Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Another Mother Runner Challenge

Everyone in the running blog world seems to be on board with the Runner's World Summer Running Streak. From their website: Run at least one mile per day, every day, starting on Memorial Day (Monday, 5/28) and ending on Independence Day (Wednesday, 7/4). That's 38 consecutive days of running.

I like the idea of having something to motivate me over the next month as I try to build my fitness as much as possible before my half marathon training officially begins. But there are a couple things holding me back from this challenge.

1. I have never been able to run anything more than 2 days in a row. Ever. Even though I know that the requirement is only 1 mile a day at the least. 

2. Between my work schedule, the kids' schedules and Brent schedules, I know that there are going to be days where I literally can not go out to run. And I have no home treadmill to fall back on.

So that is why I was psyched to see this post from my favorite ladies over at Another Mother Runner. Instead of running every single day, you plan for at least 5 workouts per week. They don't have to be runs, but you do have to "move with determination and focus". Any activity counts - cycling, spinning, yoga, pilates, strength training, swimming, etc etc etc. At least one day each week is a mandatory rest day. Now, that's a rule I can get behind.

This is a streak I can handle.

I'm All In!

Currently I am having a minor panic attack in filling out my plans on the calendar because there are a couple of things up in the air....namely, whether or not I join a training group for the half marathon. Regardless. I can fill it in as I go along. I think it will be a great way to get through the month of June.

Plus the little motivation of a free bumper sticker for successfully completing the challenge!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I spoke too soon....

So last week I was all "Yay! I am running faster!". Well, my left hip and lower back responded with "Eff that!"

I have spent the entire weekend icing my lower back. I tried to get Brent to take a picture of me "icing my butt" but he would have none of it. Now I have nothing to remind me of how awesome this past weekend truly was. Bummer.

I've also been searching Google, trying to self-diagnose my pain (because that is always a great idea). I have narrowed it down to a strained piriformis. I've been foam rolling, stretching and icing like crazy. It was feeling a ton better on Monday morning. Ok, maybe it wasn't. But I was dying to try my new Garmin out. So instead of the 5 miles I had planned, I went out for 3. I made sure to stretch really well before and especially after.

Love my new Garmin! I spent more time analyzing my run
than I did actually running.

Guess what? It was a HUGE mistake to go running yesterday. My hip/lower back were pretty sore. I was mad at myself because I knew better than to push it too early. But I was dying to run. I spent the rest of the day icing and stretching and cursing myself.

Today I am a little better. I have an 8k race on Saturday that I am not feeling 100% prepared for. But I want to try anyway. I suppose that means resting up and not being stupid until then.

In happier news, while I was not icing my ass this weekend, the kids and I went up to my parents' to check out their new additions.


New ducklings! They were the cutest things EVER!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yay for Progress!

I really feel like I have been taking my list on how to be a better runner to heart this week!

First there was a little cross training in the form of spin class on Monday night.

Wednesday was my weekly hill challenge. I made it through the super hilly 3 mile course in 33:53 (average pace 11:17). This includes walking and running. This time is about one and a half minutes faster than last week and just over five minutes faster than my first time. I love seeing progress.

Happy hill runner!

This morning I reluctantly woke up early and headed out for a run around Duke before work. I had no real route mapped out, which is really odd for me. I just ran.

Duke University, aka "The Gothic Wonderland".
Very scenic route today!

I ended up covering 3 miles in 30:35 (average pace 10:11). WTH? This pace is almost a full minute faster than my normal pace. I know I was pushing it as I was more than willing to stop at intersections and walk up a couple of hills. But I had no idea! I was super psyched when I saw this at the end of my run.

I may not be winning any races yet, but I'm getting better!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My new BFF

What was I doing tonight, you ask?

Oh you didn't ask?

Doesn't matter, I am going to tell you anyway.

I was making a new BFF.  It was this guy...

My new BFF, Bart Yasso.

Who is Bart Yasso? Oh you know, just the Chief Running Officer of Runner's World magazine. Running icon. All around badass.

Anyway, we're tight now.

It all started with a simple tweet to one of my new favorite running bloggers.

To which I responded:

Then Bart totally hand picked me to be his new buddy.

Call me sometime, Bart. We'll go for a run together. Or rather, I can run while you walk beside me because I am pretty sure that after a bazillion marathons and a few Ironmans, you are a little faster than me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thoughts on How to Become a Better Runner


I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am an emotional person. I over analyze pretty much everything and I am plagued with self doubt. At times, these personality traits are not a super stellar combination.

Currently nasty little thoughts are having their way with me. I'm too slow to be a runner. It is ridiculous to have a blog about running when my pace hovers at 11 minutes. I'm too fat to be a runner. I don't run far enough to be a runner. Really. It is awesome to be in my head.

So today I am trying to simmer it down a little and approach this rationally. The only way for me to become a better runner is to quit whining about it and just run. And while that sounds simple enough, I know that "just running" isn't going to get me to where I want to be. That is how I approached my half marathon last year and, while I finished the race, I did not quite achieve the goal I had in mind.

So as I am about to start this year's half marathon training cycle I am thinking of all of the things I can do better. I have been pouring over running blogs and keeping mental notes of things I can do to become a better runner. This particular post really inspired me and really got me to thinking. So I decided to write down my own version of things I can do to become a better runner. Here they are in no particular order:

Strength training and core work: I was so lax on this last year. This year I have joined a gym and hope to go for strength training once or twice a week as time allows. I also want to incorporate  a good amount of core work. This can be easy to do while watching tv at night. Even 10 minutes a day. I think it will really help.

Stretching and foam rolling: I want to add yoga into some of my non-mornings. Foam rolling helps my tired muscles.

Oh foam roller. I love you. And I hate you.

Nutrition and hydration: I want to be smarter about what I am putting into my body and start thinking of everything I am eating and drinking as fuel for my running. Drinking enough water throughout the day every day will prevent dehydration. Choosing the right foods will fuel me properly for my runs. And hopefully, with the right nutrition, I can loose a few pound which I think will be essential for becoming a better runner.

So excited to try to the nuun flavors!

Join a training group: I am currently waiting for the registration information from my local running store for a training group geared specifically for my goal race. Hopefully it will fit within my budget to join. I typically run alone. This is due to a couple of reasons. I have not met many other runners near me. Secondly, I am so self-conscious about my running. I am slow and I would be afraid to hold someone back. But I really thinking joining a training group will help motivate me to push myself when I don't want to.

Go outside of my comfort zone: Because I run alone I rarely go outside of my comfort zone. I rarely push my pace on purpose. If I am tired I walk instead of pushing myself a little longer. I can't be afraid to leave my cushy 11 min/mile pace or run a little longer. I have to believe that with training my body will be able to do what I am asking it to do. This includes not only trying to up my pace but also working on more difficult courses. I can not avoid the hills. Hills make me stronger!

Build my base: I feel that before I can even think about moving into speedwork I have to build a solid fitness base. I am still trying to figure out what exactly that base is. In the meantime I think that instead of the typical track workout I can start incorporating some striders or short bits of tempo into my regular runs.

Cross training: I think it will be really good to have something other than running in my fitness plan. This way I can build up my fitness even more while using different muscles. Right now I have spin class on Monday evenings and want to try to add some cycling on my non-running weekend day.

So there it is. Part of my master plan for the summer. I am hopeful that with dedication and hard work I can break out of my comfort zone and see some real results.

I am waiting to see if I can get into the half marathon training group, but in the meantime I have to have some sort of rough sketch of a training plan. I am eyeing Another Mother Runner's Half Marathon Finish It plan right now. I have a month to get my schedule in order. Official training begins in July. Until then it is base fitness work.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Got Grit 5k Recap and Badass Mother Runners

So, today did not go as I had planned.

Please Ryan. Hold me.  (Source)
I was a little nervous going into today since my running lately has not been as consistant as I would have liked. But I had a couple of good runs this week and I had read that the second half of this race was downhill. I was feeling ok this morning so I was hopeful I could achieve my "A" goal of 33 minutes. The first mile was rolling hills and I think I managed them ok. There was a lot of weaving since it was a family race. There were a lot of kids who would just come to a complete stop right in front of you.

Mile 1: 10:36  Pretty good by my standards

Mile 2 fell apart on me. My head got in the way telling me there was no way I could finish the hills and still run 2 more miles. I stopped to walk a couple of times. 

Mile 2: 11:52  Arg.

Right around the halfway point the downhill portion started and that was glorious. It was fun and I felt strong.  But then after they flattened out my mind started being a little bitch again. Telling me I couldn't keep up the pace. I started to struggle and was discouraged when I saw that I was not going to make 33 minutes. Running was getting more and more difficult. Especially as I saw my "B" goal of running faster than my last 5k (33:54) slipping away as well. I stopped to walk about 500 feet from the finish. But I decided that was ridiculous and ran to the end.

Mile 3: 10:06 Oh hell yeah

Final time: 34:30  Avg pace 11:07

So when I was done I was all...

Wahhh! I didn't run good!

After a few minutes of pouting to Brent, the good running endorphins started taking over and I started thinking about the good things. The weather was amazing. And I am able to run. Maybe I am a slow runner, but I run and I have fun doing it. Today was fun. Then I was all...

Yay! Running makes me happy! Even crappy runs make me happy!

Overall, the race was small. But it was pretty well organized and the course was great. The race swag was pretty decent as well. Instead of a shirt we got a hat and some socks.

So after dusting myself off and getting over the fact that I did not PR in this race, I headed out to Raleigh to the Ramblin' Rose Triathlon expo to meet Sarah and Dimity from Another Mother Runner.  If you are not familiar, these ladies are the co-authors of my two running bibles - Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother. They host a pretty active Facebook page for women/mother runners who like me are trying to be better runners and to balance that with the demands of work and family life. It is truly a great group of women. The support and camaraderie is amazing. Sarah and Dimity also share podcasts with even more great tips and discussions.

So I made the 40 minute drive out to Raleigh to meet them. I was a little nervous, but they were so incredibly nice and we had a nice chat before they gave a little talk about running and triathlons. They were great and it was totally worth the drive.

Dimity and SBS, my (tall) running gurus.

So that was my day. A lot of running stuff going on which makes me happy. The weather was awesome and I spent the rest of the day playing with the kids and Brent on the front lawn. Fantastic!

And just because I think this Tumblr site is hilarious I leave with this:

Thank you, Ryan. I am a runner.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time to Get Serious

Seriously, serious.

Life has taken over in the past couple of weeks. My big girl job has been busy. Brent's job has been busy. The stomach bug took us all down.

Needless to say my running has suffered. I am on my way to my first double digit weekly mileage in about 3 weeks.

I can't sit here and make excuses for why I have not been as consistent as I would like to be. All I can do is dust off and get moving.  This week has been great so far. I had a great long run of 5 miles on Monday night and then a good 3 mile hill run last night. I have been doing some planking. I really want to step it up some on the weight training as well.

I am looking forward to this weekend. I have a local 5k on Saturday morning. In the afternoon I am going to hear the ladies from Another Mother Runner speak in Raleigh. I am so excited to meet them! Then Sunday is Brent's birthday and we'll have the family over for dinner. Should be a fun time!