Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Running Through the Funk

Have you ever set out for a long run and about 2 or 3 miles in you think "there is NO WAY I'm going to get through this"? or how about just waking up to the alarm at 7AM to start your run and thinking "I'm too tired to run, I think I'm going to sleep for another hour instead"?
That is the way that most of my long runs for my training have been so far. Either its the altitude change or just something purely mental. Today I set out for my long determined to change the way that I have felt about them so far.
I researched some tips online and figured out that I may be starting out too fast and burning myself out before I could finish the run. I was being really hard on myself and pushing myself too much, because my comfortable pace is a bit slower here than it was at sea level. Because of this I was pushing myself too hard and beating myself up for not being able to run at the same speed. But today was different.
Like I said, I was determined to have a good run today. Afterall, I run because I love it and it makes me feel good. I needed to get back to the roots of why I started running in the first place.
I started out this morning at 8AM ready for a 10 mile run. I kept track of my pace and decided to keep it at a moderate pace for the first half of the run so that I didn't burn myself out too quickly. And it worked! I kept at a slow and steady pace of about 9 minute miles for the first 5 mile stretch of the run. By the time it was time to turn around and come back for the last stretch, I felt great!! I decided for the last few miles I would just let myself go at whatever pace I felt comfortable with, and at one point I looked down at my watch and was running a 6:58 pace! What the heck?! I guess starting out slow really does work!
I even felt good enough to go one more extra mile and  was able to finish with a strong sprint for the last quarter mile. Todays run really gave that confidence boost that I needed. It felt great to get that long run in this week and not feel like I had just gotten hit by a bus! That being said, I was reading an article in Runner's magazine today that talked about mental tricks to use to get you through those mental blocks when running, and some of them really helped me. Here are some highlights:
  1. While your running pick a spot in the distance and pick up your pace until you get there - I did this ALOT during this run and it really helped. The last quarter mile that I sprinted, I focused on an underpass the whole time and it really got me through it.
  2. Pick a new route - this really helped me a lot today too. I found a new way to go on the trail that I had been running on that was a lot nicer and shaded. Plus taking in the new scenery really made me want to go further to see what was next!
  3. Focus on positive things, not negative - this is something that I really struggle with. I will look down at my watch and think "what? 10 minute pace? you slow poke!" and then I will push myself too hard and burn out. Today I focused on comfortably running and not looking at my watch so much and I finished the run feeling proud, not down on myself.
Another tip that I thought worked great was timing my music with my pace. I usually listen to really upbeat music, and that makes me run faster. A lot of times I have trouble starting out slow because I just run. Today, I tried starting out with slower music and then getting up to faster beat music. This really helped me start slow and taper up to a faster pace, which ultimately helped me finish my run strong and with negative splits.
What do you do to get through the "running funk?"
Do you believe that running is more mental than it is physical?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Excitement

First and foremost, go check out my feature on Skinny Runner. Talk about excitement on a Monday morning!

Also, thanks for eveyone's suggestions on foam rollers. It definitely helped and I am going to be shopping for one today!

So since I crammed in all of my runs PLUS a long run into five days in a row last week, I decided to take Saturday and Sunday off to give the ol legs a rest. Although, I'm not sure how much a rest they got, since I bought ANOTHER pair of heels to wear to work all weekend. Hey, how can you possibly say no to these...

Shoes from Ninewest

After a weekend of rest on the legs, I wasready to get some running in this morning. I woke you to the boyfriend's alarm at 745 and was out the door runnin...literally! :)

I did an easy 4 miles at about an 8:30 pace. Its weird because everyone talked about the altitude being different and effecting my running when I moved. But when I run I can't really tell much of a difference (as far as being short of breath, tiring faster, etc.) but I am a little bit slower here! My races have been off by almost a whole minute! And usually at home, I can run about a 7:45 pace. Maybe its just me though.

Speaking of races, I did one here a couple of weeks ago called Jodi's Race for Awareness. It was really fun and because I always take really horrible and hilarious race photos, I thought I might share a few :)


Concentrating hard on that finish line!


Im embarrassed to even show this one...I mean, I didn't even know I was capable of making a face like that! Way to go race photographer for capturing me at my finest :)

I also managed to get my first race injury...and not from running the race, but from jogging back to my car like a complete idiot. See?


It was actually a pretty rough trip on some gravel and would not stop bleeding! So, I couldnt make it back to the awards ceremony because I was bleeding all over the place! When I got home I checked the results and I ended up finishing in 24:16 and got 3rd place in my age group and 8th female overall. They were also nice enough to mail me this:


I love it when the race directors are nice enough to send awards if you didn't make it to the awards ceremony. There have been so many races that I have not received my award from!

So now that my run is finished for the day, my breakfast has been consumed, and my blog is updated, I am ready to start the day! Today is my day off from work, so it looks like I will be doing some housewife duties like grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning! Better get to it.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Have you ever gotten a bad injury from a race?

Do you usually take GREAT race photos, or do most of yours come out looking like mine?!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Legs Hate Me

Wearing these for a 9 hour work day...

Then doing this for 12 miles...
Run for the Hill 5 023
Then wearing these for an 8 hour work day....

Shoes from ninewest
Then coming straight home and doing this...

Image from Brix Articles
Equals this...

Image from satisfying the muse
My legs are cursing the day I decided to take a job that requires me to be on my feet in heels all day AND start marathon training all at the same time.
They need some love. I tried to get the boyfriend to give me a leg massage last night, but that wasn't happening. That being said, I need some tips on foam rollers and compression socks. Im in the market, so give me your suggestions, likes, dislikes, etc. It would be MUCH appreciated :)
For now I think an ice bath and some stretching will have to do. I have another 9 hour work day to get through today! I'm thinking smaller heels this time.
How do you prevent soreness from running?
What is everyone doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Dreaded Long Run

So normally, during my training, I would do my long run on Saturdays or Sundays for the week. However, with my work schedule I have to make a few changes to the ol' training schedule, in order to fit in runs. Since somedays I work from 930 in the morning to 930 at night, it doesn't really leave much time for running on those days.

My day off was today so I decided that this would be the best day to get in my long run. Today I was scheduled to do a 12-miler. I spent about an hour on google this morning trying to figure out the best route to run on. I had found a nice trail right outside of my house, but the furthest it went was about 4 miles, and I really wanted to do an out and back course.

After much researching I found the perfect spot to start. It was a trail called "Cherry Creek Trail" and it was about 26 miles long! I decided that the best thing to do would be to park the car, run 6 miles away and then 6 miles back. I like doing this the best because there is no way for me to talk myself into doing less mileage. If I run 6 miles, then I have no choice than to run 6 miles back!

Todays long run was a struggle...it was really HOT (I went around 11 in the afternoon, so you can imagine), I hadn't hydrated myself properly, and the trail had little to no shade! The pictures that I looked at of the trail before the run looked something like this:

and this....

pretty nice huh?

Well, I must have ran in the wrong direction or something, because in reality it looked a little like this:

yeah, dry and dead and NO SHADE! I'm pretty sure that the temperature was around 85 degrees, so I was DYING! Also, the top things off I got stung by a bee on the face AND a spider landed in my hair!! I think next time I will be going elsewhere to run! But I ran 6 miles away from car, limped 6 miles back and my 12-miler was complete! :)

I was reading up on some tips to get through the long run and here are some that I came up with (from reading and personal experience):

  1. Don't focus on the whole run. Set small goals for yourself as you go along. I like to talk to myself ALOT while I am running. is that weird? I will tell myself, "just get to 8 miles and then you only have 4 to go!".
  2. Also, going along with that, self talk always helps me get through a long run. I tell myself that I can do this, I have dont it before, I can do it now!
  4. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that you now can get you through hours of running. I can not tell you how many times I have been thrown off from a workout by clothing malfunctions!
  5. stretch, stretch, stretch! this is something that I really struggle with, because I will just go out with guns blazing! But I have found that my legs and body feel SO MUCH BETTER when I stretch properly before and after a long run.

What gets you through long runs? What advice would you add for getting through those long run days?

Well kids, now that I have completed my 12 miles, and I have the whole day off...its time for some relaxation by the pool!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What a Weekend!

So this weekend was a pretty crazy one, the boyfriend and the roommate had a bunch of their highschool friends come to visit and stay at our apartment. It was fun, but having 15 guys around ALL weekend (even sleeping in the floor of your living room) was a little rough!

We did get to go to a Rockies baseball game, though. It was a lot of fun and we even got hooked up with great seats! Right on the first base line!


The stadium was packed!


The boyfriend and I at the game


All the boys. Taco Bell has this deal with the Rockies that if they score 7 runs everyone gets free tacos, so his shirt says "we want tacos!"


Tyler came to visit all the way from Texas for the weekend


Of course I had to get a cheesy group shot of all the highschool friends.


And the whole group after the game.

It was the first time I had ever been to that stadium and it was really fun. We will definitely be going a lot more this summer, since we live so close to the field!


This weekend I got in my 11-miler, no problem! Isn't great when you can just breeze through those long runs and feel really good about them? Last week I was struggling to do my 9-miler! Its so weird how somedays I can run that much and not even think anything of it, and other days even 3 miles is a struggle. I guess that just shows you what a difference it makes when you hydrate correctly, eat the right things before or after your run, and get enough sleep the night before.  I did the run at a moderate pace at this park that I found that is GREAT for running. It looks a little like this:

Its like a runners heaven, there are paved paths, gravel paths, and dirt paths to choose from and runners are EVERYWHERE! I LOVE IT!

I took Sunday as a rest day and yesterday I busted out a 4-miler on the treadmill after work. I was so tired after work and running just made me feel SO much better. Thats why I love running, it always instantly puts me in a better mood to break a sweat! :)

Today I am on schedule for a 6-miler. I don't know if I am going to go to the same park, or try and find a new one. There are SO many parks in Denver, I feel like I should try them all. You know, just to be objective about it!

Hope everyone else had a great weekend, and a great Father's Day!

Do you have a favorite running spot where you live? More than one favorite?


Friday, June 17, 2011

A few updates

So, since I have been gone for a little bit I thought I might do a little "vintage" post about some things that I have been doing this summer.

The boy and I went to Myrtle Beach on vacation for a week and it was wonderful. Nothing but the pool, the ocean, and my favorite person in the whole world! (cheesy enough for ya?) I even managed to get some pretty good running in on the boardwalk, which was awesome. Even though I got a few "are you crazy" looks from the half asleep boyfriend when I was lacing up my running shoes at 8 in the morning.

Heres a few pics from the trip, I of course took about 5000 pictures, but I'll spare you that and only throw in a few of the favs.

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The boy and I by the pool

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The hotel that we stayed in had a swim up pool bar...that we took full advantage of.


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This was at dinner one night, isn't my date handsome?

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Then we went for dessert.

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Favorite picture...Im starting to feel the cheesy-ness of this post coming though, so I DO apologize :)

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We of course had to go miniature golfing, here is me concentrating hard on my pro golf swing.

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Bowling was also a must, what can I say? We are just an active couple! ;)

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We also walked 3 miles in 100 degree weather for the hat that I am wearing in this picture...because it was PERFECT for sunbathing on the beach.

It was a great vacation and we had a lot of fun. I'm glad we got one last southern style beach trip in before we moved. Because, now that we are in Denver we are pretty far from any beaches!


Marathon training is going really well! So far I have managed to stick with the training plan pretty well. The only thing I dread is the long run, which is usually done on Saturday or Sunday. This week is an 11-miler, so stay tuned to hear about that, I hope I can get it in!

Yesterday was a four mile run on the treadmill. It was a semi-speed work run. I say "semi" because I didn't really mean for it to be a speed work run. I have been noticing that I have trouble running negative splits in most of my races, and I REALLY struggle to finish strong, because I am SPENT by the end of the race. So, I have been trying to train myself to run harder at the end of races by running each mile a little faster than the last. So, when I am on the treadmill I will start out at about a 9 minute mile and then work my way up until I am running at race pace (around 7:45) for the last mile or so. The is just an experiment to see if it helps and I have no research to back this up...so we will see!

Does anyone have any other tips for working on running negative splits or finishing stronger in races?

Today is a rest day to gear up for the long run tomorrow, so I'm taking it easy! The boy and the roommate and some other friends are planning on going to a rockies games tonight...did I mention we live a block from Coors Field? Yeah, its pretty awesome.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! What does everyone else have planned for Friday night?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not gonna stop me!

Yesterday I was scheduled for a 5 mile run. I had decided that since I worked at 8 until around 4 that I would just go for my run after work. I wanted to start my run by at least 5 so that I could be back in time to cook dinner for the boyfriend (yes, I like to play house wife). Well, obviously SOMEONE didn't want me to go for a run because one thing after the other popped up to try and stop me.
  • FIRST: On my way home from work there was a MAJOR traffic jam...that I imagine looked something like this:

oh hello, downtown Denver at 5 oclock.
  • Because of said traffic jam, I did not make it home until 515. Thats right people 45 minutes for a 15 minute drive. But thats OK, I wasn't gonna let a little 30 minute draw back stop me!
  • SECOND: I quickly change into my running clothes, grab my keys, my ipod, and....wait....where are my headphones?! I searched and searched, but they were nowhere to be found. I decide, "hey, I can run without them, no. big. deal." and I'm out!
  • THIRD: Half way to the gym I realize I had forgotten something very important....water. I turn around and go back.
  • 2nd time going to the gym, half way there, I remember where my headphones are. I decide to just keep going and run without them. typical.
  • FINALLY get to the gym! Pumped out a miserable 5 mile run on the treadmill with no music and two obnoxious breathers right beside me.
  • Made it back to the apartment at 7:00, one hour later then I had planned.
Yes, today's run was a challenge. But thats OK. Sometimes things are going to pop up that present themselves as challenges and you just have to work through them. I could have let any number of those things stop me from my run and just put it off until tomorrow (believe me, I thought about it multiple times). But in the end, when I have finished that run even with all those things trying to stop me, it just feels that much better that I actually did it! So, in a way I think I like challenges, because it reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to, know matter what comes up to try and stop me!
I hope you guys tackle some of your challenges today and let them make you stronger! Today I have a 3 mile run scheduled, shouldn't be too difficult...but ya never know ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A New Start

Wow guys, its been a bit, huh?! I'm sorry I havent been super great at updating for a while, but life has thrown some pretty big (and awesome) changes my way. If you have read my blog before you know that I am from Tennessee, it is where I was born and where I have grown up for 25 years.

Well, just about four weeks ago, I packed up everything that I could fit into two cars and moved to Denver, CO with the boyfriend and our little baby puppy Moe.


There is my little family all packed up and driving across the country!

Since then I have been trying to adjust to living in a new city, finding a new job, finishing up the last two classes I have to get my MASTERS, and trying to find my place in this new life.

I have to say that Colorado fits me! EVERYONE here is active and healthy...something that is totally new to me, since in Tennessee I was one of the only ones that I knew who actually worked out regularly and ate healthy. I always got so much crap from all my friends, but here it seems like the norm! And I LOVE it!

Because of this, my running has really taken off to new heights that I never thought I would be able to achieve. In the four weeks that I have been here, I have already ran two local races. One was the Bolder Boulder 10K which is the 2nd largest race in the US.



Even with the altitude, I still managed to get close to the same time as a previous 10K that I had ran in Tennessee, so I was pretty excited that my times arent that far off, even at 5,000 ft!

The second race that I did was Jodi's Race 5k, which I finished 3rd in my age group and 8th female overall with a time of 24:30.

I am also training to run the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon, which I am super excited about and will be documenting my training in this blog! The apartment that we moved into has a gym and a running club that meets every Thursday, so it makes it SUPER easy to get my runs in! Denver is like a runner's paradise! who knew?! haha.

I have always found that this blog is super great for support from my AWESOME readers and I hope that I haven't completely lost all of my readers, and hope that you guys will still follow along with me as I start this new chapter in my life. Keep reading to find out where this crazy life takes me next!