Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sh** or Get Off of the Portapotty

Oh no.

You're the runner who arrives late to the race. The corrals are getting ready to close and ignoring the call of nature, you squeeze into whatever corral is open. Even if it's not the one you are assigned to.

Maybe you signed up at the last minute for the race. Got in under the wire. Picked up your bib on race morning. You're feeling the pressure, trying to get ready to run the race.

Or maybe you signed up for the race that morning.

You get in line for the portapotties. All the lines around you are moving forward except for yours. And it's last call for the start.

What to do? Do you ignore the thunder from down under? Rolling the dice and risking a code brown on the race course? Or do you heed the warning signs and risk missing the start of the race?

Sorry for the crude title to this post. But have you ever done this? I think most of you know what I'm talking about here.

There has to be nothing more panic-inducing for a runner than not being able to take care of business prior to a race. Can't get out the door in time? Stuck in traffic? Late to a race?

Imodium, anyone? It doesn't always work.

It might surprise a lot of you that in general, I'm somewhat of a procrastinator. As type A as I can be, I'm not great about planning ahead. I often sign up last minute for a race. I've run a lot of races but I still can't get it together on race morning.

I put the "pro" in procrastination.

Even though I may be a procrastinator I am good at prioritizing. One of my priorities is making sure that I don't have any unexpected surprises along the race course.

Sh** happens. Especially to long distance runners. No one wants to talk about it. It's one of those unpleasantries we have to deal with. And if it hasn't happened to you, you've run up behind a runner who has.

Don't you wonder what the elites do about this? Does Shalane have potty problems?

Even though I may wait until the last minute to sign up for a race, I make sure I give myself plenty of prep time on race morning to make sure--ahem--that there are no unexpected surprises. Which includes getting to the race with plenty of time to spare. There have been a few races that I've gotten to the start late. It's not a good feeling to cross the start line with unfinished business rumbling in your tummy.

Pretty sure you catch my drift. Well, actually, I hope you don't. Ahem.

While I can't control everything, I do the best I can by:

The week before a race: My diet is bland. Boring. No salads. Nothing green. No corn. No beef. Lots of cheese, chicken, bread, and low fiber foods. Foods that are easy to digest. My family complains.

The night before a race: Thin crust cheese pizza. A glass or 2 of wine. Tried and true. I had a friend who had shrimp scampi the night before a race. Garlic and butter were not a recipe for success. I also review the race course and check out the location of the aid stations. Knowledge is power.

The morning of the race: Coffee for motility and energy. Cereal for a blood sugar boost. Orange juice and vitamins. A few trips to the bathroom before I leave the house with plenty of time to spare. I make sure to have extra wipes in my waist pack. Just in case.

Before the race: While in line for the portapotty, I sip on my secret weapon. I take 8-12 ounces of Tailwind Nutrition to keep my blood sugar up and to hydrate. After using the portapotty, I get back in line again for insurance.

During the race: I take frequent sips of Tailwind. I try to time my sips with every song on my playlist, which usually turns out to be about every 4 minutes or so. The goal is 24 ounces of Tailwind every hour.

This plan of action has worked really well for me the last couple of years. Sometimes it's a little warm and I need to drink extra water at the aid stations. Sometimes it's a little cool and I have to stop to pee. One time I left my Tailwind bottle in the car and you can bet that I sprinted back to grab it. With no time to spare to start the race, I even gave up one of my prized portapotty trips.

No matter what fueling plan you have, make sure you test it out before you race. My final advice here is "nothing new on race day." Unless you are a gambler.

All in the name of success. All with a little planning ahead.

Are you a procrastinator? How do you plan for the unexpected on race morning? Any horror stories to share? What fuel works for you?

Have you entered my giveaway? Check out the featured post on the sidebar and enter to win a pair of SKINS DNAmic compression gear!

I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is procrastination. Of course, I'm writing this post at the last minute....

I'm also linking up with the ladies of Coaches' Corner! Debbie, Lora, Rachel, and Susie all have great info for all of us!

And Wild Workout Wednesday! Annmarie, Nicole, Jen, and Michelle are the hosts!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Things I Think About When I'm Not Thinking About Running

Well, isn't that interesting!

I found myself saying that to myself, multiple times this week, both on and off the road. As it turns out, when you aren't training for anything, you start to pay more attention to the everyday minutiae of life. Instead of focusing on pace, my thoughts start to wander to other things. It's a nice change for me.

For this week's recap, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts that I have while I'm on the road.

But first things, first. How did my week of training go?

Monday: hip work and Tabata Hollows to Supermans at home
Tuesday: 5.04 miles/42:19 mins; pushups 2 sets of 20; high bar hang x 3
Wednesday: yoga at the studio
Thursday: 5.29 miles/43:57 mins; CrossFit with Becky: rope climbs, handstand prep, lunges with overhead plate, slam balls
Friday: complete rest day
Saturday: 5.03 miles/42:49; pushups 3 sets of 20; high bar hang x 3
Sunday: 5 miles/43:38 according to my Garmin; more likely 6 miles.

Let's talk about today's run, shall we? I set out to do 8 miles this morning. I was not motivated to run at all, even though the humidity was gone and the temperatures were in the 60s. I've had a couple of sleepless nights, worrying about my oldest son who is attending an EDM festival in the city this weekend.  Maybe my run would have gone better had I gotten this text earlier...

Good to know. So many gray hairs.
Anyways, even though I know he's fine, my mind was on him and not on my run this morning. There was a super creepy guy on the path who looked at me for just a little too long as I passed him by. Cue the crawling skin sensation. The smiling tree--if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know about the smiling tree--is gone from the path. That made me kind of sad. His smiling face was my turnaround point for a 6-mile run. They've been cutting trees down like crazy lately around here. This was when I noticed that my Garmin was way off--I know this route well and the mileage was incorrect. As I kept going, I started to feel really fatigued. I just couldn't get my head or my heart into this run. I finally called my husband to come and pick me up. The last time that happened was a year ago. Sometimes you just have to know when to fold 'em. Today was that day.

But somehow, I still managed 5 miles (according to my Garmin). So it wasn't a complete fail.

RIP Smiling Tree
(from the archives)
I did see this graffiti in the underpass this morning. Two thumbs up to whoever wrote this gem. Now you know where I stand. And that's all I'll say about this.

On Thursday, I discussed my plan to work up to 100 pushups with Becky, who told me my plan to do 100 pushups in a row was "just stupid". Ok, then! As she said, what is the point of risking injury with bad form when you get fatigued? She told me that she did Murph on Memorial Day--which is not what it sounds like! Murph is a CrossFit WOD and as part of that WOD, she did 200 pushups in sets of 5. Her telling me that she broke up her pushups into sets pretty much gave me permission to do the same with my 100 pushups. My new training mantra? WWBD.

On Saturday, I did 3 sets of 20 pushups. Can I do 5 sets? Stay tuned.

On my way to 60!

I've been listening to a lot of new music on the run. Have you heard Gwen Stefani's new song? It's another good one and reminds me why I like her music so much. But it makes me wonder--was she a cheerleader in a former life? There's a cheer-like rap in the middle of the song that makes me want to stop running and do cheer moves. Even though I wasn't a cheerleader and have no cheer moves. Take a listen and let me know what you think. This song also reminds me that Gwen Stefani makes some really well written pop songs.

I have got to enroll this puppy in some sort of training. Last week she decided that the house was a much more appealing place to potty than the backyard. My husband and I, independently of each other, both kind of lost it with her. She's done much better since our meltdowns but some trips out to the backyard take forever. There's just so much to sniff and roll in. And don't get me started on the nipping and the chewing. Although it was pretty funny when she ran circles around me while I did those Tabata Hollows to Supermans on the family room floor this week.

The pup and me. I love her. Even though she bites me all the time.
Last night my husband and I went out to dinner. The restaurant was quite crowded and loud. While he and I were talking we heard a very distinctive loud emission from the table next to us, followed by an exclamation: "Mom!" I looked over to check it out because that's how I roll, and I saw an elderly woman sitting there, looking all innocent like nothing happened. Maybe she didn't know. Maybe she hoped someone would blame it on one of the many little kids who were dining at the table. Maybe she hoped someone would blame Grandpa, who was just sitting there enjoying his birthday cake. Sorry, grandma, but you have to own this one! I mean, come on! I couldn't stop laughing because I'm immature like that. I'm pretty sure she wanted to let one quietly slip out because the she felt the pressure, you know because you've done that, but it kind of backfired.

So to speak. 

Pretty sure this will be me someday.
Running around my neighborhood these last couple of weeks has put me back in Mrs Kravitz mode. I'm on alert and I'm checking out everything. The house down the street where the hoarder lives has a big dumpster in front. I wanted to know why. Yesterday, I went to a neighborhood birthday party yesterday and found out that she had a stroke. Her family is cleaning out the house. They should probably just demolish it. A few years ago a tree fell on it, and that probably was a sign.

I also learned about the new couple who moved into the home that was in foreclosure for 2 years. And some juicy gossip about the people in the nicest house on the block. Who don't work. So juicy that I can't spill. It's funny, some the things you learn, isn't it? You never know what goes on behind closed doors. Unless you're Mrs Kravitz, that is. 

There's a woman who I often see walking. The interesting thing, at least to me, is that when she sees me running towards her, she breaks into a run. As soon as she passes me by, she starts walking again. I know this because I've caught her in the act. Why does she feel the need to run when she sees me? I'm not impressed. It makes me kind of sad for her.

The things I think about when I'm on the road...

How was your week? What have you been thinking about on your runs? Any juicy neighborhood gossip you want to share? And how many pushups are you up to?

I'm linking all these ramblings up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap. How about you?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Got Compression? #SKINSornothing

Got compression?

Compression socks, tights, tops--all the cool kids are running in compression these days. I don't always run in compression but when I do, I prefer compression tights. When I'm running on tired legs or have a long run to do, more often than not, I'll pull out a pair to help my legs run faster and recover better. I really believe that compression has a place in every runner's wardrobe. 

I've tried a variety of brands of compression tights. Recently, I received a pair of SKINS DNAmic compression tights to trial and review on the blog. Did they stand up to the other tights I've worn in the past?

SKINS, an Australian company, was started when an Australian skier wanted to develop a product that would let him party all night but be able to recover and perform at his best all day. He theorized that by providing more oxygen to the muscles, he'd be able to work harder. He was right, and there has been a lot of research to support his theory. According to the SKINS website, where there are quite a few scientific studies listed, SKINS compression actually: improves venous return, reduces exercise induced muscle damage, accelerates recovery, removes lactic acid faster, increases strength and power, improves endurance, enhances muscle oxygenation, improves body temperature control, and reduces in-flight ankle edema. The DNAmic technology was developed to deliver specific levels of compression to active muscles. 

Pretty bold claims, right? Did these tights stand up to my cynical eye? Or legs?

Mother Nature cooperated with a bit of a cold spell this week so I could try out my tights. I took my tired legs out for a 5 mile run on a cool, blustery morning, wearing the SKINS DNAmic compression tights. At first, my legs felt "tight" as they always do when I run in compression. But when I looked down at my first mile split, I was pleased as I had an 8:25 minute mile. The rest of my mile splits were even faster. All good. 

I also did my pushups for Marcia's push up challenge and did some bar hangs and scapular pull-ups per Becky's homework.

Overall, I LOVED these tights. They were easy to pull on, which hasn't always been the case with other compression tights. They look great. They aren't at all restricting. At first I wasn't sure if I liked the pattern on the fabric, but as it turns out, they look great with a variety of colors of shirts. I don't know if they made me run faster, but my legs felt good while I was running. And best of all, my legs felt great after the run. I went to work, spent most of the day on my feet, and my legs weren't tired at all. Imagine if I could wear compression to work!

The only comment I would make is about the sizing. Even though I followed the sizing chart on SKINS website and ordered accordingly, I found the tights to be a little snug around my torso. The legs fit great but I would have liked a little more breathing space for my tummy. I've had this issue with other brands, so maybe it's just me. I would recommend sizing up one size. Still, I will wear these again and again. I really liked them. A lot.

One other comment: this isn't my first pair of SKINS compression. A few years ago, I bought a pair of SKINS compression shorts for running. My youngest son, who plays rugby, needed a pair of compression shorts to wear underneath his rugby shorts. I gave him the SKINS compression shorts and he just loves them. In fact, when I told him I was trialling a pair of the tights, his comment was, "SKINS are the best". He says they are really comfortable and he doesn't really notice them when he's playing, but he does think they help him run faster.

Running for a try in his SKINScompression!
Do you want to try SKINS DNAmic Compression? You can enter win an item from the SKINS DNAmic compression line! Sorry, but only US residents can enter. Only one prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won a SKINS prize from another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner.

And if you're not a winner or just can't live without the gear you chose, use the discount code SWEATPINK-SKINS20 on everything except sale items!

Do you wear compression gear? Have you ever used SKINS? What item would you choose if you won? 

I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta of Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for the Friday Five!

Also with Nicole for her Fit and Fashionable Friday Link Up!

And with Smitha and Erica for Wednesday Giveaway RoundUp! #WinAllThePrizes

Disclosure: I was given a pair of SKINS DNAmic tights to trial and review on the blog from SKINS and SweatPink. All opinions are, of course, my own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Steady As She Goes: Pacing Yourself to a Strong Finish

I think one of the hardest things for me to do in a race or even during a training run is to run a consistent pace. I'm usually all hopped up on adrenaline and nerves at the beginning of a race, and the one thing I am consistent at is going out too fast. Initially, I think to myself that I can do it. That I feel good going this fast. And then the inevitable happens.

Fatigue. Boom. Slowing down. Crash and burn. Sometimes I even have to walk. Sometimes I've hit the wall way early than I should have. Burned up all my fuel stores. 'Cause that's how I roll.

Oops, I did it again. Stop the madness!

Are you guilty of this? When will I learn? Actually, this doesn't happen as often as it used to. I have learned a few things about pacing myself during a race. Since this week's Wednesday Word is consistency, I thought this would be a good week to share my secrets.

Truthfully, my secrets aren't so secret. Ask any running coach or running expert and they will tell you that the key to successful pacing is consistency in your training. Of course, you need a little bit of patience as well, because it's really hard to hold back when you want to go. Don't hold back too much, though. We runners all talk about negative splits but the real trick is to run consistently. All the experts agree that running a consistent pace is much easier and as effective as trying to run negative splits. Actually, we should eliminate the term "negative split" from our runner's vocabulary and just concentrate on pacing.

It's easier said than done. I'm no expert but I've been running a really long time with consistent results. So what has worked for me?

Learn to run by feel. What does this mean? I like to run fast but that need for speed has gotten me into trouble in the past. So with the help of my coach Becky, I learned to run fast, but pacing consistently by doing speedwork. Not just any speedwork, but mile repeats, 2-mile repeats, and yes, 3-mile (or 5k) repeats. To be able to hold a pace, running fast, for that length of time takes discipline and control. By doing this kind of speedwork week after week during my marathon training, I learned what it felt like to run a fast pace consistently.

Train with a heart rate monitor. I don't do this often, but I have used my heart rate monitor to help me learn how hard to push myself, especially in the heat. Heart rate training also helped me to learn to run by feel. By keeping track of my heart rate, I knew at what point I needed to hold back.

Just to clarify, some runners do MAF training with a heart rate monitor but that's not what I'm talking about here.

Use your music to your advantage. Have you ever run to music when that ONE song comes on that just kicks your feet into gear? There are apps that you can use to find music that fits your pace. Rock My Run is one that seems to be really popular, and after checking it out, I can see why! Dimity and Sarah, the original badass mother runners, really like this app and offer free mixes on their website. In the app itself, you can pick from 1000s of mixes set to the pace you want. Or you can let the app adjust the music to your pace. I've never used Rock My Run, but I totally get the concept behind it. The app is free but there are upcharges for subscriptions services. You know I love to run to music. If you don't like to run with music, I don't understand you, but you can still take advantage of running to a steady beat by using a metronome app.

When I run with music.
source: giphy.gif
Train at the pace you want to race at. During marathon training, Becky has me do at least 1-2 runs at race pace per week. Running at race pace also trains you to run by feel. It's like running on cruise control and it really makes sense. By consistently running at a certain pace, your legs and your heart will dial into that pace on race day. How do you calculate your race pace? There are plenty of race pace calculators available that will help you figure out your predicted finish time and pace you need to get you there. Runner's World has a few calculators to help you plan your training as well as your predicted finish time. You can even print out a pace band to keep you on track.

Run your own race. How many times have we heard this saying? I work just as hard on my mental fitness as I do on my physical fitness. One area where I've really grown is being patient at the beginning of a race. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with years of running experience as well. I've learned to be patients at the beginning of a race and not let myself get caught up in the crowd racing out of the corral. It really takes a lot of self-control to hold back, but the reward is in a strong finish. Just let them pass you up. Yep. Wave buh-bye. You got this. And wave buh-bye again when you pass them later in the race because they've run out of gas.

For me, this is always a work in progress. There are so many factors that we runners can't control. Fueling, the weather, or just having an off day can affect our ability to stay consistent on race day. But you just might surprise yourself. Learning to run by feel can only come with practice. That's the key.

Do you do training runs at race pace? What tricks have you found help you with pacing? 

I'm linking this post with DebRuns and Wednesday Word. Head on over to see what everyone else says about consistency!
I'm also linking up with Coaches Corner. I'm not a coach, just a seasoned runner with a little advice to give...Debbie, Lora, Rachel, and Susie are the coaches! They've always got good info to share.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Getting My Head Back in the Game

On Thursday, when I went to train with Becky, she told me that the day's workout was a test to see how much I improved since we started on the upper body training. She had me get on the ground to do what she termed "Tabata Hollows to Supermans". I had no clue what she was talking about.

"You did this!" she said, "a couple of weeks ago! And you were supposed to work on them at home. How can you not remember this?"

I hung my head in shame. Sadly, this isn't the first time in the past couple of weeks that I've been called out for forgetting things. In fact, it first hit me last week that I needed to get with the program when I found out I made an error in calculating a dose of medication. Nothing serious, thankfully, but it was a wake-up call that I need to get my sh** together. It was kind of scary. I realized that I seriously need to get my head back into the game.

And no, I don't think I have early Alzheimer's disease. At least, I hope not.

I'm pretty sure I've been downplaying life lately here on the blog. Or maybe I've really been in so deep that I had no clue how overwhelmed and forgetful I've been. I really do try to keep things positive. It seems to me that if you dwell on how bad your current situation it just makes you feel worse. You know how it is. Life throws a bunch of stuff at you, and you just keep swimming. That's what we do. We just keep swimming. Plus things could always be worse.

But it wasn't only Becky who commented on my mental lapse. My husband started calling me out on my intellectual interlude last week. Then he started commenting on my 2d (or maybe it was a 3rd) glass of wine. As if one has anything to do with the other. No, I believe that the wine has medicinal properties and I've been self-medicating.

There's been a lot going on since we got back from California. Something had to give and apparently it was my memory. I'd apologize but when I did that on Thursday, Becky made me do 5 burpees.

For the last couple of weeks, I've been dealing with Matthew's broken leg and the aftermath. There are the bills, the appointments, and driving him to and from school. There is also the emotional upheaval I feel while supporting my normally very happy son while he deals with pain and depression because he can't participate in life. He's much happier now that his long leg cast was replaced with a short leg cast. He can shower by himself now instead of having me wash his back and hair every morning. But with a broken right leg, he can't drive. Crutches and the beach don't mix. Summer is pretty much shot for him. The ortho told him he's got a 4-6 month recovery before he can return to sports.

A much happier Matthew sporting his new short leg cast
Still not able to bear weight on that leg yet.
There's the new puppy, who, while being adorable and funny, is also a stressor. Slowly but surely she's getting the idea that pooping and peeing outside is the key to success (treats and praise). Playing with her is fun but those little teeth are really sharp. Doing yoga and my pushups on the floor is a challenge because she thinks it's playtime and I'm one of her puppy friends. She's still learning the rhythm of the household but hasn't figured out that 4:30am is way too early to wake up.

How can this be comfortable?
Weighing heavily on my mind is today's high school graduation ceremony. My oldest son, who has given us our share of challenges the last couple of years (and me plenty of gray hair and reasons to run) graduated early in December. He has chosen not to participate in the official graduation ceremony. While I respect his decision and understand it--high school was not a happy time for him--as a mom, I can't help but feel a little melancholy. I know that in the big picture of life, this is just a blip. As a mom, though, I'd like him to experience this major life milestone. Heck, I'd love to be there to experience this major life milestone with him! But this really isn't about me at all.  I would never tell him how I feel about this because he has to do what makes him happy. It's not up to me. He's chosen a different path, and I'm proud of him for that. He's been doing so well since he graduated, which reassures me that he did the right thing for him.

Meanwhile, this week I'm grateful to have gotten 4 good runs in again, in spite of my PF flaring after Sunday's race. While Marcia's May plank challenge ended, she's extended it into June with the added challenge of working up to 100 push-ups by month's end. The push-ups fit in nicely with the upper body work I'm doing with Becky, although her comment to me when I told her about the challenge was that "100 push-ups are easy". For her, maybe! Anyways, on Sunday, I did 50 push-ups. Not all at once. I did intervals--run for 2-3 mins, do 10 pushups. It's a start. The goal will be to do them all at once. I've got a whole month to work on that.

In addition to my runs and push-ups, I took the bike for a 25-mile ride on Monday. And at that CrossFit session with Becky on Thursday, I did those Tabata Hollows to Supermans. I hung from the bar until tears came to my eyes. I did Body Pull Ups on the rings. She also had me do triceps dips on a box alternating with lunges carrying kettlebells overhead. I even did my homework on Saturday--push-ups, that Tabata workout, and my hip work. On my run, I stopped to hang from a bar at the playground.

Mission Accomplished.

I left my CrossFit session with the resolve to be more mindful here on out. It's my new goal for the second half of 2016. Realization is the first step. Here's to hoping that the dust is settling and the rest of summer will be uneventful.

Upward Facing Plank
Last day of the plank challenge

Anatomy of a push-up

Hanging from the bar. Harder than it looks.

On my way to 50 pushups
How was your week? Everyone's making new goals at this point in the year. How about you? 

I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap!

Friday, June 3, 2016

5 Reasons to Ride Venus de Miles

Last year I rode the Venus de Miles Illinois bike ride. I had such a great experience that this year I applied to be an ambassador and was accepted! My sister, whose house is on the route, met me at the finish of the ride. She was so impressed as well that she signed up to ride with me this year. She even bought a new bike! She has also recruited several of her friends to ride.

So what's the big deal about this ride? Why should you sign up to ride with me? Besides the fact that it is so much fun? I share with you 5 reasons why you should ride Venus de Miles this summer.

1. The race benefits the Greenhouse Scholars. Greenhouse Scholars was founded to assist high-performing, underprivileged students throughout college and after. Not only are these students given tuition assistance to attend college, they are paired up with mentors who guide them along their path. They are also linked up with peers to help them navigate challenges. There's networking, internships, and other benefits to this select group of students.

At last year's ride, my sister and I were able to meet and talk with a few of the Scholars. The two Scholars I talked to were attending nursing school at UIC. I was so impressed with how poised and articulate they were. It was after I met those students that I realized this was an organization I wanted to work with. I love their mission.

2. There are 2 locations for the rides: Boulder County (Longmont), Colorado, which takes place on August 27, and Lake County (Lake Forest), Illinois, taking place on July 23.  I've never been to Boulder but I'm assured it's lovely. I can vouch for the beauty of the route in Lake County, though. If you don't live locally, it would be worth the trip for a destination ride.

3. There are 2 distances for the ride: a 25-mile ride or a 62-mile ride. Once again, I'll be riding the 25-mile course. Remember, this isn't a race, it is a ride, so you can go at your own pace. There are volunteers along the course to guide riders. There are also rest stops where you can refuel and rest before continuing on.

4. Don't have a bike? You can rent one nearby. Or if you don't want to ride but want to participate, there's a 5k run/walk option as well.

5. There's food at the finish! We're not talking hot dogs and hamburgers. Last year's ride was supported by Whole Foods, who catered a lovely lunch. Under a white tent, I might add. There was also Goose Island beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic options. This is a first class event.

Last year's ride really was an amazing experience. Sometimes we just need to leave our competitive drive at home and just have fun with our friends! I had no regrets riding this one for fun and a good cause.

Want to join me? You can register here. Be sure to use my code LONGWAY to receive $10 off your registration fee.

Can't participate? You can donate! Here's the link. Click on my name, Wendy Rivard, to donate.

If you want to learn more you can go to the Venus De Miles website. Or you can read my recap from last year! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I hope to see some of you out there on the road! Or under the tent, sipping on an ice cold frosty one.

Have you ever done a bike ride for charity? What distance would you ride? Padded shorts--yay or nay?

I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta aka Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for the Friday Five!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Empowered By The Miles: Global Running Day 2016

Today is Global Running Day, a day to celebrate running around the world. You many remember this day from the past as National Running Day, which started about 7 years ago as an informal day to celebrate all things running. The "day" has caught fire and is now a global holiday. This year, organizers want everyone to drop everything and go for a run. And if you aren't a runner, what better time to start than on a day that celebrates running?

I know, it seems like there's a day to celebrate everything, right? In case you were wondering, June 1 is also National Heimlich Maneuver Day. Not that we are all going to go around practicing the Heimlich Maneuver on Wednesday, but it is a good skill. You never know when it may come in handy. What if you come upon another runner choking on a gel--it could happen-- or a banana? Ask yourself this: would you be able or willing to help them?

June 1 is also National Say Something Nice Day. Don't be that runner who won't acknowledge another runner. You know who you are--I saw a few of you on the path on my bike ride this past weekend. Really, is it that hard to say hi or at least nod? Today's holiday is the perfect excuse to wish all your fellow runners a Happy Global Running Day--even if we are riding a bike! Although in my book, every day should be National Say Something Nice Day.

It's also National Go Barefoot Day. If you are so inclined, you can take your run sans shoes, killing two birds with one stone. Barefoot running was a thing a few years ago, remember?

Believe it or not, I'm not running today. Crazy, right? But I've got a sore paw from my race Sunday and I'm really trying to take it easy on my feet so that I can keep on running. Today I am doing yoga, which is a recovery activity for me. In the spirit of the holiday, I am linking this post with Kristen of Jonesin' for a Run, who is hosting a Global Running Day blog link up. She sent us a list of questions and I think it will be fun to read the answers everyone posts!

Why do you run? I started running 25 years ago as a way to manage stress and anxiety which were threatening to take over my life. That probably is still the #1 reason I run. But after all this time, running has become part of who I am. I can't imagine my life without running. Running centers me, running keeps me calm, running empowers me.

How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day? Although I don't have plans to run today, I plan on spreading the word about running as so many of us runners do. Realistically, do runners ever not talk about running? Today we have a legitimate excuse. I'm also publishing this blog post and sharing my passion for this life-changing activity via social media.

How many miles have you run so far this year? Do you have a mileage goal for the year? So far this year, I've run 385 miles. On the road, that is. I'm not sure how many miles I logged in the pool this spring with my "aqua jogging". I've had to take a lot of time off for injury, including during training for the Big Sur Marathon. I don't have a mileage goal for this year. Instead, my goal is to stay healthy enough to keep running. If that means low mileage, I'm ok with that.

What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year? I had 2 bucket list races on my calendar for the spring, which I am happy to have completed in spite of injury. I ran the Sarasota Half Marathon in March, a race that I had to defer from 2015 due to family issues. I'm not a runner who takes a DNS very well, so I was thrilled to be able to finally get to run that race. I ran the Big Sur Marathon in April, which was a lifetime bucket list race. It's hard to find anything to get excited about after that, but I'm trying! I'm looking at a few halfs for the rest of the year: RockNRoll Chicago, which I haven't yet signed up for; an October half TBD; and the Panama City Beach Half Marathon in December, which will be run with several other bloggers. I'm really excited for that one.

Before I leave for a run I must have: For any run, I always bring my phone. I carry it in a SpiBelt and I like to have it for safety reasons. I also listen to music and take pictures, so there's that. You know, if you don't put it on social media, it didn't happen, right? On long runs, I bring fuel. I use Tailwind Nutrition in a handheld water bottle. I also bring wipes because you don't always know what's going to happen on the run. Just sayin'.

Do you track your runs? If so what do you use? I always track my runs. Even though right now I say I'm running "free", I still track my runs. I use a Garmin Forerunner 10. It's nothing fancy, but it gives me that stats I want: pace, splits, and distance. I like the Garmin Connect app, which shows me my route and elevation. I don't really need anything more than that.

Who is your favorite running partner? I don't run with a partner, although at Big Sur, I ran with my friend Kristina, who I met through her FB page, Live Laugh Love Run. We really got to know each other virtually, and when we met, it was like we knew each other forever. Big Sur is a great race to do with a friend because it's so hard, and you need someone to keep you going. It's also an amazing experience, and it was great to have someone to share that with.

If you have to give someone one piece of advice about running, what would it be? I always tell new runners to be patient. Start out slow. There is no shame in walking when you get tired. Pacing yourself comes with time and experience. And be realistic. Don't set lofty goals for yourself. Be content with finishing a race, no matter what your finish time is. Have fun. Running is fun.

Describe your relationship with running in one word: Empowering. This past weekend, I ran a 10k and achieved a PR, which is pretty amazing to me after 25 years of running. It was hard to maintain the pace I was at and I wanted to quit. But I shut down those voices in my head that told me to slow down and pushed hard to the finish. This willingness to push through the pain and outside of my comfort zone has spread to all areas of my life. I truly believe that running and chasing and achieving goals has made me stronger as a person. That's empowering.

A tough race, a PR
Relief at being finished
"You've always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself." -Glenda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz

What are you doing to celebrate Global Running Day? Answer one of the questions in the comments below!

Besides Kristen's link up, I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is Empower.