High viz, low temps

If you’re a runner that lives somewhere in which actual seasons exist, you’re probably experiencing some chilly temps right now.  Thanks, Arctic Blast!   It’s really not that bad though.  It’s more the wind, for me at least.  I feel like I can run faster in the cold and nothing makes me feel more alive than a run in freezing temps.

Of course, with the change in seasons, we’ve also had the time change!  It’s dark early and many runners are still out there, trying to log those miles after work.  Getting your run in is important!  So is staying alive.  I own almost NO high visibility gear or lights.  What I do have is a tiny flashlight and a light band that straps to my arm.  A good start, but not enough.

My favorite local running store, Ultramax, is amazing.  They’re constantly putting on runs to demo new footwear, apparel and equipment from fabulous sales reps from vendors like Mizuno, Brooks, Nathan and Saucony.  Springfield store manager Eric is always coming up with fun ways to demo this awesome stuff.  Last time was a Hot Totty run to demo Mizuno Breath Thermo and Wave Rider 18s.  Duh. Of course I went.  This time was a pub run with high visibility gear.  Perfect timing!  I need to make sure I’m out logging my miles this winter for marathon training and I’m also not trying to get hit by a car.  I love trying stuff out before I buy, so off I went last night for the pub run.

Have you ever given much thought to how drivers see you?  I know I try to stay aware of my surroundings when I’m running, especially in low light, but I haven’t given a ton of thought to what I look like from the road.  Nathan is running a campaign called Get Lit and the pub run was part of that.  Check out this picture they showed us last night.  It really puts int perspective what you look like from a car.

what_a_driver_sees-process-s600x189

I have a bunch of Nathan hydration products but no visibility gear.  What Terry had to show us was fantastic!  We got to check out the Zephyr Hand Torch, strobe lights, LightBender and LightSpur, as well as reflective vests.  I’ve had my eye on the Zephyr Hand Torch for a bit and was really excited to see it in action.  It’s rechargeable, bright, straps to your hand, has a reflector on the back, multiple settings AND it’s designed to point down at the ground.  That’s a big hangup I’ve had in the past with regular flashlights.  I need to see the cracks in the pavement I don’t want to trip on, not aimlessly shine light into nothingness.

5090nbe_zephyrfire100_green_fright_nw

I can’t wait to get one of these!

I personally ran in a Brooks reflective vest and leg bands.  I’ve always thought the leg bands were weird but I didn’t notice them at all.  In fact, I almost forgot to give them back!  We went for a short run around downtown and am happy to report we were bright and nobody got hit by a car!  High viz success!

The Saucony Sonic Reflex jacket was the craziest though.  I had to borrow this picture from Competitor because I didn’t take one last night but it’s so cool to see if you haven’t already.

Saucony-Jacket.final_

Ain’t nobody gonna miss you on the road when  you’re wearing that!  And Terry from Saucony was cool enough to give one away.  I didn’t win it, but I’m thinking about stalking the winner and stealing it from him.

What high viz gear do you own?  Do you attend demo runs to test out new products?

Stay bright out there!

The Mental Struggle

Last month, I registered for my first full marathon.  I’ll be running the 2015 SLO Marathon in San Luis Obispo, CA, my home town.  I can’t express how excited I am for this race and to finally get to run where my family has an opportunity to watch and cheer me on.

That said, I’ve started to become absolutely terrified.  Terrified of the course.  I know it well.  There are long stretches where it’s straight.  There are long, steep hills, most notably the one you hit at mile 3.  At mile 20, you’re still out in winery country, nowhere near the downtown finish. And to top it off, I won’t know a single person racing the marathon.

That’s the scariest part.

Up until now,  I’ve been able to count on seeing someone I know in a race.  If I struggle or hit the mental dark place, there’s going to be someone to pull me out of it.  I feel like in a marathon, it’s just a given that’s going to happen.  It won’t be the same to have people supporting me on the course.  They won’t be able to run me in the last six miles.  That makes me incredibly nervous.  Not the training, not the distance.  The fact that if I struggle, I’m alone.

I’m so ready for this.  I’m excited to kick off training and start logging those high miles and just experience it all.  But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering moving up my first full to a race where I will know people out on the course.  I’m not sure the course would be any easier (Little Rock, for those who know that course) but I at least would have someone there to drag me if I needed it.

A New PR!

Since I started trail running, I became pretty laxed on including actual speed work in my training plan.  Normally I include one day per week where I focus on my tempo and run faster.  During my Dogwood training, I ran a 15K road race and smashed my previous PR by something like 10 minutes.  Granted, I had only ever done one 15K before, but that’s pretty significant.  The weekend after Dogwood, I dominated a 5K and an 8K (double day, crazy, I know) and ran my first sub-28 minute 5K and smoked a hilly 8K course in the heat.  3 new PRs made me start to think: can I PR the Bass Pro half marathon?

My road runs were getting faster and more comfortable.  I started to really think I could do it.  But it was one of those things that I didn’t want to announce.  It seems like any time I announce wanting to PR a race, something happens and I crash and burn.  I told a close friend about wanting to try for sub 2:15, which would best my time by 3 or so minutes.  She was confident in me.  But I figured I would wait until race day get my head in the game.

Race day came.  It was cold.  Sleeting just a bit.  Wind.  But I felt amazing.  I felt confident.  My first few miles felt fast and I

was passing people.  I felt so strong.  I refused to look at my watch.  I didn’t want to know how fast I was running.  I started catching people that I knew started out with the 2:00 pace group.  I still refused to look at my watch.  I had no idea until I rounded the corner and came up on the finish line.  The clock read 2:09:30.  I knew I had to haul mail if I wanted to cross at 2:10 and hope for a sub 2:10 official.

I did.  2:09:28.  A 9 minute PR from last year.  Crushed.  It’s amazing what you can do with a little confidence.  I’m still riding so high from this amazing race.

10421276_10152491272738295_4822129223717588041_n

Get wet. Get dirty. Run Dogwood.

Yesterday was THE day.  The day I had been waiting for.  The day I had been training for.  The day I sacrificed blood and sweat for.  The day I spent the last 12 Saturday mornings on the trails for.  It was Dogwood.  And it was amazing.

I haven’t been this jacked for a race in a long time.  Part of it was the fact that it was a new challenge: 25K and a trail race.  Part of it was this amazing running family I’ve discovered.  I felt so ready.  I was ready.  Even now, feeling how my body responded after the race, I KNOW I was ready.  I’m not sure I could have trained any harder.  I was prepared.  And I am so thankful for that because this race is NOT the kind you want to jump into unprepared.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Here’s an elevation snapshot:

Dogwood Elevation

The course: beautiful.  Picturesque.  Stunning.  There aren’t enough words to describe how the leaves looked and how well maintained it was.  Perfect.

1480700_10152464315778295_3180739529332863578_n

I didn’t stop to take many pictures, mostly because I was too busy feeling amazing.  It’s been a while since I felt THAT prepped for a race and that good in general.  Eventually my glutes started to get tired and my shoulders started to tense but after 16.5 miles, I feel like that’s to be expected.

The event directors were amazing.  The volunteers were amazing.  The course aide was amazing.  Everything was top notch.  I can’t wait to do this again.  I may take on the challenge (15K and 25K on back to back days) but I haven’t decided yet.  I do know that I’m going to be there again next year and I’ll be counting the days!

10610502_10152464353213295_702638862621315475_n 10306643_10152464315338295_1314872327046543958_n

I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ 27

Friday marked my last day in my “mid-twenties.”  I officially turned 27, which I consider “late twenties.”  I have officially hit the point where a birthday is just another day.  There’s nothing special that my age brings me (ability to buy porn or tobacco products, booze or rent a car).  

 

26 was an exciting year.  I made great strides in my health and fitness, completing 4 half marathons, 3 within 22 days, and developed some killer biceps.  I graduated (FINALLY!) from Missouri State University.  I got engaged!  All big things.  

 

27 promises to be even better.  I’m in the middle of wedding planning (it totally sucks, if you’re wondering).  I’ve started a new job where I actually put my education to use.  It’s hard and it’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m so thankful to have a supportive fiance and family there for me while I’m building my client base and getting better at what I do.  

 

I’ve decided to make 27 the year I run my first marathon!  I’ve written my training schedule out in my planner, picked out a half marathon race for said training schedule (coming for you, Little Rock Half Marathon!).  All that’s left to do is actually register for the marathon.  It’ll be happening soon.  My training plan starts the last week of the year.  How unfair is that?  

 

I’m excited at the prospect of training for a new distance.  I think it will help keep me focused and grounded during the craziness of wedding planning.  It will also force me to stay concentrated on my diet and exercise.  Nobody wants to go into a marathon an undertrained mess.  I’m also just ready for it.  Ready to say I’m training for it.  Ready to say I did it.  Ready to see where my body takes me.  

 

Did I mention I’m having my mom and maid of honor plan my bridal shower around my marathon weekend?  I’m sure you’re not surprised.

 

Do you set goals for yourself when you have a birthday?  Do you just let the year take you where it will?

Hot, Hot, HOT.

Weather Shot

This is my life right now. We are currently in a heat advisory, now through Sunday. And guess what tomorrow is? Long run Saturday! Training for a trail race, there is no substitute for getting out on the trails, so I have no choice but to make sure my butt makes it to the 6:30AM training group tomorrow.

Training in the heat and humidity is a different beast. You need to be SO careful. I normally run 9:40-10:00 minute miles on the road. This was my yesterday:

Humid RunKeeper

Slooooooooooooooooooow. But you know what? It’s ok. Why? BECAUSE I DIDN’T DIE. So that’s a huge plus. I ran out of water around 4.5-5 miles. And then experienced a few chills. When you start getting chills, it’s time to say game over, throw in the towel, get a cold drink and call it a run. But I was so miserable the rest of the day. Headaches, body aches, you name it. Not ok. I know better.

If you’re in a part of the country experiencing this heat, be safe! Listen to your body, take more water than you think you might need and let someone know where you are! Take shade breaks, walk breaks, whatever you need. Allow yourself to be slower than normal because it’s totally ok! Dying is not ok.

Stay safe, runners!

Falling behind

Life. It happens. Life doesn’t care if you have a triathlon in two weeks or are just starting a 13 week training plan for your first 25K trail race. It carries on however it pleases and you have to figure out how to roll with it.

It also doesn’t care if you are supposed to be starting a new job in two days either. But this is a running and fitness blog so we’ll stick with the other stuff 🙂

When life calls, you answer. You don’t ignore what’s going on because you have something else going. When someone needs you, you go. This isn’t me complaining that I had to pick up at a moments notice and go home to be there for my family. I would do it again in an instant. It’s about how you pick up when you get back.

You can sit there and be miserable that you missed that time. That triathlon PR would’ve been great. That 12 mile trail run that turned into a 9.5 mile trail run could’ve been way better if I didn’t miss the first three weeks of the training group. But I didn’t PR and I didn’t train those weeks. It is what it is. You pick up and continue. Make the best of where you are and know that you’re going to get there. It’s just going to be a little longer than you first thought.

It’s totally ok.

In fact, it’s better than ok. It means that you are confident enough in yourself to know that you can step away for a moment, tend to what you need to, come back and be fine.

Never get so caught up in your own life that you aren’t able to answer the call when someone needs you. Running teaches us to be confident and strong. Be confident enough to step away and lend that strength to those around you when they need it the most.

Another runner in the house?

Last spring, Boyfriend got into cycling. It started out just him wanting to ride his bike to work but he liked it so much, that quickly turned into much more. He started riding 15-20 miles or more a day. He completed the MS 150 in September. I cheered him on like the loving girlfriend I am. Me, ride 150+ miles? No, thanks. Perfectly happy with sprint distance triathlons!

20140113-235430.jpg
This is how I do 150 miles on a bike. Seated. In the shade. With a cold beverage. Taking selfies.

When he said he was going to sign up for one of my favorite races, Ultramax Shamrox 5K/15K on St Pat’s weekend, I was thrilled! I love sharing my passion of running. Before Christmas, we bought him shoes and he got some nice Under Armor cold gear pants because, duh, it’s cold. And so far, I’ve gotten him out for one training run.

I blame the weather. Yes.

Today was a wake up call. We are two months out from Shamrox. It’s not going to train for itself! So this was my mission tonight…

20140113-235843.jpg

The plan is written. Bigger than the “will he complete it” question, is the question of “will we complete training with our relationship in tact?”

As usual, I’ll keep you updated.

Am I Training Again?

Silly me. Things have been so hectic with finishing my internship and the holidays that I COMPLETELY forgot my sub 2:15 half training started…December 22nd.

The good news? My internship is finished! My Intersession class is finished AND I passed! I survived the holidays!

And in all that, I managed to keep running, even if they weren’t training type runs.

I’ll take it.

You know, I follow a lot of body builders on Instagram. Their devotion blows me away. From food to workouts, they are on it all the time when they are training. If they deviate from their plan, that is the difference between winning or losing. Which is why I could never do it.

Running is my passion. I love it. But some days, I want to enjoy my life and I don’t have time for what is in the plan. And I think that’s ok. This is why I love running. She’s forgiving. To a point. I mean, you can’t NOT train and then go try to run an ultra. But you can miss a day or two, eat a burger and fries and not beat yourself up about it. I’m on a mission to enjoy life more this year. And running is exactly what I need to do that.

The New Year.

I am not a person who makes resolutions, never have been, never will be. I am a live in the moment person. I don’t give myself deadlines, I rarely put things in terms of numbers because that doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to be stressed. I think 99% of a goal is how you get there. I would like to run a marathon. I would like for it to be in 2015. Will it? Is that goal in stone? No. Life happens and I don’t ever want to be in a position where I’m beating myself up over missing a goal because something else awesome came up.

That said, it isn’t that I DON’T believe in setting goals. I do. I just prefer mine to be a bit more broad and have a bit more flexibility. It fits me better. So here are some of my goals to make 2014 the happiest year yet.

Save money.
Enjoy my last semester at Missouri State.
Skype with my family more often.
Stress less about things I can’t control – things work out.
Don’t be such a slave to the scale.
14 in 14
Take myself less seriously.
Run a sub-2:15 half marathon. Okay…sometimes I put numbers on my goals 🙂

What are your quality type goals for 2014?

Previous Older Entries

Urban Orienteering Race

It's dark and you're running around downtown in spandex. Explain that to your grandparents.

GH Sports

an empowered fitness community

Life Begins When You Let It

A (sometimes) sattirical look at life, running, & the human experience. (i.e. defying age & "gray"vity).

fat2plant

The power of adding plants to your life!

My Journey to Enlightenment

My attempt to lose weight and become an elite long-distance runner.

Chocolate Covered Race Medals

Where I race to the chocolate bar

Barbells and Bacon

All about staying fit as an intern and a student

RunnerRich

Adventures in running...faster

Questionably Texan

The Adventures of a Canadian Ultramarathoning Bike-Commuting Vegan Living in Texas

Pavement Runner

Run Strong. Finish Stronger.

Hockey Mayor

NHL and LA Kings hockey news, inside information and interviews

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness

Los Angeles Dodgers blog with humor, sarcasm, and intelligence.

Frozen Royalty

Coverage of National Hockey League's (NHL) Los Angeles Kings (LA Kings) & American Hockey League's (AHL) Ontario Reign by credentialed journalist Gann Matsuda