Friday, May 29, 2009

Newly Discovered Talent

I have just realized this morning that I have a new talent; I can tell you what the distance (in miles) is between just about any major intersection, or point of reference in my town and surrounding areas.

It is really funny, I was trying to decide which Target was closer to my children's school (as I was in route) and realized that I did not need Mapquest, I had all the info in my brain (Yes, I really am very excited about this!!) I guess from all of my years of running locally, I have developed various routes around town that take me on my different runs. Not only do I know the routes, but I also know the increments in half and sometimes tenth of a mile. Is this useful info, probably not, but I am just excited that I haven't lost my mind completely and I still have some capacity to learn.

I am sure that this is, "talent " is not unique to other runners. Of course, we all know the areas we run and what the distances are. It is to me just one more thing that sets us runners apart. I feel another list coming on, ten things that sets runners apart from others. Maybe that will be my weekend work.

On another note, I am going to buy new shoes this weekend. Haven't changed much, but my knee is starting to bother me. I am thinking that it might be my shoes. They have served me well (two marathons and all the training that goes with them) but are getting kind of old. It is kind of sad to downgrade them, they are kind of like an old Friend to me.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Arm Swing?

My last marathon that I ran (in Feb) must not have sold the amount of photos they had hoped because today I got an email for clearance photos documenting my struggle, or triumph depending on where the photo was taken. Because it was such a small race there were very few marathoners which meant about 30 pictures of myself and my group during my 26.2 mile journey.

I have seen them all before but I couldn't help taking another look. This time I started to analyze them perhaps a bit to much, for form.

What I noticed most (besides how I need to work on my, "I am loving every minute of this" face) is that my arm position seemed way off. All of the other runners around me had very little movement, it seemed that their arms were very close to their sides and never more than parallel to the ground. My arms completely cross my body and go up close to my shoulders (it almost looks like I was sprinting the entire way, wouldn'd that be nice!!)

I know that this is not the best running form and really until I saw these photos I did not think it was that pronounced. Although the cross swing gives you great obliques, it does take unnecessary energy away from the run. At this point I need all of the energy I can get. So today I tried to make a effort to not cross swing and it felt really odd, like I did not know what to do with my arms.

It will definitely take some effort to change my ways of almost 4 years of running, but it will give me something to focus on for a while. I guess I will have to view my next race pics to see if I made any progress.

What are your thoughts? Are you arm swingers?? Do you think changing my ways will really make a difference for me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time to Look Ahead, Scattered Thoughts!!

School is almost out (8 more days) and summer is here (for us anyway). It is time to start thinking more seriously about my fitness goals and come up with a training plan to achieve them.

It is always harder for me in the summer. Things seem so much more relaxed than during the school year, it is always easy for me to fall into that, "vacation mode" with the children. This year I am training for Boston so the summer is more important to me than ever. I have an hour to shave (all right hack) off my best time, so I am going to have to step it up. Because of the heat here, summer training consists of many pre-dawn runs which, I guess is good as I am usually back, showered and ready to go at the same time I would have gotten up in the winter months.

I do not think the term, "Lazy Days of Summer" will apply this year.

I am working on my training plan........more to follow.

I have put together my fall marathon schedule , and it looks like my first race will be 11/29 the Space Coast Marathon (here in my home town). This will be my first attempt to qualify. I ran this as the half before and it was not my favorite race. I am going into it with an open mind and I am hoping that it will be the race for me.

After Space Coast, I am thinking of running Jacksonville on 12/20, then Disney on 1/10, Miami on 1/31, Tampa in February, then possibly Georgia in March.

I was hoping to get to the Marine Corp. in October, but I am having trouble with the logistics with my children (I still may pull it off, we will see). For now, I am content with running in nice flat Florida, and am hoping that one of those races will yield me a good BQ time.

I am looking forward to it!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Top 10 Things

I was checking through my email this morning and saw a featured post from the Spark People site. One of the members, Zen_woman wrote the 10 things she learned on her Anniversary with Spark. I liked it, her points hit pretty close to home for me. I thought I would share Zen_woman's post. I also wrote a little list of my own titled top 10 things I have learned from distance running. You will see it below Zen_woman's list.

Post from Zen_woman on Spark People
10 Things I Have Learned On My One-Year Anniversary Today is my anniversary and I have learned the following during my one year on SparkPeople:
1. Losing weight is hard!

2. Being fat is harder!

3. I rather be fit and healthy than fat and unhappy.

4. Giving up is not a good option.
5. Set backs are inevitable.

6. Overcoming setbacks can make your stronger (if it doesn't kill you- just kidding.)

7. Stay in the game long enough and eventually you will hit a plateau.

8. Pushing harder doesn't always yield the best results.

9. Listen to your body and take a break when you need to.

10. Reach out to at least one person everyday on SparkPeople. (Friends or strangers, it doesn't matter.) It helps and keeps me accountable.

Ok, here goes my list:
Top 10 Things I have learned from Distance Running
  1. Shoes matter
  2. Pacing does matter
  3. Make sure your training runs all have viable bathroom stops along the way (you never know when you will need them).
  4. Core/upper body strength is very important to a runner (as I learned the hard way from my sore back and shoulders after my first marathon)
  5. Accept bad training days (I have had my share)
  6. There is always someone faster than you, go after them!
  7. Success and failure (all of the joy and pain associated with it) in running is entirely up to you!!
  8. Training pays off.
  9. Every step forward (be it run, skip or walk) puts you closer to your goal.
  10. Listen to your body, it is irreplaceable.

I would love to hear the things that others have learned from distance running. I am also working on a list of what I have learned from running marathons, anything to add on that would be great!!

Still storming today!! Enough all ready

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away!!!

It has been raining here for three days straight now. I know that we need the rain so the practical part of me is happy, but the selfish part of me says enough!!!

I have not been able to get in a morning run (or any run) in for three days and I am starting to get agitated. I considered running in the rain this morning, but the thunder and lightning stopped me.

I know that I am whining as I could just run at the gym, but for me it is not the same. I really have a hard time treadmill running for any distance, especially after I have been running outside for so long.

I pretty much thought everyone felt the same way about treadmill running (choice of last resort), but I have found out lately that that is not true. There is a lady in my neighborhood who every morning pulls her treadmill out of her garage onto the driveway, and runs on her treadmill outside on her driveway. She runs for over an hour on the treadmill at what I can judge at a pretty good pace. I have never encountered her running on the roads in town, so I am thinking that running on the treadmill is her preference. She is definitely logging some distance on that machine, and every time I run past her and wave I can not help thinking that if I just pushed her off the machine (ever so gently) would she just take off down the road and run?

I know that everyone has their preferences, and I am in no position to criticize any one's workout plan. It is just that I dread running on the treadmill so much, I can not understand why someone would not only choose to do it every day, but drag the machine outside so as to say, 'I like to run outside, just no go anywhere'.

Again, it is not for me to judge, and she seems to be getting a better workout than me on most days so,'keep it up'.

If it doesn't stop raining, I think I will have to stop and ask her some advice, because I will be running that treadmill soon.

I am beginning to see some indications of sun, maybe there is hope.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finally, One of My Children Shows and Interest in Running!!

Both my husband and I are runners, so you would think that running is a big part of our family experience. Well, not really. Much to my dismay, our children really have not shared the same desire for the sport (or any sport) as we have. So, you can imagine my delight when my 9 year old son (the one whose idea of exercise is playing Wii) told me that he wanted to participate in a local track meet!! He came home last week and decided that he wanted to run in several events that he and the school PE teacher discussed. My first thoughts was to ask him what the catch was, (did it involve missing school or something), but I refrained and of course said yes.

He will be running the 50m, 100m and 200m this coming Friday competing with other elementary school children his age. Of course, I am very supportive of this new interest and hope that he enjoys it! I hope that it is not to cliche to say that whatever happens, first or last place, I just hope he has fun. Who knows, maybe he will see the benefit of activity that does not involve a screen or keyboard.

One can hope

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Near Death Experience (Well maybe not so near death,but scary)!!

I have been running for a while now, over three years, and I thought I had pretty safe running habits, until this morning when I almost got hit by a car in the crosswalk. For other safety reasons, my entire running route (both short and long) is on sidewalks on the sides of fairly well traveled roads. I feel safer that way, as I never feel alone or isolated. I figure if I got into trouble, I could just wave a car down for help. The draw back of this logic is dealing with traffic at crosswalks. I follow traffic rules, and as painful as it is always wait for the crossing signal before I cross, that did not help me today!!

I was crossing a 4 lane intersection this morning outside my development when a car pulled up in the right lane to go right on red. Having a few close calls before this where the driver turning right is only looking left for oncoming traffic and does not even see you trying to cross, I decided I would be safe and cross behind the car. I did not want to miss the light so I stepped off the curb and ran behind the car. I guess I was not paying attention because as I stepped behind the car turning, another car came up pretty quick and had to slam on the breaks. I jumped, took a minute to collect myself and ran off, thinking about what could have happened the rest of my run.

I do not completely blame the driver. I think that he was going to fast, and would have had to slam on the breaks to avoid the car in front of him, but I was also careless and did not pay enough attention to the traffic. I know that next time, I will be safer and probably not go around the back of a car unless I am sure that there is no other traffic coming in either direction.

After my little scare I realized that I might need a refresher in running safety, I found these tips on, I was a little concerned to see how many of these tips I do not follow.

1 - DON'T WEAR HEADSETS. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Using headphones, you lose the use of an important sense: your hearing.
2 - Always stay alert and aware of what's going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
3 - Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of call boxes and telephones along your regular route.
4 - Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you're unsure. If something tells you a situation is not "right", it isn't.
5 - Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located.
6 - Run with a partner. Run with a dog.
7 - Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
8 - Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Especially avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
9 - Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information. Don't wear jewelry.
10 - Ignore verbal harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
11 - Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles.
12 - Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark.
13 - Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
14 - Carry a noisemaker and/or OC (pepper) spray. Get training in self-defense and the use of pepper spray.
15 - CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.

I think they are great general tips and I am going to try to start following most of them (although I will always run with my IPOD, maybe I will turn it down lower) especially running with ID.
How many of these tips do you follow, which ones do you not follow? Does anyone have any other tips that might be handy?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sun Screen

The summer is coming upon us very rapidly here in Florida, and with that I have noticed that my runs are becoming more and more sweaty. I have progressed in the last 6 weeks from long sleeves to short sleeves, now to tank tops. I am not complaining, running in the heat is my thing!! I am very comfortable with the heat, and can not help feel that the more I sweat, the more work I am doing.

Anyway, the point of this blog is to talk about sunscreen!! I have never used it on any run before (and have never gotten burned), but after a conversation with a dermatologist, I am thinking that I might start. My runs are early morning, 7:00-8:00 on short runs and 5:00 am-9:30 on my longest long run. So my question is, do I really need to sunscreen up every day? If so, what kind of screen should I use? My eyes are very sensitive and I am worried that when I sweat the sunscreen will run and burn my eyes.

I am going to probably give a try and see how it goes (it always seems better to be safe) I guess that will mean that I will have to get up a little earlier!!

I would appreciate any advice on the best type of screen, etc.