Friday, June 27, 2008

It's a miracle I can lift my arms to type.

Day 3 of the push up challenge. Basically, a repeat of Day 2. Only harder. And my body is sorer. More sore? Both, probably.

But, I'm glad I'm doing this. I feel stronger, in that can-barely-lift-my-arms type of way. So, I'll keep going. Only 5 weeks left!

And here is where I shift gears awkwardly --

I was over at MizFit's blog this morning, when I was avoiding starting my push ups. Her Friday posts are called Link Love, where she shares all kinds of links to cool stuff found around the Internet. One of them really got me today, in part because it called up my total inner geek. It's called Typeracer and, I don't know, I guess it reminds me of waaaaaay back when I was first interviewing at publishing houses in NYC and I had to take all kinds of typing tests. Plus, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I love a challenge!

Shifting gears yet again --

I'm going on vacation. Yahoo!!! So, I'm checking out some running routes where we'll be staying, getting that all set so I can be a happy runner while I'm away. I love running on vacation -- I get to see new sights and the different routes help shake things up.

Jersey shore, here I come!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I run . . . in 13 words.

Too uncoordinated for aerobics, swimming, biking or anything else, really. So I run.

This post is part of the Runners Lounge Take it and Run Thursdays. This week we were asked to finish the thought, "Why I run..." in 13 words (or less).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 2.

This 100 push up challenge is kicking my butt. Seriously.

Today is Day 2, which calls for 54 -- yes, that's right, 54 -- push ups, broken into sets of 12/12/10/10/10, with 90 seconds of rest between sets.

How was Day 1 so easy and Day 2 such a killer?

Why am I such a sucker for a challenge?

Because, you see, I am. I'm a sucker for a challenge. I signed up for the NaBloPoMo challenge over at The Little Jobber, in part because I had to see if I could write something (of interest, I hope) every day for a month. And I signed up for this push up thing because I had to see if I could actually work up to 100 push ups in 6 weeks. Why not, right?

I guess that's part of why I like running -- it is a challenge. Every time I go out for a run, there's a challenge involved. Will I run as far as I've planned to? Will I gleefully bound up the hills? Will I add a few strides at the end of my run? And then there are the races. As I've mentioned before, I love races. Since I'm not the fastest runner out there, I'm not going to win any races. But, the challenge lies in running my own race: Meeting my goal, feeling good when I'm done, running strong across the finish line.

Yes, the challenge is a big part of why I like to run and I enjoy a good challenge. And, for all the soreness of my arms this morning (and my core -- why didn't I know that push ups are all about the core????), I really am enjoying this push up challenge.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pushin' it.

Have you heard of the 100 Push Up Challenge? I learned about it on Workout Mommy and after visiting the site and reading the details of the challenge, I decided to take it. After all, how cool would it be to actually be able to drop and do 100 push ups? In a row! I'd be so impressed with myself.

I took the initial test last week and I squeaked out 17 good form push ups. Yes, the full-on push ups, not the bent-knee kind! So, with that information, I started the challenge today. It requires a commitment of three days a week for six weeks. Check it out -- and check back to see how I am doing because I'll post updates throughout the challenge. Unless, of course, I can't move my arms to type . . .

Saturday, June 21, 2008

So I went for bust.

I didn't make my goal of breaking 24 minutes in the 5K this morning. Rats!

I gave it my best shot, though, and I crossed the finish line in 24:15. Just about the same time as my last 5K.

And the race was great! It started and ended at Bruno Stadium (minor league baseball) and there was a nice crowd that came out for the event. The post-race refreshments were served at the covered pavilion and included oranges, cookies, bagels, pop corn and hot dogs. No, I didn't go for a hot dog -- that's a little much for me. We stayed to watch the kids race, which was a loop around the baseball field, and was pretty cool.

The worst part of the day occurred when I got home. I was smacked by a migraine. Ugh! I could tell it was coming on when I started losing vision in my right eye. That progressed to seeing a zigzag aura and then, bam! Full-blown migraine. I took Imitrex at the first sign of the migraine and maybe it helped a little, but not much. I still had the debilitating headache, and still threw up from it.

Four hours later, it is starting to fade and I'm hugely relieved. These migraines suck!

This one was surely brought on by exertion. I've gotten them before when I've run races in the heat and the temperature for today's 5K was hot, but not terrible. I think what did it was that the whole race route was in the sun and that ol' sun was strong.

Bleh. Why do headaches have to go and ruin a perfectly good day?

Friday, June 20, 2008

24 or bust!

So, speaking of 5Ks, I have one tomorrow. I'm psyched! It's the ValleyCats Home Run 5K and it is definitely a hometown race for me. The ValleyCats are a minor-league affiliate of the Houston Astros and their stadium is about 5 minutes from my house. This race starts and ends at the stadium and boasts hot dogs, popcorn and all sorts of other ballgame refreshments.

My goal is to break 24 minutes in this race. To me, that would be awesome! I haven't run a sub-24 5K in years and, you know, I'm not getting any younger. But, I think I can do. At least I will try!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I *heart* 5Ks

Really, I do.

I love them. Love lining up at the starting line. Love getting to Mile 2 and feeling like there is no way I can keep up the pace for another mile, but doing it anyway. Love crossing the finish line, spent and sweaty.

I just love them.

For a while, I was running lots of 5ks. I was younger, childless and, apparently, had some time on my hands. Now, with a very active one-year old boy, I don't run them as frequently. In fact, this Saturday I'm running only my third race since I gave birth. But, over the years, I've found some things that work well for me, and some things that don't. And now, with limited time to train and prepare, I feel like I need to make the most of every run, every rest day so I find myself employing lessons learned more than ever.

For the Runners Lounge Take it and Run Thursday this week, the topic is 5K (and 10K) tips.

So what can I share with you? I've decided to focus on a few tips for the actual race -- things to do the night before, morning of and during the race:

  1. Don't eat too much the night before. A 5K is a short race, there is no need to load up. I find that a regular dinner, maybe a little lighter than usual, works well for me.
  2. Instead of a heavy dinner, have a lot of liquid. I like to drink lots of water the day before, so I can go into the race feeling hydrated. And, OK, races are usually on Saturdays or Sundays so, yeah, I often have a cocktail (but I make it a light one!) the evening before.
  3. Have a light breakfast well in advance of the race. For me, that means eating two hours before the start time. I usually have an English muffin with peanut butter or maybe a bowl of oatmeal.
  4. Warm up. I like to go for a 10 minute jog before the start of the race. After my jog, I do a little easy stretching. The jog warms me up so I can run a better pace from the start.
  5. Although you might not need it, take the water along the race route. I find that stopping to walk for 15 seconds while taking a few sips of water allows me to run the rest of the race with renewed energy. And that is a great feeling!
  6. Run strong across the finish line. You might feel like crap coming down the stretch but you'll feel better if you finish strong. And you might even shave a few seconds off your time!
  7. Revel in your accomplishment. Any time you run, it is an accomplishment. When you run a race, that accomplishment is greater. And when you finish a race that you've run well? Wow -- very cool. Enjoy your success!
I'm sure there are hundreds of other things you could do and I've probably forgotten some obvious tips that I have relied on to improve my racing over the years. But I'll leave you with one more thought: Enjoy what you're doing. And when you are running in a 5K, that means enjoy the race!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Just an easy run in the afternoon.

A downhill finish in light rain after 3.5 miles in sticky 90 degree heat. Glorious.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As you start your marathon training, don't forget...

to break in your new shoes early. And on short runs.

This is a Runners Lounge Take it and Run Thursday post. The theme this week is to finish this thought: "As you start your marathon training, don't forget..."

And the above is my answer. So simple, right? Yeah . . . but when you DON'T do that? Oooh, the pain. I lived it and I will tell it.

I ran a marathon in October 2004 and with about a month to go in my training, I decided I needed a new pair of running shoes. I bought a new pair of my trusty Brooks, laced them up and wore them for my Sunday long run. I had planned on a 12-miler, a dip down in length before my 22-miler planned for the following Sunday.

The shoes had other plans.

We started out fine. New shoes -- no problem! I felt like I had a little pep, in fact. Until mile 8, when it all went downhill and my feet began to ache. My shoes were chafing my heels and pinching the tops of my feet. It was all bad and I had to stop my run at the 10th mile. The worst part was that my feet were in pain for most of the following week and I ended up postponing my 22-mile run to the next Sunday -- closer to the race than I had wanted, but my only choice.

Next time I train for a marathon, I will break in my new running shoes earlier in the training process, on a shorter run. Had I taken the shoes out for a 4-mile run, I would have been fine. The long run? Not so much. Another lesson learned.

Take it and Run Thursday Posts

Looking for my old TIART posts from The Little Jobber? I got 'em right here for you:

Trying something new -- TIART.

Love? Hate? With running in the heat, it's both.

I know. I only had two posts. But, there will be more! I can promise you that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Going it alone.

The Happy Runner has left The Little Jobber.

It was only a matter of time. Things were getting confusing. Was it a running blog? A mommy blog? What?

And who knew, really? It was a little of both and I liked it that way. Then, I didn't. So, here we are. Separating the two. Now, The Little Jobber will stand alone, facing mommyhood as a mom. The runner will stand alone as well, here at The Happy Runner. Enticing all runners to be happy. Run happy. Become happy runners.

So, enjoy!

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