Category Archives: Run Away.

An 8-week challenge headed towards a 10k.

10 Thoughts I Have On a Long Run

 

Every time I run in the morning, my steps “goal” is achieved in short order.

 

As a busy, part-time working, mostly-SAHM of three, and a fairly recent long-distance runner, I think a lot about random things while running. I do a lot of over-analyzing, some to-do list building, and some praying. I mean, I’m training for a half-marathon and that takes a lot of time of feet hitting pavement. All that considered, here are a few things that go through my head often while I’m out on a long run.

1. Do I know someone close by? I need to pee. Having three kids has pretty much wrecked my bladder. A friend recently recommended Kegels. I told her I thought that was some bullshit.

2. This is my fastest run ever! This is rarely true. Typically it’s just a bare-minimum pace, combined with a train of thought that’s made me feel like time has passed more quickly.

3. This is my slowest run ever! This is more likely than #2. However, it’s also not always true. Sometimes I’m actually running quickly, but the song I am listening to is too slow. I feel like my feet aren’t hitting the pavement quickly enough.

4. Do I need a snack before I run any farther? I have learned that if I haven’t eaten enough calories (or the right calories) before my run – since I often run in the morning – I’m going to get super tired after mile 4 or so. I’ve been packing some light snack options in that tiny pocket in my leggings. You know, something I can eat while running, without feeling the need to vomit afterwards. This is either a milestone of reaching a distance that feels really far for my body, or else a milestone of being 31 and too tired for this mess.

5. Haven’t I heard this song already? I only take my phone with me to listen to music. I use my FitBit for tracking, and make my iPhone an iPod. I don’t have many songs downloaded on there, and so when I put it on shuffle, and run for an hour, it’s actually possible that I start hearing things a second time. But I’m never quite sure… because what if that was yesterday? My memory’s going.

6. But seriously, when do the park bathrooms open? It’s March, it’s not that cold, and I’d like the bathrooms at my neighborhood running park to open up so that I can pee between mile 2 and 3, and again between mile 5 and 6. It’s a thing. I need to pee. All the time. (Let’s just say it’s because I’m super hydrated.)

7. Tomorrow I’m totally running 8 miles. Or however many miles I think is way farther than today. Because today isn’t a good day for it, but tomorrow will be. Right now, I’m a little tired.

8. Please Lord, don’t let me bite the dust. Inevitably, I get super tired on the stretch just before the homestretch. When I’m almost back to my house, I’m all, “Sweet! Just another half mile!” But just before then, I’m all, “Why did I ever let myself run for this many minutes in a row? I clearly am not hydrated or energized enough for this. I made a horrible decision and I’m going to chip my teeth on the sidewalk when I fall.” But I’m definitely not being over-dramatic about the situation.

9. These leggings are totally too big. I usually run in leggings, especially this time of year before it’s too warm. Recently, I’ve been having issues finding leggings that don’t ride up, or slide down, or twist, or keep me too warm, or let too much wind in. I have several different brands, and they’re all fine, but not amazing. Any tips for me, the OCD running queen?

10. I must be crazy to think I can do this. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles. The farthest I’ve gone recently is 7.2 miles. It seems I have a ways to go. I MUST BE CRAZY, Y’ALL.

But hey! Running makes me feel good, look good, and be able to talk like a crazy exercise freak with a lot of other people, including strangers. Cheers to the insane runners!

When you’re about to get REAL serious about running. 

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve signed up for a fitness challenge and I can’t decide whether I’m so excited I could jump out of my skin, or I’m so nervous I could… um… have to run to the bathroom. Like I’ll be doing in the middle of every workout because CHILDBIRTH KILLS BLADDERS.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about where I am right now in my fitness journey.

I’ve decided to train for a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles, in case you’ve somehow never driven behind that annoying person who’s got a sticker on their rear windshield. (And yes, if I am able to complete a half marathon, I will forever be that annoying SUV in front of you with the very same sticker. Because DANG THAT IS FAR.)

When I decided to train, I had been running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week, plus at least one other weight-based workout per week, and probably some yoga. That was a little less than a month ago. During this month that I’ve thought about really getting my game on and running until my legs fall off, I started back up talking to a running friend of mine, who coincidentally leads a mom’s fitness group here in town called Stroller Strength (here’s the link if you’re local!). Melissa is amazing, encouraging and inspiring, and when I realized it was challenge time (I’ve done three of these babies before) I jumped out of my skin with excitement and anticipation.

There are definitely chemicals released when you work out (Endorphins, I love you.) and I think I released them immediately when I got on board with this challenge. Here are a few things that are involved with the challenge:
1. Friends. I realized that some friends I’d made during my stints with SS in the past were still going, and I’ve already met some new gals I’m excited to get to know. It’s always more fun when you’re not alone, and accountability makes a HUGE difference when you’ve set a fitness goal you’re trying to actually achieve. Melissa also puts us on goal-based teams, so naturally I’m on a running team, and I’m psyched.
2. Food/Exercise/Water/Rest Log. This baby is DETAILED, and we check up on each other’s logs throughout the 9-week challenge. We also have clean eating weeks (cutting out all processed foods) where we cut even more crap out of our diets for a week at a time. It’s magical (and so hard).
3. Extra workouts. This is everything from regular SS class (boot-camp style weights workout), “fun run” together, yoga, Sculpt class (for toning) and running my booty off on my own time until I achieve my goals. When I’m mid-challenge, I shoot for a workout of some sort every day, even if it’s short, even if it’s not strenuous. Get moving, burn calories and build muscle. Every. Single. Day.
4. Meticulous scheduling. I don’t usually work out at the same time every day. I don’t even work out on the same days a week. But this time, I’ve got a few more things going on if I want to make it to lots of classes and get my miles in. Obviously, the farther I run, the longer it takes, so I have to plan longer and longer into my schedule the farther I am able to go. Also, one of the classes is on a morning that I work, so I have committed to making it to the other two classes a week EVERY WEEK to make the most of them. Perk: I can bring the kids to class if I need to. Best thing about SS, ever. I’m gonna have to start sleeping in my workout clothes to save time.

I already feel like I’m in a pretty good place, fitness-wise, because I eat fairly healthy most of the time, I’m already working out regularly, and I’m enjoying this healthy lifestyle instead of being miserable in it like some folks are (shout out to you guys, because it’s tough to do it when you don’t like it). But my goals are steep. They’re things I’ve never done before, and that’s scary. Here goes…

Goal (9 weeks from now): Register for and run (read: survive) a half marathon. I will be adding a little bit about upper body strength to this, because that’s a separate goal that won’t necessarily just come alongside my runner’s training.

Halfway goal (so 4.5 weeks from now): Survive ten miles. In a row. I know right. That’s WAY more than half a half marathon. (Say THAT five times fast!)

For the past couple of months, my “goals” when I go out to run are to make sure every single mile is under 10 minutes, and to make sure my first two miles are under 9:30 or so. Those are loose goals, and I don’t always keep to them. But today at our baseline weigh-ins/stat recording, my timed mile was 8:31 and my 400m “sprint” was 1:39. I already started faster than I thought I would, but I think that has to do with being on an actual track. I typically run in my neighborhood, which is hilly, so my miles aren’t as accurate. I’m going to have to adjust my perspective on timing when I’m running on a track, apparently.

In other semi-related news, today while grocery shopping at Costco, I happened upon ONE LAST FITBIT Charge 2 in my size. It was destiny. I’ve been looking at those, Garmin running watches, and the Apple Watch, and just hadn’t decided what to get until today. So now that I’ve got a tool to use, I’m going to get used to it (and get it used to me) and be obsessed with it for the next nine weeks at LEAST. You’re welcome.

SO! Now that you’ve gotten a complete update on how I’m working on my fitness (cue the song that will be in your head all day) you can say you’re keeping me accountable. Is anyone else working on their fitness? Tell me your goals! Tell me your process! I’m open to suggestions and can’t wait to hear if you’re committed to a health goal, also!

A Time Out for Mommy

My lungs are burning, I thought.  Whether from cold or effort I don’t know. 

That was the first real thought of what might have been a hundred during my first mile.

It’s been too long since my last run… especially since I’m pushing this double stroller.

Why didn’t I pack tissues?! There was room in the stroller for goodness sake!

If my fingertips are this numb, how are my kids doing? Why didn’t I make them wear gloves? Worst mom ever!

Gosh, I have to pee. I know. Pregnant with my third kid and I have to pee. Big surprise.

How many times is EK gonna drop that blanket? I’m never going to make it for three miles if I’m stopping every ten feet.

This is just a sampling of how my mind rambles while I’m running. It’s extremely silly sometimes, how my mind will come up with anything to think about besides the work it’s doing. And the truth was that even though it had been awhile since my last run, I wasn’t even working that hard. What was hard was the cold, my runny nose, and the fact that I always have to go to the bathroom.

But I needed the time out. Time outdoors. Time out in the sunshine (which has been hit or miss these days). Time out for my kiddos – not like a punishment, but a total removal from their current situation (sitting inside, toddling along after me, asking to be picked up). Time out of my normal laundry-dishes-picking-up routine. Time out from my “feed the kids, change a diaper, clean, repeat” routine. A mama can only put together 2732 puzzles before she needs a time out.

And y’all, when I tell you I need a time out, I’m serious. I get frustrated easily. Call it hormones, call it a generational curse, call it whatever you want. But I do. I work on it all day, every day. I pray about it. I have others pray with me about it. But I’m human, and I lose patience and lose resolve. So when I need to get rid of some frustration, I like going on a run. Winter is the worst, because my time out can’t happen if it’s below about 45 degrees (yes, I’m a weenie and I hate the cold). But when it’s 45 or above, my double jogging stroller is my best friend, who understands my venting and my struggles. Okay, fine. “Understands” is a stretch, but you get the idea. At least the stroller doesn’t struggle back.

Sometimes, I’m in need of more than just a run. I’m in need of a run to Jesus. I pray harder every mile. I pray for myself, I pray for my kids, my Hubby, my friends, my family. I pray for grace as a mama. I pray for patience and a clean heart. I pray that the 25 minute nap that J got in the stroller will last him till bedtime. I pray that I won’t collapse going up the last hill before I’m home. I pray because I need Jesus so much. I know that he’s the only one who truly understands, and can cleanse me and mold me into a more perfect woman in his sight.

Running in the Cold

Up until these past couple of weeks, I’ve always thought working out or running in the cold was terrible… hurting lungs, hurting ears, hurting skin… oh yeah, and runny nose. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t do more than 5 minutes of exercise in the cold without these things plaguing me SO MUCH that I quit right then.

However, the last few times I’ve gone out for a run, it’s been chilly, but I haven’t been miserable! Maybe I’m getting used to it, maybe I’m growing up, or maybe I was just dressed appropriately for once. But I really enjoyed my cold work outs all three times! Here’s what I did that I might not normally do:

Layer. I wore my favorite exercise leggings, and one of my Champion sleeveless workout shirts, then added a thin fleece pullover and an ear band. My ears getting cold is the WORST, so the ear band was a necessity, which leads me to…

Head gear. I don’t really like my entire head to be covered (when I get hot I want some of the heat to get out) so I wear a band to cover my ears. Specifically, I’ve been wearing Hubby’s 1994 “turtle fur”. Weird, I know. It’s neon green. At least I won’t get hit by a car?

You don't need to tell me how attractive that head band is.
You don’t need to tell me how attractive that head band is.

Music. I know, I know… most people listen to music when they run. But 1. I have weird ears that HATE headphones, and 2. I’m terrified of being hit by a car that I didn’t hear because my music was too loud in the headphones that I can’t wear. So I used my iPhone armband, and just blasted the music out loud instead of wearing headphones. I guess everyone could hear me coming from a quarter mile away, but eh, who cares?

Chapstick. And. Hand lotion. These things are essentials. I hate gloves, so hand lotion keeps me from getting chapped hands, and lip balm of some sort (I’m digging Rodan & Fields Lip Shield) keeps me from licking my lips and causing cracks and splits.

Blow your nose. I know this isn’t practical for everyone, but I am close enough to my neighborhood Lowe’s to incorporate it into my workout. So I’ve been running there, and I can pop in and blow my nose! That way I don’t have to carry anything with me, or blow snot rockets in people’s front yards. And, while I’m there, sometimes I also do a little bladder emptying as well. You know, because, I’ve given birth twice and I pee a lot. (TMI. Sorry.)

So those are my tips. You might already be doing those things, and if you are, why didn’t you tell me about them?! I know, I should’ve known.

Happy Running!

My First 10k Is COMPLETE!

Y’all. On Saturday (yesterday), I RAN A 10K! I deserve some props, yeah?!

My sweet friend Aida (this race was her idea!) and me before the run!
My sweet friend Aida (this race was her idea!) and me before the run!

After I started training and learned what a “normal” pace was for me, I decided that my goad would be to finish the race in an hour or less. That meant I needed to keep a pace of a little less than 10 minutes per mile. I’m totally happy to say that I punched that pace and that goal in the face. I kept my pace between 8:42 (that was mile five, lots of downhills) and 9:40 (that was the first mile, aka my warm-up). My finish time (unofficial – the time that I saw on the giant clock as I crossed the finish line) was 57:11. I am SO beyond okay with that!

I had lots of friends that all killed it at the 10k, and had several more friends that killed the 5k. Let me just say, running a race with all those hills is not for the faint-hearted, no matter which race you were running. It seemed like every time I turned a corner I looked straight up another ridiculous hill. Blegh. But that made me glad that I did most of my training in my also-hilly neighborhood. Love me some Sherwood Forest!

So here’s some encouragement – I have a 10 month old baby. Because he was born in December, I didn’t even consider running until the weather warmed up a lot, so almost all of my “training” was since May, and I wouldn’t really call it actual training until August. I ran 2-4 times a week, depending on how busy I was, and when I ran (even towards the month of the race) I ran anywhere from 2.5-5.5 miles (usually with my double jogger and the kids – I didn’t run with the stroller during the race). I only ran a 10k distance once before the race. I did other workouts, like some strength training and a fair amount of yoga, but I wasn’t running nearly every day, or even working out every day. I just made up my mind that I wanted to do it, and worked in that direction till I did it. And now I love running and I’m so pumped that I was able to take part in and complete such a great, local race!

Have you run a race before? Was your experience good or bad? Has anyone else run the Ardmore RAH?!

Currently

Today I’m linking up (belatedly haha) with Hannah at Joyful Life for the next installment of the Currently series. I love building community with these fantastic bloggers who inspire me. Join us!

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T H I N K I N G || As you might know, I’ve been training for a 10K that’s on October 25th. I ran 6.23 miles (just a little over) on Monday for the first time – usually I have been doing between 4 and 5 miles – and it killed me. I am still sore. I thought that when I lost the stroller (I usually run with my double jogger and both kids) the last mile and a half would come easily. It didn’t. I managed to finish, but I was really dragging my booty at the end. I’m hoping I can get at least three more of those actual 10k-length runs in between now and the race. I’m not going for a certain time… I just want to finish!

M A K I N G || This makes me think of crafting… but Lord knows I haven’t been doing that. I love to craft, but just haven’t had the time. I will stick with making friends. Building relationships. That’s a good thing to be making, right? I’ve been learning more about the gals in my women’s small group and I love it!

A N T I C I P A T I N G || I’m really looking forward to church this Sunday. I’m leading worship at a different service since J and his cousins are getting baptized, and all of our family will be in town. It’s going to be a joyous occasion all around!

W E A R I N G || Scarves. And. Boots. And. Boots. And. Scarves. Seriously. I’m wrecked because the weather hasn’t really gotten that cool for more than a few hours at a time, so I’m sweating in my boots and scarves. Oh well, it’s October, and I’m in the right and the weather is in the wrong.

T H A N K F U L   F O R || I’m thankful right now for a mother-in-law that I not only get along with really well, but who also speaks truth and goodness into me, Hubby and the kids. She’s a fantastic lady, and she is one of the reasons our family is so darn awesome.

Here’s a little glimpse of our fall photo session from last Saturday. I’ll go into detail about it later… But we love working with Sophie Van Zandt – the best 16-year-old photographer you’ve ever seen! She always cranks out tons of cute photos of my kids and our family.

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Run Away – From Running?

Time for a confession. I went a week and a half without going on a run.

YIKES! WHAT DID SHE SAY?!

Yes, I’m training for a 10K that’s happening at the end of this month, and I just went 10 days without running. In my defense, the weather played a part. Also in my defense, I worked out in different ways than running. So I wasn’t a total bum. I just didn’t run.

When I finally got back to it, I got in 3 miles that first day. I might have been able to go longer, but I didn’t get out there quickly enough, and J decided after the second mile he needed a nap in his own crib, so I headed home. Side note: I’d like to thank Jesus for finally ending the weird spitting rain that lasted for days, and not raising the temperature too much. It’s been lovely!

But I am committed. Well, re-committed. I am going to kick the snot out of this 10K if it kills me (it might). I’m going to try getting that run out of the way right after breakfast each day, which might be hard, because I am always guzzling coffee, and it makes it… uncomfortable… to run right after it. So here’s to a few more weeks of ONE cup of coffee before my run, and the rest after it! If I want more coffee, I have to run for it!

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And on the note of running for coffee, I sometimes run to Lowe’s Foods near my house (the one on Robinhood) if I can think of a couple of things I can grab quickly and toss in the bottom of the stroller. They’ve just done a massive upgrade (that was super annoying while it was happening) including a little coffee shop right inside the door. I have now had their brewed coffee, plain espresso, and a flavored latte (pumpkin spice, of course). All were delicious, not to mention inexpensive and served with a smile; the baristas are wonderful! So if you live close by, pop in there for a warm drink while you shop!