California. "When it comes to running, there's no one happier to touch down at Monterey Airport than me. This is just a great place to be a runner."
- Dave Kellogg, Blake's writing 'coach'

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The challenges of holiday running

ne thing about holidays, they tend to break routines. For an athlete training for the Olympics, that isn’t always a good thing.

Many people assume that you just take holidays and weekends off. Most runners don’t take days off, we still need to be out there, even when our family and friends might be comfortably planted on the couch.

So it’s a challenge to keep up the running through the holidays.

I’m hoping that we’ve started a new family tradition this Thanksgiving — running in a Turkey Trot. We were
celebrating Thanksgiving on the East Coast with my husband’s family. When we’re out there I love to run Plymouth’s Old Sandwich Road.

It’s a very pretty, peaceful run.

This year, for the first time, they held a 5K race in that area on Thanksgiving morning and much of our family competed, while grandparents and kids watched. After that, it was back to the house for
feast preparations and plenty of good eats.

One of the things that helps me during the holidays is making sure I get my run in early, before the real festivities begin. If I wait, then I have this cloud of guilt hanging over my head and it just ruins my holiday anyway.

So while everyone else is puttering around, just getting ready for celebrating, I need to get to running.

At the same time, I don’t like people pushing me out the door. I have got to muster up the urge to run myself.

When it’s cold and I need to run, I usually bundle up and walk around the house until I get the urge to run.

My poor mom. During high school and college when I was home during the summer she would try to wake me up early and try to get me out running before it got too hot. That was something I really didn’t enjoy.

One of the many good things about having Quin around is he makes sure I stay in a routine. When I have just a limited time to run, I don’t wind up procrastinating and wait too long for the urge to run to hit me. I just have to run or miss it.

This year, we were going to try and combine some outside time and my running. There’s a real nice bike path near where we were staying so Quin and the family could walk along there while I went for a run.

What are we going to do once Quin understands the whole Christmas Eve? Santa Claus is coming, let’s get up at 5 a.m. on Christmas? I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Heck, my sister would wait until after I got back from my run to open presents.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our turkey trot

Hi guys, Fun but freezing 5k on Thanksgiving morning on East Coast. Quin and Jon rode the shuttle bus to stay warm while I warmed up,then we traded. It was low 30s at the start. Jon and I ran together which was the first time we have run together in years. After the race he said he still hates running with me. I thought we were having fun, though he was sweating a bit more than me : )

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekend workout = father/son quality time

In this week's column I'll be talking about how runners don't take days off. That means I'm running on weekends and holidays. It actually works out kind of nice for Jon, my husband. Saturday morning is usually Jon and Quin quality time. As I leave for a Saturday workout they are walking into Pacific Grove for some breakfast and park time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A new Thanksgiving tradition

We're off to the East Coast this week where I'm hoping to start a new family tradition: Thanksgiving Turkey Trots. We're planning to run in the first Thanksgiving Day Pilgrim 5K. I love this race already, check it out:

Flying cross-country with Quin, the first time since he's been this mobile. We're hoping Grover and the Sesame Street gang can help entertain him.
In my column this week Dave and I will be talking about holiday running, getting out the door when the family is warm and comfortable on the couch. It is a challenge.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reflecting on running, pancakes, coffee and donuts, not exactly in that order

Blake Russell: When an Olympic athlete’s focus turns to food
Lessons learned when reflecting on running, pancakes, coffee and donuts, not exactly in that order.
Dave Kellogg here, Blake’s ‘writing coach.’ An interesting aspect of Blake’s personality came out as we were working on her first column. Reflecting back on being the official starter for the Big Sur Half Marathon, she emphasised how, although she would have liked to run the race, it was really nice to eat pancakes with young Quin while Daddy was huffing and puffing on the course along Monterey Bay.
I didn’t fully appreciate that until later in the conversation when we were talking about the best way for people to cheer you on when you’re running a marathon.
“I remember running the Chicago Marathon and my husband and coach kept popping up on the course,” Blake said. “It was kind of fun, I never knew where they’d show up. Apparently they were hopping on and off the subway.
“It was great . . . until I noticed they were eating donuts and drinking coffee they had gotten from my favorite shop. I was a little ticked off. I mean, if you’re going to do that, you better make sure and have donuts and coffee waiting for me at the finish.”
Ah, well, OK then, duly noted ; )

Friday, November 19, 2010

Starting Again

I had a completely different race experience at Sunday's Big Sur Half Marathon. I didn’t run, I was the race’s official starter.
I don't usually go to races just to watch, so being the starter gave me an entirely different perspective on things. I was amazed at all the runners, watching them go by wave after wave.
But I have to say I prefer to be racing.
In a way, I’m off to a new start. I had been scheduled to run in the New York City Marathon a few weeks ago, my first marathon since having Quin. But that plan changed when I suffered a calf injury.
Aside from just missing qualifying for the Olympic Team in 2004, not making the starting line in New York was the most devastating thing in my career over the past 15 years. The kicker is that I was feeling the best I had in years. Nothing hurt and workouts were getting better and better. As my Vietnam vet coach would say, I finally had some bullets in my gun, and I was ready for war.
It has been hard to get back into training since. I had a little post-marathon depression. People don’t realize how hard it is, how much you have to put yourself mentally into running.
When you’re a competitor you point your training to a goal. When you get hurt, you have to adjust. You have to go to Plan B, or Plan C.
With the help of family, friends and especially Quin (it’s pretty hard to be in a bad mood too long when you have a little person running around), I am out of my funk and looking ahead. I’m looking at doing a marathon in the spring.
This week I returned to track workouts for the first time since the injury, and things are going pretty well.
Coming back from the pregnancy was actually tougher. When I started training after having Quin I felt like I had never run before. It was just horrible.
I tell people who have just begun running it might take a couple of months before they can get the aerobic fitness to really enjoy it, to get to the point where it feels effortless. When things aren’t going right, one of the first things that pops into your head is to give up and do something different. That happened to me after I had Quin.
I had to remind myself that you don’t just lose your talent. You have to know that it’s still in there somewhere. And I know the Olympics are so close, and in a way I’m so ready. I know I’d be disappointed later if I gave up now.
So I start again.