Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Running + Gymnastics = Reduced Crime

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Parkour and Free Running but if not, watch that video. It's a compilation of video from the founder of Parkour, David Belle. He is absolutely amazing. If you're interested in seeing Belle in a movie that has a lot of great Parkour moves, check out Banlieue 13. Here's a trailor for it:

I recently read that twelve schools in London have been teaching their kids the basics of free running, which is just amazing to me. Can you imagine the potential for lawsuits if there were a Parkour/Free Running Program for Secondary Schools in the United States? I think it's a fantastic thought though--I mean imagine being a child in London. You go to school, learn about the Battle of Edington, do a little mathematics, maybe read a chapter from a classic novel--and then off to Parkour class. How amazing would that be? It's got to be great fun, a great workout and a wonderful lesson in learning to gauge risk.

Apparently, that's not all--officials in London believe that these Parkour programs have actually cut youth crime by 30%. That's amazing! And whether or not it's true, it's amazing that they're even making that connection. I don't know about you but as a child, if given the opportunity to either A) Do some parkour with some friends or B) Carry a gun and try to rob old ladies...I'd pick A any day.

Onto REAL running. I ran a fun route yesterday--5 hilly miles around my neighborhood. I rarely venture across a busy street that is about 1.5 miles from my house--I generally run to the street and turn around but across that busy street there are some gem hills. And I was feeling it. So I did it. It was an amazing challenge and I'm sore but it was a great workout.

Nothing new to report but I have been trying to stay on target with my training for the Mini in April. It's been difficult because of some aches, sick days and the weather but no excuses! I'm on the right path!! I hope you guys are too!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shivering Saturday!!

Went out this morning and met my running buddies at the park--we hadn't discussed mileage because quite frankly, I think we all wondered IF we would do more than 2-3 miles!! Did I mention the wind chill was at -1 when I left? I have to start remembering that having a dog means I have to get up a little earlier on long run days if I'm meeting anyone because Chassis takes too long to go to the bathroom. I have to go outside and throw the ball around with her for her to actually THINK about pooping, and I usually remember this when I'm SUPPOSED to be leaving the house.

The run was pretty comfortable for me for the duration, and I was pleased at our pace, as it was a pace that allowed me to comfortably get in more miles. I had a few aches and pains early on but I attribute that mostly to the cold, and the hard concrete. We ran down Bardstown Road which was quite fun actually, tons of distractions in all of the businesses in the area. It brought back a lot of memories of drunken nights walking around down there with friends--who knew I'd be running down there at 8am with friends? LOL

We lost one of our buddies after about 6.5 miles, and then I lost the last one at just before 9. I had intended to get in 10 this morning, so I had to push myself a little harder now that everybody was gone--and I ended up continuing on with a distance PR of 11.11. Each long run, I start to realize that the HM is definitely possible and I can't wait to see how it goes! I'm really excited!

I also really want to say thank you to Tom, Joe and to my Margaritaville Teammates and the other members at RuntheVille.com--it is through the inspiration, the support and the motivation I receive from you all that has allowed me to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Yeah, I did the work but I know without a doubt that I wouldn't be at this level in my training and in my fitness without you all. And a special thanks to Tom and Joe for really pushing me during our group runs, and thanks to Tom for pushing me with the Pushups Challenge.

You can do a lot of things on your own in life, but there's so much more to be gained when you allow others to come into your life and help you out!

I'd be neglecting some very important people if I didn't mention my mom and DBF. Their continued support and love keeps me going and growing stronger!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I hope everyone is staying nice and warm--not because you're staying inside (unless you own a TM or have a gym membership) but because you have all the proper gear to run in the cold!

Seems like a lot of the North and NE US are experiencing some cold weather, and we definitely are here! But it's nothing I can't handle. I just look like a ninja when I'm out running--a mismatch ninja!

DBF brought home a gift today--a foam roller. This thing is crazy and amazing. It hurt. But it was great pain. I am really psyched to use this thing, as it felt amazing. I'm LOVING the glute and the back exercises the best--WHOA!!!! I'll keep you updated on how it goes. I don't think I can explain what it feels like to use this thing, it's just something you have to try yourself to understand!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowman Shuffle 4 Mile RR

Today was the second leg of the three race series, the Polar Bear Grand Prix. This race was 4 miles on a familiar course that has a couple of killer hills. I woke up this morning and visualized me running a PR and got up, followed through my pre-race routine and a little after 7AM, I heard it--the rain came all at once and it was pouring down! I expected rain but I was kinda hoping it would be a light mist--not a pourdown!

When Joey and I got there, we found a decent parking space and sat in the warm car for a few minutes getting everything ready before hopping out into the cold and the rain, which had died down considerably to that mist I was wishing for. (MISTY RAIN!!!)

I had to go to the bathroom, which is customary for me before a race and luckily, I saw Joe coming out just as I was getting in line. We hooked up with Tom and did our warm up a few minutes before the start. The warmup actually made me feel a little off balance and my ears felt a little strange--I didn't have them covered and I think that's why. When we finished our warm up, we came back together at the start line and a relatively new forum member approached us and introduced himself! I was pretty excited to meet him, and glad he wasn't scared to approach our crazy asses!! Scott, if you read this, it was a great pleasure to meet you and I'm really glad you were there to help push Joey a little!

As for the race itself--I had a great first mile. I felt strong, got in the groove relatively quickly, thanks to our warm up and just ran a smooth, comfortable 9:30 pace. Can you believe I'm actually calling 9:30 comfortable? LOL It was mostly downhill and smooth but I felt great and earlier this year, I would NEVER have been able to run that quickly!

I didn't check my Garmin much during the first 2 miles, as I was just focused on running as fast as I could comfortably, and I was just HOPING to reach mile 2 in 20:00. I also got to see Joe, Tom and Joey (I somehow missed Scott) pass and that TOTALLY made me feel happy and distracted! At the 2 mile split, the guy called out 19:00 and while I was elated to have surpassed my goal, it was at this point that I realized I still had a tough time ahead but that I wasn't ready to give up. I still felt like I could totally pull off the 40:00 race.

By mile 2.5 though, I started to crumble. The hills were popping up and my early speed was catching up to me...my legs were fine but for the first time in several months, I was actually REALLY short of breath. I slowed down and even had to stop and walk for several seconds just to calm my breathing down as I was going up the worst hill.

I can't recall the mile 3 split but I just kept pushing to the end of the race--when I rounded the top of the final hill as I was approaching the finish, I knew I was close and I looked ahead to see the time. I knew I was going to finish with a brand new PR and a milestone of which to be proud. I finished several seconds after the 39:00 mark and I am SO PROUD! A new PR, and my first time running a sub-10:00 pace during a race that long!

UPDATE: Race results have been posted and they have my official time as 39:00!!

I had a blast as usual, and I'm loving these PRs every time--though I am aware that I will not PR every race I run. I'm just excited to see improvement, as I say so often. I'm proud of the work I've done!

Tom, Joe, Scott and Joey ran GREAT races, all of which should be very proud. We're such a tough group!!!!! I'm bummed I didn't get to speak to Hippiedigger--I saw someone standing with Tom and Joe after the finish but I didn't recognize him or even have a clue who he was, and I had to take off to catch up with Joey. Maybe I'll get to holler at him next time!

And of course, Panera Bread was THE BOMB!!!! I LOVE LOVE their breakfast. And I always love the company!

After breakfast, I went home and showered and Joey and I watched Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (second try)--bleh. After the movie, I got the urge to log some more miles so I headed up to the park to meet mom. I got in a VERY solid 4 miles that actually seemed to loosen me up and make me feel so much better.

Feels like next week should be a taper week but it's not...hopefully I can take it easy but still get in some quality workouts. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and everyone who raced--I hope it went great.

By the way, I'm loving these guys, I just bought them last week and they've been great for me!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pass the Body Glide, Please.

After my shower that followed my ice bath after my run earlier, I am determined to never leave the house without my Body Glide if I'm wearing shorts/running skirt.

I left this morning without even considering the need for Body Glide. Yeah, I had on a skirt. Yeah, my legs were gonna touch. Yeah, it was 60 degrees. But it's January. And I haven't used my Body Glide in a couple of months, honestly.

Seven miles into my run, I was in agony. I'm not sure exactly why it was so bad this morning--I've never actually experienced chafing that bad. A little rub-a-dub, yeah. But not this horrid chafing. And what's so strange about it is that when I was 10-15 pounds heavier, I didn't have it bad. Explain to me how losing FAT off of your thighs, for instance, can make you chafe worse? Or maybe it's because I never ran long enough back then TO chafe. Ahh, yes, that's it.

I was in PAIN. I contemplated many remedies along the run--puddles, spitting and rubbing, stopping--until I remembered: "YES, I HAVE LIP GLOSS IN MY POCKET."

So yeah, I stood on the side of a busy public street and rubbed lip gloss on my thighs. But hey, it got me back to my car in less pain.

But my shower was brutal. As soon as that hot water touched the skin...OUCH!

I think they should make a key chain sized tube of Body Glide for someone like me who is prone to forgetfulness of non-daily use products. I dunno, though, I'd probably just forget my lip gloss on a run and have to use the Body Glide on my lips.

Features of My First Long Distance Run of 2009

I'll preface this entry by saying that this morning's run wasn't a fun one physically. I had to try very hard to keep focused on the ultimate goal--I wanted to give up around mile 6 but I just kept my mind strong and continued to push on. I think this may have been my first time running my LSD on a Sunday, and it wasn't really by choice. I enjoy my Saturday morning ritual but yesterday, I was just too sore from Friday's workout to put my body through the challenge of 10 miles. I'm glad I rested yesterday but now my mileage for last week AND this week will be totally screwy (sorry for last weeks tally, Margaritaville Miles teammates) and I won't be able to do my scheduled run tomorrow because I'll definitely want to recover from today.

There were, however, a couple of highlights of today's run. First of all, when I was running 3.3 mile loop inside of Iroquois Park, I began to focus on the scenery that surrounded me and it was just amazing. There are still trees with leaves on them but their color is an amazing yellow/orange/pink hue. It was just beautiful.

During my first mile, I saw this:

That's a red-headed Woodpecker. It was an awesome sight. I literally stopped running to look at the way this little guy maneuvered up the tree.

On my way off of the loop in the park, I saw a flash of bright blue beside me and I looked over--it was two beautiful blue jays. AMAZING COLOR!

I left the park and headed down a nearby street that is frequented by runners (Southern Parkway) and I was amazed at the smell--apparently everyone was doing laundry this morning. It smelled GREAT!

I also did something I've never done before--I drank out of the dog water fountain. The regular sized fountain was not working and another runner happened to be there and told me that I'd have to use the little one--the "little" one is the one everyone lets their dogs use. But hey, I needed some quick hydration! LOL

I continued running north on Southern Parkway until I got up to Kenton, which isn't quite one block from the boundary of Churchill Downs. I actually picked up the pace for this portion, as I was literally getting tired of being out there. LOL I kept myself going by thinking about running this same route during my the Mini in April--and I thought to myself how I'd be running that in April, thinking back to how I made it through the struggle TODAY. I pushed myself so that I could push it in the race.

I finished up with 10.14 miles in 1:55:00, making my average pace hang around the 11:20/mile mark. That's a little faster still than I'm SUPPOSED to be going but hopefully I won't have any problems and I'll stay healthy.

I hope everyone has had an excellent weekend and will have a great week ahead! I'm going for an ice bath...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A RUNdown of 2008...Discovery

2008 was an amazing year of running for me. It wasn't a year of speed or races WON or anything "spectacular" like that. But it WAS spectacular. It was a year of many firsts and of many achievements (hoped for and unplanned). But most of all, it was a year of discovery for me. If I had to sum up my year in running in one word, it would be just that:


I discovered so many things about myself, about who I am actually CAPABLE of being and who I actually have the POTENTIAL to become. This is not me trying to sound cheesy or corny--the truth is, I blog here, I run, I make jokes, I live life, I am mostly joyous and full of good spirit. But those that know me very well and have seen my struggle for the last year know that there's so much more to me beneath the surface, beneath the jokes and beneath the miles logged.

Post-Freshman year of college (and even in small aspects of my life prior to that), I've only pushed myself into comfort zones and usually, not any further. I won't begin to dive into why I think this is or what areas of my life were effected, but I have never been proud of that "quality." As good of a person as I am, and as hard as I work, and as much of myself as I give to others, there has always been this weakness that belongs to me. I believe I'm deserving of more, but perhaps you can call it laziness--I wasn't always willing to give myself more. And maybe because I spent many years doing this (or not doing this), I started to believe that I COULDN'T do more for myself.

What I accomplished for myself in 2008 is unbelievable to me. It's so much more than my list below, which you will see soon. It's about a mindset, a mental strength and a discipline that I've never quite known in my life for an extended period of time. I believe in myself now--in my ability to challenge myself and succeed, at least some of the time. I know that I can push myself into someplace UNcomfortable and not crash. I know that I can take a certain amount of pain and live to tell about how great it was. I know that my imperfection actually makes me perfect--because it's just who I'm supposed to be at that time. I have conquered tough workouts, crazy recovery methods and a lot of self-doubt and I KNOW that I'm stronger than I've ever been. I'm so proud of myself for pushing so hard this year and finding out that I can love something (something that is totally my own, and it's not another person that I have to give and give to, it's something that is MINE that gives me back exactly what I put into it) so much that I will sacrifice for it--sacrifice late nights or a bad (but oh so good) meal or an alcoholic beverage or sleeping in on my weekends off.

I must express again that this is a VERY sincere expression of what running has done for me. I'm sure that there would have been many other ways to show myself that I CAN have discipline and I can overcome difficult obstacles but running just happened to be at the right place, and at the right time. And for once, I finally decided to stop and listen--and start TRULY running.

So let me lighten the mood and let you guys in on some of the more trivial things I did in 2008:

1. Ice Baths -- something I NEVER thought I'd do. But after a horrid "long" run of 6 miles (a distance PR back then), I decided I had to find a way to recover. I tried my first ice bath and I was hooked. There's something religious about my recovery routine on my Long Run Saturdays, and honestly, the fun of the routine is part of the reason I continue to do ice baths. The rest of the reason lies in the fact that I truly believe in them.

2. GU -- I heard so much about these gels and was pretty scared to try them. I didn't have my first one until my long runs started going over 1 1/2 hours or so--but I found that I actually like the convenience and taste, just not the stickiness!

3. Running Tights -- EEK! Yeah, I wanted to be a "real" runner so I went out and bought some tights. I was so terrified of leaving the house in them. But that first run outdoors made me LOVE them and not care what I might look like or how I might be perceived. I'm so over it. But I'm NOT over my tights.

4. Group running. Who knew? I tried it earlier this year with a great friend and it just didn't work out for me. I felt bad, and I felt weird--like I was destined to run this path alone forever. And while I LOVE my alone time out there, I wanted to at least feel like I COULD run with others and enjoy it. So I tried one more time with some new friends and guess what? I LOVED IT! Thanks Tom and Joe!

5. The changes in my body. Not going to bore you or get too personal but let's just say WOW. Big difference. It's amazing to see your body progress and improve.

Some huge achievements for me:

1. Distance PRs all over the place! I slowly increased my mileage this year, and I'm up to a distance PR of 10.07 miles which I hit in November. It was amazing to reach that point after so many years of thinking 4-5 would be my max. So many Saturday mornings were spent out at Bernheim or at Iroquois or around my neighborhood, fighting off mental and physical fatigue to get in more distance and make myself a better runner. Long runs are currently my favorite type of workout.

2. Consistent Speed Improvements. What more can I say? I've gotten faster and faster and for the first time ever, I've actually run sub-10:00 miles--and not just in shorter distances, but also in medium. I now know I have the ABILITY to get faster. To go from running a 14:00 mile to being able to run 10:00 miles is a HUGE achievement for me!

All in all, a great year. And while I'm tempted to feel like 2009 has no chance of comparing to 2008, I TRULY believe that 2009 will be a better year. It's like when you have a second child--you already know how to do it right. There's no experimentation, no mistakes to be made--you just do it and you do it well. LOL

So here I come...