Tulsa Oilers Arena Challenge

I haven’t been running much lately.  You may remember that I’ve been dealing with hip flexor tendonitis for a while.  And while my hip flexor feels pretty much back to normal, I’m still not back up to my usual running pace or distance.  So I’ve been staying away from races.  I have a hard time not racing a race, and I’m not sure I want to (or should) test a healing hip flexor with speed just yet.

But I’ve been missing races.  I miss running with a group of people and just being around runners.  So when I saw the Tulsa Oilers Arena Challenge pop up, I thought this could be a great way to fuel that need to be with runners but still be easy with the speed.

The challenge is held inside an event arena in downtown Tulsa, the BOK Center.  During hockey season, the Tulsa Oilers play there.  The challenge is roughly 2 miles, according to the event website, with participants running up and down the arena stairs.  It’s something I’ve thought about doing, but this was one race I didn’t want to do alone.

I put the word out to my strength and conditioning gym friends, and we formed a team of 9 people.  While we each ran individually, the finishing time of the top 3 finishers of our team would determine our team time.

We met up sporting our gym T-shirts, ready to tackle the challenge.  Wave 1 started.  I got in the queue for wave 2, feeling that excitement that bubbles up at the start of every race.  I love it!  The horn blasted, and we were off, running the corridors of the BOK center up and around the ramp to reach the upper level, down the stairs to the lower level, back up the stairs to the upper level, and finally to the arena stairs where things really got interesting.  I trotted down my first flight of stairs, turned at the bottom and ran back up the same flight.

No problem, I thought.  I’ve got this.

I trotted down the next flight, ran back up, down the next flight, and back up.  Three or four flights later my quads were cursing at me, and I started to wonder why I ever thought this would be fun.  But I kept going.  Down and back up, down and back up.  That hand rail became quite helpful as time went by and my legs started to get wobbly!

But finally I reached the last of the arena stairs, and all that was left was some easy running and a quick flight of stairs down to the finish line.

And my first Tulsa Oilers Arena Challenge is history!  And it was fun!  Doing something different was fun.  Running as a team was awesome!  Getting to know my gym peeps a little better–priceless.  I can’t wait to do it again!

Talk to me:

What’s a new challenge you’ve taken on lately?

Do you like ice hockey?


Dressing for Cold Weather Running

Oklahoma weather is fickle.  Seriously.  In every place I’ve lived, people say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.”  But only in Oklahoma have I seen that to be true in extremes.  Here’s what I mean.

This was me running about 4 days before Christmas:Yeah, it felt like an early summer day out there.

Then, two days later, I’m running in this.  What?!And yesterday, I woke up to this forecast:I got some questions recently about what I wear in cold weather.  You can catch up on my essentials for running in winter weather here, but I thought today I’d focus specifically on the clothes I wear when it’s just downright cold out there.

  1.  Layer your clothes.  Wear a couple of thinner layers instead of one heavy layer.  The body heats up quickly with activity.  And running hot is just miserable.  If you get too hot, just remove an outer layer.
  2. Wear moisture wicking fabric next to your skin.  The first layer I put on, whether it’s tops or bottoms, is something of moisture wicking fabric.  In extreme cold like today, my top will be a long-sleeved shirt, and my first bottom layer will be a pair of leggings.  Most moisture wicking clothing will be labeled, but you can also look at the labels.  Clothes made with mostly polyester will be moisture wicking.  Avoid cotton next to your skin!  Even in the cold, you will sweat, and cotton just absorbs the moisture and makes you feel wet and uncomfortable.  I also wear a polyester cap, and the first pair of gloves I put on are moisture wicking.
  3. Think zippered tops for an outer layer.  I like zippered jackets for my outer top layer.  If I start to get too warm, I can unzip my jacket first.  Sometimes that cools me off enough.  But if I do want to take my outer layer off, a zipper makes it easy to get off.  Most of my outer layer jackets are also made of polyester, but with a moisture wicking shirt next to your skin, you could wear pretty much anything as an outer layer.  You just want to make sure you can move easily and don’t feel weighed down by what you’re wearing.
  4. Wear lightweight wind pants over leggings.  For my outer bottom layer, I love these super lightweight athletic pants.  They aren’t made especially for running, but they block the wind, don’t weigh me down, and are easy to move in.
  5. Layer those gloves!  For some reason, my hands stay miserably cold when I’m outside in winter.  And unlike the rest of my body, my hands don’t seem to warm up with activity.  I’ve found that layering gloves works well.  If I get too warm, I can peel off layers until I have just the right amount of protection.  I start with a pair of moisture wicking gloves, add a pair (or 2) of knit gloves, and then finish it off with a pair of fleecy socks.  Yep!  Socks are like mittens and provide tons of extra warmth.  My hands stay toasty warm even on the coldest of runs!
  6. Wear wool socks.  I love Feetures socks.  They are all I run in.  A friend told me about these Feetures socks and how they kept her feet warmer.  I tried a pair, and they have now become my go to cold weather running sock.  My toes still feel like ice cubes for a mile or two, but it seems they thaw out a lot more quickly than with my regular socks.
  7. Keep your ears warm.  I love my moisture wicking Under Armor cap.  It keeps my head warm but doesn’t make my hair feel wet.
  8. Cover your nose and mouth.  There are all kinds of things out there made especially for runners to cover their noses and mouths.  I haven’t tried them because as a runner with glasses, if I cover my nose and mouth too tightly, my glasses fog over when I breathe out!  For now, I just use a regular scarf.  I can loosen or tighten it as needed to avoid that dreaded glasses fog.



One rule that guides me as I’m deciding how to dress to run outside is to dress for 20 degrees warmer than actual temperatures.  So even though it’s 20 degrees, I’m going to dress for 40 degrees.  Cold weather running can be invigorating if you’re dressed appropriately!  I hope this helps, and maybe I’ll see you out there!

Talk to me:

How’s the weather where you live?

Cold weather runner or not?

Post-Injury Running

So this happened last week:After 3.5 months, I finally ran 3 consecutive miles without stopping…and it felt great!

Knowing when and how much activity to add back in while recovering from an injury is hard for me.  I find myself just wanting to jump back in to my former level of activity, but after missing a whole season of training, I know I need to be cautious and go slowly.  And there’s no set formula, at least that I know of, that lays out exactly how to return to a former level of running.

So I’m kind of winging it.  I found this guide that’s been helpful.  And I’m following the rule of “if it hurts, stop.”  Since I was fit going in to an injury, I decided 3 miles at a whack would be a good starting distance.  But I also know that after such an extended time away from running, I’ve lost fitness and muscle strength.  What that means is I physically won’t be able to run my previous pace and distance for a while. For my early runs, I set a pace of 5 miles/hour (12 minutes a mile) which is 2 minutes slower than my last marathon pace.  Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but speed bothered my wonky hip flexor so I’d rather go too slow than to re-injure myself.

I started with 5 minutes of running followed by 5 minutes of walking on a treadmill to ease impact on a fragile hip flexor and then just gradually increased my run time while decreasing my walk time.  And finally last week  I ran 3 slow miles without a break…and no pain!  I was insanely happy!

My goal is to run 3 miles 3 times a week.  When I can do that without pain, I’d like to work myself up to about 20 miles a week before beginning to work on speed.  I was hoping to be ready to begin training again in January, but I’m trying to just be patient and focus on getting stronger.  Races will always be there; I want to make sure I’m healthy to run them.  But goodness, it’s hard to wait!

Talk to me:

What goal are you working towards currently?

Treadmill–like them or hate them?


Route 66 from the Sidelines

Yesterday was a bittersweet kind of day.  It was the Route 66 half/full marathon day, the race I had been training for before Mr. Hip Flexor cried “ouch” and made me stop training.

I woke up in a total funk, to be perfectly honest.  I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was at not being able to participate in the race.  And it looked to be perfect running weather, not cold and blustery like the day before.  So I laid in bed, debating whether to even go to the race or not.  Finally, I kicked myself in the butt and got going.  Really?  I was going to lay in bed and mope because I can’t run instead of cheering on my friends?  What kind of friend, and runner, am I?

And I’m so glad I got myself out the door.  It was a gorgeous fall day!  Bright blue skies, just that right temperature, very little wind.  Just being outside lifted my spirits.

I decided to take advantage of the fact that I would be watching the race to see parts of a race that I don’t get to experience when I’m running the race…like the start.  Sure, I can hear the gun and feel the surge of the crowd as we near and cross the start line, but I’ve never seen what that start looks like.  Wow!  So fun!

The race started with the national anthem.Then the wheelchair racers started.  Can I just say that wheelchair racers are a-mazing!  Running a marathon with the use of big leg muscles is hard enough; I can’t imagine doing it without the use of those muscles.  Then, it’s time for the open race.  The drum beats out a rhythm that gets your heart pounding.  The announcer counts down the seconds:  10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1!  The gun sounds; confetti fills the air and the racers are underway!  Just standing there taking it all in, I could feel my heart beat with anticipation, as if I was in my corral waiting for my turn to run through the confetti and cross the start line.  So fun!

Once the race was underway, I stationed myself at the 3.5 mile mark. 

The runners were still running fairly tightly, and I because I was hoping to be able to see some of my friends, I cheered on the masses for a bit and then scoped out another spot around the 7 mile mark.I have to say, driving around town during a huge race gave me an understanding of the frustration I hear from non-runners trying to get where they need to go.  This is a common site during a race.  Intersections blocked with police standing watch make it hard to maneuver the city, but as a runner, I am most grateful for the many, many police who stand for hours to protect the runners.

Another thing I’m so grateful for as a runner is this:Yes, a porta potty is a beautiful site when you’re on a long run and you’ve gotta go!

I saw a few friends, but I decided to move on to another location.  I found a spot at around mile 20 on the marathon route.  I got there ahead of the runners, and so I saw another first.  Here comes the first place marathon runner!  How exciting!I hung out on the corner for a long time.  By now the crowd had thinned out and the racers were coming by one at a time and then later 3 or 4 in a group.  It was so fun to be able to encourage them individually as they came down the hill and turned the curve to face this:Let me tell you.  If may not look like a big hill, but after 20-21 miles, even a molehill feels huge!

And standing on that corner, I encountered a blind runner.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A man with no sight was running the marathon, and he was ahead of the 4:30 pacer.  Translation:  this guy was moving!  Application:  I have no excuse to not try.

And so my Route 66 marathon ended, not with a medal and a PR as I’d hoped, but with an appreciation again of the beauty of the body in motion, deep respect for the runners who put so much time and effort into running this race, and sincere gratitude for eyes to see the race, a voice with which to cheer, and legs that may not be able to run a marathon at the moment but do work and will, in time, run again.

Congratulations to all the Route 66 finishers!  You guys are awesome!




On Not Running the Tulsa Run

Today was the Tulsa Run, but not just the Tulsa Run.  It was the 40th Tulsa Run.  It’s a big race, hosting both a 5K and a 15K.  I think I heard something like 2,400 people participated in the run.  I like running the 15K.  It’s a beautiful course, well supported, and challenging but not impossible.  And 15K is a perfect distance.  For me, at the end of a 10K (6.2 miles) I’m just settling in and getting ready to run, so a 15K (9.3 miles) is a great distance for me.

I was really looking forward to running it again this year, but an inflamed hip flexor nipped that in the bud.  Not being able to run, especially having to sit out the Tulsa Run, has really put me in a funk.  But I tried to tell myself I’m going to attend anyway and cheer on my friends.  After all, I know what a difference spectator support can make.

So I woke up this morning feeling a bit apathetic anyway about attending a race I wasn’t going to be able to run, but I thought about all my friends and hundreds of other runners who would be running, maybe some of them setting out for a distance PR, a 15K PR, coming back from injury, or maybe, like me, just now finding a hidden runner within themselves.  Running is about a shared experience, so I got myself up and out the door…

Into the first freezing temps of the year!  This was me at the Tulsa Run last year:This was me at the Tulsa Run this year.  You can’t tell, but I have running tights on under my pants, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt under my fleece jacket, and 2 pairs of gloves on!  Oklahoma weather is so unpredictable this time of year.The first part of the run goes by a park, so I planted myself there, just past the 3 mile marker and had a great view of the runners.  It was actually kind of fun to see the super fast leaders of the race, and then look down the road and see the major pack of runners coming.I saw quite a few of my friends pass; then, because I was about to freeze, I decided to hop in my car, warm up for a bit, and camp out at the finish line to cheer my friends across.

At the Tulsa Run, runners have to run uphill to reach the finish line.  This photo doesn’t really do the hill justice, but trust me.  It’s a tough finish!So began my experience of being a spectator at a big race.  And I think the experience only deepened my love of running and heightened my desire to get back to it.

I saw runners in shorts and tank tops, while I’m bundled up on the sidelines, and I remembered how quickly I could forget the cold on a run.

I saw runners in costume, running side by side, and I remembered how running is sometimes all about sharing something I love with others instead of competition.

I saw runners coming up the hill to the finish line, sweat lined faces pinched in concentration, and I remembered that burn in my legs and how the sound of the finish line pulled me forward, and so I cheered for my friends and random runners.

I saw runners who were stooped and grey, tall and slender, black and white.  I saw wheelchair athletes and athletes running 5 minute miles.  I saw people panting as they ran, others slowing to a walk.  I saw the hard work of running 9.3 miles, and in all its diversity, it was a beautiful thing.  And whether a participant walked, ran, or a little of both, finished in under 1 hour or finished in 3 hours, a gigantic medal awaited them at the finish line because they were a 15K finisher.

And Batman and Flash were there to document their accomplishment!Well done, athletes!  Well done!

Talk to me:

What are your weekend plans?

Have you ever watched, or participated, in a running race?


Recovery…I Hope

So if you’ve been around for any length of time, you know I’ve been dealing with a nagging, recurring pain in my right hip flexor.  It really flared up when I began training for my first marathon last year, but about 2 months ago, things got worse.  The pain became constant, and even sitting and walking were uncomfortable.  Yep, I haven’t run in 2 months.  It’s been a long 2 months.

This last week I finally bit the bullet and went to see an orthopedist.  You can see how excited I was to be at the doctor’s office.  He looked at my MRI and x-rays, moved my hip in all different directions, pushed on me here and there, and finally concluded that it is most likely NOT a labral tear (whew!) and most likely just an inflamed hip flexor.

Then the doctor did something really painful.  He banned me from all exercise except the stationary bike and seated upper body exercises.  I remember when I started the clean eating challenge,  I looked at the list of food restrictions and wondered what in the world I was going to eat.  I’m looking at these activity restrictions with that same wonder.  How am I ever going to keep in shape with such limited activity?

And this is race season.  In 2 weeks, the 40th Tulsa Run will take place.  It’s a huge race, a 15K, and I love running it.  I was really, really hoping to run it this year, but no.  Not gonna happen.  And the half marathon I’d been training for, Route 66 in November, is not gonna happen either.  I am so disappointed.

But on the other hand, I’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time.  For about 2 years now, I’ve limped along seeing a chiropractor every couple of months to deal with the pain.  If another month of very limited activity, and a round of steroids and anti-inflammatories get me back on my feet pain-free, I guess I can stand missing a few races.  And I’m hoping, like with the clean eating challenge, I’ll find a whole new way of exercising and keeping in shape with limited lower body involvement.

But to be honest, the thing that’s really hard for me about not being able to exercise at my normal capacity is the fear of gaining weight.  I am petrified of that happening.  I have this vision of myself ballooning, and I nearly panic.  I do NOT want to ever be overweight again.

I think back to the first time this hip flexor issue put me on the side lines for a few weeks during marathon training.  I used the opportunity to focus on other aspects of training.  I’m trying really hard to keep that perspective again, focusing especially on nutrition this time around.  With my activity being limited, nutrition will be key for me in maintaining my weight, especially looking at carbohydrate intake.  I’ll need fewer carbs since I’m exercising less, but unfortunately, I love carbs.  (Yes, I’m pouting.)

So I’ll behave, take my medicine and follow the doctor’s orders.  Hopefully, when I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks, I’ll be good as new.  Stay tuned for updates on recovery, my workouts, and what I’m eating.

Talk to me:

What fall plans do you have coming up?



Half-Marathon Training: The End of the Line?

And just like that, my race is over before it began–maybe.

I’ve been dealing with a hip flexor issue or something in that neighborhood for a looong time.  Like around 2 years.  It gets better, stays away for a few weeks or months, and then comes back to annoy the heck out of me again.  But it’s been manageable.  I’m sure the chiropractor is tired of hearing me complain about this pain in my groin, but after he works on it, it feels better, and I’ve been able to continue running without issue.

Until a few weeks ago.  After no issue for almost 2 months, the pain came back and won’t go away.  Working on it helped for like 2 seconds, but I noticed increasing pain after long runs.  So I was down to running every other day, which meant I was missing a LOT of workouts and weekly miles that I need for race training.  A little over a week ago, I ran our long Saturday run, and that’s been it.  Ever since that run, I’ve had issues even walking and sitting.

So training has ground to a screeching halt.  And with long runs reaching 11 miles and more now, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to make up the miles and workouts that I’ve missed to be race ready.

If I were a kid, I’d be lying on the floor, kicking and screaming.  I’m so disappointed.

But something a friend I CrossFit with said has rattled around in my head all day.  After only being able to complete half of a fast 1 mile today (because of this stupid groin issue) I blurted out how frustrated I was that I probably won’t be able to run the half-marathon I’ve been training for, especially since I was hoping to run a PR.

She looked at me and said, “So because you can’t do your best, it’s not worth trying at all?”

And she wasn’t being mean, she was asking sincerely.

…it’s not worth trying at all?

...it’s not worth trying at all?

I’ve thought long and hard about that.  It goes along with what the CrossFit coach asked me when I told him what a hard time I have with overhead squats because of upper back and shoulder mobility issues.  “Why do you want to do an overhead squat?  Is it just to say you can?  Or do you want to get stronger?  Because if you want to get stronger, there’s other exercises you can do.”

So I’ve thought about why I want to run this race–like really why.  And is that why strong enough to run it even if I know a PR is out of the picture?


She has a really good point.

Running is fun.  Running races is a blast.  I know I’ll never win a race, and while I’ve captured some age division places in smaller races, I’ll probably never place in bigger races like the Route 66 races which draw thousands of runners.  So is it really a big deal if I don’t run these 13.1 miles as fast as I probably could?  Or if I have to walk 6 of those miles?  I’d still get to experience the race and the super cool experience of participating in such a big race.  I’d just get to experience it a lot longer than if I was running a PR!

So I’ve decided to hold on to my why and love for running, and barring any further damage to an impending (or maybe a present) injury, run the race as fast I can, enjoy the adventure, and for once forget about the time.

I’m sure that’s easier said than done, but…I’ll try.

Talk to me:

Have you ever missed out on something you were looking forward to because of illness or injury?



10 Unexpected Things Running Did To Me

I was climbing into the shower, for the second time that day, and I started to chuckle, thinking about how normal it is for me to take more than one shower a day sometimes.  That never happened before I became a runner, and then I realized there are lots of things I do or think about since I’ve become a runner–aside from running, anyway.

  1.  I look for sidewalks.  Say what?  Yes, I look for sidewalks.  As I’m driving, I look for sidewalks because sidewalks are potential running routes.  I live in a city which means lots of cars and busy streets.  And because motorists don’t always notice or pay attention to runners, sidewalks can be vital to a runner’s life and health!
  2. I notice hills.  When I train for a long race, I always include hill training–running fast uphill.  Hill repeats are on my list of top 10 things that make me frown the most, but it’s nearly impossible to run anywhere in Tulsa without meeting a hill.  So…you want to run a good race, you train on hills.  So I notice hills.  I look for hills, especially ones with sidewalks, and file it away for when I need to run some hills.
  3. I go through a lot more sunscreen.  I have very pale skin and can burn almost at the mention of being outside.  I spend hours outside each week now running, so to prevent those inevitable burns, applying sunscreen is part of my getting ready to run routine.  A word to the wise here, even if you don’t have super pale skin that burns easily, wear your sunscreen!  You can still wind up with skin cancer from those harmful UV rays.  I like to wear sunscreen lip balm as well because, you know, lips are skin too.
  4. I do a lot more laundry.  Now, compared to parents with kiddos, the amount of laundry I have is probably still peanuts to them, but since I’ve taken up running, my laundry basket is never empty.  And being involved in multiple sports, I can go through several workout outfits in a day.  It seems like there’s always a stack of workout clothes in or on the dryer!
  5. I take more than one shower a day.  I can’t help it.  I shower in the morning to get ready for the day (a shower in the morning is my caffeine!), but after an evening run, I have to shower again to get that sunscreen and sweat off before I get in my bed.
  6. I pay more attention to the weather.  I want to know before I head out the door for  a run that I am dressed appropriately.  So I’m always looking at the weather forecast.  Because Oklahoma weather is so squirrely, I keep a bag with me that has running gear to help me through unexpected weather–gloves, arm warmers, a hat.
  7. I notice runners.  I don’t mean to say I didn’t notice runners before I was one, but I really SEE runners now.  I see the commitment it takes to go for a run.  I see their dedication to health and fitness.  I see the hard work it takes to run up that hill.  I see them and I mentally applaud them and can’t wait to go home and jump into my running shoes.
  8. I pay more attention to what I eat and when I eat it.  Before running entered my life, I tended to just eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  But running changed that.  If I eat something too heavy, I feel sluggish and sick when I run, even if it’s a meal from the night before.  If I don’t eat enough carbs before a run, my blood sugar crashes.  So I’ve had to find that balance of figuring out what works for me to run on and how long before I run I should eat my last substantial meal.  And I’ve had to think about eating after a run–getting those carbs to replace my glycogen stores and making sure I’ve got a good protein source to repair my beaten up muscles.  I think about food a lot, obviously!
  9. I eat a lot more bananas.  To go along with the whole thinking about food thing, I eat a lot more bananas since I’ve started running.  A banana is generally my go to pre-run snack, and a banana in a protein shake is generally my post-run recovery snack.  I always keep bananas in my house and nearly panic when I run out.  I’ve been known to go to the store for nothing but bananas!
  10. I plan my schedule around running.  The last way running has unexpectedly changed my life is the way it’s changed how I plan and organize my day.  I think about how many miles I need to run that day, what kind of run it needs to be (hills vs. recovery–such as a hard or an easy run), and what the weather will be like.  Taking all those things into account and looking at what all else I need to do that day, I plan my day.  Sometimes that’s getting up super early to beat the heat.  Sometimes that’s meeting my running group in the evening, but whatever the day includes, you can almost bet that somehow fitting in a run, or a workout, had something to do with the order of events.

Talk to me:

How many loads of laundry do you do every week?

What is something you have to do that makes you frown?


Half-Marathon Training: Lessons from the Heat

Another week.  Another 26 miles on the running shoes.  That was my weekly total last week.  It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago, I ran that many miles in a few hours!

Anywho, training went well last week.  I had some time off from work so I was able to make every group run during the week, including our tempo run on Thursday night.  I ran at the top of our tempo pace, and it felt great!  I, seriously, couldn’t stop smiling I felt so good!017So going into our 10 mile run on Saturday, I felt optimistic.  I had done well with 9 miles last week.  Weekly runs had felt good.

But 3 miles into our run, we stopped for water, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it, at least not at our current pace.  I paced myself slower than the rest of the group like last week, but I was still struggling.  My legs felt heavy, and I couldn’t get my breathing under control.  Usually by 3 miles in, I’ve got my breathing where it needs to be and my legs are starting to wake up.  This time, though…it wasn’t happening.

The pace group just below mine came in for water, so I joined them for the rest of the run.  The pace was at least 30 seconds a mile slower, and yet, I still struggled.  I felt like I had never run before.  Like ever.  It was horrible.

And it was horribly humid.  I had on a loose-fitting shirt, but even though it was moisture wicking, that thing got totally water-logged from sweat and slapped against my body like a wet towel.  My legs were like lead, and one hill lead to another and another…

And on we ran.  Would we never reach 10 miles?  I continually fought the urge to walk, willing myself to just put one foot in front of the other.  Angela, a fellow runner I’m getting to know, must have seen what a hard time I was having.  She came up beside me and just started chatting.  I didn’t say much,  mostly just listened, but having her there got me through to the end, and finally that terrible, no good, really bad 10 mile run was about to become a bad memory.

But as hard as that run was, looking back (because, you know, perspective is everything), I learned some things in those steamy, hilly, miserable 10 miles.

  1.  Long runs don’t start the morning of the run.  Long runs are a product of what we do all week.  Let nutrition and hydration lapse, and it will affect your long run.  Looking back, I had not eaten as healthily as usual or drank my usual amount of water in the days leading up to our long run.  Given the 1000 percent humidity on Saturday, that most definitely played a part in my struggle.
  2. I can do hard things.  If there’s a lesson I learned (or learned again) it was that I can do hard things.  I may not want to do hard things, but I can.  It’s sometimes mind over matter, as in the case Saturday, when I knew I had the physical ability to run 10 miles at our pace.  It was just a matter of pushing through the discomfort from the heat, humidity, and hills.  A word to the wise here, though.  There’s NO shame in cutting a run short if you’re feeling bad physically.  Know and listen to your body.  If you’re dizzy, light headed, nauseated, in real pain, or feeling any other symptom that you are concerned about, just stop.  It’s okay to stop and probably dangerous to your health to keep going.
  3. People make doing hard things bearable.  At the end of our run, I learned that nearly everyone in the training program had a tough run that day.  In fact, a record 25 people had to be picked up by the sag wagon.  I’m telling you, that humidity was horrible.  Seriously, I’m not sure I would have found the strength to keep going had it not been for Angela.  That’s what running with a group is all about for me.  It’s all of us, sharing an experience, and cheering each other on.  Next time, I hope I can be the cheerleader instead of the one needing to be carried.

So what obstacles stand in your way to reaching your health goals?  Take my lessons from a hot, miserable run and learn from them.  You want to lose weight?  It doesn’t happen in a day.  It happens from the choices we make over time.  Making a lifestyle change is hard, but trust me.  You can do hard things!  You can!  But those hard things don’t seem as bad when you’ve got people around you supporting you and cheering for you.  So who are those people in your life?  Let them know the goal you’re working towards and walk on their encouragement.  We’ve got this!!!

Talk to me:

What’s the weather like where you live?

What’s your health goal for the week?  Tell me and let me be your cheerleader!  (Pretty please?)



Half-Marathon Training: Bringing Up the Rear

Another week of training is behind me.  Did I meet that determined goal to get all my miles in?

Well, kinda.  (Do y’all say kinda and y’all where y’all live or is that an Oklahoma thing?)  I got my Monday recovery run in and most of Tuesday’s track workout.  That aggravating hip flexor/groin issue is acting up again, and I had to cut the workout short on Tuesday.  Now, it’s MRI time to see what’s going on in there.  Great.

035I managed to sneak in a short run Wednesday before work (it was actually quite invigorating), and I was all prepared to get a run in Thursday morning when I left work.  I had my bag with me and everything, but a long night shift and a second shift coming up Thursday night squashed my will and determination.  Exhaustion won out, so I wen039t home and crashed instead of running.  And once again, I missed a workout.

Today, our long run day, we had 9 miles on the schedule.  I was feeling a bit nervous since my longest run over the last few months has only been 8 miles.  But I went into today’s run with a bit of a race strategy in mind.  I know me and that it takes 4-5 miles for me to find my groove.  It just takes me a while to find my breath and rhythm and pace, but when I find it, I’m ready to run.

So I stayed in the back of the group, pacing myself a bit slower but keeping the group within striking distance.  I found myself, at first, wanting to scold myself for not keeping up with the group.  You may remember I’ve had issues with being in the back of the pack before.  But as I ran, I realized some really great things were happening back there:

  1.  I had a chance to soak in my music and our surroundings.  So many times when I’m running in the thick of the group, I’m keeping up with conversations, trying to not run into people, trying to keep up but not go too fast.  But in the back I ran mostly alone, and I had time to really listen to my music and to enjoy the scenery around me.  Score for being in the back!
  2. I learned from my fellow runners.  When you run in the back, you only see the backs of people.  But that’s a great vantage point to watch running form.  I saw all kinds of gaits today, but what I honed in on was one guy who looked totally relaxed as he ran.  His arms were swinging gently from his shoulders, and while his elbows were tight to his side, his shoulders were totally relaxed.  I took a mental picture and filed it away.  That’s how I want to be when I run.  Score again for being in the back!
  3. I learned patience and pacing.  Long distance running involves a lot of patience and proper pacing.  Go out too fast and you’ll wear yourself out before you get to the finish line.  I’ve been told over and over as I’ve trained for long races to be patient.  Stick with your pace, and then when it’s time to go for it, use the energy you’ve stored up in not going out too fast to finish the race strong.  But pacing myself has always been hard.  Even with a running watch.  That’s one of the best things about running with a group.  The coach sets the pace and all I have to do is stay behind him.  But today, in the back by myself, I couldn’t just rely on the coach’s 046pacing.  I had to consciously pace myself a bit slower.  It’s hard to not get into race mode when you’re running behind people.  I just always want to catch them, but today, when I would start to get too close, I’d adjust my pace.  And it worked!  By about mile 4 I had my Popeye moment where everything inside of me started to feel alive; my legs felt loose and light, and then I ran with the group, in the middle of things, for the remaining 5 miles and felt great doing it!  Score yet again for bringing up the rear!

So onward and upward!  I have some time off from work this next week when work will not be an excuse to keep me from meeting my running goals.  It’s been a week of good runs, and I feel encouraged (if I had a “thumbs up” emoji, it would go right here!).

Talk to me:

What did you do this past week?

What are some common phrases in your neck of the woods?