Tag Archive: Running


Well, I suppose “Word Wednesday”, while thought of in the best of intentions, is not a realistic regular idea for me. Three weeks after writing that, I have yet to use extrapolate in conversation. So we’ll just table that idea for now and focus on things I’m more attuned to.

My running progress these past few weeks has been really great. I’m less than 60 days from Philly and on track for a 16-miler this weekend. I have a couple busy weekends coming up where my long runs will be iffy, one of which is Ragnar weekend. My Ragnar legs add up to 18 miles so I won’t be doing much more than 10 or 12 miles for a long run that weekend, if anything. I’m waiting to get Coach Marney’s take on it. Pace-wise I’m feeling really I good and I hope I can keep up this momentum.

Another thing I have come to realize over the past month or so is how comfortable I am running without music. In all the years I’ve been running I’ve relied heavily on music for runs of any distance. The exceptions have been the random instance of forgetting my iPod, the battery running out, or forgetting the earphones or belt/armband to hold it. When I ran Disney I had my iPod with me and was all set but knew I wouldn’t have enough battery for the whole run. I figured I’d start the run without it and turn it on further in when I needed some motivation. With all the characters and music throughout the course, I never wound up turning it on. Once I got home I went back to using pandora or my playlist on my iPhone but every now and then I didn’t bring it along. I started listening to music less and less, to the point where I now can’t think of the last time I did. No matter the distance, I don’t feel the need to tune in, and just fall into the flow of my run.

Anybody else out there going (or tried going) tune free in their runs?


Running Buddies

When I started running it was on a treadmill at the gym I belonged to. I saw other people running around me and felt very out of place, but still did it and felt good. I hardly ever ran outside – it was always too hot or too cold, or at least that’s what I thought! Because of this, I was very comfortable running alone, even when I started running outside more often (and anymore exclusively). Alone gave me an escape to mentally let go of or ponder things going on, or just zone out from it all. It was therapeutic which I think we can all relate to.

After i started doing 5ks and my friend Carrie started running, we would go to races together but could never run together because we are a good two minutes per mile difference in pace. I trained for my first few half marathons alone, mapping out routes through the neighborhoods I lived in. I was fine with it, and had no idea what I was missing out on. Once every now and then Niki and I would get together for a run which was good because we are close in pace and she could push me a little bit. Our schedules made doing this often challenging so it was only a couple times here and there.

Then along came Team In Training, where every week I was getting together with other people training for the same races I was, and with all different paces. I started getting used to running with certain people and got used to The long runs where I could talk about my week and gossip or get advice about something. The therapeutic feeling I used to get running alone I now get when I go out with my various running buddies. And even better, if I don’t run with someone often, those long runs together becomes an awesome way to catch up on life. On those long runs with friends I’ve even gotten in the habit of not taking along earphones and am now seldom listening to tunes during my solo runs during the week.

Today I went for a short run with Casey. I’m so proud of her for giving running a shot earlier this year and discovering how enjoyable it is. We’ve been doing short runs every couple weeks and our schedules work that we are going to try to get together twice a week and on one of those days mix in some circuit training.

How often do you run with someone else or a group? How often do you run solo? What are your favorite things about each?

Outside the Comfort Zone

One of my earliest posts included a quote about only growing if you are outside your comfort zone.  Every long run from this point on is outside my comfort zone.  Yesterday’s long run was 16 miles and each week I’m expecting a congratulatory message from Lance Armstrong, Joan Samuelson, Tiger Woods or Paula Radcliffe on my Nike+ because I’ve completed my longest run.  Being out running for three hours takes just as much mentally as it does physically.  Having the support system of my teammates and coaches has made these runs easier to bear.  Marney was ‘paperclip’-ing me for the last two miles yesterday which was very amusing!  As much as I hurt after finishing yesterday’s run, after an icebath and some Aleve I feel completely fine today.

Something I noticed from last week’s long run (14-miles) was that my right side IT Band is tight which puts pressure on the bursal behind my right knee.  I pushed through that run and have been following my therapy exercises.  I also pulled out a free sample I had of KT Tape and looked up a video of how to apply it for IT relief.  I figured it was worth a shot and I am now a believer in the stuff.  I taped up yesterday morning and didn’t feel a wince of pain during yesterday’s run – I was amazed at how well this stuff works.  I bought a package in the afternoon – I bought the pink tape so it will look like a pink flamingo on my leg!

I also bought a new pair of sneakers yesterday afternoon.  I bought my last pair in December, Asics 2150s.  I should have bought another pair a couple weeks ago but waiting isn’t a huge deficit for me.  I bought the same shoes, even though I debated buying Kayanos.  The running store I went to, Aardvark in Bethlehem, had a sale with 13.1% off of everything and I also had $9 in Aardvark dollars.  I’m sticking with the 2150s through the marathon but probably will switch to Kayanos later in the summer.

Next week will be a real challenge because I’ll have to do the 18 miles on the training plan schedule on my own on Sunday because of an event for work on Saturday when I normally run with TNT.  I might have to recruit a bike pacer…

The Joy of Travel

I love doing races in other areas.  It’s comforting to run along familiar streets but it’s exciting to see new places and navigate through places unknown to me.  Even places I’ve been to many times like Philadelphia and D.C. feel and look different when running through them.  One of the reasons I chose to participate in the Team In Training program was so that I could visit and run in someplace completely different.  I can’t wait to see San Diego for the first time, and then experience it on foot.

One thing about going somewhere out of town for a race is that if you are staying overnight it can be stressful.  Hotels have many different amenities, but your normal pre-race routine is inevitably going to be shaken up by something, whether it be the lack of a microwave to cook your oatmeal in or noisy neighbors in the hall at all hours.  Local restaurants are fun to try and cover the need to carbo-load, but there’s a nagging fear that stomach trouble could arise.  There’s also the stress of forgetting something at home – the mental checklist can sometimes overlook something you don’t realize will be missed until getting ready, or if you do think of it you’re too far to or can’t turn around and drive back for it.  I am a little bit nervous thinking about all this as I get closer to marathon day.

So, in advance I’m going to look up what all is at my hotel – if the guest rooms have a fridge and microwave and if the hotel has room service are at the top of the list.  I know that the night-before dinner will be a pasta dinner for TNT participants so I won’t need to worry about finding a restaurant.  I’m the person who always has Tums and Pepto so that will be along, and I ALWAYS overpack clothing and toiletries.  One thing I tend to forget and wind up buying at a drug store somewhere are toothbrushes.  We’re leaving early on a Friday morning so I’ll probably be packed and ready by Wednesday night.  Sneakers, race-day outfit, normal clothes, hairties, socks, so much to remember!

What other thoughts or suggestions, words of caution, anecdotes does anyone have about racing away from home?

Sham Rock

This past weekend my friend Niki and I had our second out of town race weekend and went down to Virginia Beach to run in the Yuengling Sham Rock On races.  Our first was to Philly for the Philadelphia Distance Run in September and we had a lot of fun and met Troy Aikmen’s private pilots – it goes without saying that we knew this would be a fun race weekend.  The races were Sunday but we headed down there Friday so we wouldn’t be rushing around to get our race packets and carb-y foods.  We set up a hotel for Friday with the intention to join up with another friend for Saturday and Sunday.

We arrived around 6:30pm and were impressed with the hotel I booked barely a month ago, when a lot of hotels were full.  The room had a great oceanfront view plus a fridge and microwave.  Not what I was expecting for the $70 a night AAA rate!  We did dinner at Waterman’s and then went to Murphy’s Pub for a couple beers.  Murphy’s is where we planned to go after finishing so we wanted to check it out.

Saturday we watched the 8k racers along the boardwalk from our hotel room balcony, laced up our sneakers and went out for our own 5-mile run.  It was a good way to get used to how flat it would be for our race and the warmer temps.  We saw it get to 70 degrees Saturday and the Sunday forecast was looking the same.  We decided to stay in the same hotel the rest of the weekend and after cleaning up we grabbed breakfast – I got awesome banana pancakes which made a great breakfast Sunday morning too – and then went to the race Expo to get our race packets and bibs.  I had registered for the half and Niki registered for the full, but planned to switch to the half at the Expo.  Well, the half was filled up so all of a sudden, Niki was doing a full marathon, even though she hadn’t trained quite enough.  Out of everyone I know though, I knew Niki could get through it and still be smiling at the finish line.

The rest of the race expo was pretty neat – Irish step dancers were performing, there were some good/some bad food samples (cheese!) and I picked up a Spibelt to hold stuff while running, a Running Skirt in the TNT purple to wear in San Diego and some new hairbands – Sweaty Bands.  I don’t think I’ve ever bought so much stuff at a race expo!  We went back to the hotel, grabbed lunch and then borrowed bikes (free!) and took a ride around town.  Saturday’s weather was so amazing and walking and bike rides were a lot of fun.  Neither of us felt like going out to eat so we ordered delivery and loaded up on carbs and water while watching HBO in the hotel room.

The race start time for me was 7am, for Niki 8am – made no sense but whatever.  The first alarm clock went off at 4:30 and the second at 5.  I ate up my leftover pancakes, moleskinned my feet to prevent blisters, and used the Body Glide.  By 6 we were ready to go and walked to the start line.  We had corrals for the half so I crossed the start at 7:05am.  The course was flat as expected, very little change in elevation.  There were funny jokes and motivational messages along the side of the roads and the Hashers had a beer check at the 2-mile and 10-mile point.  Running through Cape Henry and the boardwalk later was pretty cool – it was neat to see the ocean to my left and finish at Neptune’s statue.  I finished in 2:29, placing 4,434 out of 6,546 runners in the half marathon.  Not my best!  But I enjoyed the race and feel good for finishing.  I wound up not using Body Glide in the right place on my upper arms and wound up with some chafing and also a couple blisters on the feet.  Blister prevention is my new project so I’ll be doing a post on that later this week.

After finishing they hand everyone their medal, a nice wicking hat, a long-sleeve T-shirt and the requisite goodies – cookies, bananas, pretzels, granola bars….  Walking back to the hotel after I finished I got to see and cheer for Niki around mile 12 – she was doing great and running with the 4:30 pace group.  I took a shower and walked down to the finish line festival to grab a beer and watch for Niki to finish.  I’ve never seen a finish festival like this – beer, beach, sun – it was a big party with live bands and runners playing flip cup on empty tables.  I loved watching the marathon finishers – so many of them looked strong and excited.  She finished in 4:45 which I’m so impressed by – her longest training run was only 17 miles!  I can only hope to finish with that time in San Diego.  After she got her shower we went back to the Finish festival to enjoy a few more beers.  The crowd had filtered out a lot and it had gotten cloudy so the sun was gone.  We talked to a couple who came from Atlanta and some people from Lancaster who’ve been to some of the races in Reading that we know of. 

After the beer kicked and the hunger set in we walked over to Murphy’s for food and some more beer (not free).  My friend Ryan who lives in the area met up with us and as usual, we randomly meet more fun people and had a blast dancing along to the live band and talking to our new friends.  My new friend Steve lives in Virginia Beach and is from Minnesota – he ran the 8k on Saturday and then the Marathon on Sunday!  He wore those sunglasses through the entire marathon – maybe I shouldn’t have tried them on…. 

Sham Rock was a great race – as a runner it had a well planned course and amenities, and the party-like atmosphere made it relaxing and rewarding.  I was not anxious or nervous going into this race like I am for others.  It was a great ramp-up and tune-up for San Diego, and meeting so many other runners was inspirational to me.

The Playlist’s the Thing

When I’m running I definitely feel more comfortable and focused if I have music.  For a typical run, I’ll set my iPod on shuffle and if a slower tune comes on I skip it.  For the half marathons I’ve done I have a special play list that I’ve tweaked for each one.  Ironically, for my first half marathon I forgot my iPod.  I had my headphones and armband for it, just somehow forgot the actual iPod.  It definitely was interesting to realize that I was ok without it, but ultimately I like the extra kick I get when a certain song comes on, or how a beat or melody can set a pace.  I feel an instant surge if a certain Dave Matthews Band song comes on – for a while it was Ants Marching but lately it’s Lie in our Graves.  I notice my breathing mimics the beat of the chorus of Gloria from Flashdance.  On runs where I don’t have music I feel like I’m humming along to Gloria.

Shamrock is just a few days away so of course my iPod is coming along.  My playlist is in need of tweaking so I ask for feedback on what I should add.  In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day The Dropkick Murphy’s and U2 are inevitably included.  What else would make this the perfect Shamrock playlist?