Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lessons Learned: Just go!

I took a whole week off. In the middle of marathon training, right after doing the same distance long run that did me during marathon training last year, I took a whole week off. I felt sort of tired, but not particularly sore, and I had a little knee pain... so I got lazy and semi-justified taking a whole week off. I didn't set out to take a whole week off, but it just sort of happened. It turns out that was a bad idea. Bad.

I knew I had to force myself out of bed this morning for the Church of Sunday Long Run at Valley Forge Park, so I reluctantly and slowly got up and headed over to the park. Standing around before we ran, I admitted that I hadn't run all week, and it was increasingly apparent that we were going to have a small group today because of the holiday weekend. I also admitted that I would probably end up only running 5 miles instead of 10 because I knew it would be easy to quit after one loop on the Martin Trail at VFP. Terry suggested I follow him over to the Schuylkill River Trail instead to do a loop that was about 9 miles. My watch only measured 8.5, but that's fine with me!

We headed off toward the trail, and Terry and Rick ran a very slow warm up mile over to the trail so that I could keep up with them. Mind you, I had to run my little heart out to keep up, but I did. Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit there, but you get the idea. It is a very good thing they stayed with me to get me to the trail because I likely would have been deterred by all the "road closed," signs and construction equipment! Never mind those! We forged right ahead! Hahaha And we even passed an entire HS girls Cross Country team! Ok, exaggeration again. They were standing around stretching after their warm up, and they promptly left me in their dust once they started running.

It's a good thing that there was beautiful scenery because I hate gravel trails, and I had a really rough time after all those lazy days I took this week. I walked so much today that I'm really not sure that I should even say that I went for a run, but I guess I get what I deserve for being lazy and pigging out all week. It was so hot and humid that I almost considered taking my shirt off while I ran, and the only other time I felt that way was Labor Day weekend last year during my last long run before bailing on marathon training and skipping straight to the marathon! Yikes! I really got a taste of why I should not skip training runs, and I told Terry on one of his MANY paperclips back to find me (thank you!) that I will think of how I felt today every time I think about possibly skipping a training run again during this training season!! I mean, at one point, I thought there was an ambulance up head of us that's how bad this was! It turned out to be a horse trailer, but I wouldn't have minded an ambulance at the time.

When I finally made it back to the parking lot, I told Terry and Rick that my run was miserable, which Terry already knew, but he pointed out that I finished it, and for today that was all that mattered. Now from here on out, I need to keep training and make sure that finishing a short run like today's isn't the goal!! It's ok to have an off-day in the sense of not having a good day, but there are training days and rest days. There is no more room on my calendar for taking-off-days!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

If marathons were easy, then everyone would run them.

It's been an interesting week. I had a terrible mid-week run, and I told my friend Mark that I was ready to give up on NYC marathon training. I got lost in my new 'hood in the 'burbs, and I had a very long and slow uphill climb to face in order to find my way back home. It was a rough "run" that ended in a dead Garmin, a long walk home, frustration and one very, very late arrival to work. No good.

I tried my hardest to brush it off, but unlike T. Swift, I can't just shake it off. I went for an early morning Saturday run with my friend and running partner, Mara, in a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to right myself before attending the Church of Sunday Long Run. And if anyone thinks I am being flippant with that phrase, well, let me tell you, I had a real come-to-Jesus kind of run on Sunday as I battled the sun and hills at Valley Forge National Historic Park.

I was grateful to have company for the first 10 miles of my run today, but I still had some obstacles along the way. First, my Garmin took forever locate any freaking satellites. Then, about two miles in, I realized it had decided to be a stupidly expensive stopwatch instead of a GPS watch. Not cool, Forerunner. It is a good thing I was running a 5 mile loop with kind people, so I knew how far I had gone despite my watch. And a long run feels much shorter when you have someone to run most of it with you, so I really am beyond grateful that I had company today.

I am at the point in my training where I basically gave up last year, so this is the turning point. I will finish training this time, but the further I get in the training, the more I remember why I don't like marathons. I think I will be sticking to half marathons from now on. I have found a few things that are getting me through training this time, so I am going to do a short shout-out list to wrap up this little update.

Internal dialogue: I have found that just telling myself to calm down goes a long way. Yes, I talk to myself. At least MOST of the time I don't talk to myself out loud, right?

My coworkers: Thanks to Terry, Erin, and Mark for listening to all my crazy theories, and telling my when I'm full of it and to suck it up and get running. And sorry to my newest coworker who was left outside the store waiting for me when I got lost on my run the other morning! Oops!

My friends: Yes, coworkers, you are included here too. And to all my other friends as well who have listened to me talk about running every. single. time. I see you.-- Guess I should start blogging more frequently.

My family: Thanks to my sister Grace, for always being excited about my runs even when I am not. To my brother Joe, for all the crazy competitiveness that is him. My sister-in-law Katie, for balancing him out and reminding me that he is some non-human competitive machine and that the rest of us are normal. To my sister-in-law Anna, who is getting ready to run the KC 30K Series AND her first half marathon this fall! AND a big thank you to my husband, Matthew, who has made me dinners and breakfasts and bares the brunt of my ridiculousness.

AND
My running partners: Thanks to Sheila, BJ, Nancy, Jill, Erin, Mark, Mara, Jim, and Kristen! Each of you have run with me at some point during my training so far, and whether it has been a few miles or many, once or once a week, I am deeply appreciative and moved to be able to be a part of such a great community of runners. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I would likely not have made it this far with out you.

So here's to a strong second half of training and hopefully an enjoyable race experience this fall.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hiatus

I have clearly dropped off the face of the blogging planet after I moved, and those who regularly read my posts may wonder why. The answer is simple; I am training for a marathon, working full-time, and enjoying my first year of marriage. We are settled into our new place, but I have not jumped back into the blogging.

I started this blog as an outlet for my thoughts, struggles, and accomplishments on my journey of active living. Right now, I am just concentrating on life and training and the balancing act that comes along with those. I am sure I will jump back into blogging at some point, so stay happy, healthy, and active until then!

You can do anything for 10.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Runner's Rambles: Vacation Running and National Running Day

Happy National Running Day!! It's one of the best holidays of the year! I celebrated with a short night run
after work. I absolutely love running at night during the summer. I'm not really sure why because it is usually still pretty hot at night because the heat radiates up from the pavement, but I guess I just like that I feel less exposed when it's dark. Believe me, I wear plenty of reflective gear to try my best to be seen by cars, but I just feel more like I'm flying than running at night even though I am not fast enough to consider what I do flying.

I am happy to say that my Summer Streak is firmly intact after going on a trip to Colorado to see two of my good friends get married! I got altitude sickness after their mountain top wedding, but even though they were probably the slowest miles of my life, I still ran at least one mile every day! Running can be difficult on vacation to say the least, but if you don't have to do super long runs, and your spouse or family doesn't mind you logging a few miles, then it is definitely doable! I just hopped on the hotel's "dreadmill" most days, but I did log some miles on a nearby trail!

At Garden of the Gods with my handsome husband, Matthew!

Garden of the Gods

Mountain View during my last run in Colorado

We got to go to the Olympic Training Center.
As another gift to me for NRD, when I went to my chiropractor this morning, he said that I am ready for PT, and I can start slowly increasing my daily mileage! So I upped my mileage a bit tonight as well! I am a bit bummed that my running in my current neighborhood is coming to an end this week as I officially move out to the 'burbs, but I am mainly bummed that I never figured out where the house is that JLaw "lived in" in Silver Linings Playbook. I will not at all miss the ridiculous traffic and getting honked at every day even though I am on the sidewalk out of the way. On one hand, I am pretty excited to find new routes after I move. On the other hand, I am not stoked that I have to go through runs in an unfamiliar place, so I will likely have some good stories about getting lost!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Get Your Streak On!

Best message for day one!
Ok, so it's back again. The Streak! Runner's World always challenges runners to streak from Thanksgiving to New Year's because most people tend to hit the slump at that point in their fitness. Most of us have finished races, it starts getting cold, there are tons of get-togethers with friends and family filling up schedules, and most of us start indulging in those holiday treats! The streak just helps as some motivation to stay active during busy times when it's easy to put running in the background.

It would stand to reason that once the weather is beautiful it would be easier to stay active, but that's not always the case. I have tapered my running after competing my goal of getting into Half Fanatics, and my marathon training doesn't start for about a month. And my chiropractor has had me scale back after the pinched nerve caused me so much trouble at my last half. So I decided to join in the RW Summer Run Streak from Memorial Day to July 4th. You don't even have to streak all the way to Labor day, so it's really not that bad. 40 days is less than the winter streak I did.

I was apprehensive at first because we are getting ready to take a trip out to CO for my friends' wedding, and we are moving as soon as we get back. I figured running on vacation, even if it is only one mile, was pushing it a bit because Matt's not a runner, and I didn't want to clog up our mornings with trying to fit in a short run in a place that I am not familiar with the roads. I mentioned yesterday afternoon that I wasn't going to do it, but then Matt told me that I should! He said, "So what if we are on vacation... hit the treadmill... it's one mile." So I went out for a run yesterday evening, and then enlisted family members with only a little bit of pushing for a couple of them so that I could have some accountability. Let's see how this goes!


Thanks for the accountability from Anna, Joe, Katie, and Grace!!!! Now, go run!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What if everybody ran?

I always say that I know not everyone enjoys running. I meet people at work who tell me that they hate running, but they do it to stay healthy or that they walk because they are fine with walking, but running sucks. I usually smile and make some platitude about how I understand that it's not for everyone. My own husband hates running, unfortunately. And there was even a time in my life when I hated running. But I fell in love with running, and though I may not be able to transfer that love to everyone, I do hope that everyone finds something that empowers them and makes them feel the way running makes me feel.

Well, Mizuno asked the question that I have wondered since I fell in love with running. What if everybody ran? They commissioned a statistical analysis to answer that question. They give all kinds of cool information on  their website. They state that there would be 20 million more great-grandmothers, 7 billion more hours spent outdoors, $143 billion fewer dollars spent on healthcare, 46% fewer homeless people, and many other cool statistics.

There is a non-profit that started in Philadelphia called Back On My Feet. It is now in several US cities, and its purpose is to help homeless people gain employment and housing through a program that has running at its core. When I told my husband about BOMF a few months ago, he didn't understand how running helps homeless people. I am a runner; I get it. Running changed my life. On top of that, I worked with another nonprofit in West Philly that helps homeless mothers and their children get off the street and back on track to go to school, get a job, and learn other important life and parenting skills. BOMF that having something like running that gives someone a sense of empowerment, discipline, and focus can make a big difference in someone trying to change their life.

So Mizuno has created an app called the Mizuno Baton that can be downloaded on apple or android devices. You get one week to log as many miles as you can, and Mizuno will donate money to BOMF for each mile that is logged. If you want to change your body, then exercise. If you want to change your life, then become a runner. Mizuno is also giving runners the chance to change other people's lives. So download the app, and help change a life.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The lowdown on the up top!

So women come in the store I work in all the time asking about headbands reluctantly. They see my short
medium sweatyband
hair and tend to politely brush off what I am saying about headbands. Here's the thing though, I used to have long hair, and believe me it is much harder to deal with short hair as a runner than long hair. When I had long hair, I threw it up in a bun, and off I went. I have thick and naturally...curly isn't the right word...Hagrid. That's it. I have naturally Hagrid hair. You know, Hagrid from Harry Potter? It can be hard to tame, and when I get all sweaty? Forget it! So, I consider myself qualified to give some advice on keeping your hair out of your way when running.

When I still had long hair, I was a fan of Sweatybands. They stay in place without a lot of fidgeting mid-run to get it back in place or anything. Sweatybands have a velvet backing on the inside of the headband that helps it catch and stay in place. There are three different sizes of Sweatybands (thin, medium, and thick), and they have tons of fun prints and designs. The section of the headband that goes around the back of the head is a thin elastic strap, so it isn't thick and uncomfortable with velvet all the way around your head. The thing about them though, is the same catch that I have found with all running headbands. It needs to be worn close to the hairline in order to stay in place...it is called a SWEATYband after all. It is supposed to catch sweat.

thick sweatyband--to prevent slipping
wear running headbands close to the hairline
The Takeaway: I have used them when running with short hair, but I still have to do so many other things to keep my hair out of the way. I think these are great for runners with long hair, and for pulling back bangs when you have longer hair.

Price: $15-18
Hippie Runner 4head band
worn for style instead of
function

I recently picked up some new headbands at a race expo, and I fell in love! I bought 5 Hippie Runner 4head headbands. They are made from moisture
How to properly wear Hippie band
wicking material, and they are thicker in the front and thinner in the back, but not as thin as Sweatybands. They are also to be worn a little further forward on the head because it sort of sticks to your skin to stay in place. They have tons of fun color options, and they really do wick away sweat while also keep hair out of your face! They even have men's options for guys who want to keep sweat off their faces or tame their manes!

The Takeaway: I think they look way cooler on longer hair, but it keeps short hair completely out of the way, and absolutely no slipping if worn partially on the forehead. I also love the affordability! These are my new favorite running essential!

Price: $5 each   And if you buy 4, you get one free!