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Follow My ddkurcfeld Blog

March 15, 2013

Hi everyone, I finally got a “follow me” button installed on my updated personal blog. If you’d still live to follow my posts, then please go to http://ddkurcfeld.com/home and click Follow This Blog.

All the best!
Diana

Reminder – new website address

August 13, 2012

Hi everyone. I’ve gotten some new followers recently. I want to make sure that everyone knows that I moved my blog and my website out of WordPress in January 2012 so I could have more functionality. Visit me at ddkurcfeld.com.

Happy running!

New website address

January 15, 2012

Although I used my domain for my blog, I moved it and my website out of WordPress so I could have more functionality. Visit me at ddkurcfeld.com.

Happy running!

Life gets in the way

October 6, 2011

Do I still love to run? Yes!

Am I committed to getting back on a regular running schedule? Yes!

When will this happen? I don’t know!

Life gets in the way. The government fiscal year ended last Friday and the Jewish holiday started last Wednesday night. I feel like I haven’t sat down and vegged since the beginning of August. I went from one busy season to another. I’ve been very tired before, but never at this level. I go to bed tired and wake up still tired. So what does this mean? Simple…I do what I can. I have 2 races scheduled for October. Running them isn’t a problem because I have realistic expectations.

I’m trying to get back to “regular” work and running schedules, but honestly I’m so exhausted at the end of the day I can barely see straight, let alone run. To decompress today, I “kidnapped” my friend Melanie Spring from her office and went for a lunch-time walk with her and her dogs.

So until I get my running back on schedule, I’m gonna walk as often as I can. AND I”m not taking my mobile phone! Yesterday I had a meeting downtown and ended up walking from Dupont Circle to the White House and back. During Rosh Hashanah I walked almost 13 miles. I love it. No stress, no worries, no time/pace. 🙂

Will I run again? You betchya!

When? As soon and as often as I can! I have this Sunday on my training schedule.

Rebuilding a runner

September 5, 2011

Sometimes you have to take two steps back in order to run one forward. And it’s not a bad thing. Some people think they have to keep doing what they’re doing to improve. Just stick with it, ride out the bad runs and it will be fine. In most cases that is true, but sometimes you have to take a step back or start all over. It doesn’t just happen to elite athletes…it happened to me. Since I’ve been running, I’ve been able to tackle longer distances, I even did a half marathon. As great as this sounds, I haven’t been improving to level I think I’m capable of achieving. There are probably a lot of reasons, but what is the real one??

Weather — it’s been a really hot/humid summer, which for most people is problematic. However, “hot” has an entirely different meaning when you have to run in long sleeves, capri running tights, and a knee-length skirt. Just recently I experienced calf cramps from fueling problems that made the ones during Zooma look tame. My calves were so tight that I pulled something behind my knee. Two weeks later, I’m still not 100%.

Environment — work has been beyond stressful. Thankfully it’s growth-related, but it is still long hours (12 hour days), lack of sleep and poor nutrition (who has time to eat??). I’m sure everyone has stressful days, but most people aren’t trying to train for a half marathon. Getting out of the office by 5:30 pm for a track workout or training session isn’t realistic with client projects and government contracting proposals due. As a business owner, my personal priorities have to sometimes take a backseat to company priorities and there’s no way around this.

But I don’t think that my situation results from any of these reasons. I think it’s much deeper. I think it’s more of a foundation problem. I’ve been trying to figure out when I started slowing down and realized that two almost simultaneous events occurred last Fall. First I changed my running form when I took a ChiRunning class — this was a good thing. But what happened next was probably the game changer. I got plantar fasciitis and a hip injury between the Rockville 5K and Jingle Bell Jog; and then I started to get slower.

I’m healthy now thanks to a lot of hard work by Dr. Cheryl Lee-Pow, but I don’t think I entirely fixed the  non-physical problems that resulted from the injuries. Sure I could go for longer distances, but I never have been able to get back to where I was pre-injuries. I wonder if I slowed down while I was injured and subconsciously justified my lack of speed by believing I should run slower for longer distances. Even if the latter is true, why couldn’t (didn’t) I run faster for the shorter distances?

So here’s where I am today. I can run pretty fast during the running portion of my run/walk intervals. An 11:00 pace is quite comfortable and I often find myself at a 10:30 pace or faster when everything is working right. However, it’s an 11:00 pace for only 2 minutes or sometimes for 3-4 minutes. My goal is to improve so I can run at this pace for longer intervals for long distances and wipe out the walking interval for 5Ks and 10Ks.

My plan is to rebuild from the ground up. My Couch to 5K program got me started in 2009 and I know it works. I’m going back to Week 4 and consistently running 3 times per week. My average pace for the 2010 Boo! 10K was 12:48 and was 12:32 for the 2010 Rockville 5K. I’m going to get back to these times and then consistently crush them!

Da Agony of My Feet

August 7, 2011

Oy my feet! My long distance running group did an out-and-back today on the C&O Canal. I know people say that a runner needs to run on a variety of surfaces and softer surfaces are better, but I just don’t like running on the towpath. The gravel gets into my shoes (I got my first blisters on 2 toes from the gravel) and the semi-buried rocks bruise the bottom of my feet. Plus the terrain is mostly flat. I think the towpath is tougher to run, especially if you start going South. It’s uphill all the way back, albeit only a minor grade. I also prefer going North since you can see and hear the Potomac. Going South, you see a lot trees and not a lot of water since the Canal isn’t in great shape — it’s pretty overgrown.

The good news is I ran 9 miles today keeping to a solid 2:00/1:00 run/walk pace and held steady with a 13:39 average pace. This pace is better than the paces I had at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and Annapolis Zooma Half Marathon.

However, I think my legs need the break offered by hills. Combine this run with the weekly track workouts and I’m not getting enough variation. As long as there aren’t any thunderstorms, I’m going to try and either do a hilly run on Tuesdays and/or Fridays.

Anyway, I’m very happy with today’s run because it was hot and humid beyond belief, even at 6 am. I hydrated and fueled properly, monitored my form, and didn’t give up. I didn’t bother to look up the temperature stats because honestly, I was afraid to know.  I figure if I can get this steady of a pace in this brutal weather, I should be really fast by fall. At least that’s the plan. The Parks Half Marathon is in 35 days. I can’t wait.

My next challenge — maintaining my training schedule now that my work’s busy season has started. I see some really long days in the near future. Oy vey!

Paying it forward

June 25, 2011

I ran my first race (a 5K) in June 2010. My friend Melanie Spring, an accomplished runner, was kind enough to train with me, offer encouragement, and run my first race (the MCRRC Capital Crescent) with me. I’m sure it was brutal for her to run at my pace, which is more like walking for her. Nevertheless, she stuck with me providing encouragement the entire time. Less than a year later Melanie & I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler together, although as a more confident runner, I didn’t need hand holding and Melanie could run at her much faster pace. [Side note: it’s partly Melanie’s fault that I’m hooked on racing. I got the bug after crewing for her at the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in 2010. Right after the race I committed  — on Twitter no less — to run a 5K for my birthday (8 weeks following). One year later I ran my first half marathon.]

Now it is a little more than a year after my first race and I’m the one offering encouragement to a friend running her first 5K race. [This is the second time I’ve run a race with a “first-timer.” I ran the Rockville 5K with another friend last November.] Angie and I first met when we had back-to-back training sessions and recently decided to combine our workouts into one session. Several months ago our trainer, Sedric Otuya, and I convinced her to start running and yep – she’s been bitten by the running bug. So naturally a 5K race is the next step (although she’s got the October 2011 MCM10K in her sights). The funny thing like Melanie, Angie is also a much faster runner than me at shorter distances. However,  she hasn’t yet built up her endurance. But when she does — look out. 🙂

Since Angie and I started running together, I’ve passed on information I gained from more experienced runners, as well as tidbits I’ve learned over the last 1.75 years. Angie really needed good running shoes, so we went to Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg a couple of weeks ago to get her properly fitted, and to buy a hydration belt and technical socks (very important to prevent blisters!). It’s amazing how quickly the proper equipment improved her running.

My job on Sunday is to keep her from going out too fast, keep her on a steady pace, be a cheerleader, and make sure she has a great time as she finishes her first race. It’s kinda nice to be in this position again. Even though I’m a fairly new runner, I’ve spent more than half my life as an athlete. During that time I was also a gymnastics and tennis coach, and a dance teacher. It feels good to once again mentor someone.  Maybe this is my baby steps into the world of coaching runners. We’ll see…

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