Sunday, January 29, 2012

Like a Boss...

Chilly at the starting line
I ran my second 1/2 marathon today in Austin.  I mentioned on a previous post that my goal for this race was 1:59:59 and I am proud to report that I am now officially a sub 2 hour half marathoner. I finished today in 1:52:32 @ 8:47/mile. 

A few negatives: cold start, wish I'd eaten more that morning or maybe the night before so that I could have had a little more get up and go for the last 3 miles; uphill in the last half mile

Lots of positives: did ya see the time?!?!?!; Got to run a few miles with my cousin; Cory managed to find me three times on the course instead of the two we planned on; enjoying a blue cheese burger afterwards with ZERO guilt (this is always an excellent perk if you're trying to decide on whether or not you'd like to become a runner); only walked through a few aide stations!

Mile 6: Hot-- please take this!
Next challenge-- Capital of Texas 10K 3/25 (excited to see how fast I can do 6 miles) and Big D Texas Marathon ( right now doing today x2 seems like a large hurdle to jump with my short legs-- but 13.1 seemed that way not so  long ago)

Here's some pics from today! One mile at a time (or .25 mile at a time as was the case today for the last few miles!)---

Mile 7: It's blurry because I'm fast :)

Mile 13- Glad this isn't a close up--- it would not be pretty
Mile 13.1-- Thank you JESUS!  

Best husband ever!

Endorphines--- Yes Please!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Running Isn't Free....

All you need to be a runner is an open mind and the open road. One of the most appealing things about running is that technically it can be a "free" form of exercise--- unfortunately, this is mostly untrue. As a baby runner, it's true you can get a feel for what running is like if you just walk out the door and onto the road in your usual cross trainers and a cotton t-shirt. If you stick with running through those first grueling weeks and decide to add miles, I've found its a good idea to shell out some cash for some real deal running stuff (which also helps to convince your brain to actually believe that you are a runner)!

Here's my list of cool runners stuff that I've spent money on and actually use:
Brooks Ghost4- My Favorite

1) Shoes--- you need legit running shoes. I didn't realize that I was wearing the wrong shoe that was really worn out until I had been running for 3-4 months. Go to a specialty running store at the end of the day after you've run to get the best fit. They're going to get on the floor and watch you walk-- they'll make you run on a treadmill-- and you're going to try on a million different pairs of shoes. Embrace the experience! Shoes can fix some common aches and pains, so if it hurts when you run you might be in the wrong type or wrong size shoe. Prepare to spend $100---at least!

2) Socks-- While we are on the topic of feet, socks are really important, too. Cotton socks + Texas heat= Moisture= Blisters=Stinky Painful Feet. Buy some socks that are made with moisture wicking technical fabrics--NOT COTTON. My favorite brand is Swiftwick ($12/pair)
You can also get super cool looking compression socks that come up to your knees if you lower legs give you problems (like Shin Splints). These are pricey, but a lot of runners swear by them. Cory has a pair and says they do offer some relief.

CW-X Compression Tights
3. Clothing: Much like the socks, you need to get clothes that are made from technical fabrics. In the summer they pull away the sweat and in winter they help keep you warm. When it is hot outside, and in San Antonio that's most of the year, I like to dump water on my head while I'm running to help stay cool; if I'm wearing cotton then I'm going to be wearing damp heavy clothes for the remainder of the run. No good. There are a lot of options here from really cheap to really expensive. Do what works for you.
On a side note, ladies you should consider embracing spandex. It may not be pretty-- at least not right away-- but I have found it to be the most practical thing to run in on the bottom because it doesn't move around and if you chose capri length like I do then you don't have to worry about the dreaded chub rub between your thighs.  As I've mentioned in previous posts,  I have struggled some with IT band pain and one of the best investments I've made is a pair of CW-X Compression tights (read super spandex) which have targeted bands of compression in areas that runners often have trouble with. If you've got aches and pains these have been great for me. Side benefit: they are the Spanxx of running clothes!

4. Water Holder Thingy- Dehydration sucks and is your worst enemy as a runner. If you're dehydrated you're putting yourself at risk in so many ways, not to mention your run is going to suck. Drink water during the day and make sure you have water with you or know where water fountains are on long runs or days when it's hot or humid. I use a water bottle with a hand strap on it, but there are belts and back packs, too. I also store my car key and energy gels in the pocket on the outside of the bottle so it serves a dual purpose.

5. Foam Roller- As you increase miles, the soreness tends to increase, too.  The foam roller helps to banish soreness. I try to roll out my muscles about twice a day but FOR SURE right after I run. Basically, it's used for self massage and massage has been proven to decrease recovery time (=less soreness) and decrease injury risk-- a win-win! I have just had one of these about a month and I have already seen a lot of improvement using it!

Finishing strong at RNR San Antonio 13.1
6. Races- Racing is not a mandatory requirement to be a runner, but for me I am alot more apt to get out there everyday and run if I have something that I am running towards. One of the best things I did for my running was to sign up for a race series to get ready for my half marathon because it gave me mini milestones every month to get ready for a longer distance. On top of that, the races were really fun and I usually ran better in the heat of the moment than on my day to day runs. In reality, the first race I did in that training series seemed alot more insurmountable than the half marathon because I wasn't sure that I could actually do it and all I saw around me were these crazy fast fit people. By the time November rolled around, even though the distance was much longer the experience was not as intimidating because I had run in a race before.  I can't wait to line up in Austin in a couple of weeks-- racing gives me something that just running can't! Costs on races vary depending on location, event size, and race purpose-- get on  the internet and find something that works for you!

So there you have it-- my stuff to spend your running money on! This week in training is a step back week to save up energy for the half on the 29th. I had a great long run this past Saturday of 10 miles and was actually able to run the last two miles faster than I was able to run the 8 miles preceding it!(a first for me, which means I'm learning to reign in the pace and save energy- a skill I will definitely need for the marathon in April!)

Training Runs This Week
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Saturday: 7 miles

One Mile at a Time!