Sunday, August 28, 2011

Moving sucks

I'll clarify the subject - the physical act of packing, lugging around boxes, unpacking and cleaning your old place sucks but moving into a new place is always exciting.

That's what I've been doing for the past week and why I haven't been blogging. I've also jumped off the low-carb wagon for a week because when you're moving take-out is your best friend. I'll even admit, I ate fast food once. And it was delicious.

Full disclosure though: my guilty conscience had me order a sirloin cheeseburger from Jack in the Box minus the cheese, minus the sauce and I only ate the top bun. They were kind of perplexed, I guess most people don't order a cheeseburger without cheese and oh, the blasphemy - no sauce! The guy at the window was like, "um, do you want any sauce with your sauceless burger?" (asking if I wanted ketchup or mustard packets). He was trying to be funny and I laughed because it did sound a bit silly.

I think maybe there is this line between fast food and food cooked at home. When you cross the line into fast food most people just accept they're going for the gold in calories but when the 900-1100 calories on the menu stared back at me I forgot about this line. Even though I had just ran a race and according to the Garmin had burned about 900 calories the line stood firm. And to be completely honest, fresh tomatoes and sliced onions give a sandwich moisture and simple flavor and I prefer that over a mayonnaise based sauce any day.

This is a lot to write about a burger. I probably should have titled this blog "Ode to a Cheese-less Cheeseburger". Forgive me, my brain is a bit fried from moving so writing three paragraphs about a burger was pretty easy. (Okay, I even erased one.)

I did run the race last Sunday. The one I was whining about up until the start line. What happened was I drove out there to at least get my race packet and shirt because I didn't pay $40 for nothing! It was 89 degrees and bloody hot. I was grumpy. The shirts were abnormally small and the shirt people wouldn't let me exchange it until after the race even though I pleaded as nice as I could. I know the rules but they were kid sizes! They told me I could exchange it for a MENS LARGE and then after the race get a women's Large. (I had a women's medium).
This logic didn't (and still doesn't) make any sense to me.

So I called my dad to whine consult. I think part of me knew I would feel better if he agreed with me that it was risky to run in that heat and less shitty for bailing on this important training run. The ironic thing was somehow his advice made me want to run it even more to prove to myself I could do it. I loaded up on two Jamba Juice smoothie samples, poured another in my water bottle, checked my bag and lined up at the start with the other 14k runners.

I started off slow but at a comfortable 10:30 mile pace that I knew I could hold for awhile in that heat. It felt pretty amazing to be running through the neighborhoods and having so many people awake and cheering us on from their shady yards. I found myself running faster in the sun and then running slower when there was shade because shade was rare and as I kept going those slower runs turned into fast walks. The one thing I've learned is that even though I still walk quite a bit I can walk/run and still hit a sub-12 mile and for that heat I was totally fine with that.

Mile 1 was all in sunny neighborhoods, most of mile 2 was across a hot highway overpass and then finally down a nice long shaded hill. After 2 1/4 miles I decided I was tired and hell, I had just ran 2 more miles than I had really planned on so I gave myself a mental pat on the back and schemed on how to get back and go home. The problem was, I wasn't going to turn around and go back the way we came because then I'd pass a bunch of people behind me and feel lame for quitting so soon. I'd also have to go back up that hill. I didn't know any alternative routes because I was in an unfamiliar town and without google maps I'm lost! It was that moment though that something amazing happened and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Earlier in the day while I was volunteering for the aid station for Run Girl Run a local sheriff helped direct traffic at the intersection we were at. He was really friendly and mentioned that there was another race tonight and I told him I was running that one and he commended me and told me he would probably see me there as he was working then too. I figured the chances were slim I would see him but at that moment, when I had given up he drove by, slowed down and said "hi! see you at mile 6!" and as cheesy at it sounds I didn't want to give up anymore. I wanted to see him again and even though only him and I would know that I had spent practically all day outside in 90 degree weather it made me feel stronger and kind of awesome that a sheriff was rooting for me.

Aid station at mile 2 1/2 was placed right before the Salmon Creek trail. I could tell the volunteers were kind of tired and they weren't really passing out water/Gatorade or cheering us on but oh well. I had them fill up my bottle with water (warm - yuck) and drank three cups of cold Gatorade which helped a lot. Even though my Jamba juice/water mix was better than straight water, the electrolytes in that Gatorade really perked me up.

Miles 3-6 were on the trail and there were no mile markers so another shout out goes to my Garmin. I think that has been the best running accessory purchase yet. If you don't have one and you're a numbers dork like me, get one! I purchased the 405CX which was about $220 on Amazon but the price is worth it. Since the end of April when I bought it, the Garmin has been my training buddy. I don't even run with an Ipod anymore and I never thought I could run without one but the Garmin keeps me on target. It's nice to just breathe and take in the scenery where ever I'm running and not zone out like a lot of runners try to do. I can hit my zone but I'm always present and I kind of like that better. Plus sweaty earbuds are gross.

When I first hit the Salmon Creek trail I knew my miles were 12 - 13 minute miles and that I was doing a lot more walking than I wanted but just being out there was an accomplishment for me at that point. There was some shade and a slight wind which felt great. I kept up with the person in front of me who was also walking and running and passed someone who was a tad slower.

At mile 6 we hit another aid station and exited the trail. The sheriff also was at a little past mile 6 directing traffic and said "you made it!" which was a nice little boost! I rounded the corner and started up a long hill and saw the first photographer and mustered up enough energy to give a big smile and thumbs up! I wish I could post a few of these pictures but one digital image is close to $20. :(

A 14k is 8.7 miles and when I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line I bolted. I felt a little mean passing 3 people on the way, as these were people that I tailed the entire time but hey, use that energy surge when you have it! My time was SLOW. I think my chip time was 1:50 and that is a 12:45 pace. I have mixed feelings about it but I know it was a good run for me to push through and do even though I walked a lot of it.

When I came in they were calling out the awards and I was a bit sad because that meant no one was cheering me on as I crossed the finish, save one amazing lady who handed me a bottle of ice cold water. Most of the sponsor stations were packing up so I didn't score a protein shake or some other goodies. I did trade out my shirt though and it's a cute yellow shirt. I'll post a pic once I unpack and find it!

As for my running here is my upcoming schedule of races:
Wednesday 8/31: Portland Trail Series #1 (I am wavering back and forth over this. Details in another entry)
Sunday 9/4: Eugene Women's 1/2
Sunday 9/11: Pints to Pasta 10k
Wednesday 9/14: Portland Trail Series #2 (again, this is a maybe)
Sunday 9/18: Muddy Buddy 6 mile (bike and run)

The good news is I'll be super active for the next 3 weeks! The not so good news is the last run I did was the 14k so my 1/2 won't be as stellar as I would have liked. Moving saps your energy.

This week I hope to get a nice run in my new neighborhood. For anyone familiar with Portland I've moved to the Irvington neighborhood and it's a lovely area. It would be great to get two runs in this week (one long, one short) but I'll be happy with one. I'd love to come in under 2:30 and I plan to stick near the 2:20 pacer but I don't think I'm going to get too competitive on times for 1/2's for awhile. I don't have any others planned yet and next year with some more training I think I'll hit a great time. For now I just want to enjoy myself and even coming this far to just sign up for something like this feels pretty awesome.

Once I get back into the swing of things (ie, settled in my new space/out of the old) I plan to minimize the carbs again. But the huge pizza I bought last night from Pizza A Go Go, with ricotta, homemade Italian sausage, pepperonchini's, and tomatoes was the best thing I've had all week. That plus a spinach salad is going to last me well through Tuesday! It's nice to splurge every once in awhile. Hey and while I haven't gotten a run in, all the packing, cleaning and moving in warm weather got me sweating. I'm definitely calling it crosstraining! ;)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The middle of the day....

There are 3 main things on my mind right now

1) Volunteering for the 1/2 this morning
2) The 14k I'm running tonight
3) My carb-failure (sort of)

Since the past two posts were about my diet I feel I should at least begin to update with that. I was doing really well for the most part but then there was exercise, hot hot weather and well, I had a sandwich. It was Dave's Killer Wheat bread and oh, so delicious. Today after a long 4 1/2 hours of volunteering I had to get some food in me and well, I had another sandwich. Same bread.

Oh and I should probably mention my 2 sugary drinks from a girls night out Friday. Hah!

You know what? That's life! My weekly weigh-in yesterday had me at 1.2lbs down so who knows if it's done any good so far, it's been too short to tell and my weight usually fluctuates a few lbs up and down anyways.

Onto the volunteering bit this morning. As I was checking in the 3 people in front of me all happened to be at the same aid station I was at so it worked out really well coordination-wise! I was placed at aid station 1 about a mile and 1/2 into the race and then transferred to aid station 6. The race coordinator was a bit frazzled but she did an excellent job, especially for this being the first year of the race!

We were told to expect 300 people at the first aid station and about 175 at the second. The first covered both the 5k and the half and the second was the last one in the half. It worked out really well and our transition to the second station was pretty flawless. We piled into our 'leaders' car and drove down to the second spot while the race coordinators husband came back to pick up our coolers, tables and trash in the uhaul. Nice work to everyone!

I do have some criticisms though and they are actually not so much of the race but of my co-volunteers. Good lord were 2 of their attitudes poor! I'd say they were both mid to late 30's - they were apparently running partners and then later both joined girls on the run. Both of these women were opinionated and while I worked fine with them I was not rushing to get their personal info after the race. (Previous thoughts on volunteering were that maybe I'd meet some people to run with!) Yeah, not them, no thanks.

We also had a late 30's early 40's guy on our team as well who was really nice though (I am guessing was from South Africa since they mentioned that a few times) and a 9 year old girl who helped as much as she could but wore out pretty early on.

I'm not going to go an cite a bunch of examples, only a few, but goodness, leave the attitude at home ladies!!

When one of the first girls who ran by took a water she probably drank 2 droplets of it and then threw it on the ground and one of our volunteers yelled "thanks for using the trash can!"

I looked at her in disbelief and said "are you serious??" She said "nah not really, she couldn't hear me." Maybe she couldn't but when you're racing it's polite to use the trash can but it is NOT A RULE. In fact, I've been to so many races and the people at the aid stations will say to me just throw them on the ground, don't worry about it! Because that is what people do when they are running.... they keep going. My team person responded with 'well, I always try to use the trash can' and I told her I did too but sometimes it just doesn't happen. And it doesn't matter.

There were quite a bit more comments that just came off the wrong way or just sounded mean spirited to me.

Aid Station 6, the last one, was 1.5 miles from the finish and obviously the girls came running in a bit more spread out than as they came through the first station. We were set up at a space for them to turn but also at the top of a gradual, but unshaded hill. It was high 70's and getting warmer. If I were running that course (which was really hilly - and close to where I'm running tonight..) I would have probably walked up at a faster pace to that aid station cause let's face it, it's warm, I'm still a runner that still takes a lot of walk breaks and I'm not ashamed of it.

The other girl starts yelling out "great job walkers!!" I know she was trying to be supportive but if someone said that to me I would have been a bit disheartened. Basically if you say that to a walker there is probably no harm done but if you say that to a runner who is tired, hot and running a hard course chances are they're not going to feel great being called a walker. On the other hand if you say "great job runners!" you're going to make both sets of people feel good.

I mentioned this to her as a side comment and she told me she could just tell they were walkers by their gait. I continued to stick to "you're looking great ladies!!", "nice job!", "you look strong!", and "go runners!!!"

Finally, when we found out the last girl is usually a runner but she hurt her foot a few days prior so she was walking the race. When our aid station heard the news I felt proud of her and one girl said, "if she hurt her foot why wouldn't she just switch to the 5k? I would have switched to the 5k!. I understand the reasoning but I defended her saying, 'hey, maybe she started out running and then decided to walk the rest of the way. Or, maybe she just really still wanted to do the 1/2?"

I think I may just be a lot more sympathetic to people with injuries, walkers, newbies and hey, maybe I'm still just super cheery and kind of naive. I'm competitive in my own way but I sincerely respect everyone for getting out there and just doing the course - regardless of whether they are walking, jogging or racing their legs off. Everyone looked great and I honestly don't think one critical thought passed through my mind about anyone running the course. The fastest girl must have come in at 1:45 or so, as I don't think we saw the first girl until at least an hour and 1/2. This was a difficult course and major props to all the ladies running today. It also made me feel good because I drank multiple cups of water and electrolytes at Lacamas (similar weather), and so many people did today too.

All in all, I enjoyed volunteering and would happily volunteer at another race. It's so much fun cheering others on and keeping them hydrated and happy. I know how good it feels when you round a corner and see an aid station so it was nice to be that person of salvation, ha ha!

Onto tonight and my 'plan' to run the Salmon Creek Sunset Run. Right now it is 88 fucking degrees. Excuse my language but it is just too bloody hot. The race starts in 2 hours and the temperatures here won't come down until at least 7pm, when I'll probably (hopefully) (maybe) (if I run it) will be done running. 6 miles will take me a little over an hour - as there is no personal best in this type of heat! If I had to give an estimate I'd say 8.7 miles would take me an hour and 45 minutes in this heat. Maybe less but it's the type of day where you drink a few big gulps of water and you feel parched minutes after. With 3 aid stations on this course I already know if I go I'm running with my water bottle.

So that is the question - am I going to run? I might be able to switch to the 8k but that doesn't follow the salmon creek trail, which is why I really wanted to run the longer race. Plus, I've not run all week (but still been actively cross-training). I'm trying to keep my hips to heal up a bit and stretch them out often. I am still feeling pain but this rest has been good.

As it stands I am at least going to go and pick up my packet and see how the event is shaping up. I have never missed a race but this kind of heat is a serious enough reason to consider it. The 14k is supposed to be a run (although you can still walk parts of it..!) but I have a feeling there will be quite a few people walking tonight. I know most of the participants signed up for the 8k which is a run and walk event.

I love races but I also love not getting sick from heat exhaustion! I'll let my gut guide me through this one. Right now it's saying, get some more rest (oh, yeah, I am sleep deprived too btw!) and stay out of the sun! Almost 5 hours in the sun today has taken quite a bit out of me! I'm going to go jump in a cold shower, change back into some running clothes and head on over to the race. Either way, I am totally not going to feel guilty if I sit this one out! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 4 - Less Carbs + future running plans!

Monday night, while reading about how to cut back on carbohydrates without going insane I decided to splurge on carrot cake. Oh, the irony!

Except I actually forgot to buy some at the store because I was so distracted with my awesome 50% off finds of greek yogurt, salmon and some meats! So I've been hitting the goal of less than 100mg a day. I've not been logging but I'm certain my only regular allowances are in local raw honey for the greek yoghurt and minimal raw cane sugar for coffee.

Other allowances:
Monday: Odwalla Strawberry Protein Shake: way too many calories/sugar 300g/33g but okay for my 'splurge' since lunch didn't feel filling and I really needed something to get me through until dinner
Tuesday: 12oz skim latte with a very small amount of caramel sauce (carb count?)
Wednesday: homemade chocolate chip cookie(carb count?)
Tonight: If time is short tonight I will likely be eating a rice and bean bowl w/veggies & chicken

- but really, this has been progress for me!

Nutrition Facts:

1 tablespoon of honey = ~17g of carbohydrates and I know I don't put much more than a tablespoon of honey in a cup of yoghurt (tablespoon = about 3 teaspoons).

1 teaspoon of raw natural cane sugar = ~4g of carbohydrates. I'm not sure exactly how much I use but I'm a lot more conscious of it. With the 16oz of coffee I have been drinking daily (instead of my chai so far) I'd estimate about 3 teaspoons.

Other foods have minimal carbs but I'd say I'm under 75g a day - and I don't feel too crazy yet. For someone who has easily hit over 200 this feels good.

I severely miss sandwiches but I have mad love for green salads with lots of veggies some meat and balsamic or red wine vinegar - something I can eat daily and there are lots of ways to change that up. The good thing is I finally feel "full" after a meal. The first two days I was eating a lot bigger portions of meat and yoghurt so I'd feel full enough to not want to splurge. My dessert has been the greek yoghurt and honey and that feels like enough.

I will never be carb-free and I will still splurge but maintaining a bit of a balance right now has been good. The only thing though is that I've been feeling quite a bit more tired. This could be due to not having those 'energy spikes' from sugar or just an adjustment period. I never did do much research about how I'd be feeling as I've had such a busy week.

I've also not run this week (since Sunday) even though I've packed running clothes almost every day. Yesterday I even changed into them after work and planned to go but found myself a good excuse. I had to go home and clean as my landlord was showing my apartment today and that was good enough reason to 'ditch'. The hard part is remembering how good I feel after a run and getting out there sometimes.

As far as injuries go (that I haven't elaborated on this blog yet - soon!) I have hip pain on my left hand side while walking and it is irritated and much worse when running. I have been told I need to rest or the other resulting pains I've been having will continue. So, I guess these few days have been "rest" days. I can only hope that the 14k I signed up for on Sunday night won't beat me too far into the ground. 14k = 8.7 miles I believe. It's a good stepping stone for my 1/2 training though and I'm not taking the run all too seriously (time-wise). I've got to listen to my body because I've never had the pains I've had before and continue to stretch & ice every night and take ibuprofen every so often. My only run this week might just be Sunday! I'm trying to be okay with that.

3 1/2 weeks until the Eugene Women's 1/2! Goal time is anything under 2 hours and 30 minutes. I've rented a hotel room the night before and the night of so I can take a mini-vacation for myself and rest up well! The 1/2 seems like it is fairly laid back and there are free massages, chocolate and mimosa's for after the run. It is very much a 'pampered' kind of event. I've heard the course is fairly flat too, which is another bonus. I like the challenge of hills but it's a nice ego boost every once in awhile to see sub 10 splits more often than not!

After this Sunday I'm going to see how I feel injury wise and set a plan from there! This will be my first race where I haven't really eaten a bunch of carbs beforehand so we'll see how it goes!

And as a side note: I keep reading others running blogs and thinking to myself how much I would love to run every night a week. It makes me feel guilty to go more than 2 days in a row off but seriously, I need to shut up my brain. I also need to find more beginner or slower runner blogs! At some point I'll introduce my limited friend world to this blog and maybe find some better resources. Until then I'm writing solo, kind of like how I run!

Monday, August 15, 2011

cutting carbs without feeling crazy? possible?

I hate thinking about diets. I'm pretty sure a lot of it has to do with the thought of restricting yourself to certain foods you love, but the truth is, if I think about it that way I am always dieting. I prefer to call it eating healthy and being food conscious though.

There are a few things I hardly ever eat and try my best to avoid:

1) processed foods
2) fast food
3) pork (minus bacon cause who can resist bacon?)
4) white rice
5) buying more than 1 type/loaf of bread at a time (and never white)
6) soda (except for the occasional root beer - I'm a root beer float junkie)
7) microwavable foods (i don't own a microwave thankfully!)

I'm sure there are more but for the most part I am pretty good about sticking to my guns on this list. Weaknesses for me usually fall into the sweet carbohydrate category but I also adore a delicious crusty baguette with rich, creamy cheese. (Brie!)

I've been doing a lot of reading, documentary watching and have spent time logging food journals to see what stands out and it's glaringly obvious. I eat a LOT of carbs. Over 200 grams a day. I'm not just talking sweets, although I am guilty of loving chai (hot or blended), bread, pasta (more often recently), brown rice and anything else that has a higher glycemic index is on my regular shopping list. Sandwiches piled high with veggies, some cheese and either meat or baked tofu are some of my favorite foods. Bagel sandwiches with egg, meat and cheese are golden. Brown rice and black bean bowls with spinach, chicken, cheese, salsa and pico de gallo are on regular rotation in my belly. I know all of these things sound pretty healthy and normally I wouldn't give this much thought but after reaching a plateau in weight loss I know I need to change things up a bit.

In a perfect world I would like to weigh 125 - 130 and that means I've got another 13lbs to go to just reach 130. It isn't so much about the numbers honestly, but more about my body composition. It's about reaching a comfortable and more efficient racing weight. I know I have quite a bit more toning to do and a lot of that comes from running plus cross training. I will admit, I don't cross train enough and considering my injury set-backs recently I need to start at least riding my bike again.

I know there are good and bad carbohydrates. As a runner I don't want to be stupid and give up everything. I need fuel to run but I also know I can get that fuel from proteins too. I don't plan on giving up all carbs by any means but I need to severely limit the bad ones. Just in one day of practicing restraint I can feel my brain craving a sugary drink. It wasn't happy that I got a salad today for lunch (loaded with protein and veggies) instead of the sandwich I would usually have. It was essentially the same thing I would eat but without the bread, and I can feel it.

I should probably do some more reading about this type of 'fuel shift' before I really jump into it. Hell, I should have read more before I decided to ramble on my blog about it but it's been on my mind a lot the past two weeks. This is another way to feel a bit more accountable since I've now put it in print. (Even though my only reader so far is my mom - Hi mom!) The local meat market is closed on Mondays so I've got some time tonight to read up a bit more and formulate some sort of plan. A carb detox plan, so to speak. Tomorrow I will go buy some inexpensive and local delicious cuts of meat. (Those two adjectives RARELY go together but this meat market is amazing. Western Meats for anyone living in Portland!)

I will still allow myself chai with some honey. It's my unwind, warm fuzzy feeling drink. I don't really drink wine/beer/liquor often so that's one less thing to worry about. Root beer floats after a good race are allowed. Carrot cake will be okay once a month. Beyond that I've no plan, just a goal. Rarely do I achieve my goals without a well thought out plan though. Tonight my goal is to research a bit more and come up with one!

Also, I think I might get a piece of carrot cake and some baguette with Brie cheese just to make tomorrow that much harder ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A new 5k PR!

Today I ran in the Crawfish Crawl 5k in Tualatin, Oregon and set myself a new PR! After the race I nabbed someone from the crowd and had them snap a pic of me from my phone. Note to self: remember to bring a decent camera!

The race wasn't chip timed so when the gun went off so did the timer. I came in on the clock at about 30:10 but I was about 12 seconds back in the pack to start (as I knew I wouldn't be one of the fast ones!). I should have started the Garmin when I went over the start line but I started it with the gun - either way, gun time or not I still beat my previous fastest at 30:44 which was at the beginning in April at the Race for the Roses.

The course was fast and flat but I've been running 11-13 minute miles recently in Forest Park on hilly trails so it was a nice change to be on pavement (for once) and get a good run in. RunwithPaula - the event host seems to put on some great races. I'm looking forward to the Pints to Pasta 10k in about a month!

Setting a new personal best always feels great. Running sub-10 miles the whole race feels even better! I've run in quite a few 5k's since I started as they are a fun distance and obviously a great starting point. Plus, as you will see, I'm kind of addicted to races.

My first race was the Shamrock Run in March of this year (3.13.11) and it was a huge race. 32 thousand people came together this year for the event and I was freaking out at the sheer number of people this event attracted. Were all races like this?? There were 3 courses: a 5, 8 and 15k - and 12 thousand were running the 5k with me. To give you an idea of how packed the start line was I put myself about half-way back in the pack and didn't cross the start line for over 10 minutes after the gun.

This photo is not mine (credit goes to omygodtom from Flickr) but this is how packed the course was:

It was an overcast, slightly rainy and chilly March morning. It was the sleep in, eat a late breakfast and watch some mindless tv show kind of day but hell no, I was out there and going to run that race! My nerves were on overdrive and I slept about 2 hours the night before and didn't have any coffee or food pre-race. I could only hope my adrenaline and sheer determination was going to get me through. To be honest, I prefer cool and overcast much more than sunny/warm for running so I was happy the famous Portland mist was happening because it felt great!

The hardest part on the course is running up Broadway, which is about 3/4 of a mile (or more) uphill and not very forgiving. I walked a lot but only allowed myself about 10-15 seconds each time. I picked someone who had a solid, steady pace and I kept her close. That aid station half-way through saved me and I guzzled down two cups of water then chugged on and realized I had lost my race-buddy. Oh well - time to keep going! The saving grace was the end of the race, which was flat with some gradual downhill through the finish line. I powered through and was sure I had clocked about 30 minutes but that was before the days of my garmin forerunner.

When I checked my official time a few hours later and saw it was 33:15 I was really disappointed and slightly embarrassed. At that point I had never run over 2 miles and had cut the Couch to 5k program a few weeks short so I should have been elated but I had (stupidly) set my goal too high. In retrospect, I realize I probably shouldn't have even had a time goal and I also shouldn't have let my (ex) boyfriend and his friends, who were runners of 2+ years, influence how I felt about myself. They were supportive and not judgmental or anything, it was my own hang up and I'm glad I tossed it out pretty fast!

After the race we all met up at a local pub for some beer and about 30 minutes into hanging out I could tell something was wrong. The post run elation wore off really quick as I felt sick to my stomach. I was having horrible cramps so I assumed my time of the month had decided to jump in on my post-race partying and cut it short. I remember walking home (at least another mile) and having a strong desire to pop some ibuprofen and curl up into the fetal position. That walk lasted forever. After a couple hours the cramps went away and I rejoined society and could finally tell people I had run my first official race. Besides the pain I was completely hooked on running races and signed up for all the local running store newsletters to keep tabs on upcoming events. The Portland area has so many events that I was walking into a whole new world that I knew existed but never really paid attention to. Kid in a candy store - check!

I chalked the pains up to hormones but fast forward to my second 5k (which was my personal best until today) and I felt even worse afterward. After some reading online I figured out that my innards getting used to be jostled around and they were revolting - hence the mind numbing lower abdominal pain. It would go away but I needed to keep a pretty regular running schedule or else killer cramps would stop any post-race fun. I didn't really listen until the end of April/beginning of May though and signed up for a race every weekend from the end of April to beginning of June to keep myself on point. This, folks, is how you become completely addicted to races....and get a lot of shirts.

My favorite shirt so far though is the one I was wearing today from my 1/2 a few weeks ago. The Shamrock run shirt is also an adidas shirt and rank among the top! Some races give out crappy unisex cotton shirts that I only wear to bed and usually wake up sweating because they aren't breathable at all. I'm not in it for the shirts (contrary to popular belief since I talk about them a lot) but I'll say I get pretty stoked when there is a good one! Today's shirt was a nice technical shirt made by Mizuno. The cut is a bit short for my liking but I'm sure it'll get some non-bedtime use!

If you've made it through this entry you're pretty stellar. I feel like I've got quite a bit to catch up on and will try to incorporate a bit of my running history/races into each entry. I'll also dig up some photos to keep it interesting!

This week I had to reduce my mileage due to a hip injury. Unfortunately, I've been having a lot of issues recently which I'll elaborate on soon. It all stemmed from getting a new pair of shoes though.... seriously y'all, the right shoe makes all the difference. I am finally in a pair that seem to be perfect:

(Also in the photo it's the battle of the local running stores! The Portland Running Company tattoo - for a raffle - and my Fit Right NW socks. Haha)

I will admit that I love Brooks but their shoes haven't ever felt 'right' on my feet until I tried these out. They're the Glycerin 9's and they make running on pavement feel like clouds. I've gotten about 15 miles out of them so far and I think they may be the ones. Brooks, I love you!

Time for a shower, sandwich and maybe a quick nap! Have a great weekend and get out there and enjoy the weather, wherever you are!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Why's

I started this blog for a few reasons:

1) First and foremost, as a way to keep myself more accountable as a newer runner

I find that I've struggled a lot with motivation along the way. I'm not a natural athlete and running has never come easy for me. With that said, I find that because I am not naturally 'Born to Run' it makes me feel so much more accomplished and successful when I complete a run. I sweat a lot, I breathe heavy, my footfalls leave nothing to be desired and have lots of days where running for even 10 minutes feels impossible. It's getting easier.

Writing will hopefully keep more more accountable and motivated - and I really do love sharing my experiences along the way. I'm going to try and keep my frustration/swearing to a minimum but I have bad days and you'll see them.

2) To share with family, friends and possibly share/network with others

I realize that a good chunk of my friends and family have no interest in hearing about last night's run. They sympathize with my injuries and support my determination but keeping a blog means they can choose when/if they want to read about how I'm doing. Of course I'll still call my mom and talk to her about races or training sometimes - this has been a lifestyle chance and it's something I think about a lot - but I'll keep more of the details here.

I know I enjoy reading other runners blogs for inspiration and also to relate so maybe others will stumble across mine along their journey and read a bit. Hey - maybe I'll even attract some Portland folks and find some running buddies!

3) Keep a public record and be comfortable with sharing

This goes along with both the first and second reason but is a bit more detailed for me. I have a private blog and private social networking pages but I am not really an open book. I love reading others blogs and commend others honesty that they put out there for the world to see. I hope to do the same because running is not always pretty - in fact it can be pretty ugly if you aren't careful. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything or lie about the days I've had off.

I love food. And carbs. Pizza with broccoli and tomatoes is a weakness. Root beer floats are my post-run treat. I don't even want to mention carrot cake. I don't really know how realistic it is to think about giving those things up but I want to keep things balanced.

I also don't want to pretend I'm a running goddess or anything because I'm not. This is the real stuff and I have setbacks and a life like anyone else - I'm just trying to navigate through it all and find the time to enjoy something I've come to love!