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Treadmill Tell-all: AKA My Rant of the Month

With Old Man Winter laying the smack down on poor runners all across the Nation, many are forced to hit the dreaded treadmill to maintain their training schedules. I’m not gonna lie – I HATE the treadmill. But, I am grateful to have access to one since the weather and my schedule haven’t been jiving.

Today, I came across this article at Run With Jess and another at Marcia’s Healthy Slice and thought I’d jump on the bandwagon, too. If you have a blog, feel free to write your own edition of Treadmill Tell-All… leave your link here and I’ll check your blog out!

1. What’s your favorite workout to do on a treadmill? The only treadmill workout that could qualify as a favorite for me is the one that is OVER WITH. In the past. Bye bye. For this reason it’s always hard to keep my pace as slow as I’m scheduled to do. I want to go faster just to get it over with.

2. How many miles, on average, do you run on the mill each week? Usually none, but, with a Spring marathon looming and being that I hate single digit temps even worse than the mill… I’ve been running 3 – 10 miles per week during the worst of the weather.

3. What was the most mileage you’ve ever completed on the mill in one workout? When? Why? 6.5 miles yesterday, in the gym at work, before my shift. I stared at my front teeth for a solid hour. I wanted to run outside, despite the dark, but the roads were slippery ice, AND it was 7 degrees out – colder than I care to be out in. (With a 13 mile long run coming up Saturday, and not a single day off for the weekend, I may log my longest treadmill run this weekend. Oh, but I hope not.)

4. Do you mill at home, the gym or both? I’m thankful to have a gym at work because I don’t own a treadmill. If I keep having to use it, though, I’m going to go insane. There’s only so much of the news channel I can stand. I may have to buy a treadmill just so I can watch a different channel while I run!

5. What distractions or entertainment (if any) do you use to help pass the time? I would love to be able to watch movies or a sitcom comedy while on the mill, but I don’t have that option. So, I entertain myself by reading the closed caption readout of the news (and looking for all the misspelled words), staring at my front teeth in the mirror, and (THANK YOU, JESUS) listening to my iPod or Slacker radio on my iPhone.

6. If you have a treadmill at home, what kind is it? How old is it? No extra dinero to shell out for a mill. I do have some killer Jessica Simpson heels and Harley Davidson boots I’d be willing to part with… Anyone want to trade? 🙂

7. Do you fuel any differently for a treadmill workout than an outside one? My differences in fuel are really only affected by distance.

8. Any treadmill mishaps to report?
On a nearly 5 mile mill run, I got exasperated with a string of crappy songs coming on Slacker radio (was trying a new station), so I ripped my Skullcandy earbuds off and threw them (I thought out of the way). One side got sucked under the mill and was ripped from the other side. I was sad. Those were my best buds. 😦

9. Do you mill at incline to compensate for not being outside? Usually a 2% incline, sometimes 1% if I’m struggling mentally.

10. Describe your perfect (if there is such an animal) treadmill conditions: treadmill at the bottom of a lake, and me jogging a tree-lined trail around that lake on a beautiful 50 degree day. No, seriously, I guess it would be a grid of huge tv’s surrounding the mill with some sort of virtual trail stretching before me, playing on video so it feels like I’m outside. And, to be perfect, it would need to have options – mountain trail, flat forests, lake-side, beach, etc. I’m sure Bill Gates has already developed it. So, if you run into him, let him know I would love to be a product tester, ok?!

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The Long Run, Week 4: #MegsMiles

Most Saturdays are low-key for us, a time to relax, get in a long run, do some cleaning or just be lazy on the couch. This past weekend was quite the exception, though. Between hubby’s gigs that kept him hopping for a day and a half, tending to the herd of horses at our local therapeutic riding center, getting bills paid, meals cooked, a bit of cleaning done, and toting baby girl around like a squirming football (she’s in a stage where she refuses to be put down for longer than 5 seconds), it’s a wonder I did manage to get my long run in. I am incredibly thankful to my Sister-in-Love and Mother/Father-in-Love for all of the support they give us by babysitting. AND, I am ever so grateful for an extra day to just chill out and have some quiet family time before getting back to the rat race. (Oddly enough, it’s only when I’m back to the rat race that I even have time enough to blog.)

So, getting on to the long run. I prefer to get it done during baby girl’s first nap of the day, but since I had parental duties all alone that day, I just enjoyed snuggling as she napped. Then the “in-Love’s” took over while I handled feeding duties at the local therapeutic riding center. (As an aside… My husband’s mom started the tradition of saying “in-Love” as opposed to “in-Law” – just one of many examples of why she is so awesome and why I absolutely LOVE my husband’s family.)

After saying hello to the herd, getting some kisses,

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Feeding the herd of 15,

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Watering the stall-kept horses,

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Mucking the barn,

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And haying everybody,

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I was finally able to get home, suck down some peanut butter toast and get to my run.

It was a good run, but difficult in more ways than one. Just being “that time of month” makes it difficult enough (sorry if that’s TMI, but hey, it’s hard to explain the difficulties without SOME detail), and on top of that was the brutal wind, PLUS… This run was for Meg. And every time I think about this woman whom I’ve never met, I get all torn up inside.

Meg was a wife, a mom, a runner. And now, due to a drunk driver, she is no more on this earth. As I ran, I was hyperventilating, thinking of how her children have been robbed of their mother. You see, my dad was killed in a car crash when I was an infant. I know something about senseless tragedies and growing up without a parent. It HURTS. And as I ran, I hurt for Meg’s kids, and I prayed for their healing. I prayed that, if they aren’t already, that they would become followers of Christ and that Jesus would heal their brokenness as He had healed mine.

I had planned a 12 mile run. The GPS had some issues, I’m guessing due to the vicious wind, and it clocked the run at 12.88 miles, which I think was wrong. In any case, however many miles they were, they belong to Meg and her family.

Did you run for Meg? How did it go?

Maintaining Motivation: 5 Tips To Keep You Running

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A recent comment and post from a fellow blogger, Ryan, over atRunning For Change, got me to thinking about some of the best ways that I have personally found to stay motivated to run. I’ve been through recent dry spells, and after analyzing what kept me humming along in the past, what led to my dry spells, and what got me going again, I’ve come up with 5 essential keys to success.

1. Enter a Race
This can’t be just any race. This race needs to be local, or at least within a short enough distance that an unexpected shortage of funds won’t be a hindrance. That doesn’t mean “destination races” are out of the question. It simply means that there needs to be enough local races on the race schedule to keep the momentum going.

Another important consideration for this race is that it needs to have a goal attached to it that is achievable, but requires focused effort in order to reach it. (i.e. longer distance, faster time, or obstacles to conquer)

2. Use A Training Plan
Whether you use a free one, a purchased one, or hire a personal trainer to develop a customized one, a training plan will keep you on track and help you reach your goal injury-free.

For my first three half marathons, I tailored my own training plan after researching plans and tips for several weeks. This got me to my first half under-trained (a good thing) and injury-free, to a PR in my second, followed by another PR in my third. Currently, I’m sticking to a free marathon training plan that I downloaded on my RunKeeper app, and I’m really feeling great about it. If I get the results I’m looking for, I’ll try a second one when I push for that sub 2 hour half marathon later this year.

3. Fuel The Fire
In everything, you get out what you put in. Trash in = trash out. The better you eat, the more you will FEEL like being active. Plus, the more active you are, the more you will WANT to eat right. It’s a wonderfully upward spiral.

4. Social Media
Most people will encourage you to join a running group. My schedule has never really allowed for that. What I have found helpful is using social media to connect with the running community at large.

A combination of blogging about running, following other running blogs, connecting with runners on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, and entering sweepstakes for running gear keeps running at, or very near, the forefront of my mind. I’m encouraged by the trials that are overcome by others like myself, and I’m inspired by their victories. I learn from them how to do what I’ve never before done, and I sometimes even get a virtual pat on the back along the way.

5. Mix It Up
Prevent boredom and burnout by mixing some variety into your training runs and even races. Have you been running the same route for weeks? Explore a new route. Tired of the treadmill? Wake up earlier and hit the roads. Still not doing it for you? Find a trail. Not enough trails near you? Turn your run into a game. Go on a “treasure hunt” – make a list of items to find and snap pics along the way (this is basically what I did on these two posts: The Long Run: Here’s Your sign and The Long Run, A Photographic Journey).

There you have it – a handful of my personal secrets for maintaining motivation. How do you stay motivated? Do you play games while you run? What games do you play?

The Long Run, Week 3: Surprisingly Easy

I know, I know, the long run is supposed to be easy… especially when you’re following a Beginner Marathon training plan. But, it seems everything this week has been tough. From altering my schedule, due to the weather, and running tired early on in the week, to running in an overly warm gym yesterday and feeling a bit sick from it, all week I’ve felt just a bit off.

After 13+ hours on aching feet yesterday (running, work, grocery shopping – which caused me to get home past baby girl’s bedtime and made me feel like a big fat failure), I figured today would be like the rest of the week. What a pleasant surprise to wake up refreshed, get some quality time with baby girl, and have a great 11 mile run!

For the second week in a row I’ve reduced my average pace by a full minute per mile WHILE adding a mile. And a big bonus – the hills are getting easier. I was shocked to find I could easily jog up some hills that I had to walk just last week.

Several hours later, I’m still feeling great. I’m really looking forward to my first half marathon of the year, coming up in a few weeks, and today’s run left me feeling confident that maybe…. Just maybe… I’ll be able to pick up where I left off.

The Long Run: Here’s Your Sign

Today wraps up my second official week of marathon training, and as I journeyed out on my 10 mile long run I thought it would be fun to snap shots of different signs along the way.

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Past, Present & Future … Reflecting As We Race Towards 2014

1st 5K 2010

Just past the finish line of my first 5K… I’ve come a long way, baby!

 

Yep, that’s me. The past me. Huffing, puffing, heaving and wheezing at the finish of my first 5K just over 3.5 years ago. I can still remember the day I ran my first mile. It wasn’t too long before this first 5K. My first two-mile run – I almost fell off the treadmill in my excitement at hitting that two-mile mark for the first time in my life!

 

You see, I had always struggled with running due to mild asthma, so I just let my horses do the running for me.

Then, in 2009, I started training in Krav Maga. My lungs got stronger, as did the rest of my body, I got tougher, and I realized I can do this running thing. So, when I first ran a two-miler, the lightbulb flashed on – I WILL RUN A MARATHON!

And then, a few weeks later, I ran the first 5K of my life, and, well, you can see how that ended.

The funny thing is, though, I LIKED IT. So I’ve been keeping on keeping on ever since…. Well, except for this past Spring/Summer, but anyhow, I’m back at it.

My past “races”:

2010 Rails to Trails 5K, Marshall, TX
2010 “Hottest Half” Dallas, TX (my 1st 1/2)
2010 Warrior Dash, Central TX
2012 KY Derby Festival MiniMarathon
2012 Owensboro Memorial Day Half
2012 Warrior Dash, KY

Presently training for:

2014 KY Derby Festival Marathon (it will be my first full marathon!)
2-3 Half Marathons (just before & after the full… If my crazy work schedule allows)

Present goal:
Sub 2-hour Half Marathon (my last 1/2 was 2:13)

Future endurance goal:

Complete a 50-mile Ultra (possibly 2015?)

As a new mommy and a full-time factory worker (with crazy hours), 2014 will be an interesting year to say the least.

I invite you to join me in this journey, be inspired and, hopefully, share a few laughs.

Now, tell me, what are your goals for the coming year?