Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boo Hoo!

I promise I won't do this again!
Sorry about my pout fest last post! I think the combo of crappy weather and little sleep made a crummy day turn into a major whiny disaster!  Hopefully everyone else is having a better time avoiding the winter blues. Speaking of which, Runner's World recently had an article about that so you should check it out and avoid turning into a whiner like me!

For now I have supplemented sunshine with junk food, chocolate, and extra cuddling with my boy toy, which seems to be doing the trick! I knew I kept him around for a reason! :P

Anyways, I'm going to try to add some more fun to my workouts and blog posts to help keep my mood and my motivation up. Happy running everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Location Location Location

Ok first I'd like to admit I'm a huge blog creeper. I spend waaaaay too much time stalking looking at other runner's blogs for inspiration, good stories, ideas, and laughs. Like, I need another hobby.... But anyways, looking at all the other blogs I get a little green monster inside me of envy because of all the fun races they do and the exciting running adventures they have. Every day they are talking about some new trail they've explored or a new race they are entering. Which leads me to my major gripe of the day: Oklahoma was not made for runners.

I moved a lot growing up (6 moves and several schools) and have come to appreciate what each new state/area offered. Don't get me wrong, I love Oklahoma for many reasons. The people are so friendly, I met my incredible man here, I really learned a lot of lessons here about myself that I wouldn't have learned anywhere else, and don't forget my cowboys (go pokes!). But Oklahoma, specifically Stillwater, is so not runner-friendly.

I've googled beyond a reasonable amount and so far all I've really come up with for Stillwater is one running trail (Boomer Lake if you're interested) that is famous for the rapes that have occurred at the park, and 2 annual running events, a 5k and a 10k. So far, not so good. Then you add to that the weather extremes that Oklahoma is known for. In the winter Oklahoma is prone to icy storms and really cold temperatures. In the summer were known for extreme highs, with the majority of the summer well over 100 degrees. I lifeguarded most summers and heat exhaustion to the point of passing out or illness was a common occurrence at our pool. Oklahoma is one windy state, and it's one of the worst for allergies and asthma as well. All of this adds up to weather and conditions you don't want to workout in. Oklahoma always ranks in the top 10 states for obesity, and I'm beginning to understand why.

I know I need to quit griping and get running, but I can't help but dream about one day living somewhere where being healthy is much more encouraged. I am getting close to graduation and considering where I want to end up once I get to the point where I can easily make the change and drag Mr. Perfect with me. Some places were just made for running and I hope someday I can end up in one of them.

Do you ever experience the same types of running frustrations as I do in your area? Do you have a dream city for running or are you in it now? Do you think your location makes a difference?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh Thank Heaven! I Made it to Eleven!

Tonight on the schedule I had an eleven mile run. ELEVEN MILES people! I was definitely dragging my feet for this one. I mean it was only 2 months ago when 3 miles was a HUGE distance for me, and earlier this week during my short runs I was really struggling with shin splints and foot pain. How was I going to go to 11??

Before I left the gym I taped my feet with KT Tape (review coming soon!), took my inhaler, grabbed my sports beans, and filled my water bottle. I headed to the gym and began my run. This run was one of the hardest things I have ever done mentally. Physically I felt pretty great. I had no shin splints or foot pain for the first time ever running and my muscles were challenged but not screaming in pain. It was such a nice treat not to have shin splints to worry about! However, the 11 miles we're still incredibly hard to finish. In the time I was on the treadmill 5 different people came and went on the treadmill next to me! I had to really battle with myself not to get off the treadmill with them. Then I got some crazy blisters, and they rubbed pretty raw by the end. My shoe was pretty bloody - gross! Asthma is always an issue running, and by the end my chest just felt sore. Like my lungs got a huge workout and lifted some serious weights.

But I finished and I'm so proud. I maintained the same pace the entire run. never slowing down and that felt great!  I've been thinking a lot lately about the changes running has made in my life since my journey began just a few months ago. Not only am I physically so much stronger, I am mentally a stronger person too. Running made me believe in myself and gave me so much confidence. To know that I have pushed through obstacles and kept going has given me the self esteem makeover I didn't know I needed. I now can look at myself and see a strong person that won't give up just because things are hard instead of someone who can't do the things she wants. My asthma now makes me feel even stronger, because it means that I'm tougher for running with it, rather than making me feel weak and inadequate like it used to. I guess what they say really is true: running is cheaper than therapy! Running makes me a better person and I'm so thankful that I have discovered my love for it. What has running done for you?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Charmed

I haven't had a lot going on lately to blog about because it's the first week back of classes and that has taken most of my time this week, but I do have a cute idea to share with you.


I've always been a charm bracelet kind of girl, because I love jewelry with meaning. If you ask me about anything I wear it always has some special story or meaning behind it and that's the way I like it. My charm bracelet is a kind of memory bracelet for me because each charm has a story behind it and I love telling people what they all mean. Plus looking down at it just reminds me of all the great memories and lifts my mood.

my charm bracelet
When I began running I knew I'd definitely have to add a running charm and began keeping an eye out for the right one. I'm very picky and I couldn't seem to find one I wanted. Shoes seemed so boring and obvious! Finally I had an idea during my first 5k and after I found one that worked. I decided it would be really cute to add a charm for the races I run! For my first 5k, the Elvis Run, I chose a guitar and I think it works great! Now every time I look at my wrist I'll remember my first race and all the excitement and pride that came with it. Now to come up with my Disney Princess Half Marathon Charm..... maybe a castle??
My Elvis Run Charm

Do you do anything special to commemorate your races?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

I don't know about you guys, but I'm freezing! I woke up yesterday morning and the temp outside was 10 degrees and ice was on the roads. NOT okay. On my way to class I was miserable from the wind chill and snow.

This picture really doesn't do my walk to class justice
If you're a wheezer like me, the cold weather is your worst enemy. Cold weather causes serious breathing issues for asthmatics and don't get me started about exercising in the icy temperatures. I've put together a list of my tips for winter/cold-weather asthma issues:
  • Stay Inside - if it's really really cold you need to move your workout indoors. I workout in the afternoons and walk to class in the mornings. My personal test is to check how my lungs feel during my walk to class. If I'm getting that strained feeling on my walk from the temps, I move my workout indoors.  Everyone is different, maybe your asthma can handle less or more. Know your limits and stick to them.
  • Drink Extra Water- when your airways are too dry, it makes it harder to breathe. In the winter the air gets dryer, so it's extra important to stay well hydrated so that you don't add stress to your airways. 
  • Bundle Up- if you are running outside, make sure to wear a scarf or something to cover your mouth with. A neck gaiter may be a good investment if you enjoy running outside in the cold. Also don't forget to keep your core temperature warm with lots of layers there too. The warmer your core is, the warmer your airways
  • Drink Warm Liquids - this is the tip I swear by! It really helps. Warm liquids like hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or even warm water help to warm the airways and the core to help relieve stress to your breathing. Like I've said before, I was a singer and singers use this trick for the same reasons before a performance. The clearer the liquid, the better it works so try to stay clear of milky teas or coffees. My favorite is hot water with lemon. 
  • Humidifiers are your friends - they keep the air nice and moist in the dry winter months. 
  • Fireplaces are your enemies - while the warmth from a fireplace is great, the dryness and smoke is terrible. You're much better off bundling up under extra covers than near a fireplace. 
  • Take care of your body - winter is a really rough time of year on the lungs. Take it easy and avoid extra stress for your body because you are more likely to get sick when your lungs are all ready taking a beating. 
Hope everyone is staying warm! Have an extra tips for cold-weather asthma or running?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My first 5K!

I had my first 5k today and it was so fun! It was different than I expected, but I'm really glad I did it.  We (my mom and I) left the house around 7:30 and headed to Regatta Park for the Elvis Run 5K. There was also a 10K too, but I decided on the 5K. We got there and it was FREEZING! It was in the 20s with a serious wind chill on top of that. We picked up our timing chips, walked around for a little while and then headed to the start line.
My first race bib!
My race pic- sorry the proofs just came out!
The king started the race with "One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, runners go go go!"and we were off. I had never been for a run in Regatta Park so I was looking forward to the course. Regatta Park is right along the river where the crew teams practice and it was gorgeous this morning. It was just an out and back course, and along the way went over bridges and through little tunnels and had a lot to look at so the race never felt boring.
A really lame pic of Regatta Park

I dragged brought my mom to this race because I'm kind of a chicken (ok sometimes a huge chicken) and I didn't want to run alone in my first race. She's a little bit slower than me (I mean teeny difference) and I could've sped up and had a better race time in the end, however, I decided to finish with her and I'm glad I did. We ended up finishing at 40:25 according to the website, and 40:00 according to my Garmin. 
The Course Map

This race was pretty small, and the small number of runners were split between the 5k and 10k too, so awards were really easy to get. Mom got 1st in her age group, and I got third! While I'd love to leave it at that, I have to admit that we both got our awards by default ( only 3 in my age group and 1 in hers). But an award is an award, right?! We both got t-shirts for our "award". 

I am so glad I did this race, not only because it was fun, but because it taught me a lot of things:
  1. Even though I have asthma and warm air inside on the treadmill is much less risky, I need to practice outside some too- running outside is a totally different thing.
  2. If I want to run with mom at my half marathon, I better practice her pacing. I'm used to running 3 walking 2 now but she does like 30/30 so I have to get used to shorter recovery time. 
  3. Speed-walking does not mean good photography - hence the lack of pictures from my race
  4. Running without music can be nice when you don't have to listen to  the noisy treadmill
  5. Runners are nice - we got a ton of encouragement along the way
  6. Kids can run! - we had a 7-year-old girl finish in 26 minutes. What the what??!!
  7. I need to be more independent - While running with mom was a total blast, and I'm not trying to set any world records, if I want to be the runner I'd love to be one day I need to be ok with running alone sometimes. I'm just used to doing EVERYTHING with my friends, family, or BF. However, since only mom runs, I can't expect her to come to every race I want to run in, or to keep up with me if I want to PR. 
  8. I want Mr. Perfect there next time- the bf was out of town this race and I missed him! It would've been great if he had been at the finish line with a hug. I thought if he was there I might be embarrassed by my time, but really I think I would've been fine. I'm over my time embarrassment- I'm doing what I can and that's good enough for me. 
Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to run my first race! I had a blast and can't wait for the next one!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

First Race Jitters

So I signed up for my first 5K and I'm getting really nervous! I thought it was important to do a small race before my big half marathon, so I found one online and registered. It's this Saturday and it's the Elvis Run 5K &10K in Oklahoma City. My training plan calls for 3 miles this weekend, so I chose the 5K. I'm nervous because I'm still very slow. I can maintain a 12-14 min mile no matter how far I'm going (at least so far), but I can't go faster in the shorter runs. This is the first year that the race is being held, so I have no idea if there will be other slow runners and walkers there. I'm ok with being slow, but I don't want to finish 10 minutes after everyone else does. Hopefully it works out that there are other slow runners there.

Anyways, the race also has a costume contest and I'm really excited about it. Mom is running with me, and were going as a pair of blue suede shoes! haha. I'm working on the costume now, so hopefully I will at least look cute finishing last! :P

Any tips for a first-timer?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reviews!

This christmas I received some wonderful running gear, and I wanted to share two great products I've tried out so far:

The first one is my Road ID Bracelet. I chose the Wrist ID Sport in black. I absolutely love this idea because it makes being safe easy, especially for a wheezer. I thought it might be uncomfortable, but actually it's very comfy and I forget I'm even wearing it. It's a great way to get that important info to EMSA or anyone who may need it in a hurry.

My Road ID! 
The second product I'm in love with is my Zensah Compression Socks. I got them in pink. They are great after a long run. Sunday I ran 9.5 miles (the farthest I've ever run!) and put the socks on as soon as I got home. Before I put the socks on I thought I wouldn't even be walking today, but after wearing the socks I barely feel sore. They are great for recovery, but some runners wear them during runs too. I haven't tried that out yet, but may need to soon. The compression is in all the right places and makes your legs feel wonderful, plus the extra padding helps your tired feet feel extra TLC. I definitely think everyone should try these out!
My new fav socks- except mine are hot pink!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

I can't believe it's 2011! It feels like this year went by so fast! I have a huge long list of resolutions/goals for the new year. I'll share some of my running goals with you:

1) Complete at least 2 half marathons - I've never competed in any race, much less a half marathon so I'm really excited for this goal. I think it's one I can make because I'm signed up for one all ready and am working on signing up for another in May.

2) Complete at least 6 races - Another goal I think I can reach. I hope! I have started to really fall in love with "running" (really jogging but hey i'm trying) and I think this is because of the race goals I made in the beginning. While a faster pace isn't a goal that I think will work for me or excite me to run, new events and experiences definitely are. The only problem I see with this goal is the lack of races in my area. Most of the races (there aren't many!) are 5Ks. As slow as I am, I'd like to compete in longer races, just so that I don't end up always being the last to finish. My asthma can handle longer, but not really much faster. 

3)Run at least 365 miles - This one never would've seemed possible before now. I really think this would be a huge accomplishment for me. If I'm sticking to my training plans and running longer runs, I should go well over 365 by the end of the year, but with a very hot summer around the corner and graduation looming I think I'll try to make my goals more attainable. 

In addition to my goals for the year, I have a new goal that seems well...insane. I REALLY hope one day that I'll be able to do it though: I want to be a Half Fanatic. I know it's crazy for the asthmatic couch potato to dream of being a part of that elite group, but I think that would be an amazing goal to reach. I just feel like I've caught the running bug and I really want to wear that shirt. I don't think I'll finish this goal any time soon, but a girl can always dream right?

My final goal is to complete a marathon one day, but, since I've never even ran a 5k, I'm going to leave that one for next year. If everything goes well at the princess half, I'm thinking of signing up for the Disney World full for january of 2012. 

What are your goals for next year? Do you try to set more attainable goals, like me, to make sure you don't get discouraged? Or do you set the bar really high to try to push yourself farther?