Tag Archives: Running

Man, you know you’ve been slacking on your blogging when you try to log into your account and it takes you about five minutes longer than it should to log in.

I like to blog when the mood strikes or when I want to put something down that I want to document or when I want reflect “out loud”.

My last post talked about how bummed I was that I didn’t get into the New York City Marathon – but I’m over it.  On National Running Day, I signed up for my first full marathon – the Dallas Marathon on December 14, 2014!  I felt so queasy just hitting the submit button on the registration form! My nerves have settled down a lot and now I’m just anxious to start the training cycle.

Last night, I had such a fun and happy run that it made me feel thankful this morning.  I wanted to take some time and just reflect on how my running is so much different than it was a year ago and how thankful I am about it.

I’m thankful that I’ve consistently kept up my weekend long runs even though I don’t have anything long distance on the race calendar for several more months. I’m thankful that I can even do long runs! It’s so satisfying to see when your efforts start paying off.  I’m thankful for all the opportunities running has brought to the forefront.  Running in different states; checking out trails; meeting new people; finishing a race on the fifty yard line in Soldier Field with my bestie and husband.   So many fun things lately!

I don’t mean for this to come across as braggy.  I just wanted to take a minute to really think about how far I’ve come in the running world.  Hmm, nope, that still seems braggy, oops! I guess along with thankful, I’m happy.

I haven’t done it all myself.  I’m thankful for the people that support me by answering questions; review training plans; letting me blah blah blah about running; and for the people who are always so genuinely excited to hear about my endeavors.   It always gives me the extra push and it makes my heart happy.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful.

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Ready

Remember last post where I said that I was not going to over think the Half too much, welp, I lied.  I’ve been weather stalking and cultivating a nice little ball of nervous energy in the pit of my stomach.  Sigh.  My last taper run helped ease some of my nervous energy a bit and now I have to just focus on having f-u-n.    

The training is done! I did it! There is definitely a lot of pride and satisfaction in checking off all those weeks of work.  I’m happy that I was able to get through 12+ weeks of training with out any illness or missed weeks.  I stayed healthy with the exception of a little knee pain every once in a while.  So unless I trip over my cat or step on a Lego, I think I should show up to the race pretty healthy and in one piece.  

When I reflect back on my training, I am really pleased how it went.  Not too many shit runs (if any at all) and I got to run in Houston; Chicago; and New York City.  Not too shabby! I got to run with my cousin in her very first 5K; I got to run with my bestie on a very snowy 8K course, and I had the pleasure to run the entire length of Central Park in New York with my Husband.  I ran 8 miles with a local running club (then tacked on an extra three miles!); and found a really nice and peaceful trail where I logged my first double digit run! I really can’t complain about this training cycle at all.  

On a really brisk 9 Miler, a car honked in a show of support (I’m just going to go with that because I can’t think of another reason why I would be honked at).  On the 10 Miler, a gaggle (?) of cyclists all shouted good morning in unison to me as I made my way through my last mile.  That left a smile of my face so freaking wide I probably looked liked a moron, but whatevs.  

When I ran my first ever mile without stopping way back in 2011, I was so proud and excited.  Never did I really think that I would be running a half marathon.  I didn’t think I had it in me. But, I guess I do because here I am. I’m ready to start. I’m ready to cross the line.

I’m just ready. 

 

 

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Taper Time.

Hey ya’ll you guys! Guess what I’m doing this week! Tapering, ya’ll! This is like, a huge milestone in my life.  This is my first taper and I feel like I need to document this moment in time.  My first half marathon is this Sunday and I successfully made it through my training plan! Tapering is weird.  I thought that I would really enjoy the low mileage week but it feels all wrong.  I feel like I should be running more and I am slighting worried that I’ll forget how to run this week. But on the flip side, I feel like I have all this free time on my hands to do stuff.  Which kinda sucks, because I have more time to worry about forgetting how to run.  Oh God.  People don’t forget how to run do they? DO THEY?!?!

So, I’m trying to have a relaxed week and not over think the Half too much.  The training is done, I put in the effort, I am proud of my effort so I’m trying to focus on that this week.  

Each day I’ll try to recap some of my favorite moments from training.  Here’s today’s:

Realizing I can run long(er) distances! I remember feeling way overwhelmed when I looked at the half training program as a whole.   It’s really easy to get freaked out about running 12 miles when you haven’t even ran 6 yet, but I figured out pretty quickly to focus one week at a time. Sometimes I had to even knock it back to one day at a time. That’s a good life lesson, if you ask me.  One day at a time, one step at a time.  On race day, I’ll try to keep in mind that each step is bringing me closer to that finish line. 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Rewind

Well, here it is, 2014.  My 2014 resolution is simple.  Just keep moving.  2013 was a great year for me running wise, it got off to a great start with three (back to back to back) races in February. I had a good running rhythm going up until that last February race.  After my last run in New York over the Triborough Bridge with my Bestie, I put away my sneakers to focus on my big move to Texas.  Running took a back seat for a few months.  The more I became settled in my new home and new state, the fact that I wasn’t running started to gnaw at me.  I was nervous to get started again.  I felt so shy about running in my new neighborhood.  I don’t really know why, but I likened it to someone dipping their tippy toes into a pool before jumping in. I had to do it when I felt comfortable. I half halfheartedly attempted the treadmill – those sessions never really lasting that long.  I had fleeting thoughts that I may just not pick it up again.

I introduced myself to the ‘hood by taking lots of stroller and wagon walks with my son.  That helped me a lot and by May, I ran my first 5K in Texas.  From that point forward I turned my little running hiatus into a really rewarding year.

Kim (bestie mentioned above) made me this very cool infographic that shows my 2013 running year beautifully.

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I like to say that running in Texas agrees with me.  I found a lot of fun races, a weekly social run, a 5K class that helped me take a lot of great strides to becoming a better runner.  Would this have happened in New York? Maybe.  But having it happen in Texas helped me feel more at home here.

Here’s a few things I’m looking forward to in 2014:

My first HALF MARATHON in February.  I’ll be running it with the Husband and Kim.  Two very important people will be with me as I complete (hopefully!) a challenging to me distance.  There may be tears.

The Solider Field 10M.  Also with the Husband and Kim.  I’m digging the first half of this year already!

Going back to my first Texas race! Running the Disco 5K with the Husband and my son in the stroller.  If we can still get the son in the jogging stroller in May!

Overall, I’m just hoping for another rewarding and healthy year in and out of my running sneakers.

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Essential Fitness – Essentially fun.

Ugggggggh.  I hate when I have to dust the proverbial cobwebs off my blog.  I hate dusting real cobwebs in real life but when I neglect housework it doesn’t make me feel as bad as when I neglect my little blog.  

I’m happy to report that my lack of reporting doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped running – quite the opposite! I have four races to recap – lucky you – and I’ve been steadily logging in the miles each week. I’m training for my first half marathon in February and I’m pleased with how training has been going.  

As much as I would like to share my latest races with you, I want to blog about something else today.  I had a weekend solo getaway to visit my bestie, Kim in Chicago.  She’s my reason for running and we were fortunate enough to run a fun festive race during my trip andddddd I got to take one of Kim’s strength classes that she teaches at Essential Fitness, LLC in Grayslake, IL! I have been dying for the opportunity to see her in action since she started teaching early last year.  Essential Fitness is a small personal studio with a varied mix of equipment that keeps workouts challenging and interesting – we used sandbags during my class!  The studio is kept immaculate which I feel is a good reflection of the studio itself and how much Essential Fitness is committed to giving you a great workout experience. 

Kim (left) and me before class!

Kim’s class was amazing! Simply. Amazing.  I had so much fun swinging around kettle bells, doing lunges; planks; and a ton of other strength moves. It’s not everyday that I say fun and lunges in the same sentence!  I don’t have much experience with fitness classes other than Yoga, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  I definitely did not expect to have as much fun as I did. I never once felt the urge to check the clock to see how many minutes were left in class. Outside of getting a good workout, It was so awesome for me to see Kim in action. She loves teaching and the joy radiates from her face during class. She’s smiling, laughing, and encouraging. It was such an amazing thing to witness. I wanted to cry and it wasn’t because of squats and lunges! I always knew Kim was passionate about fitness and exercise.  She has always championed me through every step of my running – but to see it first hand was a real treat. It’s not to often you get to see someone so in their element and absolutely loving what they do.  Kim is great at teaching! She’s upbeat, assertive and confident while she puts her student through their paces.  She challenges her students and has complete confidence and faith in their abilities. She takes the time to check form and give praise for your good effort. She just makes you feel good!

Kim does a lot of prepping pre-class to come up with a fun and varied fitness routine. She takes the time to put together a music play list that keeps you moving.   After the class, I wanted to sign up for more! Too bad I live all the way in Dallas! The upside is that now I know exactly what I would want in a fitness studio and trainer.  If you’re lucky enough to live in the Grayslake area of Illinois, check out Kim at Essential Fitness, LLC.  

Thanks for a really fun trip and strength class, Kim! I’m thinking of you every time I feel it in my quads (and everywhere else). Ha!

 

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Run and learn

This seems to be my motto of late.  I took a 6 week running class that I really enjoyed, probably because I didn’t have to think much of anything. Times were set, the coach came up with the routes, and I didn’t have to decide on mileage. Now that class is over, I find that I keep making little discoveries about running – usually after the fact  – that I hope will help me become a better smarter runner.  When I first moved to Texas, I shied away from running around my neighborhood and stuck with the treadmill.  Now, I kinda don’t even want to look at the treadmill and have been running outside, exclusively. I’m exploring new routes and figuring out the best times to run.  

Here’s some examples of my run and learn experiences: 

Running in 84 degrees at night is not the same as running in 84 degrees during the middle of the day. Run and learn.

Running a good chunk of your run around a loop in the same direction is not going to feel so good later.  My entire right side hurt afterwards. Note to self: change directions. Run and learn.

When running during the weekday mornings, run a route where you don’t have to worry or think about cars, sidewalks ending, and crossing lanes of traffic during rush hour. Derp.  This morning, I ran across an intersection successfully, but knew I would have to cross the street again because the sidewalk was ending. I’m not sure if my brain was thinking quicker than my feet, or if my feet were moving faster than my brain (more likely), but I tripped over something just as I hit the next block and fell on my hands, knees, and iPhone.  I just got some scrapes – my phone suffered more than I did, unfortunately.  All I kept thinking as I was falling was that I hope no one is seeing this derptastic stunt. How random is that?! I immediately got up and started running again, but I felt a little rattled after that. My momentum seemed off and I felt annoyed that I got out of bed to just fall on the ground and crack my phone.  I put a band aid on my knee, pouted over not having a fun band aid to make me feel better but I’m happy to report that I’m over it now. I laughed and told myself that I was waiting for fall and got what I was asking.  I’m more annoyed with myself that I cut my run a little short. I should have just stuck it out and ran through it until I felt better.  Next time. Only, I really hope I don’t make tripping on sidewalks a habit.  I’ll just chalk today’s crappy run to a learning experience so I don’t feel like my early morning was wasted. 

My son saw my “booboo”, kissed the band aid and said, “all better!”.  And then he said, “pay attention!” He’ll make a fine runner some day!

 

 

 

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Murphy’s A-maize-ing 5K | Murphy, TX

Another last minute race! This race made 5 races in 5 weekends in September! I took (and completed!) a 6 week running class and our coach suggested this race as a goal race. Another running class friend and I took her up on the suggestion and registered for this race kinda last minute.  

The goal race was a 5K that was taking place in conjunction with Murphy Maize Days – a fall festival with music, vendors, food, etc.  It started off in a local high school football STADIUM.  Side note: It still amazes me how football is king in Texas.  The race started on a track, passed the school, into a preserve and into a neighborhood and back.  There was a DJ and plenty of stadium seating for the spectators.  I liked that the husband and son had some seating and music to listen to while I was running.  Afterwards, we took our son to the festival so this race had a little something for everyone. 

The goal for this race was to come in thirty minutes or less.  Emphasis on the “or less” part. I wanted to finally (finally, finally) sub 30 a 5K.  I wasn’t sure if this was the right race to do it or if the weather was still a little bit too warm and humid for that – but all worked out, and I squeaked in a sub 30 run and came in fifth in my age group.  

High lights: Finally doing that sub 30 run! 

Low lights: way too many kids “running” this race.  I love seeing kids out there and I always marvel how fast they are, but they made this race a bit more challenging for me because a lot of kids were doing the sprint really fast then just stop thing.  I almost took out a kid because one stopped right in front of me.  I think it took a lot more energy for me to go around them.  I started way back at the starting line so that was my fault.  I don’t belong in the front of the starting line, but waaaaay back (unless I’m with the stroller) is probably not the best spot either.  Race and learn.  

Race Swag: cotton t-shirt with a giant running corn cob (jealous?). Some samples and coupons from race sponsors.  

Post Race Eats: Frozen yogurt (I LOVE ICE CREAM AFTER RUNS! HAHA), chicken sandwiches (I think), granola bars,bananas and water.  Breakfast with my running class friend, the husband and son at Corner Bakery.  

Miracle Mile: a little kid taking a tumble and a bunch of people stopping to make sure he was ok (he was!). 

Next up: I’m going to start a 10K training program. It will be a combo plan from Hal HIgdon Novice program and the 10K training finish it program from Train Like a Mother book

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September Soaring Virtual 5K | Wherever I Damn Well Pleased, TX

I was sent a link to virtual race organization and I was instantly intrigued. You pick the race distance, when you want to run your race (in the prescribed race week) and where you want to run your race.   After paying the race fee, you get your bib via email and you’re good to go! No dealing with packet pick up! I decided to go for it and signed up to experience what doing a virtual race would be like/feel like.

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September Virtual 5K bib by Jostrunning.com

I had a training run scheduled for the same day my virtual race week started so I decided to run my virtual 5K on the first day. I woke up, got dressed and started the race right outside my driveway! Can’t beat that! No fuss, no muss. I liked that i could pick the day and time to run my race.  I also liked that I didn’t have to disturb my sleeping son and cajole him into a jogging stroller.  He was still sleeping after I returned from my race – score!

I ran my virtual 5K like i would any other race and earned my fastest 5K time, yet! It did feel a little anticlimactic when there was no one waiting for me at the “finish”.  Although, bonus points: My husband had some cold water waiting for me when I walked back into the house! All I had to do post race was shower and send my race time to the Virtual 5K company.  In a few weeks they will send me a finisher’s medal! This month’s virtual race theme was airplanes and I cannot wait to get my airplane medal in the mail!

Would I do it again? Sure, why not!  I wouldn’t do all my races, this way, but I would certainly add some to my race calendar. It’s so easy to do and I never have to worry about emailing race organizers to see if jogging strollers are permitted.  I can map out my own course and make it as flat or as hilly as I want.  I think it would be fun to organize your own race and get a few local runners involved.  Think about the fun post-race party you could throw! Virtual races are definitely a great way to inject some fun into a training or long run! The virtual race didn’t have the same feeling or atmosphere as an in the flesh real race, but just knowing I would have to submit my time kept it competitive enough for me.

I’m sure virtually running is not for everyone, but for this girl – it worked! I liked the fact that I didn’t just dismiss it and tried something new!

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A Magic Mile Moment

One of my favorite things I like about running are the athletic supporters…err…the supportive peeps in my life.  Whether it be friends truly interested in your running class; a congratulatory high five from a fellow runner in a running group; or from spectators that trek out early one (weekend) morning to cheer you on during a race.  Having someone in your corner is a fantastic feeling and a great motivator.

I noticed something fun on my Labor Day race that has stayed with me post race and several days later.  The course was an out and back and on my way back I saw a young girl (8 or 9 maybe?) running out doing a run/walk combo solo.  Some runners in front of me asked if she was doing ok and she answered in the affirmative.  I clapped for her as she passed by and told her she was doing great and a few other runners took my cue and did the same thing.  I wondered where her parents were because she seemed so young to do a race by herself.   I think I would have been overwhelmed doing 3.1 miles by myself at that age.  Heck, sometimes I feel overwhelmed NOW when I run a race solo, but she was indeed holding her own.  More about her in a little bit.

After I crossed the finish line, I hung out for a bit for the results and to see the other racers cross the line.  It’s really inspiring to see runners as they approach the finish line.  You can usually spot that moment of relief, excitement or accomplishment flash across each runner’s face when they hit the finish line.   Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a spectator near the finish line holding on to some balloons and a teddy bear and I realized that she was probably waiting for the little girl that I passed on the course.  Not too long after I saw the little girl approaching the finish line giving it her all! A crowd of people cheered her in and her mom (I assume) with the balloons and teddy bear in tow gave the little girl a huge hug the second she crossed the finish line! Seeing that gave me chills (on a hot and humid morning)!  It was truly an amazing moment and I was so happy to have witnessed that special moment.

At my first running  class, we did what the coaches called a “magic mile”. You run for a mile so the coaches can ascertain what pace group you belong in. I think I’ll borrow the “magic mile” term and use it for when I see something inspiring during a race. I’ll make it part of my race recaps. Hopefully it will be a good reminder to look outside of myself and make me more aware of the cool and inspiring moments that inevitably occur during each race.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own race; our own goals and our own performance that it’s so easy to miss these little moments unfolding during a race.

I hope the cheering and praise will carry the little girl on each of her runs and other future endeavors.  I hope that I’ll remember this moment and always be conscious of not just my race but to also be mindful of the “little big” during a race.

Let’s hear about your “Magic Mile Moment” during a race! Was it an awesome spectator giving you that extra push? A funny marathon sign; or a maybe an awesome volunteer giving you an encouraging smile?

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Labor Day 5K and 15K | White Rock Lake, Dallas TX

AKA my new favorite race! 

It doesn’t rain much here in Dallas during the summer, but of course the rain decided to make an appearance on race day morning! The hubby, my son and I woke up before the sun to trek down to Dallas for a Labor Day race.   I’m glad my son still doesn’t really know the meaning of too damn early, yet. Waking up before the sun didn’t phase him at all. It stormed all the way down to White Rock Lake and I was nervous we would have to run in the rain. I don’t care about running in the rain myself, but didn’t want my son to have to deal with sitting in a stroller and getting whipped in the face with rain.  Luckily, we had a clearing just as the race started and it lasted until well after we finished.  The humidity came out in full force, though.  

I felt like I had a really good race and felt good the entire time.  I decided to enter the Athena (weight) division for this particular race mainly because they offered it and because I never done/seen anything like that. It was a tough decision for me basically because I didn’t want to put myself in a harder division than the age group division.  I don’t normally ever place in my age group so I figured what the heck, I’ll give the Athena division a shot.  It’s basically all a crap shoot.  Case in point, I placed third in the Athena division but would have scored second in my age group.  That stung for a second, but I got over it.  Never the less, my goal is to someday not be eligible for the weight class division at all just so I don’t have to make a decision about entering into the age group division vs. weight class division. I don’t really see the weight division too much, anyways. 

I rather focus on the new PR I set! I wasn’t aiming for a new PR for this race but I am psyched that it happened! I just wanted to do a hell of a lot better than last years Labor Day race in New York.  And I did! By a lot! (Sorry just had to brag for a tiny bit!) I’ve been doing a lot more (for me) running in the heat and it’s paying off.  It’s nice to see. 

Highlights: It’s a tie between placing in the weight class division and setting a new PR!

Low-lights:  Humidity. Blah.  

Post Race Eats: Bananas.  Gatorade, water, beer, and expired soda.  I stuck with a banana and some Gatorade.  We ate a crappy breakfast at Paradise Cafe. My good post race meal came when I had some brisket for dinner compliments of my friend, Courtney and her fiance! SO. GOOD.

Race Swag: A pretty cool technical t-shirt.  Finisher medals for the 15Kers. The website just said Finisher’s Medals and did not distinguish whom would get the medals. That was annoying. Especially since the medals said Labor Day 5K and 15K on them.  Would it have been so difficult to extend that to the 5K finishers as well? I kid! A little bit. 

All in all, a good way to start Labor Day!  

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