Apparently I’m a Competitive Runner

And not the kind that will actually compete in a race to place in my age category.  

I started out running for fun and as a challenge.  I was never a “runner” before, and, in fact, I hated it.  (See the About page.)  But, when I started running, I was so proud of myself for not comparing myself to other runners.  I had resisted saying “oh, that was a bad run, my pace was only XX:XX”.  Part of what had helped that was the ability to keep a steady pace across most of my runs.  Sure, I’d be off by 10 – 30 seconds between two given runs, but it was a pretty steady pace.  

Now, all of a sudden, my pace is off by more than a minute/mile.  My heart rate and breathing have been crazy.  I’ve had to take walking breaks, even on the shorter 4-5 mile runs.  I kept thinking, “well, maybe it was lack of nutrition/hydration/sleep” or “you’ve had so much going on, your body’s just plain tired!”  This last Saturday run was the last straw for me.  

It was a beeee-autiful day to be outside.  Low humidity, sun was out, nice breeze.  Everything a runner could ask for.  I was so excited to be out in it.  But, the run itself was bad.  I felt like I was breathing through a straw.  It was overall yucky.  

Then the negative thoughts started creeping in.  Why am I forcing myself to do it?  Why do I suck all of a sudden?  What am I doing wrong?  Is it the breathing?  High pollen count?  My form?

I don’t want to be that runner – the one that has to compete all the time.  Don’t get me wrong – I want to improve, get better, and run for my health.  But I don’t need another thing to judge myself on and put negative thoughts in my head.  I do that enough as it is.  

Instead, my goal over the next couple months is to focus on enjoying running, see what I’m running by, and stay positive throughout the entire run.  Even if it means I need to walk some of it.  Here’s to staying positive and focusing on the good things when I’m out for a run.  



Listen to Your Heart…

No, this isn’t the start of the Roxette song.  But, it’s close.

I’m a HUGE proponent of training with a heart rate monitor.  It gives you an immediate insight to your training, and it gives you the ability to track if (how) you’re improving over time.  I also find that my heart rate goes higher right before I get sick.  I can tell when I’m tired or dehydrated.  But, I love having that snapshot into what my body’s feeling at that moment and how far I can push myself.

I’ve run twice in the last week and a half, both of those in humid Florida.  The first run wasn’t so bad, but it probably helped that I was running right next to the beach and had a nice breeze.  Also probably helped that it was 6 am, and the sun wasn’t out yet.  The average heart rate for that 4 miler was ~180, which isn’t horrible, but it doesn’t make for my best runs.  

Today’s run, though, was just humid.  And buggy.  My heart rate 175 as soon as I started running.  Then it jumped up to 183 within 5 minutes, and I couldn’t get it down.  I tried to push through to a point where I was comfortable and could focus on my breathing, but I couldn’t get there this morning.  Once it reached 185, I started walking.  Then I went inside thinking that the muggy air was the problem.  I did a mile on the treadmill inside, and the HR was right back up to 185, even in the air conditioned gym.  It was at that point that I realized that a run was just not happening today.   

So, I went back outside to finish the workout, but this time I didn’t push myself to run.  I just walked (at a pretty good pace – 13:58 min/miles), kept my heart rate firmly in the low 150s (it did drop into the 140s at which point I would pick up the pace), and enjoyed the sunshine.  (And tried to avoid the horseflies that were using me as a morning snack.)  The workout was glorious.  

Totally missed that goal…

Not that long ago I set a goal of writing on here at least 2-3 times a week.  Yeah.  I never achieved I have not yet achieved that goal.  The last two weeks have been absolutely crazy.  Sick dog (surgery’s scheduled for this Wednesday), injured boy (who think he’ll need surgery), final for the summer class I was taking, a presentation to prepare for a work conference, and the work conference itself.  Oh, yeah, then I got the text from Mom that they had admitted dad to the hospital, and they were going to perform a craniotomy the next day.  Like I said, crazy.

I know, I know, my life is usually crazy, but this seemed over the top.  Last week I tried to keep to my running schedule, and even did a pretty good job (see Runner’s Guilt).  This week?  Not so much.  First of all, it was HOT in Ft Lauderdale for the conference.  And the conference runs from 8 am to 5:30 pm, after which you need to meet people you’ve seen throughout the day for drinks to discuss business matters further.  Then it’s 7:30, which means it’s dinner time, and you don’t get back until 11 (at the earliest!), and then it’s definitely bed time.  

I did get up to run Tuesday morning.  The conference had a 2K Wounded Warrior Walk/Run.  I did the 2K and then did another 2.5 miles on top of that.  That’s the only run I’ve done this week!  Much like this blog…

One thing I’ve realized (or re-realized – is that a word?) during all of this, though, is that just because you didn’t get the goal the first time (number of blog posts, x miles in a week, etc) doesn’t mean you should give up.  

I haven’t yet achieved my goal of writing here 2-3 times a week.  But I will.  

Runner’s Guilt

Perhaps that not the right title.  It’s a combination of things – guilt that I took the time to go for a run when I have a bajillion other things to do and relief that I did because the bajillion things are stressing me out.  Stressed because now I have less time in which to do the other bajillion things.

That all said, I’m ultimately glad I made the time to go for my run.  It made me focus on being present and realize that if I break my bajillion things down to one thing at a time, I’ll make it through.  Sometimes all you need is a good run.

Well, that, a glass of wine, and a best friend to remind you of all of this.  🙂

p.s. – I’m not sure this qualifies as a real post since it’s so short.  I’ll try to get my two more in this week.  And no, those aren’t the things that are stressing me out.


This is the South, Y’all!

I’ve never tried to be a Southerner.  I don’t think I could do it justice.  There are so many new words to learn, and I cannot do a proper accent to save my life.  Every once in a while a slight twang escapes, but people tell me it sounds like I’m purposefully trying to make fun of those with Southern accents.  

But, what I have adopted from Southern behavior and try to put into play is their immense welcoming.  Saying hi or giving someone a smile is easy to do, makes you feel like you have a connection with another human, or animal sometimes, (IT’S NOT CREEPY!), and it only takes a second or two.  Sometimes that hi or smile is what can make someone else’s day.  

Runners, as a rule, are also a generally friendly people.  There’s usually a smile, head nod, or small wave when you pass someone.  Bikers, eh, less so, but that’s to be expected.  They’re trying to watch out for you, small people, and are generally going much faster.  

However, there are some people that never return the greeting.  For some reason, I have this irrational anger towards these people.  

I understand being in the zone, and sometimes it’s hard to see if these people are actually making eye contact with you when they are wearing mirrored sunglasses.  (There’s no way they’re intentionally avoiding the crazy waving runner, is there??)  But, the path is only 6 ft wide.  Surely you see me.  Also?  Women, there is no need to be afraid of me or to scowl at me.  I’m smiling and waving at you, too  I’m not going to try to steal your man away with a smile while looking as red and sweaty as I do when I run.  

We are all out there, (hopefully) enjoying our walking/running/biking/Rollerblading.  We are all enjoying the peaceful Greenway where we don’t have to dodge cars.   Let’s be civil.  Small nod, two or three finger half wave, a smile.  Be friendly, it’s the South, y’all!

Post-race Slump

I’ve often heard people say they don’t want to set a goal of running a race because they feel like they’ll stop (or they did stop) after meeting the goal.  After having completed the Napa to Sonoma Half, I can definitely see how it’s better to make the fitness level a goal rather than a specific race.  I haven’t given up the running.  In fact, I’ve only missed two runs since I’ve gotten back (you know, in that really long time of less than two weeks), but I feel that one of them is justified since I donated blood that day.  

I feel like running is definitely part of my workout routine now.  I feel like a junkie looking for her next race fix.  However, I am having a hard time with the longer runs.  I feel like 5-6 miles is good.  Beyond that?  Meh.  I’m going to try to stick to a schedule of doing either 8 or 10 miles on a weekend as my long run, and I hope that keeps me in half-marathon shape for when the next one comes up.  

What I have been slacking on is this.  My goal from here out is to try to get 2-3 posts each week.  I hope to have more discussions on training methods and tools, more articles, and, of course, more running without air.  

First Half!!

We did it!  13.1 miles starting in Napa, up a giant hill, over many rolling hills, and right next to beautiful vineyards in 2:11:36.  The fog over the area hung with us for most of the run, which definitely worked in our favor!  I’m so thankful my sister ran it with me.  There were a couple times where I thought, “man, this would just be easier to walk.”  She pushed me through, though!  

Full disclosure: I did have to stop to grab drinks of water.  I have problems drinking and running in that I can’t.  More often the water ends up all over me rather than in my mouth.  Also, we did stop and toast at mile marker 10 where they were giving out wine . It was a Wine Run, afterall!

Here’s the unofficial “official” post-race picture of my sister and me after our half!  We had our own wonderful paparazzi to photograph the race.  Image

Here’s a shots of our road crew/cheerleaders, Andy (paparazzi/brother in law) and Bethany (road crew chief and top cheerleader) waiting for us at the finish line.  They were awesome, schlepping our post-race stuff from the car and back, and letting us make up for a couple weeks of pre-race hydration.  Image🙂

We were both sore the next day, and we were cursing the fact that my sister’s house had stairs.  We did do a post-race walk out, which definitely helped!  

So, when’s the next one??  🙂