Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Trail Running in the South Mountains of North Carolina, South of the Mountain Trail Run Recap

Once I found myself back in the saddle so to speak and running again I needed to sign up for something. It was now fall and the last race I had signed up for I missed, on purpose. It was the Rock N' Roll Half in Virgina Beach. I was one of those DNS (did not start). That has never happened to me before. I had been very excited to run another half but as I shared earlier I was in the depths of the post race blues and was not logging the miles I needed to for another half. 

Pulling gradually out of the slump I was in I signed up for a trail run 5K in the South Mountains. These are the very same mountains that my grandmother grew up in so I was very excited. I decided not to run this race to win but rather to run this race for the joy of running. Looking forward to this race along with the Run for God program I was facilitating really helped me find that joy again!

It had been a bit rainy but the day was clear and the South of the Mountain Trail Run was fun! Since I had never done a trail run before my youngest daughter and I decided to take a day trip and run the route so I would know what to expect. The course was simply beautiful! There were some hills and roots so the race was challenging but it was awesome being out there in the woods running! I felt so connected to nature and the fresh air was invigorating! The race was well organized and they had great post race food and a fun awards event that followed! I will most certainly run this race again!
















Monday, December 28, 2015

Back on the run!

I have found my pace again! 

It's been a very busy year and after completing my very first half marathon in April I found myself in a slump. For a while I wasn't sure what was going on. I completed that race and felt an all time high! I crossed the finish line with every intention on doing more and more half marathons. I loved it, it was better than any 5K I had ever completed and better (yes harder too) than any run I had run. 

The problem was though that once I was back home I struggled severely to get outside and run again. I did everything right, I made a plan, laid out my clothes, went to bed early and set my alarm. I even got up and sometimes got dressed but found myself back in bed simply not feeling it. In May, I managed to get in 24 miles total and in June only 9... It was bad. I had even registered for another half for September thinking that would make me get out there but I didn't. I ended up not going to that half and was beginning to become very upset with myself. 

I blamed my lack of running and interest in running on all the other things going on in my life. My oldest daughter graduated from High School in June so there was a lot of activity going on in May and June related to graduation. We traveled to Germany in June for her Senior Trip and in July we went to the beach and then we were busy getting her ready for college. Then in August we moved her two hours away from home to her University. Yes it was busy but my life is always busy and I know I could have found 30 minutes to get in some miles each day.

I had the "Postrace Blues"! Yes it is a thing and once I realized this was what was going on I began to realize there was a way out of this and I knew this would pass. God saw it fit to pull me out...

In August I received an email from a friend of mine who also happened to go to my church. My church which, by the way, I had also been too busy for during this same period of time. I mean I was busy... She asked me if I would consider leading this years Run for God Program. Our church has offered this as a 12 week Bible Study class for the past few years. Another dear friend had facilitated the program in years past but now she and her husband where in the midst of a move across the state and she was no longer able to lead the class. Thinking how in the world I am even qualified to lead such a study had me take a long long pause to really think about this.


After quite a bit of thought and one really quick prayer I came across this phrase which prompted me to say yes.


It was the best thing that could have happened for me at the time. I was back on the run. My trials in running along with this program I hoped blessed the group as much as they blessed me. The 12 week program is now completed. This program is a couch to 5K program with Bible Study and Lessons intertwined. I ran with my group two days a week and found myself out running on my other typical days as well. We worked our way to the Night of Light 5K Race in December! It has been the one thing that helped me and healed me. I feel now that I am fully recovered from my post race blues! In the midst of this program I also completed my first trail run 5K and have signed up and am training for my next half!

I would encorage anyone experiencing this post race slump or the post race blues to not throw in the towel. Keep the faith and find your re-set what ever it may be!

Happy Running Friends!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I am a "fandana"! Handana review!

I have a new favorite piece of running gear!!

As I began my training for my first half marathon I found myself asking lots and lots and lots of questions. Luckily I have a few seasoned runner friends and I was able to pick their brain about many of my questions. One however I just couldn't quite figure out...

My race was going to be in April and when I began training of course it was winter so I was wearing long sleeves... Ok let me warn you this post gets kind of gross so look away now if you don't want to hear about a running reality I face... I experience a bit of a nasal drip when I run. Yuck! I know many others do too but I just couldn't find a lot of advise on how to handle it in the summer... Winter long sleeves served me well but what about the summer when I am wearing a tank? I saw some products on the market that were kind of like a handkerchief that wrap around your wrist but that seemed pretty bulky and a bit of work to open and close it when needed. I know several people who do the whole "snot rocket" thing, there are actually tutorials on how to manage the perfect "snot rocket", but that is just not for me!! I also know runners who have told me they just wipe their nose on the inside of their T-shirt and I guess that was my plan until I discovered the Handana!

I can not begin to tell you how excited I was when I ran across this product! This was the answer to my one question I hadn't quite figured out an answer to! Aside from being my nasal drip solution it is also the perfect sweatband!

The Handana is made from a very soft wicking material and it is designed to slip perfectly on your hand, similar to a glove. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors for both men and women. They are made in the USA and were created by a runner for runners (a very inspirational runner Katie Niemeyer who courageously survived Stevens Johnson Syndrome at age 16 and went on to become a lifesaving nurse, runner, mother and inventor of the Handana)! In addition to being my new running must have this product will also serve me well when hiking through the Blue Ridge Mountains and works well for cyclist, spinners, cross fitters, yogis, etc. as well!

You can purchase your very own Handana at www.myhandana.com



I have small hands and got an X-Small. I would say these fit true to size! My handana stays put throughout my run and serves me very very well. I simply thrown it in the wash with my running clothes and it's fresh and clean and ready for the next run!




The Handana was a crucial part of my Half Marathon Must Haves!

I absolutely love the Handana and I know you will too!






Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Half Marathon Must Have Gear

I feel like I was well prepared for the half this past weekend. I had carefully and thoughtfully planned my performance wear and gear! Keep in mind this was a Divas Half Marathon so the Tutu was an add on...

Here is a list of my half marathon must haves:


  1. Avia Sunglasses - They stay in place no matter how much I "sparkle"! (Found at TJ Maxx)
  2. MPG Sports Bra - So comfortable and supportive!!
  3. 90 Degree (Juliet) Tank - Perfectly light weight and kept me cool!
  4. Under Armour Visor - I may never run again without my visor! Love this Visor!
  5. Hair Tie - I prefer the type that is knotted, it doesn't break my hair off!
  6. The Thankful Goat Chap Stick - Picked this up on a whim and it is now a staple for me!
  7. Road ID - My Amazing Hubby got me this for Easter and a 13.1 badge for once I finished!
  8. Tune Belt AB84 - I have to have my phone/music!
  9. Yurbuds - Best ear buds EVER!
  10. Hind Capris - My go to capris!
  11. My Brooks Ghost Shoes - So far the only shoes I can wear without issues!!
  12. Handana - Oh I can't wait to introduce you to Handana!! 
  13. Gatorade Chews - My mid run boost!
  14. Garmin Forerunner 10 - How did I ever run without a Garmin before??!! My Pacer!






Monday, April 13, 2015

I did it!!! My very first Half Marathon! #runlikeadiva Divas Half Marathon Myrtle Beach Race Recap

What a sense of accomplishment! I completed my very first half marathon yesterday morning!! What a journey!!

I have shared before that before a race I typically have a bout of anxiety, actually my last race was a 5K and every time I thought about signing up for another race I just couldn't do it! I was afraid of that feeling. So on Friday, two days before race day the anxiousness showed up and started to settle in. My heart raced and my belly grumbled all afternoon and evening. Saturday morning I woke up bright and early, loaded the car and picked up my race buddies and set out for our 5 hour drive to the beach! I tried hard to hide my angst around my seasoned runner friends but the heart palpitations and nervous belly were in full force! Saturday night I barely slept and spent much of the morning back and forth to the bathroom... I was seriously stressing. 

I was not stressed about the race it's self, I didn't register with the intent of winning. This was my first half. I had run long so I wasn't overly concerned about the distance either. I can't pinpoint what was working me up so much, maybe just the excitement of it all and the mass crowd that I was about to be a part of! After a cup of coffee I walked out side, witnessed the sunrise over the ocean and finally felt a calm come over me.


We all got dressed, geared up and walked to the starting line of the Divas Half-Marathon Race! I was blown away! This particular race had a 5K and a half. We arrived just as the 5K took off, there was so much energy, it was invigorating. 

Run Like a Diva

We then got into corral with the other 2,160 half marathoners and within minutes we were off!


The first three miles I ran my heart out! I know now that I started off too fast! I was pacing between 8:54 and 9:34 for the first 4 miles (my 5K pace is right at 9:00) then I started to tire and slowed down drastically. By 6 miles I was at a 10:12 pace and around 11 miles I was pacing 11:17 and I finished with an 11:27 pace.

While I know I could have done better I am happy with this! I came in with a 2hr 30 min time which put me at 213 out of 444 people in my age division and 960 overall out of 2,160 half marathoners!!!!!! Top 50%!! For my first half that's not too shabby!! Especially considering I hadn't made it past a 10 mile run before this half!!


I realized by about mile 6 that my Runtastic, the app I have used for two years to map my runs, was off in distance. It started running ahead by .25 miles, then by .5 miles and at the end, at 13.1 miles my app said I had run 14.39 miles... Ooops... So what this tells me is when I thought I had run 10.35 miles a couple weeks ago (my last long run before this race) I had actually probably only ran 9.5! I have my Garmin now which is much more accurate and I am going to give Strava a try!

Now if I could have a do over, or at lease certainly for the next race, I will pace myself better and try hard to start out at a 9:30-10:00 min mile, actually it would probably be best for me to pace at a 10:00 min mile out of the gate and sustain that through the race. I used up a lot of my energy in the beginning where I wished I had saved it up for the finish!

In addition at about mile 10 and throughout the remainder of the race I had the most severe foot and calf cramps that I had ever experienced in my life! I had to stop several times and stretch and walk them out. It was excruciating, I am going to do some research to try and determine what went wrong here. Was I not hydrated enough? I did stop and almost every aid station for water and a couple of times I had Gatorade. I have been taking a Magnesium supplement and making sure I consume plenty of potassium. I am just not sure what I did wrong but I will work to figure it out!  I also had issues with my IT band again but honestly dealing with the severe cramping was way worse! At mile 12 I wasn't sure that I'd even be able to run across the finish I was in so much pain. I rounded the corner however, saw the finish and ran for it!

Run Like a Diva

I completely expected to have an emotional finish, this was huge for me, but I was in so much discomfort that I couldn't feel much else! LOL! I earned that pain though and I am proud of it! I am so proud of this milestone in life! I never in a million years thought I would ever run a half marathon! April 2013 I ran 1 mile and here I am April 2015 running 13.1!! 

Such a celebration at the end of this race!! Near the finish you are crowned and given a feather boa and at the finish your are donned with your Diva metal! I highly recommend this series if you haven't already done one! We had an amazing time! The metals were also awesome! Tiaras!! Such a blast!

Run like a diva

Today I am struggling a bit to move but I will do this again!!! I'm going to give my self a week to rest and recover and then I am back at it! Ready to train for the next!





Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How did I end up here?


I'm still kind of in shock that I am doing this, that I am training for a half marathon. 

I did not start out on this running journey with that in mind!

When the words first came out of my mouth that maybe I would do a half I swear I was joking! Who was I kidding! Three miles is enough for me, no way I could add ten more to my run!

When I questioned myself "Wait, why couldn't I?" and really started to think about I decided I certainly could!



I began my training plan and decided that if I made it to 7 miles I would register...

Fate had other plans for me! I was sitting at home one morning browsing Facebook when I saw a contest! "Enter to win a Greenlayer and Run Like a Diva Prize Package" which included a free race registration for the race I was starting to train for! The Divas Half Marathon in N. Myrtle Beach. 



 I never enter contests! Mainly because I don't typically win these things, the odds are never in my favor! This contest simply asked you to say what being a Diva means to you! For whatever reason I did enter this one, I had nothing to loose! 

"Being a Diva will mean I have signed up for my first half marathon!!! I am currently training for it but haven't yet registered. Registering will mean I have decided to be brave and that I have gained the confidence to run it, to Run Like A Diva!!"

 Three days later I found out I WON!!!!!! 




I was and am still so excited!!!!! I won I won I won!!! Oh crap! Now I definitely have to do this!!! Ha!! I won the race registration and technical apparel from Greenlayer!!! 

Chances are that I would have talked a good talk about the possibility of running a half, I would have even tried, I would have gotten to five maybe six miles and then I would have given up! This has not been easy and several times I have wanted to throw in the towel! Fate intervened and gave me something that I had to push for!!!! I am so thankful and humbled to have won this and I can honestly say those long hard runs have become my most favorite and cherished!! I have this feeling of great achievement now every time I make it just a little bit farther!! Running May come naturally to some people but for so many it does not! I thank God for the ability to run, for my ability to find my strength and courage and for the opportunity to run this race!!


Women's National Running Series

#


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In recovery, listening to my body

After my eight mile run I knew something was not right! 

My leg hurt from my hip down to my knee. I struggled  the next week and only got in two of my three recovery runs. 

I  ran nine miles the next week and had a great run but afterward I knew I was in trouble. Again the same pain down the right side of my right thigh and into the side of my knee. Still not realizing what was happening I went out the next Tuesday for my recovery run and I barely made it one mile. I knew to stop, I knew I was making my condition worse.

As it turns out I have a bit of inflammation of my IT Band. Most likely caused by adding so many miles so quickly and running on the right side of the greenway on my long runs that is a bit cambered. ITBS can be very serious if you don't allow your self to heal. Here is a great article by Runners World about ITBS.

I reluctantly elected to rest this entire past week. The last time I ran was last Tuesday! Yes I skipped my 10 mile training run for my upcoming half marathon!! I didn't want to but I knew it was best!

My half marathon is April 12th. I am feeling better. I have been stretching and taking Ibuprofen. I am up and at it this morning and heading out for an easy short run to determine what I think I can do this week. I hope I can go for 10.5 miles this coming weekend and 11.5 the next and then the next long run will be the HALF! 

Fingers crossed! Most importantly I am going to listen to my body, if I need more rest and recovery I will take it! I certainly can't run my half at all if I am injured and I want to get to my half!!

Wish me luck!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Never say never!

As I was out this past weekend on my nine mile run (Yes you heard that right!! 9 MILES!!!) I realized that I have said 'I am not one of those crazy runner girls who runs long distances" "I do not have any desire to run half marathons" "I am just a 3 mile kind of girl". Well here I am eating my words!

I still can not believe I have made it to 9 miles! I do think I will have to sign up for another half though to stick with it. It seems like for me I need to have something scheduled to work towards. I am certain that if this race weren't coming up I would have stayed home Sunday morning, I was simply not feeling it. (I did, by the way fuel and hydrate properly this run!)

I has been interesting to me to see my progress on these long run days since begging my training program:

At 4 miles I ran 9:43 minute miles



On my 5 mile run I ran close at 9:59 minute miles



At 6 miles I was much slower at 10:26 minute miles



It is important to note that I had not yet taken any fuel with me on my runs at this point. I realized at the 6 mile run that I better develop a plan and carried some chews with me for my 7 miler.

At 7 miles I was back up at 9:54 minute miles



At 8 miles (I forgot my chews) I ran 10:23 minute miles



On my run this past weekend I ran 9 miles and ran 9:48 minute miles. 


If this were a science experiment I would say that my conclusion is that I need fuel at 45 minutes into my runs! I am actually amazed to see it laid out like this! I knew at 8 miles that I needed fuel but to see this be the case even back on my 6 mile run makes for a compelling case!

I am currently training with Gatorade Chews and I love them and this past week I also carried a hydration pack! More on that to come ;)

I am happy that I have stepped out of my comfort zone, that I have set this goal and that I am making it happen! One mile at a time!


Monday, March 16, 2015

This weekend's VIP - Garmin Forerunner 10 Review

I have been running along, minding my own business, perfectly happy with my Runtastic Running App (which by the way is still my very favorite app)! Until my seven mile run...

First let me say I have a super old phone with less than optimal battery life. I listen to my music and use the app while I run and on occasion I also feel compelled to snap a pic of something fantastic I spot along my run like my cardinals!




So on my seven mile run a couple of weeks ago my battery completely died the moment I hit finished on my Runtastic! Crap! It was fine, my data was saved but I knew that the longer I run the more of a problem I will have! I started thinking I could put my music on the iPod shuffle and carry both. One problem with this... I'd need headphones for my shuffle and headphones for my phone/running app??!! That makes no sense! I have researched watches for so long but couldn't quite figure out which one I wanted.

I recently snagged a Garmin Forerunner 10 and it is the BOMB!!! I love this watch and am so happy I now have one! I love it not only because it will record my runs and keep my results but I absolutely love being able to look down and see my pace! In the past I would do the awkward mid run sideways look at my arm with out falling down thing! Now I just lift my wrist up! IT IS AWESOME!! I can't believe I have ran for two years without a Garmin!



The Garmin Forerunner 10 tracks my distance, pace and calories which is all that I need! It is easy to use and is super light weight!



This watch was love at first run!!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! hope you've all had a great week. our week has been great! Much better than the last week for me personally although the time change has taken it's toll on my family. Wednesday night I think I was the only person not in bed by 7:30 pm. Ha! Here's a look back at some highlights from this week:


1. I made to to 8 miles!



2. Madie whipped up a batch of scratch made butter popcorn flavored cupcakes with movie theater butter cream icing and popcorn "sprinkles" on top! YUMMY!!!! It is hard to not splurge when Betty Crocker lives with you! (This one is technically from late last week but still, had to share, they are the bomb!)



3. This Puppy!!



4. We have had really great temperatures this week!



5. It's going to be another beautiful week next week!!


Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I have made 100!!!


With my long run on Sunday I made it to 100 miles already for this year!! Not too shabby!!



The year started off pretty busy, last year was both a very wonderful year with our wedding and all the pre-wedding events and a very difficult year with the loss of my loved ones.  

I have realized, looking back over 2014, that as life happened last year I did not meet my goal of 508 miles in 2014 (what a weird number to set as my goal anyway...), I ran 261 miles instead. 


I have thought a lot about my personal running goals for 2015 and rather than assign a number I am just going to run. 

I am going to run to find hope.
I am going to run to find peace.
I am going to run to enjoy the moments.
I am going to run to eliminate worry.
I am going to run to remember. 


I am just going to run.


I will let the number be a surprise!!






Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Running in winter, I mean spring... In the morning, I mean the afternoon...

Ok so no shocker here.... I have learned yet another lesson!

For my Sunday long run this past weekend I was planning to run in the morning. I wanted to sleep in until about 7:30 am then have a cup a coffee and hit the greenway! We ended up getting up around 8, having a cup of coffee and then we decided instead to head out first on the four wheeler for a bit. We were out until around 11:30. We got in and I changed to go out for my run but I realized I hadn't yet eaten anything... I knew if I ate then my stomach would be upset on my run and I knew if I didn't eat my stomach might get upset on my run.... I decided to eat some Gatorade Prime Energy Chews. I also took a pack of chews along to fuel my self on my run. I finally started out on my run around 12:45 pm. I have found it's best for me to pop some chews on my run at 45 minutes in. I realized half way in to my run (four miles away from my car) that I left those chews in my car!!!!! Mistake number 1: I did not properly fuel or hydrate for my run!

Since I was up at 8 I was dressed for the then 35-40 degree weather. By the time I made it to the greenway it was 68 degrees!!! Mistake number 2: I did not properly dress!



My lessons learned:

First of all I will make sure to check the weather immediately before I head out! I was entirely too hot! This time of the year in North Carolina the weather is so unpredictable. It's gone from the freezing cold of winter to the perfect conditions of spring in no time and I am certain it will be freezing again soon!

I do think I made the right choice in choosing the Gatorade Prime Energy Chews for my pre-run fuel rather than a big meal right before my run but I should have also had some water throughout the morning. If I would have had my morning planned out better I probably could have eaten breakfast before heading out on the four wheeler, by the time I got out on my run it was lunch time. Most importantly I will not go out on another long run with out my chews or some sort of fuel and a hydration pack!

Life is all about learning right!? I am told all the time, running on a empty stomach is like operating a vehicle on an empty tank of gas! Got it now! Understood! Next time I will be better prepared and properly fueled! 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

8 Miles!!! Training week 5 complete!

I am happy to report that I ran eight miles on Sunday!! What a journey so far!

I had a tough week last week! The week of February 22nd I was following my training plan to the T and on February 28th I ran seven miles! It was the best run I think I have ever had! Then last week I experienced a major road block! I can't quite figure out yet what that road block was. Last Tuesday, following my seven mile run on Sunday, I was supposed to run three miles. I had to run evenings due to my work schedule last week, I got to the track and barely made it one mile! It felt as though I had never run before! My legs were sore, I couldn't control my breathing and I knew I was not going to make it. I finished one mile and I walked one more mile and then I threw in the towel and quit! I was so mad at myself! I could not understand how two days before I was able to run seven miles non stop and this day I couldn't even get out one! Wednesday I was supposed to run 4 miles... I didn't. Thursday I was supposed to run three... I didn't. Friday was a rest day... No problem there, I had made a rest day out of the entire week!

Saturday's are typically my long days but I had plans this past Saturday mid morning through the rest of the day and early morning was too cold so I moved my long run to Sunday! It was harder than the last long run but I still knocked it out! 8 miles!!

running plan


I am so proud of myself for getting back out there after such a lousy week of making excuses!

I have completed week 5 of my training plan! I will skip week six and move straight into week seven!

Eight Miles CHECK!! Here's to hoping for a better week this week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

High Five for Friday!!!

TGIF!

It has been a while since I have done a High Five for Friday! This week has been a great week! Things are starting to seem normal again!


1. I am wrapping up Week 4 of my half marathon training... Yesterday I took a snow day...



2. The girls got a BIG surprise this week!!! They are so excited! They can't wait to get out and play!

Country Girls


3. We enjoyed a beautiful visit to Biltmore! I loved touring the house and the property, all the ponds and rivers were icy!

Asheville


4. Although the winter weather is seriously annoying it is very beautiful!

Icy River

Frozen Pond

Waterfall


5. Madie made brownies! Enough Said!

Desert






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