Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recruiting new members for our cult/running community

A dear friend of mine asked me in a text about how to start walking/running.  Since I am pretty sure I could talk for DAYS about running, I had to forgo texting back and respond via email.  So I shared my story about how I joined the cult and a few other informative tidbits.  I really don't have anyone in my immediate group of family and friends that are regular runners and it would be really great if I could create one convert.  Muahahaha! 
Anyway, if you read my blog, you are either A) on the Loop and already a runner or  B) a longtime stalker on my livejournal (I like to pretend I have stalkers to stroke my ego).  BUT, in my fantasy world, there could be a random reader out there who reads this and it becomes a catalyst to becoming a runner.  So.........I share the email:

Mmmkay, so you know I could blab your ear off on the subject.  I'm just sayin', this might be opening a can of worms as you know I'm a crazy runner girl and only wish that every other person in the world could feel the joy I do when it comes to my hobby.

But that being said, I will try to keep my enthusiasm contained.

The truth is, it's one of those things that took awhile for it to be a habit.  Sure, I did have a background of running in middle & high school, but I didn't become a committed runner until about 6 years ago.  And when I decided to try to make it a habit, it took probably a year of consistency before I felt as though I truly had formed the habit.  And the first time I realized that I wanted to run was the first time and couldn't (I think it was thunderstorming), I knew this could be a lifelong habit if I kept up my end of the bargain.

The first step for me was finding a way to not just walk/run one day and then forget about it for 2 weeks.  I needed to stay on track.  So I committed to myself that I would go every other day for a few weeks.  Every day seemed a bit too pushy, less than that seemed like I'd fall off the bandwagon too easily. 

The first 2 weeks, I just walked for 30 minutes every other day.  I brought my iPod full of dumb songs to the park and walked. 

By the end of the 2 weeks, I was feeling as though I could test the running waters.  I decided I would build up to being able to run for a sustained period.  So on subsequent runs, I walked for 9 minutes and 'ran' for 1 minute, then repeated.  It was more like a fast shuffle at this point.  But as long as my feet were leaving the ground simultaneously, I could call it running.  Over the course of the following weeks, I slowly transitioned to a little more running and a little less walking. 

Long ago, I had cut out an article from Seventeen magazine (yeah, that long ago) that helped me the first time I decided to start running back in middle school.  It took 10 weeks, but each week, you add another minute of running to the run/walk cycle.  i.e. week 1: 9 minutes walk, 1 minute run, week 2: 8 minutes walk, 2 minutes run, etc.   I didn't follow it exactly, but this was the premise of plan. The days I felt good, I would try the running segments for a little longer and on the days I felt yuck, I allowed myself to walk a little more. 

It took about 3 months before I was running for 30 minutes at a time.  And probably another 3 months before 45 minutes became comfortable.  After about a year, I could run for an hour every other day and amazingly, I felt good.  There are days that I still have to just put on my running clothes and pout for awhile until I decide that it is always better to do the workout than not.  There has never been a time when I've been like, "gee, I really wish that I hadn't just run". 

Getting the right shoes, clothes, sports bra, etc. definitely can make the experience more pleasant, but isn't necessary.  I'd highly, highly, highly recommend Fleet Feet Johns Creek and at the bare minimum get a good sports bra from them (and never put it them the dryer or use fabric softener on them--ggrrrr, wish I had learned that years ago!!).  I like music when I run so I treat myself to a set of new tunes every few months.  $5 can go a long way with my motivation.  

The first and last hurdle is staying on track.  I have had a few weeks here and there that I haven't run for various reasons over the past 6 years.  And I beat myself up a little about it (hello, Type A!) for a little while until I lace up and find myself with no excuse to not run.  I'm not going to lie--some of the time I think why I am compelled to continue this madness?   But I seek out the things that motivated in the first place--reading about other people running, eating that extra brownie, some time to clear my head without anyone to bother me--and remember why it is all worth it.

I liked writing this so much, I am going to post it to my blog. :)  Hope you don't mind.  And please, please, please, ask me any questions you might have.  I'd love to help if I could.  I'd walk with you on my days off if you need a buddy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

This time it's not my mind in the gutter

I hate when my body is in funkville, but my mind is ready to run.  The 3 runs I've had this week have been terrrrrrrrrrrrible.  I suppose the good news is that I ran and finished my runs.  But my body is just hating me right now.  And there is no I-can't-run-right-now kind of injury.  Just generalized ick.  My foot hurts a little, my legs feel like lead/concrete/deadweight of choice. 

The problem is likely twofold.  1) Running in the evening has always been my body's least favorite time to run.  2) My job is a lot more physically strenuous and lifting furniture all day long is likely not a good prelude to running after work.  The good news is that these are problems can be dealt with.  I can quit whining about running after work and get my lazy butt out of bed and run before work.  This is easier said than done, especially when Adam and the dogs are snuggling.  And hopefully the furniture lifting will pay off in dividends once my body becomes used to it again. 

I have been extremely lazy (re: virtually none) about strength training in the past few months.  I run and run and run and run without any issue of motivation, but I just cannot get my stupid self back into strength training.  It's easy to say....oh, well, I run 25-30 miles a week, I already exercise enough....I can just run a random half marathon any day of the week without training......but we all know that it's different.  Who am I trying to kid?

Here's hoping my body finds its mojo again soon.  This rickety body stuff is for the birds!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It went better than I thought

I'll admit that I was kind of expecting a bad run this morning after my exhilirating 11-miler on Friday.  But it actually went better than expected.  4 miles turned into 5 just because I was feeling good.  I decided not to overdo a good thing and go any further.  I was running an easy 8:30 pace and fortunately did not experience much foot pain.

I am actually working a M-F workweek this week--odd for the retail slave.  I hope I can squeeze my runs in without too much pain.  Sometimes it is easier if I run fewer miles and more days on a week like this.  We'll see how I feel when I leave work tomorrow--sometimes Mondays dictate the entire week. 

My brother has been putting together plans for another cruise next April.  We are looking to do a Western Caribbean--Grand Caymen, Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel.  I've done this exact route before and it was a ton of fun.  The scuba diving in Honduras/Belize is amazing.  As part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, it is home to a lot of biodiversity.  Geeks like me appreciate all the cool stuff you can see with an oxygen tank strapped to your back.  I'm ready to pack already and it is still 6 months away!  Tropical drinks with umbrellas are always enticing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Anniversary #4, Awesome Run #862

Oh what a week it was.  I enjoyed a day of doing practically nothing on Monday.  Mostly pajamas and slacking.  It was glorious.  Tuesday, I ran in the morning and caught up on my Downton Abbey addiction.  The second season became available on Kindle Prime so I am happily streaming new episodes regularly.

The latter half of Tuesday, I worked and did some final prepping for inventory.  We filled all the scanners with data so they would be ready to download on Wednesday morning saving us some extra time.  That being said, we were done by around 10:30 AM.  What????? My previous inventory at Williams-Sonoma in January began at 5:30am and ended around 10pm.  I was, of course, preparing myself for a long day.   So I was kind of shocked that we finished so quickly.  I had packed my running clothes in hopes to run with Flying Tomato in the evening.  But since I ended up leaving at 3pm and he wasn't going to be at the park until after 6, I had to run alone.

It was a bad run.  The first 5 miles were yucky.  The final 2 miles I really contemplated stopping to walk.  All because my feet hurt soooooo bad.  I can't figure out if I have a bout of plantar fasciitis or bad bunions or both.  I came home and took a long bath and iced the worse of the two feet.
Yesterday was me and Adam's 4th anniversary!!!! Yippee!!!  We celebrated by dining at Restaurant Eugene and had a ridiculously delicious meal.  I had a food-gasm, like, 6 times.  We split a whole bunch of appetizers. First was a grilled mixed greens salad with radishes, beets, sweet onions, and carrots.  Next was a fun take on a hoppin' john--black-eyed peas and rice with tender pieces of gulf shrimp in a delcious broth.  With our meat appetizers, we shared a pork belly dish that had sauteed apples and carmelized onions as well as an amazing sweetbreads dish that even Adam loved.  I had this stupidly awesome duck dish that had a sliced breast on one half of the plate and slow-cooked dark meat atop greens on the other side.  Oh. My. God.  Adam had a ribeye that he allowed me taste a piece of--it was meltingly tender for a ribeye.  The final course was a caramel chocolate thing that was the perfect portion of rich and sweet.  My belly was super happy when we left.

Wedding day memories:

I iced my foot this morning for awhile.  Then I downloaded some new tunes for the iPod.  Then I had the most awesome 11 mile run through the woods.  The leaves were falling like a light snow.  The sky was clear and deep blue.  It was in the mid 60s.  Um, I was in runner's paradise.  My new tunes were extra inspiring.  When I got to the cow pasture, I really wanted to hop over the fence and take off at full tilt through the field.  Or at least do a few leaps.  The endorphins were crazy good today!!!  My foot was a little tender on the final 2 miles again.  But I was happy to be feeling so great.  My 8:00 minute miles felt easy.  I'd like to keep this trend of happy and fast runs.  Especially followed by a great meal.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jack Daniels and bacon>Gatorade and pasta

Life got a little busy and even though I had 1 good run last week, I had 3 bad/eh runs at the end of the week. 

Monday, I went to Fleet Feet to get new shoes.  I had a $50 Groupon and a $15 frequent buyer voucher so I ended up going home with 2 new pairs.  I got another pair of Pures in a half size bigger and I also got a pair of Adrenaline 12s (which I wore to run my last marathon).  I headed straight to the Greenway after my buying spree and put the Pures to the test.  The weather was perfectly perfect and I felt good and rested.  After 6 miles of sub 8:00 minute miles, I plowed out the last mile in 6:49!
Wednesday, I decided to run indoors after work and wore my new Adrenalines.  After about 3 miles in, my feet were killing me.  I changed shoes and the pain let up for about a half mile.  But the rest of the run was yucky.  Not enough pain to make me stop, just enough to annoy me and really ruin what I thought was going to be an easy run.

Friday, I wore the Pures from the onset.  But I just felt tired and achy.  Methinks part of it is the cyclical relationship I have with work shoes, running shoes, being on my feet all day, and the times I run after work.  I wore a pedometer last week to work and walked 16,000 steps AT WORK.  The new gig has a sales floor space of about 3 times the size of my old spot.  So I feel a bit justified in my inability to run well after work.  Most days.

Yesterday was the exception.  I was actually grossly hungover in the morning--more on that after the running blurb.  I didn't eat much of anything all day while at work and realized around 5:00 that I was finally hungry.  I wasn't walking very much yesterday--I spent the day standing in one section of the store doing pre-counts for inventory.  An onerous mind task of numbers and descriptions.  I was grouchy from being an idiot the night before so it was probably best that I was not assisting customers anyway....  When I got home and mustered my big girl pants, er shorts, on, I ran.  5 miles felt really great.  Perhaps it was because I was bracing myself for a bad run.  But I was pleasantly surprised that I was about to get 26 miles in last week.


There is the Carissa that runs marathons, writes letters to strangers, kisses her puppies, and tries really hard to be a good and positive person.  Then there is the one that likes to quash the rules for the night and gets cray-cray.  And when drinking with new and old friends, there is the common misconception in my brain that thinks that if I am having fun with 2 drinks, think of the expodential potential of 6 drinks (or more, let's be honest, at some point, I stopped counting).  Thankfully, I was in my own home and no one got hurt.  I just felt like death for a few hours the next morning.
But it was an awesome party if I do say so myself.  The snacks were on par with excellence.  I roasted a beef tenderloin, made potatoes au gratin with gruyere.
There was also a bacon macaroni and cheese appetizer:

A sweet pumpkin dip served in a hollowed out pie pumpkin with apples from the orchard, mini Nilla wafers, and Wheat Thins:

For the birthday cake, I made a chocolate layer cake with Oreo whipped cream frosting:

Later in the evening, after the majority of the food had been consumed, we got hungry again.  I made some microwave popcorn.  Then we decided to haul our popcorn cart outside on the patio (cause these are good ideas when drinking) and made *real* popcorn.

Then there was the hour that I got into a conversation with someone about the awesomeness of the Vitamix which lead to a presentation of fresh fruit margaritas.  At around the same time, we decided to make chocolate drizzled bacon.

The night was capped off with making a pepperoni pizza and stumbling my way to bed.  The dork in me exclaimed, "I'm not flossing or brushing my teeth before bed!"  As if anyone cared...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

While everyone was racing...

The good stuff had to catch up with me eventually.  I slacked off on Friday in lieu of sleep and had a yucky run yesterday.  I contemplated running tonight after work, but decided to push it to tomorrow because A) I was exhausted and B) I'm off tomorrow. 

I am probably going to get new shoes this week--my foot is definitely angry.  So either tomorrow or Saturday, I will head to Fleet Feet for a change.  I like the Pures enough, but I think I got them a half size too small.  This has made them feel constantly tight from the beginning.  At first, I thought I was being silly because it was such a different shoe, but I really think they are too small.

It was a crazy weekend of highs and lows at work.  We were really busy, but I finally felt like I knew (mostly) what I was doing.  I am still adjusting to a different way of doing things and hope that I will eventually feel like I'm 'home'.  It probably will be awhile before I feel completely adjusted.  The whole outlet mentality is a much different beast even though a lot of my customers are the same!

Adam and I are throwing a birthday party for our BFF Jeff this weekend.  Entertaining in the fall is as fun as entertaining in the fall.  We can hang out outside (comfortably) and fall food flavors are awesome.  It's always great to have something to look forward to, small or big.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I peeked only twice and (always) a shoe question

All that suffering in the summer paid off.  I am LOVING fall running.  Or maybe I am just loving that the humidity is no longer standing on my lungs.  Either way, I am oh-so-happy that I am feeling a little pep in my step.  I ran my 7 miles today in an average of 7:43.  Sweet! 

The best part is that I only looked at my Garmin twice.  Once at the turnaround/water fountain pit stop when I kind of had to look at it to pause it.  The second time was when I was almost finished and I wanted to see how fast I was going on the final mile--I couldn't help myself.  But, I am pleased that an almost naked run still produces some nice speed.  It was definitely a tempo effort, but there were a couple quarter miles that I felt fully relaxed. 

On a separate note, I have noticed that my feet have started to do their I-need-new-shoes thing a lot sooner than I expected.  Normally, I get about 400-500 miles out of my shoes--once every 3 1/2-4 1/2 months I need a new pair.  But this is the first time that I have worn a minimalist style shoe.  I bought them on July 20th (I checked the receipt in the box), which means that I have only about 300 miles or so on this pair. 

I am thinking that it is fairly obvious that minimalist shoes will wear out faster simply because they have less cushion and are more flexible to begin with.  But just to make sure I am not crazy, I'm curious if other minimalist wearers noticed this.  I went from wearing a lot of the Brooks Adrenaline and Mizuno Wave Riders to a Brooks Flow.