Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mall Running: It CAN Be Done!

This weather sucks.  I am sick and tired of sub-zero temperatures, especially when the snow looks so fluffy and soft.  I don't own a treadmill, so usually what I do is pop in a Leslie Sansone dvd and run while she walks and talks.  She talks a lot.  She is very perky.  I hate perky.

This is EXACTLY how I look. . .NEVER.

I intend to review her videos at a later post because, while I mock her a lot, I find that her routines implement a good amount of core work with walking/running.  I've used her to recover from The Great Nut Incident, and if I run while she walks, and I use two-pound hand weights, I can get a great workout.  More on that in another post.

When the members of my running club, The Ohio Runners Network, were posting all kinds of trail runs for Sunday (my long run day),  I was looking at the Weather Channel app and fretting.  High temperature of two degrees?  Really?  Disgusting.

So, I decided to do something about it.  I ripped off a throwaway suggestion from my running peep, Deidre, who wrote, "We should go to the mall with the walkers."  Brilliant!

I posted that I was going this morning, and I was going to RUN, baby.  Sheila, my coach from OneLife Fitness Coaching, was betting that I'd get stopped by a mall cop.  She was interested enough in seeing that happen to make a call to the mall security to find out what time the mall was open to walkers.  She didn't blow my cover.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm stopped by a mall cop while running in the mall.

And so I went.  I did two miles in the mall, Peeps!  Nobody stopped me, nobody yelled at me, nobody cared.  I only did two miles because I got there later than I wanted, and as the mall started filling up, I was worried about wet floors from people tracking in the snow.  Safety first.  Next time I intend to go earlier; 9:00 is when the mall opens on Sunday to walkers, and I will be there.  I think it would be best if I'm gone by 10:15 at the latest.

So, yeah, I BEAT THE SYSTEM.  I RAN in the mall!  Who needs a dreadmill?

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

First 6 in 6!

Yesterday, I wined and dined with my husband at a FABULOUS restaurant, Thyme2.  We feasted on duck confit strudel, and we toasted our nineteen years of marriage with a nice Bordeaux.  While eating a pork chop the size of my head, I was contemplating my morning run.

Six miles.  Can I do it?

Weather:  Fresh snow.  25 degrees F, feels like 15 degrees F

Route:  Towpath.  Relatively flat.

Time:  7:30 am

Company:  Three lovely running peeps:  Debi, Deidre, and Amy

I was a little bit apprehensive because I obviously wasn't taking seriously my responsibility to the long run.  I know I should be eating healthfully, not drinking wine.  I know I should go to bed early.  I didn't do any of those things, and I have been having a difficult time getting back my stamina, so I wondered if I actually COULD do those miles.

Guess what?  Mission accomplished!  Not only did I run those miles, I ran them well, and I ran them without music.  A year ago I would not have thought this was a big deal, but after no running or aerobic activity for six months, I wasn't sure I would be able to go this far. . .but I did.  

I feel really good; the runner's high is back!  Click here to read about my experiences with runner's high.

After my post-run hot chocolate and shower, I taught my daughter to do the Legs-up-the-Wall yoga pose for recovery and relaxation.  Try it!

What do you do to recover from a long run?  If you have had to come back from an injury, how long did it take you to get back to your former fitness level?  Is anyone else craving margaritas, chips, and guacamole right now?  No?  Just me?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude

Runners bitch.  A lot.  We gripe about our runs (too hilly, too fast, too slow, too rainy, too cold, too hot).  We gripe about our weight (too heavy, not enough muscle tone).  We list the litanies of our physical sufferings (foot, ankle, shin, calf, quad, glutes, core).  We talk about our GI problems in great, disgusting detail, and other runners actually listen to this crap!  (See what I did there?)  Why, just the other day, I actually POSTED ON FACEBOOK that my left butt cheek hurt.  Who really wants to know that?  You know who?  Runners.

This is EXACTLY how I look when my left leg is killing me.

After five months of no running, no cardio, no fun, and lots of drinking, I am back in the game.  Boy, that game is tough.  Last Sunday I went on a trail run in Peninsula with my friends from The Ohio Runners Network.  I knew we would be running slowly (because it's a trail), and I thought the soft surface of the snowy trail would be a great way for me to try a long run.  Also, I'm an idiot.

We started with a big hill.  Then I slipped with both feet into an icy stream while trying to cross.  At that point we were at mile 2, so I knew there was no turning back.  I went forward, and you know what?  I survived, and it was ok.  I even kept up with the group.

TORN members slogging up the hill.  I took the picture so I could catch my breath before climbing.  Plus, my socks were wet.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am happy to survive a trail.  With wet, frozen feet.  I'm in the purple jacket, hamming it up.

What does this have to do with gratitude?  Hang on, I'm getting there.  Geez, you're so impatient!

This morning I went for a run around the neighborhood.  It seemed like this was not going to be a great run:  icy sidewalks and 15 degree temps.  My running peeps had gone earlier in the morning, and they had posted that it had been a mistake.  This put me in a trepidatious mood, to say the least, and it really affected the run.  The cold air made breathing difficult, and that made running difficult.  There was no ice on the streets, so I decided to stay in my immediate neighborhood instead of doing our normal 4-mile loop.  This, of course, gave me an excuse to cut the run to 3 miles.

I started feeling really bad.  I kept glancing at my Garmin (mistake), and I kept comparing my pace to my old pace.  I tried to focus on the music and my feet, which helped for a little bit.  Finally, I just promised myself that I would walk as soon as I hit three miles.  When I did hit three miles, I could see my house, so I made myself keep running until I got there, so at least I added another .26 miles.  I was sweaty, out of breath, and I felt like vomiting.  I felt defeated until I actually remembered to turn on my brain.

Wait a minute. . .I'm upset because running was hard today?  Three months ago, I thought running would be IMPOSSIBLE. Today I did three miles!  I didn't stop, and my foot didn't hurt!  I am healthy; I can get back my strength and stamina.

I am grateful.  Life is good.  This year I resolve to remember that.

On a final note, I did have a reminder on the trail of how lucky I am to run, even with frozen, soaked feet.

Meet my friend, Lucky.
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Payday Hooray!

Today is the day I reveal my running payday.  Woohoo!

Last year I decided that I would log my miles run and as an incentive, I decided to pay myself for running.  The catch is that I had to also log the money I spent on races and babysitters hired for my Saturday races.  My goal was to make a profit.  I got the idea from another blogger (and I feel TERRIBLE that I didn't save that information).  Thank you, Forgotten Blogger!  You are awesome!

Here's the deal:  I decided to pay myself  $.50 for every mile run or walked, $1.00 for every racing mile, and I awarded myself a $5.00 bonus for every PR.  The beauty of this plan is that you can use whatever amount inspires you, and it doesn't just have to be running.  Wanna reward yourself for biking miles?  How about swimming yards?  Zumba hours?  The possibilities are endless.

Let's get to it, shall we?

I logged all of my running miles on  This site does an excellent job of helping you keep track of fitness.  Not only can you log your miles, you can also log time, pace, conditions, routes, and how you felt about your experience.  It doesn't have to be just running, either.  I have friends who log spinning, biking, yoga, hiking--you can do whatever you want.  Also, this is a social media service, so you can choose to "friend" people and encourage each other with comments and badges.  You can see my miles on the right side of this post.  In 2013, I ran 645 miles.  Boo.  My original goal was to run 1,000 miles, but my broken foot put the cabosh on that idea.

Modified piggy bank for my circumstances

I logged my racing miles on a spreadsheet.  The credit column was the number of miles, and the debit column was entry fees and babysitting fees.  Now I am going to subtract the number of racing miles from the total on Dailymile:

Total Miles         645
-Racing Miles       37
New Total Miles 608

608 (.50) = $304.00
+ Racing        37.00
+PRs (4)         20.00
- race fees   $130.00     
-babysitter   $100.00

Grand Total = $131.00

Not too shabby, eh?  I know I could have done even better had I not broken my foot in August.  I missed out on at least four races, two of which I am certain would have been a PR.  Oh well.  I am just happy that I can start again this year.

What will I do with the money?  Hmmmm. . . I will need more shoes in a few months.  Maybe a set of capris for the Spring?  How about some more songs for new playlists?  Again, the possibilities are endless, and I EARNED THIS MONEY!  I look forward to earning more money with my feet in 2014!

How do you reward yourself for running?

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