Finishing the 3M Half Marathon

The sun hasn’t come up, its 40 something degrees outside and there are around 6000 people standing around in very little and tight clothing, only runners on race day. As we waited to get started, we all stood a little more closely to the person in front of us, everyone wins with shared body heat and I was ok with using the man in front of as a wind shield. Then it starts and gloves, hats, jackets, shirts all start being shed as we shuffle forward. Let’s go.

time to wake up

time to wake up

13.1 can be done! Make that your new mantra. You’ll need it when you drag yourself out of bed before the sun comes up 6 out of 7 days of the week, when you find it hard to bend your knees after your distance days, when you find yourself “running out the soreness” and when you cross that finish line. Because truly, that’s what it took for me, and I can’t be that far off from other people new to distance running. A while ago I posted about how I was learning to actually enjoy learning and now look at what I accomplished!

2015-01-25 09.22.47

I followed Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon plan for Intermediate runners because I had run some 5Ks and a 10K and was regularly running 6 miles on my distance days already but he has other plans for Novice 1 and Novice 2. Hal Higdon’s plans came highly recommended to me by a close family friend, my cousin, and a neighbor who all have followed them and completed half and full marathons. I didn’t follow it to a T and I gave myself more time to cover holidays out of town (yeah right like I’d run in the Colorado mountains) but I still recommend taking a look.

I didn’t join a running group, I didn’t follow a running plan exactly, I didn’t give up any food or drinking and I certainly didn’t start from a lot of experience in running and I still completed a half marathon and even beat my goal time (thank you adrenaline for kicking in). Basically, I just gave up some sleep and a few hours on my weekends and I was able to finish without walking and without practically killing myself. 13.1 can be done. It may seem like an insurmountable goal right now when you run 3 miles but that’s where it starts. These things take time and effort and commitment but it was totally worth it.

I chose the 3M half marathon for a couple reasons, one my dad works for 3M and he’s been trying to get me to run one since I was in highschool, second is he got me free registration (put those 80 dollars back in my pocket), but most importantly is that this half marathon is mostly downhill or little change in elevation. Hallelujah to that! 13.1 miles is not the time for hills. It’s just not. Of course Austin and the surrounding area and just Texas in general has a lot of half marathons and full marathons going on, but I highly recommend doing some research into the course.

2015-02-02 18.16.34

 

And you know what? I actually enjoyed it. Even after the endorphin induced joy wore off. I thought it was fun and already looking for my next one. And don’t forget the swag. I definitely rocked that bad boy all over Whole Foods for my post race feast.

2015-01-27 19.46.49

So to all my runner friends out there, buena suerte and see you at the start line!

How I Learned to Enjoy Running

It’s true. No one is more surprised than I am but I do in fact enjoy running now. I voluntarily get up early on the weekends to run a race (which I pay to do) with a bunch of other crazies. It wasn’t always this way. I used to loathe running. It was the worst part of dry-land when I was swimming. It changed in college when the most convenient form of stress relief was to step away from the desk and run. Then it became an every day form of exercise. And now I run twice a day most days. So what changed? How did I get here?

1. Invest in the right shoes.

Two key words in this point: Invest and right. Invest: means do your research about your foot (flat or high arches), about your stride (pronation or neutral), how much cushion you want (minimal to mid to a lot) etc. There’s a lot of technology that goes into running shoes now and you should be educated before making a purchase because it can make the difference between injuries or the right fit. Right: try shoes on, take it for a test run— this does not mean walking around the shoe store. A lot of running stores have treadmills with cameras on them to film your stride and I definitely recommend taking advantage of this. Take note of what the shoe is designed for-trail running vs road running. If you’re just getting into running, there’s a shoe for that; if you’re moving to minimalist, there’s a shoe for that; if you’re trying to fix your stride, there’s a shoe for that. Get the picture? There is a right running shoe for you.

2. Accountability partner

Mine happens to be an early rising energetic puppy but a human friend works too. I also have my friend who I do races with. We’re apart of a Read and Run Club of just us. It works. Kira (le puppy) insists on getting me up before 7 most days for a walk so I need no better opportunity for a run in the morning and then she needs a walk at night so there’s my second time. It’s by no means fast or even at great distances but I run, every day because Kira says so. Signing up for races is another way to keep yourself accountable. Those things cost money and if you pay for a race I would hope you would train for it. Not to mention the power of hubris during a race in which no one wants to at the end.

3. Consistency

Goes a long with point 2, but I like the idea of ‘no matter how slow you’re going, you’re still lapping those on the couch’. Not every run is going to be your best run but just the fact that you head out there each day, or every other day or whatever your schedule is, will make a difference. Commit to it. It takes so many days to form a habit then soon enough your whole day will feel off when you don’t run. Consistency is the only way that running will become easier, the only way you’ll become faster and stronger.

4. Don’t start with distance

This is becoming a more popular choice. Not to say you’ll run a certain distance each time, instead opt for running for a certain amount of time. Some days will be harder than others, some days you’ll be more tired than others, running for time helps you to focus on your endurance and your pace and your breathing rather than just getting down on yourself because you didn’t make 3 miles. Make timed intervals if it helps. You don’t have to make it hard on yourself.

5. The physical and mental benefits

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” -Elle Woods

The endorphins are a natural high that is hard to beat. When you get to the point when you’re so tired but elated at the same time, that’s when you know you struck gold. Besides the endorphins, it may sound counterintuitive but you’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, you won’t get tired as easily and you’ll gain strength, not just in your legs but in your core and heart wise too. You’ll be less stressed or it can be used as a stress relief and you’ll be exercising will power as well. There’s a whole slew of other benefits but these are the ones that I have found to have been the most beneficial in my life.

Those are the top five reasons that running has become an integral part of my life now. It all starts with a decision to commit. And it’s worth it. There is a strong camaraderie among runners. Until you’re apart of this odd group of people who think that pushing their bodies further and further until it hurts is good sport then you just won’t understand how good it can be. So try it out! Get off your but and go run!

Vinyasa for Runners

I’m going to try a different kind of post here, so bear with me. This summer I’ve increased the intensity of my workouts and tried new techniques which have made me quite sore somedays. To counter all the pounding on the pavement and increased miles or just soreness from squats/lunges I’ve made up a vinyasa (or flow of yoga poses) that counter this soreness. If you claim to not be into yoga, well then call them stretches instead of poses and get over it. You can do it either the day of a hard workout or like me and do it the day after when your muscles are complaining about what you did to them the day before. All the images are from Yoga Journal online if you want to explore more.

Ok here we go:

Start with Full Sun into Chair pose and hold for 4-5 breaths and then back into Full Sun

Repeat 3 times

After the the third time take Full Sun into Warrior 2 (right foot forward) for 4-5 breaths

Warrior 2 into Revolved Side Angle (right hand next to right foot) for 4-5 breaths

Revolved Side Angle into a Low Lunge and hold for 4-5 breaths

Low Lunge into Plank for 4-5 breaths

Plank into Chaturanga

Chaturanga in to Cobra or King Cobra (toes curled under to lift legs off the floor), hold for 4-5 breaths

Cobra into Downward Facing Dog, hold for 4-5 breaths

Downward Facing Dog into Pigeon Pose, for 4-5 breaths

PIgeon Pose back toward left foot into Child Pose (but reach your arms out front for a better stretch), for 4-5 breaths

From Child’s Pose, hop into Forward Bend (if you can’t touch your toes, reach as far as you can but SUPPORT yourself either above or below the knee), hold for 4-5 breaths

Forward Bend into Full Sun

Namaste Y’all