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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lessons from the trail

3 weeks.  That’s how far out I am from Dogwood.  I’ve been struggling mentally, wondering how on earth I was going to complete it.  My fuel has been messing with my stomach, my will power is tanking.  But I’ve still gotten out there every weekend so at least there’s that.

Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 4:45am, I wasn’t feeling it.  I had my coffee and my breakfast but just felt “meh”.  I kissed fiance goodbye and he told me he was proud of me.  My drive down to Busiek that’s what I thought about.  That he’s proud of me.

Not proud of my speeds or distance.  Proud of ME.  The work I’m putting in.  ME.  I made a resolve to leave it out there and run MY run.  Not anyone else’s.  MINE.

I felt awesome.  Strong and focused.  I CRUSHED it.  It didn’t and still doesn’t matter that my pace was much faster than my previous 14 mile run (this weekend was 15 miles).  I proved to myself that I have much more in me that I think I do.  Before when I thought I couldn’t go any further, I stopped.  I rested.  And it didn’t do me any favors.  This week I kept moving.  I dug deep and trudged on.

It paid off.

I’ve got so much more in me than I thought I did before that run.  And now I know.  I just have to keep moving.

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:

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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!

Rants and Raves: Run Like A Diva Half Marathon

Remember me?!  Probably not.  It’s been far too long.  But I will say, I’m about a week and a half out from graduation so hopefully that means life is about to calm down and I can blog more!  Yeah right.  It’s probably going to hit a whole new level of crazy.  Oh well.

 

April was a nutty month.  I dealt on and off with being sick and having a low back injury (dead lilfts – like an idiot) that really knocked me off my training course.  My April 19th half marathon was supposed to be my PR race.  Didn’t happen.  Oh, I ran.  But it was miserable.  That’s a blog post for another day.  

 

THIS weekend was the first of two races I’m using to qualify for Half Fanatics!  I felt great going into this.  Much better than I have felt in a while.  Less back pain and less anxiety.  More excited and happy.  

 

Run Like A Diva Half Marathon and 5K Series puts on races around the country.  Their big hook is a blinged out medal (handed to you by hot “firemen”), roses, and feather boas with tiaras handed to you before the finish line.  It’s a (mostly) women’s event and quite large.  I have to say, I’m not THAT girly so I wasn’t sold on it.  But I made a last minute decision that I wanted to qualify for Half Fanatics and have anther half to run with my amazing running buddy before she moves, so I signed up.  

 

Here’s some of my rants and raves from Sunday in Branson:

RAVE: The DJs!  There were five DJs on the course playing music and amping up the atmosphere.  It was GREAT!  They all had energy and looked like they were having a great time.  I also stopped and took pictures with 4 of the 5.  

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RAVE: The crowd!  I guess that probably has nothing to do with the race directors but the crowd was PUMPED!  Event organizers did a fantastic job of having a station at the expo for people to make signs for race day and I saw quite a few of them around the course.  There were several “fans” I saw at different times along the course (BF included!) and they were so vocal and positive!  It made a challenging race so much more fun.  

 

RAVE: The “firemen” handing out the medals.  I don’t think I need to go into detail here…

 

RANT/RAVE: The course/hills.  The course was beautiful.  If you’ve been to Branson, you know what a gorgeous area that is.  You also then know that those hills are NOT. A. JOKE.  They’re huge.  Now, event organizers SHOULD have made that clear, rather than saying “mostly flat” after mile 3/4.  That was a lie.  And anyone from around here knew that it had to be.  I have a bone to pick with you, event organizers.  STOP SAYING SOMETHING IS FLAT!!  Just because the total elevation climb/drop equals out does NOT make a course flat!  The total climb for this course was over 1300 feet.  My legs are reminding me of that fact today.  That said, I had fun on the hills! *GASP* I know.  But I did.  Except this one. 

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And this one…mile 12.5.  What is with races doing this to me?!

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RAVE: The expo!  Are you an expo person?  I am.  I like things.  They had things.  Shirts, jackets, headbands on headbands on headbands.  Bondi Band (LOVE!) was there and had special ones designed for this series with bedazzled crowns (you can sort of see the hot pink one I got in some of the pictures).  Lots of necklaces and stickers and all kinds of things.  Weird: handanas.  Have you seen these?  Bizarre.  I’ll wipe sweat on my shirt or have it wicked off by one of the million headbands I own.  Awesome:  the teenage boys dressed in tutus and tiaras signing people in at the expo.  You were hilarious and if it wouldn’t have been creepy, I’d have taken my picture with you.

 

Last but not least…

RAVE: the 72 year old woman from Arkansas that I had the pleasure of running portions of the race with.  YOU, ma’am, are a badass.  You crushed that race, looked as strong or stronger than anyone out there and were so positive.  I hope I’m running when I’m your age.  Thank you for the hug at the end. 

 

Overall, a great race and a great time!  10/10 would do again.  

 

Balancing Act

No secret here, when I start training for a race, I go all out.  I run all the time.  Every day or just about every day.  Even though I know it’s important to keep variety in my training and my life, I sacrifice so much else to be able to get my miles in.  More miles than I even NEED.  This ends one of two ways after the race.  I keep the excitement for a little while after and continue running hard until I hit a wall and lose all motivation or I wind up injured.

 

This time around, I’m trying to do differently.  I’ve been working a lot on my strength training.  It’s important to me and I love to lift heavy weights.  It makes me feel strong.  I don’t want to lose what I’ve worked hard to gain.  I’ve also started attending hot yoga, which makes me feel grounded and in touch with my body. These are two things that I love.  But I’ve already noticed how quickly I will go to sacrificing them if running comes up.  

 

Yesterday was the first day I took a long hard listen to my body and actually put running down for a minute.  I went and lifted instead.  And it felt good.  No, it felt great.  Before, I would’ve tried to push that training run even though I knew my legs felt dead tired.  Now?  I’m more committed than ever to listening to what my body needs.  

 

I don’t have to run 6 days a week, 4+ miles each day plus a long run in order to be well trained.  Seeing how well my 11 miler last week went proved to me that I don’t.  I need the variety.  My body needs the variety.  Some people do it differently and that’s ok.  We all need to remember that the only voice we need to listen to is our own.  Your body will tell you what you need.  

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!

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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…

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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.

12 miler Wednesday and the Panther Run

Yeah, it’s been a minute since my last post. I’m gonna just blame the fact that WordPress has been a joke on my iPad and move on.

Last Saturday was supposed to be a 15K race for my half marathon training. I was ridiculously excited to be running in a different area of town and to be running a longer distance in a race that I was actually taking seriously. My last 15K was more for the beer and food afterwards. Enter a HUGE storm and buckets of rain…everyone was shifted to the 5K race. I was bummed. I almost didn’t even run. But I did, and I’m glad I did. I learned a few things.

1. Running in the rain is not horrible
2. Start your finish line push when you first feel it
3. You don’t have to PR every event
4. Some people are superhuman and can run a 16:16 5K in pouring rain where there are rivers in the streets.

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I missed a PR from August by about 10 seconds. I could sit here and be sad about it (ok, I did for a minute). Or I could think that I ran that race hard and under conditions I had never run in before. Sometimes, you need to think about what EXACTLY it is that you’re upset about. Is that really a reason? NO! I ran a great race. In the rain! I stuck it out. Go me!

Of course, I then took my new found acceptance of rain running and enjoyed another 6.8 miles to hit my weekend mileage I needed. I did ok.

Due to traveling this weekend and next, my training schedule is getting a shakeup. It might be Wednesday, but I need to get in 12 miles. I’m excited at nervous, my highest mileage since my May half. I’m ready. Mentally and physically. Lets do this!

Also, props to Women’s Running Series and FitFluential for a WONDERFUL Be Amazing chat last night. I can’t wait to be able to make it to a WRS race.

Happy Wednesday!

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