Sunset

Yesterday, as most days are, was very busy. Yesterday was the first of six days that I’ve taken off of work to do some Fall cleaning around the house and begin decorating for Christmas. I love the holiday season, so I like to start as soon as possible.

Jonas and I finally made it out to the running trail at about 5 pm, with not much sunlight left. I knew that I had to hurry!
I set out on the trail for my 1/4 mile walking warm up.  There was another lady walking and a lady running.  The walking lady and I discussed getting our exercise in before dark and coyotes.  We’ve both seen a few out there before.  My husband later told me that being scared of a coyote is like being scared of a bird because coyotes would rather have nothing to do with people.

I finished my warm up and began running.  The other runner-girl had about an eighth of a mile, maybe more, lead on me.  I knew that I had to hurry in order to finish before darkness fell.  There was a nice breeze and the orange, blue, grey, purple sunset sky was a beautiful backdrop to my evening run.

About a half-mile in, something amazing happened.  Something that hasn’t happened in at least a couple of years for me, if ever.  I passed the runner-girl that started out ahead of me!  Jogging stroller and all! I passed her!  It was an amazing feeling.  I was powering through that run.

The sun slowly faded below the horizon.  At about 1.25 miles there wasn’t much daylight left at all.  I powered through.  The two other ladies who started out around the same time as me were impossible to see behind me.  It was getting darker.  I finally finished my two miles with a tiny strip of orangey-purple left on the horizon and a time of  22:10!!  My best time so far!

We walked our quarter-mile cool-down back to the car and I did my post run stretch.  There was no daylight left.  Night had come and I was feeling great about my accomplishments!

Wordless Wednesday

my running partner

Busy Days and New Stuff!

I haven’t blogged in a few days.  It’s been very busy around here.  I’ve been running, but also working and taking care of my family, which takes a lot of time!

The weather has been very nice around here for the last week or so, so I’ve been taking advantage of it.  Yesterday I went, with the stroller, to run fartleks.  Before I went, I ate a handful of trail mix and drank an entire bottle of water on my way to the trail.  So, about a mile into the workout, I was feeling pukey.  I took it pretty easy for the last mile, but alas my time still keeps improving!  I’ve taken a minute/mile off my pace in two weeks!  It goes to show that training works.

Also, the cooler weather inspired me to purchase my first pair of running tights.  They are awesome!  They do remind me a little of the spandex-filled wardrobe that I acquired in my three year drill-team experience in high school.  Other than that, they are great at making me feel like a sleek gazelle bounding through the Serengeti.

Also, my fellow blogger at Running on Empty suggests wearing a dry-fit cap to keep your head cool

 

and the sweat out of your eyes, so I decided to give it a try.  I bought the Adidas Adizero cap with Coolmax.  It does a great job.  I won’t run another day without it!

The Long Run

As I have mentioned before, I am periodically adding different elements of training to my workouts to prepare myself for my “official” half-marathon training plan.  So far, I have touched a little bit on intervals.  Today I will talk about the long run.

An effective training plan needs to have one long run each week.  This run is longer than a typical daily run, hence the name “long run.”  Long runs are important to a training plan because they build endurance.  Once I start my training plan, the first week has a long run of three miles. They will gradually get longer each week.  Then at two weeks before the half-marathon, the long run is 13.1 miles.  It will basically be a practice run for the half-marathon.

Today, I began incorporating long runs into my workout by running two and a half miles, where on a typical day at this point in my training, I would only run two miles.  It was a good day for it.  Jonas and I arrived at the hike and bike trail ready for a nice run.  The weather was cooler than it has been.  It was around 60 degrees.  The sky was incredibly overcast and the wind whipped.  Luckily, Jonas was bundled up in a fleece hoodie and blanket in his stroller.  I started out the run with a jacket over my shirt and shorts, but quickly realized that I didn’t need it.  I went along at a good pace, I have slowly been getting quicker.  I finished in 30 minutes, and I honestly could have kept on running!

Fartleks

Fortunately, we had a beautiful day Saturday.  Jonas and I took advantage of the nice weather and went to the hike and bike trail to run fartleks.  He took a great nap in his stroller and I got an excellent workout!

Fartleks, Swedish for “speed play”, are a great way to add informal intervals to your run.  Simply warm up with a few minutes of easy running, then pick an object in the distance

(a tree, stop sign, house, you get the idea) and pick up the pace!  Run at an almost all-out effort to your selected object.  Once you get there, run easy for a minute or two, until you’ve caught your breath.  Repeat.

I’ve recently added fartleks to my workout in preparation for my half-marathon training plan.  My plan will require much more formal interval workouts once weekly, so this is a good way to begin adding that element into my regimen.

Friends Friday

Friends Friday is a fun thing to do.  On Friends Friday I will feature an interesting and/or informative post from a friend’s blog.  Today I am featuring a post from RunnerDude’s Blog.

This post is called 25 Tips to Keep You Motivated on the Run.

I would like to encourage others in the blogosphere to participate in Friends Friday!  It is a fun way to meet new bloggers!

Easy 2-miler

I just got back from running an easy two miles at the hike and bike trail near our home.  I once again, ran it in 25 minutes with the jogging stroller.  It’s a decent time.  It will only get better.  I have only just begun my training.  At the end of November, I will start my official “Half-Marathon Training Plan.”  Until then, I am adding different elements to my workouts, and increasing my overall mileage for the week.  The first week of the training plan is only about 12 miles, so I will have no problem working up to that by the end of November.  I’m already at four miles this week!

In other news, I have discovered that Powerade Zero is a great for hydration.  I fill a twelve-ounce bottle with it and put it in the cup-holder on the stroller.  It has a nice blend of electrolytes that are supposed to be at the exact proportions that you lose them in through sweating.  I like it, and it is relatively inexpensive if you buy it at the grocery store. (about 80 cents for a 32 oz. bottle)

Tomorrow:  another 2-miler

wind

Yesterday’s run unexpectedly became pretty intense.  I headed out  to the hike and bike trail with the jogging stroller, fully intending to have an easy two mile run after the previous day’s intervals.  I knew it was going to be windy, but I had no idea the challenge that lay before me.

I started with a quarter mile walk to warm up and found us walking head first in to the wind.  When I began running, it became even harder to combat the wind.  Every corner that I turned, the wind seemed to shift along with me.  I  powered through, knowing that this would be no record-setting run.  I knew that I just needed to get through it.  On the second to last leg, the wind became so forceful that I felt as if I were trudging up a half-mile’s worth of steep hill. Finally, I had only a quarter of a mile left and the wind let up just a bit.  I pushed on through. By the end of my two mile run I felt as if my stroller had become a freight train and I was the steam engine pushing us through.

I slowed to a walking pace for my quarter-mile cool-down and checked my stopwatch.  I knew the time wouldn’t be great.  I was expecting slow.  Surprisingly I completed the two mile “easy run” with the stroller and against a wall of wind with a time of 25:25!  I was shocked!  I am fully aware that 25 minutes and 25 seconds is not considered a “fast” time, but given the circumstances, I think it is decent!

Today, was a rest day.  After a day of intervals followed by a day of running into the wind, I felt I deserved it.  Especially since I am only just now trying to work up to running five times a week!

origins

myself and some of the current drill team members

They say the best place to start is from the beginning.

I remember back in elementary school in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the late 1980’s.  Once a year we had to do the President’s Fitness Challenge.  This consisted of all sorts of fitness assessments.  How many sit ups could you do in a minute? Push ups? Pull ups? And finally, how quickly could you run a mile? I was about average at sit ups, push ups and pull ups.  When it came to running a mile, however, I took walking breaks here and there, unable to complete the full mile by only running.  I was usually one of the last children in my class to finish.  It was the norm for me.  It never occurred to me that I should, or even could, do anything about my slow time.  I just thought I was unable to run it and that was just me.

Running never came up again as an issue for me until I was going into the ninth grade.  I tried out, and made it onto, the drill team for my high school.  There were about 25 of us girls on the team who would perform at football games, pep rallies, and competitions.  The seventh class-period of the day, followed by two hours after school were devoted to drill team rehearsal.  Our director loved to send us out to the track to run a mile to get warmed up for the day’s dance rehearsals.  Once again, I could not run an entire mile without stopping.  Most of the other girls on the team had no problem running an entire mile.  Some even enjoyed it.  It was such a puzzle to me.  I once asked one of the girls how she does it.  I wondered aloud to her, “How is it that you never give up?”  She told me simply, “I keep telling myself that it’s not going to kill me.”  Those words of advice didn’t sink in that day.  I didn’t really understand the true meaning in that sentence until several years later.

About three years ago, I was living a lifestyle where I paid no mind to my physical health.  I smoked several cigarettes a day, ate whatever I wanted, and thought exercise was a concept only understood by those who worshiped their outer appearance.  I knew that I never wanted to be overweight, and I wasn’t.  I was happy with my body size, so it didn’t occur to me to monitor what I ate or what I did.  As long as the number on the scale didn’t budge, I was fine.
Of course, all things must come to an end.  My stagnant weight eventually moved.  The number on the scale budged. Little by little I was putting on the pounds.  I had to do something.  I did not want to be a statistic.  I did not want to be the typically unhealthy American.

I found an exercise plan in a magazine than claimed it could take me from walking to running in about twelve weeks.  I decided it was worth a shot, and I knew that I could benefit from becoming more active, even if I could never run.  The weeks passed, and I slowly ran more and more during each workout, walking less and less.  There was one thing holding me back, though. That was my lung capacity.  I still smoked cigarettes, and I knew that the only way for me to truly be healthy and capable of running a long distance was to quit.  With great success I was able to quit, using the nicotine patch.  I completed my walk-to-run plan and was able to run forty minutes without stopping.  I was thrilled!

I continued to run about every other day until April of 2009.  Whether it be on the road, at the gym, or on the trail.  Then my husband and I moved to another city and I sort of fell out of the habit.  In July 2009, I found out that I was pregnant!

Our son was born on March 23, 2010, and I had gained upwards of fifty pounds.  We moved back to our hometown soon thereafter and I couldn’t wait to get back into shape, but could never seem to find the time to exercise.   Being a new mother and going back to work took up a lot of time.  I heard about a 5k that was to be held for my old high school’s 50th anniversary.  I was reluctant to commit to it at first, but my former drill team instructor challenged us former members to participate.  Six weeks before the 5k, I decided to do it.

I trained as much as I could to get ready for the event.  However, there were only two times each week where I could actually fit it into my busy schedule.  My husband worked days, I worked nights, and I didn’t have a jogging stroller.  Race day finally came and I was confident that I would run the entire 3.1 miles.  The gun went off, and I was running.  It was exhilarating being surrounded by so many fellow runners.  Over 450 people participated in that race.  I placed 13th in my age group and was ready for a new challenge, so I set my sights on the Gusher Half-Marathon to be held in March 2011.

I’m all geared up to train for the half-marathon.  I now have a jogging stroller.  I am equipped with a detailed training plan. My brother is also going to be running the half-marathon, so we plan to do at least some of our training together.

I decided to start this blog to chronicle my experiences leading up to the start line on March 12, 2011…

Who am I?

I am a runner.

I am a wife.

I am a mother.

This is the story of my journey to my first half-marathon…

Running Training Log
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
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