Tag Archives: running

How to Move a Blog

Dear friends, fans and followers:

Well it’s been a year or so since I’ve written a post for Fit Chick Diaries and you deserve some sort of explanation. Last year was extremely tough for unexpected personal reasons and many, many changes happened. First off, I did not move to New York! I ended up finding a fantastic job in Madison, Wisconsin and now live here in this much smaller (but no-less incredible!) city. Second, I did not run ANY races last year. Boo. I know! I was extremely disappointed. But with all that was going on at the time (which I won’t bore you with), my heart wasn’t into it. In fact, it hit a dead stall and only within the last couple weeks have I had the desire to even lace up my running shoes. Third, I have added another passion to my life…TRAVELING. After dreaming of visiting another country for years, I finally had the money and gumption to just do it. I spent three weeks backpacking solo in Ireland and England last fall followed by a short trip to Germany last month. Traveling seems to offer the same benefits as running, in that it clears my head and allows me to truly test my comfort zone in a whole new way. The only problem? Drinking beer in Germany does not count as exercise.

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Now that life has calmed down a bit and I’m falling back in love with running and adding new hobbies to my life, I’ve decided to create a new blog. I’m calling it Running Dust and Wanderlust – I would love to have some familiar blogger faces follow along! I’ll still be blogging about running, fitness & recipes, but I’ll be adding some bits about my adventures as well.

I’ve missed you all and hope to see you there!

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P.S. I’ll leave Fit Chick Diaries up for a while because I notice it is still receiving quite a bit of traffic :)

Finding Motivation through…Pinterest?

I feel like I was one of the last few people among my friends to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. The last thing I thought I would need is yet another computerized distraction to keep me from getting real work done. That being said, I finally broke down and joined the pinning community. I had no idea I would find so many useful tips, tricks, quotes, or workouts to help with my training — or simply to get my butt off the couch and out the door!

Last Saturday, I was facing my first 6-mile run of this training program. I felt overwhelmed by my fear of failure. The little voice in my head was trying to talk me out of it. I was tired. I had an essay to write for class. The weather would be better the next day. All of these excuses flooded my brain as a result.

I was procrastinating, which is usually what happens when I’m faced with a challenge that I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle. I found myself browsing Pinterest, and wasting time. Thankfully, the fitness category was chuck full of motivating tidbits that managed to tune out the negative self-talk. Before I knew it, I was double knotting my tennies and strapping on my Garmin — ready for the challenge. Before I left the house, I grabbed a pen and wrote, “6-miles. Don’t quit and don’t stop,” on the back of my hand, just for good measure.

The first 3-miles seemed to breeze on by. I didn’t check my pace as I went, but instead listened for the beeping of my Garmin to tell me when I completed another mile. I thought that sneaking a peek might psyche myself out. By the last stretch, I could tell I was getting tired and my legs felt heavy. I was almost within view of my house, and kept up the pace. I rejoiced when I heard the final beep telling me that I had reached my goal for the day!

The sense of accomplishment was amazing. I can’t imagine what I will feel like when I cross the finish line in an actual race! I’ll probably laugh, cry, fall over from exhaustion, and be looking for a snack all at the same time.

I have to say, my attitude toward Pinterest has certainly changed. It may be a weird way to find motivation, but it worked for me that day and it has worked for me since. I guess anything to get me out the door!

The week after that infamous 6-miler was pretty easy, and this Sunday my long run was only 4-miles. But from here on out, the training will become more grueling and those 6-mile runs are going to feel like a drop in a bucket compared to what lies ahead. Can’t wait!

Have you found inspiration through “pinning”? 
 How do you get yourself pumped before a long run?
Do you get intimidated by new distances? 

Blame It On The En-En-En-Endorphins

I’m either crazy or ambitious, I haven’t decided which category best describes my impulsive race registration from this past Wednesday.

It all started with a run. Or rather, a run that wasn’t going to happen. I was technically supposed to cross train that day, but I couldn’t help myself. I could practically hear the pavement calling for my feet to come hit it. So I did.

I took the dog, but left my iPod at home. I wanted to be able to hear my breathing, and increase or decrease my pace based on how I was feeling. I ran my usual route along the Wisconsin River, which ends up being about 3 miles when all is set and done.

The run felt incredible. I could tell I was pushing it, but my legs and lungs were up for the challenge. I didn’t miss my usual music mixes, and enjoyed being more aware of my surroundings and in the moment.

By the time I got back home, I was riding a wave of endorphins. I plugged in my Garmin and, low and behold, I ran a 9:29/mi pace. That would be my fastest run thus far! Prior to that day, my fastest was a 9:51/mi.

This is where the crazy vs. ambitious debate comes into play! Feeling pretty good about myself, I decided that I couldn’t wait till September to run my half. What did I do? I signed up for another half that I’ll run in New York over Memorial Day weekend in May. Because one just isn’t enough! Oh and did I mention that the week before I’ll be graduating from college, packing my life into a U-Haul, and moving to NYC?

I’d like to say I’m ambitious. The event is one of the Holiday Marathon races put on for free, and you can choose the distance you’d like to run. I am looking at this as a trial to test my training, and to better prepare myself for the race in September. This is my way of dipping my big toe into the racing pool!

Have you experienced an endorphin-high after a run or a good workout?
Ever sign up for a race on impulse? If yes, how did that go?

A Few Minor Setbacks…

This past week has been the worst since I began seriously training for this half. Granted, I’m not very far into this process and I imagine I will have to face many more difficult challenges in the future, both metal and physical. But compared to past runs, everything this week seemed off.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Monday: Wisconsin got hit with quite the snow storm. The night before, roads were coated in freezing rain. By morning, these dangerously slippery conditions were layered with 4 inches of fresh, white powder. Did this keep me from running? Nope. But I was supposed to do 3 miles, and instead it was a lousy 2.54. I was too afraid to run on the street, for fear that a car might slide into me, but sidewalks weren’t even remotely clear. I could hardly tell where they were, and half the time I was probably running through people’s yards. Sorry neighbors!

Tuesday: This was supposed to be a rest day, but I couldn’t resist doing a little something at the gym. In between classes, I got in a half-mile warm up, and 8 miles on the stationary bike. I felt nice and energized by the end of this workout! I got to my next class probably smelling like sweat and B.O. because I didn’t have a chance to shower. To the guy sitting next to me in English 385, my apologies.

Wednesday: I decided to bust out my P90x DVDs for some real cross training. I did the full Plyometrics video, which definitely got my heart rate up and my muscles engaged. I used the heart rate monitor on my Garmin, and it showed my average HR being 144 bpm, and max HR at 170 bpm.

Thursday: This is when things went down hill. I was all psyched up to do a solid 3 miles, and I thought I could fit this in on the treadmill at school. I used it quite a bit in the past, so I wasn’t expecting this run to feel like so much work. Almost immediately, shear boredom set in. Watching TV with captions just doesn’t do it for me anymore, and my music wasn’t enough to occupy my mind. After a mile and a half, I said forget it and went home to run the other 1.5 in the great outdoors. While I still got in 3 miles, I hate splitting them up because I feel like, for me, I need to challenge myself to suck it up and keep going.

But I'm sorry, this made for much better scenery!

And, Friday

I’m pretty sure I hit what all you experienced runners call a “wall.” The weather was nice for a Wisconsin January. I planned to make up for my lack luster performance from the day before by running a 3 mile do-over. My mind couldn’t get into the game. I couldn’t find that driving force to push me through to the end. My left hip flexor was beginning to get increasingly painful, and I gave up after barely a mile. Yuck.

I went home to re-evaluate. I read up on all the potential causes of my hip flexor pain, and decided to take the weekend to: ice, stretch, elevate, yoga, pilates and repeat. By Sunday, my hip still ached and I could tell it wasn’t at 100%, but it had improved drastically.

This week my focus is on keeping my head in check, and practicing what I preach! Wasn’t it just last week that I wrote a post about not giving in when you hit a wall? Yup, that was me. I make no excuses, I was totally weak. I absolutely need to find the strength to stop quitting mid-run, and tough it out. Boredom, or no boredom. Snow, or no snow.

Luckily, I’m off to a good start! I’m repeating last week’s training since I clearly bombed out in the running department. On the bright side, at least I identified my weak points and can now work to improve them!

Do you have any tips to help me push through these walls?

How do you keep yourself from throwing in the towel during a run?

Also, how do you know when it’s safe to push through the pain and when to give yourself healing time? 

Getting Out of My Own Way

Source: Cathy on Pinterest

I have not always been a confident individual. For a long time, I wouldn’t even bother to set goals for myself. In my mind, I wasn’t an athlete, so I didn’t try out for a single high school sport. I didn’t consider myself capable of being a straight-A student, which allowed me to excuse the occasional bad grade. I knew I was a good person, and I never got into any trouble. I just had no desire to push myself outside of my comfort zone. When I looked in the mirror, I saw an average girl and I never once tried to prove myself wrong.

When it came to running, I utterly refused to believe I could last a single mile — let alone more than one! I saw runners as strong, powerful, and somehow above me. I looked up to them, and to me they were people who were able to push themselves to limits that I could only dream of. My freshman year of high school, I actually yelled at my gym teacher when he got frustrated that I was walking the last lap of the required mile run. I made some excuse about how I was hurt, but I’m sure he knew I was full of crap. I was a relatively quiet girl, and that was the only time I ever talked back to a teacher. But I had predetermined what I was capable of doing, and what I was not capable of doing. In my mind, there was no point in setting myself up for failure.

I don’t know what changed, exactly. Part of me seemed to get tired of watching everyone around me achieve greatness, while I stood on the sidelines. My husband, Nick, helped push me for the first time in my life. He saw potential in me that I wasn’t aware of. The first time we went running together, he took me on a mile jog. I felt like I was going to die by the end of it, but he didn’t let me quit. Instead, he had me sprinting the last stretch! At the time, I wanted to kick him in the shin — not literally of course! I was exhausted and angry that he didn’t let me rest. Looking back, I can now see that it was the best thing anyone has ever done for me. He didn’t let me give up, and I haven’t wanted to give up since.

It seems the biggest obstacles that we all have to overcome lie within ourselves. We have to stop letting our negative thoughts and self-image get in the way of what we want out of life. You have to believe in yourself enough to set goals for your life — even if they’re small ones, and find a way to make it happen. Don’t expect success to arrive overnight, or without any hard work. It might take a lot of your time, energy, and determination. You might feel like you want to quit. Don’t do it! Keep it moving, keep putting one foot in front of the other and push through the wall. Prove to yourself that you are capable of doing what you set your mind to, and it will propel you in whatever you choose to accomplish next.

Okay, I will now step off my soapbox. 

Anyone ever have a similar experience?
What walls have you had to push through?
What are some goals you hope to accomplish?

 

Twitter Road Racing and a Progress Update

My version of snow shoes

It seems the Twitter Road Race was a huge success, and I’m really happy to have been a part of it. There was a total of 376 runners that took part in this event from 14 different countries. People every where, from the U.S. to Switzerland to Saudi Arabia, all pounded the pavement yesterday. The results are in, and I am pretty content with how I did!

My time for the 5K was 31:54.

Overall, I was #248 out 0f 376.

Out of all the women who raced, I was #109 out of 202.

In my age group, I was #35 out of 60.

(The overall winner was a man from Iowa who ran the 5K in 16:54!)

So it seems I fell right in the middle in each category, which I’m happy with.  I improved my pace down to 9:50/mi.  This is important because it shows that I’m getting faster.  I’m also becoming more and more consistent in my pace.

Let’s compare, shall we?

This is from right around the first week of January

This is from yesterday

So in about 3 weeks, I’ve cut quite a bit off my pace time. I’ve also become more of a steady runner. Being able to look back and see where I’ve been, and where I am today is very motivating to me.  I’m so thankful for my Garmin and warm running clothes. Yesterday was so cold and the roads were slippery. I was at my parent’s house and was running on the back roads. Every time a car came, I had to jump into the snow to keep from getting hit. Luckily, they don’t get a lot of traffic!

Another tool that I’m seriously utilizing is MotionTraxx. I’ve mentioned this podcast in another post of mine, but I’m still hooked. I’ve used their 150-160bpm episodes, and I feel they’ve helped me with my breathing, pace and just to keep me going. The music gets my blood pumping, and sometimes I don’t even notice that it’s below freezing and I can’t feel my nose. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend giving it a try.

This week, my mileage increases a little bit.

Monday: 3 miles

Wednesday: Cross-training

Thursday: 3 miles

Saturday: 5 miles

I might do some extra non-running exercises like yoga or the elliptical on the off-days. For cross-training, I’m thinking of hitting up the gym to use their stationary bike. I’ve read that it’s a good choice for runners because it mimics the running motion, but without the impact.

Is it wrong to imagine people holding up signs like this when I go running?

Okay, enough about me.

How was your weekend? Anyone get in a workout, or break a sweat? If you got caught in a snow storm, I would say shoveling counts.

Birthdays, Cheese, and Happy Feet

Well Winter has officially hit Wisconsin.  Yesterday morning I stepped outside to find that it was easily -8 below zero, and that is not including the wind chill factor.  I don’t know if there is such a thing as it being “too cold to run,” but I wasn’t brave enough to lace up my shoes and head out into that ice box!  Overall, I’ve been sticking to my schedule though.  Last week, I ran a total of 8 miles — Saturday was my longer run of 4 miles.  I guess it’s not a lot of mileage compared to what I was doing last year, but it worked out well because the runs were easier to schedule around my Winter semester of classes.

And if you haven’t already heard about it…

TWITTER ROAD RACE THIS SATURDAY!

Oh yes, it’s happening.   created the Twitter Road Race, which will be this Saturday, January 21.  The distance is a 5k, so you basically just go out and run anywhere at anytime that day.  They have over 600 people registered so far, and probably more by now.  It just seems like a fun event — no one really wins.  After you run, you’ll submit your time and they’ll get everyone’s together and have the results posted.

If you want to register, this is where you need to go: Twitter Road Race Registration.

You can even get a bib!

In other news — my brother, Matt came to visit this week from England.  Of course we all gathered around to watch the Packers lose to the Giants on Sunday.  We all felt like crying, and eating away our sorrows.  So to recover, us cheese-heads took a trip to the local cheese factory.  I’m talking the best cheese factory of all time.  I guess that’s a little presumptuous, but not much.  People literally drive from surrounding states to get this cheese.

Matt making a goofy face, while shopping for some cheddar

To top off the week, January 16th was my hubby’s birthday!  Every year since we’ve been together, I’ve made him chocolate chip cookies instead of cake.  This year, I officially made the most delectable batch of cookies yet.  They were HUGE, and very chocolate-y.  Not too crispy, not too soft.  If baking cookies is an art, I just mastered the craft.  I can’t take credit for the recipe though, that was all thanks to Allrecipes.com.  If you too want to make the “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie,” click here.

Just hand me a glass of milk, and I'm good to go!

So now you’re all caught up with my life as of late!   

Anyone else running the Twitter Road Race this Saturday?

 

Realistic Running: Being Mindful of Where You Are

As a woman relatively new to running, I often find myself comparing my progress to others. I see other people flying down the road with ease, and the voice in my head tells me I should be able to run faster, go longer, and tackle serious mileage each week. When my legs get tired or I’m out of breath, I get frustrated because I expect my body to be able to do exactly what I want it to do. The problem is, I think my body is smarter than I am. When I increase my mileage too quickly, and my legs are aching and flimsy, my body is telling me to slow it down (and/or do more strength training). I need to be able to recognize the difference between when I need to push through, and when I seriously need to pull back.

This is especially true for my half-marathon training plan. I ended up changing to a new one because the original one increased my mileage too quickly. While it would have been perfect for me this past summer when I was running 6 miles at a clip, I had to admit to myself that I was biting off too much at once. After taking a couple months off this fall, I needed a plan to go off of that eased back into the heavier mileage totals. This is one that I switched to:

My New Half-Marathon Training Program

This is actually a training plan a friend recommended I look into, and I feel it is a better fit for me. Unlike my previous program, the Prevea schedule is a little longer and more gradual in terms of mileage increases. I believe it was actually developed for people planning to race in the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon this May. They have other schedules to refer to if you’re interested, and can be found on the race’s website.

What I’ve found since starting to train for the half-marathon is that many of these training programs claim to be designed for “beginners,” but then have you running a 5 mile day the first week. I believe the term “beginner” is completely relative. You might be a beginner in terms of never having raced before, but still able to run an 8-minute mile without breaking a sweat. Or you may be a beginner who has never broken into a jog a day in your life. Either way, you need to find a program that fits your fitness level. In my case, I wasn’t new to running, but I hadn’t ran more than 3 miles consistently in the last 3-4 months.

If you’re starting a program, don’t just pick a program and go with it. Take into serious consideration your goals, and be realistic. Also, be willing to stray from the program or modify it to fit your needs. There might be a day when running 10 miles just isn’t going to happen. Maybe your body needs to rest. Maybe you’re just not into it that day. If you can’t make the full 10, split up your run by doing 5 in the morning and 5 later in the day. Just give it your best, but remember that your best will change from day to day.

Be mindful of where you are in your training, listen to your body, and make adjustments accordingly. Know when to push yourself harder, and when to ease up. Find a balance.

Have you used a training schedule to prepare for a race or goal? Did you have to make adjustments to your training? I’d love to hear from you!

You’ll Run Your Legs Off Kid

I Can Totally Relate

“I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle,” screams Ralphie as he clings to Santa’s red slide.  Ralphie, I can totally relate.  You want a Red Ryder BB gun, I want a Garmin Forerunner 305 with a GPS Receiver and built-in heart rate monitor.

Let's Hope Santa Reads Follows My Blog!

How I long to break free of my treadmill, my phone’s GPS applications, and MapMyRun.  To slap on this little beauty and head out in any direction imaginable for a serious run is all I’ve thought about since I made up my Christmas list this year.  Yup, we still make wish lists.  I think I’ll get lucky because this model isn’t the newest out there, so the price is reasonable compared to others.  Keeping my fingers crossed!  I’ll be so happy to tear open the wrapping paper and find myself holding the forerunner in my hands, I imagine I’ll bust out the front door and immediately start running down the street to test it out!

Other items on my Christmas list include:

Cold Weather Running Tights

I wasn’t very specific with the running clothes, as long as their made for cold weather.  For someone who lives in a state with frigid winters, you would assume I already have warm clothes to workout in.  Nope!  I had two pairs of long underwear, and somewhere along the line they’ve disappeared into the abyss that is my closet.  I have a pair of sweatpants, but they’re capris — not too good for running through slushy roads.  So any cold weather item would be greatly appreciated!

Because I Like to Not Smell Bad

I remember smelling this perfume in the department store a year or so ago, and I haven’t forgotten how much I loved it!  I’m one of those girls who loves nice scents and perfumes, but I can never justify spending so much on such a little bottle.  So I decided to put this on my Christmas list because it’s something I’d never by for myself. Plus it just looks so pretty!

A Water Bottle with a Built-in Filter

This whole concept intrigues me.  I would love to be able to fill up my water bottle at the gym or school and always have good tasting water at my fingertips!

That about wraps up my Christmas list this year.  Obviously, I don’t expect to get all of these things, if any!  It’s fun to dream and no harm in that!

What are some things you’re hoping Santa brings to you?  What is has been your Red Ryder equivalent?

 

Attack of the Christmas Cookies: and other things that are sabotaging my running goals

I am officially in a sugar coma!  This past Monday, my book club decided to do a Christmas cookie exchange on top of our typical book discussion.  I left the party with 6 dozen cookies of all varieties: peanut butter kisses, iced gingers, chocolate peanut butter no-bakes, chocolate chip, cranberry-white chocolate chip. Needless to say, I was surrounded by temptation of the most delicious kind!  Every time I walked into the kitchen, these little morsels of delight were staring at me from their plates and calling my name.  I think I heard them say, “Oh come on, what’s one more?”  I’ve been on a cookie binge for the last week and, despite my efforts to run, I can feel my body screaming at me to cut back on the freakin’ sugar!

The Infamous Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bakes

Luckily, this doesn’t happen often and I don’t plan on making any kind of sweets for a long time after our current stash is depleted.  Still, I need to work on eating better.  I feel like stress from school is becoming my excuse for not doing a lot of things.  In all seriousness, I’m sure my body is crashing knowing that I am days away from being finished with finals and this semester.  But, I can’t allow those things to get in the way of my goals.  Every day on campus, I see a handful of runners still going despite finals, despite the holidays and despite the cold.  They’ve been able to manage their time and fit in their runs.  I need to adopt that kind of focus, determination and attitude if I’m going to accomplish this half marathon.

I honestly don’t feel like I’m making nearly as much progress as I thought I would have by this point in the game.  Duh. My sugar overload combined with laziness this week probably hasn’t helped much.  But even before, my body has been struggling with the whole treadmill running concept.  All summer I ran outside, either on trails or on the sidewalk paths by the river.  I enjoyed being in nature and looking at my surroundings as I huffed and puffed and trotted along.  The treadmill has quickly become dull to me.  I am easily distracted by other runners, who discourage me with their ability to run faster and longer than I can at the moment.  Luckily, I have found something that is making it a little  more bearable: Podcasts!

LOVE!

A podcast called MotionTraxx is currently my favorite one to listen to while doing any amount of running on the hamster wheel.  Their episodes provide energetic, trance-like music that keeps you running at a specific pace.  I downloaded three so far.  One is a solid hour of music set at a 150 beats per minute pace.  The other two are treadmill-interval workouts at levels 1 and 2.  Both give you cues on when to increase the speed or incline, which keeps you from having to time yourself.  The music is wonderful because they keep the variety going and it is easy to lose yourself in the rhythm.  I totally forget about peeking to see how much longer I have to go.

I’ve downloaded some other podcasts like: This American Life and RunRun Live, but I find it more difficult to pay attention to them on the treadmill.  They’ve been great while cross training on the elliptical and I do like those programs, so I recommend them if you’re looking for something to listen to, other than music.

This has been quite the hodgepodge of a post!  I did find one last thing that I feel I need to print and duck tape to my mirror, so I have to see it every morning.  I think it would put an end to all excuses pretty fast.

I think this was directed at me.

Have any of you been struggling to keep your running goals lately?  What have you found that gets you back on track?