Posts Tagged With: fun

Little Green Running Shoes guest post- What I Learned From My First 1/2 Marathon

So today I’m happy to announce that I’m trading blogs with a very cool blogger, runner, exerciser lady – Jenna over at Little Green Running Shoes!  We decided we’d each write about the lessons we learned from our first big distance race.  Here’s her take on her recent successful first half marathon!  Please show her lots of love in the comments section – I know she’d love your feedback!

What I Learned From My First Half Marathon

I completed my first half marathon about two months ago and loved every minute of it. After finishing my race and coming down from my runners high, I realized there were several things I wish I had known before I started training.

half marathon 003

-Time-

I have never been a good or fast runner, but I am dedicated. When I committed to running this half marathon, there was nothing that would stand in my way of finishing. I just didn’t realize how much time it would take. Weekends had to be scheduled around long training runs, and weekday workouts had to complement training while not over-exerting. I spent a majority of my free time mapping routes and planning my next run. I added two extra weeks to my training program “just in case” and ended up needing the time. One weekend, I was sick and couldn’t go on my long run, and another weekend was a torrential NC storm (I don’t like treadmills). Running a half marathon is considerably time consuming.

half marathon 004

 -Physically demanding-

Running pushes you to the limit. It’s why so many people love it and also why there is a multi-billion dollar industry around it. Training for a half marathon pushed my body to boundaries I didn’t know I had. You are constantly recovering from your last run while planning for your next. Your body is tired and sore most of the time but seeing the miles add up makes it all worthwhile.

-Risk of Injury-

While I was running my race, my left foot began to bother me. It wasn’t until after I had cooled down that I realized how intense the pain actually was. I ended up having some sort of a micro-stress fracture in my fifth metatarsal which is a very common injury for runners. I blamed my shoes at first, thinking they were not supportive enough. Next I blamed my gait, maybe I was running awkwardly? My shoes and gait were fine but my nutrition was not. I did not supplement my diet properly. I increased calories and healthy carbs but forgot about fish oils and calcium. When it comes time to train for the next race, I will definitely be taking more supplements!

half marathon 010

-Taper-

The week before my race, I suddenly realized that I had not left any time in my training to taper. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice before

Tapering is the reduction of mileage within a certain amount of time leading up to a race.

Anyone participating in a long distance race should taper in order to allow the body enough recovery time. The main purpose is to replenish the glycogen levels in your muscles and allow time for tissue repair. Marathon runners are advised to have two to three weeks of tapering while half marathoners only need one to two weeks. Opinions vary on how much you should taper, and it may become a personal preference. One major problem that many runners seem to find during their taper time is over-eating. As distance runners, we get used to eating a larger amount of calories due to a faster metabolism and higher daily caloric burn. During the taper, runners need to adjust their diet accordingly while still drinking plenty of water. Tapering is the ideal way to ensure your body is fully rested and capable of optimum performance for long distance racing. Not everyone believes in tapering, but it worked for me. I ran faster than I anticipated and did not fatigue until my last mile.

-Fun-

Only people who have completed a half marathon can really explain how fun it is. Training, supplementing, cross-training, tapering, and everything else becomes habitual and enjoyable as time progresses. I loved every minute of this adventure and can’t wait to do it again.

half marathon 013

Running a half marathon is a journey that will push you to your limits and test your perseverance. It will also show you things about yourself you never knew, and open you up to a whole new world of adventures. Have patience with yourself and your body, success isn’t something that happens overnight but is worth working for. Always stay positive and keep the finish line in sight!

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Accountability, Social Run & Rest Day (Yay!)

So accountability is a big B.  I know it’s a good thing cause it makes you TCB, but it can be a bit brutal when your in the middle of it.  Case in point, on my track workout the other day, we were doing 4oo’s in the afternoon Texas sun.  The plan was to do 6, but after 3 I was feelin’ it.  I would’ve probably stopped at 4 if I had been on my own…but I wasn’t, so I didn’t.  And last night at the social run, it was even brutaler.  100 degrees.  And I was already tired from the afternoon weight session.  In the middle of the 4 mile run, I thought about turning back and making it a 3 miler.  But then I remembered that I had already told people and the internet that I was doing 4, so I had to.

If you can, run with other people.  Post your workouts online before you do them.  Etc. Etc.  That will give you the extra motivation when you’re ready to quit.  Lesson accomplished.

Speaking of last night’s run.  It was hawt, but fun.  Pretty good turn out.  Got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a while, and got to make new friends.  Ann and Pepsi saved a baby bird.  The post race craft beers were just the thing.  Good food.  Good times.

Some of the group last night.  I'm doing my best pole dance.

Some of the group last night. I’m doing my best pole dance.

Now today is Friday.  Currently my one rest day.  I’ll take it.  Back at it on the streets in the morning.  Bring it!  Dopey Challenge in 7 months!

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Running: Back on (the) Track!

So I’m driving home the other day and I pass a middle school track where I sometimes go to do track workouts (coincidentally enough).  But this day, I had already done my workouts, so no need to stop.  But then I noticed a friend of mine flying down the straight-a-way.  His name is Bob Smeby, he’s fast.  Here’s his Athlinks page.  Notice all the first place finishes.  He’s in his mid 50’s but still runs around a 6 minute mile.  Like I said, he’s fast…probably because he practices getting faster by doing track workouts.  Funny how that works – put in the time and effort, get the results.

The next day I messaged him to say I saw him on the track, and he invited me to run with him next time out.  I agreed.  I hadn’t been on the track since the fall, but I do enjoy it.  Training for long races like marathons can involve some loooong slow runs.  That’s why I like doing track workouts – it’s a chance to go a short distance, and go it fastly!  Plus, I was a 4 year letter winner in high school track.  So obviously, it’s something I’ve always enjoyed.

Smokin' fools in the 400 in high school.

Smokin’ fools in the 400 in high school.

If you’re a runner and  you don’t do track workouts, you’re missing out.  They usually involve going almost all out for a determined distance, then “recovering” with a short jog.  Repeat.  Are they hard?  Yes, yes they are.  But they really can help increase your per mile pace. Not only that, but doing that sort of explosive burst interval work is the number one way to burn fat.  And who doesn’t want to burn fat?  Besides Manny Yarbrough, that is.

Smokin fools at a recent track workout. *Thanks Runner Girl Chels for the pic!

Smokin’ fools at a recent track workout. *Thanks Runner Girl Chels for the pic!

But then the day arrived for my first track workout in months.  I realized that I’m going to be running alone with a really fast person.  I didn’t want to be the only one puking on the infield, so I invited some other peeps.  Granted I didn’t give them much notice, but nobody else was able to make it.  My one friend even said, “Are you CRAZY?!?!  You’re doing a track workout with Smeby?!?!”

But it was all good.  We did a mile or so warm up, then Bob changed into his spikes…yes, he brought spikes!  We did 10 x 200 with a 200 jog in between.  If he hadn’t been there, I would’ve quit after 8…or 6.  Another advantage to running with others – accountability!  And our pace was pretty good too!  Bob had me start a little ahead of him and told me not to let him catch me.  He spent the whole workout trying to chase me down and I spent it trying to hold him off.  We both got a great workout.

Next time out, we hope to have some more peeps out there for a mid week fat burn/speed increase.  I don’t know what our workout will be, but it doesn’t matter cause I know it will be hard, but fun!

Holla if you want to come run in circles sometime!

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Social Running

So like most every Thursday you’ll find me running with a great group of folks.  The cleverly titled group name is: Thursday Night Social Run.  Here’s why I like to run with them.

After a recent run.  Didn't want to get my shirt sweaty.

After a recent run. Didn’t want to get my shirt sweaty.

1.)  I did an experiment last week.  I ran one day by myself and tried to go at a good pace.  My pace was good, but I had to struggle a bit to do it.  Then a couple days later I ran with TNSR and tried to go at a good pace.  Not only was my pace faster, but it was more effortless.  Conclusion:  running with others makes running easier.  Do it.

We're totally lit.

We’re totally lit.

2.)  The folks in charge really care about the runners.  They are always getting us discounts at stores and bars and food places.  And they work to make each run fun!  You never know what surprises they have planned any given week.  Keeps it interesting.

3.)  Did I mention the discounts?  Who likes to pay full price for tacos and beer?  Not I.  We also get a standing discount at the Tri Store.  Why do these companies welcome us with open arms and give us free stuff and discounted stuff?  Now I’m not business expert, but if I managed a store and each week had the opportunity to welcome 50-100 potential customers for a short event at minimal/no cost to me, I think I’d dang sure take advantage of it!

4.)  After we run, we have social fun.  Beer is always an option for the post run festivities.  It’s like a sweaty happy hour.

If I could just be serious for a minute...I'd ruin less photos.

If I could just be serious for a minute…I’d ruin less photos.

5.)  The runners and folks in charge are loyal to the group.  And why not?  It’s a bunch of like-minded people who want to to something healthy and enjoyable.

6.)  With a large group of runners comes a large range of per mile paces.  This is good cause you’re pretty much guaranteed to have someone to run with.  This is very valuable to me.  I had run at some other smaller social runs the past year, and more often than not, I was alone.  I’m not the fastest guy in the world, but at many of these runs I was out in front all by myself.  How is that social?  With this group, there is no chance of that happening to me.

7.)  Friends.  You make friends and contacts.  Why would it be surprising that like minded peeps get along?

8.)  The group has spread to other parts of our lives.  People get together for races, drinks, brunch, or whatever.  That can’t be a bad thing.

9.)  We’re not afraid to be silly.  Running is fun.  Life is fun.  Why not take advantage?

Group pyramids are an important part of our cool down process.

Group pyramids are an important part of our cool down process.

10.)  It’s a good example for others.  When people see us, they ask about the group.  So many people join us just from seeing us and seeing the good times we exercisers are having.  Spreading the fitness message always makes me happy.

So that’s it in a quick nutshell that wasn’t too hard to crack.  If you have a fun social running group near you, I say try ’em out.  It’s always better to run with others.  You learn from them.  You become a better runner.  And check this idea – when you are on a trip, research local running groups and see about joining them for a trot.  I did that in NYC last summer.  it. was. dope.  I met with a group of really cool folks and we went for a run through Central Park.  That was an unexpected bucket list item checked off right there, I tell you!

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Running for Rhinos #blog

I ran this 5k at the Dallas Zoo in the fall of 2011.  My sister actually organized this entire event.  It’s called Running for Rhinos ’cause it coincidentally helps raise funds to support Rhinos who need help.  As a runner and zookeeper, this was a combo of her passions.  Seeing someone put on a race from behind the scenes really showed me how much crap goes into doing so.  It took a couple years to make it happen, and she did a great job.

It was a banner year for the race.

It was a banner year for the race.

The race started off with a ceremonial start by a bunch of penguins wearing race bibs.  That was actually kind of cute and funny.  Then the course took us through a neighboring neighborhood before finishing back at the zoo.

My rhino headband looked better before it got all sweaty.

My rhino headband looked better before it got all sweaty.

As you can see in the photo, the course was a little hilly.  It was a challenging course, but I wanted to represent and do well since it was my sister’s race.  And I did so, as I was lucky enough to finish 2nd in my age group!

Accepting my dope Rhino medal!

Accepting my dope Rhino medal!

After I finished the race, I turned around and kept running backwards to find friends and family to help them finish.

With the toddler.  I'm doing all the work and he's waving to the crowd like he deserves the applause.  Sheesh!

With the toddler. I’m doing all the work and he’s waving to the crowd like he deserves the applause. Sheesh!

The Dallas mayor was there, as was runner/mc/sports radio host Corby Davidson.  There were also lots of people in animal costumes.  So it was a fun event!

Looking for more friends.  Smiling cause Running is fun...until you get too tired.

Looking for more friends. Smiling cause Running is fun…until you get too tired.

One of the cool things about this race is that it included free entry to the Zoo afterwards.  I wish Disney would offer a similar incentive for their races!!!

After my sis gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the exhibits, it was time to get some brunch in our bellies.  We had a nice group because several of my sister’s friends had flown in from around the country to participate.  They did so partly to support her and partly because the race also helped support the Stephanie James Foundation.  She was a friend of my sis who was accidentally killed by an elephant while working in a zoo.  These people also knew her.

This was the first year for the race and everyone involved did a great job!  Unfortunately my sister took a job at another zoo shortly after this so she wasn’t able to help organize the 2nd year.  The zoo still put on the race, but I wasn’t able to make it.  Hopefully they can make it an annual success!  Running for a good cause in a fun place is fun.  Fo’ real tho.

Peace!

Categories: Race Recaps | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Katy Trail 5K #blog

May, 2012.  Dallas.  The full title of the race: The Michelob Ultra #13 Katy Trail 5K.

This one was a fun one, but not a good one to record good times.  Lemme ‘splain.  In Dallas, Katy Trail is a popular running and biking trail.  It’s a great place to get your sweat on, but when 5000 people are there to race, it is pretty crowded.  The trail itself isn’t that wide, so when you have a gaggle of folks out there, it was quite congested.  And a LOT of them were novice or non-runners, so there were walkers, sometimes four across.  I had to do a lot of swerving and dodging.  It didn’t help that I got stuck in the middle of the pack at the start.

Other than that though, it was a blast.  Lemme ‘splain.  The Katy Trail is lovely, and there were lots of lovely people running this race.  It’s a younger crowd for sure.  And the post race party was right on.  Free beer, free food, repeat.  Tons of restaurants were handing out free grub, while the title sponsor was handing out free suds.

Human pyramids are the perfect cool down exercise.

Human pyramids are the perfect cool down exercise.

Score!  We also found our way into the VIP tent which had craft beers and wines.  No offense to Mick Ultra, but you ain’t got much flava.  I many much prefer the crafty brews, which led to even more human on human climbing.

The we're holding up has two heads.  It's a rare defect.

The we’re holding up has two heads. It’s a rare defect.

I might like to do this race again.  Like I said, the post party was spot on.  I forgot to mention it was on a school night, and took place in the early evening – a nice little shake up to the normal Saturday morning 5k’s.

Next time though, I’m going to force my way to the front of the starting corral…that way I’ll avoid most of the walkers and get to the post party post haste!

Peace homeys!

 

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The Great Santa Run #blog

This weekend in North Texas is the Great Santa Run 5k.  I’m not running it this year as I need to run 12 miles for my marathon training.  And I know if I join in a 5k, my competitive side will come out of the closet and wanna race!  So I’m being smart and sticking with my steady long run.  I did run it last year however, and here’s my recap:

It was the first year for this race, and I think they did a decent job with it.  It benefits a very good cause (My Possibilities), and is a fun event.  They didn’t have chip timing, so I couldn’t find what my time was, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything too speedy.  After all, we were in Santa suits for crying out loud, and aloud.

They were trying to set the world record for largest Santa gathering.  I’m not sure if they did or not, but there were a ton of us out there.  The St. Nick costume was included in our registration.  A rather unique idea for a race, I thought.  I enhanced mine with a red cape (no photo available).  Can I just say though, that they got the suits from somewhere in China, and they were cheeeeaaap.  Now don’t go gettin’ me wrong, I wasn’t expecting anything professional, but it was actually comical how bad they were.  The sizes and styles were completely random, no matter which one you got or what it said on the label.  The suits actually started falling apart during the run.  I half expected this since you could see through them before the race even started.  Haha!  Still, it was fun though.

All in all it was a strange morning.  It was a rather ridiculous sight seeing all those Kringle’s running around, and Eric Estrada (C.H.I.P.S) even made a surprise  spectator appearance.  Apparently he was staying in the hotel near the race start and walked outside to watch us run.  Some lucky fan even got to plank on him.  Totally random.

I have no words for this.

I am now insane for having seen this.

Good luck to everyone who’s running it this year.  I hope it’s just as random!

Peace!

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Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 Marathon New Orleans #blog

March, 2012.  NOLA.  13.1 miles.  This was a fun one.  2nd year in a row for me and my sis to run this race.  This year however our Ma joined us too.  The weather was perfect – right at 50 degrees for the start.  The course was flat and scenic.  We ran through the Garden District, French Quarter, then up to the old City Park for the finish and party.

My Sis, Me, Mom.  They can never take a serious picture.

My Sis, Me, Mom. They can never take a serious picture.

It’s no secret that I love love love New Orleans.  And I will write my travel guide blog post on it soon – so stay tuned!  So now I won’t get into all the sites to see and foods to eat, I’ll just talk about the race.  And can I just say this – It’s crazy how my vacations now center around races.  I can’t believe I schedule my trips like that now, but say la vie.  Ok, “La vie.”

I had a decent run and a good time considering all the normal pitfall traps in that city – booze, lots of walking, booze, no last call, booze.  I even think I survived a ghost attack in our couple hundred year old BnB the night before the race.  Seriously.  I swore I woke up and couldn’t  move or speak.  Petrified in the bed.  It was crazy.  Or did I dream it?  Either way, I got up and ran sub 1:50 despite all the distractions and the bumpy roads.  In facty, my friend who was also running broke her foot on one of the bumps in the road, but still finished the race!

Hey Mister! I like your "throw".

Hey Mister! I like your “throw”.

And yes, the medals were cool.  I have Always been a sucker for the fleur de lis.  And I like how the band was actually mardi gras colored beads!  Another cool thing about the New Orleans RnR is that unlike Dallas, the post race party is indeed a party.  You are in the old park, far from the city center.  There’s no hopping in your car and driving off – you gotta walk a ways to get to the shuttle buses, so you stay there a while to enjoy the lively headliner concert and party it up.  People bring liquor, king cake, mimosas, you name it.  The laws are pretty loose down there, so pretty much anything goes.  Which my likey.

So to sum up: Great city, Great race, Great medal, Great party, and Great times!  And one spectator’s sign pretty much captured the vibe of this anything goes town….

Is that just for the runners, or for everyone?

Is that just for the runners, or for everyone?

Peace homeys!

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