Posts tagged: running

Better Together

By Katie, 7:40 am

I woke up early Sunday morning ready to RUN!

I was signed up to run in a local 5K called the Bel Air Town Run (as in Bel Air, MD…no, I do not live in Los Angeles. :lol: )

But this wasn’t just any race, it was an extra special one. Why? Because I was running it with my husband! :-D

Dave used to run cross country in high school, but hasn’t done it consistently since then. I keep waiting for him to catch the same running and racing bug I have. ;-) This was definitely a start!

Oh, wait, maybe I don’t want him to get into running because then who will play photographer or stand along the course and cheer?!?! 8-O

Pre-run fuel.

Overall we had a really fun time! The first half mile was pretty frustrating because we started too far back and had trouble passing people. There were also a lot of younger kids running, which is fine except that they don’t yet grasp “racing etiquette.” When they get tired of running they tend to just stop dead in their tracks, wherever they are, which can be a nightmare for the lucky person running behind them. :-?

But in spite of all that, we ran a great race, crossing the finish line in exactly 26 minutes (my watch time, we’ll know the official chip time tomorrow). That’s under 8:30 a mile – not too shabby! I was pretty darn proud of Dave, considering he only runs every now and then. He did really, really well! :-)

Dave’s mom came out to cheer us on at the finish line, which was a delightful surprise! I am so grateful for supporters and spectators; I always make a point of thanking them because their cheers and words of encouragement are always so much more helpful than they probably even realize.

The great part about this race was that it was early enough that Dave and I had plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, and still make it to church – nice!

On a somewhat related note, I wanted to show you all one of the official photos I got from my half-marathon a few weeks ago….because it is hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw it!

I’m pretty sure I remember running across the finish line, but from this photo it appears I was skipping! :lol:

Do you prefer exercising by yourself or with a partner? Do you and your significant other ever exercise together?

AND

What are your feelings on allowing kids to participate in road races? I’m all for encouraging kids to be healthy and active, and running in a race is a great way to make exercise fun. At the same time, however, dodging all of the kids today wasn’t easy, and a potentially dangerous collision was certainly a possibility.

AND

Have any funny remarks about that race photo? Don’t worry, I already know I look ridiculous! ;-)

Five Tips for New Runners

By Katie, 7:21 am

Today is National Running Day!!!

In honor of this important event, I thought I would outline my top five tips for those who are just beginning – or thinking about beginning – a running routine. If you read my exercise story, you know that I only began running consistently about nine months ago, so in many ways I’m still a beginner myself! But I’ve come a long way in those nine months, and I think a big part of the reason why is that I followed these strategies.

1. Start with a run-walk combination.

I definitely didn’t just wake up one morning, decide to start running, and hit the pavement for 30 minutes straight. No, I eased my way into it by alternating between jogging and walking. At first I started with 4 minutes of walking to 1 minute of jogging, and then just increased the jogging from there when my body felt ready. Using a run/walk method helped me to feel strong during my workouts; if I had gone straight to running only, I would have felt weak and tired…and probably would have hated it.

2. Forget comparisons.

Have you ever read about a blogger’s latest run or race and found yourself thinking, “Wow, I could never be a runner like that!”  8-O I certainly have! But we have to remember two things. First, everyone starts somewhere. Regardless of how fast or fit a runner is, she was a beginner once too. Second, running is always relative. You’re amazed that someone could complete a 5K, but that person is in awe of someone who finished a half-marathon. And that person is blown away by the woman who’s training for her third marathon. We are all looking up to another runner who is faster or has more endurance, but comparing ourselves to others is pointless. Focus on you, on your successes.

3. Wear the right shoes.

Ok, so I didn’t actually follow this piece of advice, but I wish I had! Wearing the proper footwear makes such a difference; it will decrease your risk of injury and make running feel more comfortable. It is definitely worth it to go to a specialty store and get fitted for sneakers that are appropriate for your feet and gait.

4. Sign up for a race.

The idea of participating in a race might seem intimidating, but the truth is that races are FUN. 8-) They provide motivation by giving you a specific goal to reach, and the adrenaline that comes from the experience is addicting. I absolutely love the atmosphere at races; the runners encouraging each other, the spectators cheering, the fun swag, the refreshments at the end – it’s great!

Active.com is a great resource for finding races in your area. And the Couch-to-5K running plan is a wonderful training guide that will have you successfully completing a 3.1 mile race in just two months.

5. Minutes, Not Miles

In one of my first blog posts, I explained why I was focusing on the number of minutes I was running instead of on the number of miles. Focusing on mileage or pace can be really intimidating at first. I think going by minutes makes the experience feel more manageable. You can say to yourself, “Today I will run for 20 minutes,” without a worry or a care about how far or how fast you’re going.

If you’re new to running or are considering starting up, I hope you find these tips helpful!  :-D

If you’re a runner, do you have any other tips to share? How did you get your start?

If you’re not a runner, are you/have you considered giving it a try? Why or why not?

Out with the Old…

By Katie, 7:21 am

…and in with the new! New shoes, that is! :-D

I believe it’s important to give yourself rewards as you reach important goals and milestones in your journey toward healthy living. Weeks ago I decided that my reward for finishing the half marathon was a brand spankin’ new pair of running sneakers. Because these puppies have seen better days. :-?

I actually do not recommend doing this in the order I did (major race → good running shoes). Regardless of what exercise activity you do – running, walking, using the elliptical, biking, etc. – having the proper footwear is important for decreasing your risk of injury. So go get yourself fitted for a good shoe, NOW! ;-)

I went to my local specialty running store – Charm City Run – where a woman watched me run back and forth across the store a few times before diagnosing me as a moderate overpronator. Who knew? 8-O

Here’s a good guide to understanding pronation, but basically she explained to me that when I run, my foot rolls inward more than it ideally should, which means that the shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently. So I should be wearing a shoe that offers extra support and cushioning to control my overpronation.

She pulled out a couple of pairs and had me try them on. Then I was actually able to run for a bit on the in-store treadmill, during which she video-taped my feet and projected it onto a large television screen to make sure the sneakers were correcting the problem. It was cool. 8-)

The winner? Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10.

The old and the new.

(An unrelated aside: please don’t judge me by my landlord’s taste in carpeting. :roll: )

Naturally, Hamilton gave them a close inspection.

And ultimately his seal of approval. ;-)

I can’t wait to take my new shoes out for a spin! 8-)

Updated to Add: I just returned from a relaxed 5 mile run, and I am even more in love than before! These shoes are just so much lighter than my old clunkers!

Have you ever been fitted for an exercise shoe? If so, what was your experience like? If not, do you think you will?

My Exercise Story

By Katie, 7:49 am

In the comments regarding my first half-marathon, many of you expressed surprise at the fact that I have not been a lifelong runner. It made me realize that I’ve only ever shared random bits and pieces of my exercise story here on the blog, never the whole narrative. Well, that’s about to change. ;-)

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (Name that musical! )

The Beginning

When I was young I participated in a variety of activities – dance classes (tap, ballet, jazz – I loved it all!), gymnastics, horseback riding, etc. I was literally a ball of energy; my mom couldn’t keep me from moving if she tried! I knew that people exercised formally in order to be healthy – I have very vivid memories of my mom moving the couch out of the way so she could bounce around to Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies. (Say what you want about Richard, but his routine to “It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry if I Want To” was FUN! :lol: ) But at this point, formal exercise wasn’t a part of my life; I just loved moving!

(Source)

The End of Innocence

In 7th grade I began playing field hockey, so exercise – in the form of team sports – became a more structured part of my life. But it was still about having fun.


Until a very memorable doctor’s appointment at the end of the middle school, when my well-meaning pediatrician came out and told me I could stand to lose a couple of pounds. (You can read more about that experience here.) The idea of exercising in order to lose weight honestly had not occurred to me before. But I latched onto it immediately. :-?

With the exception of field hockey practices and some well-intentioned running I did with my friend Beth, exercise alternated between my friend and my foe. At any given time I was either exercising to the point of exhaustion or not moving my body whatsoever. At my worst I was literally counting calories in versus calories burned, always ensuring that the latter exceeded the former. Not healthy at all. :-(

Fortunately I couldn’t keep up that kind of torture for too long; after a month or so I would be so burnt out that all the time I had been spending at the gym was spent sitting on the couch, eating back all of the food I had denied myself over the past few weeks. Any weight I had lost in my short starvation/overexercising cycle was quickly re-gained, plus a few pounds.

“Moderate exercise” was a foreign concept to me. 8-O

This cycle continued all through my years in college. There were some high points – attending Body Pump classes with my roommate being one of them. But exercise was still too mixed up with my food/weight/body image issues.

Throughout all of this I was certainly familiar with running. I had done plenty of it to get in shape for playing field hockey. Former boyfriends had been runners, so I knew a lot about it. I participated in a small handful of 5K races. But I never went for a run because I wanted to or because I enjoyed it; I always did it for the calorie burn, end of story. :-? I don’t think I ever ran over 4 miles.

Related post: Why it is important to take training from Best Ottawa First Aid?

Exercise Abstinence

When I decided to get serious about tackling my food and weight issues, shortly after my wedding in the summer of 2008, I stopped exercising completely. Yep, that’s right, I did ZERO formal exercise for almost 9 months. GASP! 8-O

At first I was certain I was going to blow up like a balloon and immediately develop heart disease. But at the same time I knew that I needed to do something different; I was so sick of the up and down cycles. I had to step away from exercise completely because at the time I didn’t know how to do it in a healthy manner; obsession was all I knew.

With exercise at a safe distance, I began the very difficult work of dealing with all the other messy stuff – the “why” and the “how” of how I had become so obsessed in the first place. Because – and let me be clear about this – disordered eating is not about vanity or shallowness. Wanting to be thin is merely the surface; there is always a canyon of nitty-gritty under there. (What that nitty-gritty consists of is different for everyone; for me it was perfectionism, poor self-esteem, anxiety, and denied emotions.)

Much to my surprise, during those 9 months of exercise abstinence I didn’t suddenly gain a ton of weight. In fact, I actually lost a couple of pounds. Because I was finally making peace with food and my body.

A New Strategy

In May of 2009 I began walking consistently. Not for exercise, but because I found that a daily 30-45 minute walk helped me to clear my mind, deal with my stress, and talk to God. But I quickly noticed the physical benefits as well; it just felt good.

I kept up my walking routine from May to September-ish, when I decided to incorporate some light jogging. I used the walk-run method, beginning with 1 minute of jogging for every 4 minutes of walking and building up from there. I remember the day I hit 5 minutes of straight jogging – I was on cloud nine!

As I began to jog more and more, I made myself one promise that I faithfully kept: no pain. I only went as long and as fast as felt comfortable to my body; the second I got a side stitch or felt worn out, I slowed it down or went back to walking. I truly believe this was the key to my success: it prevented the usual burnout and allowed me to find true enjoyment in what I was doing. :-)

On Thanksgiving of 2009, I ran in a local Turkey Trot 5K and had an absolute blast. My only goal was to jog the entire thing, which I did!

A few weeks later I ran in another 5K (the Fells Point Figgy Pudding Race! :lol: ). Then I set my eyes on a 5-miler, which I wrote about in one of my first blog posts. I worked hard to be able to tackle that distance, but unfortunately the race was canceled due to the crazy blizzard. I was extremely disappointed, but not deterred. I immediately signed up for another race – the Wild Woman 8K – which I ran in April.

Next up – the Broad Street 10-Miler. I followed a 10-week training plan that I found online, which worked out great. I am a HUGE fan of using formal training plans; following one definitely helped me structure my workouts so that I was building up my endurance properly while also getting enough rest. The day I ran 10 miles for the first time I was positively glowing!

And then Broad Street arrived. It was by far the most difficult run of my life thus far, primarily because of the insane heat, which I was not prepared for at all. But I toughed it out and had a great time!

A few weeks into my 10-miler training, I decided to sign up for the Maryland Half Marathon that was only 3 weeks after Broad Street. Honestly, my thinking went like this: if I can run 10 miles, I can run 13.1, so I might as well go for it! And go for it I did! I ran my first half-marathon last weekend. :-D

What’s Next

A lot of people have asked me what’s next. A full marathon? Nothing at all? To which I respond, How about somewhere in the middle? :-)

The truth is, the timing for my half-marathon was perfect. I was finishing up graduate school and beginning to job hunt; my schedule was extremely flexible and I had the time I needed to put into training. But now that I’ve graduated and secured a full-time position, I have some adjusting to do. Right now my only priority is settling into a routine that allows me to continue a program of moderate exercise while having plenty of time and energy to focus on my new job.

This week I’m laying low on the exercise front, giving my body a chance to rest. It’s my way of saying thank you for all the effort it’s been putting in lately. ;-) Next week I will get back into the full swing of things. Right now I’m thinking of running 3 days per week, strength training 2-3 days per week, and cross-training (elliptical, incline walking, fitness DVDs, etc.) 2 days per week. I would like to continue doing one longer run per week – probably between 7 and 9 miles – to maintain my endurance. I’ve also got a few races scheduled throughout the summer to keep me motivated. :-D

Sorry that this got a little lengthy, but I hope it gives you some more insight into where I’ve been and where I am now in terms of exercise and running. If you have any questions about running or anything else, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Are you a runner? Have you been one in the past? Would you like to be one in the future?

Holy Moly! Half-Marathon Recap

By Katie, 3:32 pm

I DID IT!!! I am officially a half-marathon finisher!!! It feels so good to say that! :-)

Thank you so much for all of your encouraging comments; you have no idea how much it means to me to know that I have such support!!! :-)

Backing up a bit. On Friday I received the most amazing motivation – a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Dave’s grandmother and grandfather. They were congratulatory blooms in honor of graduating with my master’s, securing a job, and running a half marathon. They made me smile from ear to ear! Grandmother, if you’re reading, you’re the best!!! :-D

The flowers were just the boost I needed because, as I mentioned in my last post, this last week of training (tapering, really) didn’t go exactly as planned. I got zero sleep Wednesday night, was sick several times on Thursday, and still wasn’t feeling 100% on Friday. Saturday, however, I was pumped and ready to go. I had a lot of energy-loading to catch up on; I wanted to make sure I gave my body plenty of carbs to get through the race. Here’s a quick montage of what I ate on Saturday for pre-race day fuel.

PB + Banana toast, cherries, kiwi

Wasa crackers with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge.

Turkey sandwich, baby carrots, grape tomatoes

1/2 cantaloupe with cottage cheese

Clif Z bar

Mixture of crackers, PB Puffins, and more cherries

Hummus and sweet pepper wrap, roasted parsnip fries

Fresh fruit and cereal, drizzled with honey (this bowl x 2!)

I believe there was a slice of whole wheat toast in there somewhere as well.

I went to bed super early so I’d be ready to go when my alarm started buzzing.

I actually had the best possible dream last night. I dreamed that I was participating in a triathlon. My first thought when I woke up was, “Thank goodness I don’t have to swim or bike this morning! I just have to run – no problem!” ;-) (Many props to Meghann and Caitlin, who did swim/bike today!)

Of course, when I looked at the weather forecast (RAIN!) I thought,”Maybe I will be swimming!” Through puddles, anyway. ;-)

I had my standard pre-race breakfast – a banana and some bite-sized Shredded Wheat.

And packed up my Gu for mid-run fuel. I know these gross some people out, but my stomach tolerates them just fine.

Ready, ready, ready! I wore a bright green top so that I’d be easier to spot. I also broke the cardinal rule of “Nothing New on Race Day” and wore a hat; I figured running in the rain was already new to me, so why not? Thank you to everyone who recommended I do so; it was perfect for keeping the rain out of my eyes.

The race started promptly at 7:00. About 15 minutes beforehand the rain slowed to a drizzle, and it was just off and on the rest of the time – quite perfect, actually! The first two miles were a breeze, but mile 3 was almost entirely uphill. It was crazy! When I crested the hill and reached mile 4, I saw Dave cheering me on, complete with a sign. It was an awesome boost! I was feeling really great!

I owned miles 4, 5, and 6. Miles 7 and 8 featured the next big hill, which was a KILLER! It was steep and lasted almost the full two miles! 8-O I was pretty much just shuffling my way up. I took 1/2 of my Gu around the 8-mile mark, which was a needed boost. But I got even more of a boost from the handwritten signs posted along the hill – from cancer survivors and family members of victims.

100% of the proceeds from the Maryland Half Marathon went to cancer research. While of course I was happy to be racing for charity, I didn’t think much of it until I saw those signs. One of them read, “We know this hill is hard, but fighting cancer is harder. You can do it!” Another said, “You probably know someone who has fought cancer. Tackle this hill for them!” When I saw that sign I thought of my grandma, who passed away two years ago from pancreatic cancer. Tears came to my eyes, I dug even deeper, and I got up that darn hill.

At the top, at the 9-mile mark, there was Dave again! It was SO GREAT to see him!

When I hit the 10-mile mark, I was still feeling strong. I rounded a corner and realized that the entire 10th mile was downhill!!! WOO HOO! I was cruising. (About halfway down my shoulders got really tight, which was a good reminder that while downhills are easy on the lungs, they’re actually tough on the body.)

Honestly, the last 3 miles I felt really good. The half-marathon ended on the horse racing track of the state fairgrounds, and the finish line came significantly sooner than I realized. I turned a corner, saw my family cheering for me, started sprinting my hardest, and that was it!

I don’t have my official chip time yet, but according to my watch my time was 1:53:34. That’s an average pace of about 8:40 – WAY faster than I was expecting! (The downhills definitely helped with that! ;-) ) I was THRILLED!

As crazy as this sounds, I actually found the half-marathon physically easier than the Broad Street 10-Miler. Maybe because that day was so stinkin’ hot. I ended this race feeling strong and energetic; I told my family I felt like I could run at least another 2 miles! :lol:

I am so grateful to my wonderful supporters who got up early to make the drive and see me finish. It made me feel so good knowing they were cheering for me! I love you all!

And to any of you who are thinking to yourself, “Wow, I could never run a half-marathon,” I say: YES, YOU CAN! If you had told me one year ago I would do this, I would never have believed you. 8-O I started walking consistently last May, began alternating between walking and jogging in September, ran a 5K on Thanksgiving, a 5-mile race in April, a 10-mile race in May, and now this! IT IS POSSIBLE!

After the race we all went for brunch at this adorable little restaurant a mere two minutes from my house called Clementine. I knew I needed protein, but all I was craving was BREAD. I ordered the French Toast Casserole, which had apples baked inside of it. So good! (I’ll make sure to get my protein later on, I promise. :-) )

And fruit, of course.

I also ordered a fresh, house-made blueberry muffin, but I was too full to eat it. It will be my dessert tonight!

Now I’m off to relax (and perhaps take a nap). Fortunately I have tomorrow all to myself, so I can get a lot of rest before I start training for my new job on Tuesday. (YAY!) The pieces are just falling into place, and I couldn’t be more grateful! :-)

Have you ever run a half-marathon? Do you think you ever would?

To Katie, From Katie

By Katie, 8:57 am

Today is the day before my half marathon. 8-O

I’m feeling a queasy mix of nervousness and excitement. I’m trying to act like it’s no big deal while simultaneously obsessing about it. I’m being totally overly-dramatic at the same time I’m trying to convince myself to treat it just like any other long run. It’s funny how these kinds of events bring out such an emotional roller coaster in me. :-)

To help focus my thoughts a bit, I decided to write a pre-race letter to myself, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share it with all of you. So here we go.

To Katie, From Katie: A Pre-Half Marathon Letter

Dear Katie,

First and foremost, take a deep breath. There, that’s better. :-)

I want to give you some advice and encouragement regarding this little 13.1 mile running thing you’ll be doing tomorrow. You might need to read this periodically throughout the day, or perhaps in the morning before you head to the starting line. Maybe you’ll need to read it after the race is over. Either way, I hope I can help you maintain a little perspective.

There are two main points I want to make in this letter:

1. Take your expectations and throw them in the trash.

2. The battle is already won.

Regarding the first point: let’s be honest, this last week of training hasn’t been ideal. You barely slept Wednesday night, and you were sick most of the day on Thursday. Friday you still weren’t feeling 100%. In light of this, I want you to forget any hopes or dreams you may have been harboring about your overall time or pace for this half-marathon. It is your first time running this distance, and your only goal should be to FINISH. Forget the clock. Focus on going at a pace that feels comfortable for your body tomorrow, not worrying if that pace is slower than the one you kept two weeks ago.

I guess what I’m saying is, when you listen to your body and not judge yourself so much, running is FUN. Have FUN tomorrow! 8-)

Regarding point #2: You have already accomplished something amazing. The training and dedication you’ve put into this event is nothing to scoff at. During a point in your life that was filled with unknowns, you gave yourself a goal and pursued it doggedly. That effort is a victory in and of itself. So even if something goes horribly wrong tomorrow – even if for some unforeseen reason you cannot cross that finish line – you are already a winner.

Even if you totally wipe out on the slippery streets. ;-) Which is quite probable, considering the weather forecast for the morning is filled with this:

The rain doesn’t matter. The clock doesn’t matter. Your attitude is what matters. You’ve worked hard for this; now is the time to enjoy it! :-)

Congratulations!

Love,

Katie

Any last-minute tips for racing in the rain???

First Track Workout!

By Katie, 2:53 pm

First of all, I’m so glad you enjoyed my last post on pseudo-dieting! It sounds like this is something that a lot of us struggle with. I hope that Health for the Whole Self can be a place where we all encourage each other to challenge ourselves – our thoughts, our motivations, our intentions – so that we can be as healthy, both physically and mentally, as we can be. If you’re interested in this topic, you should definitely check out the comments; many readers shared some really interesting thoughts!

So last night I decided to mix up my running routine by incorporating my first speed workout on the TRACK!

When I played field hockey in high school, our interval workouts on the track were definitely the ones I dreaded the most. They were just downright HARD! So it’s kind of funny that now I am doing similar workouts willingly. :lol:

I was motivated to try this workout by Bobbi’s post breaking down her track workouts. She is such a fitness motivation! Here is the workout I ultimately decided on:

  • 1 mile warm-up
  • 4x800m @ 4:00 (2 min. R)
  • 1 mile cool-down

In other words, after my warm-up I did 4 sets of 800 meters (or 1/2 mile), aiming for 4 minutes (or 8 min./mile pace). I rested for 2 minutes between intervals. Does that make sense?

Dave came along to the track and snapped some photos of me while I was warming up. 8-)

Is it possible to take a good picture while running? I think not! :-?

Overall the workout went very well! It was a great way to mix up my running routine, and I’m definitely going to be incorporating more workouts like this. Of course, since this was my first time trying it out, I made a few mistakes that I plan to remedy next time.

What I Did Right

  • Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Taking the time to warm up and cool down is especially important when doing intervals like these. You just can’t jump in and start running your fastest, and you just can’t come to a halting stop at the end! That’s a sure way to have a bad workout, at best, or end up injured, at worst.

  • Pacing

I actually did a good job of keeping my first lap the same pace as my second lap. In other words, I wasn’t going out super fast and then dying by the end. I kept both quarter miles pretty even.

What I Did Wrong

  • Underestimating Myself

Like I said, my goal was 4 minutes for 1/2 mile, or 8 min. mile pace. However, I ended up hitting almost all of the intervals in 3:45. While it felt good to surpass my goal, the point is really to challenge myself, so next time I’ll set a tougher goal.

  • Recovery

During my 2 minutes of rest between intervals, I just sort of stood there on the track, or walked around a little bit. I think the workout will be more effective if I keep moving – jogging, or even just shuffling! – between sets.

Happily chugged some water afterward! :-)

I’m proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone to complete a tougher-than-usual workout. It’s those kinds of challenges – along with incorporating something new – that keep me motivated and having FUN!

Have you recently tried a more challenging workout or a new exercise? Does doing so keep you motivated in your fitness routine?

Watchless

By Katie, 3:11 pm

Yesterday I did something utterly shocking, at least in my world.

I went for a run without my watch. GASP! 8-O

(Source)

Ok, so maybe I’m being a bit over the top. But the truth is that I rarely exercise without some kind of goal in mind in terms of time, pace, or intensity level. I always have some type of devise – my watch, my heart rate monitor, or the calculators on the machines at the gym – to keep me on track.

Today I decided to forego all of that. For two reasons.

First, I was only setting out to do a light recovery run from my 10-mile race on Sunday. My legs were still a tad sore and I just wanted to loosen them up a bit before fully getting back into the swing of things. So I knew I was going to be running quite slowly, and on a rational level I was perfectly ok with that. But deep down I knew that if I could look down at my watch and see just how slowly I was going, there would be a part of me that felt disappointed or frustrated. I didn’t want that part to even have a chance of surfacing, so I left the watch behind.

Second, and more importantly, I had a lot that I wanted to think about on this particular run. I’ve been experiencing some difficult emotions lately – a bit of anxiety, a touch of fear, a grain of frustration, a pinch of self-doubt – and because I often do my best thinking while running, I knew that was the time to try to wrap my head around it all. I wanted to contemplate, to ponder, and to pray – none of which are easy when you’re constantly looking at your wrist.

Running sans timing-devise was both difficult and liberating. The organized perfectionist inside of me wanted desperately to know how many minutes my workout lasted. She called out for order and structure; working out without a watch felt like pure chaos to her. But the free spirit within me – who sometimes has to be forced to come out and say hello – was saying, “THIS is what running is all about.” What I needed was to listen to my body and release my mind, and running with a naked wrist was the best way to make that happen.

Based on this experience, I’m going to work on throwing some more watchless workouts into the mix. It will certainly be a challenge because, like I said, I’ve got a strong inner perfectionist who likes to know the numbers. But some days – with some workouts – ignorance really is bliss. :-)

Do you ever exercise without a specific goal – be it in terms of time or intensity or whatever – in mind? Would a watchless run come easy for you, or would a little voice inside be screaming for order?

10 Lessons in 10 Miles

By Katie, 9:11 pm

I DID IT!!! I completed the 10-Mile Broad Street Run! I’m officially a 10-mile race veteran! ;-)

Not a bad way to start National Runners’ Month, right?

Thank you all so much for your well wishes and your advice concerning my pre-race jitters! I felt very inspired reading through the comments; you all definitely gave me the little extra boost of motivation I needed!

The weekend as a whole was both wonderful and sweaty. Dave and I headed to Philly on Saturday afternoon to attend the Race Expo and pick up my bib. I left with some great stuff, including a free sample of Dunkin Donuts new bagel twists. Carbo-loading! ;-)

I picked up my race t-shirt, plus another running shirt that I opted to purchase because I think the race t-shirt is not the prettiest. :-? I also bought a SPIbelt to wear around my waist for longer runs. It will hold my cell phone, my keys, and some mid-run fuel…we’ll see if it’s comfortable or not. I also picked up a free sample of some energy chew things.

Before checking into our hotel, Dave and I stopped at Anthony’s Italian Coffee House along the 9th Street Italian Market for a late lunch. I had lots of veggies and cheese nestled between some grilled focaccia.

Then we walked around the city a bit, at which point I was kicking myself for wearing jeans, since it definitely reached 90º. Way to go, Katie. :roll: But I enjoyed seeing the race flags all along Broad Street; I definitely felt like the City of Brotherly Love was showing some love to all of us runners. ;-)

And then we saw this!!!

I’d never been inside a Lululemon store before, so I just had to check it out. But alas, I did not buy anything, due to the fact that I am not made of money. :-?

Dinner was enjoyed at a cute little organic market. More veggies, this time in a roasted red pepper wrap with honey mustard.

Plus some fresh fruit.

Before going to bed I also ate a Coconut Cream Pie LARABAR and more fruit.

As I was settling in for the evening, I did a quick e-mail check, only to see a rather disturbing message from the race committee. You know how I was worried about the heat? Well, I got significantly more worried after reading the email. Here are some of the highlights:

Due to the predicted forecast and the fact that most of you have not been training in these types of conditions, we are urging all of you to take the proper precautions relating to this situation. We cannot make decisions for you when you are the only one who knows how you feel. We are urging you to hydrate prior to race day and on race morning.

Runners are advised that on the race course fire hydrants will be used as sprinklers to keep the runners cooled down. Runners are urged to use the sprinklers along the course and to drink the water provided at the water stations. We cannot control your personal actions on the race course. You must be responsible for how you feel during the event. Medical teams are on high alert and our volunteers have been instructed to rise to the challenge.

Runners should plan to run at a slower pace and to slow down or stop if they become disoriented on the race course. Fellow runners are urged to contact the nearest medical personnel, police, or race staff along the course in the event of a down runner.

I know they were just covering their butts concerned for our safety, but it definitely freaked me out! 8-O

This morning, I popped out of bed at 6:00 a.m., ready to rock and roll.

I had what has become my standard pre-race fuel: a banana and a cup or so of bite-sized Shredded Wheat.

I met up with my friend Beth and her dad, who were also running the race. After a whole lot of hanging around, we were off!

Here’s what I learned from the race, mile by mile.

10 Lessons in 10 Miles

Mile 1: Waiting is the hardest part. We arrived at the starting area a good 45-minutes before the race, which was a good thing! But all that time standing around is a recipe for NERVES. I felt ten times calmer the minute I started running, and with the exception of the crazy crowds, I breezed through the first mile.

Mile 2: In really crowded races like this one, it’s much easier to pass people if you stay to the sides, rather than in the middle. And I always put all of my mental energy into the people I am passing, and don’t give a second’s pause to those who are passing me. :-)

Mile 3: First water station. Turns out I am really really bad at drinking water from a little cup while running. A lot of it ended up running down my face, which wasn’t a bad thing considering the temps! 8-) But I really need to work on my water station skills.

Mile 4: Don’t get annoyed at the people you just can’t get around when you’re trying to pass. The last thing they’re thinking about is how to make sure they’re not “in the way” of runners behind them. And the very next moment, you will probably be in someone else’s way. You just gotta go with it.

Mile 5: Run for the right reasons! Around the halfway point I heard a girl beside me say something extremely sad and disturbing to her friend. She said, and I quote, “I’m totally doing this so that when I get on the scale this afternoon I’m five pounds lighter.” 8-O Ummmmm, no.

First of all, if your sole motivation for running is to lose weight, please don’t. (I’ve been there, done that, and it ain’t fun.) You deserve to find an exercise activity you truly enjoy, not one that you view as torture.

Second, if you really do lose five pounds from running the race (highly unlikely), you haven’t lost fat; you’ve lost water. Water you desperately need. For your own safety and health, you better drink back every ounce of it.

Hearing that comment made me so sad. :-( It reminded me of where I used to be and how far I’ve come in terms of unhealthy food/weight/exercise obsessions. I pray that that girl finds some relief from her struggles.

Mile 6: Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk. These were some of the thoughts running through my head around Mile 6: “You got this, Katie!” “Just keep truckin’!” “Keep it up!” Nothing wrong with being your own cheerleading squad. ;-)

Mile 7: Spectators are AWESOME. To every spectator who cheers and claps and motivates, THANK YOU! I may have been too tired at this point to smile and wave at the lovely people cheering and holding up signs, but their encouragement made a load of difference.

Mile 8: The HEAT was just as bad – if not worse – than I was expecting. I was quite possibly hotter than I’ve ever been. Scary hot at some points. So I backed off when I felt like I needed to, silently vowing never to run in such crazy high temperatures again. Not a promise I’m likely to keep, but it helped me get through it. ;-) The point is, when running in heat, BE CAREFUL.

Mile 9: When massive amounts of sweat drips down your face and into your eyes, it stings. 8-O

Mile 10: I can do things I once thought were impossible. :-D

This was definitely the most difficult run of my life. I was pretty spent by the end, but I forced myself to sprint as much as I could at the finish. For the first 30 seconds afterward I felt like I was going to throw up (ugh!), but then my stomach settled and I was smiling from ear to ear. Here were my results:

  • Total Time for 10 miles: 1:24:37
  • Average Pace per Mile: 8:28
  • Overall Place: 4,224 (out of 26,169 finishers)
  • Sex Place: 1,176 (out of 14,340 female finishers)
  • Division Place: 357 (out of an unknown number of female finishers age 25-29)

After the race I guzzled a bottle of water, stretched, and eventually ate (I can’t eat right afterward; this food was consumed about 45 minutes post-finish). I had a small yogurt, half of this soft pretzel, and an orange.

Then I headed to Beth’s apartment for a much needed shower!!! Once I had sufficiently wiped off the caked-on sweat (ewwww!!!!) we hit up this great market called Di Bruno Brothers for lunch. It was a winner! :-)

I had yet another sandwich…what can I say? As soon as I saw this description I was hooked!

Brie AND caramelized onions AND mango chutney? Sign me up! :-)

I also had a container of cantaloupe and some Honest Tea.

Here is the lovely Beth I keep speaking of. She’s the one who originally convinced me to run the Broad Street Run. (I believe she specifically said, “It will be great material for your blog!” :lol: ) So THANK YOU, BETH - for encouraging me to run, for giving me a place to shower, for making me laugh ALL THE TIME, and for being an all-around fabulous gal. ;-)

The market had an amazing assortment of cookies, which I just couldn’t pass up. I got a little sampler to take home with me.

Then we packed up and headed back to Baltimore, where I’m currently sitting in my non-air-conditioned house with sweat dripping down my leg. Gross, I know. :-?

Whew! That was quite a re-cap…thanks for sticking with me! I’m off to find something cold to consume (a smoothie maybe?) and then hitting the hay! Not even the heat can keep me awake tonight!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :-)

What is one lesson you’ve learned either from running in a race or from engaging in exercise in general?

AND

Have you ever been to Philadelphia? If so, do you have a favorite place to eat there?

Pre-Race Jitters

By Katie, 7:47 am

In a few hours I am heading to Philadelphia, where on Sunday morning I will run in the largest 10-mile race in the country – the Broad Street Run.

While 10 miles is not the farthest I’ve ever run (my longest run to date was a few weeks ago – 11.25 miles), it’s by far the longest race I’ve ever participated in. And the largest race as well – capped at 30,000 people. 8-O

Even though in some ways I am “training through” this 10-mile run, since in three weeks I’ll be doing my half-marathon, completing this race still holds a very special place in my heart. Before deciding to participate, I had never run over 5 miles. I had never dreamed that I could hit double digits. I didn’t even really think of myself as a runner.

As I think about Sunday morning, I find myself experiencing a touch of nervousness, some pre-race jitters. I think this is relatively normal, but I admit that over the past few weeks I’ve even felt nervous before some of my long runs. Silly, right?

More specifically, I’m a tad nervous about two things.

1. HEAT

The temperatures in my neck of the woods have been pretty wacky lately. The last long run I did I was wearing wind pants and a long-sleeve shirt, and I was just barely breaking a sweat. The forecast for Sunday, however, is calling for a high of 90º. Granted, it will probably only be in the 70s in the morning when I’m running, but that’s still significantly warmer than I’m used to!

I’m trying to tell myself that if the heat slows me down a bit, there is nothing wrong with that. My goal is simply to FINISH THE RACE. And if I’m really hot, I can always take the water at the water stations and dump it on my head, right? ;-)

2. STARTING TOO FAST

On an average training run, I am a negative-splits kind of gal, meaning that I naturally start slower and increase in speed as I go along. But in races I have this tendency to start too fast, push too hard, and then not have enough steam at the very end. (See my Port to Fort 6K recap for an example.) It’s one thing to have that happen in a 5 or 6K…it’s a completely different ballgame when we’re talking 10 miles. I need to remember not to push myself too hard at the beginning, because while my goal is simply to finish the race, I’d really like to finish STRONG. I don’t want to be crawling across the finish line or anything. :lol:

I know that most of these fears and concerns are MENTAL. I’ve put in the training – I’ve been following a 10-week training plan that has me running 4 times per week, and I think I’ve only missed 2-3 total runs in that whole period (due to not feeling great, being lazy, etc.) So deep down I know I can do this.

It’s just a matter of using my jitters to propel me forward, rather than letting my fears hold me back, right?

Wish me luck! I’ll be back at the end of the weekend with a recap! :-D

Do you ever get pre-race jitters? Or do you ever feel nervous before a really intense workout? Do you think I’m being crazy?!?!?!

AND

Any tips for dealing with warmer temps? Or for pacing myself better?

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