Wednesday, January 23, 2013
This year, it looks like winter is sticking around for real.
I need something to keep me going through February. Enter:
[caption id="attachment_625" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Click the photo to be taken to the Fit February Challenge page[/caption]
The nice people at ChallengeLoop.com have helped me put together a challenge for the month, including a fabulous prize for one lucky (RANDOM) winner!
This Challenge is EASY. This challenge will be fun (I hope!). Best part of this challenge, YOU get to pick what you do! Have you recently started exercising? Are you a distance runner that pretty much only runs? Whatever your fitness level may be, you can join us!
So, check it out and sign-up. You never know, you may end up the lucky winner! Actually, I think we will all win just by completing the challenge if it helps us stick to our goals!
Will you join me for Fit February?
Monday, January 21, 2013
Since I registered for both trail races in the series by Fleet Feet Sports, I got a trail series package which was pretty cool. There was a hoodie, that honestly is so comfy that I never want to take off. And yes, I am wearing it while I write my recap. Of course! There was also a pair of Swiftwick socks (awesome!), a new handheld water bottle (haven't tried it yet), and Cliff Shot Blocks.
I wasn't very nervous going into this race. Until I went to bed Saturday night. I had a few problems sleeping like I normally do the night before a race, then I was awake before my alarm. I was looking at the weather and had a few wardrobe issues (30* but felt like 17*F. YUCK) Thankful my friends were up and on Twitter as they helped me figure it out. It was great to not leave my house until 7:15 for a race! As with most trail races, it was a smaller race, and also it was held at the local State Park, so it wasn't too far to get there. I enjoyed being able to park right beside the start/finish line and also line up at 7:55 for the 8am start.
|At the entrance to the parking lot, the flags always make me excited!|
I met up with my friend Amanda before the race and we sat in her car to stay out of the wind. We headed to the start area and said hi to a few other friends. Our awesome friends, Jamie and Kate, had come out to cheer for us on this "balmy" (I wish!) day. Thank you, Jamie for all the great pictures today! So fun to have them.
|Me & Amanda pre-race|
After a few announcements that we couldn't understand but hoped I'd figure out anything important, the horn sounded and we took off. We had started in the parking lot, so it was paved, then through the grass, over the road and onto the trail. Alum Creek mountain bike trails are single track trails and are filled with rocks, roots, stream crossings, trees, etc. There were a few times in that first mile that we came to an almost complete stop as everyone tried to get funneled down to the single track and find their pace. At this point, I was a little concerned that it would take a while, but honestly, after a few more minutes, it thinned out.
|And we're off!|
I knew I wasn't going to break any speed records, so I just tried to find my groove and run. I passed some people, I was passed by some.
|Within the first mile of the race. Thanks, Stuart for the picture!|
Running here without the snow and ice made the trail easier. It was a completely different place than my training run there a few weeks ago! Several times during the first loop, I had to remind myself to run "my race, my pace". I had no clue as to the distances that others were running, and had to keep in mind that I had 10k more to go when I got back to the start/finish line.
From the time I signed up for this race, I knew that I just wanted to get out on the trails, run a trail race and get some experience for my upcoming ultra. I kept as steady of a pace as I could and when I got back to the start/finish area at the end of my first 10k, I was surprised that I had averaged 12:02mm. My "closet" goal was to finish the race under 13:00mm.
|End of first 10k loop|
|Re-fueling with my best running friends|
|Start of my 2nd 10k loop|
The second loop had far fewer runners than the first one did. (after the race, I saw that there were 139 runners that completed the 10k, total race field was capped at 250, I think). There were stretches of trail where I would make friends and we'd chat a little bit before one of us would move on. There were stretches of trail where it was just me and nature. I was a little concerned about those as headphones were forbidden in this race. However, I should have known that nature would come through and help me through the run. Boredom never happened; how can it when if you stop paying attention for even a second you could trip on a rock or a root? The solitude of parts of the second loop were actually welcome. It allowed me to learn a lot about myself. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. These stretches reminded me that I don't need music to distract me and help me "forget" about what I'm doing. It reminded me that races are more about the journey and the experience than the final finish time (although that can be fun, too).
|Around mile 2 of the loop|
As I was running along, I looked at my watch a few times, but I was more curious than anything. I felt like I had slowed down considerably from the first loop, but realized it wasn't that much. This time around I stopped at the 4.5mile aid station for some water and got to talk to my friend Doug. At this point, I knew I was pretty much done and I didn't experience that feeling of relief. Sure, my muscles were starting to get angry at me from all the ups and downs, but overall, I still felt really good. For the first time that I can remember in a race that I ran on my own, I never hit a wall, I never had the feeling that I could not wait for the race to be done.
Across the road, through the grass, into the parking lot...there are my crazy awesome friends and the finish line.
|20k done 2:26:53|
I immediately went to get a slice of yummy pizza then got my finisher's award. What an AWESOME award! I cannot wait to plant my tree, I'm just hoping that I don't kill it in the next few days with frigid temperatures here.
Things to remember for next race; run more conservative in the first half so I can hopefully run a little faster in the second half or at least keep the same pace.
Finishers Award: Tulip Poplar Tree
Honestly, I could not have asked for a better experience for my first trail race of any distance. The organization, support, volunteers, aid stations, and awards were excellent. Thanks for an awesome race, I can't wait for the next one in the series!
20k (12.4miles): 2:26:53
Overall: 43/69 for the 20k
Division (women): 14/27
Thursday, January 17, 2013
When I ran the Sugarcreek 5 Mile Race last summer, I had NO clue what I was getting into. I knew nothing about the trails. I had no idea how to pace myself for a trail race. Simply put, I headed out for a 5 mile race. Yeah....trail races don't work that way!
The Rocks and Roots Trail Race Series starts this Sunday. I will be running the 20k option (it's a 10k loop and you can run it once or 5 times or anywhere in between). Based on my training runs, I
Last time I was on the trail, it looked like this:
While it's beautiful with the snow, it would be great if it was just frozen. I can wish all I want, right?
My biggest concern about this race is lining up in the right place. Since it's a single track, I don't want to get stuck behind too many slower people (as if there will be any slower than me!) but I also don't want to be in the wrong place and block too many faster runners.
I'm excited to get experience for my upcoming goal race in May. It will definitely be good to see how I do and just get more trail running under my belt.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I need new running tights this winter. What's your favorite?
and received several responses. Thank you all, by the way. However, I received a tweet from Martha mentioning her blog review of her newest favorite from Running Skirts. Of course I had to check it out.
I love running (duh!) and I really enjoy running in skirts (I know, many men still can't embrace the running skirt). In her review of the Sub-Zero skirt, she wore it for a run in 37*. Hmmm...that's not a cold enough test for my winter conditions. We had a twitter conversation and then she mentioned that maybe Running Skirts would send me one as a "tester". Yeah right, was my thought. But, the twitter rep from Running Skirts jumped into the convo and the next I knew, we came home from our Thanksgiving travels and found this in our mailbox:
|Wow! Definitely more thanjust a skirt....|
Of course, I was really excited to test it out, but it took a couple days to be cold enough for me to wear it. Finally, 30*F for the forecast. I wore it for six predawn miles and loved it! It was very comfortable, no chafing. I was concerned as the bottoms are different from my other running tights that have zippers. These are a little looser, but it didn't bother me at all. I'm 5'8" and it fit me great!
Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger and some of the running tights (yes, TIGHT) make me feel a little "exposed". Having the skirt over the tights not only gives a little extra warmth, but also covers some of those spots that I am a little self conscious about. A few years ago, I never would have worn a skirt for running, let alone a skirt OVER tights. But, why not? (I know there is still a big debate about running while wearing skirts, but I say wear what you like and what makes you feel comfortable!)
Because life got in the way (as it often does), it is now January and I am finishing up this post. Whoops! However, that has given me a chance to wear my Sub-Zero Skirt on several occasions. Most recently I wore it on a 15*F run. I was not cold at all. The Sub-Zero Skirt has made it into my regular rotation. Plus, I love the way it looks! Just because I'm sweaty doesn't mean I can't look and feel good, too, right?
Next up is a pair of tights that they sent me. Sorry, I have not been able to find the name of them on their site. Here are the pictures:
|Back of the tights. Cute, right?|
|RunningSkirts lined tights|
The first time I put the tights on, I apparently wasn't paying enough attention. They didn't fit well, the front was too high, I couldn't get them tied. Bummer, I thought. At least the SubZero Skirt works well.
After a day or two, I decided to try them on again....and now that I
I've worn these for a few cold weather runs and I really like them. I am 5'8" and the length is just about perfect. I think if I was any taller, they would be too short. Hopefully they have a tall version available for those ladies that are taller than me. The biggest draw-back that I see to these tights is that they have no reflective stripes on them. If the logo on the back is reflective, it will never be seen (at least with my jackets/shirts, etc covering it).
A big THANK YOU to RunningSkirts for the goodies! I will definitely be purchasing more gear from RunningSkirts in the future.
Disclaimer: I was given the items I reviewed free of charge with no expectations from the company. It was my decision to write about the products. All opinions and words are my own.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
To make a short story long, I told them that yes, I would be interested.
HERE is the REALLY exciting part.....
I’ve got a discount code just for YOU if you’d like to try the Pretty Muddy Women's Run. Use the code GIRLTIME to receive $20 off your registration fee. Pretty Muddy will not be doing any daily deals (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) this year, so now is your chance to save. Register NOW! The code is only good through the end of January.
It looks like a fun time and I can't wait to get my team together!
**This code is good at ALL of their races, not just the Columbus one!**
Have you run a Pretty Muddy race? Have you run another mud/obstacle run? Tell me about your experience! If you're local and want to join my team, email me: thisrunningmomslife (at) yahoo.com or @runningmom2boys on The Twitter.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I digress...so I looked at that 7:05 and started thinking...I could throw my clothes on and run for about 20, maybe 30 minutes if I push it. Or I could try to run on the treadmill later. Or I could ride the trainer later. Hmmm....I think I hear one of the kids stirring. Maybe I'll just roll over and wait for them.
Exhausting, isn't it? Yes, this was a real "conversation" I had with myself this morning. (Maybe this is why I'm usually tired? I exhaust myself...)
Alas, I laid in bed. The kids came in and we snuggled. And it was great! I try to remember that these days won't last forever and to enjoy them while I can.
Later, I started thinking about my missed workout. We had a play-date, so I wasn't working out in the morning (last minute tidying, you know). Then lunch. Then youngest nap time and quality time with my 5 1/2 year old. Uh, oh. Running out of time.
Jeff texted me that he was leaving work and I knew I had to leave the house at 4:00pm for an appointment. Ok, kids, lets head to the basement and mommy's going to ride her bike. They were ok with that (we have TONS of toys and a bounce house for kid exercise in the basement).
By this point, I had 20 minutes to ride the trainer then get a quick shower before I needed to get in the car. I had to remind myself that 20 minutes is better than no minutes of exercise. Some days I get bogged down with the mentality that I have to run X number of miles or if it's not at least 30mins, then it's not worth it. Exercise is ALWAYS worth it. I burned some calories. I worked some different muscles than I would have by running this morning. And I had quality time in the morning with my kids. Plus, they saw me exercising which is never a bad thing.
I'll consider today a success!
|Better Than Nothing!|
The sun was shining. It was a balmy (compared to last week, at least) 33*F. It was afternoon. My legs were sore from the 11 (give or take a mile!) on the trails yesterday and ice skating lessons with my little one this morning. I had no expectations, just wanted to get out and soak up some Vitamin D.
It was rough. My legs were tired. I set out very slowly, not paying attention to pace at all. I made a bargain with myself...I was allowed to be done after I hit 3 miles. Funny thing happened...I got past 2.5miles and I was fine. In fact, I was feeling so good, I had to MAKE myself turn around so I would only have about 5miles today. First, I didn't have time to run farther. Second, I had no water or fuel, so I knew going more than another 2 miles or so could result in a disaster.
[caption id="attachment_507" align="alignleft" width="124"] How could I not enjoy this?[/caption]
Maybe it was the sun. Maybe it was the fact that I have been having a great time on the trails. Maybe it was a much needed attitude adjustment. Maybe it was the endorphins. I don't know. But whatever it was, I'm glad it happened. I'm glad I felt like I could run forever and was reminded that there is beauty to be found everywhere, not just in the woods.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Talking with my friend, Alissa, as we slipped and slid through the woods this morning really made me realize a few things. I've said I love the trails. I love the beauty:
[caption id="attachment_494" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Thank you Stuart for the picture from our run this morning![/caption]
I love the quiet, and I love the fact that I have to pay attention. There's no zoning out on technical trails like there is on the road. But, I think it's the casualness of being out there. For me (I know not all trail runners feel the same way), I have no anticipation of time. My main goal is distance; with staying upright a close second. I'm not worried about pace (until race time to make sure I finish before the course closes!). I'm not worried about the walking we do. Or stopping to take breaks. In fact, walking and taking breaks between loops is highly encouraged!
If you had told me a year ago that I would be thrilled with an 11 mile run averaging 15:11 pace, I would have thought you were crazy. Today, I had a fantastic run with friends. I enjoyed the conversation, I enjoyed the scenery and I enjoyed the burning in my glutes telling me that I was working hard. I love that I am able to incorporate variety into my runs. Some days, a nice flat road run is just what I need, but other days, I can head to the woods.
Some days, you just need to slow down and enjoy life.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Yesterday (New Year's Day), I registered for the Playin' Possum 50k. It's NOT a marathon. At least I stuck to my word on that one.... However, it's an ULTRA marathon. (For any non-runners, an Ultra Marathon is any race distance that goes farther than 26.2 miles) Yes, I'm running MORE THAN 26.2 miles, in fact it's something like 31 miles. WHAT?!
See, I love running trails. I love the relaxed feel to trail running. Sure, some people run fast. Ok, most people run much faster than me on the trails. I'm slow and I don't care. Since starting trail running last January, I've thought of a 50k. But, I didn't have many trail running friends and since I'm a huge klutz, it didn't feel smart for me to run solo. However, I've been meeting more trail running friends and our local Fleet Feet has started hosting trail runs a couple weekends a month.
Still, I wasn't going to do this in 2013. I was going to concentrate on shorter distances (sorry Jeff!) I was going to try for a huge PR in the half marathon distance. But for some reason, that didn't have me excited. I was searching for something to get me excited for 2013.
Then a friend posted that there was a 50k coming to one of the local state parks. Uh oh. I started looking into it. I found their facebook page. I followed their facebook page. (you can see where I'm going with this, right?). I saw this on their site:
Registration is now open for the Playin’ Possum 50K trail run, the Columbus area's first trail ultramarathon! Located in the beautiful, Delaware State Park, the Course offers a variety of scenic terrain, which is very runnable and less technical than some trail ultramarathons. This race is ideal for both first time and veteran ultra runners alike!
How was I supposed to say no to that? An "ideal for both first time and veteran ultra runners" 50k that isn't far away? No over-night stay needed. My family can come and go as they want. Plus, I got $10 off my registration for signing up yesterday. I am committed to my first 50k. (or maybe I should BE committed? Hmmm....) Maybe for me, I need the challenge of something new instead of just faster.... I don't know. I do know that I'm excited about this new challenge. I am (mostly) not intimidated by tackling a new distance. Not quite sure WHY I feel compelled to try this after I had my mind made up for this year. Regardless, here I go!
Now I just need to find a training plan....
Have you run an Ultra Marathon? What plan did you use? Any tips for me as I start on this new journey?
I know many runners do not enjoy snow running or even winter running. To be honest, I like it for about a month. After that, I am usually ready for spring. Ideally, I would run in 50*F or warmer all year long. California, Georgia or Florida, maybe the Carolinas would be my ideal weather states. But, since I've lived in Ohio all my life, I'm used to it and take advantage of the snow while we have it knowing that it typically doesn't last too long.
|After my first snowy 4 mi of the season|
The first year that I was running, it never crossed my mind that I could keep running during the winter. In my previous attempts at running, it was always a spring/summer thing for me. I even asked my friend what I was supposed to do to train for my first half marathon. She chuckled and told me to buy some tights and layer my clothes. I ran through that first winter and haven't looked back.
Running in freshly fallen snow is one of my favorite times to run. Especially if I get out before the rest of the world. Making those fresh footprints in the snow, listening to the snow crunch under my feet brings me a feeling of peace.
There are many things we can do to make running in the snow and cold easier:
- Layer, layer, layer. I've learned with a lot of trial and error what works for me in different temperatures. Under 25*F, I wear a thermal mock-turtleneck with a jacket. I layer over/under the jacket as needed.
- Hats, headbands, neck gaiters, gloves. Again, clothing depends on how cold you get and how your body handles different temperatures. (Also depends on the windchill)
- Winter running tights are a must. I like that they are tight around my ankles so the cold air and snow cannot get on my legs.
- Warm socks...I finally invested in a pair of winter running socks for those longer snowy trail runs and they are definitely worth the money!
- Trail shoes for the snow or YakTracks over your shoes. Personally, I prefer my trail shoes for added traction, but thinking I may need to put the YakTracks over my trail shoes for some of the trails.
- And most importantly, slow down and enjoy it!
***1/3/13 update: I think I found the perfect amount of clothes to wear today. It was 12*F and I wasn't a frozen icicle when I got home. It did feel like too many clothes before I left, but I might be on to something. I wore capris under running pants, a thermal long-sleeve shirt, t-shirt and jacket, hat, gaiter (I think that's what it's called?) and TWO pairs of gloves. Took forever to get dressed and undressed, but I think it was worth it!***
|Monday's trail run|
What about you? Do you stay inside all winter or do you head out in anything? What is your favorite piece of cold weather running gear?