Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Hustle 5K–Milwaukee

This morning was the Santa Hustle 5K in Milwaukee.  After our rain/snow ordeal this past week, it was icy on parts of the path, but overall not too bad.  When we got there it was about 18 degrees outside.  Thankfully we were able to park under the art museum, which has heated parking.  We hung out in there until shortly before the race.

The race was great, they gave us santa beards, hats, and shirts to dress up in.  There were probably well over a thousand santas running through Veteran’s Park downtown.  The frigid temperatures made it a little more difficult to breathe, I wore a scarf like thing around my mouth to keep the air I was breathing a little bit warmer.

I’m happy to say I finished.  I don’t know what my time was yet, but regardless I made it through, and in those temperatures.  I have another cold run at the end of January at the Milwaukee County Zoo – the Samson Stomp.  I’m expecting it to be even chillier.

Happy running!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tackled the Track

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve determined running on the treadmill isn’t for me, yet.  There’s something about it that just kills my calf and shin muscles to the point that I can’t run very long.  I’m sure my form is changed just enough to throw me off that little bit on the treadmill.  Today I made the decision that I’m going to have to toughen up and run on the track.  I don’t like running in front of people, and at my gym the track passes directly in front of a line of ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills.  I started my night out by doing 30 minutes on the recumbent bike to warm up, and then I got on the track.  I walked in circles for about the first 10 minutes before I decided to start running.  Once I got going it was great.  I had to learn to relax and not worry about the other people in the gym who might see me.  Everyone’s there to get healthy, right?  Anyway, I’m glad I overcame another fear and am able to confidently run on the track.  I have to get in shape for all the races I have scheduled in the upcoming year somehow!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Training for Endurance

Up until now I’ve been focused on how fast I can run, although I’m still a rather new runner, and have a long road ahead of me.  This past weekend I signed up for the 13.1 Brewers Mini Marathon, being held at the end of September 2013.  I’m currently at a state where I need to take breaks every so often to walk.  I’ve come to the realization that I need to focus more on my endurance rather than my speed.  I can maintain the speed required by the Mini Marathon even with my walk breaks, so it’s time to shift my attention to being able to run continuously with fewer breaks.

This morning was the start of my new training plan.  I went out for a run this morning and committed to running 10 minutes, and then walking 3 minutes.  I did this 3 times, although I felt like I probably could have done a couple more, I don’t want to overdo it and injure myself.  I’ve had various aches and pains while training over the past couple months, so the more I can keep that under control, the better I’ll be.

I’m looking forward to the Santa Hustle in about 2 weeks, we’ll be running in Santa hats and beards, it should be fun.  As I’m preparing for these upcoming races I’ll also be shifting some of my training indoors.  I’ve managed to get the ambition to run on the treadmill, and while it’s not my favorite mostly because I don’t like running in the gym environment, as well as I feel like it changes my running form, I think it’ll be a must if I want to stay on track.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tackling the Treadmill

Tonight found the motivation to go to the gym and run on the treadmill.  The thought has scared me in the past since I’d be running on a piece of equipment in front of many other people, whereas when I run outside there aren’t too many people around.  After 10 minutes walking I decided to start running, and it was pretty good.  I have to say my form must have been a little different on the treadmill than it is on the road, because my legs were more sore than usual, but overall it was good.

I’ve decided my training plan is going to be to run at the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, since it’s dark outside and there are no well lit areas nearby where I can run outside after work, as well as it’s getting pretty cold out.  On the weekends I’m going to run outside if the weather permits, otherwise I’ll head inside to the treadmills on those days as well.  I’m looking forward to this winter!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Now this is Cold!!!

A couple weeks ago I commented that it had been in the 30s when I was going for my runs, well that was nothing, considering I think it was in the upper 30s.  This morning it was 25 or so when I left the house, 30 when I returned.  It was cold, but good!  I invested in layers that I was able to wear this morning and other than my legs I didn’t feel that cold.  I’m going to have to get some warmer running pants if I want to keep running comfortably in the cold.

Just about 4 weeks until the Santa Hustle, it’s the weekend before Christmas.  It’ll be interesting to see how cold it is and if there will be snow on the ground.  Either way I’m looking forward to it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jingle Bell Run

Today I had the Jingle Bell Run at the zoo.  Overall the run was great.  I was a bit worried that my knee might not hold up, as I started having issues with it a couple weeks ago, but I wore my knee strap and I didn’t feel any pain throughout the run.  I think the toughest part of the run was the hill at the zoo that challenged most runners.  We had to do two laps, and the first time through I made it halfway up the hill before I stopped to walk, and the second time around I made it about a quarter of the way up.  I also ended up with pain in my side about halfway through the run, which happened at the last run too.  I’ve been reading up on it to see how I can prevent it and while I thought it was maybe lack of some sort of nutrient, it sounds like it has more to do with my fitness level and breathing technique.  I’m going to try some of the breathing techniques I found out there to see if it helps going forward.  One of the things I’ve seen repeatedly is to breath deeply and with a rhythm, such as every time you left foot hits the ground.  We’ll see if it works for me!

My next run is in December, the Santa Hustle, but I’m tempted to sign up for a race in between, the end of December is a long ways away.  I’ll have to see how the month goes and where my workouts take me.  Maybe the extra training time is needed to get me better prepared to get out there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

High Expectations

When I started running earlier this fall, I don’t know that I had intended to enter into races.  Sure, they inspired me, and part of what got me going might have been the benefit walks I was doing, but I don’t think I ever saw myself as a competitor.  Now I’m sitting here wondering if I can train for a half marathon in 6 months.  The Door County Half Marathon is May 4th, 2013.  All I’ve run so far is a single 5K, my second one is this coming Sunday.  My average pace was around 13 min/mi, which isn’t great, but it’s more than the minimum required to finish.  The farthest I’ve run is 4 miles.  Part of me says just do that 3 more times, plus a little more and you’ve got a half marathon.  The other part of me says it gets harder the further you go.

I’m one of those people who believes if other people can do something, so can I.  We’re all human.  My plan is to see how far I can run before the end of the year and then decide if I’m going to enter the half marathon, otherwise there’s a 5K option I can enter instead.  I wish there was a 10K.

The other thing I’ve been struggling with is knee pain.  I think I have runner’s knee, based on all the descriptions I can find.  I went back to the gym and started using the strength equipment, so that should help build some muscle to support my knee better, I just hope that does the trick.  It is starting to feel better, this is week 3 of the knee pain and I went for a light jog this past weekend, but otherwise have been keeping pressure off of it, just using the stationary bike at the gym for cardio.

I guess I’ll see how the run on Sunday goes, and where the next month takes me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Brrr… It’s Cold Outside!!

I’ve been keeping up my training even as the temperatures outside have fallen.  The past couple days it’s been in the 30’s on my morning runs.  I took a couple days off this week since my knee has been bothering me, but was able to get back out there yesterday.  I didn’t run as fast and as long as I normally would have, but I at least wanted to see if I could keep going. I managed to get outside to run this morning as well, although I could tell my knee was still not quite right.

The Jingle Bell Run is next Sunday, and I want to make sure I can at least participate.  I’m not concerned about doing that well, it’s just one of those things I signed up for and want to be able to complete.  I’m hesitant to see a doctor about my knee, I’ve injured it before, years ago, and they always tell me to ice/heat it, take an anti-inflammatory (Aleve, Ibuprofen, etc), and strengthen my leg muscles.  I think I’m going to go back to the gym so I can use the strength training equipment to work on that, as well as with winter coming, I want to start using the track.  I’m still going to try to make it outside on days that I can, as I understand road running is much different than running on a track or treadmill indoors.

Happy running!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Distance Record!

This morning I went out for my Saturday run, which has become regular in my schedule.  It was a little chilly, but that quickly went away once I got running.  My intent was to run 3.1 miles and see if I could improve my time.  While it’s not all about time for me, it is a way I can measure my fitness level.

Once I got through the 3.1 miles I decided to keep going to make it 4 miles.  I’m going to have to push myself if I want to improve, and I really want to do a quarter marathon next summer, and then a half marathon next fall.  I’m glad to say I got through the 4 miles in about 55 minutes.  My overall pace was 13:56 min/mi, which I’m very proud of.  I’m happy to be under that 14:00 mark that I was above for so long.  I did have to stop to walk a couple times, but overall I think I did a great job.

Since I accomplished 4 miles I’m confident that I’ll be able to do the quarter marathon in June.  By that time I should also be conditioned even better and ready to tackle the half marathon I have planned out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ran My First 5K

Today I ran my first 5K, the Get Your Rear in Gear – Milwaukee for the Colon Cancer Coalition.  My father died from colon cancer almost 13 years ago, so it meant something to me to be able to participate and work toward a cure.  I’ve been training to run a 5K since the middle of August, or so, and I’ve definitely seen improvement.  This was my first real race.

This morning the weather was somewhat threatening.  The race started at 8:30, and when I was leaving the house at 7:00 it was pouring pretty good.  It looked like there might be a break in the rain at some point, and a little rain never hurt anyone.

My running partner met up with me, and as she got in the car I said, “Are we crazy?”  I was kidding of course, but it was a little nuts, considering the weather was kind of crummy, but onward!

There were fewer people at the race due to the weather, but still a fair number turned out, which was good because it wasn’t too crowded.  When we started we took off pretty well, but not too fast.  I haven’t been able to run straight through a 5K yet, so I did have to stop a couple times along the way, but not too much.  We finished the race in just under 41 minutes.  I have yet to see my official time.

It was a great accomplishment and supported a good cause.  Our next race is in about 3 weeks, the Jingle Bell Run, to support the arthritis foundation.  I’m looking forward to it and hoping to improve on my race time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Running at Night

Tonight I decided to try running at night.  I got home from work a little later than I’d have liked because I had to make a couple stops on the way home, and then I had to get my laundry done.  After all that I figured I’d go out for my run.  I got a couple new long sleeved running shirts yesterday that I wanted to try out.  I got all geared up, had my blinking arm band on, put the pepper spray in my back pocket (just in case, you never know..) my phone strapped to my other arm because I don’t have many pockets, and a flashlight in hand so I could see where I’m going next.  I live in a rural area without many street lights, and there are woods and farmland around.  I think I’m more concerned with the wildlife in the woods, there probably aren’t bears, but I’d hate to run into a coyote or something else like that.  Just the wind in the leaves, and not knowing what’s around me just freaks me out a little bit.  I made a half mile lap around the apartment complex and then came back in.  I figure if I go out again, I just need to do 6 laps for my 3 miles that I’m training for, but I think I’m going to try to stick to daylight.  As it gets closer to winter I know the days will get shorter, but I’ll hang in there as long as I can.  In December my gym membership picks back up, so I can run on the track in there when it comes time, I just want to keep my road running going too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Importance of Rest

Tonight when I went for my run I learned how important the day of rest really was.  When I started running in the beginning weeks I would run each night if I had time available.  Even if my legs were a little sore I would get out there.  I was doing alright.  The past couple of weeks have been a bit busier and I’ve been forced to take days off in between my evening jogs.  The latest example was this past weekend, I ran on Saturday afternoon, walked in the Susan G. Komen walk on Sunday, was busy on Monday, so didn’t get out at all, and tonight I was finally able to get out.  I was able to run further than I have since I started training again.  At one point I had to stop to retie my shoe laces, if I hadn’t done that I think I’d have kept going even longer.

I’m definitely proud of my achievements, and look forward to my run on Thursday.  Tomorrow will be another day off, and hopefully Thursday I do better than today!  Also, I have a new motivation, I signed up for the Get Your Rear in Gear run on October 13th, and I’m running it, my first 5k!  I’m really excited and want to make sure I’m able to run the whole thing, or at least most of it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Keep on Running

Over the past week I’ve continued to improve in my running, my new shoes don’t hurt as much, which I’m glad it was just me and not the shoes.  I’m also building my endurance to keep on running longer.  I don’t currently monitor my time or pace while I’m running because I’m keeping time with my iPhone in my pocket while I’m running, but I really want to get a Garmin Forerunner 10, but I can’t find any in the stores around here.  I think it would be a great help and motivation to keep me going longer.

I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure today.  This is the first year I’ve DSCN0063participated in these types of events and I really like them.  Seeing the people who have survived the things I’m walking/running for is really inspiring.  It also keeps me going when I think my legs hurt, I just think of what some of these people have gone through.

When I got home from the race I went looking to see if there were any other causes that interested me that I could race for.  I’m determined to start running these races, so far I’ve only walked.  I found one called Get Your Rear In Gear for colon cancer.  I would really like to run this one as it hits home in my family and it’s something I’ve supported for a long time.  The race is in 3 weeks though, and I’m not sure I’m ready to run that soon.  I was going to have my first real running 5k in November at the Jingle Bell Run.  I’m going to have to see how this week goes and if I can get up the nerves to sign up for the run.  I don’t think I’d have anyone else who would want to run it with me, so I’ll see how gutsy I end up feeling.

I’m going to keep on running as I’m determined to meet my goals.  I have a half marathon I want to run next year (Brewers Mini Marathon) and several 5k’s before then.  Just going to keep on running.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Accomplishments and Setbacks

This weekend I participated in the Al’s Run and Walk for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  It was really something to see the turnout, about 14,000 people wereIMG_1115 there to run or walk to support the hospital.  I did the 5K walk, although there was also an 8K walk as well.  With this being one of my first walks I opted for the shorter version.  I finished it in about 50 minutes or so.  Once I got home from the walk I wanted to go for a run, although my lungs just weren’t seeming up to it, which really surprised me since I had gone for a run the previous morning and did great.  I’ve been getting over a cold, so maybe that has something to do with it, not just a head cold, but it’s been in my lungs too.

Tonight I also went for a run, although I ran into similar issues where I just couldn’t go as long.  I had eaten dinner around 4:30, and went out around 6:30.  I’m thinking I should have either waited to eat, or waited longer to run.  Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, so I’m not planning on getting out to run since I have some things to get done around the house, but Tuesday I’m going to get out again, hopefully the outcome will be better.  I felt like I was doing so well for a while, and now I feel like I’m starting out again.  It looks like when I’m actually running I’m keeping a 12:00 min/mi pace, it’s just keeping that going without walking that I’m striving for.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lungs vs Legs

When I started running my main concern was my asthma.  I seem to have gotten that under control with the cooler temps outside and with more practice.  My knees were then starting to bother me, so I got some knee wraps, which have really helped the knee pain.  Now it seems that my knees are under better control I need to work harder on my lungs.  I was able to get out for a run tonight after 2 nights off, which allowed my body to heal and recover from 4 days straight of running, which honestly I wasn't used to.  On the plus side my average pace tonight was 15:41 min/mi, with my first mile being 14:43.  Every time it seems to get a little easier, which is encouraging.  I've just got to keep practicing and in no time I'll be running a 10:00 mile.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jingle Bells!!

Today was a day of accomplishments.  I signed up for my first real 5K, the Jingle Bell Run in November, and hit the 15:00 min/mi pace mark.  I realized I'd been making the mistake of recording my warm up walk to the trail every day, which is partially why I was in the 16:00+ min/mi in the past.  I think I've improved overall as well.

I can't wait till my knee straps get here tomorrow.  I ran out of athletic tape to wrap my knees, so I used Ace bandages tonight, which I wrapped too tight.  I ended up taking them off halfway through my run, and I could feel the pain of the impact on my knees.  I'm hoping the knee straps work as well as they say they do, otherwise I'm sure I'll figure something else out.

I think I'm going to take tomorrow off as a rest day for sure, and possibly Thursday as I have some plans after work.  I should be able to get out again on Friday, and by that time it should have cooled off a bit.  Happy running!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I went for my morning run today, it was warmer and more humid than I like, but I got out there anyway.  I'm glad I did since I recorded my best time so far, 16:03 min/mi.  Next time I'm hoping to get into the 15:00 min/mi range.  I tried out a new app this morning, Garmin Fit for iPhone.  I had previously been using MapMyFitness on my iPhone.  They're both good, and they both upload your data to a website where it can be retrieved in greater detail.  I have to say, I like the immediate feedback of MapMyFitness better, but the website for Garmin Fit seems to provide better analysis after the fact.  I think I'm going to continue using Garmin Fit going forward.

I was also looking for a race to sign up for next spring to keep me motivated.  I found a 5k in Door County that I'd like to sign up for.  Based on my current time and last year's results I certainly wouldn't finish last, although with more training I would hope to finish around the 30 minute mark.  I'm also already signed up for Warrior Dash next August, which gives me motivation to get in better shape.

One of the things I would really like to pursue possibly next fall is a half marathon.  I really want a medal, but to say I ran one would be a huge accomplishment for me.  Then, after that would obviously be to tackle a marathon.  In looking at what's out there, there are so many different runs and themes, such as Vegas, Disney, and others.  I've just got to keep on training and I'll surely get there.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Starting My Journey

I've never been a runner, I've actually despised the thought of running.  Every time I've tried running in the past I would end up injuring my knees, out of breath, and in fear of my asthma.  Recently I've begun paying attention to the stories of people who overcome these obstacles and go on to be successful runners.  That's when I decided if they can do it, I can do it too.

I have great trails less than a half mile from my house that I see runners and bikers on all the time.  I've decided to start using these to get in shape and learn how to run.  This summer was a hot one, so I didn't start getting out there until this past August.  Previous to that I was using a gym and spending time walking on the treadmill, using the strength training machines, and using the elliptical machine.  These were all great, but I was finding less and less time to get to the gym.  I decided to suspend my gym membership until winter and use the trails that are close to my home.

My running journey started in August 2012, where I actually started walking the trails.  I have to say I'm impressed with how I've improved since I started.  I use an app, Map My Fitness to track my distance, time, and pace.  I'm still not able to run straight through, but the combination of walking and running has shown great improvement.  When I started on August 7th I walked 1.14 miles at a pace of 19:33 min/mi.  From there I've just improved:

8/12 - 4.4 miles, 17:55 min/mi
8/14 - 3.7 miles, 17:21 min/mi
8/18 - 3.7 miles, 17:22 min/mi
8/19 - 3.7 miles, 16:32 min/mi
8/20 - 3.7 miles, 17:22 min/mi
8/25 - 2 miles, 18:15 min/mi
8/17 - 2 miles, 17:43 min/mi
9/1 - 3.3 miles, 16:45 min/mi
9/2 - 2.2 miles, 16:15 min/mi

In the middle my knee had started hurting, and I went back to walking.  I'm sure it's because I could stand to lose some weight, as well as my body isn't used to this sort of impact exercise.  After doing some research I decided that my knees need more support to avoid injury.  I ordered some knee straps that go under my knee cap, which haven't arrived yet, so in the meantime I purchased some supportive athletic tape, which helped greatly.  I even improved my time by 30 seconds from yesterday to today!

My asthma was the other thing I had to overcome when I started running.  I had a scare with my asthma earlier this year, which has made me nervous anytime it's acted up.  I keep my inhaler on me when I run as well as I use it right before I go for my run, which helps prevent any issues.

I'm planning to continue my journey and am excited for the weather to cool down more consistently.  I've purchased some fall workout gear that I can't wait to use.  Hopefully by continuing to practice and listen to my body I will be able to soon call myself a runner.