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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Running Music

So I am one of those people who like to run with music sometimes, not always.  Rarely when racing, because I love the atmosphere of a race and don't want to obscure  it with music.  During the work week I frequently run alone before dawn and I have to admit I love a little music kept low enough that I am aware, but it helps me get pumped up.  Not just for the run but for the day.  Picking the right music for the right run is important. I am big fan of Rock My Run.  This site used to require you to purchase tokens and download mixes but it now has a very affordable membership structure that gives you a certain number of downloads each month. 

What I like about Rock My Run is they are DJ prepared mixes, which means they are snippets of songs and mixes.  It changes frequently so you don't get bored.  They have a lot of variety of genres and it tells you the BPM. I have about 20 mixes on my Iphone.  Some of my friends like Pandora and I did try typing in Running Pop Music.  I got an interesting array of music. For me I like the DJ mixes.  My husband likes to listen to internet radio.  He likes Slacker FM or Radio Paradise.  I think if you are someone who either likes music all the time or intermittently there are a lot of options. 

The service or method you choose is only half the decision.  Once you have a source then you have to decide what kind of music.  I will admit on my phone I have a go to mix called Grrl Power.  It has my favorite song Beyonce's "Who Runs the World (Girls)."  That mix is a given if I get out the door and I am just not feeling it.  Once the music starts I am instantly ready to go.   I also intentionally keep mixes I don't care for as much.  This is a tool for me.  I can get carried away, I know does not seem possible, right?  But I can.  So if I know this should be a slow recovery run or I know I did an intense workout and I am supposed to be taking it easy, I will put on something I don't like as much.  It is amazing how that can change your energy. 

A Dailymile friend was asking what are our favorite running songs currently.  Of course you already know my favorite, but I thought I would put a few down.  You might notice a pattern.  I don't know why listening to women when I run gives me so much more energy, but they definitely make up most of my current favorites though I am a big Maroon 5 fan.

Some Songs to run to:

Single Ladies - Beyonce
Last Friday Night - Katey Perry
Starship - Niki Minaj
Catching My Breath -  Kelly Clarkson
Stronger - Kelly Clarkson
Just Like a Pill - Pink
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) - Pink
Try - Pink
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
Titanium - David Guetta
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5
One More Night - Maroon 5

Do you like music?  If so what do you listen to on the run?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's In Your #FitnessCloset

I am joining Pavement Runner What's in your #FitnessCloset.  I am sure it is not so different from you.  The answer is too much stuff.  It is so funny since I got more into running I don't really think about buying work clothes anymore I think about running clothes and shoes.  Probably not great for my career.
I have three pair of New Balance (101 Trail, 730's, and Minimus Road00) Skechers Go Run, Merrell Bare Access ARC, I have a couple of retired pair I now just wear for errands Saucony Kinvarra 2s and Brooks Pure Flow. I love pink for running gear.
Sports Bras
Moving Comfort, Brooks, Addidas, Champion, and Patagonia
Okay here is where you find out I want to be cute, but frugal, 2 pair of Old Navy Active Running Tights, 1 Pair of New Balance Running Tights, 2 Pair of Old Navy Active Compression Capris, 1 Pair of Loose fit Under Armor Capris
Honestly most of my tops long and short sleeve are tech shirts from races.  But I also have some New Balance tops, Old Navy Active Tech Tops, and Champion tanks and Tees
Variety Champion, Nike, Addidas, Old Navy Active
Patagonia Rain Coat
Old Navy Active Compression Jacket
Hot Chocolate 5/15K Hoodie
Old Navy Light Hoodie
Bright Pink Nathan's belt for my I-phone
New Balance Sports Head Phones
Touchscreen Gloves
Saucony Running Cap (Safety Cone Orange)
All Weather New Balance Dry Wick Baseball Cap
Handheld Fuel Belt Water Bottle
Body Glide
Socks, etc.
Asics, Soft Wool, and a variety of others.  Oh an one pair of Zensah Pink Calf Sleeves
Except for the outerwear, none of this is in my closet.  It is in my little plastic drawer set from Target.  Of course not nearly as organized as it should be.  Oh and the shoes, both hubby's and mine, got their own Christmas gift the shoe organizer pictured above that houses our running shoes in the laundry room.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The New Shoe Review

Okay first confessions I am a little jealous that hubby's new shoes are blingier than mine.  Also today when doing our little 3 mile test drive he had a color coordinated outfit and I am pretty sure he was cuter than me, which is a no no.  He is sick with a cold, so I guess I will let him have this one.  Anyway, so how were the shoes?  My shoes are at the top of the picture, Merrell Bare Access ARC (I guess they would be 1's since now they have released a 2 with a full Vibram Sole).  These still have the softer lighter weight sole.  The Specs can be found here.  Suffice it to say it is zero drop, with a little more cushion than my favorite New Balance MR00.  About me so you can compare for yourself.  I run between 20-30 miles a week, I am 5'2" about 115 lbs, I have exceptionally small feet both short and narrow.  I wear a size 5 dress shoe (really 4 1/2) but no one makes those.  I wear a size 6 running shoe.  For any who make work at a running store, yes I am really a size 6 running shoe.  I am not trying to sound petite, or anything cute.  Believe me I would give anything to be a size 8 or 9 and live in the world of walking into any shoe store and buying off the rack.  I have a pretty high arch,  I have a mid to forefoot foot strike, and my cadence is around 198 on average.
So yesterday I did a little treadmill work out.  I did one mile of increasing incline and one mile of speed intervals in the new shoes.  They felt great on the treadmill.  For me that is a good sign because a lot of shoes have too much bounce on the TM.  I have chronic bad knees and bouncing shoes on the TM always mean an evening of Icy Hot and Aleve.  These felt great.  I had enough energy return but the minimal firm cushion kept the impact from shooting back up my knee.  Today we did a road test.  I took them out on my usual route around my neighborhood.  The thing I love about my minimal shoes is after a mile or so they disappear.  This happened with these too.  I love that.  They are so light less than 5 oz. so they don't weigh you down.  Because they flare at the toe box I have plenty of room for natural foot movement, but they taper in at the arch, so for my little foot, they had a lot of stability.  Sometimes in a wider shoe, like my New Balance 730's, I feel like I am slip sliding away.  They are not a showy shoe.  In fact of all my shoes they are probably the most sedate.  They feel good and I had a lot of road feel, but definitely more cushion that the my MR00's where I can feel every pebble and rock. 
For me the biggest test is how they feel going up hill.  In my NB MR00's I feel like I can fly because they are so light.  These performed well on the hills today.  Hubby even let me go in front of him, since he wasn't feeling well and he knew I wanted to test them out.  Besides looking like doll shoes, which my husband says they do, being so small.  I thought they had a good ride.  I am excited to take them out on a long run next weekend.  The weather here has sucked this weekend so I did not get as much running in as usual.  Based on today's run I think these will do really well on long runs.  I was really looking for a zero drop shoe for my longer runs.  I may have found one.
Hubby and I with our new shoes.  Pablo is helping to break them in for my husband.  See I did not lie about my small foot or frealishly pale Irish Skin!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Race Cancelled...What a Downer

This was officially not me today at the ATC Atlanta Women's 5K.  As predicted we had rain.  No biggie, once you're wet you're wet.  As a surprise from Mother Nature we had lightning and thunder today.  ATC tried; they kept pushing back the time saying we will start 20 minutes from the last lightning strike.  Well as can be the case in the spring in the south it was like the Earth's own Fourth of July up there.  With wet volunteers, cries for a decision from wet, crabby women sitting in the cars communicating via Facebook and Twitter, and a consult with the National Weather Center, ATC called the race.  I am bummed; this is one of my favorite races of the year.  It is a beautiful course with all kinds of girl power going on around it.  I just love it.  Now I have a whole year to wait until it comes back.

Of course some of us are more hard core than others.  Despite hubby being sick with a cold he came with me this AM.  He and I passed the time running in the rain dodging lightning and listening to thunder.  Candler park is still pretty and we ended up doing about 2.5 miles.  Enough for him to meet his daily 1 mile and maintain his streak.  I have to say thanks to the ATC and volunteers even though I was disappointed, I wasn't angry with ATC.  They have to watch out for the welfare of their runners.  What dedication from the volunteers who all stuck it out trying to make this happen. I know they were wetter and colder than any of us.  My recent experience organizing and managing a race last weekend really made me appreciate the gargantuan effort of today without the payoff of happy racers and a successful event.  ATC has already posted how we can get our race shirts and our pendants.  They did a great job today.  I wish the race had gone on, and I hope those ladies who were doing their first 5K today will continue and try another race.  I know I will be at this one again next year.

On a positive note.  We did spend a soggy Saturday shopping for our B-Day running shoes.  I finally went with the Merrell Bare Access Arc.  I haven't gotten much of a run in today so I see a few miles on the TM testing out the new shoes.  Of course not to be undervalued, they are black and purple and pretty cute.  A brief write up on them after I test them out!  Have a great weekend.  Hope you are having better weather than we are!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Racing Deal Breakers

So tomorrow is one of my favorite races of the Year, The Atlanta Women's 5K.  It is a great race because it runs through a beautiful part of Atlanta around Candler Park and because it is a women only event.  For a lot of women this is the first time they have ever participated in a race.  It has that very empowering feeling.  Also they have excellent swag at this race.  A great tech tee, very girly.  (This year it is purple with flowers and always the feminine cut.) Participants are also getting a blown glass necklace. So I am of course excited.

Some of my friends were planning to run it, but we are experiencing a very unusual beginning to Spring in ATL.  Today parts of Georgia got a wintry mix.  Tomorrow is predicted to be cold and rainy.  A lot of my friends said they did not want to run since it would be cold and rainy.  Last year it was about 70 and beautiful.  It got me thinking about what is a deal breaker for actually running a race.  When I think when I should have bagged a race I probably think about the last race of the ATC season last year in November, the Run around the Rock 5/10 miler.  On Thursday I got sick with a stomach flu was out of work all day Friday sick, could not keep anything down.  On Saturday hubby convinced me to run the race since it was the end of the season.  I thought I was going to die.  Not only because I had a stomach virus but running in hilly north Georgia when the last thing you ate was a piece of dry toast was a challenge.  Later that day I am laying down thinking what a horrible decision this was and hubby says "hey we should have stayed at the race you won your age group."  Now to be fair a couple of things worked together for that.  It was a 5/10 mile run and many of the competitive women in my AG were doing the 10 in prep for the Thanksgiving Half.  Also at the end, my desire to get to the car and get home was pretty motivating.  Even though, like all women I hate to give my husband the satisfaction, he was probably right that it made me a stronger runner. 

Dangerous weather (tornadoes, lightning, ice, snow, this is Georgia) would probably keep me from running.  I would like to think an injury would, but I am pretty sure I was out most of May last year, after running on my sore ankle at the Spring has Sprung 8K.  I have to say cold and rain would not deter me.  It was a great excuse though to pick up a cute dry/wet all weather New Balance baseball cap for the race tomorrow.  I don't mind wet feet, or wet clothes, but rain in the face is not fun.  The hat is cute and in the Georgia heat it will keep sweat off my face too.  Also I am only a little paler than a bar of ivory soap so it may keep me from actually burning to a crisp, on the off chance that sun and normal spring weather ever return to the South.  I hope if you are racing this weekend or just enjoying a fun run you are blessed with better weather and a great time.  For me I will be in the new white baseball cap running in the rain!  What are your race deal breakers?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Buying Shoes

 Saturday after the Atlanta Women's 5K, a race just for women, no men allowed (plan to talk about gender specific running events soon, but not today) we are going birthday shopping.  Our Birthdays are only 13 days apart.  So last year we went to one of our local running stores and we each chose a pair of shoes.  This year we plan to do the same.  Voila! a tradition is born.  His birthday was Tuesday, my birthday is a week from Monday.  So we go a little late for him and a little early for me.  Marriage is all about compromise.  I remember when shoe shopping meant a great pair of cute heels.  Now when my husband says let's go shoe shopping I think about what races I have coming up the latest product reviews.  I consider heel to drop, the weight of the shoe, cushioning, flexibility, width, stack.  Let's just say it is different then "Oh I like that bow."
Getting new running shoes is always fun.  I am thinking of trying the Merrell Road Glove.  I really like a zero drop minimal shoe.  I have Skechers Go Runs for a recovery shoe, but most of my other shoes are pretty minimal.  I hear good things about Merrell and the way they fit.  Also I understand they have a higher arch, but I have a pretty high arch so I don't think it will be a problem.  Of course the best part about actually going to the store is we can try them on and actually see how they feel. 
I usually wear New Balance and I love my Minimus Road 00's.  Hubby already knows he wants the Altra One.  He has been waiting for this shoe.  He is a big fan of Altra.  He loves the wide toe box and feel of the shoe.  I have a very narrow small foot. The Altra is just too roomy for me.  I feel like I am sliding around.  Hubby says the narrow middle of New Balance makes his foot feel squeezed.  To each their own.  I like to have a variety of shoes. I think it makes me a stronger runner and I have already heard some folks say "I only ran in this one shoe and they discontinued it. Now what am I going to do?"  I would be worried about that happening.  So Saturday we go in pursuit of a runner's version of the glass slipper: a new pair of running shoes, that makes you feel faster and lighter.  I will let you know how it turns out!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lessons Learned and Letting Go

So sorry I haven't written in a couple of days.  It has been an unbelievably busy week and I have used all my spare mental and physical energy to remind myself that I will not regret getting up to run even when everything in my body says stay in bed.  None the less, I am mostly winning that battle this week.  Tuesday I had to take a rest day.  I just wasn't feeling it.  We all have days like that.  I try not to have too many and then I try to forgive myself when I do.  I think that second part is particularly challenging for women.  Maybe it is just me but men seem a lot more accepting of their limitations and women seem to see it more as a personal failing. 

I would like to be more like a guy that way.  You know they take it in stride look at it like "hey things just did not come together today.  Give it a shot tomorrow.  Do you want a beer?"  Me, I will analyze and think if I didn't exercise today and yesterday was hubby's birthday and we ate out and I had some fries I probably need to run at least 25 miles this week to burn that off and stay where I am.  Or I just short hand it and end up with some generic flailing, "you have no focus.  You are so lazy."  It may not be very specific, but it assuages that need I have to recognize my shortcomings, while still being a time saver and bonus: math free. 

I think for the most part we are probably too hard on ourselves, but what always lingers in the back of my mind is something my Dad told me when I was a younger.  "If you don't admit your mistakes and evaluate them, won't you just repeat them?"  Now I realize my father has been gone for nine years in May and I am well in my 40's but certain lessons just stick with you. 

Maybe just because you remember them though doesn't mean you should be doomed to live them out.  I guess sometimes we need to let go of things that may no longer serve us.  There was definitely a time in my life when I needed to pay strict attention and do penance for mistakes, that time was probably chronologically closer to when my Dad actually told me that.  He probably never thought I would embrace it as a way of life.  I mean I did not embrace everything he said.  I certainly still stand in front of the TV from time to time even though he always said "Move. You make a better door than you do a window even though you are a pane." 

Yeah it is probably time to go a little easier on myself.  I have done pretty well this week and I plan to get out everyday for the rest of it.  I even have a women's only 5K on Saturday.  That should be fun.  What do you hold onto that you should probably let go?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Finding Inspiration

So days like today are a no brainier for me.  It is beautiful and warm.  It is Sunday, no work just a relaxing day.  Hubby was ready and willing to run an easy five with me today and we were going to run alongside the River so nothing to overcome getting out there today.  But tomorrow AM, work is back, busy week.  The beautiful temps we enjoyed this week are supposed to be a thing of the past.  That is the way the South is in the spring.  A little promise of whats to come then slaps you in the face with the reality that March is not yet over.

Tomorrow the alarm will go off.  Granted this week, with one week of DST down, should be less of a struggle than last week.  Admittedly, it takes something to get out the door in less than ideal conditions or when work, family, husband, oh yeah life, has other demands and plans.  It is then that commitment and dedication and focus (every word every Olympic Champion ever spouted off to any jacked up sports reporter after getting their gold medal) are all well and good but still might not get you out the door.  Sometimes you need a next step.  You know inspiration.  I think inspiration is natural for some people, especially the artsy ones.  You know they see a Facebook Post by one of their friends about eating at Subway and voila a Sonnet is born.  Never happens to me.  I have never been moved by the view in front of me to come home and sculpt a work of art.  I am a very practical girl.  My work life revolves around science and facts and I find inspiration takes very real perspiration for me.  The truth is without inspiration so many things would not come to pass.  So I work at inspiration.  And yes for all you inspired artists I get that it is counter intuitive, but for all of you reality bound critical thinking folks, you get it. 

My Inspiration Tool Box
1) My husband - one of those artist types who actually did come home inspired by a bird and chiseled out a sculpture.  Sometimes the people around you inspire you to be better.  He is one of those people.  I guess that is what makes him such a wonderful teacher.  Inspiration is sort of a job requirement.
2) Music - sometimes if I am not feeling it (running or work project) I put on some music and I am banging out that statistical analysis on current water supply options or actually opening up the door to run (which makes running much easier).  Don't kid yourself from years of watching cartoons.  Running through a door and leaving a you shaped hole is even harder than inspiration.
3) Disadvantaged people - I don't mean this the way it sounds like economically disadvantaged.  I mean people who over come real obstacles.  Not the whining little hang nail stuff I consider an obstacle.  I mean like Helen Keller stuff (deaf, blind got her degree became and author and lecturer) "Oh it's too cold to run today...well I am sure there was too much reading, talking, listening, and speaking for Helen Keller too"  You get the picture.  Sometimes we are inspired to do things by seeing those who do things that are so much harder with so much less. 
4) Kids - Confession time.  I am not what you would call a "kid" girl.  I don't seek out the visiting babies at work.  I never had that kind of maternal thing.  I am pretty sure my biological clock's snooze button was permanently stuck.  What I do find inspiring is the fearless way kids charge into things, consequences be damned.  I mean "one night without supper who cares! Jumping off the roof made me just like Superman for like a whole minute."  Don't you wish you could live like that just for one day?  Don't care what happens and don't care what you think about me or what happens.
5) Nature - Now I covered the hole don't see a mountain and compose a symphony as an ode to it.  But there is a peace, a calm, and a balance in nature that inspires me to try and find mine own.  I think running has been an important part of that search for balance for me.  Especially running in nature inspires me to keep doing what helps me find my balance. 

Those things lead me to inspiration.  I think it looks different to everyone.  For you it maybe a cool pair of shoes.  I am not going to lie a cute outfit has gotten me through more than one boring meeting and less than ideal run.  What do you find inspiring?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tired but Happy

Today was the first annual Water Drop Dash 5K.  Above are some photos from the Water Festival after the event.  It was so much work, and in the last week of race planning it seems like all you want is for the race to be over.  I did not even know how tense I was until I ran today a couple of hours after the race.  I am sure everyone who saw me thought I was crazy because I was just running with the biggest smile on my face.  I did not realize until I was done with my short run (today was really tiring, longer run w/ hubby on tap for tomorrow) how for the last 10 days or so I would use every run to think about everything that can possibly go wrong.  It is so surprising you never think about what might go right.

I am happy to say today most things went right.  Runner, volunteers, and exhibitors had a good time.  The organizers, me included, thought it far exceeded our expectations.  We had 300 runners.  We have some minor tweaks and there will be time to have debriefings and work things out, but I think a new race has joined the ranks of annual Atlanta events, and I only see it growing!  It is kind of amazing to see an idea you had two years ago exceed your dreams and I feel real gratitude to those who worked with me to make it happen.  Also as much work as it had been, that all goes away when you see people enjoying the sport you love too and having such a good time.  You could not even remember all those terrible things you were thinking for the last two weeks.

A short one today!  It is fun and you might forget the work, but you don't forget how tired you are.  Definitely time for a little wine and unwinding!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Runners Like

If I have one more conversation this week that starts with "what do runners like" I think I am going to hurl a running shoe at someone.  Just a heads up, running in a race is officially 1397x easier than running a race.  (that is a technical analysis of how much more annoying it is for me.) I never knew you could have this many conversations about Porta Potties and this is coming from a girl who talks about toilets as part of my regular job!  Yeah, 2 weeks ago I was on a conference panel entitled Urinal Wars, how many girls can say that?  In case you are wondering if your race venue has 2 public restrooms and there are at least 5 stalls is each women's restroom then the tipping point for Porta Potties is 200 race registrants.  Also on a purely academic note, men don't count in this calculation, as long as there are trees or urinals.  I am sensing an unsettling thread in my career, but that is fodder for another day!

A little over a year ago I was on a conference call and I heard the Arizona Municipal Water Association talk about their run for water to celebrate USEPA WaterSense Fix a Leak Week.  I immediately thought "Atlanta runs why don't we do that?"  Now for those of you benefiting from reading this before you decide to hold a race.  I should have thought "what a cool idea.  Good for them."  But I didn't otherwise this blog post would be about something far more intriguing like the debate of peanut butter vs. almond butter.  BTW - Always peanut butter.  So here we are.  Fix a Leak Week starts Monday March 18, 2013, and 300 runners are set to kick it off at the First Annual Water Drop Dash 5K and Family Water Festival on Saturday.  We have 40 Metro Atlanta Water Utilities with booths and displays, games and prizes for families. For those from the outside it looks like we got this idea and then abracadabra we head out Saturday morning with some T-shirts and a few medals and everyone celebrates water end of story. 

In reality over a year ago we combed through proposals for a race coordinator, who we hired only to be given the one page list they would accomplish and the 750 page manifesto we would be responsible for accomplishing.  As we turn page 748 of the manifesto I believe we are nearing our finish line.  On Saturday we will achieve what I set out, only a year ago believing to be easy.  300 Atlantans running alongside their drinking water source (Chattahoochee River), on a beautiful Saturday, celebrating water, teaching their kids about the importance of resource stewardship, and walking away with a T-shirt to remind them water isn't limitless.  What I did not count on was how much wine I and my fellow organizers would be consuming Saturday afternoon.

In closing, my point was, thank the organizers of your next race.  It is a lot harder than the effortless event it appears to be from the starting line.  Also just for the record: where do runners like to get their post race awards? Gatorade or Powerade? Trail or road? Cops and medic?  Water at the start and finish? Bottled water or cups? Tech shirt or cotton?  Chip time or clock time?  Bananas or Bagels?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Outrunning Me

Competition: it makes the world go round.  I am not going to pretend I am not competitive; I am.  Even at 4:30 in the morning with the runner across the street, when the only thing I can make out about them is that they are not lamp post, because they are moving too much, I still run a little faster then if I am the only one out.  I mean you don't know who that is and you would not want this total random stranger to think they are a better runner than you.  My husband is always joking about his fear of me chicking him in a race one day.  Okay I think he is joking.  So who do you run to beat?
I will let you in on a little secret there is someone I run to beat every time I lace up my shoes.  It is that girl I used to be. The girl before I got more serious first about fitness, (mostly thanks to hubby)then about running (totally thanks to hubby).  Ever heard of the term skinny fat.  Yeah, at least in my teens and 20s that was me.  I looked healthy; if thin equals healthy.  But I couldn't do anything physical.  I was that girl in high school during the President's physical fitness test who walked the 20 minute miles while reading my Advanced Placement English assignment.  I would choose almost anything over going outside and getting any exercise.  My parents had an intervention because they did not know how they were going to tell their friends that their honor roll, honor society daughter flunked out of High School because I could not pass P.E.
That is the girl I set out to beat.  Believe me sometimes when I am getting ready to run she is in the mirror and she says all the stuff you might imagine, "you can't do this. There is no value in this.  Why don't you read a book?  You'll never be as good as everyone else.  You're not athletic.  You weren't cut out for this. You are not coordinated."  But surprisingly as I put on my running clothes that girl gets quiet and some mornings when I am really excited about a nice run you can hear her with a much quieter voice than mine saying, "let's do this."  I hope to keep running.  I have found that I truly love it, and I hope one day that girl is the loudest one cheering when I cross the finish line at a race.  That would be a new kind of PR for me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Harder to Run or Blog about Running?

So with running I have an established routine.  Get my lazy butt out of bed, put on a cute, probably pink, outfit, my running shoes, pull these unruly curls into some kind of pony or pig tail arrangement, trip over 6 treat addicted cat, give 6 treat addicted cats their fix, stumble to the kitchen for my pre-run drink, trip over 6 cats now jonesing for more treats, find my Nathan's belt for my IPhone, check the hour by hour temp on my phone, choose the correct outwear, if not the blazing summer.  If summer substitute, decide if anything can come off, without some sort of police incident, for outwear, select the Rock My Run mix of the day and out the door.  Oh yeah do all this with the lights off because hubby thinks running at 4:30 AM is tantamount to be held captive at GITMO. 

Blogging is different.  I have no regular routine.  I know I have a few folks who read it.  I like writing and I thought this would be fun.  I had tried more random blogging at different times, but I could not find that consistency.  Then I thought write about something you enjoy and that provides occasional funny anecdotes, even if most of them are not planned to be funny.  Unlike running, that has become something I at least start to do each day automatically, blogging takes a new commitment.  I have been lucky to find some runner folks particularly Caroline Thomas I Heart Running who has made such an effort to help so many of us and coordinate our efforts.  I now can read so many different running blogs and it makes me feel more inspired. 

By far I don't know nearly as much as some of the bloggers who have been running for years and have far more competitive times, and more impressive races, but I do see a similarity in our passion for running.  The passion seems surprisingly constant, even if the level we all run is different.  I think that this will help me find my blogging groove the way hubby helped me find my running groove.  I guess  it is not so different then when you are actually running it's about camaraderie and support!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Love the Shoes Your with

New Balance 730
So there is little that gets runners more excited than talking about shoes and especially why they love the shoes they are wearing.  How many pair of shoes they have and when to wear which shoe.  I am not so different.  I am definitely a minimal runner girl.  I have a really short quick stride with a cadence that averages about 196 BPM.  That might seem fast, but you should see my regular walk.  At work when I walk into the ladies room you can hear an echo of "hi Kathy" from behind closed stalls.  Followed by "No one walks as fast as you."  Today hubby and I were warming up and he was like "why are you walking so fast?" And in all honesty, I answered "I am not this is how I walk.  I was just strolling."  So now you get a feel for why I might prefer the minimal shoe with the efficient forefoot strike and short stride.

Not all minimal footwear is created equal.  I happen to be a big fan of New Balance.  I love the fit and I am absolutely in love with the New Balance Minimus Road 00.  The shoe is zero drop meaning no heel toe differential but the sole is so flexible and there is almost no cushion.  I have bad knees and always figured that would keep me from running, but that has not been the case.  With minimal footwear, even during 1/2 training I had no knee pain.  I also love a shoe that New Balance discontinued.  The NB730 is a no frills shoe.  It is flexible and light and has a 3mm drop, but feels like a zero drop.  It is also supper cheap and my go to training shoe.  With both shoes I get plenty of road feel and absolutely no knee pain. 

I used to run in Saucony Kinvaras and I loved them.  They were the first shoe I put on and loved and you never forget your first love.  But I now remember them fondly.  After I ran more and got into more minimal shoes I found the Kinvaras had too much cushion for me.  In the next two weeks Hubby and I will be birthday shopping, our Birthdays are 2 weeks apart.  We will be going to the minimal running store Natural Strides to pick out our birthday gifts: a new pair of running shoes.  Hubby loves Altra, and will be checking out the Ones.  I am thinking Merrell Road Glove looks interesting and I am planning to check it out.  Who knows I may just get a new pair of Minimus, but I like a variety of shoes, because I think switching around makes me a stringer more versatile runner.  We all look for different things in shoes, but for me road feel, low profile, minimal cushioning, flexibility and light weight make a great shoe.  What do you look for in the perfect footwear?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Running Preferences

A year ago today hubby and I ran the Silver Comet 10K.  It was my first 10K.  Hubby had asked me to run the AJC Peachtree Road race with him on July 4th and I had never run 6 miles.  I started adding distance and then said I had to run a 10K before the Peachtree, so we signed up for the Silver Comet 10K because it is 5 minutes from our house and our home course where we often run. I ran the race course the week before the race, just to be sure my training was adequate.  I am that girl.  I can't show up at the starting line having run close to the race distance.  I have to have run it before.  That is my preference.  I have a friend who showed up to run her first half in October and only ran once or twice a week and her longest run/walk was nine miles.  She showed up at the start and was like "I probably won't die."  She didn't, but I would have been a nervous wreck no sleep the week before, just imagining all that could go wrong and the high probability that I would fail to run the whole race. 

Today we did not run the Silver Comet 10K.  I am actually organizing a race that runs next Saturday so the idea of being up early today when I have a week of race prep and a 4AM wake up call next Saturday was not on my agenda.  BTW it is so much easier to run in a race than run a race.  I have a whole new appreciation for every person involved in every event I get to run.  I hope all of you do too.  So we waited until the runners cleared the 10K course and headed over for our long run, 8 mile run with a 1/2 mile cool down walk.  It was fun...for me.  Hubby went along with me because he knows I enjoy doing a little longer run.  His preference is about 3 miles.  I can enjoy three miles, but I also like at least one long, meditative run where your body just gets in a rhythm and you don't have to work so hard.  Distance runs is another preference.  A friend of mine on Dailymile was saying she hates 3 mile runs, she is not in the rhythm of running yet.  Her preference is 5 miles for a short run.  We all have preferences when we run and about nearly every aspect of running. 

I have to admit that when I first started running my only preference was that I preferred to finish alive.  It was my official preference to be alive at the end of the run.  When I consistently met that preference, I was able to move on to other things.  Before I ran, when my only connection to running was picking up a gift certificate for my husband every holiday at the running store, I did not get that there were so many different preferences and things to talk about.  I would go into buy a gift certificate and wait 20 minutes while the sales person and the customer in front of me debated the value of stability shoes, ear buds or headphones, minimal or traditional shoes, heel strike or midfoot landing, group run or solo, music or no music, technology or naked, Garmin or Timex, etc., etc.  I thought these people were nuts

Now I just think about all the debatable topics in running...and for some I even have a preference.  Never saw that coming.  Also sorry to the folks who were behind us at the running store while I was trying to find the right fuel for my half and hubby was debating the flavors of Bonk Breakers available. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Choose the Attitude Choose the Experience

This was my mantra this AM. I have to admit I usually spring out of bed and jump in my running clothes excited to get out.  Lately the weather here has been brutal.  Who knew winter started in March in Atlanta .  I have been living here for years and I never knew.  Last night I did not sleep well and that coupled with the cold weather really had me second guessing this run today.  I really just wanted the extra 40 minutes of sleep and the warm bed and cuddly cats and hubby sleeping happily alongside.  It would have been really easy to say "not today. You run a lot; you won't miss this one run."  Instead for some reason I said, "get your lazy butt out of bed put on those winter running clothes you have been waiting to wear all winter and just get out the door."  I also tell myself "if it really sucks you can turn around and go home, but just start and see how you feel." 

So I did just that.  I got out of bed pushing cats, desperate for their morning treats aside, and got ready to go.  It was just about the routine, put on the clothes- check. Get your headphones and keys - check. Get your belt and phone - check. Get your gloves and hat - check.  Get out the door - are you kidding me?  I mean - check.  Well of course enjoying the run is mostly attitude and I have to admit when I started mine sucked.  You know when you really just want to find everything that confirms that you were right, I should have blown this run off.  So I start off and all I see are problems: my shoes feels tight, people ran yesterday why didn't they pick up the storm debris along the way, I am cold, my hat is slipping, why is there so much traffic at 4:30, where are all the people.  I know.  Don't you wish you were with me I sound like delightful company?

But then there is something about running, about a mile in it was harder to focus on the list of reasons I did not want to be there.  The morning was still, the sidewalk empty, a crescent moon, a starry sky, and oh yeah I am healthy enough to be out of bed running.  Also not for nothing, waiting at home were 6 cats, angry because they had to wait for their treats, but happy to stretch with me after my run and a husband just getting up ready to ask "how was your run?"  Suddenly that therapy part of running kicked  in and I was grateful to be out there.  Grateful that my legs and lungs are strong.  I remembered what a privilege it is to have the luxury to decide if I am getting up to run or not.  By the time I came home: no longer tired, my shoes feeling fine, picking up debris so the next runner would have a clear path, hat securely on, I actually meant it when hubby asked, "How was your run?" And I said "great." 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This One's for the Girls

So this weekend I was contemplating the loss of a good friend and I am sure many of you ladies have been here before.  Even though saying good-bye is painful, I knew it was time.  I had to let her go.  She had been supportive and comforting and she was with me the first time I ever stepped out of the door to run.  Yesterday I finally put her out of her misery.  After many runs trying to convince myself that she would bounce back.  I had to throw away: my favorite sports bra.  I know you men reading this are like "give me a break.  Really?"  But I know the women understand that finding that perfect sports bra, that is both effective and comfortable is like finding the Holy Grail (granted a lot more "Monty Python Holy Grail" than Last Supper Holy Grail, but still difficult.)  Finding the one that does not require excessive body glide or mole skin, that preserve both, your modesty and the innocence of anyone in view of you running. 

Sometimes we can forget the value of a good sports bra, until we see someone running who has also forgotten.  This will send a runner to her sports bras to inspect each one and even try them on and run in the mirror with the thought "I hope I don't look like that and I hope I don't give myself a black eye.  That will be so hard to explain."  For the "little" girls this may not seem like a big deal.  For girls with girls it is literally, a bigger deal.  Don't get me wrong, most weeks I run everyday.  I have more than this sports bra, but you know how it is with your favorite.  You plan your whole week running and you make sure you save that bra for the special run.  Maybe it is the race, or the long run, or the speed workout you have wanted to try.  You don't want variables, and you know that bra is just right.  Well all good things comes to end and for me and my sports bra that was this week. 

So how did I know it was time?

I am not going lie my girls are friendly, and they don't require much encouragement to come out and say "hi."  I finished a run a week ago with hubby.  It was pretty warm and I was waiting to use the restroom after the run.  I thought these ladies in line were looking at me kind of odd, but assumed it was the sweating (I think I have covered that before.  I sweat.) Then I use the facilities and go to wash up and see that I was luck they were just staring.  If they had been any closer I might have accidentally poked their eye out. 

I was running in it the other day and as I am running I feel the band rising up to the middle of the girls.  No matter how much I pulled it down (a really cool move by the way) it just rose back up there.  Apparently the elastic in the band was giving up the same fight as the padding in the cup had lost just recently.

Lastly, final nail in the coffin, I was pretty sure on our last run that I was the girl that sent the other runners home to make sure they did not look like me.  Not only is that not a good look, for the guys and the smaller chested ladies, I will let you know it really hurts.

So my favorite sports bra and I parted ways and I went to Sports Authority in the vain attempt to replace it.  I found a new sports bra and I am still judging the newbie and the faithful also rans that occupy my sports bra drawer.  It is a hotly sought after position to be the go to bra for the perfect run.  Guess I am waiting to see who pulls in front. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Update

You can't tell from this picture, but today was a rare treat in ATL.  We had snow this AM.  My husband loves snow so I was still enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning and he was urging me to hurry and get dressed so we did not miss running in the snow.  This is the South and the snow window was closing rapidly.  Judging from Dailymile all of our ATL friends also booked it out early Sunday to enjoy a rare run in the flurries.  In our hood we were the only crazies out. 

Not only was it snowing it was pretty cold too, hence the really cool outfits.  It was a fun way to spend the day.  Now we are hold up, like true southerners, in our Jammies enjoying a slow easy Sunday before the work week.  Hubby will be kicking off the week my style by running at 4:30 tomorrow AM.  He has a late night at school and it is best to just go ahead and run with me so the run gets fit in without having to worry about the clock.  It will be fun.  He and I don't get to share many pre-dawn runs.  It will be his time to payback the twofer run of mine last week with our running store. 

Also hubby and I were chatting, our birthdays are only 12 days apart and they are coming up.  Last year in my AG.  I was asking what he wanted as a BD present.  So it looks like we will be off to the running store since we both want a new pair of shoes.  I kind of miss the days when I meant a cute pair of heels when I said I wanted shoes.  But it is running shoes I want.  I want another pair of zero drop like my NB Minimus 00.  I am thinking of trying on the Merrel Road Glove.  We are planning to go to the minimal running store in Downtown Woodstock Natural Strides. We love WestStride but they don't carry many minimal shoes so we will check out Natural Strides for our birthday shopping trip.  Can't wait!  I love trying new running shoes.  Hope everyone had a great weekend with some fun time with loved ones and little exercise.  Looking forward to a busy week and some good mileage now that I am feeling better.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Late to the Party

Today Hubby and I ran the ATC Rocks and Roots 5K today and it was a first.  We both placed 2nd in our age group.  I am pretty happy because it was a super tough run.  It was trail run with this monster hill at 1.5 miles that went up about 1/2 mile.  I am still struggling with this sinus infection and cough so breath support was really tough.  I had to stop and walk up part of the hill to catch my breath.  Hubby said if you had not walked you would have placed first again in your AG.  I said maybe not.  If I had not walked I am pretty sure I would either still be laying in the woods with hypothermia or we would just now being pulling in from the ER after my breathing treatment.  But sweet he thinks I am invincible, even after 20 years together.

Hubby was ahead of me.  I already had decided I wasn't in tip top condition and I wanted him to run on his own.  He is a much better trail runner.  I get in my head about the terrain, etc.  Plus have been coming back from being sick.  Definitely felt that out there today.  When I wasn't contemplating whether anyone behind me was running with oxygen I could borrow; I pushed as hard as my body would let me.  I ended with not too bad a time.  I was behind hubby by about a minute.  In fact he was at the drink table figuring with the tough course and my ailments I was probably a good Powerade, bagel, and brief nap away.  His face was kind of priceless when I walked (okay stumbled) up to the drink table. (Oxygen deprivation will do that.)

On the way home we decided we need to try and do a little more speed work and are going to commit to fitting that in once a week.  It will help on tough courses like today.  Hubby was mentioning that he is not as fast as when he was younger.  Yeah I married a former Jock.  Who would have thought?  I think that is the advantage for me.  He was saying it is all downhill for him now that he is older.  I said "you peaked to early.  If you were like me, the 20 minute mile bookworm, who spent all of her time avoiding the hill you would be peaking now."  I try not to think about the fact that if I can do this at 43 and I had applied myself at all with a younger body I might also be lamenting lost speed.  Oh well better late to the party than to not show at all!!