Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Safety with Running

My 2nd week into training I learned a hard lesson to expect the unexpected. I was jogging through my neighborhood and I could hear a neighbor yelling and I knew a dog had gotten out... I turned around and saw a tan colored boxer running full speed... at me! I stopped and turned so my left side was facing his direction and I yelled at the dog to stop, but it didn't stop and I turned my face and brought my arms to my chest and the dog jumped full force and I flew into the rocks and the dog pinned me down. He kept his face near my hip and my reaction was to get up (it's recommended to stay down and curl into a ball and cover your head and face) but luckily the dog stayed back until the owner got him. I luckily just limped away with a scraped leg and sprained ankle, but now a runner with slight anxiety. I thought I was being safe by carrying water with me and my phone, but it's not enough. I always think, "What if?" So now I need to be better prepared in my run. I was looking into mace/pepper spray but my husband said that won't do anything, but there is one that is a "dog pepper spray" so I'm probably going to go to Petsmart and see if they have it available. Another thing is identification. Yes, I have my phone but that doesn't give immediate information. There are some ID's that you can get personalized either by RoadID or YikesId, and can put your name, address, emergency number, blood type, allergies, whatever you want on it and you can choose between a bracelet, attachment for your shoe, or on your bike. Those are 2 ideas that I hope to implement into my running routine very soon. I also try to do a better job letting my husband know which route I am planning on taking and how long I will be out for.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12k Run

It's recommended to try to get a race in as practice and there was a 12k (7.5 miles) which is where I was at in my training. I found a fun Christmas themed race, which had Carolers at every kilometer, it was on a Saturday and was at 10am. (A great time since we lived farther away). I also looked up different foods to eat before the race and the day of. I made sure to drink plenty of water the 2 days before (I know it's gross to talk about but your urine color tells it all so make sure it is a pale yellow... and of course this should be daily not just before a race) The morning of I had a little bit of orange juice, water, banana and toast. It's good to nourish yourself before, but not a huge heavy meal. There are great articles explaining what foods to avoid and amounts and the reasons why.


We gave us enough time to drive out, but the event had such a great turnout that there wasn't enough parking! I was getting worried because I needed to get my chip and bib still and wanted to warm up and we only had 15 minutes before the race started! Luckily my husband was driving and suggested I just get out of the car and jog to it and he'll meet me there.

Another thing I didn't plan for was long lines to the bathrooms before the race, so maybe on our nice long car ride we'll stop at a gas station before we arrive instead.

The race was getting ready to start so remember your etiquette and find a good place in line for the start of the race. Leave the very front for the more experienced runners. I was probably right in the middle. Don't worry this won't effect your time because if you are running with a chip it will start keeping track of your time right when you go through the start line, so don't think your time is going to be ruined because you are towards the end of the starting line.

Remember what you have practiced and try to keep your pace. You are filled with adrenaline and seeing everyone running with you (or passing you) gets you excited and you don't want to go faster than you planned and then have it hurt you later.

Slow down when it's time to get water. Unless you have mastered this skill, but when I did I kept my pace and spilled water all over my face. I then just would grab a water move out of the way and start walking and taking small sips and throw it out, and start up again.

I mentioned before that I was a sprinter and I have always had the motto, finish and finish hard. So I love to sprint at the end... except for today. I was sprinting but I think it was a little to much because I was doing the dry hacking at the end and was dying to get a Gatorade. So next time I will sprint, but not so hard.

These races provide food so stock up. This race had bananas, oranges, cookies, potato chips (probably to replenish your sodium that has been lost) and water and different sport drinks. Remember if you don't refuel you will just feel sick later on and your recovery will suffer.

So my goal time that I set for myself was 75 minutes, because I knew I was around a 10 minute mile or less, so for 7.5 miles I wanted it to be 75 minutes. And guess what? I beat my goal. I made it in 72 minutes and they even post what your average pace was and it put me at 9 minutes and 45 seconds per mile.

So here are my stats for that race:
I was 326th place out of 1024 runners,
146th place out of 688 women.
27th place out of 134 in my age group. (25-29 years)


I had taken a Yoga class and the instructor said something that really made an impact on me that I say to myself in physical and spiritual moments. We were doing a pose, and I had looked up and noticed some other women that were incredibly flexible, and I started to feel down about myself and my own flexibility and it was like the instructor was reading my thoughts and said something like, "Focus on your body and what it can do. Enjoy improving yourself and do YOUR personal best. Don't compare yourself with others in the room, but think about building on what you have." So now when I work out I have changed the mind frame of improving on my self day by day, and just be better than I was yesterday and build on that. Every body is different and don't wish you had someone else's talent, just better the talent you do have.

So when I run my races or I'm working out, I'm not going to focus on winning the race, but to focus on beating my time that I have set as a goal, or improving each time. I'm thankful for the health of my body and being able to do what I enjoy. I love to challenge my body and to see each mile get easier and know that I could train my mind and body to do this.

The Start of Training for my 1/2 Marathon

I've been training for the AAR 1/2 marathon for about 3 years now. This is my year! The last 2 years were slightly interrupted because, well... we had a few surprise pregnancies... So anyways. I officially started my training program on November 1st. We don't have much money, so I don't have the convenience of technology of mapping out distances and keeping track of my pace, but I'll share what I've done to work around that.

I had been running on the treadmill at the gym and I was at about 3 miles and my pace was just under 10 minutes per mile so I figured that I would train by time and not miles, since I didn't have the equipment to track my mileage.
On my calendar I wrote down how many minutes I was going to run for. My first week was 30 minutes, and then I would add 10 minutes every week. The week of Thanksgiving was 60 minutes and I kept it 60 minutes the week after due to the holiday and company in town. Last week I reached 80 minutes (about 8 miles!) I have 6 weeks left until my race (Saturday, January 29th)

Help along the way

Some things that have helped me along the way so far in my training is to:
1. Choose a Race or a Date to complete your goal
Experts recommend giving yourself 4 months to train, so try to make your goal 4 months out from when you start. I gave myself 3 months, but I had some mileage under my belt when I officially made up my mind to train for my 1/2 marathon.
Make sure the race fits your schedule! Don't just close your eyes and let your finger land on a race and pick that. For me, I will only run on Saturdays, because it's important for me to keep Sunday open for church and family.
Location and Time is important to consider. Some races have a very early start time and if you live pretty far from the race, you need to consider traveling time, checking in, and time to warm up. Races are supposed to be for fun, and don't do one that you know will just stress you out and not let you enjoy or do your personal best.

2. Plan out your workouts and Write it Down.
For me, this was getting my calendar out, writing down the minutes I would run each week, and really considering what would work for me. (Taking in holidays, guests in town, or busy schedule)

3. Go out driving
My car is what I used to track some good running routes. Even though I am counting my workouts by minutes, I didn't want to go exploring and get lost or do a distance that was impossible for me to finish. So I drove around some areas to get an idea of what the mileage is. There is also a website that runners contribute to called, "mapmyrun.com" where you could look up running routes in your area that you could follow. I think this site has more to offer too.

4. Equipment
Shoes! Let's start with shoes. I do recommend going to a store that is geared toward runner's. I tried to go to a regular store, had them fit me for a running shoe and left feeling with buyer's remorse. I knew it didn't feel right to me and I couldn't get away with buying a cheap shoe, so I went back and returned it. I later found out that the size they put me in wasn't right at all! I went to the Road Runner Sports over at the Tempe Marketplace and loved it. They measured my foot, gave me advice on what to look for, and after I had picked a shoe, they had a treadmill that video recorded my running so the salesperson can check to see if the shoe is correcting my foot posture. :) (The treadmill test is free by the way!) So make that investment in your running shoes, because if the shoe doesn't fit, it will cause problems in the long run.

Clothing. I'm now learning about purchasing the right clothing for running, and I'll explain later why. But when I started, shorts are a must for me. My lower body has it's curves and the feeling of material rubbing together is quite irritating and will distract you the whole time during your run, so if it's the same case, shorts or better material is a good option.

5. Nutrition
When you are training, it helps to see food as "fuel." You are challenging your body hard time and eating proper foods that will fuel and replenish what is lost during a workout is key. Reaching the 8 mile mark I realized the importance of feeding your body. I had eaten a good meal before my run, but afterward I had doctor appointments, errands, and then feeding my kids. So after a few hours from my 80 minute workout, I never refueled and I started to feel weak and nauseous. Whoops.
Also hydration, Before, During and After.

On my way

We are always encouraged to keep a personal journal and I have always struggled to keep one current and up to date. But typing it out is just easier and quicker, and being a mom of three that is what I'm looking for.

This personal journal, "Journey 2 My Thirty," is just about me trying to reach my own personal goals, that of course will continue beyond my thirtieth birthday, but there are some goals that I've always wanted to accomplish, goals that are added to my New Year's Resolution list that have been repeatedly put on for the last 15 years, but never accomplished and now is the time to get my bum in gear and do it.

My first 3 goals that I have in the process of doing, and would accomplish in the year 2011 are:
1. Run a 1/2 marathon
2. Compete in a sprint triathlon
3. Donate my hair to Locks of Love

Run in a 1/2 marathon
Growing up I loved to run... mostly short distances. I was a pretty fast kid and loved the feeling to run as fast as I could and to feel that power that my little body had. Once I hit my teenage years, my body started changing and started slowing down. I remember being 14 and my start of running was a mix of being prepared for track and to slim down. I would wake up before school and do my tortured workout of jog/walk, jog/walk and then after a few weeks it would be so much easier and it was jogging the whole time. I've carried that memory of my struggle at the beginning and how hard it is to start something new, and the struggle, but then see the improvements in my body and how you could build up to something.
I've been setting this goal to run a 1/2 marathon for the past 7 years. At first I didn't put the effort into reaching this goal, I think out of fear and doubting that my body could turn from a sprinter into long distance runner, but then when I did start training and putting effort in, we were surprised with some children. :)

Compete in a Sprint Triathlon

When I see triathlons, running obstacle courses in the mud, or even American Gladiator, those challenges seem like that would be awesome to do. Of course over the years of being the viewer, and having that ache in my heart to do it, I just want to go out and do it and be a part of it. Why be on the sidelines all the time? There are so many things that look fun to me, yet I don't do it? So, this is one of them. I enjoy all three events, and since a "sprint" triathlon is shorter distances, it is something I know I can obtain and won't be overwhelmed doing it.

Donate my hair to locks of love

I've had this goal for 10+ years now. I start growing out my hair and of course, get sick of the growing out phase and cut it off before it is an acceptable length to donate. Now that I'm getting older, it seems that more people that I know personally, are affected by cancer and lose their hair. I feel humbled now and appreciate the hair that I do have, but know that I could really help someone else out. So, I'm hoping by the end of 2011, my hair will be long enough to donate and this will be something I will do! My mind is set and I'm done not following through with my goals.