Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And the MojaMix winner is...

Velma from Running with Boys! Congratulations!

Velma, send me an email at felicehalf at yahoo dot com and I'll hook you up. I hope you enjoy it!

If you're wondering, the vacation is going well. We rent a house with four other families so there are 10 adults and 8 kids. It's chaos but the weather has been great and we've been having fun. I also went for an enjoyable run yesterday and was able to check out a bit of this pretty beach town.

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vacation here I come!

I'm taking off today -- heading slightly south for a week's vacation with the family. So, posting and commenting will be light this week but I will post the MojaMix giveaway winner on Tuesday. If you haven't entered, you have until Monday at midnight to do so.

In the meantime, my biggest recent news is that I was profiled on the Freihofer's Run for Women blog! (You can check me out here.) And, I had some good runs last week but I skipped out on a planned double so my overall mileage was down. Not to worry. I'll make it up. I'm bringing running gear with me on vacation and I hope to get in a few relaxed runs while we're away.

Have a great week, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, July 24, 2009

MojaMix review and giveaway -- and a big congratulations.

It's Friday and I have a munch-rific review: MojaMix premium custom-mixed cereal.

Have you heard of MojaMix? It's a cereal that you create by choosing all of the ingredients using their web site and the finished product is shipped directly to you. Lauren at MojaMix asked me to check it out and let you know what I thought and I happily agreed to do so.

The MojaMix web site (here) is easy to use; you pick a base, add dried fruits, add nuts and seeds and then you're done. For my mix, I started with the Grains A Plenty (wheat, oat, rye and barley flakes with puffed rice) then added dried apricots, cranberries and apples, and finished with pecans, pistachios and chia seeds. Yeah, I know. I went a little crazy.

It was worth the craziness. The dried fruit and nuts are all high-quality and quite tasty. I'm a pecan fanatic and my mix was filled with large, fresh pecan halves. And the cranberries were huge! Lots of yum.

The only down-side to the cereal is the cost. My mix would have cost about $8 for 12 ounces (plus shipping). Now, as I said, I could taste the high quality of the ingredients and I know that you have to pay a premium for that. In my opinion, quality food is worth the price -- I'd rather have a little of something that is good and good for me than a ton of junk. But that's me.

Interested in MojaMix? Today's your lucky day because I have a free mix to give away!

Here's how you can enter to win a free bag of MojaMix:

Go to MojaMix, check out the ingredients, and let me know your favorite one in your comment.

You can get an additional entry for any of the following:

  • Tweet about this giveaway, making sure to include @MojaMix. You may use the following to tweet: "Win a cereal with the ingredients of your choice from @MojaMix. Go to http://thehappyrunner.blogspot.com to participate."
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog.
  • Become a fan of MojaMix on Facebook (facebook.com/mojamix) and mention this in your comment.
You can enter until midnight (EST) on Monday, July 27th. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday -- from vacation! Yep, I'm just that dedicated :-)

* * *

Remember way back when I hosted the Strands giveaway and mentioned their contest to send one runner to the Hood to Coast Relay? Just indulge me and shake your head, "yes." Thank you.

Well here's the thing. Beth from Shut Up and Run won the contest! She's going on an all-expenses paid trip to Oregon to run the relay! Why does this make me so happy? I'll tell you why: She read about the contest here, on The Happy Runner. Woo hoo! I feel so proud . . .

Congratulations, Beth! Can't wait to hear about the race.

On that happy note, I wish you all a happy Friday and great weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Embracing the Long Run Dragon.

Today's topic at Runners' Lounge for Take it and Run Thursday is slaying the long run dragon: "What are your best tips for getting through the long, hard, hot, hilly, sweaty, torturous but enjoyable runs?" You'll notice I changed the topic a bit in my post title and you'll see why below. And you'll probably think I've really gone and shown my Super Running Dork side this time and I'm OK with that.

Now, before I share my tips I have to say that I cannot wait to read what others have written because I'm not great with the long runs. I tend to psyche myself out and then not do them. It's something I'm working on and one thing that I've done actually works so I guess I'll make that my first tip:

Draw on past long runs when you feel your confidence wavering. When I don't think I'm up for the challenge of a long run, I remind myself that I've run 9.5 miles on the treadmill in my boring basement, 12 in 19-degree weather, 18 in the hot, hot heat of August and, most important, a marathon. I can handle whatever long run is on my schedule -- I've done it before.

But getting out the door only gets you, well, out the door. The miles are still ahead and can be tough. So my next tip is to find an interesting route to run. I can't handle laps for long runs, I have to look at fresh landscape (unless I'm stuck on a treadmill). So I plan my long runs to take me over routes that are as interesting as possible. It makes the miles go faster.

My last tip is one that I try really hard to use (but don't always succeed) for every tough run, long or not: Embrace the run. Hills? Embrace them; they are your friends. Heat? Embrace it; at least it's not cold. Longest run yet? Embrace it; you're building endurance. You know what I mean. Going into a tough run with a positive attitude will take you far. My failed runs are the ones that I told myself would be too tough -- too cold, too long, too whatever. I'm working on this tough run embrace. Sometimes I only manage a little pat on the shoulder, but I'm getting there!

Run long and happy, folks!

~ Felice

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Product Review Policy

As a runner, I like running, fitness and healthy living products. The people who visit my site tend to like those things, too. When I find something that improves my running or my overall health and wellness, I like to share that information. For example, although I have never been asked to review or write about The Stick, I do so often because it is simply one of my favorite pieces of running-related gear. Since it has worked so well to help stave off injuries, I figure others might benefit from using it, too.

Did you know that 94% of moms rely on other moms' points of views?
And that 67% of moms prefer to read about products from other bloggers than from celebrities?
* Mom Central

I also write about products that I have been asked to review. Products that I will consider for review include:
  • Food and beverages that are geared toward athletes or those seeking a healthy lifestyle. I will not consider any food or drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Running gear, especially gear (shorts, shoes, socks, bras, etc.) that is designed for women.
  • Running gadgets
  • Books about running, fitness or general healthy living.
  • Other items that could benefit runners, which would include sunscreen, anti-chafing gels, etc.
In addition to reviews, I sometimes host giveaways because, really, who doesn't like a good giveaway? My giveaways include products that I have either purchased or those that were sent for review.

I also participate in the BlogHer Reviewer program and all of those reviews and giveaways, which are often high-value giveaways, are hosted on my other ad-free site, Happy Runner Reviews. I post frequent notices of sales and deals on that site in addition to hosting some giveaways and featuring reviews.

Please view my Reviews & Giveaways Disclosure Policy page for more information.

Contact me

If you have a product that you would like reviewed on The Happy Runner, or would like information on site statistics, please send me an email at felicehalf [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's never too early to start foam rolling.

I caught my toddler using my foam roller the other day:

The thought that immediately popped into my head was, "You're never too young to start foam rolling," which I've changed to, "It's never too early to start foam rolling" for the purpose of this post.

This whole post is really apropos of nothing so just consider it a friendly little running tip: Don't wait until you have aches and pains to start using the foam roller. Use it now. Same for The Stick. And the tennis ball!

For a long time -- I guess mostly when I was younger -- I didn't think much about preventing injuries, only healing them after they'd already arrived and thrown their injury-rific wrenches into my training plans. At some point, I started to smarten up and I began trying to prevent injuries. I started using the foam roller (thanks to my husband who got one for me) and The Stick. I use The Stick before every run, to warm up my muscles. I use the foam roller to keep injury-prone areas loose and knot-free. Obviously, I use it often enough that my toddler knows exactly what it is for and wants to get in on the action. Let's just hope he doesn't have any injuries to prevent for a long time!

Check out a foam roller and The Stick, if you don't already have them. They've been two of the most useful running tools for me. I mean, next to my running shoes and running bras, that is.

Have a great day, everyone!

~ Felice

Monday, July 20, 2009

Planning, planning, planning.

I feel like I'm caught in a planning loop.

I'm planning for our week-long vacation that begins on Sunday and planning for our trip to VA for a wedding the week after. I've also been planning the book I'm ghostwriting, planning fall activities for Conal, trying my best to fit in some planning for fall races and planning how I'll train for them.

I might be planning myself out!

Nah . . . that's just where I am right now. Sometimes you're just in planning mode, I guess! Next week, though, I'll be in full-on vacation mode. Can't wait!

Until then, I have my fall plans all worked out (for now!). It looks like I will be running in these races:

  • September 7: SEFCU 5K (tune-up race)
  • October 3: Race for the Cure 5K (goal race: shooting for sub-23 min)
  • November 8: Stockade-athon 15K (goal race: shooting for sub-75 min)
Now that I have my racing schedule planned out, I'm focusing this week on firming up my training plans. More planning, I know! I hope to share that later this week.

* * *

Check this out: Tall Mom on the Run is having a cool giveaway here.

Happy Monday, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tipsy legs, double runs, and POM Wonderful.

OK, let me get right down to business: I ran twice again yesterday. Woo hoo! As promised, I'm making this a habit and, so far, it's working for me. I've been picking one day a week when I have the freedom to run during Conal's nap and again when Owen gets home from work. None of the runs on my double days have been terribly long (they've ranged from 2.5 to 5 miles), but they have felt right, which is important, and they are proving to be a good way for me to increase my weekly mileage.

Yesterday, I ran 4.1 miles on the treadmill in the afternoon and then went for a quick, post-hail storm 2.5 miles outside in the evening. I wouldn't have had time for a straight 6.5 miles so splitting it up into two runs worked.

The best part is that I was back to tipsy legs for both runs! I know! Super good luck, huh? Yeah. Super good. (Don't remember my tipsy legs? I wrote about them here. They rock!)

Actually, let me take that back. The best part wasn't the tipsy legs. The best part really was that although I woke with a terrible headache yesterday, which didn't seem to want to go away no matter what I did, my first run was able to chase it away. Thanks, run!

* * *

Now it's time for my Friday review. Today, I've got POM Wonderful for you. The nice (wonderful?) POM peeps sent me a box of their original pomegranate juice to try out. My experience with pomegranate juice has been somewhat limited. I've mostly had it mixed with other things -- like the pomegranate-champagne cocktails that my friend Jen made around the holidays -- and I really like the pomegranate-ginger flavor of Solixir. But, straight pomegranate juice? Hadn't had much of it.

Until I sampled POM Wonderful.

This stuff is, in a word, yum! I liked it a lot. My husband, on the other hand, found it to be way too tart. Me? I'm all about tart. I love cranberries and cranberry juice so pomegranate juice is right up my alley. And, it makes for a refreshing post-run beverage.

Conal sampled it, too, and asked for more. I've been watering down his serving, though, because there are a few too many calories in the juice for a toddler (there are 160 calories in an 8 ounce serving). Although there are quite a few calories in each serving, there are no added sugars, no preservatives and no colors. And pomegranates are chock-full of antioxidants. You can learn more about POM Wonderful at their web site here.

Check it out -- it really is a tasty drink!

OK, folks. I hope everyone has a good Friday and a great weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuning in to tune-ups.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I'm looking for upcoming races in the near future. Well, it looks like I really need to get on that! According to an article I read after receiving the Running Times e-mail newsletter yesterday, those who don't race often enough don't perform to their potential in their goal races. It's an interesting article and you can read the whole thing here. Let me just give you a quick peak at some of what jumped out at me:

"While the serial racer might never reach her potential because of overexposure, the overly occasional racer also often falls short, because of not enough exposure to the physical and mental demands that occur only in a race.

"Anyone hoping to pop a PR needs tune-up races. They’re the rustbusters that teach your body and mind to race effectively. They’re the place to practice your race, before, during, and after the actual event."
Um, that would be me, right these in that first paragraph: "the overly occasional racer." Overly occasional! I should get shirts emblazoned with OO on them, that's so me.

I don't race enough: I've run only three races this year. Three! That's it! I'm overly occasional!

But maybe not for too long. I'm going to get serious about my race hunt. There aren't too many of them between now and September, and most of them seem to fall on days when I'll either be away or would otherwise not be able to participate. I'll find some, if not ones that take place soon, then you'll definitely hear about me toeing the line in September in anticipation of my goal races later in the fall.

Any thoughts about tune-up races?

* * *

I've fallen off on the complaining. I complained a few times over the past few days and, man, do I wish I hadn't. Oh, well. The good thing about being aware of my complaining is that I'm also taking the time to think about why I'm complaining. And one of the things I've complained about over the last few days is something that I just haven't found a way to deal with in a productive way. So, I've complained. Now I know that I must figure this out so I can get to that fully complaint-free place.

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday speed-work.

I'm getting into the swing of running on the treadmill once a week while Conal naps. Yesterday, I hit the 'mill for speed-work. My full workout looked like this:

2 mile warm-up
6 x 400 at 7:18 pace (walked/sloooooowly jogged for 400 in between)
1 mile cool-down

My first fast "lap" felt like crud. Total crud. My breathing felt off and my legs felt like they were tied up on knots. I walked the rest interval and then went right back to my speed. That second lap felt a little better but not great. But, the third lap . . . well, the third lap felt OK! We're talking totally average!

And then I was halfway through and that buoyed me a bit and I made it through three more completely average repeats. Hey -- that's a win, in many ways. The repeats felt OK, not cruddy. I mean, I was ready to be done after the sixth one, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. Nope, not at all. I felt fine. I ran my cool-down mile at a comfortable 9:30 pace, ending at 10:00 and I felt like I could keep going and going. But, my workout window was closing so I hopped off the 'mill, pleased with my work.

I'm glad I'm getting back into speed-work after some time away from it. Now, I'm on the hunt for a late August/September 5k and maybe some other races. I'm definitely running our local Race for the Cure at the beginning of October but nothing else is for sure. I've got some planning to do!

Happy Wednesday!

~ Felice

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In case you need something to run for . . .

Yesterday, I received an email from Hannah at Women to Women International asking me to help spread the word about a series of races that will support women and children in Congo.

Well, once I read some of the material that Hannah sent and that is available on their web site (here), I had to write about it right away. Sure, I'd read things here and there about the situation in Congo, and I'd heard a mention or two about the Oprah episode, but I guess I hadn't really paid attention.

So now I am. Now I'm getting more informed. And now I'm sharing some info with you. There are six Runs for Congo Women planned for this fall. If one is in a city near you, I encourage you to check it out! Here is the information on the series from Hannah:

Change Your Life. And Hers.

Join Women for Women International and stand up for women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Participate in a 2009 Run for Congo Women.

Run for Congo Women began with one woman’s determination to raise awareness about the dire situation in Congo and has become an international movement.

• More than 5.4 million people have died since 1998 in this conflict.
• Half of these deaths are children under the age of five.
• For women in Congo, brutal gang rape and torture are a daily reality.

Run for Congo Women is your opportunity to support these women and children as they rebuild their lives.

Visit www.runforcongowomen.org to learn more and register for one of the following runs today!

Morrison, CO - Saturday, September 19th

Portland, ORSaturday, September 19th

New York, NY - Saturday, September 26th

Tempe/Phoenix, AZ - Sunday, September 27th

Chicago, IL - Saturday, October 3rd

St. Louis, MO - Saturday, October 17th

By signing up today, you will support Women for Women International’s program in Congo, in which women receive direct assistance, rights awareness and job skills training that make it possible for them to start their own micro-enterprises. You also allow them to provide for their family and to regain their role as an active member of their community.

When you join us, you help spread this message: Congolese lives matter. The lives of Congolese women are significant. The lives of Congolese children are precious. We are running to help.

Run on! Oh, and if you do decide to sign up for one of the Run for Congo Women races, let me know! I want to be able to send you lots of good vibes :-)

~ Felice

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend runs.

What a great weekend!

It started out with Friday's evening run, which started out cruddy. Yup, cruddy! Instead of propelling me forward, my legs felt like they were being dragged behind me. They felt heavy and blah. "Slow it down," I told myself. "Give 'em a break; this is your fourth run in three days."

I figured a reduced pace would let my legs catch up and the run would turn out fine. It didn't work. My legs felt heavier the slower I ran.

When I got to the base of the big hill I decided to switch it up. "Tackle the hill. Run fast," I said (silently, so no one would think I am whackier than they already do). I forced my legs to really move it and run fast. When I crested the hill, I gave my legs a high-five (in my mind, again, because of the whackiness factor) and encouraged them to keep it up. It worked and they did and the rest of the run rocked!

On Saturday I gave my legs a much-needed full day off. Conal and I spent a relaxing morning at the local farmer's market followed by some outdoor play and then we all went to a big family party in the afternoon. Usually, or at least for the past few months, I've been cross-training on all of my off days so even when I'm not running my legs are working. Saturday was just rest and my legs appreciated it!

Those grateful legs rewarded me by being full of pep for my long(ish) run on Sunday. Nice and easy miles!

* * *

On the no complaining front, I'm doing well. Some complaints creeped into my head over the weekend but I recognized what was happening and I was able to shift my thinking before the inevitable scowl settled on my brow.

Have a great week everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday! Update, a review, a little giveaway. Sorta.

First, let me share something that I think is pretty cool. You know how I mentioned the Complaint Free World book yesterday and how I'm working on becoming complaint free? Well, the author, Will Bowen, visited my site and commented. Really! He took the time to stop over at my little blog and congratulate me on my quest. I just think that is cool.

And maybe it is the boost I need because I did complain to my husband yesterday about a ticket sale that went awry. The good thing about it, though, is that caught myself and didn't get all worked up. So, half success? Sure!

OK, second, my legs are continuing to feel good after the two runs on Wednesday followed by a 4.5 mile run yesterday. I have a run on the schedule for this evening and then I'm off tomorrow because we have a big family party to go to. Then, a long-ish run on Sunday.

* * *

I've been remiss with my reviews and have a few good ones to do over the next few weeks.

I'll start getting back on track with my review of Dove Ultimate Visibly Smooth antiperspirant and deodorant. Apparently the folks at Dove think I'm just sweaty enough to test drive this stuff! And they aren't that wrong...

The idea behind this new antiperspirant is that it also reduces stubble over time. According to the material they sent, it has:

All the benefits of a Dove antiperspirant/deodorant
  • 24-hour odor and wetness protection
  • Alleviates white marks
  • Conditions and cares for underarm skin
Makes stubble easier to deal with
  • Reduces that prickly feeling between shaves
  • Keeps underarms smoother for longer
  • Within weeks of regular use, hair feels softer, finer and easier to remove for a cleaner, closer shave
I've been using the stuff for about a month and I think it works well. The smell is a bit strong for me (Wild Rose) but I normally use unscented antiperspirant so I'm not used to heavy scents. Other than that I like it. It keeps me sweat free and (I hope!) stink free. Now, what about the stubble, you're probably asking. Good question! I'm not sure. See, it's summer and so I shave my underarms every day, which means I can't really tell if it's made a ton of difference. I think it has made for closer shaves but how can you tell?

Dove also makes a version in a nature fresh scent so I'll check that out and see if it is a little less strong. If you'd like to try it out, you can either print off a coupon from their web site here or let me know and I can send you a few (they sent me a stack of them -- it's the same as on their site).

Since we're talking (OK, I'm writing) about a giveaway, I want to make sure to mention that Marlene is hosting a really, really cool giveaway on her blog. But, you might not want to enter because you might not want to decrease my chances of winning. Ha!

And that's it for this Friday! Good luck to everyone racing this weekend especially Terri and J who are running the Boilermaker. I wish I could be there with you!!!

~ Felice

Thursday, July 9, 2009


If it really takes 21 days for something to become a habit, I have a long way to go before running doubles becomes one. But I'm on my way. I ran twice again yesterday and it felt pretty good. I could get used to this!

I could also -- I hope -- get used to not complaining. I'm trying. Last week, Sarah wrote about how she's planning to be complaint free for a week, based on the concept in Will Bowen's book, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted. I'm nothing if not a copycat this week so I decided to think about this whole idea and try it out myself.

You know, the whole concept makes sense. And, if you think of my earlier copycat post where I talked about how you are what you repeatedly do, then it follows that if you repeatedly complain then you are a complainer. Which means you probably aren't doing anything about the thing you are complaining about.

So, consider it done. I'm striving to be less of a complainer. I may not become complaint free, at least not right away, but I'll be on my way. And running doubles while I'm at it!

~ Felice

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Queen of Self Diagnosis.

You know me as the Happy Runner. Or maybe by my given name, Felice. But, truth be told, you should get to know me as Her Royal Highness the Queen of Self Diagnosis.

If there is a sore muscle, tendon, ligament, joint, what have you, on this here body, I will concoct a diagnosis. It might not suit me and it might not be correct but I will -- with a confidence better left to someone who spent some long amount of time in medical school -- declare my diagnosis to anyone who cares to listen. Like my trusty two-year old. Or my cat. Or, if he's not already bored by my stream of declarations, my husband.

Torn meniscus! Or just an interior thigh muscle that needs to be more properly stretched.

Runner's knee! Or just a twinge that will disappear after a few days off.

One leg longer than the other! (Leg length discrepancy syndrome?) Or just not.

Raynaud's syndrome! Or just really poor running attire choices.

You get the picture.

So, imagine, if you will, what HRH The Queen of Self Diagnosis must be like when called upon to diagnosis her precious little toddler. Her only son. Heir, as it were, to the throne.

Well. You can't imagine, sorry. I just don't think you can truly imagine the level of hysteria that can come in to play.

About a month ago, I found a tick on my son's head. You may recall that I wrote about how checking for ticks is an important summer ritual, and one that everyone should get in the habit of doing. I've been in the habit. I've checked and re-checked. Checked my body, checked my son's body. Check, check, check.

But, that weekend one month ago I failed. When I finally noticed the tick it had not only bitten my son but had become grossly, disgustingly engorged. It took me several panicky minutes to pull the thing out of Conal's head.

Since the bite, I have been on Lyme disease watch. Or, more accurately, blowing-every-little-thing-out-of-proportion-because-it-could-be-Lyme disease watch. Every little thing that happens and . . . Lyme disease! The boy has Lyme disease!

Prickly heat? You've got to be kidding. That rash is clearly indicative of the bartonella co-infection! OK, so it wasn't but it could have been.

Bad dream? What?!?!?! A child crying out in the middle of the night is most certainly a sign of . . . something Lyme-related.

I can't take the paranoia. It stinks and it is all my own doing, this I know. Being the Queen of Self Diagnosis, though, I'm inclined that way. It's been a month since the bite and my son hasn't shown any major signs of Lyme disease. I should relax and pay less attention to the fabricated symptoms and more attention to, I don't know, maybe my tight piriformis? But it is just difficult. I'm scared about this Lyme disease.

Oh, well. I'll get over it. You know, once Conal is a healthy teen and I have nothing else to worry about!

Until then, I'm hitting the treadmill for speed work this afternoon. That should wring out some of my paranoia, right?

~ HRH The Queen of Lyme Disease Paranoia

(Hey, when you're queen, you get to change your name whenever you want!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

A runner. And a rambler.

I read something this morning that fit right in with some thoughts that I've been having lately.

On Friday, MizFit, from MizFitOnline, wrote about the quote, "You are what you repeatedly do."

(I don't want to steal her content so I won't rehash what she wrote. You can read it yourself, if you are interested. And, by the way, if you don't already visit her site you really, really should. It's awesome.)

I've been thinking around that idea for a while -- thinking about habits, thoughts, etc. But, until I read MizFit's post I didn't actually think about how what I do really is who I am. When you stop to think about it, it's pretty heavy! "You are what you repeatedly do."

So, am I a runner? Sure, I repeatedly run. I ran while away on our little beach trip (twice!) and I run regularly in general. I like to run. I consider myself a runner. I run. I'm a runner.

But what else? I'm giving some thought to the whole personal side but since this is a running blog I'll skip that. As a runner, who am I? What do I repeatedly do?

Looking at my logs, I'm a 4-5 mile, mid-paced runner. I say I want to be faster but I'm not repeatedly running fast. I say I'd like some more endurance but I'm not repeatedly running longer distances. I say I love running hills and -- well, whaddya know? I repeatedly run hills!

I go back and forth with the quality of my running. Some months are filled with quality runs, others not so much. Some months are filled with purpose and, again, others not so much. What do I really want as a runner, I wonder? Yes, I'd like to run a sub-23 minute 5k. And, I'd like to run a marathon next year. But those are specific goals, they aren't definitions of me, the runner.

Or, are they? If I look at that and think about what it is I am doing, I see that I am striving. I'm striving to be a better runner. I'm striving to figure out the balance with my running and my life, as well as with hard and easy runs. I repeatedly strive to do better. To run more sensibly. To run better.

I guess that's who I am right now: A striving runner. Beyond that, I'm still figuring it out. I don't want to sell myself short by not pushing toward my goals but I also don't ever want to burn out and not enjoy running. So I'll think some more about this idea, "You are what you repeatedly do." Striving runner. And hill runner, mom runner, mid-pack runner, happy runner. Runner. Those definitions work. I might be more. We'll see.

Right now, it seems like I'm a bit of a rambler! Sheesh! So I'll just wrap up and send you all some (late) happy Monday wishes. I'm trying to get back in the groove after a long weekend away. And the sun has been shining all day. Woo hoo! Could July really be the sunny month I've been hoping for? My fingers are crossed for that to be the case!

~ Felice

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Hello from the beach!

I'm off enjoying the holiday weekend at the beach. Yes, soaking up the sun that I didn't see during the month of June. Woo hoo! It's been beautiful here.

I got in a nice beachtown run yesterday and I'm hoping to get in another today. I hope you all are having as nice of a weekend as I'm having!


~ Felice

Thursday, July 2, 2009

TiaRT: Running Fireworks.

Today's Take it and Run Thursday topic at Runners' Lounge is running fireworks: "In honor of the 4th of July, let's talk conflict, controversy, and commotion. What are some of the topics that you and your running friends discuss and have different opinions on? What are some topics that your family members take up with you?"

Hmm . . . well, I'm not one to write about controversy. I just don't like to get into stuff like that. But, there is one topic that comes up now and then that is somewhat controversial, that causes a little conflict in my life. And it is running-related so I feel like I can tackle it here.

OK. Here it is: It really bugs me when people dismiss my running. Or, running in general.

Whew, what a load off!

What I mean is that it bugs me when people say things like, "You can run because you're tall/short/dedicated/built for running -- I could never run because I'm too short/too tall/get bored when I run/have flat feet/bad knees/weak ankles/large breasts/a delicate constitution, etc., etc.."

Let's get one thing straight: I'm built for running the way Garrett Gomez is built for basketball. As in, I'm not.

I don't have the slim build of a long-distance runner. I have hips that carry a little extra baggage. I have crummy feet with annoying and painful bunions. I have tight hamstrings.

But none of that matters because I work at it.

Was it easy when I started? No way! Did I start and stop several times? Oh, yeah. But did I stick with it? Yes! And that's the difference. I decided I wanted to run and so I did. And I do.

I get that not everyone wants or likes to run. That's no big deal.

But what I don't get is why people feel compelled to make excuses for why they can't run. It's enough to not want to run. That's honest and I get it. I, for example, have no interest in downhill skiing. I don't like it. It's not that my knees are bad or that I think I'll look like a goof in the gear. No, I just don't want to ski. I don't want to do it and so I don't. If you like to ski, that's cool. I won't think you are weird because of that.

When people tell me that I can run because of X but they can't because they are not X, or that they don't know how I can run because running is so boring, it makes me feel like I'm some kind of whack-o. Which may be true, but not in this case!

You see (and I guess this is the controversial part of this whole thing) I believe -- firmly -- that everyone can run. Everyone. Sure, it is easier for some than for others but running is natural. It is what our bodies were meant to do! Baby, we were born to run!

(Check out that shirt -- do people still wear shirts with the sleeves cut off?)

Everyone can run if they go about it in a sensible way. When I run in a non-sensible way, I usually get hurt and have to take some time off. When I'm sensible, I succeed. For new runners, being sensible means taking it slow, not running too much or too often. But it also means wanting to. If you want to run, you'll run. You can do it. If you don't want to run, you won't. And that's cool.

So, there you have it. Some Happy Runner fireworks.

And and update: Thus far, July has not come through. Rain yesterday. Rain today. Bring on the sun!!!

~ Felice

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happiness is . . .

two kinds of ice cream, sure, but I'd settle for just a day without rain. Yes. For me, happiness would be a day without rain. Not a drought-style rainless period, just a day or two of no rain. I don't know if I can even remember what rainless days are like. We seem to have rain every single day here. Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and warm in the morning but by 3 in the afternoon it was an all-out thunderstorm. Pouring rain.

So, I guess that is my July request: Less rain. July, if you can deliver, I will love you forever.

And now let me look back at June.

June stats:

Running (miles): 70
Cross training (sessions): 13

  • 30 Day Shred, level 2: 8
  • 30 Day Shred, level 3: 2
  • No More Trouble Zones: 2
  • Some other exercise on demand thing: 1
Wow. My June mileage was way down from May but my cross training was way up. I'm not too worried about the balance shift because I had a whole week+ when I thought the world was ending in the form of my self-diagnosed runner's knee. I took several days off from running and that healed me right up so I guess it wasn't runner's knee after all.

I'm looking forward to more running in July and some vacations. Speaking of which, posting will be light over the next few days because we're heading to the beach for the holiday weekend. Yay!

Oh! I almost forgot: Happy Canada Day to all of you Canadians!!!

~ Felice

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