Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"I'm A Fan" by Coach Abby

I gotta tell you, friends, I am a fan of running. I think maybe I missed my calling as a professional cheerleader, but I definitely work through that by cheering wildly on the sidelines of any friends' sporting event. Yankees games, football games, marathons, Little League, you name it and I'm there. Not shouting at the umpire, mind you (unless it's a catastrophically bad call), but cheering for anyone and everyone!

I really get so much joy out of watching other people compete and complete goals. It is one of my all-time favorite hobbies to go out and cheer for random strangers in a Central Park race or at a charity run. Some people ask me why I'm not running New York this year with my honey (who is running his first in our fair city!). Truth be told, I'd rather be his #1 Cheerleader and #1 Fan out there on the course. I know what it feels like to look forward to seeing friends and family after miles and miles of what seems to be an endless course and all you want to do is sit down and eat a cupcake. I love being that jolt of adrenaline for people.

So, if you happen to be competing sometime in the future, holler! I will be your fan (and annoyingly cheerful coach, as Kirk and Alison found out this weekend). I may just jump in for a few miles myself.

And if you've lost a little bit of the love to run or compete, try being a fan sometime. It can rejuvenate your spirit and give you the boost you need while giving others the energy to finish. Bonus? You don't have to get up as early as the athletes!

Keep running hard, friends. Go get 'em!

Coach Abby

Monday, July 27, 2009

My first Triathlon: Done!

I want to thank my wife, my family, Coach Abby, Amanda and Andy, Bill and Jody, and Dan and Ninon, and Rusty and Caroline for coming out and cheering me on during the NYC Triathlon yesterday.

So, yeah I did it.... my official time was 3 hours: 13 minutes: 24 seconds. And the only injury I have is this #$@%^ IT Band, which doesn't hurt any more or less than before the race, so that's good... i think.

I had an amazing time. I loved every minute of it, and once I put my experience on paper I will share it with you on the old blogger.

I will say there was only one surprise that caught me off guard. It was those fans who, through out the race, were cheering me to SMILE. Why on earth is that a good cheer to give someone? I understand that during the race, people were taking pictures and from a PR stand point I suppose the Triathlon wants happy competitors. However, have you seen the photos of people smiling while competing? They look constipated. And why? Because the last thing they are thinking about are smiling for photos.

And I get that there are those who cheer Smile because in their mind, if I'm smiling then I must be enjoying myself, as a result the fan can feel like they've turned my race around. Bullhooey! You want to turn my race around tell me to breathe, or use my arms more, or relax, or stay focused, or tell me I'm looking strong.

As a newby to all this, I'm just confused. Professional athletes aren't smiling when they are competing, right? There is no smiling, in any sport that I know of... Show me a photo of a football player smiling as he is tackling or being tackled. Hockey players aren't smiling, 90% of them have no teeth. Can you imagine: Three seconds on the clock, Lakers down by two. And as Kobe Bryant shoots the game-winning three pointer, the crowd chats: Smile!

I don't understand. I will say this... there was one gentleman I remember, who looked at me and chanted Smile just as I ran up a steep hill after riding 25 miles on my bike, Patches. And I responded with a deep breath "F#%$- off," which I admit resulted in a gratified smile if only briefly.

So, for those seasoned vets who came before me, what's the cheer that gets you angry?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NYC Triathlon!

Okay, it's the day before. Here is a link to the greatest motivational speech ever.

Today all I have to remember is to pack and deliver my bike to the transition area. And review how to fix a flat tire. My legs are sore... I'm still recovering from an IT Band, but I feel pretty good. I am going through the race in my head... Swim: nice and relaxed for the first 1/2 mile to get comfortable, then pick it up for the last half. Run in bare feet to the bike, while stripping off the wet suit. Dry my feet and face. put my shoes and socks on. Gloves and helmet. and cycle my way for 25 miles. The distance doesn't bother me, it's the unknown course. We've been training in the park, not up and down the Henry Hudson Park way. We're biking through the Bronx, should I bring a gun? No, that'll weigh me and "Patches" (my bike) down.
Once we're done biking, back to the transition area. park the bike, take off my gloves and helmet. Please, God, let me remember to take off my helmet- drink some fluids and eat goo. wipe yourself off, and run like a girl, man, run like a girl!!

This is where I'll be nervous. I really believe that my IT Band has 90% recovered, but either way, I can't be scared of the pain. I have to finish this... I will! Thanks for the support..

I have to go.... now... people are coming over...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ask The Coach: Too Little Too Late???

As I re-enter PT for mild ITB Syndrome (damn shoes--well, damn me for not replacing them sooner), I am peppered with questions about doing too much. Most popular among them is the following:

Q: Should I scale back my leg work in the gym when I amp up my miles?

A: No. The secret to your success is the combination of long runs and your weekly (or bi-weekly if you reeeealllly mean it) leg workouts in the gym. One keeps you health so you can do the other! It's really that simple.

However, there is no need to go hog wild and kill your legs every single time you go to the gym. Adding 5 pounds to a leg exercise isn't going to make you so sore that you can't walk the next day and is an easy way to build strength without sabotaging your runs. You should be adding weight incrementally as you become more and more comfortable with your exercises and less sore from performing them.

The most important area that runners tend to ignore (and then complain about ad nauseum) is the glutes. Oh, your hips are sore. Oh, you can't sit down on your buns after a hill workout. Oh, your ITB is soooo tight. All butt problems, people. So many muscle groups attach at the hip/glute area that it seems insane that the vast majority of runners regularly scoff at the idea of performing simple lunges. Really?

Let me put it plain and simple for all of you out there who may be confused:

Running does not make your legs stronger. Period. Sorry to be the bearer of such frustrating news. I know, I was under the illusion that the more I ran, the stronger I would get. Not so. If you want to be strong, hit up the gym, my friends. If you don't know what to do, please reference my first post with all the exercises you need. If you're still confused, email me directly. I want to help you to be less afraid of the gym and leg exercises! Help me help you :)

In conclusion, dear runners, hit up the gym more, not less. Don't be afraid of the soreness or a little fatigue. You are in training for a very serious athletic event and you should expect all of this. Build in those mandatory rest days and get it done on the pavement and in the gym on the other days. Go forth and run!

Run hard!
Coach Abby

Monday, July 06, 2009

Testing One, Two, Three

Soundcheck is doing a show on the best running songs to keep you motivated through the height of marathon training. Check it out at 2:00 today on WNYC.

Meanwhile, take a listen to this great mix Amanda put together. I've been listening to it on those days when my feet need some extra help getting a move on:

Wake Up / Arcade Fire
Paper Planes / m.i.a
The Bucket / Kings of Leon
Know the Ledge / Eric B. & Rakim
Stronger / Kanye West
Lights Out / Santogold
Zero / Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Obvious Child / Paul Simon
Live Your Life / T.I. & Rhianna
New York Groove / Ace Frehley
Glamorous / Fergie
Read My Mind / The Killers
Keep The Car Running / Arcade Fire
Float On / Modest Mouse
Anywhere Is / Enya
Family Tree / TV On The Radio