Sunday, June 28, 2009

Running with Stuff

Tonight I'm running the Clawson 5K in Michigan. I'm much more prepared this time than I was the last time. Especially because now I know a little bit more about what to expect. Last night I ate my pasta and protein and I iced my shins and stretched real good. I'm starting to get excited, but I only have a few more hours till I have to head down there.

My goal for today: to finish in less than 30 min 24 sec (my time at the Red Cross 5K).

I think that my mom is going to come with me - which is exciting. The air is a LOT different here in Michigan. I didn't notice this as much until I started running. I ran two miles yesterday and it made a difference - it was a little bit harder to breath. It'll be interesting to see how my body handles this after the 2 mile mark.

In order to take my mind off the race tonight I thought I'd share some of my fun stuff I've collected to help me with the running and even encourage me to want to run. I've always been a fan of "stuff", ever since I was little. I like "things" that are cool - even if they are slightly unnecessary sometimes and you better believe I've managed to find a lot of cool "things" that have really helped me with my running.
Here they are:

This is by far, the coolest "thing" I've found. It's a little sensor that goes in your shoe and has a receiver that you hook up to your iPod. You can pick workout times or distances. Then you select a playlist to go with your workout. Once you start running it keeps track of everything. Time, distance, calories burned, and even pace. It gives you voice updates throughout your run, such as, "One mile completed" or even "Congratulations, you have reached your half way point. 2.5K left." In the settings you can choose to have a man or a woman's voice for the updates. My favorite part about the Nike + sensor is that you can program it to play your "power song" at the push of a button. You pick a song that really pumps you up or gets you motivated and when you push the center button it automatically plays that song. GREATEST THING EVER! My power song: Inside the Fire by Disturbed. The sensor also keeps a record of your workouts so you can use them again. It also keeps a history of everything you've done and records your personal bests. Yesterday when I finished my two miles I got a message that said, "This is Tiger Woods. Congratulations, you have just completed your fastest mile to date." Not only was it awesome to get a message like that from Tiger, but it was motivating to get that feed back after a run. I am a beginning runner and someone who needs a little motivational boost throughout my run and this "thing" has helped incredibly. If you haven't already tried running with the Nike + sensor, I highly recommend it.

If you decide to purchase and use the Nike+ Sensor you will find out that it is made specifically for the Nike+ shoes. The Nike+ shoes has a little cutout in the sole of the shoe, underneath the liner for you to insert the sensor. However, I decided to go with a pair of Asics shoes which are not compatible with the Nike+ sensor. But, thanks to companies that make lots of cash off of after market products, Chisco has made a shoe sensor pouch. You just slip the sensor into the pouch, attach it to your shoe laces, and off you go. I had to callibrate my sensor with the pouch, because I found that the distances were a little off, but not that it's been calibrated it works great! Wether you choose to buy Asics shoes or "Target Special" shoes, you can still run with the Nike+ sensor. (I should be getting paid for promoting this shouldn't I?)

This is for sure the second best "thing" I've bought. It's a little watch that you wear while you run. It not only tells you the time, but it doubles as a remote control for your iPod. I found it hard to change the songs or the volume while it was in that little pouch on my arm. (see this is one of those "things" that's not really necessary, just cool) It's kind of a hassle while you are running. Well, fear not! Nike has solved all those problems. It even has a button for your Power Song and another one to hear a voice up-date about your progress through the run. This is deffinitly not a necessity, but it's really cool. Plus, I also wear mine in the airport when you are traveling with lots of stuff and pulling out your iPod to change the song is just way to much work. Or maybe I'm just lazy. Either way - you should get one.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One Foot in Front of the Other

I've been hesitant to actually admit that I was training to run. In some way I felt that if I said it outloud, it'd make it real and if for some reason I wasn't successful I'd be responsible for my own failure. Well - I decided I want to take responsibility. Mostly because it's turning out to be much more successful than I had anticipated. I'm really truly enjoying it. I am going to embrace this new found joy (and not to mention pain).

The reason I originally started running was because I have been accepted to Women's Regional Camp. It's a 6 day officiating camp for 12 women from the eastern region. You begin each one of these days at 7am with a 2 mile group run. When I found out about that I knew I was in trouble. I started running and working out for camp about 3 months ago - at which time I was contimplating suicide after an almost 1/2 mile jog.

My thought process went something like this: Instead of training to run only 2 miles I'll train to run 3 or 4, that way when I get there all the crazy amounts of skating won't effect how well I can run 2 miles. Hey - why don't I register to run a 5K (3.some miles) about a month before camp. Yea good idea.

Well - that's what I did. Last saturday (dispite my strong anti-morning beliefs) I got my ass out of bed at 5:30am to run 3.10685596 miles (exactly). Turns out my friend, Sean, happened to be running the same 5K. So, in serious need of some moral support, I took him up on his offer to go to the race together. So now not only am I about to run my first 5k, but I'm going to run it with a really good looking guy, who's way more experienced than I am in the running department. Great idea - what was I thinking?! I was so worked up and excited the night before that I slept, at most, 2 hours. I woke up super tired, really hungry, and extra nervous/excited.

Despite all my running, and working out I haven't managed to lose more than about 7lbs. Which is without a doubt a result of my shitty eating habits and the ADD nightmare that grocery shopping is, but at least we've put a stop to the gaining weight. One thing at a time. SO - I already feel a little uncomfortable in my spandex running pants (which, by the way, I adore spandex - I can't run in those goofy little shorts - the elastic waist band ends up around my ribs and it leads to a very uncomfortable situation) but now they tell me they will be taking pictures during the race!! Taking pictures of me running distances I have yet to feel comfortable with, in my spandex I have yet to feel comfortable in, sweating like a pig. So here I am - with my big #123 on my stomach - extra worked up - they keep pushing the start time back 7:00am . . . 7:10am . . . 7:15am . . . And here is Sean, all cool and collected, shirtless and ready to run. Finally somewhere around 7:25 we started the race.

The few days before the 5K I had been working through some serious shin splints. Which I'm convinced are trying to sabbotage my running. When I first started running they were so bad, that I couldn't walk or skate. I iced and Aleve'd and stretched and bought good running shoes. I keep working through them, but everytime I add distance or time they come back. Icing, stretching and Aleve have become a regular part of my day. I bought some compression sleeves for my shins that are a miracle. (Thank you Runners World.)

And here we go; no sleep, not enough food, shin splints, rediculously humid and hot day, way to early in the morning, watching Sean and the other runners get smaller and smaller as they race further and further ahead of me.

It was terrible. After the 2 mile mark I really thought they'd have to carry me over the finish line on a stretcher. But I was determined not to stop. That was my ONLY goal: To finish the race without walking. Run the entire 3.10685596 even if it took me an hour, just DON'T stop. I think I sweat more that morning then I have in my whole life. It was pouring down my face. I was sweating in places that I didn't even know you could sweat. I felt gross and exhausted and then around the corner I see this guy taking pictures with a big 'ol lens (and I know about big 'ol lenses) - I made my best attempt to angle myself behind another runner in the hopes of avoiding his camera. A little further up the path I noticed a table with big orange gatorade jugs, and people handing out cups to the runners (and walkers) in front of me. For a moments I remember thinking maybe I was just seeing things.

Now - there must be some trick to drinking water from those little paper bathroom cups. Because both times I ended up with an ocean in my nose and coughing/choking inbetween gasping for air. If anyone knows the trick - please share.

Let me just say that before this day I wasn't aware that a 5k was more than 3 miles. So when I saw that 3 mile marker I was absolutly thrilled. I reminded myself of a quote that I can't exactly remember, but it says something about finishing strong. So I picked myself up and powered through that last orange cone - only to realize that none of the runners infront of me were stopping at the cone. At this moment I felt my body want to shut down, as if it thought I had been tricking it this whole time and it had just caught on to the joke.

After pleading with my legs to keep moving, I ended up finishing in 30 min and 24 seconds - a personal worst. I do have to admit that it helped to have someone I knew at the finish line. Seeing Sean standing there was like an extra bit of "don't give up you're so close." Sean finshed the race in 25 min - his personal best.

After the race they gave out the awards and surprisingly called my name for 3rd place in my age group. Sean said there were probably only 3 people in my age group, but I chose not to ask. I figured it'd be better for my confidence to think that maybe there was at least 4 people in my age group. I told my mom about the 3rd place news and her response was, "Are you sure it's not a participation ribbon?"

About an hour and a half after the race ended I finally stopped sweating. I slept for 7 hours when I got home. Sean said that every race is a learning experience. From this race I learned that I need to sleep more and eat better before the next one. I learned that even though the pain is almost too much to handle during the run, that it will be over eventually. I learned that as independent as I am, it was really awesome to have someone to run with (even tho I was 5 min behind him I still knew he was there. Maybe one day we can actually run together). But most importantly I learned that I really could do it - I really did do it. I set out to do it and I did. And in the process I found something that I truly enjoy, more than I ever thought I would.

I actually look forward to my nightly run now. I've decided that I want to run a 10K and maybe even a half marathon. Baby steps toward big dreams. I'm running another 5K this coming Sunday in Michigan. Now that the first time nerves are gone hopefully this one will be more successful. Plus, it's also at 8pm instead of 7am. Much more my style. I am no longer stressing over the 2mile Regional Camp group run, which is an amazing feeling, to now I can concentrate on the skating and the officiating side of camp.

My new goal: Disney Race for the Taste 10K - October 11th.

Taking the First Step

I'm reading this book and this part really made me laugh so I thought I'd share it with you. I'm sure some of you can identify, or have even been in the same place on the kitchen floor. I know I have. Hope you get a little laugh out of it too!
..:: an excerpt from The Non Runners Marathon Guide for Women::..
The First Three Miles

Two weeks into my training, I ran into someone from my training team. This overly enthusiastic woman overly enthusiastically asked me if she'd see me at the 7am team run on Saturday. In my moderately enthusiastic way, I said, "Sure, I'll see you out there."

Riiiiiiight. You see, I don't like mornings, especially weekend mornings. And to be honest, they don't like me too much either. So when I heard that the team runs were going to be taking place at 7am on a Saturday, I was less than thrilled. But if that was what it was going to take, well then, by golly, that's what I was gonna do. But the odds of me actually getting out of bed at 7am on a Saturday are about as good as the odds I'll ever use the phrase "by golly" again in my life. So , needless to say, when 7am rolled around on Saturday, I had a slight change of heart. I like to think of it as a change of logic really. It went something like this: I hate mornings and I hate running. So why on earth would I feel the need to combine the two for what will surely be an unhappy union? Why not wait until a more suitable hour, like say, noon, to do the horrible moving of my body?

So that's what I did. I slept until a more humane time and then I got up and ran the required three miles on my own. You think I"m lying don't you? I'm not. I really did run three miles. Was it fun? No. Was it fullfilling? No. But most important, was it 7am? Thank the lord, no.
Before I went for my inaugural run, I decided to measure it with my car. I mapped out a route that equaled three miles on my speedometer - leaving from my house and ending at my house - a circle of sorts through downtown. Then I parked my car and ran that route. A couple things went wrong with this plan. First, I live downtown, so the entire three miles was along roads with lots of cars. When running your first major mileage, I do not recommend having car fumes nearby. Because you're going to be gasping for breath. And sucking in car fumes in not nearly as much fun as you'd imagine.

Second, it wasn't morning time any more. And as much as I disagree with the basic principles of morning, I must hand it to the am hours - they are nice and cool. The pm hours, not so cool. Of course, before today I'd never really noticed that they weren't cool, because before today I'd never really had occasion to force my heart rate up to that of a sprinting racehorse on speed. That tends to warm things up a bit. As I was running along a busy downtown street, with the sun beating down on me, I slowly started to see why people choose to run in tree-lined parks before the sun has the opportunity to rise directly overhead. Hmphh. By the time I got home I feared that death was iminent. Never in my life has my heart beat so fast. And with every beat a new spurt of sweat seemed to jump off my face. Which seemed weird, 'cause my face was so hot I would've thought that all the sweat would have evaporated on contact. But it didn't It continued to flow, as if from some unlimited sweat reserve that hasn't been tapped since that one time when I was ten and decided that a push-pop was worth chasing the ice cream man for two blocks.
I didn't think it was possible, but I actually got hotter once I stopped running. It seemed every ounce of my blood had rushed to my face and was screaming with every pulse, Let me out. Let me out. So hot in here. Boiling up. The second I got home I went straight to my kitchen and laid facedown on the floor. My face needed to be next to something cool, and I needed to no longer be vertical, so the tile in the kitchen seemed like a great way to bring all my needs together. If felt like hours that I lay there, my body bouncing with every heartbeat, trying so hard to right the many, many wrongs that were going on. I tried to figure out how to drink water while facedown on the floor, I ended up nearly drowning myself by pouring water near my mouth and trying to suck it in before it fell to the tile. When I realized that a marathon is twenty-three more miles than I just ran, I tried to end my misery by pouring the whole bottle of water on my face.

As you can see, the training is going really well so far.

From: The Non Runner's Marathon Guide for Women Get off your butt and on with your training By. Dawn Dais

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Enjoy the Journey

I decided I have a lot of things to say that I'd like to get out there. So I'm going to try to start a blog. Wether or not I'll successfully be able to continue it is another story, but I'm going to give it a shot. Somethings I want to write about will be related to my personal life. Other things will be posts about cool stories or interesting things I want to share with everyone. Or maybe I'll just have a rant I want to get out.

Hopefully you'll enjoy the journey.