Friday, April 5, 2013

April snow brings....????

So yesterday afternoon we had a freak snowstorm. I mean seriously, this thing came out of nowhere! The weather forecasters were predicting occasional rain, but instead we got about 6 inches of snow!

I took the opportunity to take a nice long walk in the snow with my husband and my dog, which turned out to be quite the cardio workout.

It looks like there's snow up to Nick's knees, but he's actually kneeling down about to tackle the dog...

 Today, Blacksburg is back to its normal springtime self, and the snow is melting everywhere! I wasn’t willing to let a little melting snow get in the way of my typical Friday lunchtime stadium workout, which in hindsight may not have been my smartest choice ever, but oh well, what’s done is done.

I decided to meet my friend Megan to run stadiums at lunch, despite the fact that we knew the stairs would be wet and treacherous. We decided to just take our time doing them instead of pushing our pace like we normally do. Megan even snapped some great photos so I’ll share them here!
Beautiful stadium and what's left of the's 60 degrees today. Blacksburg weather is bipolar!

sloshing through the half melted snow as we ran up the stairs

Enjoying the sun and the view!

We ended up with soaking wet shoes and shaking legs, but I’m definitely glad we decided to stick with our routine because I get to share my story with all of you!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

No Turning Back Now....

Well, April is here and if you all remember, the day of the race is April 28th! Yikes, it's coming sooooo fast! 26 days left! I'm starting to get a little nervous. Not nervous, like I'm going to bobble and fall off the beam, miss my dismount on bars, or step out of bounds on floor and let my team down. Nervous like, can I do this?

Can I run the whole 13.1 miles?

Will I be the lame one that has to stop?

Will I be the one who slows the group down or is running alone because I'm the "slow" one?

I ran 8 miles on this past Saturday. That is the furthest distance I have ever run consecutively!!! The first 4 miles were great. I was running around 9 mins 30 secs per mile, then my hips started to get sore and really tired from miles 4-6. My speed slowed down quite a bit, but then picked back up a bit for the last two miles. There are A LOT of hills around where I live and I think that's what starts to get to me after awhile. It's tough going up another hill at mile 6. My hip flexors and hamstrings have never been so tight in my life! I have definitely been stretching more. My adductors are even tight!! It's funny because in the past running used to loosen me up, but not so much now. I guess that's what happens when you have been running lots of miles. I think I'm just hoping that all this adrenaline and hype that people talk about sets in. I need a little boost every now and again when I'm running. Some songs definitely help that, but I'm not sure what will help at Mile 11!

I'm definitely a slow and steady runner and I'm ok with that. I've decided that my goal is to just run for my first half marathon. I'm not worried about my time or my speed, I just want to run the whole time and complete the race. By looking at the race course, it looks like pretty flat considering most of it is along the river. Nike has not posted a map that shows the elevation, however I'm figuring it's got to be easier than what I have been running!!

Have you run a Half Marathon?

What was your goal for your first one?

Did you find the adrenaline helped you make it through?

Were you able to run the whole time?

Monday, April 1, 2013

To Run or Not to Run?

Have you ever signed up for a race you know might not be “good”?

I’m currently having a really hard time deciding whether or not to sign up for a 5k that sounds really fun but has gotten quite a lot of iffy reviews. Here’s my dilemma…I really like the idea of this 5k foam fest that is going to be held in Richmond, but I have some reservations about it after reading quite a few reviews online…

The first race I ever ran was a disaster. It was called “Dirty Hog” and it was a 9 mile “mud race” held in North Carolina. The website was well designed and well run, giving us high hopes for the race. I trained HARD with a large group of women (about 25 of us!) for three months, expecting that the race would be what was advertised - a difficult mud run with lots of obstacles. 

The group from the Dirty Hog run, excuse the mud on the camera lens :-P

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The day of the race it was in the upper 80’s (unseasonably hot, and felt even hotter, as we had been training in 60’s-70s). The course was almost all hot sand with very few obstacles and even less mud. Additionally, there weren’t anywhere near enough water stations on the course, and I watched two of my very strong friends (one was a college athlete) suffer from heat exhaustion. To top it off, the course wasn’t well marked, and several of us got LOST for a few miles. This race was dangerous, poorly planned (many of my teammates didn’t even get the T-shirt they paid for!), and a bad experience in general. Luckily, I didn’t let it deter me from trying another “adventure” type race, and I completed a FANTASTIC and much more professionally run Tough Mudder later that year.

my lovely Tough Mudder team!

But back to my original point… Foam Fest 5k…

  • Website looks good (but I’ve been fooled before…anyone can make a professional looking website, but running an actual race is much more difficult)
  • They’ve had over a year to perfect their management, so things SHOULD run smoothly (this may be putting too much faith in people I don’t know…)
  • The obstacles look more fun than difficult, and it will be a great “starter” mud run for my mom and close friend, who are interested in getting into adventure type races
  • It’s close enough to do a day trip, and if it is well run it will be a blast!!


  • It’s expensive; $60 for the 5k, $5 for insurance and $5 for processing. Do I want to spend $70 for an experience that I feel has a 50/50 chance of being awful?
  • I know a 5k of this type won't be a challenge for me, as I've already run one Tough Mudder and will have completed my second by the time this race comes. However, difficulty isn't my goal with this race - I really just want to go out and have a great experience with my mom and my friend.
  • I've seen A LOT of negative reviews online
  • It’s my mom and friend’s first race of this type, and I don’t want to steer them wrong. Will this race turn them off from continuing to participate in races of this type? Is it a risk I’m willing to take?

I’m feeling really torn and nervous to sign up for something this expensive without having confidence that my money will be well spent - my last half marathon cost the same as this race! (I know it’s more expensive to put on because of the obstacles, but still!) Do the pros outweigh the cons? Will the risk be worth the potential reward? I’m just not sure!!

PLEASE help me decide!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I've been having a hard time running lately, especially the longer distances. Once I get over about 3 miles, the insides of my feet and ankles start hurting like crazy. It's weird because I've never had ankle problems before (in gymnastics my knees were always the troublesome body part). I do have extremely flat feet and pronate a ton, so I think all the repetitive motion makes my feet sad. I wear these Brooks running shoes because I've heard they were best for pronators and that's what they suggested at the running store, but they don't seem to be doing the job anymore-

I got to spend the day with Autumn yesterday and we went ice skating. I could barely hold my feet up straight, which makes ice skating very difficult! I don't remember it being that bad the last time I ice skated, but that was way back in high school. I'm guessing either my ankle muscles have gotten weaker  or I've gotten heavier, making it hard for my pronated ankles to hold me up when I'm up high on something like skates. FYI, this is pronation vs supination-

Anyways, it's become an annoying problem when I run and I haven't been able to run more than 5 miles because of it. I'm planning to go to Fleet Feet this week and ask them what their suggestions are. Besides getting inserts/ankle braces and strengthening the muscles, does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone have a similar problem?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Proper Earphones-A Running Essential

By guest blogger Robin Quay

My life has changed a lot in the last 3 months. I lost a gall bladder, started running, and have been leading (and therefore following) The Daniel Plan at work. If you don’t know about The Daniel Plan, it’s a bible study that focuses on health as stewardship, and on taking good care of the body God has loaned us, so that we are healthy and able to do what He wants us to. If you want more info, go to I've lost some weight and inches, I’m ready to run a 5K, and I feel really good.

Since this is a running blog, my contribution, of course, will focus on the running part of my recent life. I've been running with colleagues at work, and on my own. I quickly found out that a run is much more enjoyable, and I can run longer and farther, if I run to music. I made a sweet running playlist, and took to the route with my iPod.

There was just one problem. The earphones, especially the right one, fell out. Often. Wrapping the cord around my ears didn't seem to help. It was super annoying, especially since I felt like I spent a lot of my time during my run thinking about and managing my earphones.

I realize that my body is partly (mostly?) to blame for this annoyance. First, I have a very small head, so most likely the earphones were too big. I usually have to buy kid-size hats. Perhaps I needed kid-size earphones. Second, I’m overweight, carrying a lot of the extra poundage in my midsection, and I’m pretty straight up-and-down. This means that pants don’t really stay up well. I’m sure some of this is due to my size, but it’s been like this all my life. Even when I was a skinny little kid, my pants did not stay up. Then my mom found stretchy pants with elastic waists made by Danskin that worked for me… but I digress. The point of all this is that, with the movement of running, and the added weight of my iPod pulling them downward, my running pants start to slip down. The headphone cord is stretched to its limit, and the right earphone pops out. If I keep pulling up on the cord so there is some slack in it, the earphone stays in better, but again, I am focusing a lot of energy on the earphone.

I had heard that Yurbuds were great earphones that stayed in your ear when exercising, so I decided to try a pair. I got the Yurbuds for Women because, well, I’m a woman. And so far, I love them.

They come with 2 different sizes of enhancers (covers that go over the earphone), so of course I tried the small ones. They have a tube, or point, or perhaps a sound tunnel, that sticks out and has to be properly positioned-the left at 3 o’clock and the right at 9 o’clock. You insert these little tubes into the ear canal and then twist them into place. They felt a little funny at first, but I quickly got used to them. And, once they’re in, they stay there. I've walked the dogs, gone running, yanked on them, and hopped around on one foot like I was trying to get water out of my ear, and still they've stayed in. My iPod’s been in the pocket of my running pants, pulling them down and stretching the extra-long headphone cord to the limit, and still they've stayed in. the only time one fell out, it hadn't been put in properly. They sound great, too, and they don’t block out the ambient sound around you, so you can hear cars, or your running buddy talking to you.

My only complaint about them is that the letters that label them (L)eft and (R)ight are very small and light. I cannot see them. I had to take the earphones into bright light and put my glasses on to figure out which was the left and right. I've now marked the left one with a sharpie.
They come in a selection of colors (I got pink), and if neither of the sizes of enhancers that comes with them works for you, you can get additional sizes. I got mine from Amazon Marketplace for $29. I no longer have to think about my earphones while I’m running. And that makes them worth every penny.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Weather

I am the slacker blogger of the group apparently - sorry girls. I have been trying to keep up with the training schedule that we decided to use to train for this 1/2 marathon but I haven't been doing the best job keeping up with all the runs. I have been able to do all the long runs however usually only get 2 runs in during the week and the cross training has been kind of non-existent. I really think that the cross training is beneficial, unfortunately, I haven't been making the time to do it. So ... my goal for the remaining weeks is to increase my cross training (by actually leaving work close to on time)- Jackie and I have a hike planned for next Saturday so that may help :) for this week at least. 

I never minded running in the cold, the wind is a different story, but I realized with the nice spring weather this weekend that I prefer running in the 50-60 degree weather. Yesterday I was able to run 7 miles with 1 short walking break after 4 miles to take the photo below ... 

This was the view from the side of the trail that I prefer to run and I just couldn't help stopping to pet the horses. I never thought I would be able to run 7 miles because I usually get my runners block in the first mile, but have realized that once I get past the first mile point the run is actually enjoyable - shocking - finally starting to realize why people actually run long distances. 

I use MapMyRun for all my runs and find that I do a lot better if I can keep track of my progress and am better able to pace myself. I like that I can look at other trails and routes that people have used to mix it up when I get bored of running my usual route. 

The trail that I use is mostly gravel and I haven't found somewhere to run that is mostly asphalt where I don't have to worry about too many cars. Since the 1/2 marathon is in DC, I am anticipating a lot of asphalt but dislike training where I have to worry about cars - that would require turning my blaring music down to listen for cars - and I really don't want to do that. Where do you run to prepare for 13 miles of running on asphalt? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6 Miles This Week, Can I Make It??

So far I think I'm doing pretty well. I've made all my runs thus far without walking. I think that is pretty darn good! My speed does seem to decrease a bit with the long runs, but that's to be expected. I'm definitely a slow and steady wins the race kinda girl! I have also learned in the past that if I stop and walk, I continue to do that the rest of the way. It kinda ruins my flow. I also tend to have this block from 1.5 miles to 2.5 miles. I just have to push through and get past it and if I stop and walk, I never get past that point and I continue the walk/run the rest of the way. I do live around a lot of hills so I have found that after running up some hills, running in place for a few seconds helps to control my breathing and allows me to continue. Do you have a running block and when does it happen?? How do you push through it??

I have missed a few short runs due to weather, working late, and random life things that have been getting in the way. I have been faithful to all my long runs though. It is definitely hard to juggle life and the weather. I have been looking at the weather on Sunday each week and our calendar to plan out when to do my runs. It is tough!! The weather has been terrible!! I was able to do my short runs at the gym if the weather was bad, but now we are getting into the 4 mile mark and I just can't handle that on a treadmill. It's just wayyyy too boring. I'm thinking after this weekend life will get a little easier. The 10 day forecast shows all 50's and with daylight savings times, life should be good! 

Since I don't have a running buddy, I run with my phone for safety, music, and to use the Nike + Running App to log my miles. It's amazing! I'm sure most of you remember these from a few years ago, where you had the foot censor and the USB port for your iPod. Well, the app now uses the GPS on the phone so it is much more accurate! It logs your miles, routes, shoes, longest rungs, fastest runs, calories, average pace, and more! It also allows you to state whether your run is inside or outside and on what terrain. It has an awesome feature of adding a power song to pump you up when your losing steam and feedback that let's you know how far, fast, and long you have been running. At the end of each run you select the terrain you ran on, shoes you ran with, and you rate how you felt during your run. I love the shoe logging feature! Big surprise right!!??!?!? This is amazing to keep track of your miles to ensure you constantly have good running shoes. :) It also gives you the ability to post your runs via social media. As I stated before, I'm sorta behind the times with social media. I'd never blogged before, I don't do twitter, and I mostly just have facebook to look at pictures and keep up with everyone, so I'm not a fan of posting every workout I accomplish. I do LOVE the audio feedback since I don't have a running buddy to keep me motivated. You can set it to give you feedback every so many minutes to miles. I have played around with the minutes and miles and found that every half mile really keeps my head in the game. It gives you some encouragement and keeps you updated on your pace so you know if you need to kick it up a notch or slow it down, depending on what you are going for during your run. I use Spotify as my music app and it works perfect with the voice over. I have no problems with it at all. The only issues I have had since I switched from the iPhone, back to an Android,  is the app hasn't been accurately logging treadmill runs. It says I'm running 1 mile in like 3 minutes! That is totally wrong! I haven't been able to fix it, so I haven't been using the app at the gym lately. All in all I'd say the Nike+ app is amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone! It's great motivation and I hope it continues to help me through the longer runs to come! What do you use to keep you motivated during your runs? What type of device do you run with to log miles? Do you listen to music? If so, what type of music do you listen to? 

I hope everyone else's runs are going well!! Good luck this week on mile 6!