Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Please welcome Janell Hill, one of my dearest friends, to the blog today! I don't even know where to begin explaining how big of an influence and inspiration she has been in my life. We met in college (back in the dark ages), and we instantly became partners in crime. Janell and I quickly learned that we were so alike it was scary, and that to not be friends would be one of the biggest travesties known to mankind. Here are a few things we have in common.
-We have the same degree, we both graduated from the same college, and we are both teachers.
-We are both married to English teachers.
-We both married Auburn fans.
-Our moms are both cafeteria managers at schools.
-Our favorite color is green.
-We both married guys with a last name beginning with H.
-We are both runners.
-We both love writing.
-We both love dogs, reading, and drinking coffee.
Ok...now it's just getting spooky. And that's just scratching the surface! She and her husband share a birthday! How weird is that?
She doesn't mention this in her post, but Janell raised money and ran with Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society twice. She first raised money for a half marathon, and the second time was for a full marathon. I'm not exactly sure how much money she raised entirely, but I'm pretty sure it was over $3,000. Ok. Enough from me. Let's hear from Janell.
I honestly can’t even begin to string together a sentence to tell you how excited I was (and still am!) when Mallory asked me to write a guest post for her blog. Me? Write about running? Most of the time, I still feel like a novice, even though I’ve been running regularly for a few years now. I’ve got one marathon, four halfs, and a number of 5ks under my belt already with plenty more penciled in on my calendar. In no way do I even pretend to know much about running, but I sure do love to talk about it!
My running career has been a long time in the making – seven years to be exact. I’m not exactly sure how I got from barely running one mile to regularly pounding out six, eight, and ten milers, but it happened. Along the way, I found a love for both the solitude and camaraderie that running offers, as well as the great excuse to eat lots of carbs. I’m unapologetically slow, but I’ve somehow convinced myself that I’ll get faster if I just keep it up. And I think I just might be crazy enough to try to run another full marathon. Crazy, or I really love to buy athletic gear. Probably the later.
Simply put, I LOVE FOOD.
I’d love to live off of coffee creamer, Reece’s Cups, and bacon, but I recognize that it’s probably better if I don’t. A year and a half ago, I transitioned to the Paleo Diet. Yes, I’m one of those weird folks who eats their fruits and vegetables. I know it sounds confusing and faddish, but my general rule is that if I can’t pronounce an ingredient, I don’t eat it.
My favorite food quote and inspiration comes from Jack Lalanne: “You put junk in, junk comes out. You put good in, good comes out.”
I still eat pasta before long runs. I still use (copious amounts of) coffee creamer.
And I even eat candy. But not all the time.
How I Train:
I’m a lucky girl to live so close to my best running partner. Three miles, to be exact. I’m also lucky that she’s pushy. Don’t worry – I’m not saying anything that she doesn’t know. ;) She motivates me to keep logging miles and get in my long runs. I’d probably be a running has-been if it weren’t for her.
My dog is also a big factor in my training. See, I got this really cute puppy. But then the cute little puppy turned into a seventy pound dog with oodles of energy who is annoying as gnats when he doesn’t get his exercise. But I love that my dog is my running Buddy.
Early in my running foray, I was plagued with the weirdest of injuries: patellofemoral syndrome, bursitis in my knee, plantar fasciitis, and more. For the longest, I just couldn’t figure it out. Then I realized that I had the muscle mass of a bowl of Jello and ran like a baby giraffe. I started going to CrossFit classes two days a week to cross train and have been injury free ever since. To top it off, I’ve even gotten considerably faster!
In five months time, I set some amazing (and still unbelievable to me) PRs.
My half marathon time went from 2:04:12 to 1:52:40.
Then, my 5K time went from 28:07 to 24:50.
Before a Race:
One of my favorite professors once told me that she always gets butterflies before the first day of school. I thought it an odd thing to happen to a seasoned educator, but she went on to say that when she stopped getting butterflies, she would stop teaching – butterflies meant she cared.
I think that’s a neat way to look at nervous butterflies – which I always get before a race. Sometimes the butterflies barely flutter, while other times they’re huge, mutant butterflies flapping their wings nonstop. I love that I still care, and I love that I always strive to do my best and have a good time.
The butterflies usually begin about a week before a race and flutter all the way up until the starting gun. Somehow, once I start doing what I love, they dissipate and I get wrapped up in the methodical pounding of hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of feet.
I begin preparing for a race a week or so in advance. Early in the week, I make sure to eat super clean (nothing with strange ingredients) and try to pack in some natural carbs(helloooo sweet potatoes!). I also drink lots and lots of water. Thursday I’ll start to slowly carb load – maybe a little bread with my meals. The night before my race, I inevitably go crazy eating. I’ll load up on pasta and bread – we’re talking going back for seconds and sometimes thirds. Honestly, I used to be embarrassed by how much food I eat, but now I own it!
Race day morning, I always get up super early and have a cup of coffee with a scrambled egg. Weird. I know. If I’m at a hotel, I’ll usually splurge for a bagel, though. :)
While I do like running, I honestly just like to buy athletic gear. I’ve accumulated quiet a stock and have no desire to slow that acquisition. ;) I do have some favorites that I’m happy to share!
Race Fuel: I love love love GU’s Chocolate Outrage and Salted Carmel gels. They’re especially good in the winter on a cold run. During the summer, I prefer the Lemon Sublime flavor. I also carry a supply of Jelly Belly Sport Beans while I run. I snack on those bad boys throughout the race to keep a pep in my step.
Attire: This gal’s thunder thighs would start a fire if something didn’t separate them. It’s a real shame I can’t wear those cute Nike shorts everybody else sports, but I’ve found a great alternative: the Brooks PR Mesh Skort II. The shorts underneath have a pocket on the leg and silicone sticky stuff to make sure they don’t ride up. The skirt on the outside has a zip pocket in the back and just straight up looks cute. They’re my favorite.
Socks: My life changed when I bought a pair of Pro Compression marathon socks. Blisters, swelling, and fatigue have all gone the way of the dodo since I started sporting those suckers. They’re cute AND functional – when does that happen?!? They retail for $50, but this small company occasionally offers a 50% off code AND free shipping. That’s when I stock up!
Shoes: I’ve amassed quite a collection in looking for the right pair --- Asics. Saucony. Nike. Brooks. My favorite shoes, though, have to be my Mizuno Wave Inspires. They are light, have a spacious toe box, and above all, they’re cute.
Accessory: I don’t usually listen to music when I run a race – I like to look approachable to other runners and just want to take in all that’s around me. However, I do like to carry my phone with me in my SPIbelt. I wore it for the first time at my marathon and was completely blown away that it caused me no discomfort at all.
It wouldn’t be right for me to leave out my favorite of favorites – my coach. This guy’s encouraging, patient, and lets me spend oodles of money on race registrations and pasta. He’s the best.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The race started off easy. I settled into a 7:30-7:45 pace. See, I had forgotten about how important pacing is during an all-out race. Pacing had become a foreign language. I just wanted to run. Well, after a mile, I realized I wasn't going to be able to keep that pace up the entire time. I met some gravel at the health department which slowed me down a great deal, and the hill up to the court house was rough. I walked around the school in order to have some gas left in the tank at the end. I finished in 29 minutes and some odd seconds. I was exhausted. I was pushing 60-70 pounds! Isaac had a time watching the scenery. He fell asleep after a mile. He was out!
All I all, I had a good race. I had several students there running or volunteering, and Heath came out to watch us run. I was very tired afterwards, but I'm glad I got to have that experience with my baby boy.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Training for this race was hard. From week 4 postpartum, I somehow managed to eek out a long run every weekend starting with a mile. I'm not going to lie. Training for this made me feel like I wasn't just crazy; I felt like I could be admitted at times. I don't recommend this for everyone. Having a baby was the hardest thing I've ever done, but running is my therapy and my me time, and I was desperate for a little bit to come back into my life after going almost six months without it.
Nevertheless, each mile that I gained every week was hard on me physically and emotionally. I didn't see the gains in speed that I wanted to see. I didn't feel like I wanted to feel. There were nights when I got only four hours of sleep, and I was still hanging onto some extra weight that continued to slow me down. As a result, my morale sunk really low. There were days when I told Heath that I didn't think I was going to continue with it...that my running days were over...that there was no way I could do this with a newborn. So after my pity party would come to a close, I'd keep lacing up because I just love doing it, and there was no other explanation at the time. I kept telling myself that I was used to feeling pretty bad after a challenging run, and that was all part of gaining stamina, speed, and endurance. I kept telling myself that one more run would make the difference. And it did.
I made myself get to 14 so I could mentally prepare for the half. After that, I slowly began to taper down from 12 to 10 to 8. Then it was time. I hadn't trained for a specific time. The fastest long run I had done was 8 miles at 10:40.
Well, the day before the race, I looked up some pacing plans for a half. Active.com has a really good one. I found the pace for 2:05 (a PR), 2:10, and 2:15. The plan said to take the first three miles slower, adding about 5-10 seconds to your goal pace. It said that it would be tough because of people passing you and the feeling of adrenaline making you want to go faster. Like it said, it was hard. After the first three miles, I kicked it in gear. I settled into a comfortable 9:20 pace. At times I found myself wanting to drop to 9:15, but I kept myself from slipping into that pace. Even though it felt good, I had to think about being able to maintain my 9:35 pace. I ate some Clif Shot Bloks every three or four miles. They kept me with a steady flow of energy.
The last two miles were supposed to be all I had left in the tank, but there was nothing more to give. My pace varied a lot the last little bit. It went from 8:45 to 10:45 at different times. However, when I turned the corner and saw the red flashing light of the clock, I gave it all I had. It said 2:05! It was a PR when I didn't even think it was possible. To not have trained for a specific time, I am pretty proud of my time. Most of my buddies are under two hours, so that's my next goal.
The Chief Ladiga Half Marathon is December 7th. I am shooting for 1:59 and below. I found a good training plan on runnersworld.com. It has me doing mile repeats once a week. That's going to be a change. Another change is running after work somedays. Isaac usually wakes up around 4-5, so I'll be able to take care of him and let Heath sleep while I get my run done after work. Another change is faster long runs. I have to run them at 10:24 for a couple of weeks and 10:18 the last few weeks.
Isaac is almost six months old! I can't believe it. He's getting so big. He has three teeth now. :)
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
hi! im danielle from ooh breathe, just breathe. im SO excited mallory asked me to guest blog for her (thanks!!). the
conversation went a bit like this...
mallory- I'd like to recognize another new inspiring mom who (obviously)
bounced back after baby. (then she gave me questions, one of which was diet
me- i know people will love my diet of doritos and iced coffee!
mallory- I think it's important for people to see how real we runners are.
We can't eat perfectly 100% of the time. People relate and connect to real
yup. you'll find im about as real as it gets (at least i hope that my blog
portrays who i am in real life!) i dont pretend to be someone im not. why
bother doing that? i also dont type with capital letters or a lot of
punctuation, and i love parentheses (i use them *a lot*), and that wont
change for this post. hopefully you enjoy my q&a session... head on over to
my blog if you want to find out more about me, my life, my running, and my
new baby boy!
**Tell me your running story*:
you might laugh when you hear this, but i used to hate running. yes, the
girl who has run almost 100 races and 50 mile weeks and 200 mile months and
8 marathons used to hate running. key word, obviously: *used*. during pre
season for high school soccer we had to run 2.5 miles in under 30 minutes.
it made me sick all summer thinking about it. in other words, i was lazy. i
also weighed about 145 in high school (and i loooooved swiss cake rolls and
pizza. oh wait, i still do...). i played soccer, basketball, and softball,
and went to college in upstate new york and played basketball there as
well. my hatred for running stuck around (and my love for all foods fried
and various other junk food joined the already unhealthy diet). we found
all the excuses in the world not to go to the gym and i especially wasnt
spending money on expensive running shoes and hitting the open roads.
but the summer before my senior year in college i decided to run a 10k in
the town i grew up in. i barely trained (clearly still didnt like running)
but i finished in 68:47. not too bad. then i went back to school and ran a
pumpkin run around halloween (a 5k) and i won first female! (i dont
remember but theres a good chance i was maybe the *only* woman running?
haha). i dont know what my time was but i kept running, and started to
actually enjoy it. in the spring i took a class called "jogging" (my other
class that spring was CPR. gotta love private school elective courses! what
a waste those last 6 weeks were...) and things really took off from there.
i learned about breathing and good running form. and i made myself a goal:
run a marathon by the time i was 30 (at the time i was 22 years old. 30 was
a long ways away).
the following summer i really trained for the same 10k i had run and took
10 minutes off my time. my first half marathon followed the year after. and
7 more half marathons after that. before i knew it, i was starting to train
for that full marathon (2009... almost 30 years old, man how time flies!).
marathon training is long and puts a lot of doubts in your mind. but i
remembered back to the overweight and lazy girl who never liked running and
knew i didnt want to be her again. in october of 2009 i crossed the finish
line of my first marathon, upright and smiling.
in my head i had originally thought i would be one and done for marathons.
they are *hard.* but from that moment i finished, i knew i would do another
one. over the next four years i ran 7 more. the last two of which i was
pregnant with henry. ive become a one star/bronze level marathon
maniac (two marathons in 16 days). ive done 4 reach the beach relays (200
miles in 24 hours). this weekend ill run my 17th half marathon, and it will
mark my 96th race overall. i think you can say i love running.
running gives me some great "me time". i used to have a tshirt that read
"running: its cheaper than therapy". i really do believe that. sure there
are days when my running isnt great, or i have bad runs, or i dont want to
run at all. but when im out there, i enjoy it (for the most part). and it
really helps clear my head.
so thats pretty much my running story. and its far from over, i hope!
*What is your diet plan*:
hmmmm good question. honestly, i dont have one. do i eat overly healthy?
for the most part. but i dont really have a plan i stick to. and i do love
junk food still, especially in the form of ice cream and potato chips.
running has been great all these years, enabling me to eat whatever i want
(especially during marathon training) and not really gain any weight. but
im getting older (waaaah waaaaah). and i know i need to eat healthy for
myself and now as a role model for henry. i love potato chips more than
life itself, but im convinced the salt is good replacement from the
running! (right? just agree with me, k thanks). im not gluten free. i dont
eat beets. im not on the paleo diet and im not vegan. i eat what i want,
with the knowledge of whats good for me and whats not (and i still often
will eat whats not good for me. you only live once!). you'll usually find
me eating a bowl of ice cream watching the biggest loser, and making fruit
and kale smoothies after long runs. i find i have a good balance/mix with
the food in my life. i like the way my clothes fit and the feeling that i
am strong. i dont step on a scale and worry about numbers.
*What motivates you*?
before having henry i was motivated to crush all my race time goals.
looking back i find it arbitrary. sure its nice to get fast and see lower
times on my watch. but what motivates me now is knowing how good i feel,
both physically and mentally, when i run/exercise. and i love seeing how my
positive energy rubs off on my little growing guy.
*How life has changed with baby*?
absolutely *everything* in my life has changed with baby.
e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. theres no more "just get out of bed and go". its a lot
of planning and prep, putting someone else first instead of me. ill be the
first to admit i think i was probably pretty selfish before henry was born
(not in a bad way, but you know what i mean). your whole outlook on life
changes after having a baby, and despite not having as much "me time"
anymore, i absolutely wouldnt change it for the world.
*How you fit in your workouts*?
i work 3 days a week and have 4 days off, which is a great schedule for me.
that being said, i either have to get up at 4am and get my run done before
work or before my husband leaves on my days off, run with the stroller, or
run when my husband gets home from work. if the runs dont get done, i brush
it off or figure out another time to get them in. i also have a great
running BFF who lives 1.6 miles away and she and i enjoy our 4am runs more
than most people ever should.
yay headlamps... safety first!
*What have been some of the challenges you have faced*?
a few years ago i had some knee/IT band issues that sidelined me quite a
bit from running, but other than physical challenges, most of what i face
now are just time management issues and getting runs in when i can. like
ive said already (and will say again, twice), i make it work for me... and
that often means running when henry is still sleeping or bringing him with
me. i hate missing out on things he is doing when he is awake, especially
at this age when he is learning new things so rapidly every day!
*Any tips and tricks*?
like magic tricks? tips for candy crush? i love to say i have all the
answers for making time to fit running in with your life... but thats just
what the trick is... you have to figure it out with *your life*. not mine.
i make it work for me, you need to make it work for you and your family.
*Give us some advice for beginners and new running mommies*:
either for new running mommies, or mommies who are new runners... take your
time and dont get frustrated. i was a runner before having henry, and i
feel that it helped tremendously with my pregnancy, delivery, recovery, and
overall mental health over the entire thing. getting back into running
after having a baby isnt easy and it took time, i didnt quite "bounce back"
as i thought i would, and that frustrated me. but ive lost all the weight
(and then some), and im getting stronger and faster. same thing goes for
new runners... ease into it. i didnt start running marathons from the very
beginning. ive heard great things about the couch to 5k programs. beginner
training plans for any race distance are a great way to start, and gives
you a goal to work toward. but again its all about finding the time to fit
it into *your* life and schedule.
*Do you have anything else you want to add*?
i think what mallory wrote to me when we first talked about this post was
spot on... its important for people to see how real we runners are. people
relate and connect to real people. i have so many blogs that i love reading
for that exact reason- i connect with people who are going through similar
life stages as i am. we share stories that are real. i attempt making my
own baby food and use cloth diapers (sometimes) but im not a super mom with
all of lifes questions figured out. im not a super fast runner who wins
races, but i run for me (and for cupcakes, obviously). i shop at target
(way too much), dont wear make up aside from mascara which is probably 3
years old, and dont own a pair of jeans over $40. i swear more than i
probably should. i sometimes dont shower til noon, if i shower at all. i
drink way too much coffee and desire to one day be on the reality show "big
brother". i am a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a mother. this is who i
oh... and im a runner. and i love it!
thanks again, mallory, for asking me to guest post!