Z is Zodiac signs

Originally posted on Run the Edge.

Aries: March 21 – April 19

  • Element: Fire
  • Symbol: Ram
  • Life Pursuit: The thrill of the moment
  • Secret Desire: To lead the way for others

Your desire to lead the way for others will propel you to the front of the pack in your next road race. But be careful. After you Ram your way past all the other runners and take the lead you could get caught-up in the thrill of the moment and go off course.  Maybe consider a career as a rabbit if you can lead the way for others in record attempts.

Taurus: April 20 – May 20 (MY SIGN)

  • Element: Earth
  • Symbol: Bull
  • Life Pursuit: Emotional and financial security
  • Secret Desire: Have a secure and happy marriage

Winning big races might be your way to financial security. Consider hiring an Aries as a rabbit as they love to lead the way for others. To achieve your secret desire of a happy marriage, consider a Virgo runner. Virgos have a strong need to be loved and can always be counted on to do the right thing. But beware of Pisces who will do anything to attract Virgo’s attention.

Gemini: May 21 – June 20

  • Element: Air
  • Symbol: Twins
  • Life Pursuit: To explore a bit of everything
  • Secret Desire: To be ahead of the crowd

Your symbol of Twins represents the two sides of your running personality. One twin wants to be ahead of the crowd and lead the race, while the other twin wants to take a path less traveled and explore new routes. Be careful which twin you are listening to in your next race. If you are ahead and then decide to explore you might lead the whole race off course with Aries!

Cancer: June 21 – July 22

  • Element: Water
  • Symbol: Crab
  • Life Pursuit: Constant reassurance and intimacy
  • Secret Desire: To feel safe

Bring as many family and friends as possible to your next race. Strategically station them throughout the course so you can be cheered on at every turn. The constant reassurance will help you feel safe and finish in personal best time. When you cross the line and see your best time ever, do a celebratory crab walk. You just might start a new trend!

Leo: July 23 – August 22

  • Element: Fire
  • Symbol: The Lion
  • Life Pursuit: To lead the way
  • Secret Desire: To be a star

Your life’s pursuit is Aries secret desire. If you really want to lead the way and be a star, you will need to harness your inner lion and know exactly when to pounce. If you wait too long and let Aries take the lead, you might find yourself a lost kitten. Take the lead at the gun in your next race and you will be well on your way to being a star!

Virgo: August 23 – September 22

  • Element: Earth
  • Symbol: The Virgin
  • Life Pursuit: To do the right thing
  • Secret Desire: To love and be loved

Draw energy from the Earth under your feet in your next race but beware of runners (especially Pisces and Taurus) who appear to be in distress. They might not have your best interests in mind. Your desire to do the right thing is a great attribute, but if you are not careful you could be derailed from your best race. Your desire to love and be loved might be fulfilled by organizing a giant group hug at the finish line.

Libra: September 23 – October 22

  • Element: Air
  • Symbol: The Scales
  • Life Pursuit: To be consistent
  • Secret Desire: To live an easy and uncomplicated life

Unfortunately, your desire to be consistent and to live an easy life makes you vulnerable to running consistently slow splits. Those splits might be easy and you will have plenty of your element (Air) to fill your lungs at these slow paces, but you need to use your scales to weigh the benefits of an easy pace vs the pain of running faster. Take a chance and you will see that consistently fast is better than consistently slow.

Scorpio: October 23 – November 21

  • Element: Water
  • Symbol: The Scorpion
  • Life Pursuit: To survive against all opposition
  • Secret Desire: To triumph

Your element is water and you will need plenty of it if you are to survive your next road race. Keep an eye out for Aquarius the Water Bearer to help you stay hydrated. The opposition will be great but if you can save your scorpion-like sting for the final kick, you just might triumph!

Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21

  • Element: Fire
  • Symbol: The Archer
  • Life Pursuit: To live the good life
  • Secret Desire: To make a difference in the world

Good news and bad news for runners born under this star. The good news is that you are already living the good life just by being a runner. The bad news is that if you want to make a difference in the world you will need to branch out beyond yourself. Consider running your next race for a charity and raising money for a good cause. This might just be the bullseye your inner archer is looking for.

Capricorn: December 22 – January 19

  • Element: Earth
  • Symbol: The Goat
  • Life Pursuit: To be proud of achievements
  • Secret Desire: To be admired by their family, friends, and the world

Don’t buy into the hype that you have to win a race to be proud of your achievements. You do not have to be a champion to be admired by your family, friends, and the world. Sometimes just finishing a race is a fantastic achievement. If that is not enough then maybe consider doing something no one has ever done like being the first person to run 50 marathons in 50 states backwards!

Aquarius: January 20 – February 18

  • Element: Air
  • Symbol: The Water Bearer
  • Life Pursuit: To understand life’s mysteries
  • Secret Desire: To be unique and original

Your symbol of the Water Bearer will be much appreciated (especially by Scorpios) in your next road race as you become one of the first ever moving water stations for the other athletes. Since you want nothing more than to be unique and original, you decide to carry as much water for the other runners in the race to keep them well hydrated. This is not a good strategy for running fast, so winning the race might remain one of life’s mysteries for you.

Pisces: February 19 – March 20

  • Element: Water
  • Symbol: The Fish
  • Life Pursuit: To avoid feeling alone and feel connected to others
  • Secret Desire: To live dreams and turn fantasies into realities

Look for a Virgo during your next road race. Pretend to have a hurt leg to appeal to Virgo’s desire to do the right thing. You might feel like a fish out of water but this feeling will quickly fade as you avoid feeling alone and feel connected to your new companion. Your fantasy of having a life-long running partner will turn into a reality as you cross the finish line together!

Happy Running!  Does your sign accurately describe you as a runner?

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Y is for Yoga

Since I hate to exercise and stretch, I decided Yoga would be good for me.

lheartspaceogo

After a few tries, I found the perfect instructor. (She allows you to do things at your own level and she is very encouraging to everyone.  Just love her.)

Wed Yoga with Lisa

Lisa at HeartSpace in Albany

A Women’s Health magazine article by Nicole Kwan took five common running goals and asked the experts to devise yoga routines to help you run longer, stronger, and faster. (These are really good suggestions and moves that I have done in my yoga class.)
1. YOU WANT: Total-body fitness (not just strong legs)

YOU NEED: Upper-body strength

The repetitive motions of running can lead to a lot of tightness in the neck, shoulders, hamstrings, and hips. “Yoga brings more movement into your body, much more movement in the hips, and a more relaxed face and shoulders [than running does],” says Barbara Ruzansky, owner of West Hartford Yoga in West Hartford, Connecticut. Yoga will also help develop your upper body to balance your already-strong legs. Try the following pose to give your legs a break and build arm strength. If anyone asks, you’re practicing a stealth spy move.

TRY THIS: Side plank pose (vasisthasana) This beginner version will help develop upper-body strength and awareness while also working the abs, says Sandy Blaine, codirector of the Alameda Yoga Station in Alameda, California. Start in plank pose. With palms flat, push yourself away from the floor. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and engage your abs. Then turn the left side of your body up toward the ceiling, bringing your left hand to rest on your left hip so your right hand supports you. Bend your left leg, placing your left foot flat on the floor in front of your right knee. Push your hips and right leg up away from the floor, trying not to sink. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Then switch sides. A strength move like this is best done 2 to 3 times a week to see improvement.

2. YOU WANT: Pain-free running

YOU NEED: Increased strength and flexibility

Yoga will eliminate the tightness that leads to pain by opening up your joints. But remember, safety first. “The tighter people are, the safer they need to be; especially with runners, who tend to be goal-oriented,” says Christine Felstead, owner of Yoga for Runners in Toronto. “The muscles you use for running are strong but [running] doesn’t use all your muscles. A yoga pose requires all the muscles work in tandem.”

TRY THIS: Cross-legged seated position (sukhasana)

Try sitting quietly in this pose to wind down after a run. “Sitting cross-legged is the simplest way to start opening up hips and increasing the lateral (outward) rotation of your hip joint,” Felstead says. Check to see if your hips are higher than your knees when you sit. If they’re not, sit on a rolled-up towel, folded blanket, block, or phone book. After a while you may feel fatigue in your spine but engaging your abs will add some core work while you stretch the arches of your feet, ankles, knees, and quads. Sit for as long as you feel relaxed and be sure to switch the foot that’s in front every few minutes. You might stay there for only 3 minutes to start but you’ll be able to sit longer over time, Felstead says.

3. YOU WANT: Injury prevention

YOU NEED: Perfect posture

“If you run and don’t do anything to maintain flexibility, chances are almost 100 percent that you’ll end up with a running injury sooner or later,” says Beryl Bender Birch, owner and director of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute in East Hampton, New York. “It’s just critical to maintain a range of motion and stretch out the muscles that get tight from running.” Besides keeping you off the bench, that extra flexibility and movement comes in handy other places too (think: the bedroom). So stand up—you’ll look taller too.

TRY THIS: Mountain pose (tadasana)

This simple but challenging stance will create better awareness of your body and improve your posture. Stand against a wall to find your postural alignment. This means you have to properly line up your body to the wall, which is harder than it seems. Bring your heels to the wall and tuck your chin slightly under. You’ll have two pockets of space at lower back and neck where your body does not touch the wall. Stretch your body gently upwards; you should feel taller. Then step away and try to maintain your posture. By stretching your spine from your tailbone through the crown of your head you can lengthen your body, ward off shoulder pain, and keep your joints healthy. Apply this posture when you’re waiting to cross the street, to pay in the checkout line, or anytime you find yourself slouching (like now). Straighten up!

4. YOU WANT: Agility

YOU NEED: Correct stretching

You stretch before you run, but practicing a few yoga poses afterward when your muscles are warm will make you feel a whole lot better the next day. “Think of yoga like a clay pot, if you just try to bend it, it will break. If you add warmth, you can bend into anything. When it relaxes and cools off it stays in shape,” says Mark Blanchard, founder of Mark Blanchard’s Power Yoga Centers. You actually strengthen muscles by making them soft. “The definition of health in a muscle is not hardness. Even though a muscle may feel hard it’s actually weak,” says Jean Couch, owner and director of The Balance Center in Palo Alto, California. Tense muscles don’t receive blood, so use yoga after you run to keep your muscles open for movement-enabling oxygen.

TRY THIS: Legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani), variation
Lie down with your right foot through a doorway and left leg up against the wall. Extend your legs without locking your knees. Hold for 5 to 10 full breaths for a good hamstring stretch, says Sandra Safadirazieli, instructor at the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, California. As you loosen up, bring your upper body closer and closer to the door until you can put a strap around your foot for a stronger stretch. If you don’t have a strap, use a belt or sturdy scarf. The ultimate goal is to hold onto the big toe with your second and third fingers, but work your way up slowly.

5. YOU WANT: Faster recovery

YOU NEED: Consistent yoga practice

Yoga can help you recover faster by preventing a buildup in scar tissue. “Yoga uses the elastics of the body and breathing to move oxygen, which moves scar tissue so it doesn’t coagulate and settle in one spot,” says Blanchard. He recommends alternating days of running and yoga but practicing sun salutations every day. The flow makes for a good pre-run warmup to energize and focus your mind and body. But don’t cheat—it’s not a substitute for a full yoga sequence. Take 15 to 20 minutes for sun salutations pre-run, working at your own pace and following your breath

Like anything else, you have to do yoga consistently.  I did it weekly for awhile and then when I got injured, I stopped.  It was hard getting motivated to sign up again.  Then I finally did and I have been going weekly (when I can) and even doing planks on my own.

Check out this post and YouTube videos on Yoga for Runners…. http://deniseisrundmt.com/2009/09/03/namaste-for-national-yoga-month/

Happy Running!  Do you do yoga?  If you do, has it helped your running?

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X is for X-training

cross-training-workouts-300x274

What is X-Training?
According to Acefitness.org, “Cross training is typically defined as an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness.”
All half marathon and marathon training schedules include at least one day of x-training.
What are the benefits of x-training?
  • Reduced risk of injury –  People who are particularly prone to lower-leg problems from running long distances should consider incorporating low-impact activities such as elliptical training, cycling and swimming into their regimens.
  • Enhanced weight loss –  people who need to lose weight can effectively achieve a reduction in body weight and fat stores by combining two or more physical activities in a x-training regimen. They can, for example, exercise on an elliptical trainer for 20 to 30 minutes and then cycle for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Improved total fitness –  X-training can include activities that develop muscular fitness, as well as aerobic conditioning.
  • Enhanced exercise adherence – X-training is a safe and relatively easy way to add variety to an exercise program.

Another benefit of X-Training is that you can explore different kinds of sports. Although, you are a runner, you may find that you enjoy biking or swimming. Also when you cannot run due to an injury, you can still x-train. When I broke my ankle, I could not run but I was able to bike and use the elliptical.

What activities are considered x-training?
1. Cycling – According to scientific studies, runners benefit the most from cycling.
(I have only biked when I was UNABLE to run. I should do it more but who has the time.)
bike
2. Resistance Training –  Recent studies haved linked resistance training with improvement in running, reducing heart rates while doing so, and improving race times at distances from shorter runs to marathons.  It also protects runners against lower body injuries, and circuit training provides a great cardiovascular workout, and increasing muscle power.  The gym is the best place to do this, with the help of Personal Trainers.
Unfortunately I do not belong to a gym and the closest thing I have done is using these resistance bands (when I was recovering from an injury.)

red in pt & yellow at home

3. Swimming – It is an activity that is easy on the joints, supports your weight, builds muscular strength and endurance, improves cardiovascular health. It is also good for the lungs because of the breathing exercises you have to do while performing the activity. For runners who have sore legs, this is most recommended since it’s low impact, and it surprisingly burns a lot of calories.

I wish I were a better swimmer but I am not (and I do not have access to a pool.)
pooped after the race

my version of lake swimming

4 . Aerobic Exercises – It provides an outstanding cardiovascular workout, boosts quadriceps and hamstring strength, improves coordination, and can make runners quicker on their feet. In addition, the upper-body movements used in aerobic dance may even tone up runners’ torsos a bit. Zumba is pretty popular and there are many videos with aerobic exercises/dancing.
When I was younger, aerobics classes were popular & used go to them.  Zumba is something I want to try.
5. Other sports like Tennis, Soccer, or even Golf can also be considered as X-Training activities, as long as it benefits you in burning calories, toning muscles, building stamina, endurance.
I love to play tennis (tried golf but I stink at it.) and play doubles at least once per week.

playing tennis

Tips for X-training:

1. Choose what you like – Try several things to decide what’s beneficial and best for you. Also consider your resources like time, money and energy.

2. Start slow – Even if you are an experienced runner it doesn’t mean that you are already good at another activity or sport. Start at the beginner’s level of any sport or activity that you will engage into.

3. Do not strain yourself –  Try to stick with your training days but use a x-training activity as an alternative of
some days allotted for running.

4. Chose the ones that will not use the muscles that you sore during running – that is why I do not play tennis and run on the same day (they both can strain your calf muscles) but I may do yoga after running.

5. Hydrate & Eat Well – Always make sure you hydrate yourself well especially if you sweat too much. Always eat healthy food. Avoid junk food and foods that are high in salt and fats. . Try to eat more carbohydrates before exercise and protein after.

5. Have Fun! – You should always enjoy what you do because if not, you will not keep it up.

Happy Running!  Do you X-train?  What do you do as X-training?

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W is for Words

wordle

done with wordle.net

The most common words in my blog:

  • running
  • race
  • run

Makes sense to me.

Happy Running!  What are the most common words in your blog?

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V is for Virtual races

Cupcake_Classic_virtual

Virtual races are great. You can do them ANY TIME and ANYWHERE!!

Sometimes they are FREE and sometimes you contribute to a charity.

the bib

It is a way to get your miles done and it motivates you to run because you signed up. (I have done many of them but I used to do more than I do now …gotten lazy about signing up!!)

this is the latest one that I entered.

You may even win a prize!

irish duck

Here are a few that you can still sign up for:

13 in 2013

rbvrhttp://www.runningbloggers.com/p/rb-a.html

runningmadhttp://momsrunthistown.com/summer-virtual-race/

Happy Running!  Do you enter Virtual Races?

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U is for US (as in racing in the US)

usa

I don’t plan to run a half or a marathon in every state but wouldn’t it be cool to run a race in every state?

As you can see that I am very far away (45 more to go) and to complete this goal, I think I would have needed to start running at a younger age!! (At my previous job of 8 years, I went to conferences annually all over the country…but I wasn’t a runner back then 😦  I remember how long the line was for signing up for the 5k race at NECC conferences and that they always filled up so quickly. I thought people were crazy.  Now I know why… )

I guess it will be fun trying…

Happy Running!  How many states have you run races in?

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T is for Tennis

I have mixed feelings about tennis.

I enjoy playing tennis. I love my tennis friends!!! Watching the US Open makes me wish that I was really good at it.

I used to feel this way about tennis.

However, truthfully, it cuts into my running time. I have to schedule running around tennis because you can run at any time and you can run anywhere and you can’t just not show up and play a tennis match.

For tennis, it is different. I didn’t play tennis for 8 months and it wasn’t that difficult to play again. (I wish running were that easy to get back into.)

It’s not that it’s because I’m that good. Pros have to put in the time. I’m pretty mediocre so it doesn’t really matter. I play doubles and if my partner plays well, it is easier to win. If my partner does not, we don’t usually win even if I play great. (It’s not an individual effort like running.)

I know that when I go out there I will want to win but if I am not playing a USTA match, I don’t get down on myself if I don’t win.

the competitive me in 2010

Before I started running, I was very serious about tennis. I played all the time, took lessons, practiced, played on numerous teams, read tennis magazines, bought tennis outfits & shoes, etc.

Now, I just play for exercise and camaraderie and for fun. (They seem like good reasons to continue to me.)

Because it’s take four to play tennis, you can’t be casual about it. So last year, I organized a group of 5 women to play on Monday nights for 34 weeks. That means that everyone sits out once every 5 weeks. I am also part of a Tuesday night group in which I only play once a month. (Update:  the place I play tennis indoors has just CLOSED for good!! So I will now playing outside.  Next year, I may not play at all  … until spring. Bummed!)

I try not to play tennis and run on the same day but sometimes I just have to run!

I have considered giving up tennis but this is the reason, I cannot:

May - tennnis vacation in Florida

annual May tennis vacation in Florida

Happy Running! Any tennis players out there who also run? Does another activity get in the way of your running schedule?