Thursday, June 30, 2011

Virtual Races

One fun way to keep yourself running is to join virtual races.  Usually your time doesn't matter and the goal is to complete the miles over a period of time, not just in one day.

Virtual races are free, and there are random drawings for prizes, so why not??

Here's one I just joined, check it out!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

my new running pal

I have a new running friend.

His name is Garmin.  Or maybe it's her name.  I'm not quite sure yet.  But Garmin is so large on my wrist that it definitely needs a name and an identity.  Gary?  Greta?  Maybe I should let the comments choose the name!

Garmin came in the mail on Saturday, a very generous birthday present.

My first run with Garmin was Sunday.  I needed to get one more long run in before my race.  I was late getting my speedwork in this week, so Sunday it was.  Usually I don't do long runs on Sundays.  I am up at 6am, at church by 7:30 and not usually home until 1pm.  A long morning!

This Sunday, I also attempted to make a cake before I ran, and I was so tired and distracted I made it twice and messed it up TWICE.  Then it was time to run.  It was a little warm, I was still sore from speedwork on Friday.

Running with my new friend Garmin kept me going.  I very rarely cut a run short.  I don't know if I've ever been as tempted as I was on Sunday.  About 2 miles in to 6+ I wanted to turn around and call it a day at 4 miles.  But I pressed on.  Getting to glance down at my wrist and see my current pace really helped me.  I pulled off 6.5 miles at just over an 11:00 pace, which was exactly what my training schedule called for.  Usually my long run pace is a little fast, but my fatigue and the heat helped me keep it slower.  And even when I wanted to stop, Garmin kept me going!

This morning I had 2 miles on the schedule.  Since it was going to be a quick run and I had Garmin, I didn't need to take my iPod to use the Nike+.  It was nice to head out with no cords, no armbands and just my thoughts.  On longer runs I love having music, but it was nice to have the option today to run without music and still know my pace.  I ended up running about 2.75 miles.

I settled on getting the Garmin Forerunner 305.  It's an older model, but in all the reviews I read--still the favorite.  The newer model hasn't been perfected enough and for all the bells and whistles, this was the way to go.  And it was just $128 on Amazon, which is a really good deal.

When I race on Monday, I'll set Garmin to beep at me if I fall below my goal pace.  Of course I can only run my best and it may not be as fast as I'd like, we'll just have to see.  But it will be nice to have a better gauge of how I'm doing.  I know I tend to go out too fast and Garmin will help me pace myself better in the beginning to hopefully finish stronger.

And Garmin comes with a heartrate monitor, which I haven't figured out yet, but I'm looking forward to checking out my heartrate at various paces and distances.

Lots of fun to be had with my new running pal.

Now if only I could find a regular running pal with two legs, I'd be set.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a naked run

I had to run naked today.

Not that kind of naked!

I love music, in all parts of my life, running included.  I also am an information hound.  I love to analyze my runs and know to the tenth of a mile how far I went and to the second how long it took me.  I'm not a slave to it, but it always interests me.

I did a short run tonight at 7:45pm.  It's light until about 8:30pm right now, which I LOVE.  I like to space my runs 24 hours apart and since I ran yesterday afternoon, I didn't want to get up early this morning.

I went to grab the iPod to put my Nike+ adapter in...and it was missing, along with the remote for our iPod dock.  I knew right away my 4-year old had done something with it because I remember her trying to play with the iPod the other day.

I looked around for a few minutes but didn't see it, so you know I dragged her out of bed to find it!  She said "I put it in a little box, but I don't know where it is."  We looked in all her usual spots, and then we went to look around her room.  She made a beeline for the closet and said "I know where it is."  Sure enough, she pulled a small wooden box out of the back corner of the closet which held the iPod and remote.

Silly girl!

But of course the iPod was dead because she had been using it as a phone.  So off I went on my run.  While I do like running with music, my naked run was nice too.  I paid more attention to my breathing, my gait and my posture.  Timing from when I left the house and when I returned, my pace was just under 10:00.  (see...I can't just go out and run, I had to look at the clock!)

In other news...

I got my first pair (actually three pairs) of Nike Running shorts.  They make me feel like a real runner.

(kind of a funky self-portrait of the shorts!  pink probably wouldn't be my go-to color, but they were so CHEAP!  I probably would have bought bright green if its what they had.  I got 2 pairs of these pink ones and one black pair)

I went to Macy's to try them on to find out what size to order and there were a bunch on the sale rack.  When I scanned their price, they were less than $10!!  Down from $28.  Talk about a great deal! And I got a Nike running shirt and a tank top for under $15 each.  5 Nike running items for less than $50.  And I had a gift card from my birthday!

I've used them twice so far, and I'm liking them.  I do have a bit of a chafing issue with my thighs, but it's not too bad with these shorts and I need to get some Body Glide anyways.

They may also become my "around the house" shorts.  I threw them on after work tonight since I knew I was going for a run and I wanted out of my work clothes, and they were comfy and cute.

If you need some running clothes, run to Macy's and check out the clearance/sale rack.  You never know!

Monday, June 20, 2011

consistently inconsistent

Or maybe it should be inconsistently consistent.

I have incredible motivation and dedication to fitness.  For lots of different reasons.  If I could be active in some way an hour each day, or at least 5-6 days I week, I would.  With very few interruptions.  Not all major sweat sessions, but strength training, yoga, pilates and all sorts of forms of exercise.

But, unfortunately no one pays me to run or exercise.  It's something I have to make time for; I have to make it a priority.

I have a job.  I have a husband.  I have three young kids.  We have a lot of family and friends and various events, celebrations and just hanging out that goes on.

There are weeks and months that I exercise 3+ times a week.  That's a good week for me.

But then there are weeks (not usually months, but sometimes) that I only exercise once or twice.  I struggle to get consistency back.

When kids are sick, when life is busy, when I'm just exhausted, when I'm not managing my time well, I'm very inconsistent.

But here's the trick.  The key to an active life.

I always get consistent again.  Until the next thing throws me a curveball.  And then I'm inconsistent.

I never stay there.

I may reach my fitness goals slower than I'd like.

I know this is a season and it will pass as my children grow older.  I do embrace where I'm at in life.  But I look forward to having a little more time to myself one of these days.

But at least I'm consistently inconsistent.  Or inconsistently consistent.

How about you?  What balls do you juggle and how do you find consistency?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

mind over miles

I ran my first half marathon in 2006 with minimal training.  I intended to train, but I don't even remember if I used a training schedule.  I ran 3 miles a few times a week.  I did a few "long" runs leading up to the race, but I'm pretty sure my longest distance was less than 6 miles.

My results: 3:05

But I was happy with that.  Thrilled actually.

That race taught me the role the mind plays in racing.  Clearly my belief in myself gave me the strength to finish the race.  It certainly wasn't that I was physically prepared.  That race taught me that my body is always capable of more than I think it is.

It may not be a blast, it may not be pretty, it may take a long time--but you are capable.  You can do it.  Your body can do it.  It's your mind that often lacks the strength, the belief in yourself.

I don't know a lot of runners. Rather, most people in my circle aren't runners.  Which bums me out.  I want to tell people--it's all in your head, you are capable, you can do it, just start and you'll finish!  I wish I could impart that lesson I learned during my first race.

I do realize that sometimes under-training results in injuries and I'm thankful that wasn't the case for me.  I don't recommend under-training of course.  But if you are running regularly and can do some longer runs at a slower pace, you are ready for a race!

Your MIND is your biggest asset when it comes to logging miles.

A few things about my running this week.

1.  I ran almost 6 miles on Monday.  I didn't feel my best, my legs felt heavy, but it felt really good to get those miles in since I missed my long run over the weekend.

2.  I ran my tempo miles at the Lake today, one of my running spots.  Running laps at the park didn't sound appealing, so I decided it was time to run faster on a normal route.  I did almost 4.5 miles and my average pace was 9:25.  Which thrills me!  I had at least another mile or two in me, but dinner & family called and I was getting some blisters.

3.  Blisters.  Ugh.  I've been wearing my shoes for 5-6 months.  Probably less than 200 miles.  The same socks--some newer, some older.  After my race in November, I went up a half-size in my shoe.  I lost a toenail and got some nasty blisters on my toes from hitting the end of the shoe.  All the miles I was training and then the actual race just took a toll in shoes that were borderline.  It's only the last 20-30 miles that I've been having trouble with the shoes, which is baffling.  The worst blister is on the inside arch of my left foot, but the right foot has a similar issue.  I guess my next try will be some bodyglide.

4.  I'm excited about the 15k in a few weeks.  My only goal is a faster pace than the half marathon, and I think I'm on track for it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

No running makes mama feisty

I've said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again--when I miss a run, when I go more than a few days without a run--I get feisty.   Situations that might be slightly annoying, all of the sudden are extremely annoying.  I'm short on patient.  I'm antsy.

This week wasn't the greatest running week, due to my daughter being sick.  After running last Saturday, I didn't get to run again until Wednesday.  I love that it's bright at 5:30am.  I'm still not comfortable running alone in the dark, so this time of year is perfect.  I haven't run on the treadmill in weeks, which is awesome.

Wednesdays run was just under 4 miles in about 40 minutes.  My "slow" runs are supposed to be 11:00 minute miles, but that is a really hard pace for me to hit.   Since I hadn't run in a few days, I just needed to let my legs go.  I wanted to feel it!

(from my Nike+ info.  I'm not sure if these are the paces I averaged for each mile or the pace I was running when the mile was marked.)

Mile 1: 10:29
Mile 2: 9:24
Mile 3: 9:28
Mile 4: 8:24 (I always pick up the pace the last few hundred meters!)

Friday was race--pace miles.  Once again I ran early, and I ran my timed miles at the park to help me keep up my pace.  It really is making a difference.  Goal pace was 9:35 for 2 miles.

Mile 1: 10:05
Mile 2: 9:16
Mile 3: 9:02
Mile 4: 10:28

I think I may try for 3 tempo miles this week.

We were out of town all day Saturday and the first part of today was busy and I was exhausted the rest of the day.  So I missed my long run (just 5-6 miles though) this week.  I think I may see if I can get it in tomorrow.  My legs want those miles!

The training schedule for my 15k on July 4th is on the light side (compared to last Fall's half marathon training).  It's kind of nice because I can switch up the schedule a bit and still feel like I'm getting the training I need.

And bonus, last day of school for my oldest daughter tomorrow!  Which means our schedule and routines will be much looser for a few months, and it will be a lot easier for mama to sneak runs in.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

maybe I can do it after all

I've just started training for a 15k on July 4th.  I don't anticipate this run being too difficult as I can run 6 miles without much ado and it's just 3 miles more.  However, I'm constantly working on my speed.  I know I am capable of faster speeds than I regularly clock.  I can push myself on the treadmill in ways I don't push myself on the road.

Today's schedule run was 4 miles with 2 miles @ 9:25 pace.  Running with my Nike+ is great, but it's hard to track my pace during a run.  It will tell me my current pace, but I have to do a lot of calculations in my head to figure out my mile paces.  Which is why I usually resort to the treadmill for my speed workouts.

But tonight I decided to try a new technique enabling me to run outside but still keep track of my pace.  I ran 1.25 miles as a warm up and ended up at a park across the street.  There is a sidewalk that loops that park and about 2.5 loops equals 1 mile.  It's easier for me to push on a repeat like that, instead of worrying about crossing intersections and cars seeing me.  I reset my Nike+ when I started, so that I could track the pace for just my 2 speedy miles.

I haven't synced my run yet, but I know that my first mile was around 8:30.  I finished the 2 miles in just under 18 minutes--almost a full minute faster than "required."

It was a huge confidence booster.  Yes at times my lungs felt like they were going to burst.  My legs felt pretty strong the whole time.  But I can do this.  I can run faster.  Sure it was just 2 miles, but last week I thought I would die running 2 x 9:05 on the treadmill with a .5 jog in between.

Just maybe one day I'll qualify for Boston.  Maybe when I'm 40.

I don't know that I could pump out 9 miles at the 9:00 pace.  My main goal is to beat my half marathon pace from last November, which was 9:53.  Just maybe it's possible.