Sunday, March 31, 2013

Running High

Today, I truly learned what the runner's high is all about. My training plan for this week had my short runs scheduled for Wednesday and Friday and my long run scheduled for today. So far 4 miles has been the farthest I've run - 4.08 to be exact. I ran that last Wednesday. Friday, I wasn't feeling that well and only ran 2.93 miles. This morning before my run, I contemplated taking the 4 mile route I usually do or the 5 mile route I had planned for today. I told myself I would see how I felt as I approached the end of my street. Since I took the time to plan the route and planned on running it today, I decided on the 5 mile route! Was I tired? Yes. Did I stop? Not until I got to 5 miles. The route ended up being a little shorter than 5 but I kept running until I heard my Nike app (I love that thing) say 5 miles. 5.03 miles in 49 minutes. I was on fire. How did I get through it? For one, I kept thinking of the image below.

I kept saying to myself, I'll stop at 5, I'm going to make it to 5 and I did! In fact, at around mile 3 and a half, I sprinted. I couldn't believe it - my body really didn't feel like mine. I felt like I was someone else running. It felt AMAZING! Not only did it feel good, but it gave me the push for me to get to the end. When I finally finished, the first thing I said, was EAT IT! I made 5! I walked proudly back to my house after that. As I opened the door, I told Hubby how far I went and he said he was proud of me. Sure I looked like a train wreck but I did what I set out to do...I accomplished my goal for today.

The rest of the day has been great. I feel like I'm on top of the world. I get it, I finally understand the runner's high. Sure I had happy moments after my previous runs but there was nothing like the way I felt today. It was a combination of pride and accomplishment. 

In addition to today being my farthest run yet, this week has been my most miles yet - 12 miles! :)

Until my next high,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Goal Setting for My First Half Marathon

Since I have officially completed my first goal (my first 5K), I am now ready to set goals to achieve my ultimate goal this year - my first half marathon (Sea Wheeze). I was so happy about completing my first goal that I forgot about my second and as a result, this past week has suffered with regard to picking up training. I did run my farthest yet - 4.06 miles (woohoo!) but I only ran two days last week and that's not really going to cut when it comes to training for a half. So I need to pick up training and add some speed workouts as well as training sessions at the gym.

Coming up with a schedule isn't as easy as it sounds because I have to figure out what Little Beast is going to be doing. He's been so good lately that I honestly think I should change his nickname to Little Angel. Then again, I'm sure his beastiness will come out soon enough and he will be back to Little Beast. I just love my little man. Sorry, Mommy Renita took over, let's go back to Training Renita.

So as I mentioned it's tougher to come up with a schedule because I need to plan around Hubby and Little Beast. This is why I sometimes wish I had discovered my love of running at an earlier age. Had I started running in my 20's, I would have no issues coming up with a training plan and sticking through it. I probably could have run a marathon! Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda but Didn't. Back to Today.

My run days will now be Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. I plan to run 3-4 miles Wednesday and Friday and then have my long run on Sunday (which is currently at 4 miles). As the distance of my long run increases, I may add a mile to my short runs but I am going to plateau at 5 mile short runs. Once the weather gets warmer, I will substitute one of my run days for speed work. The plan will adjust as I build endurance.

I have also decided on getting a trainer. This is partly influenced by Hubby (and the fact that my job pays for half of it!) but I think it will be really good for me. I need to improve my stride and speed and stronger muscles will help me do so. I have to admit the fact that summer is coming and that I would love to wear a bikini also play a role in my decision. I will work with a trainer twice a week for 3 months so look out for posts on how awful my sessions are. I'm a baby when it comes to people pushing me so it will definitely be tough!

If you have any advice on training for a half marathon or training for a race, post a comment and let me know! I would love to hear from seasoned runners on their training plans and focus before a big race.

Until my Wednesday run,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lamaze for Running

Yesterday I ran my farthest yet! 3.65 miles in roughly 36 minutes. The first two miles, I was averaging a 9:20 min/mile pace but slowed down after I started getting tired. This is a change for me because usually I stop when I'm tired. Instead, yesterday I focused on breathing. I was so focused on my breath that I kept running and stopped when I thought I did enough. Surprisingly, I could have kept going!

So what did I do? I breathed in through my nose for a count of 3 (or 3 strides) and breathed out through my mouth for a count of 3. When you're tired, breathing in through your nose for that long is tough but if you really focus on doing it, it will make you run longer. I read this first on someone's blog - sorry I can't remember who - I follow a lot of blogs! And then a couple of my facebook friends suggested it as well. Today when I was thinking about how far my long run will be this weekend, I thought of my breathing technique yesterday and remembered that's exactly what I learned in Lamaze! I clearly remember our instructor's "relaxed" face during the breathing - it still cracks me up! I never got a chance to use my lamaze breathing since I had a C section but it's good to know that the  money spent on the class wasn't wasted. I'm using Lamaze for running!

So next time you find yourself exhausted on your long run, try to focus on your breath and see where it takes you. I'm confident I will use my lamaze breathing this weekend on my long run (hoping for 4 miles).

Are there are other breathing technique you use during your runs? What about techniques in general? Do you have any that you reserve for races?

Until my 4-miler,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My First 5K

On Sunday I ran my first official 5K. I woke up feeling nervous and excited. I got up extra early so I could have a couple coffees and have time to drop Little Beast to my parents since it was a frigid 30 degrees out! The time on the race website said 8:45 for the 5K so I figured we should get there by 8:15. What I didn't realize was that the race actually started at 9:45! Hubby and I were standing in the cold for a long time! I am especially thankful for how supportive he was. Not only did he help me warm up (which I have to admit, I'm not very good at), but he also put the chip on my sneaker and put my bib on. I don't know what I would do without him. I was so nervous, I could barely do anything!

Smiling before the race

After a LONG time, the race was about to begin. I stood towards the back so I could work on my pace. I usually run with an arm band and my Nike app on but this time I decided to go "naked". I didn't want to distract others with the Nike app. I started off slow and picked up my pace around 1 mile. By 2 miles, I was tired but knew I would make it to the end. When I saw the 1/2 mile left sign, I picked up my pace again. I assumed I would finish in around 28 minutes but my final time was 30:44.

Smiling as I'm finishing

Woohoo! I ran my first 5K!

When I finished, hubby ran towards me screaming and lifted my arm up. I am very lucky to have such a supportive husband. The poor man had to stand outside in the cold for an hour and a half before the race and then a half hour while I ran the race and he was still smiling! Thank you Michael, you're the best husband ever!

As far as my feelings post race, I was happy I ran the entire time. I lost a lot of training time because I was sick the entire month of February. I only had the chance to run 4 times before the race and the farthest I ran was 2.34 miles. So yes, I was happy I ran the entire 3.1. However, I can't say I wasn't disappointed that I didn't come in under 30 minutes. When I was actively training, I ran 3.18 miles in 29:56 (or something close to that) and I guess part of me assumed I would do the same during the race. I do know that I took it easy and just had fun with it. Overall, I think I have a good baseline time and am looking forward to improving it on my next 5K. There will definitely be plenty more! Another factor that threw me off were the hills on the course. I don't usually train on hills, I run around my house and it's mostly flat.

My overall race stats:
 - 101 out of 190
 - 14 out of 31 for my age group (30-39)

Right now, my goals are to work on my speed and train on hills. I would love to run my next 5K in 28 minutes or under. Hubby has decided to do the next one with me and we are thinking about running the Hair of the Dog 5K at Silver Decoy Winery.

I'm happy I have one 5K under my belt and am looking forward to many more. This summer I will also run at least one 10K prior to my half marathon in August. That's a lot of goals for the year but I'm determined.

Until my next run,

Friday, March 15, 2013

On the way to my First 5K!

Well what do you know? The title actually rhymes! If you know anything about me, you know I love rhyming. I write poems every chance I get - to my husband in his Valentine's day card, for my best friend's baby shower invitation, etc. Now I'm rhyming with running. Yes I'm a nerd, but I'm a happy rhyming nerd so that makes everything better.

My first 5K is in two days and I have to say I'm a little nervous. I lost a lot of time, basically the entire month of February, because of being sick, so I haven't trained as much as I would have liked. It took me a while to get to the 3 mile mark and after being sick for roughly a month, I found it difficult to get through 2 miles. It's only been about two weeks that I've been back to running and I ran over 2 miles today, 2.34 to be exact. I'm happy with it and while I know Sunday's 3.1 miles will be tough, I know that I will finish the race. I may finish slow but I will finish with a smile on my face.

I googled training for your first 5K and came across this article (can't find it at the moment) that said you should volunteer for a race before you run one so you know what to expect. While I think I would be slightly less nervous had I done that, I'm glad I didn't. The newness of it all is exciting and I wouldn't want to lose my initial excitement because I'm overly concerned about what to expect. I'm also looking at this race as my baseline. I can only get better from here on out. If I get really tired, I can slow down. If something hurts, I can stop. I'm putting absolutely no pressure on myself - except to finish the race. I hope I don't finish walking but I'll be proud of myself regardless.

Until my first 5K!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lost Time

February was a very tough month in my house. Little Beast got sick, hubby was sick, then I was sick, and just when I thought I was better, I got Strep throat.

I finally went back to the doctor last week and said something didn't feel right. I'm on my (hopefully) last dose of antibiotics this year. This is the 3rd time I'm on antibiotics in 2 months! Let's hope this sickness is on its way out and I can return to focusing on my goals.

Last Saturday was the first time I went for a run in over 3 weeks. Needless to say, it was really tough for me. I did 2 miles in just under 20 minutes. My pace was off and I was exhausted. I also realized that the running shoes I bought recently were way too big. The salesman said to buy a shoe that's a 1/2 size bigger. Turns out the shoes I got were actually a full size bigger and just felt way too loose. We returned to the store Saturday and I was able to exchange my shoes for an 8 and 1/2 and they are perfect! The color also matches my running attire (yes I'm one of those girls) so it all worked out. 

My husband recently joined the gym again so I went with him on Sunday. I'm planning to join soon as well since I realize the combination of running and strength training is important. To be honest, I am very intimated by weight lifting, I don't know what to do nor how much to do and I always question my form. I'm clumsy, lanky and sit at a desk all day so posture and form have always been a struggle for me. Thankfully, hubby's a trainer (certified and planning on working as one later this year - if you're in Central Jersey and looking for one, let me know. Sorry for the sales pitch). He walked me through some strength training. After that I got on the treadmill for a 3 mile run. I stopped after 2 miles bored to death.  I have no idea how anyone can do half marathons and marathons on the treadmill. I'm serious, people actually do this. It's just so much nicer to be outside enjoying the fresh air. Next time I have no choice but to do a treadmill workout, I'm going to work on speed or intervals instead of just running. I spend my days bored at work so I absolutely refuse to have a boring workout.

In terms of goals, my first 5K is this Sunday. I haven't run as much as I wanted to so I'm sure my time will suffer. Luckily this is still my first 5K so I can use it as a baseline and work on improving my time. We all have to start somewhere. And remember that Bikram challenge I mentioned a while ago? Well...I didn't even go once! Between being sick and going through some personal things this past month, I just couldn't go. Which brings me to my next point. I think it's really important to spend time thinking of realistic goals. I'm a working mother who enjoys spending time with my family, two chubby dogs and alone time with my husband. Running 3 to 4 times a week is manageable. Strength training a couple times a week is also manageable. Attending a yoga class that is 30 minutes away for 90 minutes multiple times a week is not realistic. I could probably make it happen but life is short and I want to suck up as much of my son's air as possible! So I'm keeping the goals realistic from this point forward.

My plan is to run two more times before my 5K and I'm hoping to make 3 miles on my next run. 

Until then,