What’s enough?

Have you ever wanted a weekend to just last forever? It’s spring break across the college campuses and all I wanted to do was enjoy it as well. Instead, I spent three hours in the dentist chair this morning and it was back to work. Yes, you read that correctly, three hours!

After my long dentist appointment, I rushed back to the Lehigh Valley to get to work. I barely worked because my boss told me to head home considering, well, there’s not much to do given that it’s spring break and I saw the opportunity to run! I have a 9 week old puppy now and it’s hard to balance work, spending time with her and making sure her needs are met, and making time for myself. So as I walked back from the office a few things that crossed my mind were running, but also not running because I need to spend time with the pup!

I chose to run. I crated her and she lived. But, there were so many things going on around dinner time that I wasn’t sure what I could squeeze in. I ran three miles. Three miles?!?! I almost scoffed at myself. I consider myself a runner? I told my boyfriend that and his response was, “that’s three more miles than you were expecting.” Ok, he has a point.

But, three? 22-23 minutes of running? I can race that in under twenty! Is this a “workout?”

I came to the conclusion, while running, that it counts. I have made a vow to myself to focus more on myself. I want to eat healthier, run more, and love my life. I am a believer that working out, whatever way works best for you, makes you a happier person. Maybe it won’t turn your rainy day into sunshine and rainbows, but I think that it does produce some endorphins and gets your mood elevated.

Whatever you do, do it for you.

Hiatus Over!

So with the new job that I talked about way back when, I became extremely busy. As you can imagine, the life of a track coach is, well, crazy! I’m hoping to be back for good now, posting several times a week.

Some updates on where I’m at:

1. I did a half marathon in 1:36 and was super proud of it, but I now want to run another and believe I can run much faster. My last mile was way fast!

2. I am still coaching and not sure if I fit into this lifestyle. I’m 23. In some ways, this is a dream job! It’s my passion, but it’s also low on the money making side and it is a field that is hard to grow in.

3. I’m slowly getting back to running, but since my half marathon I have been tackling some shin pain. Hopefully this blog will keep me accountable.

4. I got a puppy! Her name is Jenny and she’s 9 weeks old.

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As you can see from just four points above, things have been going on.

Keep running!

GPS Watch Runnin’ (Or Not)

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Totally true. Chocolate is my downfall.

As I have decided to take on more and more mileage, I have become best friends with my GPS Garmin 210 stopwatch. Now, we were so close that I started to get a permanent mark from the darn thing. I took him everywhere around town, wore him with every outfit (even when inappropriate), and put him to good use. Unfortunately, my best friend 210 decided to leave me hanging last night. And I mean, completely just up and left dramatically.

What I really mean is that after only having the 210 for about 5 months, it won’t charge! I’ve had problems with this before, but it normally would charge after several attempts of unplugging, plugging, and playing with the watch. No matter what I seem to do, nothing is working. I looked at forums and youtube videos and tried everything. So, what is there to do? I feel silly because I have a perfectly good “dumb” watch, but I like my GPS watch and, hey, I paid for it!

So with this incident, I’ve decided to do a review of the Garmin 210.

PROS: It picked up satellite very quickly. I run with my friend who uses the Nike GPS and his doesn’t pick up as quick as mine. Also, it beeps with every mile. Good alerts.

CONS: Charging it, regardless if it works, is kind of a pain. The charger attaches to the watch with four little metal pins, which don’t always line up perfectly. Sometimes, I feel like if I’m trail running it doesn’t pick up on my pace perfectly, but none of the watches seem to.

BUT, after researching last night, I found a ton of people have battery problems! I wonder if mine has these same problems. There is no way this watch should be dying now. I didn’t use it very much until recently.

Do you all use a GPS watch? What kind? Reviews?

Eats and Meets

Run: 5 miles in 38:30, right around noon, rushed because I had to go from meeting to practice to meeting!

Today was exhausting. But the good kind! I was busy from 9 until a little bit ago, and the day flew by. I’m counting down days, so a fast day is a good day!

I have an exciting new opportunity to be an assistant coach of a division 1 track and field team. Long story short, I met with the head coach today and things are still in the works for my position, but I offered to help as a volunteer for now! My meeting with him lasted until right around noon. I met with the men’s team at 2:30, then had to deal with some administrative issues until about 6:30! Then I finally got to make dinner and now it’s time to relax.

With post-graduate living, I’m trying to eat healthy and limit my eats out. Also, I feel like if I have it in my apartment, why not eat what I already bought? Saves some serious $$ in the long run! And with running higher mileage, nutrition is really brought into question.

Breakfast:

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Cereal! Does anyone else feel a little guilty when indulging in cereal for breakfast? I definitely feel like I should be giving my body something better with more protein and “real” food. This morning, I just felt like some honey nut cheerios with 365 protein clusters and almond milk. And I indulged in some coffee.

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Lunch: Turkey sandwich with american cheese and tomato on whole wheat bread and a side of banana, blueberries, and strawberries.

Dinner: Not photographed, but I made eggplant with salsa and vegetables.

 

 

The Pain Game

I hate injuries. I’ve had numerous amounts of them, which is to be expected when almost everyday over the past ten+ years have been occupied with some form of running. Stress fractures, compartment syndrome, plantar problems, the whole nine yards. The problem I’ve been having recently is my right shin. I can normally run through this pain, but I’m trying to be smart about it. I’m amping up for my first half marathon and have put in so much training so far. I seem to have to remind myself that getting through this race is more important to me than finishing today’s run fast and in its entirety.

The pain game. A balancing act. Attempting to do just enough to get you through, but not so much that the injury will worsen and mentally get you. I hate this game.

Yesterday I ran outside of Buffalo, NY with a friend from school. We did 5.5 miles, around 7:53 pace. The first few steps were brutal. My shin was hurting and I wasn’t sure that I was actually going to be able to finish the run. With each step, the pain eased, but never vanished. That’s new. I normally experience pain within the first few minutes, but it disappears. Yesterday just wasn’t that way. So today, I put on my running shoes and didn’t look at my watch for my pace. I just went with how my legs felt. My shin was still aching, so I only ran 3 miles today. My watch gives me an alert with every mile ran. I only looked at my watch when I heard the beep of the watch. I ended up running 3 miles in 22: 32. That was comfortable and the weather was very enjoyable!

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After I came back from the run, I vowed to myself that I was going to hit the ground and do some core. I felt like I needed to do more considering I didn’t cover too much ground outside. I did planks, crunches, and hamstring/back exercises.

I had a friend cheer me on.

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And give me some extra resistance!

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Long Runs

As my first half marathon is quickly approaching, my long runs are creeping up in mileage. This Sunday, I’m going to take on my longest run of 12 miles. Ten is finally manageable and eleven was difficult, but doable. Now, 12?! Well, I was reading the September issue of Runner’s World, and they have an article titled “A Distant Goal” on page 47.

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They talk about using music, a running buddy, join a group, and running in smaller loops that collectively add up to the distance. Here are some of my thoughts on the article along with some of my own experiences and thoughts:

  • Music: I almost depend on music for my longer runs. I wish I never developed this habit. For me, it does make me tune out things I should probably be listening to such as aches and my pace. I tend to run a bit faster when I have music to tune out the heavy breathing and foot strikes. But, I do enjoy it. It’s a nice distraction.
  • Pairing up: I would run with someone every single day if I could. I did through all of my high school and college days. This is the longest time I’ve gone without a true running buddy. I take advantage of running with someone at all times. I’m visiting a friend and am waiting for him to come home from work to lace up the running shoes. A con to this, which the article does touch on, is that pacing is an issue. I’m running with a male, for one thing, and I know he is slowing down for me, which makes me feel like I should speed up for him! This isn’t always the best way to go about it. Also, scheduling. I found myself waiting for friends a ton and arranging my schedule around theirs just so we could run together!
  • Group runs: I’ve never joined a running group and don’t personally think I ever will. I have jumped into runs that my friends have gone to, but those are always once in a summer kind of things. I can see the benefits of this by holding yourself accountable, etc. For me, it doesn’t work with my schedule and I am not sold on this yet.
  • Running in smaller segmented loops: I have to say, when I do my long runs, I tend to think of it as a breakdown. “Three miles on this road, then only three miles on the next road!” Things like that cross my mind frequently. I break it down into roads, landmarks, and random things. I think it mentally helps a ton. The article touches on passing your house during your run. I can see the benefits this can reap such as having a bathroom, the ability to shed clothes, and having water at your disposable. For me, seeing home means I’m done my run. I find that after passing my end point, I want to end.

Any thoughts on attacking the long run?

Surviving Summer Running

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A little more than 8 miles – 1:04.08

This is my first summer of running for no reason. It comes as a challenge when the sun is up, the heat is cranking, and my run is on the road. Today, I left work early and was back at my apartment by 2:15 PM. Heat of the day, my friends. I definitely underestimated the power of the sun. I’m used to coming home and running around dinner time, when the sun is sinking. I underestimated how exhausting my hour+ run would be. So I was thinking about all of the things I should have done or the things that I have done before which proved to be successful.

Running in the morning. Sure, being at work at eight every morning is a hassle and it is daunting to think about getting up before 6 AM to get a quality workout in. Once I was in the flow of the morning run, the hardest part was getting up with my alarm. I definitely think I liked the morning runs better with the heat kept at a minimum. Also, there is something tranquil about attacking the roads before cars. The morning run became an issue only when my mileage increased (8+) because I could not get out of bed before 5:45. Well, I totally could have, but I set that limit for myself.

Look at weather.com! I almost always check the weather. If it’s going to rain, I sometimes schedule my run FOR the storm. I’m weird like that. Today, I dropped the ball. I did not check how warm it was going to be and there were clear skies all around. I’m not used to that.

Hydration is key. During the morning, I did find myself having difficulty with gaining back my hydration levels post run. We always think about what we need to drink before the run, which is essential, but I feel like replenishing the fluids falls by the wayside. After my run, I always chug a Powerade Zero. I don’t like sports drinks, but when you’re losing that much, it needs to be replaced.

Running partners are essential. Living alone and being away from my friends who once encouraged me so much to run has led to many solo runs. I do like the solidarity of some runs. It’s almost peaceful and calming to be alone. It is also nice to set your own pace, listen to music, and just do whatever you want. But, on a recent trip up to New York, I ran with an old teammate from college. It was a reminder of how nice it is to run with someone else. We ran almost 6.5 miles, which is nothing too major, but it went by so much quicker with just having someone to chat with. The focus wasn’t on how hot and sweaty we were, but just enjoying the time to talk and run.

Sunscreen and sunglasses. I must admit, I am a convict when it comes to both of these things. Today on my run, I found myself squinting and just feeling my skin fry in the sun. Putting on sunscreen seems gross to me before a run, given the fact that I will just sweat it out and be slimy. Regardless, it’s important. I just never do it, but today realized I should! Sunglasses would also be a nice touch. Definitely on my list to buy!

Any other tips for beating the heat on summer runs?