Penny For My Thoughts (That’ll be $456,982, please.)

Almost smiling! Brightroom captured me thinking happy thoughts at the finish.

Sometimes I have moments of incredible clarity when I pound the pavement and I’m able come up with answers for everything—including the solution to world hunger (Hint: It involves entomophagy). On other runs, I don’t think about anything at all and I get into a peaceful zone that feels like a full-body smile. Sadly, I didn’t achieve either of those mental states in Grete’s Great Gallop half marathon this past weekend.

Everything that popped into my head last Saturday felt negative. And that bad energy caused me to concentrate on all the wrong things—namely, an achiness in my hips. I had to think past the race just to get to the finish line. Around the 7-mile marker, I reminded myself that as soon as I got through this half marathon, I could focus on my next endurance challenge, hiking in the Himalaya.

I was in a just-get-through-this state of mind, and I’m a little bummed about that now. I don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention to the positive aspects of that race: the camaraderie of fellow runners out to have a good time, the cheerful volunteers who shared their morning, the shout outs from friends on the course.

This isn’t the first time my head has sabotaged what should have been a really fun experience. I was clouded by negative thoughts during the Boston Marathon back in April, too. And I’m wondering if my mental funk is a sign of something bigger. Or, more likely, maybe I’m over-thinking everything.

What’s on your mind when you’re running? What helps you stay positive during a race?

My Hips Are Working Harder Than My Backside

Grete’s Great Gallop, Here I Come!

My left hip flexor is angry today and I’m not sure if it’s from the Cat Hill repeats I did last night or walking around my neighborhood in hiking boots (those suckers are heavy!). Either way, I know from experience that this is a sign of a weak butt and lazy hamstring muscles.

I’ll admit it—I’ve been slacking off on the strength work. I used to squeeze in a few moves post-run, but there’s been a severe lack of lunges and squats in my life lately. When your glutes and hamstrings fail to engage while you’re running, your quads end up doing all the work and in turn start to rely on your hip flexors for help, causing them to strain. The last time I let strength work slide, my hip flexor became inflamed and impinged, and I was sidelined for over a month.

Hopefully, I can get through tomorrow’s half marathon without my hip flexor throwing any tantrums. Post race I’m getting off my butt and getting it (and my hamstrings) back in shape with a squat-heavy regimen and some moves from FitSugar.

How strong is your butt? Do you incorporate strength moves into your weekly workout routine?