Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moon Joggers and Goals

I read a lot about running. It is how I stay motivated. I also am a member of a number of facebook groups dedicated to various aspects of running. And one group that kept popping up on my radar was Moon Joggers.

Apparently, Moon Joggers started out with 2 girls who wanted to be accountable to themselves and one another in their running goals, and who challenged one another to run 1000 miles each in 365 days. Long story short, their plan morphed from there... and they wanted to get 238 people to each commit to just over 1000 miles each, for a total distance of 238,837 miles...

In other words, the distance from earth to the moon.

And their idea spread like wildfire. And they soon realized that they had enough people committed to run a total distance of THREE round trips to the moon and back.

That's HUGE! And it quickly became a new goal.

On May 23, 2013, they made their first landing on the moon. But participation has waned a little bit. And I realized I am logging miles all the time anyway, it takes next to nothing on my part to join them, and perhaps it might hold me a little more accountable...

So of course I've joined them. And because I track my mileage religiously, I was able to back-track to the first of the year to help contribute to the goal. So far this year I have contributed 190 miles toward this goal.

Which brings me to my own goals...

If you remember back in January, when I first started setting goals for the year, I said I would like to run a total of 371 miles in the year.

With it being the end of June, and at the halfway mark for the year, I am happy to realize that I am on track with this goal and just over 50% there.

But I've also realized that I set the goal a little too low.

Because I chose a 371 mile goal before I decided that I wanted to train for a full marathon.

And that was also before I got this wild idea to run 6 half marathons in 6 days.

Now, I do a little math (you'd never know from this blog and the way I crank out numbers in my posts that I actually passionately despise math), and I realize that with the mileage from the new training plan for the 6 half series, and the 78.6 miles from the series itself... YIKES!

I am on track to finish the month of September with 300 miles MORE than my 2013 goal...

If I'm around 670 miles at the end of September, I could totally hit 1000 miles by the end of 2013. I don't dare turn that into an Official Goal yet, but just something to think about. And it kind of makes my head spin.

That's like the distance between Boston and the Georgia State Line!

I am out of town this weekend taking little Tommy Mills on the trip of his dreams with the Superman Walks Project, but when I return exhausted, I start in on training week 4 with a target of 40 miles.

Hope that first point one doesn't get me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lock Laces Giveaway...

The other day, I absolutely raved about the pair of Lock Laces that I got in my first Stridebox (a monthly box club for running products). I put the Lock Laces into one pair of my shoes, and fell in love.

I went online, and using a coupon code they gave me, I promptly ordered seven more pair. The coupon was good, I couldn't resist.

They arrived, and I put another pair of Lock Laces into a second pair of running shoes. I took a photo and uploaded it to their facebook page the other day, during a promotion they were having, and I won myself another couple pair of Lock Laces.

Yep, I'm a lucky girl. So then I got to thinking... How about if one of my readers was a lucky girl or lucky boy too?

I contacted Lock Laces and they agreed to send me 2 more pair to give away through my blog. They are sending me a pair of black and a pair of hot pink Lock Laces. If you win and would prefer a more neutral second pair (to go along with the black pair), I will make an exchange from my personal stash... but we can discuss that later.

But for now, make sure you enter my giveaway... And tell your friends to enter too.

You know you want to.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting down to business

The other day, my dear friend Brina (who started as a running friend but who I feel strange calling a "running friend" because she is WAY more than that), posted to the Center of the Nation group on Facebook about what kind of training plan we needed to do in order to complete our goal of finishing 6 half marathons in 6 days. She got some great responses, then took those responses and developed a training plan for the two of us to follow.

We both agree that we are far more accountable for our commitment toward training if we follow a set training regimen, and we liked the way the plan she designed looked. She gave me a copy this past Thursday, and it looked like I was only missing one day at the very beginning.

Fast forward to Saturday, and I realized that I was actually looking at the wrong week. Doh. So instead of finishing out the week FOUR miles short of the target, I actually finished out the second week about FIVE miles short.

OK, no big deal, right? Except that my total for the week was only 12 miles. And next week, my total mileage for the week goes up to 20 miles. That's a big increase. They are somewhat shorter runs, but they are a lot of back to back days. And this is where I start to get intimidated.

But I have a plan. And other than a few deviations from the plan (like the fact that I am traveling this coming weekend and don't see myself being able to complete my scheduled Sunday 10 miler on a travel day), I think this is going to work.

You got to have a plan, and you have to work your plan.

And starting to eat right again would probably help too. Its not that I am gaining weight, I'm just feeling a little puffier than normal. I think part of it is the increase in whole grains and other vegetarian types of foods, but I'm sure the cinnamon bun at Ikea didnt help, or the other little cheats that I find myself somehow justifying.

But whether my weight is increasing or not, I am feeling somewhat sluggish from the occasional foray into junkfood-ville and the lack of high mileage runs (which will obviously be changing soon) means I am not burning crazy calories. I am actually kind of surprised that the weight isn't creeping back on.

In the meantime, I have a closet full of new running clothes.... clothes I never would have considered running in this time last year. New clothes may provide some of the extra motivation that I need too. Who knows?

One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. Its time to get into gear because I don't want the point one to get me.

Welcome to Week 3!

Friday, June 21, 2013

June Stridebox

Years ago, when I first got into scrapbooking, I found that "monthly kit clubs" were a cost efficient way of trying new products without having to shell out ridiculous amounts of money to commit to entire boxes of products that I wouldn't end up liking or using in the end. Recently I've been thinking how great it would be if something like this existed for runners?

Lets face it, each runner is different and running products are expensive. Sometimes products taste awful, or they cause blisters, or they make us sick, or it is just something we've heard about but don't want to make a commitment to because we are scared that they will taste awful, cause blisters, or make us sick.

That's why Stridebox was so enticing for me. Here was an opportunity to subscribe to a monthly box which would show up at my door choc-a-block full of products that I've wanted to try. I was a little nervous signing up because I tend to be so frugal... $15 seemed a lot of money to spend on 6-8 "samples" of products, but all fears went out the window when my first box arrived earlier this month.

For $15, I felt I definately got a good bang for the buck. When I first opened the box, I immediately recognized the Foot Rubz ball. I was too excited about getting this ball (which helps alleviate pain from swollen fascia) that I barely looked at the other products in the box. Immediately I had to take the ball out and start using it. It was like heaven and I am sure this ball will make it into my raceday bag and become a staple of my regimen.

The next thing I noticed was that there was a pair of lock laces. I had heard all about lock tight laces last month when I was buying new shoes and changing out laces, and I was eager to give these a try. I've only run about 5 miles with these new laces, and they did take a little adjusting to ensure that they weren't too tight, BUT I am so impressed, that I went to their website and (using a promo code provided to me through facebook) bought another few pair.

Seven, to be exact (Don't judge).

Those 2 products alone retail at $15 total. So you could say I got my money's worth.

Also included in the box was some scratch exercise hydration mix (which I didn't think was so good), a couple packages of pocket fuel almond butter with kick (which i haven't yet tried but am anxious to), a powerice frozen electrolyte bar (which I am hesitant to try because I am not so sure about how electrolytes being frozen would taste),  an Electro Delytes energy bar (which I am a little hesitant to try because bars might be a trigger for me... too much like candy?), and a package of Blue Steel Sports anti-chafe cream (which I haven't tried because I don't tend to chafe on shorter runs).

I'm really excited to see what comes in next months box. And I would say that so far it's well worth it.

None of the products will make me run faster, but they might motivate me to run more. And that might be motivation enough.

Disclaimer: Stridebox (or the manufacturers of the products partnered with Stridebox) did not provide me with any of these items, nor did they compensate me in any way for writing this review. The opinions contained within this post are entirely my own.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finding focus

This week, I've been down in the dumps. I've been feeling really depressed and physically ill. I haven't been keeping food down, my stomach has been in knots, my head has been pounding. I've really just been a hot mess. I've been feeling spread too thin and really uncared for. I blame nobody in particular, but I also have recognized that social media (aka facebook) has not helped to make me feel any better about myself or about life in general.

So I took a hiatus. I resigned from various organizations which were asking a bit too much of me. I deleted my facebook account, I turned off my phone, and suddenly I was able to re-focus on the important things.

Work. My husband. My dissertation. A little introspection. Logging some miles. Me. Myself. I.

My husband took a little time off of work to spend quality time with me and help me to re-focus. We turned off the TV and we talked. We ate icecream late at night, and we giggled. And when I burst into another round of uncontrollable tears, he held me until they dried up. And then he forced me to put my running shoes on and go for a short and brisk 3 mile stroll around the block.

I know that this exercise dramatically helped.

Its not perfect, but its a good enough start. I've now had that time away and a bit of time for self-reflection, and I have been reminded of what the important things are, and what is just fluff.

It was good to be away from social media. It was healthy to shut off the outside world and limit my screentime. It was good to refocus my energies on myself.

And now I am feeling recharged and ready for the next phase.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Introspection on training

Last night's 5 mile training run was hot and humid. It had rained all day and though said that it was 78 feels like 81, the oppressive dampness in the air made it all the more difficult to breathe. Having only gotten one other run in this week, I knew I needed to get out there and run... I also knew the endorphins and serotonin would do me good.

At almost 2 miles in, I passed a woman who was in her driveway. She asked how I was, to which I responded "its too hot for this."

"No it isn't" she responded, "Its never too hot out when you have goals. You can do this."

She will never fully know what hearing that meant to me... but I am thankful for her and her kindness.

On the surface, It is clear why hearing those words would be encouraging. But there is more to it than that.

Because I have a confession to make.

I had this great plan to train for my upcoming bout of insanity at the Center of the Nation Series in September. This plan consisted of a modified build up like I did last year for my first half marathon. I would run 5 miles for 5 days in a row (5x5), then the next week I would run 6 miles for 5 days in a row (6x5), then back to 5x5 then up to 7x5, back to 5x5 and up to 8x5. and so on. While it would take hard work and be totally doable, it involved running 5 days per week from now until the middle of September.

That's a lot of running. And you know... life is running away with me. I'm once again finding myself spread just a little too thin. I never say no, and I am always doing-doing-doing for other people. And between all of this other stuff for other people and the crap-tastic weather in South Florida (really it should be renamed the Thunderstorm State rather than the Sunshine State)... my own training falls to the wayside.

And while I hesitate to say this, I know that for my own mental well being, I need to:

Putting everyone else first, it JUST NOT FAIR.

I'm a list keeper. Anyone who knows me will say that I have lists for everything. Not only that, but my lists are kept on post-it notes, and my desk is covered with them. These lists are for everything that I am working on for school, for work, for my philanthropic endeavors, reminders for bills and phone calls, reminders for appointments (I also put postits all over the inside of my calendar), books I need to get out of the library, basic math equations, etc. You name it, I have a note for it.

But lately, I've noticed a trend. I've been adding things like my daily squats or my daily runs to the postits of things that need to be done for the day. That has to stop! I shouldn't be putting myself on the list of thing to take care of. Taking time for myself to take care of myself should be coming naturally, but it doesn't.

And then for some reason, I get frustrated when people just assume that I have all the time in the world for them and their emergencies or their problems. I feel hurt when people habitually put themselves first and take me and my feelings into account last. I feel hurt when I recognize that I am their option, while they are a priority.

But the reality is, I can't be hurt or angry with them. At the same time, I must recognize that I have conditioned people to treat me this way and always put me last. I have allowed this dichotomy to flourish.

Last night, I put myself first. I said screw it to my school work and my phone calls for work-work. I said it can wait to the dishes and boiling more drinking water (water advisory this week in our area). I said enough to the endless lists and piles of postits that I am trying to sort through.

And instead, I said TIME FOR ME.

And if I can continue to take this attitude toward my training for my next big bout of craziness, the training will come naturally. That I am sure of. My trainings will not be just another thing to check off on my to do list. They will be part of the want to list. And that list wont have to be scheduled in.

Because sometimes, its OK to put myself first. Sometimes its OK to be selfish.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disney's Glass Slipper Challenge

After last year's half marathon experience, I had said that I would never run another long distance race at Disney... but then I went back on my vow and chose to register for the 2014 WDW Marathon.

Part of my decision to register for the WDW Marathon was because I wanted to see if I actually could run 26.2 miles (in a row), and I knew that doing it at Disney would allow me hard corrals which would allow me a little extra time if I started toward the front of the corrals.

The other part of my decision came from the sheer joy of spending uninterrupted quality time with my dear friend Brina.

When I suggested running the marathon, Brina really didn't seem all that interested. She had run a marathon before, and hadn't overly enjoyed the experience (because she ran by herself?). But she liked the idea of having a friend to share the experience with if she did it again. It didn't take much arm twisting, and eventually I convinced her that she wanted to do it with me, and we registered.

The half-serious (but not quite joking) agreement that we made was that she would do the marathon (that she claimed that she didn't want to do, but I believe she was only half-serious about not having interest in), but in exchange, I would register for a race that I wasn't all too keen on, if she really wanted to do it.

But then I started half joking about doing the Center of the Nation series (and adding the Montana Half Marathon to it for a total of 6 half marathons in 6 days), and somehow I sort of wound up roping her into doing those races as well. And while I would never force her into doing races that she didn't want to do, it becomes very clear that when it comes to choosing the events we participate in together... I seem to be the bad influence (always picking ridiculous goals and pushing for more and more).

Brina is perfect Princess, meaning she has run the Disney Princess Half every year since it was introduced. I knew she wanted to run the Princess half marathon all along, and we had planned for me to join her. But about a month ago, Run Disney announced that in addition to their family 5K and the half, they were going to add in a 10K race and create a 2 race challenge called the Glass Slipper Challenge, where runners would tackle 10K on day 1 and the half marathon on day 2... for a total of 19.3 miles at Disney (and 3 medals).

Of course it sounds crazy.

Not quite as crazy as 78.6 miles in 6 days, but still pretty crazy.

So of course we are in.

Today, the Disney Princess race registration becomes available to the general public. Being an annual pass holder allowed me early registration last week, and because we were both afraid that the Glass Slipper would sell out early, Brina and I jumped at the opportunity to register.

It is going to be crowded. Probably much more crowded than I would normally like, but I'll get a girls weekend out of the deal... and I'll get to represent my favorite Disney princess.

Yep, that's right. When you register, you choose your favorite Disney princess, and her likeness is printed on your bib.

Now I'll just have to come up with a cute costume to represent her.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Meeting Galloway (and being a "serious runner")

The other day, I had the amazing opportunity to see none other than Mr. Jeff Galloway give a presentation at Runners Depot (the local independent running store that we frequent). Most runner's know Mr. Galloway as a lifetime runner, and a member of the 1972 American delegation to the Olympics, training alongside Prefontaine and Frank Shorter... and a man who went on to revolutionize distance running through what he has called the Galloway program.

But the reality is that most people probably don't know who he is. Or if they know of him they know that he was a runner and an Olympian, but they don't know much about him. I mean, come on, I had never even heard his name at this time last year...

And here I am having had the opportunity to sit and hear him speak, share stories with him, and ask him for his advice and professional opinions. Who the heck would have thought this possible???

What makes it stranger is that this event happened in a running store, the very same running store that I dreaded having to go into last August when I needed new shoes... but I digress. We are talking about Mr. Galloway here, not rambling over my self-perceptions.

So anyway, I had the amazing opportunity to sit and hear Mr. Galloway speak on Friday evening. Two years ago, when I volunteered at the WDW Marathon Weekend expo, and this past year when I was picking up my bib for my first half marathon, I saw him giving talks from the stage area, but I didn't really get the opportunity to stop and listen to him. Besides, I wasn't a serious runner, and I would never be a serious runner... why bother listening to him talk about competitive running.

But during this past year, somewhere along the line, I realized that I may never be a speedy runner, and I may never be able to break 3 hours for a half marathon, but I could be serious about running. Afterall, for me, being serious about running means that I understand the positive benefits to both my physical and mental health. Being serious about running means that I somewhat "enjoy" the opportunity to run hard and often ("enjoy" being a word that is quite subjective and may not mean the same for you as for me here). Being serious about runnning means that I want to continue to set and meet goals, and I would like to do them with as minimal bodily injury as possible.

And now that I think of serious running like that, OF COURSE I AM A SERIOUS RUNNER.
Me and my running friend Tracy with Mr. Galloway

Not that this talk was specifically designed for serious runners. Actually I felt quite the opposite. I felt that he was (to a certain extent) just doing one big over-rehearsed real-time and live advertisement for his books about the Galloway Training Method, and the Galloway running group that trains folks to actually follow the Galloway Method. Not that the discussion wasn't useful (because it most certainly was), but I did feel that it had a purpose... and that purpose was to sell the Galloway name and the Galloway products. His target audience wasn't just the stereotypically-serious runners (although he did address them sometimes), it was actually everyone from veteran to newbie who has just bought their first pair of running shoes and never worn them off the carpeting in their house.

But it wasn't the presentation that got to me. It was the Q & A session afterward that really meant something, and that really changed the game for me.

I asked specifically about how we return to running after a terrible-horrible-no-good very bad race experience, after a Dead-last place where you get really sick and where your head just would rather you take the DNF, because right now, I think this is one of my big blocks.
How do I snap back after that kind of trauma and pain? How to I get my head back in the game?

And Mr. Galloway looked me dead in the eye and it was almost like we were the only two people in the room. He gave me one of the best pep talks I have ever gotten and amongst other tips and techniques that he was suggesting, he told me that any serious runner knows exactly what that feels like, and that getting back out there is part of what makes them a serious runner. Then he said the most amazing thing ever. He said:

You have to be the captain of your soul.

It isn't just the words themselves that are amazing... because I suppose these are words that many people would use... but it is the fact that these words are part of my positive self-talk and part of my mantra which comes directly from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. The final stanza is:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

He could have said anything to help get my head back in the game, yet he said the one thing that I always repeat to myself.  Unreal.

I wish I could explain all of the things he said to me, and all of the feelings that he stirred up, but it would take hours. And I'm sure that most people wouldn't care... the important thing is, he spoke directly to me. He touched something deep inside of me that reignited the fire and passion that I have to achieve my goals. He spoke to me as a serious runner... regardless of my shape and size. He spoke to me, as someone who believed that I could do whatever I set my heart to do.

And I think that is what ultimately makes him an amazing man.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I'm a slacker

I've run into a slight snag with my training for my big birthday trip... I had originally wanted to spend last week running 5 miles per day, all 5 weekdays... but then the storms came. While I enjoy a nice rain (both misting and torrential downpours) while actually out on my runs, I find it so difficult to motivate to leave the house while it is raining.

When the rain comes while on a run, it serves to cool me off after I have already worked up a sweat. If I have to leave the house while it is raining, I go from dry to soaking wet from rain, and I just hate that.

So last week, I managed to run 2 nights in a row. The next night I was rained out. The 4th night of the week I was also rained out, so Ray and I went to watch the basketball game with friends who are on the Superman Walks Project Tommy's Dream Team. Then Friday, it was threatening rain all day, so I skipped my run for a double date with some friends to see The Great Gatsby.

But as the week progressed, I found myself worrying about something else as well.

With the constant threat of storms lately, my migraines have been out of control. But with the really high humidity index, my asthma has been out of control.

While I am happy to say that I haven't really had to use my albuterol, I have noticed a significant impact on my breathing. I've been short of breath for about a week, and have had some sporatic issues of being unable to catch my breath while walking outside. This makes keeping up with my training difficult.

I know that running in the morning will probably help ensure that I get these runs in, but my sleeping patterns have been messed up for years. The current trend is that I go to bed at 12 exhausted and wake at 4am... but then I am so groggy and out of it (from the sleep medication that I didn't fully sleep off), that motivating for a morning run is just not happening.

I feel like a slacker. I feel like a loser. I feel like a failure.

I have goals. And I know I wont be able to meet those goals if I don't buckle down and get the training done.

The good news is, the earnest training for the 6 in 6 challenge doesn't need to start until Monday.

In the meantime, I will keep on with the 30 day squat challenge.

Technically I am on day 15, but I missed a day this weekend so I repeated. I already notice a difference in strength... That first day when I did 50 squats, I thought my muscles were going to explode. Now it takes getting past 100 to feel that way, and I don't start struggling until I hit about 120-125.  Tonight I do 135, so we'll see how that goes.

How long before I am supposed to notice a difference in my body though?