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Take It And Run Thursday

10 Sep

KLETCO asks: What do you like and dislike from spectators out on a course?  Are cowbells good or bad?  Do you prefer to have someone waiting with food or gatorade?  What tips can you give for people who are just out to watch the race and not participate?

What a timely question this week over at Runners Lounge posed by Kim, especially since I have my first Fall race in only 3 days. I have been continually seeking out smaller and smaller races. The main reason is because in less crowded races I don’t have as many fellow racers to swerve around which completely messes up my pacing and concentration. Another reason is because of the crowds lining the streets. I know they mean well, offering their encouragement to the racers, holding up signs, shouting “great job” and “keep it up”, etc. But what really ticks me off are the spectators at the end of the race, and I’m talking the last mile or two who tell you that “you’re almost there”, “it’s right around the corner” or “only one more mile”. One more mile? At the end of a race that can feel like an eternity! I know I’m being ridiculous. It’s just that I’ve learned that I really like the solitude of smaller races. At the end of the race I am totally in my head, I don’t need people yelling at me, messing with my concentration. But, you have to roll with the punches, as I say. If I am going to race I have to expect crowds cheering on the sidelines, more often than not.

A second pet peeve I have against spectators is how they stand along the course. Sometimes they crowd the course, lean in, even stand on the course. This can cause problems especially when a racer is trying to pass another racer. I have learned that in bigger races I need to run right down the middle of the streets, not on the edges. It’s a matter of safety.

Cowbells? Surprisingly, to myself and perhaps to you as well, I don’t have a problem with them. Weird, huh? It is definitely not as annoying as hearing “one more mile to go”.

Preferences about someone waiting with food or gatorade. Well, I’m not sure exactly what this question is asking. All of the races I’ve run always have some sort of post-race food/beverage table. At the very least I expect some water and maybe bananas or oranges.

As for tips for spectators, I guess I would just remind them to stay clear of the course.

Alright, check this out. Chance of precipitation is completely gone. The day is looking really good!
Running stuff: 5 easy miles this morning.


Take It And Run Thursday With Some Intervals Thrown In

3 Sep

lindsaycb asks: Whether training for a specific race or just running for the fun of it, we all experience the ups and downs of running. What do you do to get yourself motivated to run when it feels like it’s the last thing you want to do?

Lindsay, I think that’s a great question and one we’ve all encountered at some point. My alarm is set to go off between 4:50 am to 5:30 am depending on the day and workout involved. I get up for my run no matter what. What motivates me most to get up that early is waking up to cool air on my skin, solitude of running at dawn with beautiful sunrises and quietness enveloping me and finally the fact that I start my day with a completed workout before most people even get moving in the morning. Continue reading

Take It And Run Thursday

27 Aug

JillWillRun asks: It’s the morning of your weekly long run… what do you eat and why?

Coffee! I have to have my coffee no matter what, first and foremost. Other than that, for a long run I’ll grab either a banana, english muffin, toast, oatmeal in the winter … something bland, preferably with carbs, to help me get through the miles without getting hungry. In a pinch I’ll eat half an energy bar and save the rest for after the run. The why to the question … well, I want to eat enough to stave off any hunger but not enough to make me feel heavy or uncomfortable. Finding the right combination of pre-run foods is the key to a successful long run, for me at least.

Easy 4 miles for me this morning on the treadmill while the girls played. In the past, treadmill running has always seemed so hard to me, I always felt slower running inside versus running outside. This morning it wasn’t nearly as hard as it’s felt in the past. And I thought of Julie1 (raceslikeagirl) periodically because she recently touted the merits of treadmill running and made me re-evaluate it’s worth. Well, I’ve no choice but to run on the TM for the next week since it will be my only opportunity for a run.

1 So, are your ears ringing again, Julie?

Take It And Run Thursday

20 Aug

Marlene asks: When did you know you had become a runner? Was there a defining moment, or was it a gradual progression over time?

There was never a defining moment in time that caused me to think, “hey, I’m a runner!” For me, this was more of a gradual progression. I had run off and on over the years but never, ever considered myself to be a runner. I thought those people were crazy. I just didn’t get it. I mean, why would you possibly run more than a couple of miles? I’m talking between 1-3 miles here. Why would you want injured knees and legs? Running is painful. No, I did not get it.

I ran for fitness. I lifted weights and biked and ran. I haven’t strayed too far from that formula except for the fact that I run more. A LOT MORE. I even raced as a non-runner after some prodding from a friend. I ran a 5k, won my age group (seriously) but hated every single second of that race. “This running stuff blows”, I told myself. I quickly hung up the sneakers and didn’t touch them again for several years. After having two kids I needed to do something. Fellow moms out there know what I mean. Even if we never exercised a day in our life there is that one thing that prompts us all to get out there after kids. Body fat. I had my girls when I was 35 and 36 years old. My metabolism was already changing and the weight gained during pregnancy was not going away. So, I got out there and ran with my overweight and newly adopted dog.

Starting to run is hard. It hurts. But I kept at it because I knew at the very least it was going to help my dog lose some weight and we could bond over it. After all, we were brand new to each other, we needed something to help bond us. Pretty soon we could run an entire mile non-stop. Then two miles. Then three. I searched online for articles on running, looking for running tips. I started running on my own, without my wonderful dog in tow. I found a running forum. I started a running log. Then, I followed the advice for beginning runners and signed up for a 5k. This progression over a couple of months is when I became a runner. Somewhere, somehow, I began to be interested in running, it was no longer something I did to be physically fit. It was something I did to be mentally fit as well. I stopped taking my anti-depressants which had been prescribed to me for post-partum depression. The mental high I got from my running was more than enough to sustain my good moods.

A 5k, an 8k, a 5 mile race, 10 mile race, half marathon, marathon training … geeze! It just snowballed. There was no stopping me. I was totally hooked.

Now I get it.

Take It And Run Thursday

13 Aug

It’s that time again over at the Runners’ Lounge – TIaRT.

Erin asked the following question: How do you decide how far/long to run when you aren’t following a predetermined training plan? Do you base it on a training plan? On the route? Or on something else entirely?

This is actually an easy one for me. Between training cycles I target a certain mileage I would like to sustain. Generally, this is around 25 miles a week. That is my starting point. I figure I’m going to keep my long run distance between 8-10 miles so that leaves about 15 miles or so for the rest of the week. Then I just split that number amongst 4 other runs during the week. It’s that easy. I am extremely flexible with my running during the off-season, so if something comes up which prevents me from running I don’t sweat it too much. Keeping my weekly distance in the mid-20 range and my long runs in the 8-10 mile range enables me to begin my next training cycle/plan with relative ease.

Shake It Out

9 Jul

Today is the day I send in my registration for the 10th Annual Blue Eagle 5k Run. Yikes! On that date it will have been 10½ months since I’ve toed the line, which seems like an eternity. I’m already a nervous wreck just thinking about it, especially since my coach told me that my splits from yesterday are the pace I should be running for the 5k. Um, are you serious? This 5k is step 2 in my SOS training.

Step 1 – speed work and mileage (the training)
Step 2 – testing things out, a.k.a. 5k
Step 3 – re-evaluate, revamp
Step 4 -HM training run
Step 5 – re-evaluate, revamp
Step 6 – Goal Race

I’m feeling pretty good after the intervals. I thought perhaps my legs would be sore at the very least. I took my recovery run nice and slow this morning. Mile 1: 9:34 – perfect. Mile 2: 9:03 – hey, what happened? C’est la vie.

Alrighty, here’s something fun for you. Over at the Runners Lounge it’s Take It and Run Thursday and today’s theme is My Running Set To Music.

Ok, admit it – once or twice you have envisioned your training or running set to music when you thought about how this part of your life would be depicted in the movie they made about you. You might have come up with a few ideas of what song they would play as they flashed different scenes of your training, or maybe what songs would perfectly capture each mile of your run. No need to keep it to yourself – share it! Tell us what songs you would use to tell the story of your training and running.

I have a specific running playlist that I listen to from time to time during my runs. Sometimes I feel like I need the energy boost that music gives, on my tempo runs for instance. Other times I just want to listen to some music instead of vegging out quietly on my runs, which is often the case. Anyway, there are definitely a couple songs that are my favorite to run to, that really speak to me about about my running.

One of my favorites is by New Radicals, You Get What You Give. My favorite lines are highlighted in red below.

Don’t let go, You’ve got the music in you
One dance left, This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up, You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget you only get what you give

Some of my other favorites that really get my feet moving are:

Alive – Love and Rockets
Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies
Dum Dum – Butthole Surfers (this has a great beat)
Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction

What are your favorite running songs? I could stand to create a new playlist and you can help.

Take It And Run Thursday

30 Apr

It’s that time again … TIaRT. This week’s theme is … Time and Balance.

I think Joy said it best, it’s not about finding the time to run, it’s about making the time to run. If I don’t add working out into my daily schedule it is so easy to lose my grip of time and get caught up with all the other million little things that need to be done. The easiest way ensure that I get my run, bike or strength workout finished is to schedule it in every single day. No excuses, no exceptions (except for illness, which I have no control over.)

So, the routine in our household is to hop in the car and drive the three miles to the gym. Freckle Face and Peanut love the babysitting room and that makes the entire experience so much easier since they spend a good hour to hour and a half in there.

Every morning, Monday through Friday, this is what we do. No excuses.

It does hamper some of my relationships. I’d love to meet up with friends for coffee or at the playground but when they can only get together in the mornings and I can only get together in the afternoons, well let’s just say that I sacrifice my friend time in order to work out. Babysitting at the gym is only available to me in the mornings and I am not about to give that up. Not if I want to remain sane. Not if I want to work out.

Running … well, that’s another story. I wake up before my husband does so that I can get out the door and get my run in before he leaves for work. I love running and watching the sun rise and this is no sacrifice to me at all since the morning has always been my favorite time of day. I love watching a beautiful sunrise, and let’s face it, every sunrise is beautiful. Every day of life is worth celebrating and for me that is what a sunrise signifies, celebrating a new day of life. My early morning running is how I celebrate each new dawn in my life. And I always feel rejuvenated after these runs.

There is no struggle for me in finding a balance between running and working out and all the other things I need to do in my life. This is just the way it is and by making the time for it I am setting an example for my children that I hope they will exemplify.

“Live hard and run strong.” – sneakersister (yea, that’s my motto)