Friday, August 31, 2007

Dirt running

When I woke up this morning it was about 60 degrees! I was so tempted to roll over and go back to sleep because it hasn't been that cool here since about April. I did snooze a few times extra, but then got out of bed and hit the road.

It felt odd running this morning. I probably should have worn pants instead of shorts and I think I started too fast because by the time I hit the first turn I was tired. I made it home, didn't break any records, but I felt good that I did it. That's the important part.

One thing that may have hurt my time was that on the second leg I tried something different. See, I've read about the different running surfaces and how concrete is basically "poison for your legs." Unfortunately the sidewalks here are all concrete and on the road there is about a foot and a half border on the side of the asphalt of concrete, so that if I wanted to run on the asphalt, I would be running in the middle of the road.

The other day I was thinking that I could run on the grass in between the sidewalk and the road, but this time of year, since it's so dry, they let it get pretty long, so it's really not good for running. Today as I ran, I noticed that on one part they had dug up all the grass and it was now dirt. So I thought, why not run in the dirt - any bit helps right? It felt wierd running on the dirt when you've been running on concrete or on the track. It felt like I had to lift my foot higher as I was running. It was dry, so it wasn't muddy, but it wasn't really packed down either. So, I think this little adventure slowed my run down. But, I'd much rather sacrifice time for happier legs!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Short run

So, when I say I'm going to do "speed work" I think you may be envisioning a fast run that's a good distance. Not so. I have found a plan that I am comfortable with to train for Disney. It is a 17 week plan, so I have a few weeks to go before that starts. At this point I am trying to work up a good base to be ready for the schedule.

One of the runs that the plan has you do are quarter mile repeats where you run a quarter mile (one lap around the track) at a certain pace. Then you rest two minutes and go another lap. Each week you'll increase how many total laps you do. The goal is to keep your pace consistent on each lap and get your legs used to a faster movement, so then when you "slow down" to your marathon pace, your legs will think that's easy compared to the faster pace in the quarter mile repeats.

On the first week of the plan you do 6 repeats, so 1.5 miles, plus a warm up and cool down. I decided I wanted to try it and see what pace I could do. That may help me decide what finishing time I want to have as a goal for my marathon. So, I thought, I'll just do a mile of these (or four repeats) to see what they feel like, plus it was my bonus 4th day, so any milage was an increase over last week, but we don't want to over-do it.

I ran a slow half mile warm up. Stretched. Then I did my first lap. 2:17. I was happy with that and said, okay, my other laps need to stay within 10 seconds of that (5 seconds faster or slower). Second lap was 2:13, third was 2:15, fourth was 2:16. I just did the four, and I felt really great! I was definitely tired, considering I did my last 3.1 miler in 33:20, so normally have a just over 11 minute mile pace. As I did my cool down half mile while pondering the repeats I thought "that is less than ten minutes for the mile!" Granted, there was a two minute rest in between, but still. That's way faster than my normal.

Then, as I started thinking more (on my ride home from the track, once I had some water and could think more clearly) and did the math, that is a 9:01 mile. Woah! I almost did a 9 minute mile! That rocks! Plus, I felt different after the run. It was just a mile sprinting, but I definitely felt like I had worked hard. My quads are sore today, and I feel it in my calfs. I take that as a good sign. I worked my body in a different way and that feels great!

So, I think I'll make that my official Wednesday run and each week I'll add more repeats. By the time I start the official 17 week schedule, I'll be better prepared.

Oh, and I did wear the new sneaks. They'll get a break today and be happy and ready for tomorrow's run. (You didn't think I'd go the whole thing without talking about my new shoes, did you?)

Oh, yeah! Then I was so excited about my run I ran up and down the stadium steps. Twice. Not a big huge stadium, but it was a nice little bonus. Maybe that's why my quads are a bit sore. Hmmm...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

About shoes (again)

It seems like all I do is talk about shoes these days, but I have a question. Now that I have a pair of shoes that are properly fitted to my feet, do I only wear those or do I still alternate? I have two other pair of shoes from before my trip to the running store. One pair was my favorite and the other pair I just didn't know why I didn't like to run in them. Now that I know what the shoe should be like, the pair that was my favorite has support (though less than the new pair) where it should for my foot. The pair that I wasn't comfortable with has no support at all where my foot needs it, so now I know why it didn't work. And those are officially no longer going on my feet for a run.

So the question is, do I stick with the old pair that is medium support and alternate it with the new shoes until I get another pair of new shoes? Or do I just wear the new shoes and by the time I buy another pair of those they'll be broken in and ready for a rest on alternating days? I'm running 4 days a week, so they mostly will have a day to bounce back, except for one time a week I'll wear them twice in a row. Or is that the only day I should use the old shoes so that the new ones will always have a rest day in between runs?

Seems like I should know the answer to this, but I figured I'd ask you out there who have more experience.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

So happy with my new shoes!

I used them today for my 3-mile run and they were awesome. The first mile, my feet didn't know what to think. They were like "what's this? Comfy shoes? How are we supposed to run in comfy shoes?" Then my feet got used to it and the run turned out great. I've decided that in my previous runs it wasn't so much that my legs got tired, but my feet got tired. I ended the three miles and my feet were still ready to go.

The plan this week is to add another day. I have found a plan (after looking at a lot of them) that I feel comfortable with to help me train for Disney. It is a 17 week plan that involves running 4-6 days a week. At this point I'm running three days and so I want to get up to four before the 17 weeks starts. I've read about having a base to start with before you "officially" can say you are training for a marathon. Two more weeks and it's official, though I think the day I signed up for the race I could officially say I was in training.

Today is an easy day here at work and so I've been looking at other peoples blogs and it's so great to read other people's stories. I was just reading Running Hoosier ( and he commented that reading other peoples stories makes him want to get out there and run. I find that to be so true! I ran this morning so I'm good for the day, but then I read someone else's story and I think "maybe I should run when I get home, just for fun this time." What is it about us that makes us just want to get out there? Some days it really is hard to say, "no, I already ran. I don't want to burn out. Stick with the plan!" Sometimes not sticking with the plan can be just as fun though. Right Bill?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fun at the running store!

So the hubby and I went up to the big city of Topeka on Saturday and we went to The Great Plains Running Company. It's a running specialty store and I was excited! The people there were great and gave me a big high five when I told them I had signed up for Disney and needed a gait analysis.

It was a bit wierd running on a treadmill in my bare feet, but it helped because I learned I have, for the most part, normal pronation but my right foot may pronate (roll inward when it hits the ground) a bit more. Knowing that, the person helping me went and got about 7 pairs of shoes for me to try on. The first ones were great, but I tried them all on. It was fun because the last time I went shoe shopping like this was when I was about 8. She measured my foot and tied the laces for me and everything. Haha!

I know I made a breakthrough when I resigned myself to buying the best pair for my feet even if they were the ugliest ones (I just am not a fan of yellow!) We did a comparison by putting the top two on, one on each foot and then switched. Happily for me, the winner (they fit just right, I felt like Goldilocks) was the pretty pair. (And they were on sale!) So now I have pretty blue and light gray Puma Complete Tenos IVs and they are awesome.

Alas, since Sunday was my long run I was not going to break them in then. So, I am super excited for my run tomorrow to test them out. Yay for new shoes! I never get this excited about shoes, just so you know.

The long run yesterday was good. Since I had done 6.25 last week, I said I should try for 7, 5 of which had to be running. It was tough and I found myself frustrated that I just ran out of steam. But then I thought about it and realized I ran out of steam about 1.25 miles later than I did last week, so that was encouraging. Total distance was 7.25 I'm going to add a fourth day of running this week, probably speed work.

Still happy and still excited about running.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Doing research...

I did my three mile run this morning and it was solid. I did it a minute faster than I had done it on Tuesday, and the whole time I was running I felt like I was going slower than I had on the previous run. It was pretty windy and for the majority of the run it was coming at me sideways. Of course, the shortest part of the run was when it was at my back so I didn't get much help there! Ha.

Today in between clients I've been trying to come up with a running schedule. A lot of places I've looked recommend running three days a week and rest or cross train the other days and have two day rest before your long run. Other places advocated running every day - which at this point I'm not ready for. Another site suggests two long runs a week and a speed run and then moderate runs the other three days with one day of rest per week.

Right now I'm just running three days a week, but I feel like I should be doing more, so next week I'm going to try to up it to four, which hopefully will be speed work, and then increase as I feel ready. I still have a long way to go, but it's fun planning the journey!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

3 mile run

Yep, I set out on my three miles this morning and I ran the whole thing! WOOHOO!!! The route is a rectangle and right before I make the last turn to get back to the starting point there is a hill. I always get to the top of the hill and for some reason (and it really does happen every time) I think East Street is one block further than it actually is. It's a pleasant surprise when I see that I'm nearly there, but today when I saw the street sign I just started giggling like a mad woman. I knew I was almost to the end and I would be able to make it. While the giggling didn't help my breathing much, it felt so good I didn't care.

When I made the last turn, I tried to pick up the pace just a bit. I guess the pace was what I've recently learned is a tempo pace. It's faster than what I was doing so that it's definitely harder, but it's not quite a sprint. I finished laughing just about as hard as when I saw the street sign. Gotta love the endorphins!

A cross training day is definitely in order for tomorrow. After the long run on Sunday, my legs felt pretty tired today. I know I need to do some cross training and I'm thinking maybe some yoga or pilates would be great for all the stretching.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend run

So, on Sunday I decided I had to log 5+ miles be it running, walking, or barely moving my feet. I thought, since it was going to be a long run that I would go do it on the track around the football stadium at good ole ESU (Go Hornets!) since that's better on the joints than concrete. My hubby is a big soccer fan and there's a league in my town that has games every Sunday. So, brilliant me, said to hubby "drop me off at the stadium and pick me up after the game". We made a specific route for me to start walking home by and he would pick me up wherever he found me.

So, I slathered on the sweatproof 45 spf and filled my water bottle with ice and we went. I figured, the longer I was at the track, the less I'd have to walk home (game started at 11, two 45 minute halves, a 15 minute halftime, 10 minutes for him to talk to his friends about what they did right/wrong and then 10 minutes to drive across town), so I wasn't in any rush. I decided to walk a warm up mile. My muscles have been getting tight during my runs, so I wanted to get them ready for the run by stretching them once I was warmed up. I was feeling great. The temperature had gone down about 15 degrees since the day before and clouds had rolled in so it wouldn't heat up as much as the past week.

So, the thing about running on a track is that, like a treadmill, it's kind of boring. You're just running in circles. It's better on your body, but ugh! And then you have to keep count of how many laps you did. So, I decided to make it easier, I would turn around and run the opposite direction every mile so that I'd only have to count as high as four.

By the end of the mile warm-up I was feeling good. Ran mile two and three great! I find I feel like I overheat a lot and so at the start of mile four I walked a lap and cooled down a bit (but told myself I'd have to do a lap of sprint/walk to make up for it in my cooldown mile). By the start of the 5th mile, my water was almost gone (the ice had melted long ago) but I thought, the cooldown mile will be good and I won't be as hot.

With the water in my bottle gone, I started looking everywhere for a water fountain. This is the university's football stadium, so there should be one somewhere right? I took detours around the track trying to find a fountain. I went up the stadium, no fountain. I tried the bathrooms, locked. I found the football offices and woohoo the doors are open! But, while the temporary a.c. blast is nice, no water. I tried the door to the football locker room and it was open, I peaked in with my eyes half covered, still no water from what I could see and I wasn't brave enough to go all the way in. Must not have been that thirsty right?

I continued my second to last lap and I'm just walking along and on one wall of the stadium I saw a tiny little metal thing on the wall. Could it be a fountain? I decided to sprint to it and find out. It's a fountain! I'm all excited. The football guys need water, so of course there's got to be water for them. I'm sweating and gross, my mouth is dry, but I know I'm getting water. I turn the handle and... nothing. ARGH!!!

I thought to myself, okay, I'm just not going to think about it. I look at my hand and my fingers are pruned. I think that's pretty gross. I can't get water and my fingers look like they've been in water all day because I'm sweating so much. (Actually, in a gross way that's kind of cool too.)

As I leave the track, I think, wow! In total I did 6.25 miles! That's great! That's nearly a quarter of what I need for Disney (oh, yeah, did I mention I finally signed up to run Disney? YAHOO!) and I'm feeling pretty good. I did walk and learned I need to buy a bigger water bottle, but I did the farthest distance I have to date. I'm thinking it's about 1:00 and so Hubby should find me soon, so I start walking, trying not to think about water. I'd drink a ton when I get home.

I left the track and passed by a building - campus safety. I go in and right inside the door are soda machines, but I don't have any change on me! It's in the car which Hubby has! Argh! So, I found a bathroom, and as gross as it seems, I filled my water in the sink in there. It was warm. It was straight from the tap. It was from a public restroom. But I think it was the best tasting water I've had in 15 years.

It is about 2.5 miles from the stadium to my house. I was hoping not to have to walk the whole thing. By now my feet were sore, my shirt was soaked and I had long lost all that sweatproof SPF. Hubby found me on the walk before I reached home, but I had already walked almost 1.75 miles of the distance. So, that makes almost 8 miles for the day. But, I did it, and that feels great!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Smells to keep you motivated on your run.

Today I woke up and the initial thought was to roll over and go back to sleep. But, no, I know it's just too hot in the afternoon to go running this time of year and so I forced myself awake and started the coffee brewing and hit the road.

I had thought, "oh, I'll just do my 2 mile run this morning, it's Friday." Dumb excuse I know. So, if you picture a rectangle and then in one corner of the rectangle make an arc - I live on the arc part, and the outside rectangle is a three mile square (well, my car's odometer says 3.3 miles, but when I plotted it on it says 3.01 miles, so I split the difference and say it's a 5k). If I go the opposite direction of the 3 mile rectangle and run to the next main road and back, that's two miles. Or that's what I thought until I plotted that out and it turned out to only be 1.75.

So, I started walking to the rectangle and once I crossed the road to the sidewalk and started running I said, "no way am I just going to do the 2-mile (1.75), it's Friday!" Much better excuse right? And I'm so glad I made that decision. I've done the 3 mile loop about 4 times now, and it gets easier every time. I ran almost the whole thing today - only stopped one time for a small stretch for those darn hip flexors (anyone know a good exercise to strengthen them?). And, when I reached the point I though I was going to stop, there was a squashed skunk in the road - that will make you run just a bit futher to get away from the smell!

The last two blocks before I get back to the starting point I usually try to sprint, but it usually is just a faster jog. Today, I actually sprinted that part and really felt like I was working really hard. My breathing was good and when I finished, I didn't feel like puking. Always a good sign.

I really feel like today's run was my best one yet. It feels great to see progress being made and feeling the difference in my body. Plus, I went to Walmart and got me a cheap water (and I assume sweat) resistant watch with a timer on it. I haven't really been tracking my time since I switched from the treadmill to the road so I don't know what the middle times were. But when I was doing the treadmill, my 5ks were somewhere around 42-45 minutes. Today it was 34:16! That's progress and that feels great. Thanks for all your encouragement. I really appreciated it, and it keeps me motivated.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

5 pounds = 5 minutes

As I was checking out a fellow runner's blog, they said in a recent article that 5 pounds extra adds 5 more minutes on your marathon time. That is shocking to me! I have no illusions that it's easy to run with all this extra weight, but that right there is a pretty good motivation to be more careful what I eat!

Running as soon as you wake up

I'm still in the beginning stages of getting my routine down, so today I decided to go for my run about 10 minutes after I woke up. From what I've read on various sites and in various books, it doesn't make that much of a difference when you run as long as you do it. I have been trying to wake up, eat something small and then get out on the road about an hour later. But today I ran first.

I did my 3 mile run and it turned out that running right when you get up wasn't so bad as I had imagined. Like I said previously, I feel a little awkward when I run in the morning, kind of clumsy, but that's just me. So, at the start I was feeling goofy, but then I found my groove and my pace and it was really great!

I was thinking as I ran, that a lot of running is just a mental head game with yourself. That's no revelation, most runners will tell you that. But what I find about me is that I get to where I'm running and I start thinking about walking. So today when I found that feeling creeping in, I started thinking about all the reasons why I felt like I should walk? Sometimes, I should walk, but I think I have a tendency to walk more than I really need to. I mean, if I'm listening to my body I should know the difference between what is a feeling that signals it's time to walk and just the voices of defeat trying to talk to me and make me stop.

So, as I was running today, I decided to list reasons why I would stop:
Am I too hot?
Do I need a drink?
Am I breathing too hard?
Is there a piece of lint in my sock that is irritating my foot?
Did I wear the wrong shoes, bra, shorts, t-shirt?
Is there sweat dripping into my eyes?
Do I feel like my muscles are tightening up so I need to stretch?
Is the pavement uneven?
Am I just feeling lazy today?
Do I have a slow song stuck in my head that's bringing me down?
Am I thinking too much about outside issues and not concentrating on the workout?
Am I afraid someone will see me and laugh?

I found that once I started going through that list and trying to figure out why I would stop running and walk, I'd ran a lot further than I had the last time I did it. While some of the things on the list are worth walking for, a good number of them can be remedied by just bringing your concentration back to your running, your pace and just paying attention to what you're doing insted of letting your mind wander.

While I did have to stop because my hip flexors needed a stretch (and that's a good reason for stopping- I don't want any injuries!) I found that I ran way more than I would have if I hadn't tried to figure out what was making me want to stop.

All in all it was a good run and I think I enjoyed it more when I just woke up because it really got me energized and ready for the day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Okay, so back in high school I played field hockey and our coach always made us do fartleks, which were one of the drills that I liked (that and Indian sprints, though I don't know if that is PC these days...). I have a training log on and I saw an article about fartleks and it brought back memories of field hockey days.

I've been running now for about two months, and while I started on the tread mill, after the 5-mile road race, I said bye bye to the treadmill. However, I know the treadmill is a good surface to run on, so I found a track here in town at the University football stadium and I went there for the first time on Sunday. The plan was to do fartleks.

Now in high school, a fartlek was sprint-jog-walk-sprint. I'm not sure if that is the proper form, but that's what I was going to do. It was only about 9:15 am and so the tempurature hadn't had the chance to go up too much. I walked a warm-up lap and then did a lap where I sprinted-jogged-walked-sprinted around the track and then walked a lap.

I've become used to the normal route I take around my house. It's about two miles, and I try to do that three times a week and I run the whole time. I thought I was making progress, but then when I got to the track and did this drill with sprints, I was a little disappointed! I know training takes a lot of patience, but I was like "I hope I'm in better shape than that!"

Just makes me realize I need to not just get the miles in, but now it's time to run just a bit faster and run a bit longer. I think I worry that since I'm overweight, I don't want to stress out my bones, joints and muscles before my body is realistically ready to deal with that kind of stress. Either way, I'm still psyched that I'm making progress. I know my run today will be improved even though the fartleks were hard.

It is however, very hot again today. On Sunday when we got back from the track at about 10:30 it was already 95 degrees. It's been like that all week. That makes it really hard to get out and run, but as long as I know my limits, I think it'll be okay.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What a great morning to run!

First let me just start by saying that whenever I try to keep a journal I always put off the start because I feel like I have to write a big introduction. But, as I want to keep this up as much as possible, I'll save the big intro for when I have more time (once my work project is done?).

I ran this morning and it was so great. The days have been so hot here that it is still in the 90's at 9:00 at night. So, this morning it was only 73 and it had stormed last night after weeks without rain, so it was just refreshing. I just ran my short run because I find myself awkward in the mornings. I do better in the afternoon/evening runs, but I would love to be a morning runner instead. But it's hard to wrestle on a sports bra first thing when you roll out of bed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I envision this as a running journal to be used to keep me motivated as well as keep track of my thoughts as I start getting geared up to become a running machine! Currently, I have a project that I'm preparing for work, and as a reward for getting it done I will do my first "official" post. Maybe even try to get a picture or two up here...

However, back to work so I can get my project done and get posting!