Sunday, February 21, 2016

Outside Again!

     First of all, congratulations to Vera, who won the SLS3 Belt Giveaway.  For those of you who didn't get lucky in the drawing, check them out on Amazon while the price is still reduced!  

 Last week I did thirty miles, all on the treadmill.  All. On. The. Treadmill.  When the snowstorms started up again Monday night, I felt like I would never see the sun again, but then Saturday happened.

The sun DOES exist in Ohio!
     When I finished my cleaning, I put on a tee shirt and capris and ran part of Sand Run Park.  It was windy, hilly, muddy, and glorious.  Usually Saturday is my take-it-easy-day where I walk on the treadmill while watching Supernatural, but NO WAY was I going to let a 68 degree day go by without running in the Metroparks.  I told myself that I would run super-slowly, but I lied.  Going up and down those hills in the first 2.5 miles made me feel like I was flying, and I just let myself go.  Of course, what goes up must come down, so the next 2.5 miles after the turnaround were considerably slower, but WHO CARES????

This is EXACTLY how I look when I feel like I'm flying down Sand Run.

Do you see me?  
     As a bonus, I ran 10 miles today in the sunshine for part of the Medina Half Marathon route with my running buddy Kristin.  We had a great time running around Medina, mostly streets but a bit of trail by Lake Medina.

     While we were running, I told Kristin the following story about her daughter, to whom I taught AP Literature and Composition:

     We (AP Lit. students and I) were analyzing Carpe Diem poems, looking at how different poets use the same motifs to convey the theme of Seize the Day; then we talked about how we could embrace the moment.  I told the students that I had recently signed up to run a leg of the relay for the Akron Marathon, and that next year I could probably run the half marathon.  Mattie said, "Wait. Haven't you already run more than any of the legs of the relay?"
     I replied, "Well, yes, but I don't think I'm ready to take on the half marathon this year."

     And then Mattie said, "Then what the hell are we doing talking about Carpe Diem?"


     That day I went home and registered for the Akron Half Marathon, and the rest is history.

I teach some pretty smarty-pants kids.
     I remembered the lesson of Carpe Diem today as I ran with a fun group of people because I was thinking of how I'm seizing the day this year:

1st time running on Burning River relay team (Leg 7--holla!) with the Mother Runners
Ragnar Trail Appalachians WV ultra team relay (woot!  First time on an ultra team! 30 miles of trails!)
1st time running back-to-back races (8k and half marathon for Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Series)
My first marathon (Akron Marathon)

     All of these goals scare the hell out of me, so I know they must be worthy.  Now I'm going to work my ass off to achieve those goals because-- CARPE DIEM, Peeps!

This is EXACTLY how I look when I say, "Carpe Diem, Peeps!"
How will you seize the day this year? This week?  Tomorrow?  Start by running happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Don't Dread the Treadmill!

     The weather has been sub-zero all week, Peeps.  I actually got my first snow day on Thursday!

Ever wonder what teachers do on snow days?

     Have I ever shared my theory about how we get snow days at my school?  It all centers around my planned workout combined with weather and time I have to get ready for school.  The equation looks something like this:

Planned workout (must be completely sweaty cardio to ensure that I can't possibly go back to bed)
Weather (snow OR -20 or lower OR icy rain MUST hit around 5:00 AM)
Prep time (must be considering forgoing makeup and/or blow drying hair because need more drive time)
Snow Day!

     There are some other factors to weigh, of course.  For example, did I make the mistake of anticipating a snow day by taking home some papers to grade?  Subtract possibility points.  Did I make the prediction the night before on social media?  Bad mojo.  Subtract points.

     This sounds crazy, but the system works.  On Thursday I got the call when I was in mile 3 of a treadmill run, and I was just thinking that I have to at least go 5 miles, but then I would braid my hair instead of blowing it dry.

Whattya think?  Am I psychic?
     So, the downside to having a snow day is not being able to go outside.  There has been a wind chill advisory for this area all weekend, and I know from prior experience that I shouldn't be outside if the temps are below 20 degrees, with or without windchill.  This morning it was bright and sunny, and I thought, "Hmmm. . . maybe," until I looked at the weather channel and it said -2.  Nope.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I say, "Nope."

     Today's treadmill run was 10 miles.  Here are some ways that I was able to survive it:

1. Plan your route.  You would never just run out your door and hope you hit ten miles somewhere, right?  Why do it on the treadmill?  I planned what I would watch on Netflix. Just like you want a variety of scenery in a long run, plan a variety of material to watch.  Today I finished a movie I had started a week ago (Chef--GREAT film), then I moved to an episode of Supernatural.  I finished my run with two episodes of M*A*S*H, which was a good way to end it because the episodes are short.  By the time I got sick of the run, I was able to tell myself that I only had one more episode left.

2.  Give yourself a break and a treat.  Sometimes on the long run I take a GU, and I allow myself to walk while I eat it.  Since I really look forward to that break, I make sure that I bring a flavor I really like, and I make sure to take it more than halfway through the run.  On the treadmill, the benefits are that I don't have to carry anything, and I can actually eat food as fuel.  Today I brought a banana and water bottle, and I REALLY looked forward to that banana. After the snack, I can look at the other side of the break as the short end of the run.

3.  Tune out when you need to. I plan for this blog post, I plan my lessons, I plan my next family vacation.  More importantly, I plan EXACTLY what I'm going to eat for the rest of the day.  

Actually, I make sure my meals are a proper balance of carbs, protein, and green vegetables.    Wine counts as a fruit, right?
Just don't tune out so much that you drift on the treadmill.  Not. Good.

4.  This may be the most important way to "not mind" a treadmill: Cover the mileage screen.  Seriously.  If there is one piece of advice you actually follow from this post, make it this one.

Anyway, I really miss getting outside, and I hope to get back out there next week. To all my peeps who are training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, you are true badasses.  I see your treadmill long runs of 16 miles, and all I can say is DAMN!  I bow down to your greatness.  Someday that will be me, but hopefully not on the treadmill.  If it has to be, though, I think now I can survive it (with enough snacks).

This is EXACTLY how I look when I think I can survive a treadmill run!

Good luck and run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review and Giveaway: SLS3 Running Belt

I am not the type of person who can just get up, tie on some running shoes, and go.  It takes a little bit more planning for me, and no, I am not the type of person who sleeps in her running clothes in order to get out the door earlier in the morning.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I go running in the morning. . .oops. Forgot my shoes.

Seriously, do you do that?  WHO DOES THAT???

I digress.

I need to plan for any possible circumstance in my running: weather, bathroom needs, sinus drainage, fuel (after 10 miles), and hydration (after 5 miles).  Usually I lay my gear out the night before, and then I agonize over my choice when I check the weather channel yet again.  Have I told you I'm a wee bit neurotic?

Anyway.  What doesn't change in my runs is the need to carry stuff with me.  On any given run, long or short, speed workout or slow and easy, I carry the following items: car key fob, phone, lip balm, whistle, and Kleenex.  Lots and LOTS of Kleenex.  On long run days I also carry fuel and sometimes my ID and some money or a credit card.  Lots of stuff, right?  So, how do I carry it?

One choice may be the SLS3 Running Belt.  It's a clipped-on stretchy belt that has two deep, waterproof pockets to store your stuff.

You can see the two pockets with a blue stripe down the middle.  I know that the belt looks narrow, but the pockets expand to hold whatever you haul with you.  I put my phone (and sometimes earbuds) in one pocket and everything else in the other.  The pockets have zipper closures, which is a nice feature because you know you'll never lose your car keys.  

The belt is currently on sale on Amazon, and here is a description of the various features:

  • 2 POCKETS: carry your iPhone 6+, Samsung Galaxy or other large Smartphone; plus other essentials like keys, ID card, bank cards, energy bars and inhaler. Perfect when running or the gym.
  • COMFORTABLE AND BOUNCE-FREE RUNNING BELT: fits snugly enough to always stay comfortably in place, no matter how hard your workout gets, this exercise belt is guaranteed not to bounce or ride up your waist.
  • FULLY ADJUSTABLE WAIST PACK: features an elastic belt that's fitted with an adjusting buckle. The waist pack expandable storage belt is a one-size-fits-most for any waist size 22" through 40". Ideal for running, jogging, hiking, and workouts.
  • COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN: the running belt design, with 1.5" wide elastic belt and expandable pocket, is minimalistic for increased comfort during exercises. You will certainly not be burdened with excess bulk that disturbs your workout. ORDER NOW.
  • WATERPROOF EXERCISE BELT: made with polyester with special stretch mesh gusseted pocket. In addition, the running belt has a waterproof zipper for extra all-weather protection and safety for your valuables and essentials.

So, let me address some of the claims:

The belt is indeed comfortable and bounce-free.  I can't stand to have anything around my belly button, and I like to wear belts low on the hips, so I was concerned that this belt might slip around or ride up.  I took it for three short runs and two long runs of ten miles each, and the belt didn't slip at all.  As a bonus, it held up my tights, which are kind of too big for me, but I'm too cheap to buy new ones in my size.  The belt is adjustable, which is good if you want to share it.  My daughter needs a belt, and this way we can share it just by adjusting the size of the belt.

It is indeed compact and lightweight.  Takes up no room at all in my gear bag.  

Lastly, it is definitely waterproof.  I had my doubts, but I ran in a pouring sleet/rain, and my phone was never wet.  Usually I have to carry my phone in a plastic baggie, but it was perfectly fine in the SLS3.  

I have to say that this is a great belt.  It fits everything I want to carry with me, and I can barely feel that I'm wearing it.  I also think the current price on Amazon is a steal at 57% off the regular price.  

Want a running belt of your very own?  In exchange for this review, SLS3 has given me the opportunity to give one lucky reader a belt.  All you gotta do, Peeps, is enter the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Giveaway will last until 2/14. Don't want to wait?  Check out the belts on Amazon while you still can!

I hope you enjoy your belt as much as I do.  What I'm actually trying to say is that I hope you don't feel like you're wearing a running belt at all, which is exactly how I feel when I wear the SLS3.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I can't tell if I'm wearing a running belt!
Until next week, run happy, Peeps!

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