And Then The Police Kicked Me Off the Track

Apparently I must be rather threatening while running 800′s around the track? I guess that high school tracks are off-limits during school hours, but I was told by plenty they have seen people using the track if no classes were using it. I know I’ve used other tracks with no problems in the past and that when I was in high school, community members would even walk their dogs on the track.

olive oyl

Maybe I would have been more threatening like this? Art Credit: Cait Chock Designs

Well, those were different times I guess and what with all the recent school abductions by random runners doing intervals, I can see their upping the alert status to Code Red.

Snarky sarcasm aside, looking back it seems a bit comical, though at the time I was ROYALLY mad because they didn’t even let me finish the full interval before making me leave. I did in fact pant, “Can I just make it about 130 meters to the line?” That was answered with a swift “no” but when I saw the actual police officer and car I figured it best to in fact vacate the track.

I was bummed, but I then finished my remaining rep’s on the streets around the neighborhood. Oh well, no more track during school hours.

A few things came to my mind here. 1) it’s funny how ‘normal people’ probably thought it was completely insane of me to even ask to finish those last 130 meters, but I think if the officer had been a runner he maybe, just maybe, might have offered me the courtesy.

2) What in the heck kind of hazard could I be; I obviously wasn’t there to cause mischief, only running in circles torturing myself.

3) The police, was that a slight over-reaction?

4) Mostly I was bummed because it was the first time I was doing a workout on the track in a long while and was curious what the outcome would be.

girl runner

My mug shot.

Oh well, maybe if I wasn’t in fact so focused on finishing my workout I would have pushed it to see how long it would have taken for them to cuff and haul me away. Would I have been able to do a few more rep’s, would the cuffs slide off of my sweaty arms, would it be a comical game of cat and mouse as they chased me around the track? Would my times then be a little faster because of that? Mostly I think if I had to get a criminal record, how funny would it be to have it read: hauled off for illegal abuse of the track?

1) Have you ever been kicked off of a track?

2) Do you like 800′s repeats?
I of course like tempo’s the most, probably mile repeats after that, but I’ve gotten to be on a friendly basis with 800′s and like them.

3) How is your week rocking along and what was/will be your workout?

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Pregnant Running’s All the Rage

Everyone’s talking about it so now I will too, the woman who gave birth after the Chicago marathon. I’ve read people making jokes, being outraged, and some people I guess just plain don’t care, they’ve got bigger things to occupy themselves.

pregnant mom
I did read a really funny one that I will cite from our own TX Runner Girl, “running a marathon = your uterus falling out.”

Here is where I stand. My mom has had four kids and ran up until the day she popped for all of us; she was lucky in that all of her pregnancies were relativley ‘easy’ and she didn’t get any bad morning sickness or other issues. I’ve had friends who were runners and hard-core fitness folks who also were able to run, even train through theirs.

Kara Goucher is one example and she goes into plenty of detail in her book and has talked about it on her blog. There is also Paula Radcliffe who has been open about both of her experiences. The thing is, I feel that if you can and are willing, why not exercise or run? Of course take the necessary precautions, but if your doctor gives you the green light, I’m all for it.

That said, none of them ran a marathon while pregnant. I know there is the exertion level to take into consideration. I’ve never been in the situation myself, but I feel that it’s probably not a good idea to go for broke or empty the tank in hard workouts in the final stages of pregnancy…just a thought.

mother in bath

If I were her this would count as recovery...bath with the kiddies tied up.


So running the marathon? I read she did it somewhere over 6 hours, so she wasn’t blazing…that said she was on her feet for 6 hours and that takes a toll. Apparently she ran two other marathons while pregnant with her other two kids, this one was just the closest to the actual delivery…contractions just past the line and 7 hours later, welcome new baby.

Seems like all is fine and healthy…maybe she was just tired of being pregnant and figured, “What the heck?!” Some choose spicy foods, she chose a marathon. But I guess I just ask, “Why?”

I love running as much as the next person, but couldn’t she get the same kind of endorphin rush off of a ‘regualar’ run? Maybe she signed up a long time ago and just couldn’t stand to see all that entry race money go to waste. Heck, actually, that right there could be it, take that race directors and your insanely high costs! ;)

1) This is a rather extreme case, but I’ve done some pretty crazy things to get a workout in too. Do you have any funny/embarassing/quasi-ridiculous stories where you just had to get that workout in?
Quite a few, but some I don’t even want to put out there…haha. I guess one I will say is sneaking out during my ‘break’ for a quick run in the wee early hours. I got back and one of my siblings had woken up in the middle of the night and noticed the door unlocked so they locked it. Locked out, I was caught. :P

2) Running with a second person in you seems very odd to me (having a second person seems odd), if you have been or are pregnant did you run or workout? If not, do you think you would?
I would.

3) Everyone’s about Taco Tuesday, I love Mexican food, so what is your favorite Mexican place?
Don’t hate, I know it’s not ‘real’ Mexican, but I love Chipotle. :)
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No Shame…

Yesterday I finished my long run and proceeded to do my sets of squats and lunges right outside on the sidewalk. Why not, it was sunny, I was already a sweaty mess, the sidewalk is long enough for my lunges so I don’t have to awkwardly try and turn, and I wanted to do it while the motivation was still there?! Midway through my second set I hear from behind me, “Oh my gosh…look right there…right THERE! Look at her…hahahaha!”

Yes, a black car filled with some high schoolers had driven by, stopped, and proceeded to gawk at the freak show. Is it bad that I didn’t even stop doing my thing?

I guess the thing is that over time my shame-factor has become eroded. I used to think wearing shorty shorts was ridiculous. Past that.

I couldn’t fathom why anyone would run in a bathing suit, as that’s what bun-huggers looked like. On top of that, how could any girl feel comfortable running tons of laps around the track wearing said buns and a measly shimmel top? Been there.

poop book

Yes, in fact I wrote a whole book about it! (don't know why it never went mainstream though?)


I thought anyone who used a bush, or heaven forbid a random available ditch, for an emergency bathroom stop should be ostracized from civilied community. Hmmm…they still let me lurk around and I’ll own up to it.

I have busted out some pretty strange streching moves while carrying on a conversation. Not everyone sees a raised platform and tosses their leg up to give some love to the hamstring?

I have gone out and run errands after a run, still in my running clothes, and I probably still had those nice white, salt stains up my arms and legs.

I do squats and lunges on the sidewalk in broad daylight. I am a freak. I accept that…or maybe I’m just an Obsessive Compulsive Runner. I’ll take it.

1) What is something you have no shame about? Okay, folks, it’s time to let those not-so-guilty secrets out! Hehe.

2) What’s been something yelled at you from a car while out running or otherwise?
I think there should be a law enacted to toss anyone who still thinks yelling, “Run, Forest, Run” is still funny, into a jail with Tyler Perry movies on a continuously loop.

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Reinstituting the Long Run and the Debate on How to Run Them

Hello, good friend, oh how I’ve missed you. I knew today was coming since last week and I looked to it with both eager anticipation and trepidation. I’ve been running pretty much all outside the last two weeks, and it was high time to do an outside long run.

I have been doing quite a bit of weekly road miles, for me, so I wanted to be smart and gradually up the distance of my long run so I didn’t wind up injured and all that jazz. So today I added 2 miles to the 11 miles I’ve been covering outside…so let’s be smarter than a first grader and make that 13 miles.

runner on beach

hmmm, wich I ran there but not today.


Eons ago that would have been ‘nothing’ in my mind and I would have pushed the pace. But today’s goal was to just cover the distance and get ‘er done. I say I was both excited and a little nervous for these reasons:

* Long runs were and will always be my favorite runs/workouts. I’m a true distance person with not a single fast-twitch muscle fiber, so I feel more in my element. I have felt like a quasi-runner knowing that I haven’t been doing a ‘real’ long run.

* My favorite way to run long runs used to be to go fast; there was nothing more rewarding than finishing an awesome long run and looking back over my splits.

Today I knew for darn sure there was going to be no speed racer showing up. That’s okay, I am more than happy to at least be doing a long run at all, but it’s a shift of thinking. Plus, I’m kind of excited to see my progress; today was a starting point and I want to see myself gradually get the pace down. Sure, it still may not be of speed racer status, but there will at least be the element of putting in the effort and doing that offers that same kind of endorphin run/reward feeling.

But to long runs in general, I know that there are more and more articles and training philosophies that specifically say: DON’T go too fast and hard on your long runs, long runs are meant to be relaxed and just about building the aerobic base. I would agree that for the most part, that’s the way to go and I can vouch that my coaches were constantly telling me NOT to try and race my long runs and slow down for many of them.

Real fast, this next part is going to be only my personal opinion and I’m not a coach or bona-fide specialist, so take it for what it’s worth…only from experiences I’ve gleaned over the years. I say that for the most part, yes, you want to keep your long runs relaxed and make the priority covering the distance and not totally tapping out the tank. For those who are planning to run a marathon, it’s very important to just get the time out there on your feet and to do that, you want to safely ramp up the distances of your long runs. There is another rule that I agree with: only do introduce one new variable at a time in your training, either adding more volume OR increasing speed, not both at the same time.

So, if you are making your long run longer than last week you typically shouldn’t be then also trying to go faster. This is particularly true if your goal is to just finish the marathon and time is not a big factor.

BUT, if you plan on really racing longer distance races I think it’s smart to turn some of your long runs into workouts every couple of weeks. Use the first few miles as a warm-up and build the middle chunk into a tempo type workout, long repeats (multi-miles), or make it a progressive long run where you get faster and finish under marathon or whatever-goal-race pace.

Why? If you plan on running the actual distance fast you need to train fast. The reason I really liked doing tempo-long runs is because I felt it not only made me stronger physically but mentally as well. There are some big mental barriers that you need to crash through when you hit say, 5 miles of a tempo effort and know you’ve still got 5 more. (add more barriers if those distances are even longer!) I knew that by miles 6,7, and 8 I’d be grimacing, those dang middle miles are the worst because you’re not quite at the ‘okay, I’m almost done, the end is in sight’ point.

But I knew that when I ended that long run, using the rest as a cool-down, that the next time a 5k or 10k race came up it would feel so much shorter. So hard long runs callous the mind and the body. I think the aerobic base they build is very important as well.

optical illusion

Mind of matter, baby! :)

That said, they take a lot out of you and that’s why you then hear, read about, and see so much talk of stressing: take your long runs easy. You need the time to recover from them, make that exponentially more if you do them as a workout.

So I think it all just depends on your goals. If you aren’t concerned about the time/pace of your race and the goal is to finish, then by all means you probably should only keep your long runs easy and relaxed. But if you do want to race, then as they say, “Race fast? Run fast.” Going that route, don’t do a hard long run the day after a race or hard workout, make sure you do an easy run the next day if not the next two, and count it as your long interval workout for the week. Also know that you shouldn’t be doing this every week; do it every other week at the most. Finally, treat your body right and recover the rest of the day…veg style baby! :)

Wrapping up my epic post, like I said I love long runs. I used to love them because I felt in my element and would be chomping at the bit to see how fast I could do them. Today’s long run was not of the kind eons ago, it was about making sure I covered the distance, remembering that I still love the long runs and now I can at least feel like a ‘real’ runner again.

1) Do you do long runs, do you like them?

2) What have you heard about how to approach long runs?

3) What are you up to this weekend?

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Alien Legs and Lime Green Walls

We have FINALLY reached the rainy and cool weather I have missed so much! It’s a little crazy to think that I was left pitting out my shirts less than a week ago and not two minutes ago there was rain pouring down.

Too bad all of my rainy weather running (and normal people) clothes are stuffed in a box as yet to be found. Time to do some digging.

I did a tempo run today on the bike trail. Luckily, I didn’t get run over by a bike, but there was a little kid on a bike that made me feel good when he said, “Mommy, she’s running fast.”

barbie on bike

No, this lady was not on the bike trail today. :)


Though I wanted to laugh because you know how it feels when you’re attempting a faster workout but feel soooo slow! (And then you look down at your watch and it only reaffirms that fact…hehe.) Regardless, got in my six mile tempo and the effort was there.

I’ve got some other friends that can relate to feeling like you have a foreign pair of legs running those workouts, but what I’ve come to accept is that this is where I’m at right now. Don’t even try to compare to the ‘old’ you, take this as your starting point, and then be happy with any improvements that may come. I also remind myself just how awesome it feels to be out there running at all.
runner kicking
In other news, I am also painting my new room. I’m actually really excited because this is the first time I’m really able to do whatever I want. I don’t have to worry about apartment complex rules, so the walls are going to be lime green and a darkish blue color. This is phase one, the next phase will be hanging my posters and art.

The other thing is that I’m working on some other articles and have been able to have a few really interesting interviews. I could talk about running and all things sports and fitness related forever so it’s been great.

Another perk is that I can parlay some of those factoids into topics for posts…win win. Alright, this writer has a deadline to get to, so until then, happy runnings and if you were on the bike trail today and you saw a girl who looked like she was busting her bum and still not running all that fast try and spit, but the spit landed on her own shoulder and arm so that she looked like a pathetic mess…that was not me. ☺

1) What’s something that a little kid said to you lately that made you laugh?
I like that kids are brutally honest, they will tell you if you look a hot mess.

2) How do you handle getting through workouts where your times aren’t what you’d wish but the effort is more than there?
I do my best to completely opt out of the comparison game. Luckily for me I know going in it will be much slower; but I also try to abstain from looking at the pace too much. For instance, in my tempo today I just went what felt to be hard and only looked down at my mile splits and pretty much ignored the clock otherwise.

3) What is a topic that you could talk about or read about forever?
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Pillars of Support – Do You Believe it Can Happen?

Who do you tell your hopes and dreams to? Who do you feel comfortable putting it all out there, saying something that you know may make you sound totally insane, crazy, off-the-wall, even egocentric?

running dream

When there is something niggling in your mind, a far-reach; do you actually voice that little hope, the dim glint that lurks in the back of your brainspace? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, would be my honest answer. Do I sound like a politician or what?

I think in life we always have those things we ‘wish’ would come true, would like to see happen, and they change over time. Along the way the plausability of such things also gets shifted into perspective. This can be a good thing, I mean there is a point where you don’t want every kid to believe they can in fact be president, it’s not possible, and you don’t want Little Jimmy to fall into a fit when he comes to that realization.

Though to another degree you don’t want to live a life where you have built your own glass ceiling. So it’s a matter of deciding just how much a certain goal or thing means to you. Then it’s probably smart to have at least one place of support where you can voice what’s rolling through your brain to; they can then help you decide if it’s worth plunging full bore into. But choose that support system wisely, and also remember that in the end you have to do what’s right for you.

couple in love

Who is your pillar of support?

I’m seeing this a lot lately with some various training groups; many people don’t think they can actually run. Think they will never cover a 5k distance, never be able to complete a full 10k without walking. But I want to tell them that your mind is often your biggest limiting factor. Don’t look too long at the place you want to end up; instead take one step ahead and focus on taking the next step.

I guess this also is running through my mind lately because I’m now able to hang around and see one of the people who has been one of my biggest pillars of support. She was a person who helped keep me sane and hopeful after my accident and she was also a safe sounding board. I vented, I updated her, I told her all the crazy things that were rolling around in my brain and she didn’t judge. When I told her I’d cut off my leg and get a prosthetic if that’s what it took to get back to running she listened and understood. She didn’t tell me I was an idiot; though she told me that she believed it wouldn’t come down to that, but if it did she’d be right there backing me up.

Pillars of support. We have to believe in ourselves if we are ever able to do anything but I also have lived a lot by the ‘fake it til you make it’ philosopy, and a part of that is finding a person that YOU trust so much and believe in, that if they tell you they think it is true or can happen, then I take it as fact and go forward. That’s how it was in the past with some of my coaches; if they told me I was capable of running such-and-such, even if I may not have had full faith in myself, I had more than full faith in them and so I forced myself to believe. From there it usually happened.

Find those pillars and then never let them go. Finally, make sure to be just as strong for those pillars when their time comes. So, do you voice that crazy, insane, maybe-I’m-loco thought?

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A Question of Etiquette on the ‘Bike Trail’ — Let’s NOT make it runners vs bikers

So, I have a question for you. Being a runner I do feel a little biased, so I think it’s fair to ask for the perspective of others and people who may be on the ‘other’ side of the debate: bikers.

When you’re a runner and you are running along on a ‘bike trail’ do you not deserve SOME space? Now, yes, the name denotes that it’s for bikers but I sort of feel that also encompasses some foot traffic; more like it’s a place for riders/runners that is free of cars.

rollerblader

I even saw a person on rollerblades out there. I'm equal opportunity if we all 'play nice.'

When I’m running along, if I see a biker approaching I stick to the side and give them ample room. The same goes if I hear one coming behind me, I move to the shoulder and let them pass. I give them respect.

That is not always something that I feel is reciprocated. I DO want to say that it is the minority; for the most part I think the bikers I’ve seen are more than courteous, they even say hello, and I smile and wave.

But there are always a few people that feel they own the bike trail. I’ve had friends who have barely been able to dodge being biked over or hit, they had to practically dive to the side of the road. One of my friends had a biker yell at her, “This is the BIKE trail,” and proceed to play the ‘chicken’ game with her and ride straight at her.

I bring this up today because after a run on the trail there were multiple bikers that happened to do this to me. My friend and I were out there doing a fartlek, and the encounter that really touched a nerve was when two ladies on bikes had the entire path to themselves, my friend actually had moved onto the dirt on the side and I was right on the shoulder. But this lady clearly wasn’t going to move, she was hugging the shoulder coming right at us; she looked up and locked eyes with me and as she passed I could have told you if she had a zit on her cheek, how we didn’t hit was avoided by millimeters.

two runners

Sorry, to be correct my friend was actually a guy, but I talked him into going slow and running with me. :)

I was just offended. Here, she looked at me and seemed to actually want to hit me. I just don’t understand it when there is the entire rest of the trail left for her. I know there are always two sides to any story.

Perhaps she had just passed a group of runners who had been hogging the trail and I was just the harrier that pushed her over the edge. Maybe she was having a bad day. Maybe she was tired and on the final miles of her ride; heck, I was in the middle of a ‘hard’ part of the farlek so I know sometimes when you’re tired moving that extra bit does seem like a monumental effort sometimes. Maybe she really doesn’t like runners on the ‘bike trail.’

It’s just that every now and again I wish I could tell bikers: as a runner, I do thank you for allowing us to use the trail even though it is officially a ‘bike trail.’ It’s not that we mean you any disrepect, it’s just that we too like to have a space void of cars and is safer. I will do my best to always move when you pass by, I will take up as minimal amount of room that I can. I do know I can’t speak for every runner on the trail, just myself, and I’m sorry if there are instances where you feel WE think we own the trail. But, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from and we can live in harmony on this ‘bike trail.’

1) Do you have a bike trail near where you live? If so, are you a runner, biker, or both? What has your experience been?

2) What have you been up to this Sunday? Did you do a workout?
I did a fartlek with my friend; we did sets of 2 minutes hard and 1 minute easy.

3) Name something you are looking forward to?
I was too tired to finish a movie last night and zonked out early; I’m excited for part II of movie night with my housemates. :)
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