Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Total mileage this week: 11.5. 8 miles on 5/12, 3.5 on 5/16. That’s it.

Cross training:

5/13 6 mile hike

5/14 walking, strength

5/15 Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred level 1 – 5 lb & 10 lb

5/17 Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred level 2 – 5 lb

My shins have been driving me crazy! My run on Saturday seemed fine (a tiny bit of pain after about 7 miles, but that’s it), but then I went on a hike the next day and ouch! They started to hurt. I tried to be soooo good, so I didn’t run till Wednesday. And then they hurt again. So that was my running for the week. I’m just not sure what to do. I’m seriously being so good, but things don’t seem to get better. L


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This weekend I did something crazy and daring that is going to shock everyone.

Are you ready?

I bravely entered a running store. A running store, people!

What? No one’s impressed? You think I’m a crazy person?

But, it really is a big deal for me, because I’m scared of expensive things AND sales people…things that come in great supply at specialized running stores.

But, I realized that when it comes to choosing shoes that are good for my shins, I really didn’t know what I was doing. And I thought that maybe if I consulted with someone who did know, I might be able to do something that would be really good for my body (but, admittedly, bad for my checkbook).

So, I took a deep breath and went to a running store. And they were nice to me there. And hopefully got me some shoes that will help me. AND if the shoes don’t help, I can return them even if they’re covered in mud. So that’s nice.

The sales girl said that I “overpronate,” and that I should get a stability shoe to help keep my feet in the right place. She also said that my feet are pretty much the exact same size, which means I’m much superior to the average person. Okay, it really just means my feet are almost the same size, which she said is very unique.

So things went well at the running store. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be…well, you know, until I had to pay.

My new Brooks Adrenalines. So far, so good!

So, after leaving I was thinking, “What if these shoes turn out to be no good for some reason? Then what will I do?” And I had to remind myself that if they do turn out to be no good, it’s okay, because their return policy says I can return my shoes at any time for any reason. So it’s all going to be okay.

I also check Zappos.com to price compare, and the shoes were the same price at Zappos…so yes, they were 3x the price that I have ever paid for a pair of running shoes, but apparently they were priced right on par with what other people charge as well.

Tell me the best thing about specialty running stores…or tell me about your running store fear, if you’re afraid like me!

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Maybe I will get clobbered by all the smarties out there in the blogger world for being honest about this, but I’m going to be. (I actually don’t think I’ll get clobbered, because I think most runners struggle with this).

2 weeks ago I went to the doctor to be xrayed for a stress fracture due to some localized pain on my right shin. She told me I didn’t have a fracture and instead had “medial tibial stress syndrome” In other words, I have shin splints. I took a full week off from running and just began running again 1 week ago with a new plan of how to be better to my body and my shins.

Well, after running some hills (which felt just fine at the time), my shins hurt like a mother the next day. The morning after that (2 days later) they still hurt. I decided I needed to continue to treat them at work, so I wrapped them in ace bandages prior to going to work….

Shins wrapped and ready to go to work!

…But when I got home from work it was just such a beautiful day. And my muscles were begging to be run. So I submitted to their desires and I went for a run. (I was careful to run in the grass instead of on the pavement).

Yes, I took this photo while running. And yes, I heel-strike, which may be a huge part of why my shins hurt. But I’m too old to learn to run different. And yes, running in the grass is not safe. I nearly twisted my ankle 3 times.

I’m struggling to figure out the balance here. I don’t want to hurt myself worse by running when I shouldn’t…but I don’t understand how my legs are supposed to get stronger (and therefore not have my shins overworked) unless I run. If I was in real pain, it-hurts-when-I-run type pain, I wouldn’t run. But that’s not the pain I have. I just have a dull, achy, easy-to-ignore pain that comes and goes throughout the day and does not hurt when I run. So I ran. And maybe that’s bad. But the next day things didn’t feel worse.  So I might continue to run even if I have a little bit of pain.

Feeling so happy and sweaty after my run.

Please don’t yell at me.

How do you decide when to push through and when to rest? What’s the line for you?

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When I was a child, I remember admiring my friends’ trophies. As an unathletic kid, trophies were an absolute novelty to me. I thought they were amazing and I really wanted one…but since I didn’t play sports, I never had any of my own.

Despite my lack of athleticism, I managed to play on a sports team for two seasons: Seventh grade basketball, and tenth grade rugby. Neither of these sports resulted in me receiving any sort of medal or trophy.

Maybe that’s why medals are still a big deal to me. I really want a medal when I run a race! It means something to me. It means I’ve accomplished something big, something real.

On the other hand, I don’t care for race t-shirts. Actually, they make me a little bit anxious. I’ve spent so much of my life participating in activities that involved free t-shirts. T-shirts that either were never worn again, or if I was feeling particularly generous, were used as pajama t-shirts. I really hate being wasteful so I’d rather not be given one, because when I am given one, I feel guilty for not wanting to wear it.

But, like I said, I want the medals. Medals are so special!

My desire for medals has gotten a little out of control. Due to volunteering for the Tacoma City Marathon, I can get a discount off of another race being produced by the Tacoma City Marathon Association. There are two half-marathons, one that has a really exciting course and one that has a really uneventful course. The obvious choice was the exciting course, right? Well, one would think so…the only problem is that the one with the exciting course has traditionally given out finisher’s glasses instead of medals.

This clumsy-child-turned-athlete is not interested in a glass. I want a medal that I can proudly wear around my neck for at least an hour or two following the race.

So, what’s a girl to do? Choose a less-exciting course just so that I can get the medal I want? Or choose the exciting course but miss out on the satisfaction of having earned a medal?

Thankfully, I recently learned that things have changed, and the race with the more exciting course will now give finishers medals instead of a glass!

Woo-hoo! I no longer have to obsess with my childish desire for a medal and how that’s crazily influencing my race choice! I now can make a grown-up decision, because my childish desires will be fulfilled regardless of which race I choose! See you at the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon…wearing my ballin’ finisher’s medal!

Question: What’s your favorite thing to get for finishing a race?

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Guess what? I went for a run yesterday! My first run since being scared I had a stress fracture! It felt so. so. so. good.

Feeling so good!

Besides feeling amazing, it was also super fun because Husband Saign came along! Did you know how much more fun running is with a friend? It’s so fun! I tricked Husband Saign into coming along by telling him we had to run four miles for May the fourth be with you day! I tried to get him to dress up like Han Solo, but he refused.

Luckily Ada the Dog doesn’t know how to refuse costumes…

Happy she was to be Yoda.

I also had my first run in compression socks! I’m not sure if they improved my performance or enhanced my recovery, but I liked the feel of the pressure on my legs. They felt great!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Directionally Challenged…

This past weekend, I decided to do my long run at a local park that has tons of trails on it. I have already been lost at this park in the past, and therefore knew that GPSs (GPSi?) don’t work very well there. (The GPS will tell you you’re one place, and then suddenly bounce you to another place).

I therefore decided to beat the system by avoiding the GPS altogether. I went to the park website and identified two trails to take. If I took both trails, I would go my 8 miles. I knew that the trails were all marked with signposts, so I didn’t think it would be all that hard. I planned to time the 8 miles, and while that wouldn’t give me much indication of my pace while running, at least I could check afterwards to see how I had done.

I got to the park and found a trail. All was well, because I happened to be entering the trail at a place where the two trails overlapped. Therefore, I could run one of the trails, and when I returned to the place where I entered the trail, I would be able to take the other trail. Perfect!

Or so I thought…

I hadn’t run for very far, when I came to a Y in the trail. The signposts pointed in 3 directions for the trail I wanted: The way I had just come from, straight ahead, and to the right. How was I to know which way to go? I ran straight ahead, and after running for a bit, I realized that I was most certainly going in the wrong direction. Dang it. I ran back to the Y, and took the other trail.

If you're going to get lost on a trail, it might as well look like this!

I figured it wasn’t that bad, I wouldn’t know my pace from today, but I could still somewhat guesstimate time and distance.

You know, until I came to a place where the trail crossed a road…and I couldn’t figure out where it continued on the other side. I ran one way up the road, and realized that it was wrong. Then I ran the other way, and found the trail. This happened several times.

Okay, so I would have no idea how far I had run, but if I just made sure to run at least 80 minutes, I would surely have gone much farther than my desired 8 miles, since that would give me 10 minute miles. (I was pretty confident that I was running more like 9:15 miles, but I didn’t want to cheat on my mileage, so I decided to go for 80 minutes).

Well, that seemed just fine…until I noticed that my running watch was stuck at 49:00. Great. No idea of mileage, or of time. Oh well, I figured I’d finish up this first trail, which was supposed to be 5 miles, but given all my mistaken switch backs was likely more like 6 miles, and then just run a little bit on the 2nd trail, and turn back after a mile or so, to make sure I got my 8 miles.

This seemed like a fine plan…until I reached the same milepost that I had encountered at the beginning of my run that pointed me in 3 directions for the trail I wanted. Oops, I had passed my starting point without even noticing it. Ugh! No sense of direction!

Do you see that gray smudge on that trail? That's Ada the Dog. She's wondering why we're running in circles. Meanwhile, I don't even realize that we've already been here!

I continued on the trail that I had already run, and then turned around after about 10 minutes, confident that I could find my way back to the car, and confident that I had run more than 8 miles.

I then got a little lost on the way back to the car.

I eventually made it to my car.

I'm ecstatic to have somehow finally made it to my car!

I’m thinking that in order to make sure I stay on goal for my training, I have to avoid trails where GPS does not work. I have no idea how far I ran or how fast…

The trails are so beautiful though, maybe I’ll make it an every-other-week thing so I can still try to stay on pace.

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I knew it was inevitable. I live in the Pacific Northwest. I decided to start training for a marathon. I knew that this would mean running in the rain.

I don’t know when I became such a wuss about rain. I grew up in Minnesota, where we are tough and can handle all types of weather. I used to LOVE running in the rain because it was like having a natural cooling system while running. I actually used to see rain and think, “Yay! It’s raining! I’m going to go for a run!” (Weird, right?)

Then something happened…I moved to Southern California. Where it sort-of-almost doesn’t rain. This is when my aversion to any weather other than blue skies and 70-85 degrees began. I got used to the comfortable weather, and though I have not lived in Los Angeles for 1.5 years, I still haven’t learned to accept weather conditions outside of those listed above. Ah, I love blue skies and 80 degree days, with 0 humidity! Perfect for running!

So…after living in LA, I went from loving running in the rain to avoiding the rain like the plague. And now here I am, in the Pacific Northwest. Where it rains everyday. Well, it feels like it rains everyday. This is partly why I’ve gotten so out of shape and why training for this marathon is such a huge challenge for me…until this week, I wouldn’t run if it was raining out.

But I’m facing my fears. Because if Hal Higdon says I’m supposed to run, then I have to run, even if it’s raining out. Two of my 5 runs in the last week were in the rain. The first one was an easy 3-miler. It wasn’t raining when I left, but started raining after about a mile. I think that worked out well, because I didn’t have the chance to decide not to run. I started running and was sort of tricked into doing it in the rain. I ended up being surprised, because it really wasn’t so bad after all! The only bad part was the reprimand I got from my husband upon my return home for not putting a raincoat on the dog. (Yes, we’re crazy, our dog has a raincoat. You know what’s even crazier? I sewed that raincoat myself).

My second rain-run wasn’t so nice and easy as the first. It was 7 miles. I don’t have a nice running watch, so I’ve been tracking my runs on my phone. I didn’t want to get my phone wet, so I put it in a plastic sandwich baggie. Yep, there I was, running around town looking like I didn’t know the difference between a phone and a sandwich.

my sandwich...I mean phone.

Anyway, as I’m reflecting on it now, the 7-mile rain-run wasn’t so bad in and of itself. There was one point when I was trying to cut into the park, and because of road construction they had blocked of the entrance. In order to get around it, I had to jump a little barrier straight into a 6-inch muddle (muddy puddle). Other than that, it really was kind of fun…

…Until I got back from the run. My running clothes were soaked, and I was suddenly freezing. I shivered and shivered and couldn’t get warm. I took a hot shower and couldn’t get warm. I put my snowboarding jacket on over another jacket and went to Target. The checkout girl asked me if it was really that cold out that I needed two jackets. That’s when I realized…no, it wasn’t that cold out! My rain-run had cursed me, and I couldn’t warm up! Grr, rain, I hate you!

dirty shoe

Okay, so if I’m going to keep up with my training, I’ve got to focus on the positive. I will run in the rain. I can do it. I’m tough.

Also, have you ever noticed that colors seem brighter in the rain? Amazing!

picture taken right after my rain-run.

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