Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring has finally arrived!

Today's temperatures will end up being close to 80 degrees, which is awesome! Tomorrow's temps are going to slightly warmer, which is even better. Unfortunately because we're all still used to cooler temps, running will be a little more difficult. We'll have to make sure to wear warmer weather clothing and keep hydrated. Hydration is always important, but because we sweat more in the heat we need more water. So here are some reminders of what you should keep in mind as the weather warms up:

- Cotton is rotten! It holds onto moisture, creating chafing and additional weight. It also doesn't breathe as much as you'd think. Wear technical clothing, including socks.

- Make sure you are hydrated. Use the color test to see how you're doing (check out the urinalysis section).

- Run in the cooler parts of the day. Keep in mind that mornings are cooler but more humid. Evenings are warmer but (for me) more convenient.

- If you have seasonal allergies, take your medicine. Once you're finished with your run, take a shower as soon as you can to get all that pollen off of your body and out of your hair.

- Wear a mesh hat or visor to keep the sun out of your eyes and face. I say mesh hat because regular ball caps trap heat, making life horrible for you. Plus I think it encourages baldness. EEK!

- Use a sports sunscreen. Neutrogena and Coppertone make great sunscreen. Apply about 30 minutes before your run so it has a chance to soak in. Plus it's less likely to run into your eyes. Ouch!!

- Have fun! Sign up for a race! Race season is upon us =)

Monday, March 29, 2010

I am a running fiend!

I had my first double run on Saturday. I ran 2 miles that morning before taking care of my errands, and then I ran another 2 with Rex that evening. I felt like such a pro LOL! Surprisingly I felt pretty good too. I had to use the "stick" to work out the lactic acid in my thighs, so Sunday I was feeling pretty good. Rex's shins were bothering him a bit, but it's mostly because he keeps using his running shoes as his every day shoes. Big nono! I now have to get him another pair of running shoes. The cure for that pain? Ice! Sunday he felt great. My Sunday? Well...

Let me state up front that this is not a running-related pain. I was vacuuming my house like crazy on Sunday. To get the tumbleweeds of kitty fur under my couch, I had to get on the floor and use the extended wand on my Dyson. Much twisting and contorting later, I felt my knee get tight and then pop very loudly. It didn't hurt much, and didn't bother me again until that night when I went to see Hot Tub Time Machine (omg hilarious!). I iced it and went to bed.

Fast forward to today, and my knee is just tender. Tonight's run may be downgraded to a walk to make sure I don't aggravate it. Treatment calls for more ice, since that seems to have helped the most.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Checking out another running trail...

In the spirit of keeping things interesting I took Rex to another running trail in our local area. We went to the Big Creek Greenway, which is a bike/running path built in the Big Creek flood plain/wetlands. This is newly developed. So new I could still smell the new chemically treated wood on one of the bridges LOL! The nice thing about this area (and the Greenway in Alpharetta, similar design) is that it's straight forward and easy to run.

What we did was our usual run 3, walk 2. To make sure we were both being challenged appropriately, I ran at my usual speed and would turn back towards the end of the 3 minutes to walk with Rex. Grand total for mileage was 2 miles! Total time spent was 30 minutes. For a beginner runner, I think that's fantastic! Rex felt great after the run. His legs were tired and a little sore, but he didn't feel exhausted. He actually felt pretty good when we were finished.

I'm planning on running a 10k next month, but so far it doesn't look like I'm totally ready. That's fine. I'll run as much as I can and walk when I need to. I feel like it will be a good primer for the Warrior Dash, which is a 5k. So far everything is going pretty well!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I need to start thinking about these places before I commit to running yeah. I decided to check out some local parks yesterday for my run. I was excited to see I live close to a lot of parks, and my county offers a lot of services and classes discounted for residents. Non-residents can join as well for a slightly higher fee. I think that's only fair. I do pay for these services on a basic level through my taxes.

So I headed out to Sawnee Mountain Preserve. I didn't think about the incline until I pulled up to the preserve. Yeah, mountain = incline. I also didn't read the description of the preserve very closely. It has hiking trails, not running paths. Things I should have picked up on earlier, but it was all good. The view on the trail is amazing, and it will be even nicer once the trees start to grow some leaves. Let me tell you what trail running is like....

I have never been so actively engaged mentally in my entire running life. There were rocks and holes everywhere, so I had to make sure I didn't fall and either sprain my foot/ankle (which I am prone to do) or just fall off the side of the mountain. Neither scenario is good. I did notice that I felt the rocks a lot under my shoes. The dirt offered a lot of give though. It felt a lot better than asphalt or especially concrete.

Was it fun? OMG YES! The time just flew! Being that involved mentally with my run not only allowed my mind to quit focusing on all the things that stress me out, but it made me pay attention to the here and now. The air felt so clean too with all the trees and the higher altitude, so breathing was easier. I'm sure if I got much higher that I'd struggle a little more with less oxygen.

Because the run was more challenging, I focused on just staying safe. I stuck to the old run 3/walk 2 cycle, and I ended up having a lot more energy towards the end of the run. I chit chatted with a couple of people too, which is not my norm. I'm a bit anti-social LOL! I guess that speaks to how good I felt while I was out there.

All in all it was a great run. I definitely want to get back out there soon, but I think I need to invest in some good trail shoes first. I don't think Rex should go out there unless it's just for a regular hike. It kind of pushed my limits, and I don't want anyone to get hurt. Next week I'll explore another park!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Getting more consistent!

So I managed to run this weekend and on Monday like I was supposed to! Saturday's run was actually pretty bad, but I was so glad I just did it. In my book just getting out there and trying is a success. Anything to help keep the routine going is good. Why was it bad? When I am not in tip top shape my ankles get a little whiny. Case in point - about three steps into my run Saturday my ankle had a sudden sharp pain, so I ended up kind of hobbling the next few steps until I got my bearings again. I eased back into running, and the pain did go away as I ran. Since I had a rocky start I kept the run to a mile and eased up on the speed. I had also planned on running that evening with Rex, but he was tired and said he'd make up the run on Sunday.

Did Rex run on Sunday? Nope! Am I surprised? Nope! This is what happens when we allow our minds to determine the course of action. We allow the mental blocks to creep up and get in our way. I know this because it happens to me all the time. I'm not immune. The good part was Rex acknowledged this and ran with me on Monday. Monday's run was.....

Awesome! Rex is working on his pacing, which is really hard to do. Last week he wanted to start the run at about an 11 min mile pace, which is really fast for him. Consequently he runs out of energy, and the latter part of the run is really hard. This time he slowed it down to about a 13 min mile pace, which allowed him to run more towards the end. In fact, he finished that run a little faster than the last, and the distance was the same. We got to the last .10 of a mile and sprinted home. Well, I sprinted the whole way and he sprinted most of it. The feeling of accomplishment was great!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The science behind running and weightloss

As some of you know, I subscribe to Runner's World magazine. This magazine has a lot of really great articles about training, diet, and anything else that relates to running. I read in March's issue about how your body burns sugar vs fat. It suddenly made my training make more sense. I don't have the issue in front of me, but the gist of the article was that in the first 20-25 minutes of your run you're using quick energy (sugar). Once your quick energy is used up, your body switches over to long-term energy (fat). Getting the fat to start burning can take a little bit, but once it starts burning you have your "second wind". I really identify with that. It's always around the 25 minute mark that I start to feel a bit fatigued.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I noticed a more significant weight loss when I was training for the Peachtree last year, when I was running 50-60 minute runs. I wasn't eating less. In fact, I was eating more because I was hungry all the time. I wasn't trying to lose weight, but it happened. So it seems like to maintain this weight loss I should have been running at least once a week for 30+ minutes. I guess it's one more incentive to keep training!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The rain that will never end!

This has to be the wettest winter I've ever experienced in Georgia. I feel like we barely have the time to dry off before the next rain comes to soak everything all over again. Needless to say it's raining now, and it's supposed to rain all week. *sigh*

I skipped my run on Saturday because it was my birthday weekend, and quite frankly I enjoyed being a hermit. I slept, read books, played video games, and just hung out at home. To make sure I didn't fall too far behind, I did run on Monday. Let's just say I see why people are getting sick. Last week I was running outside in all my warmest winter gear. Monday I was in shorts and a t-shirt. I hope to run today, but it's raining pretty badly. Go to the gym you say? Well, let me give you an update on that one.

See, Rex had his complimentary session with a personal trainer. Unfortunately that went really wrong once he got home. Let's just say I totally disagree with all the guys (guys always think this is okay) who say puking after working out is okay. No way! If you ever feel like you're pushing yourself to that limit pull back. Not only did Rex get sick, but he had some serious issues with controlling his blood sugar for a few days. I think it actually made him a little hypoglycemic, which is not normal for him. See, he's a type-2 diabetic. Poor thing felt horrible for a while.

Fast forward a week. What shows up on our credit card statement? A charge for over $300 from the gym for that session. *sigh* So needless to say we're canceling the memberships. Oh well. Oh and we got our money back.

So it looks like since I live in the boonies (seriously, I drive past several pastures with cows and goat plus many horse farms just to get to work), I will have to stick to my el cheapo method of working out. Outside. At the parks. In my neighborhood. I love all of these things, but when it rains I have a tough call to make. Cross train at home, or run in the rain?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Boy it feels good to run!

I finally ran yesterday. It's a couple days later than originally planned, but it's a run which is all that counts. I decided to take it easy time wise, so I planned to just be out for about 20 minutes. To see how far I could go, I ran a full mile as best as I could. My time was 11:48, which is pretty good for a mile in my condition, but unfortunately my heart rate was really high after that and I ran out of steam. I ran a little more after taking a walk break, but it didn't last long. I walked the rest of the way home, but I made the whole trip around the neighborhood in about 23 minutes. In my book that's awesome. I felt really good afterwords too. The best part? I didn't feel like cooking, and the Papa John's by my house is really fast. Hot fresh pizza!! I am eating the left overs for lunch today YUM!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Despite good intentions...

I got no runs in this weekend. What did I do instead? Sleep. For about 10 hours Friday night and Saturday night each. Am I tired? Apparently!! I took a cue from my body and just relaxed. I think I'm super tired and trying to cram in workouts when I'm this tired leads to disaster.

On another note, I am planning on racing in a 10k in April. It will be the Run the River, benefiting a local charity called Homestretch. The weather ought to be really nice, and I hear that this is a course that is flat and fun to run. It will be a good race to finish before the Warrior Dash, and a do-over for last year's Peachtree Road Race. I'm looking forward to it, but I don't have a whole lot of time to get ready. There's plenty of time if I am consistent, but we all know that I have not been the model of consistency lately. We'll see how it goes.

I will try to run this afternoon since it's in the low 50s today. It's time to start easing back into this!