Tag Archives: run

The Benefits of Not Running

12 Jul

Well I haven’t been running, which you may know if you’ve been around here before.  You can check out my experiences with Runner’s Knee here: The Dreaded Runner’s Knee, Dealing with Runner’s Knee, and When Running Hurts, okay…so maybe I talk a lot about my inability to really run.  But what I wanted to do today is take a look at the positive side of this situation.  The benefits of not running!  Okay, I tease, there really aren’t that many true benefits.  But… this morning I was able to find TWO clean athletic socks (that matched) easily and swiftly and it got me thinking, “there have to be more positives out there!”  So for all you injured runners out there – this one is for you!

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The Benefits of Not Running

  • An abundance of clean running/workout clothes.  Now when I do my morning workout I no longer have to search and sniff test endlessly.  It’s super easy to find all parts of my workout ensemble that are clean.  Win!
  • Extra time to try new fitness trends!   Without all those hours spent running you could explore Zumba or Crossfit or any Beachbody at home DVD program.  Think of the possibilities!  Usually with all that time running I don’t feel motivated to check other things out – a non-serious injury allows you that excuse!  Or you can be like me and watch hours of old Grey’s Anatomy episodes on Netflix.  Endlessly.  Either activity is a big win!
  • Decreased hunger.  When I’m not running a ton every week, my hunger seems to go down to a tolerable level.  Though, the lack of running means I should probably keep track of what I eat a little better.  The excuse “I ran 10 miles today” no longer is valid…darn!
  • No paces to stress you out!  If you like to see improvements with running and get frustrated with slow times… one way to avoid all this?  No running at all!  No running = no pace = no stress.  Sounds brilliant to me.
  • No farmer tan.  I don’t have to worry this summer about my usual running shorts line on my thighs.  Now I can look better in my underwear.  Such a win.  Priorities people.
  • Money savings.  Race entries are expensive.  Like really expensive.  A break from running means a break on my wallet for awhile.  Though I have made up for it in Physical Therapy bills… womp womp.
  • Free Saturday mornings!  Without a long run to plan around I’m totally and blissfully available!  Saturday brunch?  No problem.  A late night on Friday?  No problem.  Want to drink wine at 9 am?  No problem.
  • No need to track the weather!  What a relief!  I no longer have to care about the humidity or chance or rain.  Is it a nice day?  Great.  Is it the most horrendously humid day every experienced?  Cool.
  • Nothing to compare.  If you have an issue comparing yourself to other runners…taking yourself out of the game removes all comparisons!  Now you can sit on a high pedestal and say “Oh if I could run, I totally would be faster and could run longer” and it doesn’t matter because you don’t have to prove it.  Sweet.

So if you’re currently injured and feeling sad – don’t worry, there are plenty of positives to the situation.  And, if these don’t make you feel like slightest bit better (or at least smile), hang in there… you’re not alone!

Happy Friday!

-Kelly

What positives would you add to the list?  How do you deal with breaks from running?

 

When Running Hurts

27 Jun

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I have to admit – I’ve been a little bit disenchanted with running lately.  Running and I have been in a long relationship for 10-15 years and we’ve had our ups and downs, so these feelings are to be expected from time to time.  We have moments of pure joy and ecstasy, followed by hurt and frustration.  It happens with any relationship.  At this point, I don’t let these bumps ruin what we have – but I tell you what… they are a pain!  My runner’s knee has been frustrating to no end- I still am not really running “pain free.”  Honestly, I’m feeling a bit discouraged – will my knees ever allow me to run wild and fancy-free again?

My other running frustration, asthma, has been flaring it’s nasty head lately too.  What happened to my gleeful runs of just 2 months ago?  You know, the ones where I was fast, fierce, and head-over-heels for running?  Yeah, they are gone for now.  Instead they’ve been replaced by their slower, asthmatic, heavy-breathing, painful stepsister.  It’s not a pretty sight.  Like usual I’m really trying to remain positive and be patient (key word: trying).  But it’s hard!  I want to be back to where I was… can’t I be, pretty please?

Well, since I’m not a fan of pity parties… let’s get productive.  I’ve been doing some brainstorming… what can I do when running hurts?  What can I do when I’m frustrated with running?  How can I feel more at peace about running, or my lack-of?  So instead of letting this frustration eat me up – here are some ideas for moving past the hurt in running.

What to do when running hurts:

  1. Stop.  This may seem like the obvious one… but why is it so hard to do?  As soon as I “shouldn’t” be running, it is ALL I want to do.  Taking a break from running helps your injury (or whatever hurts) recover, but also has the added benefit of giving you a mental break.  Normally when I come back at running following a break, I’m mentally fresh and recharged.  I’m trusting (and hoping) that will happen this time too.
  2. Try something new.  Noooo… I like running, I don’t want to do anything else!  I know, I know.  It’s hard.  It’s even hard for me to type it.  But, it’s possible that a little break from running might allow you (and me) the time to discover a new hobby.  And that’s exciting right?  When I trained for my first marathon I was experiencing stress-fracture symptoms and dove headfirst into swimming and biking (oh yeah, pun intended).  I essentially taught myself how to swim in a lane (a whole story for another day), but it gave me something to supplement my running.  Additionally I enjoyed the challenge of trying to not drown master something new.
  3. Stay away from running.  Sometimes when I’m really down about running, I just stay away: mentally, literally, in every way etc. etc.  I will stop reading Runner’s World (save it in a pile for later) or reading intently all my favorite running blogs or doing anything that could make me feel worse about not running.  It may sound a little extreme, but for me even a slight reduction in running related activities can be mentally helpful.
  4. Get involved with running. So in contrast to the point above… sometimes getting more involved in running “stuff” can be helpful.  Volunteer at a local race, plan for races in the future, or cheer on your friends from the sideline (or blogosphere).  I think it really depends on what particular issue is causing the pain and how you cope.  I’ve used both strategies at different times in my life and they both can be helpful.
  5. Be proactive with injuries.  The best way to avoid a serious injury is to listen to your body when you have a not-so-serious injury.  Take it as a cue to slow down, stretch more, ice more, or reduce mileage.  The sad fact is that running can cause running-related injuries.  Makes sense though.  Sometimes using your head to reduce miles instead of following your heart’s desire to run, run, run, can be most helpful in the long-run (no pun intended this time).
  6. Add in strength-training.  Want to make your body more durable?  Add in some weekly strength-training!  Getting your core and legs stronger will help your body once you do return to running.  Or if you haven’t stopped running, adding strength training now can help prevent injury in the future.
  7. Up the stretching.  This one is a hard one for me to remember.  I think it is for a lot of people.  Time is such a precious thing that spending 10 minutes to stretch after a run seems unnecessary or wasteful.  A whole ten minutes?? Well earth-to-kelly: it’s not wasteful!  It’s incredibly helpful in the prevention of running related injuries.  Can we make a pact that we’ll remind each other to do it?  Everyday?
  8. Don’t play the comparison game.  Gah – another one I stink at.  Don’t compare someone else’s running story with your own.  The reality is: I’m on my own running path and nothing anyone else does will affect my injury, ability, PRs, or races.  That’s a fact.  Try to stay away from letting your mind compare, “I wish I wasn’t injured so I could run an awesome race like Courtney.”  “It’s all because of my knees that I won’t get my PR like Katherine in the fall.”  “I’m not a real runner like Jane because I haven’t been able to run over 2 miles in months.”  It’s just a waste of time and in the end doesn’t result in anything positive.  The comparisons don’t even have to be against another person…sometimes I’m my own worst enemy/critic.  Take the names out of those thoughts and it’s still a negative comparison that doesn’t end well, “I won’t PR because of my injury” or “I’m not a real runner because I’ve been living it up on the coach for weeks.”  There is no winner with the comparison game.
  9. Stay positive!  Most running-related injuries can be overcome with proper rest, care, stretching, and fixing the root cause.  I have overcome running injuries in the past, I just need to remember I’ll do it again this time.
  10. Focus on nutrition.  One thing that often happens when I go from running 40 a miles a week to 10 is I eat the same way no matter the mileage.  This can lead to even more feelings of self pity because then I feel lethargic, and eventually a bit heavy.  This makes it even harder to get back at running when your body/injury is finally ready.  Don’t throw an ice cream pity party – save that for a real break-up.  You know you and running will make-up at some point.  Patience and take good care of your body in the meantime.

Man alive, I feel better already about my little running situation.  Here’s to hoping I can listen to my own words and continue to be patient as my knees recover.  Isn’t that always the hard part though?  It’s always easier said than done.  Well, if you’re struggling with running injuries – know you aren’t alone!  Sometimes that simple fact is helpful enough.

Happy almost-Friday!

-Kelly

What do you do when running hurts?  How do you channel it?

Race Recap: Geist Half-Marathon

21 May

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Another medal! She’s a beauty!

This weekend I ran the Geist “Race Around the Reservoir” Half-Marathon.  It was my second half marathon in two weeks, and I had an awesome time (truly I mean it)!  I went into this race a little apprehensive: my motivation was down, and I was really concerned about my knees.  I ended up running the half with a friend I work with, and it was a lot of fun.  We went quite a bit slower than I had planned, but in the long run (no pun intended) it was great for both my spirits and my knees.

The Prep

4:50 am: In the morning I woke up about an hour and a half before we needed to leave and had plenty of time to get ready.  I did this with the Indy mini, and I love the calm that having extra time provides.  After eating half of my bagel (I have to leave something to run back to!), strawberries, and banana, I tried a new race activity.  I drank coffee!  I’ve read online that caffeine can actually improve performance (especially if you’re not used to using it on a regular basis).  Check out articles here or here.  Because I gave up caffeine on January 7th (I’ve had it a handful of times since), I now qualify as a “non-regular user”  WOOT!  I’m thrilled.  I had a big addiction to it.  Anyways – because of this, I thought it would be a great race routine to drink a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea the morning of a race.  In my last half I did caffeinated tea and it was great.  This time I was staying at a friend’s house and went with the coffee.  I was a little nervous about trying something new on race day – but because I wasn’t going for a PR I thought this would be a great opportunity.  It was delicious, warm, and a fun little treat.  It also had the added benefit of getting things moving gastrointestinal-ly (if you know what I mean.).  This is a trick I will continue to incorporate into future races.

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Delicious and effective!

6:20 am: After dressing, taping my knees, and going to the bathroom 6 times, I was ready to go!  Adam was a doll and dropped me off at the start.  This was fantastic because there was no parking at the start – I would’ve had to wake up earlier for a shuttle (yeah – I love sleep, thanks Adam!).  I knew my co-worker, Katherine, was running the race and we planned to at least start together.  I’m a bit faster than she is, but thought it would be nice to run a couple miles with her.  Or at very least have someone to stand next to at the start.  We found each other and after one last stop at the porta-potties, made our way to the corrals. Because this race was so small you could self-select your start time.  We stood near the 2:00 mark.  After chatting with Katherine a bit more I realized that I really wanted to help her achieve a PR of 1:58.  I knew that I could get that time and I also thought it would be a smart thing for me to not go for the moon and cause too much damage to the poor knees.  My PT would be proud of that decision!  I had my PR, I wanted to get Katherine hers.  A bit of foreshadowing here: Katherine ran her first full marathon 3 weeks ago (for you non-runners, it typically takes about a month to recover from fulls, especially for non-professional/new-to-marathons runners.)  I told Katherine my plan: run negative splits starting out at 9:00 min/miles and slowly increase the pace after mile 8.  She said it sounded great – though I didn’t have to stick with her, “You’re faster than me, so no pressure to stick together!”  I thought about it and said, “Well, let’s start out together and see what happens.”  I have confidence in Katherine as a runner – I truly believe she’s faster than she thinks she is!

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Excited and ready to go at the start!

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You can sort of see the lake and bridge – it was lovely!

7:00 am: Soon the gun sounded and we were off!  The race started on a bridge over the reservoir (aka lake) and it was truly a gorgeous scene!  The excitement really started flowing through me: I was feeling great.  I was so happy to be out running – my energy really surprised me given my apprehension earlier in the week.  Katherine and I easily stuck together and nailed our first mile coming in a little under 8:30.

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In our spot ready to go!

The Race

Mile 1 (8:25): Okay, doing good.  Yikes – a little fast.  But I always start out a little faster than I plan.  This is good.  Crowds are good but under control.  Plenty of space…feeling good!  Decent weather.  I need to pee.

Mile 2 (8:50): Hmm, I really need to back-off.  I don’t want Katherine to start out too strong.  She’s usually over 9 minutes, I need to stick more to her.  I think I’m going to do this whole thing with her.  At this point I feel I could go even faster…but…is that really the smart thing to do?  My PR is going to happen in the fall.  This race is about fun.  Stick with Katherine and let’s make some magic for her!

Mile 3 (9:03): Man alive – I need to pee!  What is going on here.   We’re doing great!  Perfection pacing.  Wow is it humid?  Does it seem humid to you?

Mile 4 (9:29): Hmm.. we’ll need to pick it up a bit more.  It’s okay – I’ll correct for the next one.  There was a water stop in there (Katherine walks through stops, I typically grab and run). Should I run ahead?  I feel really strong – I know I could go faster.  Hmm.  Katherine doesn’t seem to be particularly enjoying herself or looking amazingly strong – I’ll stay.  We can do it!

Mile 5 (9:50):  GAH!  No.  Okay well – there is still time to recover.  Not all is lost.  We are having fun.  Let’s see if I can slowly push Katherine a bit faster without her noticing.  She’s not feeling as strong now – increase motivational thoughts!!  Mission build up Katherine!

Mile 6 (10:06):  NO!  Another water stop.  Gah – losing so much time on the stops.  Hmm.  You know.  I’m thinking 1:58 is no longer a possibility.  I don’t think PR pace will be possible.  Katherine’s allergies are really giving her trouble and it is clear her legs aren’t recovered (I wouldn’t expect them to be).  Motivate motivate motivate!  Random runner tells me I need a microphone to share my motivation with everyone.  Pass huge hill.  Keep circling back to Katherine and running backwards to keep moving/continue to cheer her (I didn’t want my knees to freak out by stopping).  Probably annoying other runners with my obvious energy and enthusiasm.  Dang – I’m that girl.

Mile 7 (9:23):  Much better.  We can do this.  She’s got this.  Keep encouraging, keep encouraging her!   Still need to pee.  Lordy is it humid!  Hmm.. did I even take a gu?  Oops.

Mile 8 (10:00): Yeah.. so let’s just have fun with this one!  At this point let’s throw time out the window.  Kelly you don’t care about time, you don’t care about time.  But seriously time doesn’t matter at this point.  Let’s get Katherine the fastest time she can get and stick by her!  She isn’t feeling great and now is not the time to leave her.  Let’s tell Katherine the story of how I met Adam. :) New technique: distraction.

Mile 9 (10:31): If I sprint now I could still squeak in under 2:00.  NO.  Must. Not. Leave. Katherine.  Continue telling the story of how Adam and I met.  Random runner says they want to stay near us to hear the story.  Man – we’re going a little slower than expected, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as “motivator.”

Mile 10 (10:33):  Wow – I didn’t realize how fast I’ve gotten, because I’m actually, dare I say, bored with this speed!  (Silent cheer to self!!  Don’t say aloud – focus on building up Katherine.  But seriously – I can’t believe I just had that thought!  I’m becoming a better runner!  Yay! ).  Solidify 1:49:59 as goal for fall half in head.  Continue building up Katherine.  Pass Adam!!  Hello!!  Adam – cheer for Katherine!!!

Mile 11 (9:52):  Are we seriously still out here?  I’m kind of over this.  Start telling the story of wedding plans to Katherine.  Both of us perk up.

Mile 12 (11:00):  So close we can taste it!!  Starts drizzling. I guess this is better than just pure humidity.  Keep pushing her – she’s doing great!!  A little bit of walking at this point but that’s okay!  Just encourage her to keep moving forward.  Almost time for breakfast.  Mylanta I’m starving.

Mile 13 (9:15):  Boo yah grandma!  Katherine- we saved some in the tank for this… you ready?  “Yeah!”  Sprint to the finish!

13.1 (8:45):  Victorious!!  We did it!!

Finish: 2:08:07!

After our finish we walked to collect water, our medals, and food.  Major sadness: they were out of food!  They only had cookies left over.  Serious bummer.  This race had a corresponding 5K and I’m guessing all the 5K-ers ate it all up!  Little stinkers.

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They ran out of food – but I still found some free chocolate milk!

I grabbed what I could and we made our way out of the finisher’s area.  We ran into Katherine’s Mom and I told her how proud she should be of her daughter.  I’m still incredibly impressed with a 2:08 half only 3 weeks after completing her first full – it’s pretty amazing!  We didn’t get Katherine’s PR, which I’m very sad about – but we did have a good time (at least I did – Katherine might say otherwise ;)) .  And I’m very glad I stuck with Katherine.  It was a great experience for me to try my hand at pacing (turns out I’m not that great) and motivating (turns out I may have a hidden talent at this).

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Aww!! Sweetest card on my desk Monday morning!

Katherine also saved me from myself.  For that I’m so grateful to her!  Sunday I woke up with some stiffness, but knees only in minor pain!  The slower pace kept me injury free and smart.  If I had been on my own I probably would’ve pushed and pushed and ended up doing something stupid… like trying to beat 1:51.  Now I’m barely sore and totally happy.  After the mini it took 3-4 days to feel human again!  After the Geist finish I actually ended up jogging back to meet up with Adam and friends…I couldn’t have imagined doing this at the mini.

Key Lessons

  • I enjoyed drinking coffee before the race.  It got things moving and didn’t upset my stomach.  I’ll keep this habit.
  • I liked acting as pacer/motivator.  In the future I would make sure the time we’re going for is reasonable given conditions, training, and tapering. Also important to know what motivates your pacee.
  • Running back-to-back half marathons is totally doable as long as one is an easier “fun run.”  I’d definitely do this again, but only if one of the halfs was with someone else and that someone else was considerably slower than me.  Racing two half-marathons in such close proximity would’ve been difficult on my body.
  • Racing is fun.  Running is fun.  Sometimes focusing on someone else allows you to think about how amazing running and racing is.  Corny but true.  I didn’t really have time to think about how much this hurt or that, focusing on Katherine kept me distracted and I just soaked it all in!
  • I can’t wait to start working on speed more.  I’m ready for my 2 weeks off of running to be up and use the summer to get stronger and faster!

The rest of the weekend was amazing with a friend’s graduation party and more wedding planning (looked at wedding bands, got closer with ceremony stuff, and looking at hotels/group blocks, analyzed photographers more).  Let me just say – I was so thankful I didn’t sprint the race… I wasn’t out for the count and got to enjoy time with friends.  All’s well that ends well!  This race was fun, exciting, motivating, and really has whet my appetite for a new PR.  I couldn’t believe how “slow” my old usual time felt.  My previous two halfs were 2:06 and suddenly 2:08 felt like I was crawling?  This was an incredibly inspiring experience.  It really is possible to get faster with training and this experience was proof.  This week I’ve already started scoping my race for the fall.  I had an awesome run this weekend and can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Successful 12-miler!

12 Apr

Well I’m pleased to report I had a great run this morning!  Yes, you’re reading that correctly, this morning.  This Friday morning…before work.  Okay so it was a little insane, but what’s a busy gal to do?  I had to squeeze it in some time!  My pace was on the more conservative side with an average around 9:20/9:25.  I stopped a few times and I know I’ve got some inaccuracies in my tracker so I’m not 100% certain, but that’s okay by me.  The weather was cold, at least cold for this week (we hit the 70s a couple days ago)!  My weather app said it would be 39 degrees…but it was a mighty cold 39 degrees.  It was consistently very windy, and I was glad I opted for gloves and ear warmers to shield me a bit.

I ended up choosing the ludicrous time of  Friday morning for my long run because I’m headed out of town this weekend.  I’m going bridesmaid dress shopping with my sister and future sister-in-law in Atlanta!  I’m very excited for the trip, but it also presented some logistical challenges.  A month or so ago I went to Atlanta and ended up doing my long run in a great park.  The difference?  That run was 5 miles, this one was 12.  I didn’t want to be sore and paranoid about hydration on a day dedicated to helping out my soon-to-be sister-in-law.  Nothing says ‘this day is about you’ like “We need to stop and get more water…I need to stretch more…I can’t walk that far…I’m tired.”  Do you see all the I’s in that?  Running this morning will allow me to relax and go with the flow as far as plans for the weekend.  I also did a triple day this week (running at lunch and P90X videos in the morning and evening) to help front load a little bit.  It will be great to not have to think about things!  I should get home early enough Sunday to squeeze in my last  P90X workout.

All the planning and thoughts about the timing of my long run are wonderful and make some sense – but wow when my alarm went off at 5:20, it seemed like just about the stupidest idea in the world.  I kept trying to think of another time I could make it work.  After a couple minutes of letting myself come to the conclusion I needed to run (and possibly dozing back to sleep during that time?) the snooze alarm went off and I went to work getting ready to head out.  In training for the Mini-Marathon, I have focused on keeping all my long runs in the morning.  I want to simulate a race run as much as possible.  In previous training periods I did all my long runs (or any run) in the evening or afternoon, and had quite a shock race day.  This morning I felt like I really was getting my routine down.  I had everything laid out the night before so could just go on auto pilot.  After eating my English muffin and filling up the bottle for my fuel belt, I was out the door!

And yikes, when I turned the corner it was windy.  Cold, I’m-gonna-be-happy-when-this-is-over windy.  Thankfully, the first few miles passed pretty quickly, and happily, I experienced no knee issues.  I noticed my miles were coming in a bit on the slower side: in the 9:10s-9:30s.  I haven’t seen those numbers in a while so it was a bit disheartening, but I reminded myself the goal was just to get the mileage in!  Slow and steady wins the race.

On this particular run, I was excited to try something new (always smart to do it before race day).  Normally I use Gu gels, but I had just stopped by the running store and picked up some chews to try.  Generally when you’re running over an hour it’s important to refuel with something to give your body some carbs and energy it needs.  I try to eat something every 40 minutes if I’m running over an hour.  My chews were pink lemonade flavored and I couldn’t wait until mile 4 to give them a try.  Shocker: I didn’t like them!  Now don’t get me wrong – I loved the taste.  What a great change from Gus (I sort of want them just as a non-running snack)!  But there was something about the act of chewing while running that I found difficult.   Pathetic right?  I did end up finishing the bag over the course of the run.  I could certainly handle them, but it was an important discovery that this won’t be my favorite form of refueling.  I’ll stick to my Gus for now.

Yummy! But… discovered it’s a challenge for me to chew and run.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  Kind of what you’d expect from a dark, cold, early, long, pre-work run.  Wow when I put it that way – the run was actually fantastic given all those modifiers!  Throughout the run I wasn’t really pushing for speed.  I wasn’t slacking, but it was certainly on the slow and steady track.  It was nice to have a relaxing long run.  It was quite a bit windier near the river, which was a good challenge too.

Normally these bridges are gorgeous, but holy windy today!

When I got home I realized my average pace was officially on the slower side (didn’t I just do 10 miles at an 8:14 pace last week??).  Thankfully Adam was there to remind me “wasn’t your goal between 9 and 9:30?”  Hmm… I guess I had forgotten that.  I mean come on – it was early, I was barely functioning, let alone remembering what goal I had set earlier in the week!  Adam suggested that my body just knew and remembered what my goal was :)  I stretched as much as I could and got ready for work.  I was very fortunate to have Adam there after the run.  He packed my breakfast/lunch/dinner – what a doll.  That was a huge help in getting me out the door and to work on time.  Maybe it’s a good thing he isn’t doing this race!

After a bit of reflection about my run – I’m really feeling quite pleased with it!  It was tough to do it this morning, but I still managed to complete it.  AND – complete it with little to no pain.  I’ll call that a win-win.  I saw this picture on Pinterest this morning and laughed – an accurate summary of my morning!

Probably true for this morning!

Now onto the weekend and wedding details in Atlanta!  A great start to a great weekend for sure.

Happy Friday, and have an awesome weekend!

-Kelly

Reasons to Run

2 Apr

Running is a sport that brings me calm, keeps me in shape, and allows me to set and achieve (hopefully:)) personal goals.  This post is dedicated to my dear friend Katie.  Just yesterday she was saying, “Well, running is free.”  But pretty much stopped there on her reasons to run.  After our conversation, I got to thinking about why I run – or why someone should consider running.  So if you’re looking for some motivation to start or just want to reflect on why you currently run, here are my top 25 reasons to run.

  1. It’s free!  Well sort of, you do have to buy some quality shoes, an ipod maybe or some clothes…but it is a relatively inexpensive way to exercise.
  2. It’s relaxing.  This one has an asterisk…it’s relaxing once you’ve been doing it awhile.  And believe me, it can take a while.  It took me about a year after a break from running to enjoy it as a “relaxing” activity again.
  3. Cardiovascular health.  It keeps you in good cardiovascular shape.  My lungs will attest to this.
  4. It can be social.  I’ve had amazing runs out with friends or coworkers – running can be an awesome way to socialize (while working out, talk about efficiency!).
  5. It can be you time.  On the flip side, you can enjoy running to just think, ponder, and zone out.  It allows you a bit of quiet alone time.
  6. Musica, musica!  It’s a great way to catch up on music.  I love listening to new music or Pandora to hear new jams.
  7. Goals.  Running is an awesome way to make small goals and work towards them.  No matter where you begin you can always have new goals.  Whether it’s pace, distance, or just number of times per week, you can always make a new challenge.
  8. Racing is fun.  Whether you like the medals or the free food at the end, racing is pretty cool. It makes me feel like a real athlete, practically an Olympian.  I mean, right?
  9. “Free” t-shirts.  Okay so you really pay for them, but somehow on race day it feels like ‘oooo a free tech shirt!’  Some of them turn out to be pretty awesome.
  10. Participation trophies aka medals.  It’s one of few places you can get a medal just for participating.  It’s like t-ball trophies…for adults!
  11. General fitness.  It’s possible to get into pretty decent shape running.  Like I sure can wear this dress fitness.
  12. Vitamin D.  Running is an awesome way to spend some time outside in the daylight.  I find the extra dose of vitamin D particularly helpful in winter.
  13. Runner’s bond.  Yep – there is a definite bond.  When I hear someone is a runner, suddenly it’s ohh you’re a runner! 
  14. It’s challenging.  Let’s face it, running is hard. Being able to do it genuinely feels like an accomplishment.
  15. You can be proud of it. Because it is so challenging, running is something to really be proud of…or at least I am :)  Gearing up for my long run I will  silently feel proud of myself all day for getting that distance in.  What a boost for mental health!
  16. It’s simple.  Not simple in the actual act of running, but simple in terms of just needing yourself and a road.  Basic.  Simple.  No gimmicks.
  17. It’s rewarding. You put time into it and you will get something back.  Whether it’s toned muscles or better health or a faster pace, you get a return on investment.
  18. Running can be a family affair!  I’ve attempted to drag my sister and brother into running…it’s something we can all do together.  And someday if I have children I’ll drag them into it too!  Themed races or 5Ks are great ways to get people introduced. How neat to have a fitness related activity to all do together!  So much of our culture centers family time around food (Just think of holidays…Thanksgiving, 4th of July etc.) that it’s great to have running as an alternative activity.
  19. Stress Reducing.  Running can be very calming in itself – but exercise in general is a huge stress reducer.  Feeling tense?  Go out for a jog.
  20. Potential.  I love the idea of pushing my body and seeing my potential.  That’s an empowering thing!  It’s one of those, “If I don’t push myself now, when?”  I’m not getting any younger. What can my body really do?
  21. It’s convenient. Because running requires essentially no equipment (besides sneakers) you can do it anywhere.  It’s easy to plan around travel schedules or busy weeks.  Some weeks I end up running over lunch or early in the morning, and occasionally late at night.
  22. It’s great bang for your time bucks.  Running is a top calorie burning exercise, burning about 100 calories per mile.  If you’re going to put in time to work out, why not go for something with a great return?
  23. Self-esteem.  Running can make you feel pretty darn good about yourself.  Whether it is meeting goals, losing weight, or just the endorphins from exercise running will have you feeling more self-confident in no time.
  24. Purpose-oriented training.  Whenever I struggle to stay in the habit of working out regularly, I sign up for a race. Every workout has a purpose and the ‘training’ aspect of it keeps me coming back for me.  I’m not just running, I’m training.
  25. Improved overall fitness.  This one is huge.  I love when I’m in good running shape because it translates to so many other aspects of my life.  Suddenly I can climb stairs faster, I can carry in my groceries more easily, I’m happy to go on a long walking tour, and I’m prepared if I’m suddenly getting chased (you never know when you might need this one).  If for no other reason to run – remember you will be ready to outrun zombies should the need ever arise.  That’s preparation.

Hope you’re feeling motivated to lace up those sneakers.

Happy running!

-Kelly

Why do you enjoy running?  What’s your favorite reason to run?

P90X Phase 2 Results!

1 Apr

Adam and I have successfully completed Phase 2 of P90X!  Can I get a hallelujah? We are feeling very pleased with our progress and overall are extremely happy with the program.  Here are the results and highlights!

These results are based on following the nutrition guide (with a few cheat meals such as Match Day, a cast party, a little bit of Easter candy etc), running 3 times a week (Kelly), and doing a minimum of 6 workouts per week (sometimes 7).

Phase 2 Tape Measure Results:

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches. Phase two results are followed by total results in parentheses.)

Waist:    -.5 (-2)      -.5 (-2.25)

Chest:      -1 (-2)      +.5 (+1.5)

Hips:      -.5 (-1)       -.5  (-1.5)

Calf:          0 (0)           0 (0)

Bicep:     -.5 (0)        -.25 (-.25)

Body Fat Percentage:

(We just got our fat caliper about a month ago, we have no previous recordings)

Kelly: -2%

Adam: -2%

Weight:

I finally found a scale!  I’m still trying not to focus on a weight number, and spend more energy focusing on overall fitness, feeling, and inches.  Because of this philosophy, I haven’t weighed myself at every milestone.  However, I weighed myself at the very beginning of the whole journey in October (beginning of round 1 or ‘pre90x’ as I’m calling it… now I’m on round 2).  From then until now I’ve lost 8 lbs.  I was shocked!!  I’m thrilled with the number, and it’s a true reflection of all the hard work put in.  I’m also pleased because it’s been very slow and steady weight loss – the best kind.

Adam has also lost weight – somewhat to his dismay.  He lost 10 lbs and both of us audibly gasped at his number.  Adam is naturally very thin (poor thing ;)) and now weighs slightly more than he did his freshman year of college.  This is a little bit of a yikes.  He was in level 2 for the nutrition plan, but we’ve both agreed he needs to significantly increase his calories.  What a problem to have, right??  He certainly looks thinner, but we weren’t concerned because he looks more toned and muscular and feels great.  You really can lose weight on P90X!

Running:

My pace is consistently sub 9 minute miles .  In fact I haven’t had a run over 9 minute miles in a month at least.  This is still hugely surprising for me.  P90X has definitely made me faster!  My average pace previous to P90X was 9:30-10:30 and now I’m about a full minute faster at an average 8:30-9:15.  That’s pretty amazing to me.  My asthma being under better control could also be a factor – so it might not be 100% P90X.  But I can’t wait to see what Phase 3 will bring.

Photos:

60 day results

These results are just from “round 2.” Slow and steady progress!

Our results since October.  Slow and steady!

From Halloween to now!

It’s a little tough to see the results from Halloween – but this was the best picture I could find!  During that time period I had a knack for deleting anything that didn’t have a nice angle.  That is the nice thing about life now – I don’t get stressed when I see a camera!  I’ll post more pictures in my Phase 3 results when we “graduate” from P90X in May.

Low Points of Phase 2

  • Adam needing to hide food from me because my cravings were out of control. Yeah that’s low – not my proudest moment.
  • Eating wayyyy too many m+ms at a cast party – missing the control focused days of Phase 1!
  • A super slow run on a very cold, sick day.  Glad that’s behind me.
  • Not feeling quite as motivated as I was in Phase 1.  Hoping the switch up to Phase 3 will bring rejuvenation.

Highlights of Phase 2

  • I did my first pull-up!  Just this past week I did 12 pull-ups in one workout (not consecutively).  What an improvement (from zero).  :)
  • I did all the moves in Ab Ripper X – including the bonus Mason Twists!
  • My first 10K – and a fast one at that.  Definitely starting to consistently notice increased speed.
  • I tried on bridesmaid dresses (for my brother’s wedding) without having a complete meltdown!  Every dress was okay :)
  • Adam was matched to Nashville and we celebrated with a little bit of non-P90X approved food.
  • Adam and I were in a musical and still managed to find the time to fit in all our workouts.

Coming up: Phase 3

Phase 3 is the last phase in P90X and will bring more carbs – it’s a total change in the diet plan!  It’s been interesting to see our bodies react to the different ratios of protein and carbs.  With all this running, I’m certainly happy to be in the higher carb phase now.  Additionally, I’m excited to go back to our original videos – the workouts from week one.  Looking at our workout sheet today, we blew reps out of the water.  Going from 5 “regular” push-ups (which I was incredibly proud of at the time) to 20 in one set is amazing.  It’s very clear this is working!  The progress is incredibly empowering and motivating; it has made all the early mornings worth it.

I’ll keep you posted on the next 5-7 weeks and our progress.  Traditionally, Phase 3 is five weeks, but we have a vacation and race week/graduation in there so we’ll have to do some modifying to make it work.  We’re a little bummed at the timing, but hey, that’s life!

Keep bringing it!

-Kelly