Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fueling before, during and after your runs

Many aspects of running and training require trial and error to figure out what works best for you. You can get good advice on a starting point, but then you have to try something, see how it works, and continue to "tweak" until you get it just right. One of the areas that this is especially true is fueling. What to put into your body before, during, and after you run/race to make your body perform at it's very best is very individual.

I have struggled with fueling pretty much since I started running. I have a ridiculously sensitive GI system. I have many symptoms of IBS and food allergies and sensitivities. If I overeat or eat too late, my run in the early morning is guaranteed to require multiple pitstops.  I cannot eat any solid food before a run or race… even if I get up and eat it 3-4 hours before I start running. So knowing this, I tend to not eat enough, and then crash and burn in races. Often I can get away with less in training runs but it isn't enough in races.

So I needed to find a way to get in what my body needs, without it being too much and leading to GI problems.

When I started using GENERATION UCAN I knew I was moving in the right direction. It is a slow burning carb, so instead of the shorter-lived insulin spikes you get with many of the gels and other fueling products, the UCAN lasts longer and keeps your insulin levels much more even (no spike and crash).  It has never bothered my stomach and works well as a preface meal replacement. It's really good stuff. :)

After trying out different strategies for best using UCAN and talking with some other marathoners, I think I finally came up with my perfect fueling strategy. I mixed three scoops of tropical orange UCAN with water  and sipped on half of that starting from when I woke up until I was ready to start my warm up. Then when I had about 45 minutes until the race start I drank the second half of the UCAN. I felt well-fueled but not "full" which was perfect. Then I took three Powerbar gels with caffeine throughout the race (at about miles 7, 14 and 21) and just sipped water from aid stations. I finally have my "grab-pinch-sip-drop" routine down perfectly for aid station drinking and don't have to stop running to get in a good sip or two of water. This combination has worked great for me! I also drink the chocolate UCAN as a recovery drink shortly after every run and race (and then eat a full breakfast about an hour later).

If you want to read more on how runners use UCAN successfully you can read here. And if you want to purchase some UCAN, you can use this link to get a 10% discount!!

Another important part of my fueling is EnduroPacks. EnduroPacks is a daily system of vitamins and minerals that are designed for endurance athletes to help keep us healthy and to help us recover faster from our training. EnduroPacks include four products which are sold as a set in one month supplies. The four products are a liquid multi-vitamin, a concentrated electrolyte spray, Essential Amino-Acid patches, and L-Glutamine Recovery Complex. All four products are all-natural, gluten-free, and GMO-Free products, manufactures in the U.S. with only Organic and 100% Vegetarian ingredients.

You can find more details about the EnduroPacks system here, but in a nutshell you take the liquid multi-vitamin every morning, you add the concentrated electrolyte spray to your water or sports drink, you wear one Amino-Acid patch (which helps replenish muscles, increase lung function, and boost immune system performance) for 4-8 hours each day, and you take the Glutamine Recovery Complex (which replenishes nitrogen loss due to intense muscle training, speeds up recovery and reduces soreness) each night. I thought it might be complicated, but it was very easy to get into a routine and I had no trouble remembering to use my EnduroPacks products. The only additional supplements I take are Iron and a probiotic.

If you want to try EnduroPacks now, The promo code "MEMORIAL30" is good for 30% off of a 1-month pack from now through Monday, May 25 (the code will work all day Monday).You can also use the code "FULLHOUSEMOM" for 15% off your order anytime.  You can shop here!

Have you tried Generation UCAN or EnduroPacks? 

What fueling strategies and products work for you?

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Know Why

I believe in the power of positive thinking, and I can tell you that focusing on positive thoughts is what got my through the marathon on Saturday. But being completely honest, as I sat on the cold, hard ground at 5:45 in the morning (having already been up for almost two hours), at the top of a mountain, trying to stop shivering and relax so my muscles didn't waste any energy and trying to mentally prepare to race a marathon… I had one of those moments where I asked myself, "Why do I do this again?"

Later on in the race, after running for a couple of hours in the relentless freezing cold rain, my body was a frozen, soaked and numb mix of pain, cramps, tightness and exhaustion, and my mind was stuck firmly in between frustration, determination, and being really pissed off at Mother Nature. I cycled through mantras and power statements and positive thoughts, but once again I had a moment (or two… or three…) where I asked myself," Why do I do this again?"

I have those moments sometimes when I am dragging myself out of my warm bed at 4am, while Josh and the kids are sleeping soundly. Or when I am starting my first interval of a big workout, alone on a dark track. Or when I feel discouraged.

But the "Why do I do this again?" is always a fleeting thought for me, because I KNOW why I am doing it. I know why I am getting up super early to race hard and train hard in all kinds of weather and constantly pushing my physical and mental limits, even though (again, being perfectly honest) it can suck sometimes.

I do it because even when it sucks, it is awesome.

I do it because even when it is ridiculously hard, I love it.

I do it because it is a part of me, and who I am.

I do it because I am determined to keep pushing my limits physically and mentally and find out just how good I can be.

I do it because I believe running is a God-given ability that I can use to connect with, encourage, and inspire others.

I do it because my dreams and goals are important to me.

I do it because I am really, really stubborn (in a good way).

I do it because I have faith that I am on a journey I am supposed to be on and will lead to great things (and already has led to great things).

I do it because I know it is going to pay off.

I do it because to me, this is LIVING. Yes, it would have been easy to sleep in on Saturday and stay warm and dry inside instead of racing a marathon in the rain. But at the end of any given day do I want to say that I played it safe and comfortable or that I lived boldly? 

“Monochrome contentment or technicolor roller-coaster? No contest, is it?” - Catherine Sanderson

“When you settle for anything short of the best life God wants to offer you, then you have been tempted to remain safe and the accountability for not changing your life becomes your prison of regret.” - Shannon L. Alder

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” - Hunter S. Thompson

I choose the rainbow…not to settle… to brave the storm (literally and figuratively!!!)

One of the songs that I really love is "I Lived" by ONEREPUBLIC. This is my favorite part of the lyrics -

"The only way you can know is give it all you have
And I hope that you don't suffer but take the pain
Hope when the moment comes, you'll say...

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up
And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup
Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes, I'll say...

I, I did it all"

What it means to truly "live" is different for all of us. That is the beauty of it. For me, it means giving my heart to my loving, passionate marriage to Josh (almost 19 years now!), and raising this crazy awesome family of 12 amazing kids (through all the blessings and challenges), and fiercely chasing my dreams... even if it means getting up stupid early, dealing with some disappointments, and suffering in the rain sometimes. I know why I do it. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ogden Marathon Recap

If you want the short version - it rained and it poured the entire race. It was freezing cold. It was windy. I got super tight. The conditions were miserable. I finished in 3:24:01. That was the best I had today. No excuses. That's all I had.

The long story for those that want details -

I had a perfect week leading up to race week. My taper went the best it ever has and I felt fresh and ready this morning. I got extra sleep all week and plenty of rest the day before the race. I can honestly say this time there isn't anything I would have done differently leading up to race day.

I got up this morning at 3am. I didn't sleep much at all, but I didn't let it bother me since I knew I had gotten loads of extra rest all week, including NINE hours of sleep Thursday night. I left the hotel at 4:30am and was on a school bus at 4:45am. It wasn't raining yet, but the forecast was saying 100% chance of rain for race time. It was COLD on the bus though. I wrapped up in a throwaway blanket that I brought and relaxed as much as possible.

The race starts at 5800ft elevation.

We got to the start area and had an HOUR AND A HALF before race start. Not my favorite, but I was prepared for it. And luckily the skies were pretty clear still, although the temps were in the upper 30's. Brrrrrrr.  I sat down on an old race sheet I brought, wrapped up in my blanket (and many layers of clothing) and tried to just relax for awhile while sipping on my UCAN.

When we had about 45 minutes until the start I got up and shed a layer, put on my racing shoes, and did my warmup. My feet and hands were numb, but warmed up quickly once I started moving. I got in line at the portapotties, stripped down to my racing outfit, decided to keep my running jacket on, shoved everything else into my bag and tossed it into the gear bag truck. We walked out to the start area and were facing a wall of black, ominous sky. 100% chance of rain indeed.

We started right on time and I felt super. Coach had wanted me to shoot for 7:05 ish pace the first section of the race to warm up and start off conservatively and the pace felt easy and very comfortable. He said I should have a sense of holding back and I did.

Unfortunately the rain started right on time too. We hadn't finished the first mile before the rain started coming down, and it just kept coming. And coming. It got to the point quickly where you stopped worrying about stepping in puddles. I was glad for the jacket and for the hat I wore (and I NEVER wear hats). There is nothing like a rain storm in the mountains in the spring.

I started to struggle around mile 11, but it was a hilly portion of the course and we were running around a lake and it was windy. I got to the half in 1:34 or 1:35 and so while I knew I was a little "off" the plan, I also knew that a PR was still well in grasp and that if I could hold strong through the hilly section of the course that we got a great downhill stretch starting around mile 17.

It kept raining harder and I was just so frozen. I think the high temp during the race was 44. My whole body felt tight and I was nervous about something pulling. I got to mile 17 and hit the downhill again and opened it up. Happily my legs didn't cramp up any worse, but all around my ribs did. I never get side aches and it wasn't exactly a side stitch, but all around my rib cage cramped when I picked the pace up. I tried to work through it but backing off the pace was the only way to keep the cramps at a point that I could still run. My whole body just felt so TIGHT no matter how hard I tried to relax.

I tried to will myself to be faster, to be tougher… but that was as fast and as tough as I could be today.

I am not going to lie… there were a lot of times during this race where the temptation was great to drop out… especially once I knew the time goal wasn't happening. Marathoning is never easy and certainly isn't supposed to feel good, but it was just so miserable and cold. The jacket I had been grateful for early in the race ended up super soaked and heavy and floppy. Water was squishing out of shoes. I had to consciously try to relax so I wasn't shivering while I was running. My body was not loving it. And it was frustrating to know that the PR wasn't happening. But I wanted that finish. I did NOT want to quit. I didn't feel good at all but I wasn't injured and I knew I could finish. So I did. I used mantras and tried to think as many positive thoughts as possible.  I thought about Josh and the kids. I thought about my 95 year-old Grandpa who had heart surgery yesterday. I thought about Coach Ray. I thought about my parents and Jennifer who are always cheering me on. I thought about the awesome people I coach. I thought about all the people who ran Boston in the rain. I thought about runners who inspire me.

I did have to stop and walk twice to take my gels. My hands were so frozen and numb after the half way point that I just couldn't get them out of my belt and get them open while running.  And I did stop once to use the portapotty. My stomach was really great though (I  FINALLY feel like I have that figured out…nutrition and fueling post coming soon) and if a PR race had been happening I would not have stopped.

I have never been "caught" after crossing the finish line but a volunteer grabbed my arm and kept asking if I was ok and a couple of medics grabbed on too. I was shivering violently and struggling to take a deep breath and my chest hurt , but after a minute I was able to relax, catch my breath a bit and told them I was ok. I have never shivered so hard in my whole life though and even after a long hot shower the shivers lingered.

It still hurts and makes me cough to try and take a deep breath and my whole body feels sore, but nothing feels injured at all.

It poured the entire rest of the day, which made for a rotten three-hour drive home.

Am I disappointed I didn't get that PR I wanted so much? Yes. Am I proud that I fought hard on a miserable, tough day? Yes. Marathoning is all about seeing how hard you can push yourself and I definitely did that today. Am I giving up? Never.

I don't have any pics because I don't run with my phone but I will share some race pics when they are posted.  Now… time to sleep.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Good and Great

Saturday is the Ogden Marathon!!

I can honestly say that I AM READY to race. I am ready to race 26.2. I am ready to race smart. I am ready to race hard. I am ready to push through the pain. I am ready to earn the big PR that is there for the taking.

I have had some sub par races recently and I have had some down right awful races lately.  Despite the fact that I have trained super hard and super well, things have not come together on race day.

I went into Tallahassee in February with a tweaked hamstring, just hoping and praying it would hold up. It cramped hard in the first mile and I had to drop out at mile 10.  In Hartford in October I went in feeling great and healthy, but around mile 15 my Achilles/calf tightened up in the pouring, cold rain. I finished, but wasn't able to run for a couple of weeks afterwards and it took quite a while to heal completely. When you put so much time and effort and energy into training with the hopes/plans for it all to come together for one day, it is so tough when it doesn't.

But I have tried to learn from past "failures" and tried to make changes to ensure things go better.

This time around Coach Ray was a little more conservative with my training. I did not have any 100 mile weeks, and I did not even hit 90 miles a week. I averaged 82 miles a week for 11 weeks of training (before a two-week taper). We also scaled back the workouts a bit. I still did a lot of BIG, challenging workouts, but they were a little less intense than last cycle and a little more spread out. These weren't drastic changes, but were enough that I could feel a positive difference.

The result of these slight changes is that I am running better than ever and feel amazingly good. I got to taper feeling tired, but not burnt out.  I felt strong throughout the cycle and have no tweaks, sore spots, or niggles to worry about. I have run better this training cycle than ever before.

I am racing on a great course (and I have trained on similar terrain) and the weather should be pretty good. The temps will be pretty ideal. It may rain but I have run in the rain plenty the past few weeks and am not afraid to get wet. :)

I have also worked a lot on the mental side of things. I realized that for awhile I was racing with a huge chunk of fear on my shoulders. I was afraid to "fail again". I was afraid to let others down. I was afraid to let myself down. I was afraid I couldn't do it. I was afraid to be disappointed and to be a disappointment. Whether those were realistic thoughts or not, that is how I was feeling and I had to admit it to be able to move forward. Of course I still don't want to fail, but I have shaken off the weight of fear. I am going to race this weekend because I love it. I am going to strive to do my best and run a great race because I want to do well and believe that I will. I am going to find joy in pushing myself and seeing what I can do, and accept what race day brings. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the sport that I love and to be chasing my dreams.

I was talking to one of the awesome women that I coach and she said something about hoping that the "stars aligned" so that she could have a good race in a couple of weeks. And I gave her some advice that I realized I needed to take for myself as well.

There are lots of things you can not control on race day… weather, GI issues, cramps, and other things can happen that keep you from having a GREAT race. Even elite and professional runners often have races where they don't hit their goals for one reason or another, despite having the best of training, coaching, nutrition, and support. So we often need everything to fall into place just right to have a great and magical race day. But, if you have put in the work, have trained smart, have tapered well, are injury-free, and if you go into race day with a smart race plan that you follow and a fueling plan that you have practiced and stick to, and if you have the mental ability to stay strong when the going gets tough, you don't need the stars to align to have a GOOD race.

So, I know that I have put in the work. I know I have trained smart. I know I have tapered well. I know I am injury-free. I have practiced my fueling and will stick with what has worked in training. My coach has given me a perfect race plan and I will follow it and race smart. I know I have the mental ability to stay strong when the race gets tough. So I know I am going to have a good race. And, I am planning on having a GREAT race.

If it rains… if my stomach acts up…if the pace doesn't come as easily as I hope it does… I know I can work through these things and still PR. I have done it before and I can do it again.

I have not had a marathon PR in two years. TWO YEARS. I am ready to bust out of this slump, to vault over this plateau, and to change the story.  I am ready to fly.

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” - Steve Maraboli

“You were born with potential. 
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. 
You were born with wings. 
You are not meant for crawling, so don't. 
You have wings. 
Learn to use them and fly.” 
― Rumi

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How to Taper Like a Boss

- Here is a link to an article that was recently published on Long Island (where I am from) promoting the first annual Suffolk Marathon in September. It is a mostly accurate article, although it made me giggle that it said Noah (my six year old with cerebral palsy) does some "science". That should say "signs", as in sign language. :)

Somehow I am just FOUR days out from my goal marathon now. As I said to Coach, "time flies when you are working hard!"

When you are in the last week before your marathon there is not much you can do to increase your fitness, but there is a lot you can do to set yourself up for the best race possible. Here are some of my tips.

- Cut back mileage. There are lots of different ways to taper and like a most things in running, finding the "best" way for you to taper takes some trial and error and varies from person to person. But an essential part of taper is cutting back mileage so that your body can rebound and recover from weeks and months of hard training, and rest up for the marathon ahead!

- Don't cut out all intensity. If you taper too much and cut out all fast running you are likely setting yourself up to feel stale and sluggish on race day. A short/light workout 5-6 days out from race day and  some strides can keep your fast-twitch fibers firing and your legs fresh and frisky. On the flip side, this is not the time to "test" your fitness or run hard for too long (even if it is tempting because you are feeling good). I tell the runners I coach to think of your energy and speed this week as money in the bank. You don't want to waste it on a meaningless training run, you want to save it up so you can "cash it in" on race day.

- Be hydrated and eat your carbs but don't go crazy. I like to just make sure for a week or so before the race that I am paying attention to being well hydrated and that I am eating a higher percentage of carbs. There is no need (especially with the decrease in miles) to eat lots of extra food, I just make sure a higher percentage of my calories come from easily digestible carbs. Avoid the huge meal the night before the race and drinking like a fish all day before the race - these strategies will likely leave you bloated and hitting the portapotties. Also, cut out high fiber foods the last 24-48 hours before the race.

- Get more rest and sleep. I know that during training I don't get as much sleep as I should, but I do the best I can while being able to get my training in. But with the reduced miles this last week and with the help and support of Josh, I have been able to get an extra hour or so of sleep each night. I am not going to lie…it is awesome. If you get extra sleep all week you will be doing yourself a big favor, and remember that two nights before the race is your most important night of sleep. If you sleep well all week and especially two nights before, you don't need to stress if pre-race nerves/excitement keep you from sleeping well the night before the race.

- Cut out strength and cross training. I did my last core/strength workout a week before the race. Some people supplement the lack of running miles with other forms of exercise but that defeats the purpose. Trust your training enough to embrace the cut back and the extra rest.

- Keep your routine the same as much as possible. The last thing you want to do the week before the race is to get your body out of whack. Some people are more sensitive to this than others, but for most of us it is wise to keep your routine. I am sleeping an hour later, running shorter, and skipping the strength work, but my routine and the structure of my day is the same. I get up, leave 45 minutes later for my run, come home and drink my chocolate UCAN, see the kids before they leave for school, stretch and roll/self massage my legs, eat breakfast, etc. the same as always.

- Be a little selfish. Normally I am a "yes man" and say yes to anything that anyone asks me to do. But the week before a race it is ok to focus on yourself and be a little selfish. Do you what you can to eliminate as much (unnecessary) stress from your life. Order pizza. Slack on the housekeeping. It will still be there after the race. :)

- Don't forget your mental game. You will be nervous. It's ok to be nervous. Being nervous means you care. But don't let nerves get out of control. Combat nerves and any negative thoughts with positive affirmations and mantras. Look back over the awesome workouts you have done through your training. Think back on great races you have had. Visualize success. Trust your stuff.

- Don't stress about things you can't control. All marathoners turn into professional weathermen the week before a race. It is good to be prepared for what the weather will be, but don't stress. It will be what it will be. Focus on the aspects of the race that you can control and try to let go of what you can't.

- Get organized. If you are traveling for a race, make a list of what you need to pack and make sure you have everything you need. Even if you aren't traveling, have a plan for what you need. Warm up/throw-away clothes, racing outfit, body glide, race shoes, sunglasses, Garmin, fuel, hat, etc. If you plan early in the week and have things ready you can avoid a lot of last minute stress. Also make sure you know the time the race starts, the time busses load (if it is a race that busses you to the start), what the course is like, what aid is offered and where, when you need to pick up your race bib, etc. etc. Have a plan for when you are going to eat, when you are going to warm up, when you need to be in your corral, etc. The better prepared you are, the smoother things will go and the less stress you will have.

- Don't obsess. Obviously when you have worked for months towards a goal and now the day is just hours away it is hard not to focus on it, but try not to obsess. Play with your kids, enjoy your spouse,  read a book, watch a movie, go to lunch with a friend… let yourself get distracted.

- Stay off your feet as much as possible the day before. Expos can be fine and exciting, but they are also usually tiring. Get in, get your number, get out. Put your feet up. And if you collect a bunch of fun samples, save them for after the race. This is not the time to try eating a bunch of new things.

- Be excited! I keep telling myself that it's going to be hard, but it's going to be great. :)

I will post again with my goals and thoughts in a couple of days.

Anybody else racing soon? What is your best taper tip?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to be a REAL runner

Whenever I start something new or get into something new, I turn into a first class (slightly obsessed) researcher. I read articles. I read books. I read blogs. I reach out to other people. I research it inside out, upside down, and backwards. Whether we are talking about becoming a runner, traveling somewhere, or buying a vacuum, I make myself an expert as much as possible. I have always been this way.

I also have always been a bit of a perfectionist (I can hear my Dad laughing somewhere as I type this) and have always wanted to do things the "right" way.

For awhile I got sucked into the trap of thinking that there was a "right way" to be a runner. I found myself believing that if I wanted to be a real runner I had to wear a certain kind of shoes, and run a certain amount of miles, and eat certain foods, and race lots of races, and weigh a certain amount, and buy all the right gear, etc. etc. etc.

But I realized pretty quickly that was all a bunch of nonsense.

I have found that a lot of newer runners get sucked into the same way of thinking, so I thought I would share with you what I figured out.

The secret to being a real runner is easy. There is only one thing you have to do. You just have to run.

It doesn't matter if you run one day a week or seven.

It doesn't matter if you run 10 miles a week or 100.

It doesn't matter if you wear giant moon-boot looking running shoes or go barefoot.

It doesn't matter what your body type is.

It doesn't matter if you race every weekend or never.

It doesn't matter if you race 5k's or marathons or ultras.

It doesn't matter if you run on the road, a treadmill, trails, or a track.

It doesn't matter what you eat, what you weigh, or what you wear (although I promise a good tech shirt will make you WAY more comfortable than that old t-shirt…and cotton socks are bad. Don't do it. Unless you like blisters.)

If you run, you are a real runner.

The best thing about the running community is that all are welcome. Old or young, new or experienced, sprinter or ultra runner, fast or slow… if you run, you are a real runner. If you regularly head out the door and experience the beauty of pushing your body and coming home with the feel-goods that only come after a run, you are one of us. If you run, you are a real runner.

And there is no right way to be a runner. The right shoes are the ones that feel good on your feet and let your run without injury. The right diet is the one that helps your body feel it's best. The right place to run is that one that you feel at home at. The right training plan is the one that helps you consistently train and get faster. (And remember, speed is relative, and there will always be others who are slower than you and faster than you.)  So find what works for you, celebrate your personal bests and achievements, quit comparing what you do to what others do, and embrace being a real runner. It means you are awesome. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015


We live in a world of instant gratification. If you want to buy something you can't afford, you can get a credit card and get it now! Want to lose weight? There are million "magic" pills, shakes, and diets that promise dramatic weight lose in no time at all. Headlines tease "6 easy exercises for instant abs" and secret workouts to have a perfect body in just a few weeks. Fast food. Next-day delivery. Super speedy wi-fi. We want what we want and we want it now.

We also live in a world where hard work is often looked at as something bad and something to be avoided at all costs. People decide they want something, then realize it will take a whole lot of work to get it, and then decide they don't really want it that bad. People decide they are going to lose weight or start running or whatever, and work at it for a few days or a few weeks and then realize that it is HARD and that progress is slow, and they give up.

The old saying is that patience is a virtue, but it's not one that a lot of people seem to value much these days.

"patience - the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset."

When it comes to sports, and health, and especially running, patience is important. Patience is really important. Patience is key.

You want to really get fit? You want to get faster? You want to PR? You want to qualify for Boston? Whatever your goals are, you have to be willing to be patient and work for it. There is no easy way. There is no magic pill, magic shake, magic cleanse, magic diet, magic training plan, magic workout, magic shoes, or magic anything else. The magic is the hard work, dedication and heart you are willing to put in, day in and day out. The magic is the time, not just a few days or a few weeks, but extended periods of time, you are willing to stay committed. The magic is what you are willing to invest in yourself, and how bad you want what you say you want. The magic is hard work.

I saw this quote earlier this week and agree 100% -

"You aren't going to get better overnight. You have to put in the time and the work. In order to make a real dent in your marathon personal record, you have to be constantly on the run, strengthening the legs and conditioning the lungs. In the end, the marathon is really about efficiency. Physiologically speaking, it's about how efficient the body is at converting your fat stores into usable energy. This efficiency has to be taught through a long and slow process that is repeated continually. Long and slow anything can be boring, but it's definitely not senseless. And that's the important part you have to drill into your head. Any successful run is progress—make that your mantra." - Duncan Larkin, Run Simple: A Minimalist Approach to Fitness and Well Being

"Any successful run is progress." I love that thought. Every day I get up, I do the work, and I make progress towards my goals. 

Be willing to wait for what you really want. Be willing to work hard to achieve your goals and dreams. Want it enough to be patient and make it happen.

And don't be deterred or discouraged by setbacks because as we often forget (or don't want to think about), the road to success is almost never smooth and straight. 

I get asked a lot what keeps me motivated and what inspires me to keep at it. There are lots of things that inspire me… mostly other people… but the inspiration and motivation that matters most is that one that comes from within yourself. You have to want something enough to inspire yourself enough to do what it takes and stay determined and committed. That inspiration from deep inside yourself and that passion and belief in your goals and dreams is the magic. It's what gets you out of bed at 4am. It's what gets you out the door in the rain, the snow, the cold, the heat, the wind, the dark. It's what keeps you going when the going gets tough...on the days that it sucks, the days you are tired, the days you are scared, the days you aren't feeling patient. 

Be passionate. Work hard. Believe. Be patient. Stay determined. These things will get you to your success. Remember that success rarely comes fast and it rarely comes easily, but that just makes it all the more rewarding when it does.

"Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." - Napoleon Hill