Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Running Tips

Tips from the cousin (a runner who runs an "easy 10 miles" every morning) of a fellow blogger over at Tumblr: 
  • Get a running app. Every smart phone has at least one available for free. Guessing your pace is isn’t going to cut it if you’re counting calories or training for a marathon. *I use RunKeeper.  I tested the GPS with the track and it's dead on.  The pace tracker was also dead on with my finish time at the Rock 'n' Roll half I just finished.
  • If you’re running marathon length races, a break during the first mile or two is the most important.
  • Pace yourself. It doesn’t matter if there are 50 people ahead of you or 50 people behind you. Don’t judge yourself by their standards. You have your own pace and it works for you.
  • Pay attention to your breath. Inhale left foot, exhale left foot. 
  • Fuck yogic breathing. It doesn’t apply here. In and out through your mouth. *I do in through the nose and out through the mouth. But try different types of breathing and find what's best for you.
  • No matter how much you think you sound like Vader, you breathing aren’t nearly as loud as you think you are. Don’t hold back. If you don’t get enough oxygen, your muscles fail. *I'd bet my left arm that I do in fact sound like Darth Vader, but I could honestly care less--I'm running 13.1 miles... Must.Have.Oxygen!  
  • Don’t slam your feet on the pavement. Keep it as light as possible. If you’re on a treadmill, the entire gym shouldn’t be able to hear it.
  • If you can’t figure out if you’re a mid-foot striker, heel striker or toe striker, it doesn’t really matter. Unless your legs are killing you, just keep going. If you focus too much on your legs, you’re probably going to eat it.
  • Run against the traffic.
  • Only put a headphone in one ear, you want to hear a car before it makes you roadkill.
  • Ladies, loop your headphones through your sports bra. Fellas, run it under your shirt. If you’re going shirtless, hook the extra cord up in the armband so it doesn’t bounce around and hit you in the face.
  • Make a playlist before you go. Don’t rely on shuffle. Get a good selection of high bpm songs, or something that will make you angry/excited. You don’t want to pause and let your heart rate/stride falter while you try to skip all your Death Cab for Cutie songs. *If you're a DCC fan like myself, there are actually some decent running songs if you take the time to do the research!  
  • Take rest days. *It's hard to stop when you start to discover how great running makes you look and feel; but this tip is crucial.  REST.  Your body will thank you.  I'm slowly starting to believe this and follow through with this one.  
  • Mind over matter. Your legs don’t really hurt that badly. Yes, you can breathe. Keep going.
  • But listen to your body. If you legs are honestly giving out, head home.
  • Hydrate but don’t water log.
  • If your endurance is terrible, work it up with stationary bikes or cardio classes. Get your aerobic ability and actual fitness level up.
  • Stretch your calves with toe raises. Rock back on your heels and bring your toes up a few times before you run to reduce shin splints.
  • Strength train. You’ll get less shin splints as you build up the muscles in your legs.
  • Find good sneakers and pay good money for them. You can get all your other gear for cheap, but go name brand and take time to find a shoe that works for you. Some podiatrists will even fit you for what type of shoe you should wear.
  • Stick reflective tape to your heels if you run at night and bring a flashlight so you don’t turn an ankle. 
  • Pay attention. Be alert. Don’t get hit by the train that runs through traffic near the Fens (*I assume this is something specific pertaining to where he lives?). Run as if no one sees you. Make it your responsibility to keep yourself safe.

I went for a 9 mile run yesterday and had cramps early in the run.  Actually, I had been cramping during my runs all week--something that never happens to me.  I focused on my breathing using bullet tip #4 and my cramps went away around mile 5.  I ate some Clif Shot Bloks and caught a great second wind to finish off the last half of my run! 

Also, I fully agree with tip #14.  If there is one thing I've learned it's that running is mental.  It's effing hard, there's no denying that fact; but, if you tell yourself that you're strong and that you can overcome the pain, exhaustion, and (sometimes) boredom you'll discover what you're truly capable of.  Pushing through the pain and realizing your abilities is such an amazing feeling! 

Try these tips, discover what works for you, and tell us; what are some running tips that you swear by?! 

(*Note: Comments in blue have been added by me)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Damn Straight We're Runners

"Calling yourself a "runner" is based on nothing else but a love of running that leads to an active pursuit of running, regardless of run pace, run distances, weekly mileage totals, races, or even length of time running."
                                 -Susan Paul, MS 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Help Wanted

As per my new training schedule, tomorrow is yoga day.  I have yet to find an at home yoga workout that I can do.  Any suggestions from my fellow runners and readers?

DVDs, online/YouTube, Wii games, whatevs.  Anything that is at least a 30 minute start to finish routine/session that actually walks me through the workout.

Thanks in advance,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

With 55 Minutes To Spare...

... Danielle calls me to let me listen to "Don't Stop Believin'", live from the Journey concert.  I am such a Jealous Judy, I literally have no words.  How perfectly appropriate for Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I, Danielle Shurtz, am no longer and half marathon virgin! Last Sunday I successfully completed my first half marathon. It was the most surreal feeling ever!

As you have read, Amanda pretty much covered the entire weekend. What a fun weekend it was! I've decided to do a recap of the actual race. From the 3...2...1...RUN to the zombie-like finish, I'm here to give you the deets.

During our conversation Friday night, I expressed my concern to Amanda about only having run 8 miles, at the very most, for my long runs. The look on her face was priceless. It was a cross between "I'm gonna have to leave your ass and uhh buhhhh". In my head I knew I could do it, I was going to do it, and there was no other option. The 10/1 pace was right up my alley.

During the start of the race I made it a point to keep track of my pace. The No Meat Athlete warned that the adrenaline will push you into a 9min/mile pace for the first few miles and around mile 10 you'll be ready to throw in the towel. I didn't want to be one of these people, I wanted to be the one running past one of these people in the end.

I think it was right around mile 4 when I was ready for it to be mile 12. Not because I was tired, out of breath, or sore, but because I was ready for the feeling of crossing the finish line. I really focused on the scenery of downtown, the neighborhoods surrounding downtown, and the people who showed up along the course to cheer us on. It was all so motivating, I tried taking as much in as possible.

Then 6 1/2 miles hit. My legs started to hurt, I was halfway done, but I still had 6+ miles to run. This is where I have to thank the good lord above for Amanda. If it was not for her I would have slowed down and thrown my goals right out the window. She paced me, she kept me going, and she gave me the cue to walk when we needed to. Could. Not. Have. Done. It. Without. Her. At one point I had to walk and she couldn't so she stayed with me by running backwards. That was motivation enough to keep running!

The craziest part of the race was mile 12. The beginning of mile 12 started out amazing. I was happy, feeling great, and thought the finish line would be a piece of cake. Then the end of mile 12 crept up on me. Part of me wanted to cry, my legs were numb so I was focusing on not falling over, on top of keeping my body going. I shouldn't have focused so much on the finish. In my head the finish was closer than it actually was and at that point my mental toughness was shot. Right when I needed it the most. Lesson learned.

Amanda and I crossed the finish line together (one of the best feelings ever!), gave each other a high five, and then zombie Danielle showed up. Not sure about Amanda, but I felt completely out of it. I couldn't stop moving, my legs and head felt best if I was walking around. Thinking about anything else wasn't really an option. My mind and body were exhausted, but my adrenaline was still going. After some walking around, stretching, 1/2 water 1/2 gatorade, and my complimentary beer I was starting to feel like myself again! I was sore the rest of the day and the following day; however, after that I was good to go!

Through all the craziness and up and down feelings, I have to say that I cannot wait to do it again in January! I am more motivated now than I was before. My training schedule will look somewhat like Amanda's. Give or take a few days.

Happy running!

16 Week Training Schedule

In preparation for my next half marathon, I have created a 16 week training program to help get me in tip-top shape as a means to help me accomplish my PR goal of 2:15.  I am using the Runners World Smart Coach iPhone app for my run training and a combination of workouts from my personal trainer (some of which were "borrowed" from Zuzanna at BodyRock.tv) and the Nike Training Club (NTC) app.

The next 16 weeks look a little something like this:

(Please forgive January in all its ghetto-ness.  I don't have a 2012 calendar yet.)

I hope that by having pre-scheduled my workouts, I will force myself to actually stick to my workouts and not skip days.


Pyramid (aka Hot Mess) -- This is my favorite workout!

"99"-- since I'm already running 16-20 miles during the week, I substitute the 11 minute run at the end for a set of 11's

"100"--again, since I'm already running, I substitute the 10 minute jog with a final set of 10's for each exercise

600 -- hard as hell, but slowly inching its way up to the faves list.  I'm only at 300 reps right now.

"3000"=  an abdominal workout from my personal trainer that involves 3 sets of 10 core moves w/ 25 reps each

"WH superset"= a total body toning workout involving a combination of two superset routines from Women's Health Magazine

"NTC"= selected workouts from the NTC app.  (st) denotes a strength training routine, while '15 min abs' denotes a 15 minute ab workout

Spin= a 45 minute cycling/spinning class at my local gym with my old college workout class instructor-- SO looking forward to this!

Yoga= self explanatory; but, I'll be trying out various yoga routines (i.e., Wii Fit, DVDs, Women's Health, Self Magazine, etc.) until I find some that work for me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011



Danielle and I completed our first half marathon!  The weeks of training, studying, researching, and blogging finally paid off!

Last Friday, we drove to San Jose to get ready for our race on Sunday.  We arrived at our hotel in the evening and spent the night in our room, attempting to talk off (and by talk I mean gossip and fill each other in on the on-goings of our lives) the excitement that would await us the following two days.  During our talk, we agreed that since we signed up for the race together that we would run together.  In true bestie fashion, we made a pact that unless a medic had to carry us off the course, we would stick together and help push each other through all 13.1 miles!

With that peace of mind, we went to bed so we could be sure to be well rested for the expo the next day. We slept in (only until 8:00 am, but for us teachers, that is sleeping in!) and took our time getting ready for the day.  After breakfast and another chat sesh, we headed over to the expo which was conveniently located right next to our hotel.  At the expo we picked up some Clif Shot Bloks (my faves--delicious organic energy chews that provide, electrolytes, calories, and sodium during endurance runs), and some extra gear for our run.  We each picked our own set of matching headbands and running belts from a company called Hippie Runner.  I never thought myself to be the running belt type, but these are seriously so non-obstructive and comfortable that I made the switch with ease.  I also purchased a souvenir hoodie and D got a new pair of Brooks shoes (And no, she did not run in the new shoes.  We're new at this, but not stupid!).

After the expo we headed to a local family restaurant, Original Joes to load up on... yep, you guessed it... pasta!  In our running research, we've learned that it is best to start carb loading not just the night before your half or full marathon, but the entire week before.  Also, that your last heavy carb-filled meal should be at lunch the day before rather than at dinner in order to give your body time to convert the carbs to the energy and store it for the following morning.

At the expo and on our way to lunch, we saw several people with their legs taped.  At first, I assumed that it was just sample tape and that it wouldn't last until race day, but having seen so many people with the KT tape, I thought it was unlikely that they would take the time out of their day if it wasn't going to pay off the following day.  I finally asked a girl and she confirmed my suspicions.  She said that the tape would last 3-4 days; so after lunch, and after having met up with Danielle's parents, we went back to the expo to show them around, sneak a few silly pictures (check back later, as all I have now are my iPhone pictures) and get our knees taped with the magic feel good tape!  Sadly, I lotioned my legs that morning and even after two alcohol wipe downs, my tape would not stay on my knee.  Danielle's stayed through the night; though, and she ran with it, so refer to her recap to see her testimony of the wonder tape!

After round two of the expo, we headed back to the hotel where I attempted to do some homework (the life of the responsible and procrastinating grad student) and Danielle hung out with her parents while we waited for my mom, sister, and my niece and nephew to get there.  Once they did, we all headed to dinner at P.F. Changs.  After what seemed like the longest dinner in the history of dinners, we headed back to our rooms in attempts to get some sleep for the much anticipated race day!

Even though I didn't feel nervous, I had trouble falling asleep; just as all of the running bloggers and veteran marathon runners said I would.  I'm sure I drifted off somewhere between 11 and midnight, but when I woke up at 5:15 a.m. I wasn't the least bit tired!  Race day was finally here!

The weather was a perfectly cool 73 degrees.  Danielle and I ate breakfast, caffeinated, took more pictures and headed down to our corral just after 7:00 a.m.  Even though I had already peed numerous times that morning, the anticipation got the best of my bladder and I had to pee again!  Luckily, there were what seemed like a hundred port-a-poties so the wait time was short pre-race.  I very firmly warned Danielle, that even though we promised to stick together, I reserved the right to break the bestie-clause in the name of bathroom breaks.  There was no way in hell I was going to lose time for anything less than an injury. I quite literally told her to pee on herself before she asked me to wait in line with her at a bathroom (and yes, I was prepared to to the same).  It sounds harsh, I know, but you know the saying; "Nice guys finish last", and I was not about to finish last!

While we waited anxiously for the race to start, we stretched,  danced, and jogged in place to get our blood flowing and our bodies warmed up.  Also, because I just plain couldn't stand still.  Finally, the time was near...3...2...1...RUN!  It only took a few minutes for us to move our way up to the starting line and start running.  We started with an easy, slow jog, so as not to get too winded too quickly.  We also decided that we would run the first 11 miles using a 10:1 run/walk ratio, and then pushing through the last two miles to the finish.  Using this method we averaged an 11:12 pace for nearly the entire race; slow and comfortable.  While my knee started to hurt at mile 6, just as I had anticipated given my experiences during training; I never really felt winded during the race.  Actually, if it weren't for the fact that my knee and legs hurt like a (insert favorite expletive here), I could've kept running.  The adrenaline was still pumping, and continued to do so for even through the following day.  No joke, as much pain as I was in on Monday, I still felt like going for a run.  Weird.  The girl who used to hate running just ran 13.1 miles and wanted to run some more.  Who am I?

(Apparently, I'm a runner. And I've got the medal to prove it!)

Anyway, we did it!  We ran, we walked, we pushed each other through our aches and pains, and we finished our very first half marathon, together, with an official time of 2:29:15! I'm logging that in the books as a major success for our first race considering that our two goals were to 1) finish under 2:35, and 2) to just plain finish! We set a goal and stuck to it.  We didn't give up and we crossed that finish line.  That in itself is the most amazing feeling.  Top it off with the feel good endorphins that running gives you and my-oh-my was I on a drug free high!

Never in my life did I think I would have the desire, drive, or motivation to train for and run a half marathon.  Now that I've done it, I'm hooked; literally addicted to running, and I have my best friend Danielle to thank for it since it was her idea to sign up for the run in the first place.

With the Dodge Rock n' Roll Half Marathon behind us, we have 16 weeks until the runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  I've taken a week off from all things training/running and am anxiously awaiting Monday when my official training for my second half marathon begins.  I've set a goal of 2:15 for my next race; and with the help of my Smart Coach running plan, spin classes twice a week, and strength training I know I can do it!

Check back for Danielle's race recap, more pictures, and of course, more running/training posts.  We're still running, so keep running with us!