Spin class just kicked my butt! I love running, but it’s fun to switch it up regularly. For the past few months, I have been just running or using the elliptical. I would like to try to do at least a couple of non-running workouts per week, but the timing of the classes at my gym makes it tough. I also played tennis with Kyle yesterday— and by play tennis, I mean bop the ball back and forth. He is very patient and an excellent teacher. Tennis was really fun! What are some of your favorite cross training and non-running workouts? I need ideas!
Keeping bugs off of your face when running (or being outside in general):
My dad taught me this trick. Instead of dousing yourself with bug spray (you sweat it off anyway), spray it all over your brimmed hat. Boom! You’re welcome.
Marathon training burned me out. For the past year, I have constantly been training for a race of some sort. I trained for my marathon during the winter, and did my long runs with a group that started at 8 AM every Saturday. This meant no boozing on Fridays and no Saturday sleeping in for 4 straight months. Marathon training was also really tough on my body. I wound up with 3-4 ear infections (one of which landed me in an Ear Nose Throat specialist’s office), an injured hand, and a strained achilles. The sacrifice and mental struggle literally wore me out.
So really, I’m enjoying being able to run just because. To run whatever distance I choose, and not to have to worry about hitting a certain mileage or pace each week. It’s awesome.
But all you runners out there know that the competitive bug starts to bite when it’s been a while since you’ve raced— I haven’t raced since I did a 10K in April. I’m thinking of doing another half marathon, which means that I either need to do one soon before the dog days set in, or I have to wait until August— which might not be a terrible idea. I’m considering just waiting until after my wedding on August 24— just letting things settle down a little before I set my sights on a new PR.
Does anyone out there have a race in the DC/MD/VA/NC area that you recommend? I live near Richmond and I’m willing to drive up to 3 or 4 hours away. I’d like to do a race I haven’t done before, which rules out the Rock n Roll in VA Beach. Any ideas?
Yesterday, I was thinking about how I haven’t run in the rain in a really long time. You know how whenever you think about how it’s been a long time since something happened, the laws of the universe make it occur?
Yeah, that’s what went down.
I was about to head out for my run with my phone, but the clouds looked pretty scary— so I opted for the waterproof Garmin instead. Boy was I glad that I did!
About 5 minutes in, the wind was blowing like it was Kansas and the Wicked Witch was about to show up. Not long after that, the rain began to trickle, then to pour like a monsoon.
I actually enjoy running in the rain when it’s warmer out, as long as I’m properly dressed and mentally prepared for it. I think it’s refreshing, and it makes me feel as though I’m a kid again, running around and splashing in the puddles. It also makes me feel pretty badass. My best tips for running in the rain successfully are to wear a baseball cap to keep the rain out of your face, and to make sure you change your socks if you plan on doing more than 5 or so miles. Wet shoes and socks= blister town.
The only thing that wasn’t pleasant was when the wind whipped the rain into my eyes— I had to make a shield with my hand at one point, but it wasn’t too bad.
One thing I’ve noticed about rain running is that people who heckle runners go into hyperdrive when it’s raining. I guess I do look pretty crazy running around in a torrential downpour, but still— shut up, jerks. Yesterday was no exception— I actually had a 9 year old girl yell at me from her porch. I couldn’t hear what she said, but I imagine it was something like “I am dumb and have no friends, so I am going to yell at this person who is running in the rain, YOLO”… Basically, if you see someone running in the rain— LEAVE THEM ALONE. They are already having to gather a certain level of mental toughness to make it through this run, so don’t make it worse on them by screaming like a mentally challenged baboon.
Hecklers aside, I finished four miles and it was awesome. Suck on that, mother nature.
I started training for my first half marathon almost exactly a year ago. Since then, I’ve done two half marathons and a full marathon. Thus, I have trained in extreme heat as well as extreme cold.
Running in both is tough for different reasons. I had a perpetual ear infection all winter from the cold air and my sub-par Eustachian tubes. It’s been really nice weather in VA for a while, but now the summer heat and humidity is starting to sink in. Yesterday, I ran 3 miles in 90 degrees. Talk about sweaty.
As much as running in the heat sort of sucks, I think I like it in a masochistic way— it’s painful, but pouring sweat and being completely exhausted after a tough run is a very cleansing feeling.
Here are some of my tried and true hot weather running tricks:
1. Wear a brimmed hat- it keeps the sun out of your face and soaks up some of that extra sweat. I don’t always wear sunglasses because I don’t want a tan line on my face. Yes, I am that shallow.
2. Sunscreen— Say no to skin cancer and premature wrinkles. I cannot bring myself to run in just my bra. Respect to all of you who have enough balls to do that ;)
3. HYDRATION— water alone isn’t enough anymore. I have learned that in cold weather, I need electrolytes for runs in the double digits. In the hot weather, I try to hydrate with some sort of non-water sports drink (I prefer Nuun) every 20 minutes or so. It’s really a matter of what works for you and your body. You can either carry your drink with you (ie- hydration belt, handheld, or even just carrying a water bottle in your hand if you don’t have either of the first two), or plan your route so you can stop and get water somewhere. I sometimes plan a route where I know there will be a water fountain, or I stash my water bottle somewhere.
4. Dry socks- I am interested to see how my feet hold up to running in the heat. I usually get really nasty blisters, but I’m hoping that my Mizunos’ larger toe box and some thick, sweat-wicking socks will help prevent these. Don’t skimp on your socks. I like Thorlos brand the best.
5. Light, technical fabric clothing- I wear a sweat-wicking, fast-drying skimpy tank top and nylon shorts. Cotton will absorb sweat and make you feel weighed down and sticky. Sometimes I wear bike shorts to prevent these thunder thighs from chaffing if I’m doing anything more than 4 or 5 miles.
Do you have any go-to tips for running in the heat?
Well shit, I guess it’s been a long time since I blogged. I have a problem keeping up with blogs when I start them… sorry.
So, what has happened in the past 9 months or so?
1. Got engaged to a hottie
2. Changed jobs, moved to a new city.
3. Started graduate school
4. Ran a marathon (the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, f*** yeah. PS it sucked), and a second half marathon (the Richmond half)
My mom trying to keep me from dying of hypothermia. Picture 5ish hours in a headwind with rain and it was about 40 something degrees out. Yeah, like I said— it sucked.
Crossing the finish line in 4:30 and some change. My legs felt like they were going to fall off/ explode. All jokes aside, this is one of the proudest moments of my entire life.
5. Moved twice, and moving again in June (to a house that we’re buying— yeah buddy!)
6. PR’ed in one 10k and placed in the top 5 in my age group in another one.
I promise to do a recap post about the marathon. I really wish I would have blogged during my training— I do have a lot of pictures though so maybe I can just backtrack and post some training highlights and of course a full race recap. Just a little teaser for you, during marathon training I did the following:
1. Shit my pants in public. Literally. That isn’t a typo or a joke.
2. Fell on my face and ate the sidewalk so hard that I think I bruised a rib and almost had to go to the emergency room (so graceful)
3. Realized that I’m capable of more than I ever dreamed possible.
I’ve missed blogging, and hope to keep up with this more now. I love the community of runners and fit people and awesome people (sometimes those overlap) on tumblr. Also, I like to talk about myself.
On Labor Day weekend, I ran my first half marathon and made that race my bitch.
Okay, I barely survived.
When I first signed up for this half, I only did it because I knew of slower, less fit people who had done halfs and survived. I thought, “If they can do it, why not me?” Humble, I know. So, I signed up, trained all summer, and ran the race. If I had waited around to sign up, or put it off for another year, or waited until I was “ready”, or anything else like that, I never would have done it. My advice to anyone out there who is considering doing something slightly crazy but that will be awesome once you’re on the other side of it is DO IT. Just. freaking. do it. No great things happen without taking chances, making big leaps of faith, and working your ass off.
The race weekend was really crowded, because this is a big race in VA. It was a Rock ‘n Roll race, and it’s pretty well-loved. All of the hotels in VA beach were booked. We (My mom, boyfriend and now fiance, and me) had to settle for a roach coach, and I booked our hotel in APRIL. The combination of the race and the fact that it was LD weekend made it absolute chaos.
The night before, we wanted to go out for pasta. We found an Italian restaurant, and the wait was unreal. So, we headed further away from the boardwalk and wound up at Baker’s Crust. It was delicious! I went to sleep pretty early, but it was hard to sleep because our neighbors in our
shitty sub-par motel were blasting mariachi music and partying like rockstars socializing on the walkway. I woke up at 4, ate some cereal, pooped, and headed out. Thankfully my fiance (it still looks weird writing that, ha!) and my mom could sleep some more, because I was able to take the shuttle from the shithole motel to the start line.
When I got to where the start line was there was an hour until the race began. I got in line for the porta potty and I SHIT YOU NOT it took the whole freaking time to get to pee. I literally had to run from the shitter to my corral and only had two minutes to spare. Lesson- just pee in the bushes next time. Seriously, people do not know how to just pinch it off and get on with their lives. Who wants to linger in a porta john? Like really.
While I was waiting in line for the pot, I made small talk with a girl behind me (mostly about how slow the other people were going with their bladders and bowels).
Anyway, ate some Gu and started running. At the beginning, I felt AWESOME. For the first 5 miles or so, I was running faster than my normal pace. I was thinking they should hire me to be the pacer at this point. My goal was to stay in sight of the 2:00 pacer, and this was very easy for the first few miles.
Then, around mile 7 or so I started to suffer. It was getting pretty hot at this point, and I felt like I just couldn’t stay hydrated. I was chugging gatorade and water at each hydration stop, but it didn’t feel like enough. The weather was just so awful, and people were also dropping all over and getting carried off on stretchers. Very encouraging.
The Rock ‘n Roll series boasts about the bands along the course, as well as the stellar course support. What they don’t tell you is that the bands are only every 3 miles or so, and when you get further away from the finish line in the more sparse parts of the course, there is virtually no spectator support. I was really kicking myself for not bringing my iPod, because as much as I like to be present for the race, it got pretty bleak at some points when there weren’t bands or people.
I especially missed my iPod around mile 9, where I ran alongside an older lady who was really enjoying her jams. So much that she was singing aloud to them, but not every word. She would only sing every 5th word or so, so it sounded like a really bad rap. She was also tone deaf. Sugarland’s “Baby Girl” became something like
enough to get me through.
dreams come true.
in the world…
Your baby girl.”
SOMEONE CALL AMERICAN IDOL, I FOUND YOUR NEXT WINNER!
Anyway, somewhere around this point I stopped and walked for 2 or 3 minutes. My body just felt TIRED. I wanted to sit down, and I was so thirsty I thought I would die. Like I said, it was almost impossible to stay hydrated, and all I wanted was a big ass bottle of gatorade and a leg massage. Both of those things were still about 4 miles away, which may as well have been 40 to me at that point.
I CRIED. Then I prayed, gave myself a pep talk, and decided to suck it up. There was no way I was going to quit, even though I REALLY wanted to. I did not train all summer in the sweatyballs heat and then drive 2 hours to a crowded race to quit when I was only a few miles from the finish.
SO, I pulled it together and got my ass moving. Distance running is definitely a mental game just as much as it is a physical one.
At mile 11 or so, I saw the same girl I had stood next to while waiting for the porta john! We wound up running close together toward the finish. I figured I wouldn’t let her pass me, and my goal at the finish was to stay in front of her.
The last mile of the race is on the VA Beach boardwalk, which is awesome. The ocean is to your right, and there are tons of people cheering you on. I saw my boy and my mom, and I almost broke down right there. I was completely overwhelmed with emotions. I desperately wanted to be done. I was tired, achey, thirsty, and I also felt so accomplished. I kept thinking about the fact that I NEVER thought I could do something like run 13.1 miles, and I was about to cross the finish line.
After crossing the finish (in front of the porta potty girl by the way. She congratulated me on a job well done) , I cried a little bit again. I walked for a while but sat down pretty quickly. My legs started to spasm so I began to chug gatorade to try and get my electrolytes up.
I loved basking in the post-race glory with K and my mom, and I immediately called my dad. He used to be a runner and has always been one of my number one enthusiasts when it comes to my running. He actually told me I should train for the 2016 Olympic trials. Talk about a dad who believes in you, right? I’m very blessed to have a great “fan club” of my mom, K, my dad, and great friends who sent encouraging and sweet texts before and after the race.
All in all, it was great and awful at the same time. The heat SUCKED. I would not do this race again because the heat was terrible. I heard later that they RAN OUT OF WATER for people in the later corrals. Tons of people had to just drop out of the race because there was NO WATER. Crazy. I also lost a toenail on my left foot that has yet to grow back, even 2 months later. For a couple of days my toe was so sore, and I wound up popping the blood blister under my toe to get relief. For a minute I thought the toe was broken, but it got better within a few days. My legs weren’t too sore the next day, either, thankfully. I was prepared to have trouble walking, but it really wasn’t so bad!
The thing (okay, one of many things) about running that fascinates me is my love-hate relationship with it. I love running because it challenges me, and I hate it for the same reason. As soon as I finished this half, all I could think about was what my next race was going to be. It is seriously an addicting sport.
I told myself going into this race that I wouldn’t do another one if I didn’t want to, but I actually WANTED to do another half. While nursing my bloody toe, I signed up for the Richmond Half Marathon not even 2 days after the VA Beach race.
I’ve been training for this next race since the other half, and I’m loving the Fall weather. Training in the beautiful crisp weather as opposed to feeling like you’re running in an armpit makes a huge difference. My goal for this race is to maintain a constant pace of under 9:00/ mile for a sub- 2:00 finish. I will have to push myself, but I’m hopeful!
What races have you done recently?