Saturday, December 24, 2011

Finding the Morning Mojo...

I get home from work at about midnight. Unconventional hours come with the territory in the news business, and that's fine with me. I knew what I was getting into.

BUT... it makes morning workouts not my favorite, while sleeping in continues to be not not my favorite (I know it's a double negative, but it's also not not my favorite way to rank things).

When the alarm goes off in the morning, my bed suddenly becomes fluffier, I realize I am in the most comfortable sleeping position that I've ever been in, and my pillows seem to call to me: "Libby! It'z cold outside. We are comfortable, no? Stay weeth uz!" My pillows are also apparently French. This has often been enough to kill my workout motivation. Even now that I'm in training mode, it's still a struggle to get out of bed.

So... these are my "Get Your Lazy A** Out of Bed Tips" (patent pending):

-I like to drink a little bit of coffee before a morning run. So, I'll program our coffeepot to start brewing 5 minutes before my alarm goes off. It's a lot easier to wake up when there is fresh coffee ready and waiting.

-This one is kind of self explanatory, but "just do it". I've always found once you just throw the covers off and get up and walk around a bit, your pillow's siren song is a bit muted. It's like a rip the Band-Aid off type of thing, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.

-Turn on a light right away. I read somewhere (sorry, no reference) that your wake up response is directly linked to light. Turn on your bedside lamp right away, or go into a bright bathroom and brush your teeth right when you get up.

-When you are in said bathroom, wash your hands under the coldest water you can stand. It's surprisingly refreshing.

These are all just dumb little tricks that work for me some of the time. Really, when you start a new routine, it's not always going to be easy. But I've found that the more I plan out my runs and know what time I need to be up, and the more I actually adhere to said schedule, it does get more manageable.

As for running, it's amazing to me how much easier it gets week by week. I can now truck over hills that I had to walk a mere month ago. It's a little personal victory every time I hit a new milestone. The other day I also realized that I'm starting to THINK like a runner. I was driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood. My first thought? I wonder how far that road goes. It looks like a nice place to run.

Check out NBC29 HD News at 11 on January 2nd for Marathon Monday. We talk to a nutritionist about food as fuel... and finding the right dietary balance for you. You can also always go to for more tools to help get you across the finish line... including my weekly run schedule, as designed by trainer Dan Bayliss ( There's a new one posted every Friday for the following week! Just go under the "news" tab and click on "newslinks".

Here's wishing you all a VERY merry Christmas, sweet dreams... and even better awakenings!

Monday, December 19, 2011

This. Just. Got. Real.

And here we are. Pre-training training is over.

I decided to run a marathon about a month ago, and today is OFFICIALLY "day one" of my 16 week training. It makes me nervous that there is actually a time stamp on this. I know that existed as soon as I picked a race to run, but now that I'm inside that 16 week window, it feels different somehow.

Also adding to the nerves... we went on air today on NBC29, and made it official with a preview of my training ( We're airing a weekly series called Marathon Monday. It will run (you guessed it) every Monday starting January 2nd. We're going to cover all things marathon... from using nutrition as a tool, to some of the weirdo superstitions that runners have. It should be a pretty good series, and I hope that people will actually join me in my training. But now... I have to be 100% accountable. Yikes.

My trainer Dan put me through a fitness assessment last week. It involved push-ups, crunches, resting heart rate, blood pressure check and a mile and a half run. As I have stated before, I have a few pounds to lose, but otherwise I actually did okay. I'm in the 100th percentile (excellent) for core strength, 82nd (good) for upper body strength, and 68th percentile (average) for cardiovascular endurance. The rest of my vitals were also given a passing grade. We're going to run the tests again in April, to see how my numbers improve.

Next week is going to be a bit strange. I'm heading home to Illinois (yay!), and it's going to be a busy trip. It will be a challenge to squeeze run time in between visits, traveling, and (lets face it) eating and drinking too much. The Illinois climate is also going to be a big shock... no more balmy 35 degree morning runs.

Rob, Izzy and I wish everyone a very merry and safe Christmas!
Izzy and her new Christmas sweater. I think she hated us for a while after this.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's a mental thing...

I went to a marathon this past weekend and talked to some of the runners after they crossed the finish line. Every one of them was dead tired. One was cramping up while we were speaking. Another had a streak of blood on his shirt. I'm guessing it was a result of chaffing... somewhere. I didn't ask.

Two things were consistent with everyone I spoke with, from the man who had just finished his 25th marathon, to those not quite as seasoned. One... everyone was happy. Granted they were happy and in pain... but still happy. I don't know if it was because they were finally done running, if it was a matter of pride, or a combination of a million things, but the end result was the same: a post-race glow.

The second common thread: every last person I talked with said a major part (if not THE major part) of getting through a race is mental. Pushing through the pain. Getting over the hump. Mind over matter. Whatever cliche you want to use, the end result is the same: running is mental sport.

Sure, you have to make sure you train, eat well, etc., but getting your mind on track is a major battle, too. At least it is for me.

I have a lot of self doubt, when it comes to my athletic prowess. I often admit that there's not much prowess there to begin with. That being said, my attitude needs change dramatically if I want to get through 26.2 with my sanity intact.

My trainer gave me a great quote: "The language you speak creates the reality you live in."

The CliffsNotes? I need to wrap my mind around the fact that I am going to finish a marathon. That needs to be my reality, and I need to treat this entire process as something I am working toward, rather than something that I'm hoping will happen.

So as I continue on with my training, I will be working on my mental mantra: I am a runner.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Meet the Trainer

Ok. So I decided to run a marathon. Now what?

I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how to get started. How much (or how often) should I run? What type of running specific weight training should I be doing? Clueless.

When you plug "training for a marathon" into a search engine, almost 99 million results pop up. 99 million! Swimming through that pool of opinions would be enough to leave you confused, full of wrong information, and open to injury from over (or under) training. Thankfully for me, the whole process will be less of a question mark, thanks to Dan Bayliss.

My training program is going to be designed by Dan. So please allow me to introduce him:



Dan Bayliss has been a personal trainer for close to 12 years, working with a variety of individuals and goals, not to mention, he has completed 10 marathons, 12 half marathons, and 4 triathlons! Definitely someone you want on your side.

He graduated from Ohio Northern University with a BS degree in medical biology in 1997, and went on to graduate with a master's in Exercise Physiology/Adult Physical Fitness from Ball State in 1999. He IS an Ohio State fan, but keep reading, please.

Dan has the brains and the cred... he's been certified as a Certified Exercise Specialist® (the gold standard for exercise in many professional associations) by the American College of Sports Medicine, and has been published in multiple national journals on exercise.

That barely scratches the surface. There is SO much more to Dan's bio... including his work with end stage kidney patients, and his fundraising efforts for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Please take the time to check out his entire story, and how he can help you at :

I can't thank him enough for taking this clueless running newbie on as a project. I hope he knows what he's getting into!

So far pre-training training is going well. I'm running four days a week, and it's getting a little easier every time! 

Stay tuned... the next post will deal with the shopping list Dan handed me... and the process of getting my feet and stride looked at by a pro!

Also, this is the time of year when a lot of people out there are taking a good, hard look at their fitness levels. If you fall into that category, by all means, train with me! Of course you are working out at your own risk, and should get a check up to make sure you are able to take on vigorous exercise. I will post Dan's recommended running schedule every week. We can do this together!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Setting the date... and making it happen.

Call me a crazy person, but I've decided to compete in a marathon this spring.
Four months and twenty-one days. That is the official countdown, and all the time I have left to get ready to face 26.2 miles on April 7th.

I like to run. I've just never been very good at it, nor do I expect I ever will be. I'm not going to be that girl in spandex and a sports bra, elbowing her way to the front of the start line. I'm not heading into this journey with dreams of winning my age division (or anything, for that matter). No way, no how. But, I do plan on crossing the finish line with my dignity intact. And yes, in this case "dignity" is an umbrella term, that does include the possibility of me losing my breakfast at the finish line.

I ran a half marathon this past April. Actually I ran/walked a half marathon. I had a goal of finishing in 2:45, and beat that by quite a bit, crossing the line in 2:27. Not spectacular, but I was proud. Now it's time to take it up a notch.

Right now, I have a few extra pounds to lose, and my fitness level is limited. I can run about 3 miles at a time, at about a 10 minute pace. Like I said, it's not earth shattering, but it's what I have to work with at this point.

So the gist of it all: I have a lot of work to do. Basically this blog is set up to document that work, and share what it's like for a normal person to go through the training process for a marathon. I will also be airing weekly segments on NBC29 that we're calling Marathon Monday. We will go over my training schedule for the week, as dictated by my trainer Dan Bayliss. You can read more about him in my post "Meet the Trainer", which will be up soon.

I am going to follow a 16 week training regimen, that will involve specific run days, weight training and recovery days. That schedule will start "officially" on December 19th. Until then, I'm going to train for my training.

The first Marathon Monday should air on January 2nd, covering the getting started moments... from my first fitness assessment, to getting my stride checked out by a professional!
So... ready, set, go!