Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guest Post: Comfort Zones

To get better at anything, we have to challenge ourselves. 

Today on Running Kellometersfind out how I'm pushing myself to become a better runner.  




What new challenges are you taking on?



Sunday, October 28, 2012

TrainingTruths: A Medley

It was a mix of running partners, distances, and fuel issues. Not such a great thing going into the last week before tapering for the Manchester City Half Marathon. 




#TrainingTruth: Running outside is easy on beautiful fall days.

Since Daisy twisted her ankle and couldn't run, I came home after school and ran with my husband. We enjoyed the beautiful fall foliage surrounding the pond. I love when easy runs actually feel easy.




#TrainingTruth: It's hard to run well when you feel like you have a full stomach. 


Today was a solo run after school on one of our usual routes. I went faster than I should have (probably because I was alone) and had to walk a couple of times. Then it felt like everything I'd eaten was on the verge of, well, something.


#TrainingTruth: Not enough pre-run fuel equals not enough gas in the legs.

The night before I didn't eat a runner friendly meal and then I wasn't feeling my usual pre-run meal so I had a couple of peanut better & jelly crackers on my way to meet Daisy (yes, she's back!). A couple of miles into the run, my stomach growled. Need I say more?



How do you make sure you are fueling right?



#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fitness Friday: Running Pop Quiz

Angela at Happy Fit Mama posted a running pop quiz on her blog and I thought it would be fun to it share here.

1. Fuel: Shot Blocks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy, or other?

My favorite go-to fuel is Sport Beans because the beans taste just like jelly beans, are easy to chew, and small.

2. Race Length: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Ultra, or other?

I'm loving half marathons right now, but I always enjoy a 5K or 10K too. No marathons, ultras, or triathlons for me (yet)!

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants, or other?

I wear all of the above. Check it out:



4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, water, or other?

My usual choice is just water on short runs, but either Gatorade or Cytomax after a long run.

5. Running Temperatures: Heat or Cold?

Running seems easier for me in the cooler temps, but I really like the warm temps because I have more clothing choices!

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics, or other?

Although I used to wear only Nikes, I'm now a Mizuno girl.



7. Pre-race Meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal, or other?

Best fueling meal for me is peanut butter and jelly toast with a side of coffee.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, Never ever ever, or other?

My running schedule is usually 3x per week, so that means I rest 4x per week? Hmmm, doesn't really feel like rest...

9. Music: Have to have it or Go without it?

I like to go without because I like running with people and chatting. Sometimes on solo runs, I use music so I can play one of the Rock My Run playlists that help me maintain my pace.

10. #1 reason for running: stress relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons, or other?

I love running for a bunch of reasons. I love the experiences. It makes me feel good. There's great bling. I can run with friends. I get inspired. 



Now it’s your turn! Answer any (or all) of the questions in the comments, or share the quiz with your running friends!



Sunday, October 21, 2012

TrainingTruths: Ups & Downs

If you think running is easy, think again. Even after running relatively consistently for the last two years, I still have daily struggles. This week I kept my focus on the preparing for the hilly course of my next half marathon, while at the same time trying to stay injury free. 



#TrainingTruth: I like using a virtual race as motivation to get in a good run.

After running in sub freezing temps on Saturday, this Monday afternoon run was a return to the humid warmer fall temperatures. Fearing I would lack some motivation, I decided to run Jess' Cupcake Classic 5K


#TrainingTruth: Some runs go from bad to worse before you know it.

My tight butt muscle/knot progressed down to my calf on this one. About two miles into this planned six mile run, I had to stop and stretch/massage/punch...and then turn around cutting the run short. I felt better on the way back, but then my running partner rolled her ankle. It was an ugly run. 


#TrainingTruth: Running down the hill forces you to run back up it.

After using my favorite Yoga for Runners app, I was feeling ready to take on my normal Saturday long run and some hills. Running 4 miles from my driveway through the center of town means going down a hill that drops over 100 feet in a .5 mile which then requires going back up it to get home. It worked.  





What ups & downs are you facing in your training right now?


#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!




Friday, October 19, 2012

Fitness Friday: Q & A with Sara Hall

Last month I had the privilege to serve as a ZOOMA Women's Race Series Ambassador for the Cape Cod Half Marathon

With Founder Brae Blackley at ZOOMA Expo

Sara Hall, a Muscle Milk sponsored athlete, our 2012 USA Cross Country Champion, and of course Olympian Ryan Hall's wife, was supposed to run the half marathon with her mom. Unfortunately, she had to change her plans and will now be running the ZOOMA Great Lakes Half Marathon instead. 

from Sara Hall Facebook Page

Ambassadors had the opportunity to submit questions to Sara and today I am sharing her answers:

1.    How often do you and Ryan run together and how has running strengthened your relationship and how do you make each other better runners?  
   -Bethany from Our Love On The Run (http://ourloveontherun.blogspot.com)

We are fortunate to run together usually ever day. Fortunately our training run pace is the same, though our hard workout paces are vastly different! It’s been a great thing for our relationship to have that quality time together. As we all know, on a run conversation flows differently than anywhere else, and we love talking about our goals and dreams for the future as well as what God is doing in our lives in the moment.

2.    I have been following your Steps Foundation for a few years now after reading about it in a magazine. I'm curious if beginning this foundation has changed your perspective on running and its potential impact on the world.  - Nancy from Living the Dream (http://www.littlefancynancy.blogspot.com)

Thanks for following Steps! Ryan and I feel very honored to have a community of supporters that are committed to running for a reason- bettering the health of underserved communities world wide. It has been amazing to see the tangible impact a race can have on a community halfway around the world, whether bringing basic health care or clean water. It’s added to our motivation and given our running more depth to have a cause we care so much about.

3.    What does an "average" in season training week look like for you? -Jessica from 30 Something Mother Runner (http://www.30somethingmotherrunner.com)

An average week of training involves 80 miles for the week with 3 hard workouts and lots of easy training runs around 7-8 min/ mile pace. My hard workouts are usually some form of interval session on the track where I am running paces specific to my race, a tempo run that is at “marathon pace”, and a long run around 15 miles.

4.    You train with your Olympic Marathoner husband and you will be running ZOOMA Great Lakes with your mom, what do you think are the benefits of running with loved ones? - Amy Caine from Running Escapades (http://runningescapades.blogspot.com)

Being able to share running with people you love is such a blessing! My husband and I have been able to travel the world together and explore so many areas, making life-long memories. It has really helped our relationship to have the consistent quality time together on runs. And now having my mom start running has been a fun way we can connect in a way that we never related before! All of a sudden she understands me so much better, as she goes through the same things. The health benefits of running are well known, and it’s always comforting knowing the ones you love are staying fit. Doing something that improves your health together is a great way to show love to your friends and family.

5.    How do you deal with race performance disappointment after training so hard to achieve a goal? - Michelle from Running With Attitude (http://runningwithattitude.com)

It’s definitely a process learning to deal with disappointment. One thing that has helped me is realizing just how much God loves all of us regardless of how we perform, and that we never have to perform for His love, that it is unconditional. I always knew this in my head, but getting a full revelation of it in my heart really helped me to no longer fear failure, and when I did failure, helped me keep my performance in perspective. I’ve learned to separate my identity from what I “do”, that is a part of who I am but my performance does not dictate my value as a person. I also love to be around friends and family after a disappointing race because you see how little changes when you’re around people who just love you for who you are. I think it’s ok to be disappointed though when you’ve invested a lot in a goal. But after letting myself grieve for a bit I like to choose a new goal and start working towards that.

6.    Do you and Ryan enjoy running/training together or do you each workout separately? - Marcia from Marcia's Healthy Slice (http://www.marciashealthyslice.com)

Ryan and I are fortunate to run together usually ever day. Fortunately our training run pace is the same, though our hard workout paces are vastly different! It’s been a great thing for our relationship to have that quality time together. As we all know, on a run conversation flows differently than anywhere else, and we love talking about our goals and dreams for the future as well as what God is doing in our lives in the moment. We have also been able to travel the world together and explore so many areas, making life-long memories.

7.    What strategies do you have for getting past the discomfort of your hardest workouts and races so you can perform your best? - Kim from ilaxSTUDIO.com

The best way to work on pain tolerance for a race is talking yourself through it in practice. One mantra I like to use “Relax and Roll”. For some reason, that works for me to relax into the pain, but keep my legs rolling at a fast pace. My workouts often feel more painful than the race itself since I don’t have the race-day adrenalin and endorphins. I also get extremely deep and painful massage on a weekly basis that has made anything I do in running feel easy!

8.    What do you think about during your runs?" - Maggie from Mag Mile Runner (http://www.magmilerunner.com)

Since I began running I have always cherished the time of letting my mind wander in a way that only happens when on a run. Often I am replaying things in my mind of note from the days prior, bringing up things that are weighing on me and praying about them. Sometimes I’m seeking God for a specific thing and trying to get His perspective. A lot of times I’m thinking about my training, how I’m responding to it, and what I need to change in the coming days. And I like to visualize my upcoming races!


Thanks to Sara for taking the time to answer our questions and to ZOOMA for putting us in touch!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

TrainingTruths: Beating the Hurdles

Two weeks ago I signed up for Half Marathon #6, the Manchester City Half Marathon. The priority for my training is beating the hills, but this week I faced some other hurdles as well.


#TrainingTruth: Too much running = cranky knee.

After running four days in a row, my 3 mile trail run was accompanied by an unwelcome stabbing pain in my left knee. So after enjoying a post run soccer game, I took a rest day. Goodbye pain.


#TrainingTruth: I have a strong aversion to headwinds.

I'll tell you why. Headwinds on an out & back run should become tailwinds, but they never do. The winds usually shift, so I find myself facing headwinds again. Only thing to do, is power though.


#TrainingTruth: I can tackle hills with my eyes closed.

Seriously, if I keep my eyes down and avoid looking up to see how much further until I reach the top, then my uphill runs turn out much better. Then I reward my legs with the foam roller. 


How do you overcome the hurdles you encounter during your runs?


#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tufts Health Plan 10K

It was another day for running and this time I ran with women. I was invited by Reebok and FitFluential to run the Tufts Health Plan 10K in Boston on Monday as part of Team Reebok.



Thanks to my husband, we arrived at Boston Common with plenty of time to get checked in, cruise the expo, do some shopping, and say hello to the race spokesperson, Joan Benoit Samuelson, AGAIN.



We stopped by the Reebok Booth to check in and get our picture taken. They had fun signs for runners and supporters to fill out and a CrossFit game to play.


Before I knew it, the other FitFluential Ambassadors arrived. Reebok generously outfitted us all in Team Reebok PlayDry short sleeve tops. These shirts were perfect to wear with temperatures in the high 50s. 


With approximately 8,000 women (and some men) signed up for this race, the announcers started calling for the faster runners around 11:15. I hopped in the port-a-potty line one last time, got a good luck kiss from my husband, and joined the crowd. During the wait I happened to spot one of the ladies who has run this race for the last 36 years. Then Joan Benoit Samuelson wished all of us a good race and we were off.


Here's the video my husband captured of the start of the race:




I ran with my phone to take pictures because the course went through parts of Boston that I hadn't seen before. The first mile led us down Beacon Street before crossing over the Charles River into Cambridge. I know we looped past MIT, but I was more interested in watching the lead runners and looking for my FitFluential friends. We were pretty easy to spot in our purple Team Reebok shirts. People lined the streets everywhere including on top of an overpass and as we crossed the river back into Boston, the crowds on the sidewalks got even thicker. When I got to the finish line, Joan Benoit Samuelson was there to shake my hand (she finished in 38:21).


At each mile marker I had checked the time against my pacer bracelet, and had hit all of the 9:30 pace times. Since I used my Simple Hydration Water Bottle, I ran past all of the water stops including the last one staffed by men in tuxedos. My 56:23 finish time was a new 10K PRI finished 1485/5430 finishers. And for the first time, I ran faster every mile.




This was my first race in Boston and the second largest race I've ever run (biggest in Cincy). Picking up my bib and race swag was a breeze because they were so well organized. The announcements made throughout the day from the stage were very helpful (and that's how we knew JBS was there!) and we found all the volunteers to be helpful and friendly.  



Some details worth mentioning: Participants were offered pace bracelets. Even though I'm inexperienced with using them, I loved this and found it very helpful. They also handed out stickers to reflect the number of years you have participated in this race. I wore mine on my skirt and found myself looking for them on others. There was also a "changing tent" which I gratefully used.


Disclaimer: My race entry and Team Reebok apparel were compliments of Reebok. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Dogs Are Barking 2012

On Sunday morning, my husband and I took our loyal hound to his second road race. The 3rd annual My Dogs Are Barking 5K was held at the Joppa Hill Educational Farm in Bedford, NH. This race benefits the Animal Rescue League and this year my friend and colleague, Gary, was the event coordinator. 

We ran this race for the first time last year and thought it was an enjoyable family friendly event that encouraged people to get out with their canines and exercise while advocating for the adoption and support of sheltered animals.


Me, Booney, Jen, and Emma
This race was fun because we got to run another official race with the dog. Booney used to run with us much more frequently than he does now, but his age and our distances have made it more difficult. At 9 years old he just doesn't have the same amount of stamina as he used to. 

It was also fun because we were able to meet up and run with friends and their dogs. It's interesting to take those lunch time conversations about running with your pets and make it a reality in one big group fun run!



The race had a new course this year so runners, canines, and walkers were treated to a steady downhill across the finish line. Runners without dogs lined up and started first, followed by runners with dogs, and then walkers. I liked this wave start because it allowed the runners who just wanted to run and not worry about leashes and four-legged friends to bolt right from the shout of "GO!"

Knowing that our loyal hound was not going to be gunning for first place, we decided he should aim for a PR. Last year he crossed the finish in 31:13, a very respectable time for a dog who runs inconsistently. Despite getting out fewer times this year for runs, we were hopeful he could shave a few seconds off his time with the downhill finish.


Booney trying to catch his friend Emma (with Jen)
After about a two minute delay from the start of the runners, we were off. The start was really a crowded mess of owners, dogs, and leashes. Some people let their dogs stray dangerously on loose leads which almost caused a few trips and others were being dragged into ditches by their excited canines. Fortunately it cleared out after about 2/10ths of a mile and we were able to find a steady pace as we made our way through the rolling hills. 
















About halfway, we took advantage of the water stop for both two-legged and four-legged runners. The course led us through some nice neighborhoods - houses with three car garages (so nice) and picturesque views of the fall foliage. Then as promised, we rounded a corner to climb one last time before the downhill sprint to the finish. Booney finished with a PR of 31:04!




















Do you have a favorite fun race?

If you are looking for a race to run, Amanda told me about a great one for a worthy cause.  The Michael LoVerme Memorial 5K run/walk is on Sunday, October 14th at Merrimack High School in Merrimack, NH. Michael was a Merrimack High School cross country and track runner and died unexpectedly this past August in a motorcycle accident. Amanda's husband, Michael's brother, and some other friends have started the Michael LoVerme Memorial Foundation and planned 5k run/walk as a way to honor him. They plan to make this an annual event. The proceeds will go towards offering a graduating Merrimack High School student a scholarship.

You can visit the website: www.ml-mf.org to find out more information.




Sunday, October 7, 2012

TrainingTruths: Squeezing It All In

There is always one week in the month that seems busier than the rest. One where you find yourself rearranging the running schedule to make it all work around soccer games, meetings, and school events. That about sums up the week that I had.



#TrainingTruth: You can't be picky with the weather if you want to get in a run.

Soccer games come first, so my normal Tuesday run became a Wednesday run. By the time I got home from after school meetings, the relatively nice weather of the day had turned back to rain. Grabbed the dog and went out anyway.




#TrainingTruth: Short runs are better than no runs at all.

Open House at school and a rescheduled soccer game meant that I had to bump my normal Thursday afternoon run to Saturday morning. So, instead of running with BRF Daisy, my running partner was my husband. With two races on the weekend schedule, we kept it short.



#TrainingTruth: Sometimes a fun race fills in as one of your missed runs.

Normally I run twice during the week with a long run on Saturday. This week of crazy busy-ness prevented that, but a fun race on Sunday was a great substitute.




How do you deal with busy schedules 
and working out?


#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fitness Friday: Double Race Weekend

Last weekend I enjoyed a much needed break from races, but read all about the Smuttynose Half Marathon from my running friends who ran it. Hopefully they will want to do it again next year because I've added it to my #FitnessBucketList!

So after getting a chance to catch my breath (and spend some quality time at home), this weekend I'm doubling up on races and running a 5K for dogs and a 10K for women.  

The 3rd Annual My Dogs Are Barking 5K benefits the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. Last year my loyal running partner, Booney, made his debut at this local race held in Bedford, NH. On Sunday, my husband and I will be pacing Booney to his first PR. My friend Gary is the event organizer and he has been working hard to organize an awesome day for runners, walkers, and canines. 


source

On Monday I'll be spending Columbus Day afternoon on the Boston Common for the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women thanks to Reebok and FitFluential. This event opens with a stroll through the Health & Fitness Pavilion, followed by a pre-race warmup with Reebok Ambassador Tara Stiles before a noon race start. Most exciting, the spokesperson for the race is Joan Benoit Samuelson, a truly inspirational running legend. 


from the Tufts Facebook Page

Even though these two races couldn't be more different in size, location, and beneficiaries, they both encourage people to be active and have fun while supporting a good cause and healthy living.  




Have you ever run a race with your pet?



What's on your #FitnessBucketList?



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