Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ashley Smith Returns to Running - Part 1

My twin sister, Ashley Smith, just announced she's coming out of running retirement.
THIS IS HUGE...allow me to explain.

I'm a runner, but my sister is an athlete. She's one of those people who's good at anything sports related. In high school, she was like the female version of Usain Bolt. She was a fierce competitor and a bit cocky - but you just couldn't take your eyes off her when she competed. In track, she was the girl that would lap the 2nd place finisher in the 2 mile. In basketball she would throw any elbow she could get away with and then look at the ref like they were crazy if they called a fowl. She would be devastated after a loss and estatic after a win. Admit it - you can't help but be drawn to somebody who competes so fiercely and with all their heart.

We had a great track coach in high school, Todd LaVelle, who now coaches softball at Lincoln Northstar. I've never met a better motivator. He made us want to push past the pain. Nobody ever wanted to let him down. Then Ashley went off to run cross country and track at Wayne State College...and nobody knew who "Ashley Smith" was. She had to make a new name for herself, and run for a coach who's idea of motivation was "Go run." While Ashley excelled at the college level, it wasn't the high school success she'd been used to. Third places were hard for her to stomach. After so much running, she said she got burnt out and hasn't ran in the nearly four years we've been out of college.

I'm not exactly sure the reason for the comeback, but I'm elated. I've always been in awe of my sister's athletic ability, and I'm so happy she's not letting it idle any longer. She'll make her racing debut at the Gulf Coast Half Marathon on April 10.

To be continued...

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Love Being a Runner

Do you ever stop to appreciate just being a runner?
I did that Sunday and it was great.
It's easy to get caught up with intense training schedules and PRs on the brain.

A few of my friends have bad knees (or at least claim to because they don't like running.) My dad has Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and it's a major effort for him to climb stairs.

I need to remember those things when I can't get myself out of bed to workout. There are people who would love to - but can't. I can. And I'm going to make more of an effort to appreciate it.

Sunday, I attended the LTC's renewal banquet and it was great listening to the stories of all the people who've volunteered and worked hard to put on the races that I love to run. I made sure to thank them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Guilty Pleasure

I'm not really blogging today...instead I'm sharing one of my favorite guilty pleasure blogs - Luc Carl: The Drunk Diet

If you're not familiar with Luc Carl, you're probably familiar with his girlfriend - Lady Gaga. Luc is from Omaha but currently lives in New York. He's a night club manager and long distance runner. The Drunk Diet is a memoir of his trials and tribulations to get into shape while partying every night. Warning: It's rather crude. He's coming out with a book soon "The Drunk Diet, Memoirs of a Badass". Yes, I will be among the first to get a copy.

Disclaimer: I don't read his blog for workout advice - just for entertainment purposes.

His blog today was pretty funny and I agree with his quote about working out in the morning. "Your alarm clock should be your friend. Hitting the snooze 4 times every morning is no way to start your day. This can most likely be blamed on how you ended the previous day. End that cycle tonight. Don’t eat worms tomorrow morning, eat oatmeal." .

Makes me realize how much I miss working out in the mornings. I've only been doing that about twice a week and it's been a debatable routine every morning.

Alarm clock #$%!!@#!!
Conversations in Amber's brain:
Do I feel like working out now?
I'm a little tired...maybe it's better if I catch up on sleep and workout tonight.
But Amber, you won't feel like working out after a full day of work.
I'll just lay here for 5 more minutes and then get up....

However when I tell myself I'm going to workout every morning, it's more automatic and less of a choice. I signed up for the Lincoln Marathon class and many of the group runs are at night so that may affect the morning routine but I'm definitely switching to mornings on my solo workout days.

I really don't think it's a matter of being a "morning person" or not. If you make yourself go to bed at a decent time, you won't feel as tired and it will be much easier to get up. Pretty scientific formula, I know.

No worms for me tomorrow. I'm eating oatmeal.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!
How did you ring in the New Year?

Was it with
A. Too much champagne?
B. A New Years kiss?
C. A 5 mile run?

If you're like me then you chose D. All of the above. I suppose I partially met my 2010 New Year's Resolution. It was to be more spontaneous. To focus on running but still have fun. To be the girl that could stay out all night partying and still get up and run the next day. A productive party-er. Not your typical resolution, but I'm honestly happy with how the year went. I seriously had one of the craziest and most fun years of my life. It was like being in college all over again. I may be 25, but my best friend Chad taught me that we are still young. This could be my last few years of being single without children - and I'm happy to say I will never look back and say that I didn't live it up.

That being said, here are my goals for 2011
1. Lose the weight for good
2. Train hard for my 1st marathon
3. Be nicer to dumb people at work

Resolution #1 - As much as I freaking run, I should be a pencil. So c'mon Amber, put down the cookie. I have this cycle of doing great for 4 days in a row and then having a bad day or two and undoing all my hard work. So it's time to really buckle down. Gaining and losing 10 pounds all the time isn't good for the heart.

Resolution #2 - I know many people who sign up for a marathon or half marathon and get so intimidated by it that they don't train. Sounds silly but it's fairly common. Well not me. I want to reach the starting line of Grandma's Marathon in June knowing that I trained as hard as I could. I want a feeling of confidence, not dread. If I've trained to the best of my abilities, then I'll be happy whenever I cross the finish line.

Resolution #3 - I have zero tolerance for stupid people. My former dream of becoming a teacher quickly changed when I realized I don't have much patience. (Any tips here?) I really need to work on how I handle those situations. Nobody likes to be talked down to. But on some occasions I find myself being a little mean to people I think are dumb and totally playing favorites with the intelligent reporters. So stop it Amber! Be nice!

Even though I've told zero people about this blog and the chance of anyone responding is slim, I want to know what your resolutions are in 2011. How will you make yourself a better person? How will you make the world a better place?