Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Uh Oh...

It's that split second of panic, sort of like right when you feel your chair start to tip over, that I feel when I swear I only hit the single undo button on mapmyrun, but the entire route disappears for a split second that I makes me glad I work out because I probably wouldn't be able to handle the cardiac strain if I didn't. I may be exaggerating a bit, but I seriously get scared each time that happens because I think that I won't remember what all I had mapped if I had to do it again. The only problem with that logic, is that I am going to have to memorize the route to run it in the first place! I have already written about my annoyance with the ridiculous routes by boyfriend comes up with because he can't always memorize them, so I shouldn't experience the split second of panic to begin with.

I am beginning to think that I have found the root of the problem when it comes to my shin splints. I had never experienced them until recently, but I kept getting them every time I ran. I have three pairs of shoes that I have been sort of circulating through the running cycle, but one pair I hardly ever wore when I ran. I have a pair of $100+ Nike running shoes that I got a few years ago at a running sports store. I loved those shoes. They are about three years old at this point, so I have been phasing them out. I bought a pair of Nike running shoes at a Nike outlet for about $90 a few months ago because it was near by, and I didn't want to shell out the extra cash on travel or shoes. (Spoiler Alert: It was a mistake.) The third pair is just a pain tennis shoe made by Saucony that I bought at T.J. Maxx for $10. The new Nikes seriously suck asphalt, the old Nikes are worn out, and at the sake of sounding like a young girl lost in the woods who stumbles into a bear's house and makes herself right at home, the third pair seems to be just right for now. The other two pairs give me both shin splints and wicked blisters. I am just glad I have found some relief for now.

If you haven't tried out mapmyrun before, it is a pretty nice tool for those of us who don't have a GPS running accessory.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not Gaining Ground

I hate treadmill running. When I run on a treadmill, I feel like I bump the speed up to a pace much faster than what I normally run on the roads because I would be running forever to complete the distance I need to at what feels like my normal pace. I am always astonished to see that I have covered virtually no ground when I check the distance at my usual timing points! Now, I know that literally I am not covering any ground, and that is another reason I hate treadmills. I read an article on the RunningPlanet website that cited the mental challenges of treadmills as a good thing when training for long distances. I just can't do it. I just can't ever seem to make it through a run on the treadmill, which I know means that I will just have to suck it up and start running on the road in the rain. I know some people love to run in the rain, but I hate rain. I also don't like getting dirty, so you will never see me doing a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash race. I even told my sister I wouldn't run the Color Run with her for the same reason. It might be time to invest in a water resistant running jacket.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's been a long week.

This was by far the strangest week I have ever had in my running life. I had one of those tough runs on Tuesday. It was in the 80's, which I am perfectly fine with, but I struggled with my first run in the heat. I had an amazing run on Wednesday. I decided to run in the morning because I wanted to beat the heat. It was nice to run in the cool of the early morning under the stars. It reminded me of the great runs I had in the evening last summer. I also decided at that point that I should try to start running in the mornings in general now. It is so much easier to run in the morning when I haven't used all my energy at work all day.

On Thursday, I set out on my run in the morning as I had previously decided. I am a teacher, and I do morning tutoring, so I have to be at school at 6am. I do my morning workout at 4 am. I had no idea that I was setting out on a run like any other I had ever experienced. I was only about two blocks from my house when I made the first turn on my route. I noticed a woman crouched down on her porch smoking a cigarette out of the corner of my eye. As I jogged past her house, she suddenly jumped off her porch yelling, "HEY, HEY, HEY!" as she ran through her yard in my direction. I looked over and said, "What do you want?" The woman was wear big Jackie O. sunglasses, a white nightgown, and she had no shoes on. She didn't answer, and I kept running. Well, so did she. She ran down the street behind me yelling out, "Get back here, Get back here, Get back here!" over and over. I was so freaked out. I sprinted all the way down the street to my next turn, and the woman was trailing behind me for about three blocks just screaming at me. I realize in retrospect that she probably would have stopped chasing me sooner if I had turned sooner. Duh. I had to stop and walk a bit to clam myself, and I was so nervous the rest of the way. I was so scared she was waiting somewhere, and she was going to follow me back to my house.

Now, for this story to be in complete perspective, you need to know that after my amazing run on Wednesday morning, I stepped out of the shower to local first responder in my living room. The man argued with me for a bit about whether or not I had called 911. I had not. And I am still trying to overlook the fact that I apparently look like I am 30 when I am wrapped in a towel. I do generally keep my door locked, but apparently I had not locked it when I came back from my run, and the man thought that the supposed emergency was hindering me from answering the door. In all actuality, it had been my music and the show running that hindered me from answering the door because I had not heard him knocking. ::sigh::

So back to Thursday, I immediately locked my door when I got home. I didn't want any variation of a repeat from the day before with the woman who chased after me. I was on edge all morning as I got ready. I didn't have time to fix breakfast, so I stopped by a convenience store to grab some breakfast on my way to school. I was startled by someone crouched down by the building smoking, and then I told myself to calm down. I couldn't believe I let my imagination run away when I saw a worker on a smoke break. I went in to get my food, and then I heard the voice! It had been her crouched down by the building!!! I was so freaked out. I talked to a co-worker that day who lives across the street from the house where she had been. He told me that she has schizophrenia. I am still debating as to whether or not I should change my route. I am beginning to think that the trail of dogs behind me wasn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Runner's Rambles

This is basically going to be an outpouring of my thoughts during my run today. I started off thinking of motivation for people getting started with a new active lifestyle and motivation for myself. Then my thoughts floated to smells...yeah. Then I let the pain creep in, and lastly I thought about how a song I hate but heard on the radio this morning was stuck in my head, floating in and out subconsciously until I noticed it. I will put subtitles to allow people to skip to the parts they want to read.

Training Ideas
I had this idea today of a way that I could have started my training in turning myself into a runner. Although, I admit that it is still hard for me to think of myself as "a runner." The first sort of theory I came up with was that any person really should be able to jog for at least 1 minute. I love the show The Biggest Loser, and even the contestants on the show can jog a minute when they first arrive on the ranch. So no matter how out of shape you are, you do it. I think it would be cool to start at the first of the month (any month), and do one minute for the date of that day. If it is the 5th, you run five minutes. I know that this would be a bit of a challenge for some people considering it would be an increase of a minute every day, which is really quite a bit. When a person starts running, it is also important to remember that you shouldn't over tax your body, so I wouldn't recommend running more than 4 days a week.

I also had the idea for people who want to start pushing themselves to do more interval training during longer runs. Take the day of the week like before, and then push harder for five minutes and then a slower jog for five and repeat. I am not sure how great it would work, but it worked for me today. I did it a little bit differently though. I pushed hard for 13 minutes, and then I slowed it down to a power walk for a minute because today was my first run this week. So tomorrow, I would push for 14 minutes, and then I would power walk for two minutes because that would be the 2nd run of the week. I think you get the idea.

Smells can be quite the distraction on a run. I can vividly remember how cruel it was to head out on an evening summer run when my neighbors were grilling steaks. And sometimes, it seemed like everyone in town was grilling steaks, while I had chomped down a bowl of cold cereal that evening. Today was a different type of smell distraction. Today the temperature got into the 80's where I live. I LOVE warm weather, but this being the first "hot" day this year, I found myself contemplating whether or not I would be able to look up the trash pick up schedule for the whole town. I would like to find a way to avoid running past everyone's smelly trashcan that is sitting on the street attracting flies that have their attentions averted by a sweaty runner they can follow...annoyingly.

PAIN...without love
I. Hate. Shin. Splints. I have been over this before. Read my post entitled, "Take it Easy."

Stupid Song
I also hate kitschy pop music. I had a stupid song floating in and out of my head during the whole run today, and every time I consciously noted that it was there I was like, "Ughh, why? Why is that song in my head?" In that way that you are singing along to a song on the radio and then realize what you are doing, and then you change the station because you hate the song, and you are relieved that there was on one in the car with you to witness the atrocity that just took place. When I got home from my run, I happened to see a link to an NPR story about why songs get stuck in your head. I am going to provide the link below.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Running Mates

I have been bugging my boyfriend to start running with me for a long time now. He isn't really against running, but he doesn't obsess over things they way I do sometimes. I have been trying to talk him in to training for and running a half marathon with me, and he knows that I want to eventually run a marathon together. When I am visiting him on a weekend that I need to run, he always runs with me, but he also acts as if he doesn't really want to go. I got him to run my first ever organized race with me. It was a 5k, and he was pissed because we got passed by two power walkers. I asked him to do a training run with me a few times before my last half, and he was like, "Uh, you have to run 7 miles...I haven't run since you made me go with you last month...ok." And then he ran 7 miles without stopping. I would have died.

I quickly remembered today, when we set out on a run with one of his friends, what actually happens when we run together. I am always reading articles about how you should run at a leisurely pace, which means you should be able to carry on a conversation. I don't run and carry on conversations. If you ask my friends and family, they could tell you that I am a fairly irritable person by nature. They would also tell you that my boyfriend is the complete opposite. He always comments when we run together that I am a surprisingly angry person when I run considering that it is supposed to produce endorphins.

You see, running makes him instantly hyper. He is like a kid who ate so much candy that he starts doing stupid stuff like snorting the pixie stix. You know what kind of kid I am talking about. He starts making blinker noises while signaling with his hands. He does a dumb circling thing to me as we run. Today, I had the joy of seeing him do a figure 8 around his friend and myself. And he would carry on a deep philosophical conversation as we ran if I would keep up my end of the conversation. I just silently keep running. Mostly.

The other thing I forgot about was the issue we always seem to have when it comes to mapping a route. When he visits me at my house, I have tons of routes in various legnths mapped out that I already run all the time. He obviously does not because he mostly runs only when I am there. I love It can be super awesome, but not if Matt uses it. He seems to make the craziest loop possible when mapping a run. I usually say something like, "Matt, don't forget you have to memorize this." He always assures me that he's got it down, and usually points out that he lives in the town where the route is being mapped, and he knows his way around. I am assuming that you can already tell where this is leading...

One day this fall, he led us off on a run down a road where crazy construction was going on. He still made us turn down the "road" even though the street was torn up, and the sidewalks were destroyed. It was seriously awful. Today was even better. At one point, Matt informed us that we needed to go on a street that didn't actually intersect with the one we were on. In his mind before we left, the run he had mapped would work, but he apparently forgot that the "intersecting" road we were going to take was actually a bridge that crossed above it. When he realized that we weren't going to be on the right road, he quickly recalculated and told us to follow him. As he jaunted across the street, I followed questioningly. He assured me that we were in fact going to make the best possible remedy for this situation by running on the railroad tracks! We really ended up walking that part, but we continued down the tracks until it met a street that intersected with the street we were on before we got on the tracks!! I was, and still am, seriously baffled.

All in all, I love him to death. There is never a dull moment, but I have decided that I will be planning out all runs from now on!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Take it Easy

Sometimes you just need to know when to take it easy. I am a week ahead of my training schedule right now, and today I set out with the worst shin splints I have ever experienced. By the end of the first mile, I was in tears, so I limped my way back home. Slowly. When I felt the burning in the first few steps, I expected to fade away, while also acknowledging that I would be pretty sore when I got done. Turns out I was wrong. I am sad that I wasn't able to run today because I had been looking forward to it all day since the weather is so nice.

Now I just need to figure out why I am starting to have such terrible shin splints. I believe there are two possible sources. I have recently invested in a new pair of running shoes, but I didn't go to a professional running store. I thought I would be ok picking out shoes on my own this time around. I live near a large outlet mall, and honestly I wanted to take advantage of the lower price. I hope the problem is not the new shoes I purchased. I also recently purchased a pair of running compression socks. I wore both the "new" shoes and the socks on my long run Sunday, and I felt great when I got back. I noticed some soreness in my shins and calves on Monday and even more today, but I thought I'd be ok to run. As I already told you, I was not ok to run.

I am going to take it easy today instead, and I am going to start making sure I do my long runs on Saturday like I am supposed to to give my body two days off afterward. I have also looked up some stretches that I will start doing before I run. Do you get shin splints, and how do you treat them?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Well, duh.

Ok, so I have always been terrible at pacing, but I think I have now found a way to get better at it. I was reading the April 2012 issue of Runner's World, and I found the article "Keeping Track" to be particularly interesting. It was a short interview with Paul Mellor who is a marathoner and competitor at the USA Memory Championships each year. He gave the advice that I should have thought of a long time ago. He said to use mnemonic devices to remember splits for pacing. Like I said, as a teacher, I should have thought of that a long time ago. I tried it on my run today, and I could remember all my mile splits when I got home. When I mapped my run before hand, I came up with the first part of the rhyme with the street names where I needed to check the time. It also gave me something to concentrate on. It became sort of like a mind game during my run.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's my idea of the perfect date?

March 1, 2012 because it wasn't too cold, and it wasn't too hot. I didn't even need a light jacket! I finally had one of those Thomas the Tank Engine runs. The whole way I kept saying to myself in a bit of a surprised way that I think I can. Every time I started to get a little worn out and doubt myself, I found my internal dialogue saying, "Actually, Michelle, I think you can do this." I only looked at my watch 3 times, and I still managed to keep a pretty steady pace. There were even a couple of times that I felt pretty good. These are the days that solidify why I should run on the days when I don't feel motivated or I think it's too hard.

I have been seeing all kinds of pictures floating around on the internet about how people only run from things.

Exhibit A.
  . lol.  I only run when being chased.

Well here's what I have to say to all those people who only run from things:

I don't run from things. I run for things. I run for fun. I run for fitness that will lead to a better life. I run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I run for the LUNGevity Foundation to raise awareness that lung cancer doesn't just affect smokers. I run for after school programs for inner city kids in Kansas City, Missouri. I run for all those reasons and more. I think that more people should stop running from things and start running for things.