Monday, January 16, 2012

No Shortcuts

January 16 - I saw this the other day on Pinterest:

                                               Source: via Amy on Pinterest

It fit perfectly with my training run on Saturday. My running partner and I had made plans to run 8 miles on the local trail, one of our favorite routes. We had a mini-snow storm on Thursday followed by some freezing rain on Friday, but Saturday looked good. Cold temps, but no bad weather forecasted.

Before heading out, I gathered the necessary gear for my run.

This is what we saw when we got to the trail:

No problem, right? Wrong. The freezing rain had left a layer of crust on top of the snow. When we ran, we crunched our way through the four inches or so left over from Thursday. We did this for about 1.5 miles. It was like running while doing knee-ups at the same time, so we ditched the trail. After quickly discussing our options we made our way out to the main road and started an alternate route hoping we could make our 8 mile goal.

We ended up combining one of our regular routes around the lake with a loop through the village added at the end. Although we missed out on our trail run, we did get some amazing views of the frozen lake.

Lesson of the day: Anything worth having is worth fighting for. We did not give up on our run. We did not quit because it was hard. We are training for a half marathon. There are no shortcuts. 

What obstacles have you had to overcome during your training?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day & Ice Cleats

January 12 - Today I got the heavily anticipated email stating Due to the weather, all schools...will be closed today. It was snow day number three. No school for me. No flights for hubs. Just a good 'ole fashion mini-snow storm in New England. I was still up early (after telling the kids to sleep in - go figure), so with the downstairs to myself for a couple of hours I did my first day of the #100Ups Challenge that I read about on INSPIRUNNING's blog along with my usual NTC workout. Then I relaxed with my coffee, the computer, and the news while waiting for hubs to wake up.

Fast forward. After lunch, I FINALLY coaxed hubs into going on a snow run with me. It was still snowing a little but it felt pretty good out. Hubs offered a pair of snow & ice cleats which I happily accepted to try out for the first time. Made of rubber each cleat slips on over the running shoe and has six spikes positioned to help with traction. I've never used them before so I was excited to test them out.

We made our way easily enough down the plow-guy deprived driveway through about six inches of snow. Our short out and back run of three miles would take us on the main road briefly before turning off onto a side back road, and then on to a dirt road that led to a pond.

The roads were semi-plowed so it had that chunky feel. Where the plows had passed, the cleats worked really well. No slipping at all. Feet felt firm almost like they were on pavement. Where the roads were still snow covered I felt as if I were running in sand. It was just hard. The snow was the powdery slippery kind and it made my legs really have to work. I never felt like I was going to fall or slip though.

Our snow day run was a lot of fun. We had to jump in the snow banks as cars passed, wait for the snow plow to push by a couple of times, and almost help a car that was stuck pulling out of a driveway, but definitely worth going out and avoiding the treadmill. I love the white wonderland that is created after a fresh snow.

My next run is another training run for the half marathons coming up. Running in the snow today was a great workout in my training. It wasn't speedy or lengthy, but it was challenging. And, you never know about the weather in New England. You have to be prepared for anything!

Do you run in the snow/bad weather or head to the treadmill?

What was your weather like today?

Monday, January 9, 2012

To Keep Running

Almost to the finish line!
January 9 - Last year my major running milestone was running my very first half marathon. This year (cross your fingers for continued healthy running) I will attempt to run THREE half marathons while keeping up with my goal for 2012: TO KEEP RUNNING

After taking some time off from running to let my shin heal once I completed the half marathon in August, I basically had to start over.  It is amazing what a couple of weeks without running can do to your body! I had no idea. Since  then I have been running non-stop. Through the fall and winter I ran a bunch of 5Ks and a couple of 10Ks.

To keep me motivated (and prevent the whole starting-over-again thing), I am attempting to run a race every month. This requires planning. Here is what I have scheduled: (highlighted = races registered/finished):

January 1 - First Run 10K - Lowell, MA - 58:09 PR
February 19 - Half at the Hamptons - Hampton, NH
March 11 - St. Paddy's 5 Miler - Portsmouth, NH
April 21 - Stonyfield Earth Day 5K - Londonderry, NH
May 6 - Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon - Providence, RI
June ? - Kickoff to Summer 5K - New Boston, NH
July 3 - Manchester 5K - Manchester, NH
August 19 - Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon - Providence, RI
September 22 - Zooma Cape Cod 10K - Falmouth, MA
October ? - My Dogs Are Barking 5K - Bedford, NH
November 11 - Newport Pell Bridge Run - Newport, RI
December 1 - Santa Shuffle - Manchester, NH

For me to complete the above schedule I have to focus on my training and stay healthy.  In "How to Run Injury-Free" on, Jeff Galloway offers great advice to runners on how avoid overuse injuries and enjoy years of running. The main points Galloway makes include:

  1. Train fewer days during the week
  2. Slow your pace on long runs 
  3. Take walk breaks 
  4. Massage instead of stretch
  5. Prepare for speed training
  6. Stop if you experience pain
Also, on his blog Galloway stresses the importance of resting after long runs to allow muscles to recover, rebuild, and reduce the chance of injury. Rest days are great for doing some light cross training activities. I have found some good workouts on the Nike Training Club app. 

One thing I know that will help me achieve my goal to keep running is to let go of the idea that a "real runner" doesn't need to stop and walk. If I want to stay injury-free and enjoy all of the races I signed up for, I have to listen to my body. If I need to take a break in the middle of an 8 mile run, it's OK! I'm still running 8 miles, right?  

What do you do to KEEP RUNNING?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Nike+ Rundown

January 7 - One thing I really like about using the Nike Running website is the Rundown Report. This report lets you see your running stats for the year and compare them to the previous year. I saw my report for 2011 today and was PUMPED UP:

I wish I knew what happened to me in 2010. I have no explanation. No excuses. No justifications. I was completely, totally, and embarrassingly LAZY!  See further proof:

Not that 2009 was by any means stellar. I ran one race, a local 5K. It was something.

2008 was the year I first started using Nike+. Then in August I moved 900 miles to NH. It took me awhile to adjust.

Last year I fell in love with running. I became addicted to the racing experience. This year I want to keep the feeling alive. My 2011 Rundown Report will be a constant reminder of what I can accomplish.

How do you use your running stats?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 First Run 10K

January 1 - To welcome in the new year and get a start on my 2012 running goals, I headed to Lowell, Massachusetts to participate in the First Run 10K. Joining me was my running buddy Daisy, and my husband who would be running the 5K. Using VZ Navigator, we found the race location and parking easily, but getting into the registration building was like trying to buy an iPad on Black Friday! Ok, maybe not that bad, but it was super crowded. Good sign for the race (a lot of people usually means it is a good race) but harder to make those last minute rest rooms breaks and find people.

Cool hat and long sleeve tech shirt
Today's race was a big festive continuation of New Year's Eve. I'm guessing at least 2000 runners turned out for both races and we were given great swag, outstanding music, and a functional starting line area with all the typical runner-needed amenities. The course was a double loop with 5Kers splitting off when 10Kers continued on to loop part 2. It was an easy course, mostly flat with one small hill and the last two miles followed the Merrimack River. The 5K portion was very crowded, but things were nice and roomy for those who kept on for the 10K.

Personalized bib & finisher's medal
The last time I ran a 10K race was at home in Cincinnati. I PR'd that one with 59:08. I had no intention of trying to PR this one because the plan was for me to run the 5K with hub and then continue on. However, he encouraged me to go ahead. I ran with Daisy most of the way, but about 2 miles in I realized that I should have gotten in the port-a-potty line. Two miles later I trailed Daisy as I struggled with my very, very full bladder! This really sucked because other than that, I was having a great running day. The 10K took a small side route through a neighborhood where, if you ask me, a couple of port-a-potties would have been like finding water in the desert! Overall, I did enjoy this race and managed to PR in 58:09l!

Stephanie & her hub!
Leading up to this race Bill from Daily Mile arranged a DM group meet up and Stephanie from Run for Fun let me know she was running and wanted to meet. I was super excited to meet fellow cyber runners for the first time. These are the other people who have what A Veteran Runnah would call RUNNERITISThey are a totally fun and loyal virtual support group.

Today I was supposed to meet them IRL (in real life). I'm happy to report that I did meet Stephanie, but only briefly. She was easy to spot in her "Crazy Bitch" running shirt. I still had to grab my race bib, so we parted ways and only saw each other again during the run.  (I shamelessly stole this picture from her Twitter post). I never did find the DMer group in the massive crowd.

Appropriately named, the First Run 10K was a day of firsts for me. First run of 2012. First race on my run-a-race-a-month goal. First time meeting a blogger friend. First time meeting attempting to meet Daily Mile friends. First time running a race in Massachusetts (another race goal). First PR of 2012. Now if I could only take my FIRST GOOD RUNNING PHOTO!

Why do I wave like that??

How did you spend New Year's Day?

What do your running/active photos look like?