Friday, October 30, 2009

Just Do It

So, last week, I was trying to decide whether or not to sign up for the Go! St. Louis half-marathon by the October 31st early registration deadline...

I'm doing it! My registration form and check are in the mail as of yesterday afternoon. I decided I didn't have any really good reasons not to give it a shot.

Now, I just need a half training buddy or two...Trying to convince my two sisters to do it with me, although none of us live in the same city.

In other race news, I also signed up for the Girls on the Run 5k on November 14th. It seems like a great organization--it uses running as a way to help middle school girls build self-esteem and prepare for high school. If I liked kids, I'd totally volunteer with them. Since I don't, I'm going to donate and run their 5k...
I'm really going to try to shave some more time off my current "PR" (if you can call it that...) of 29.27. Probably a bit of a stretch, but I'd like to finish in 27 minutes.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Use It Or Lose It

Last night, during our short reprieve from the rain, I went on my first outdoor run since last Monday. Not for lack of desire, but last week I was a little sick, and then last Friday was the dreaded wisdom teeth surgery, which put me out of commission for a few days. Then came the incessant rain...
So, I found myself setting out not having run for 8 days. I didn't anticipate any problems, but it sure did start out hard. My chest felt like it was going to explode, my allergies kicked in, and I found myself taking a couple of 1 minute walk breaks.
But, sure enough, after about 3 miles, that recently familiar feeling of being able to keep going indefinitely kicked in. I ended up doing about two miles more than I intended when I started.
I didn't really want to stop when I did, but I had plans that evening that I needed to de-sweat for. I was just happy to get outside again and enjoy non-rainy fall for a minute.

I am concerned about this winter...I have cold-weather gear, and as it turns out, I run pretty well in the cold (possibly better than the insane summer heat), but when the snow hits, I'm gonna have to take it inside. Monday, I was at the gym and tried to use the treadmill....Yikes! I can't run as fast or as long on treadmill as I can outside. I feel like it makes me stride and hold my arms weird (to avoid flying off the back). Plus, it's so damn boring! I'll put gym going off as long as possible, but got to figure out something--Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'm sitting here this morning, contemplating the race registration for the Go! St. Louis Half-Marathon...To get the lowest registration fee, I need to send in my application by October 31st. The question is do I really want to run a half?

I started considering the idea of a half marathon after my successful 10k. Then, last weekend at a friend's b-day party, I was telling my friend Chris, who runs half and full marathons, about my experience and my possible desire to push farther. He convinced me that anyone who can do a 10k can do a half marathon and that the early April date of the Go! St. Louis half would give me plenty of time to train slowly. He also managed to convince me that if the half goes well to consider training for the full in Chicago...He made it all sound so simple!

So, what's holding me back now? Partly, I think it's laziness. Preparing to run a half means a lot of time devoted to putting in those long runs. Do I want to commit? I don't want to sign up for (and pay for something) that I'm going to end up giving up on half way through training.

Second is my fear that I'm not a "real" enough runner yet. I looked up a half-marathon training schedule, and it was full of things that I don't fully understand like fartleks, tempo runs, etc. And, I thought, "can't I just add mileage to my daily runs and build up each week?" Is that naive to think? I'm also put off by the need to refuel during long runs...those gel packs and beans make me want to throw up. I just can't do it. So, maybe long distance isn't for me.

Finally, I'm held back by fear...fear of failure, fear of injury. Long distance is when runners start to get hurt. I'm coming into this with "bad" knees and hips from the beating I gave them during high school and college volleyball. Can my body take it? I don't want to end up at the physical therapist's and unable to run at all.

I have the clarity to know that while some of my concerns are valid, mostly they're just excuses. If I put my mind to it, I can totally be ready for a half in April. I can listen to my body and avoid unnecessary wear and tear. And, by April, I should be at my goal weight, if not before, so there'll be that much less fat to lug around with me on a run. I'm still not sure about the technical training and fuels, but I can figure out something I'm comfortable with. That's what Google is for, right?

Anyway, I've got a few more days to decide what I'm going to do. Any advice is welcome!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Never Too Late...

This past summer (and the summer before that), one of my goals was to be able to run the entire outer path of Forest Park. According to the StL Track Club's website, that loop is 5.66 miles. Now, I've completed the loop many times with a combination of walking and running but never running the whole thing. After last weekend's success with the 10k, I knew 5.66 miles shouldn't be a problem. My only concern was that the south side of the park has several steep hills that have always given me problems.

So this morning, with the sun shining (finally!) although not doing much warming, I set out for the park to put a check mark next to another goal completed (even if it was a little out of chronological order). I started on Lindell near the Visitor's Center going clock-wise, that way I would hit the hilly section after only a mile or two. Some way, some how, without my realizing it, my legs have gotten WAY stronger. The hills really weren't that steep...I just slowed down when I needed to and kept careful watch over my breathing and form.

Another small victory...About 4 miles into the run, there's a very small hill, one that shouldn't give me any problems, but for some reason, whenever I've gotten to the top of the rise in the past, I've had to walk for a couple of minutes to catch my breath. Well, today, as I approached that section, I told myself, "This hill is so tiny compared to the others you've just conquered...the fact that you can't keep going when you get to the top is purely mental." And, it was. When I got to the top of the hill, I reminded myself to control my breathing to help slow my heart rate and to just keep going. It worked!

When I reached the end of the run, I still felt strong, so I pushed on for another quarter mile or so just to prove to myself that I could. I finished the whole run (5.66 + some) in 61 minutes. Not as fast as my 10k pace, but I was happy to cross off another goal, not to mention clearing a mental hurdle that's been holding me back. Now to get my eating back on track and finish off these last 16 unnecessary pounds. I think of it this way: the closer to my ideal weight, the easier it will be to run!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Legislating Health

I was listening to NPR this morning, as per usual, and on the Diane Rehm Show, she was discussing the proposed tax on soda and sugary drinks that would allegedly drive down consumption and provide revenue for the health care overhaul. The tax could be somewhere around a penny per ounce. So, a 20 oz Coke from the vending machine would be an extra 20 cents or so. It reminded me of a commercial I saw recently on the same topic where a "mother" bemoans the fact that in this economy even a few pennies add up to strains on their budget. The commercial was paid for by a coalition that, among others, included soft drink companies.

I guess you can figure out where I come down on this issue...I'm all for the tax. In fact, I think it should extend to candy, chips, and other non-essential foods. If the government can tax the heck out of cigarettes under the assumption that it will deter smoking, which contributes to disease, why not tax junk food in a similar manner in hopes it will steer some people toward healthier food choices? A Coke a day may not kill you as quickly as a cigarette a day, but it will eventually affect you.

And, the argument that it's going to put a strain on the working American's budget...Uhmmmm, have you considered removing soda from your budget? Tap water is extremely cheap. The problem of unhealthy food being cheaper than healthy food is an entirely different (very serious) issue. As is the absence of grocery stores in certain urban areas.

I realize a tax won't deter everyone. No amount of taxing or even educational campaigns are going to keep the majority of people from doing exactly what they want to do, no matter how bad it is for them. In fact, if the tax goes into effect, it probably wouldn't stop me from having the occasional Diet Coke. But, as long as I'm going to make a less than healthy choice, someone else might as well in the millions of people in our wealthy nation who can't get affordable health care.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update on 10k Results

So, I did even better than I thought...According to the official results list my time was 1:01:54 (a tiny bit better than a 10 minute mile pace). The place info is WAY less impressive...The race was divided up into competitive and non-competitive categories. I signed up for competitive, b/c as I understood the flier, I thought non-competitive weren't getting timed. Apparently not. But as a competitive runner, I'm exceedingly slow. I finished 154th out of 176 runners in the competitive category (they didn't list the results for the race as a whole) and in my age group for the competitive category I finished 15th out of 17 runners. But, whatever! I'm psyched about that one minute time difference :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First 10k Result

When did this become a running blog??

This morning, I rolled out of bed around 5:30 and headed to Edwardsville for the Route 66 10k. And, it was COLD this morning! Earlier in the week, I saw a weather report that said it would be around 50 degrees at race time, so I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought some cold weather running clothes. Good thing...It was more like 35 degrees at race time. There were tons of runners from all over, and I have to say the Metro Milers (the club that hosted the run) was awesome! The volunteers from the club working the race were great, and the other runners were super friendly.

One lady I met asked me what my goal time was...I hadn't really allowed myself to think about it...I didn't feel ready going into this race, and since it was my first 10k, I kept telling myself not to be competitive with myself and just do the best I could and see where I ended up. But, I told her I hoped to finish in under 70 minutes. Seemed reasonable, right?

The run went through residential Edwardsville and then about half the race was on the trails that wind through that area. I made myself start out at toward the back of the pack and kept telling myself to
s-l-o-w down. It was cold, but my cold compression gear was doing it's job, and I felt good. There were a few medium-size hills, but nothing crazy. There was a race clock at the 5k mark, and it was 30.23 when I crossed there. I couldn't believe that I wasn't even tired yet. It's all mind over matter, so I told myself that from this point to the end is the about the same length as the path I run at the park regularly (everything up to this point was just a warm-up) =}

The last half was easier than I imagined. The race volunteers were stationed along the route at about half mile intervals cheering us on. At the five mile mark, when I knew there was only 1.2 miles left, I tried to pick up speed a little. Before I knew it, the finish line was in sight...Since my watch was trapped under my shirt and jacket sleeves, I wasn't sure how I was doing on time. When the race clock came into view, I was surprised to see 1:02:26. I sped through the shoot and handed in my time sheet....The official results aren't in yet, obviously, but I think my time is definitely under 63 minutes.

I was super shocked with my performance. I didn't even think that I'd be able to run the whole time and figured I'd need at least a little walking break. Nope! I feel like Superwoman today! If I can do this, I can do anything. My birthday is fast approaching, and I have to say, I think I'm probably in just as good of shape as I was ten years ago, if not better, definitely eating healthier! And, even though I've said in this very blog that a half marathon is not for me...After today, when I wasn't even tired after 6.2, makes me wonder if that could be in the cards in the future!