Why Girls on the Run is pretty AWESOME!

I don’t know about y’all…something about all this sunshine after the Mid-Atlantic’s last long, gloomy stretch has me in an AWESOME mood! Speaking of things that are awesome, does anyone else (especially those with kids) ever get that song from The Lego Movie stuck in your head…”Blue skies, bouncy springs. We just named some awesome things! Everything is AWESOME!!” I’ve actually caught myself singing that at my desk over the last couple of days…so yep, I’d say I’ve been in a pretty good mood! 😉

everythingisawesome

And even though I think pretty much everything is awesome right now, I want to name (and talk about) something specifically awesome that just started up again last week, Spring season of “Girls on the Run“!! Lana did the Fall season of GOTR too, and I can’t say enough good things about this program! It’s a non-profit program for Pre-Teen girls that incorporates running with life lessons about health and even more importantly….SELF ESTEEM! Soap Box: The lessons about self esteem are soooo important to me as a mother because remembering how awkwardly insecure my pre-teen and teenage years (and half my 20s!) were, and thinking about the possibility (or likelihood) of my daughter experiencing the same thing, makes me cry cringe!  *Ummm…I think I have something in my eye….*

About the GOTR Program:

  • Programs across the U.S. and Canada
  • 1 million+ girls have participated in GOTR!
  • A 3rd-5th Grade and 6th-8th Grade Programs
  • Small group of 8-20 Girls
  • Meet twice a week for 12 weeks
  • 24 different, interactive lessons with talking points for parents
  • Train for a 5K
  • Select and participate in a community service project

GOTR GIrl

Most importantly…Ilana seems to be enjoying GOTR! She’s learning a lot of great lessons and making great friends… Plus it gives us something fun and active to do together! She’s still at that age where she looks up to me, and wants to do everything “mommy does”…so I’m soaking up every bit of that as long as it lasts! (I know it won’t be forever! *Tears*) We talk about her practices and go over the talking points in the pamphlet that’s sent home at the beginning of the season. We also go running and work-out together….The last few weeks she’s been asking me to go running with her to “work on her stamina” (literally her words! LOL) and she’s been talking about wanting to do a triathalon one day! We watched some “kiddie tris” on YouTube, too cute! I 100% support and encourage her dream to be a triathlete!

I was a little bummed that I didn’t get to be her buddy runner for her first GOTR 5K in the fall, but Danny stood in for me and it ended up being a great bonding experience for them! (Not to mention, it earned him MAJOR brownie points!!) I’ll be running with her for the next one though…just a few short months away! 🙂

Thing 1 and Thing 2!!

Thing 1 and Thing 2!!

Anyone else have a daughter that’s participated (or participating) in Girls on the Run? Tell me what you think about the program!!

Betty

My thoughts on Running Shoes and Building Up Base Mileage

I’ve been back on the treadmill for almost 2 months now, and have reestablished a 20 mile per week base. I’m taking a cautious and uber-conservative approach to recovery. At times I wonder if I’m being TOO conservative, with the three stress fractures in my right foot being the first major injury I’ve ever (*knock on wood*) had to deal with as a runner.  Finding that balance is definitely tough, but I’m getting there! I’m determined to make it through 2015 injury free, and in order to achieve that goal I’ve been doing some serious analysis of how I landed myself in an air cast in the first place.  I don’t think it’s possible to point out one single thing and say “This is why I ended up injured”.  It could be a combination of poor training decesions or it could have been a totally unlucky, freak accident.  One of the things that I’ve taken a long hard look at is the shoes I was running in….

Shoes

I mentioned in a previous post that I think that the “minimalists” shoes that I was running in contributed to my injury.  This is not something that I REALLY wanted to admit because…#1 I was 100% on the barefoot running bandwagon, #2 I felt like I was “flying” in my feather light Kinvaras, and #3 Because I was logging some of my fastest training runs and race times ever in my snazzy “minimal” running shoes!  Now I know this is a hot topic in the running community, and there are plenty of advocates out there that swear “barefoot running” or “minimalists running” will improve your running form/mechanics and ultimately lead to fewer injuries.  I don’t disagree with this…however, I think that “minimalists” running shoes work best for light weight runners with impeccable running form.  I am neither light-weight nor do I have impeccable running form.  I have super high arches and over-pronate when I run.

I also did not heed warnings to “ease” into minimal running shoes. That overdoing it could lead to increased risk of metatarsal stress fractures.  While I started out wearing my Kinvaras only for speed work, training runs under 5 miles, and races….I loved them so much I decided to run all my runs in my Kinvaras (About 40 miles a week).  I ignored my incredibly sore calves, then the dull ache on the outside of my right foot that gradually got worse after each run….for several weeks….until it got to the point that running even one mile was pure misery and I “begrudgingly” made an appointment to go see a poditrists.  An MRI confirmed that I had stress fractures in my 2nd metatarsal, 5th metatarsal, and my cuboid (All in the right foot, which definitely points to some lopsided running mechanics!). Treatment=8 weeks in an air cast, 2 more weeks restricted activity, now about 2 months rebuilding my base mileage. I’m wearing more supportive Asic Gel DS Trainers, doing plenty of cross training, and other than being slapped in the face with a harsh reminder of how much it sucks to be out of shape, I’m almost done “recovering” and ready to start “training” again. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that “minamalists” running shoes aren’t great for some people or that the Kinvaras are a bad shoe. I still am in love with my Kinvaras, but have realized that I have a long way to go with my running form before they become an every day shoe for me. I’ll be reserving them for the occasional track workout or 5K for a very long while, and spend a lot more time in running shoes with a little extra support.

lightupshoes


 

At some point, either as a new runner or when returning to running after an injury, everyone has gone through the base building phase.  Anyone else totally overwhelmed by the bazillion contradicting approaches and tips out there? I’ve spent hours reading articles on “Mileage Base Building” and have figured out that there is no “one size fits” all approach so I am listening to my body and doing what seems to work best for me. Here are the general guidelines I’m going by while increasing mileage:

  • Gradual mileage increases each week. Some articles recommend not increasing your mileage by more than 10% per week. I don’t think that’s a hard and fast rule, but I think some common sense should apply. Don’t go from running 10 miles a week one week to running 40 miles a week the next week! And if you feel like your pushing yourself too hard, you probabally are. Don’t ignore real pain, especially when recovering from an injury.
  • Build up using Equilibrium approach and include “back off” weeks in training plan.  There are articles that will recommend using either a equilibrium approach to building base mileage or implementing a “back off week”. An example of a 6 week schedule using equilibrium approach: WK1: 10 Miles, WK2: 10 Miles, WK3: 10 Miles, WK4:12 Miles, WK5: 12 Miles, WK6: 12 Miles. While 6 week schedule utilizing a “back off” week would look like this; WK1: 10 miles, WK2: 12 miles, WK3: 14 Miles, WK4: 8 miles, WK5:14 Miles, WK6: 16 miles.  I’m using a combination of both, maintaining “equilibrium” for 2-3 weeks, then doing a “back off” week every 6 weeks with extra cross training to maintain my endurance.
  • Focus on one goal per week; increase total mileage, number of running days, OR speed. Don’t crank up everything all at once. I’ve been using my “equilibrium” weeks to focus on getting faster and one week I added a running day.  This week I am plan on doing my first official “speed” work-out.
  • Don’t neglect cross-training, stretching, and foam rolling. This one is tough for me, because once I got back up to running 5 miles at a time, it was soooo tempting to throw the cross training out the window. But I’ve been diligent about doing some cardio cross training (Mostly the stairmill and jump rope), strength training (Mostly Kettlebells and TRX), and have been stretching/foam rolling for about 10 minutes after each workout.
  • Be patient. The most basic and most difficult thing to do. Getting back “in shape” has been a frustrating process for me. There are some workouts where my calves are sore, I feel winded 1.5 miles into an easy run, and I can’t maintain my pre-injury “easy” pace of 8:30 min miles to save my own life. (Not to mention the sensitive topic of “chub rub” where my thighs have somehow migrated closer together over the last few months!)
  • Set Goals and Give myself something to look forward to. I signed up for my first line-up of races in 2015….I’m doing two 5Ks in March, Ragnar Trail in West Virginia in June, and the “Maryland King Crab Challenge” (Frederick Half, Baltimore 10 Miler, and Baltimore Half). Plus, I have the Wineglass Marathon defered from 2014 in October, which seems FOREVER away but it’s definitely not. I want to stay focused and make sure it doesn’t sneak up on me! I plan on returning to full “training” mode the first week of March, and I think being registered for races will help keep me honest.
Now there is some motivation! ;-)

Now there is some motivation! 😉


I’ve had a very modest start to running in 2015, but I’ve managed to run 76 miles so far. My sister-in-law and mom joined my team for the Run the Edge 2015 miles in 2015 Challenge. We’re keeping each other motivated and consistent, and having a good time! Hopefully it will warm up soon so I can get outside for some of my runs (7 degrees and windy as hell yesterday, no thank you!!)!

I work out! (Attempting to work it at least!)

I work out! (Attempting to work it at least!)

What is your opinion on “minimalists” running shoes? Do you have any tips for rebuilding running base mileage? Do you brave the cold weather for your runs? Or are you more of a “fair weather” runner who’d rather jump on a treadmill than freeze your buns off like me?  

Daily Inspiration-Run with all you have as long as your legs will let you!

It’s been forever since I’ve posted a blog. Life has been busy lately and I’ve had to prioritize, so my blog has been moved to the back burner. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve still be running, and am making a lot of progress in rebuilding my running base! I just saw this video on Facebook today, about an amazing young runner with MS. It literally moved me to tears and gave me great perspective and a new motivation for running.

http://buzzflare.com/this-teen-runs-the-fastestbut-her-coach-always-needs-to-catch-her-at-the-finish-line/

Another Week of Recovery and Other Happy Things!

Last week seemed to fly by! I was happy to get in a few runs and some cross training. I’m still happily pain free, but was experiencing some stiffness in my right foot on Saturday and decided to take a day off. From what I read online, a little stiffness is normal when you first resume running after a stress fracture, and it’s nothing to worry about as long as 1) You’re not experiencing pain, 2) It is not getting worse, and 3) It is gradually getting better as you (slowly) increase mileage. I put my inner drama queen in time out and am continuing to progress with my training! This week will be a week of 3 mile runs! 🙂

whatyoucando


Weekly Work-Out Log:

  • Monday: 20 min stair-mill, 2 mile run, 20 min elliptical trainer
  • Tuesday: 55 min spinner, TRX Work-Out (Squats, Biceps, Triceps, Low-Row, Chest Press, Planks, Atomic Crunches)
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: 20 min row, 2 mile run, Kettlebell Workout (Swings, Goblet Squat, Russian Twists)
  • Friday: 12.5 miles walking in NYC
  • Saturday Rest
  • Sunday: 3 mile run, 30 minutes Yoga

Total 2015 Miles: 9

Blurry work-out pics!

Blurry work-out pics!


I’m putting my best foot forward and trying to remain positive through the whole recovery process. There are definitely days when it is frustrating but I consider every day I am able to make a little progress without re injuring myself a success. I’m also finding amazing support in some unexpected places….like on the 2015 in 2015 Challenge FB page where I’ve been connecting with and getting advice from other runners.  I know I’m totally biased, but I think the running community is the coolest!!

Other things that made me happy last week:

  • My new running shoes that I ordered on Amazon came in the mail! I tried on the Asic Gel DS Trainers at Road Runner at the beginning of the summer but went against “Shoe Dogs” recommendation of buying these “Performance Support” shoes because I was dead set on wearing a “minimalist” shoe.  (A topic for another post, I believe those minimalists shoes contributed to my stress fractures).  I wore them for all three runs last week and they felt amazing! Comfortable, supportive, but still very light weight! I love the fun, bright colors too!

asics-ds-trainer-19-womens-emerald-main

  • I found a cool new fitness app for my smart phone, Rock My Run, and enjoyed jamming to a 30 minute “Twerk Out” playlist during Sunday’s run! You can search for playlist based on genre, bpm, and workout length and either download or stream the playlist on your phone.  The app was free, and you can get playlists up to 45 minutes long without having to upgrade to a paid membership. And in case you were curious about how to select BPMs for your run (I was!), I found this article, 150 BPM is about a 10 minute mile.

music

  • I got to see my youngest brother for the first time in 2 and a half years! He lives overseas and had an overnight layover in JFK on Friday. I got off work early and took the train up to NYC to meet up with him. We walked around Time Square, grabbed a bite to eat at Hard Rock Cafe, then spent the whole night drinking coffee and catching up in a little greasy spoon diner until it was time for him to head back to the airport. Then I got back on a train home at 6 am! That was my first time pulling an all nighter since my 30th birthday and I was HURTING on Saturday! I’m such an old lady now! Lol 100% worth it though to catch up with my bro!

nyny

What made you happy this week?

❤ Betty

Training Recap-1st Week of Running Post Injury!

This week was week 9 of recovery, week 1 of running again! This was my first (and hopefully last) major injury, so I while I was super excited about getting the go ahead from my doctor to start running again, I was still incredibly nervous.  I wrote out a running schedule, with gradual mileage build-up, for the next two months to help keep me focused and mentally strong during my recovery.  I still have that stubborn, internal desire to run “ALL THE MILES”! At the same time I am experiencing something new….feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and fear of being reinjured.  This stress fracture was a major wake-up call for me…”Hello, I’m NOT invincible!” My training plan is helping me balance the crazy, reckless side with the new insecure, cautious side.  And so far so good! My first week of post-injury training went way better than expected!!!  4×1 pain-free mile runs + lots of cross training=One Happy Running Betty!!

startoverrunning


 

Weekly Training Summary:

  • Monday-20 min stairmill, 1 mile run (10:49), 20 Min elliptical trainer
  • Tuesday-30 min spinner, 20 min TRX and Kettlebell workout (Below)
  • Wednesday-15 min stairmill, 15 min row, 1 mile run (10:14)
  • Thursday- 30 min crunch Pilates/Yoga DVD
  • Friday-1 mile run (10:05), 40 min elliptical trainer
  • Saturday-20 min stairmill, 1 mile run (9:50), 30 min spinner, 20 min strength/circuit (Below)
  • Sunday-Active Rest (6 miles of walking and chopping/stacking wood with Danny…and no, that is not code…we were literally playing lumber jack today! Haha)
Running and my foot feels GREAT!!!!

Running and my foot feels GREAT!!!!

  • TRX/KB Work-Out:
    • 3×15 TRX Low-Row
    • 3×15 TRX Push-Ups
    • 3×30 second TRX Plank
    • 3×15 Kettlebell Swing
    • 3×15 Kettlebell goblet squat
  • Circuit Work-out (Repeated 6x):
    • 5 pull-ups (Assisted/Resistance Band)
    • 5 push-ups
    • 5 hanging crunches
    • 5 bench tricep dips
    • 5 medicine ball squats
Getting Tired!

Getting Tired!


A few of my take-aways from this weeks training:

  • Cross training is awesome, I was able to work-out 9 straight days without any major soreness.
  • Warming up before running is super important! The one day I ran first, my legs hurt for the first 1/4 mile! The days I did other cardio first, I was able to run easier and faster!
  • Stretching is key! I’ve was religious about my stretching this week and my body was grateful!

Overall, a great week of work-outs.  Now that I’m able to actually run again, I finally feel like I am recovering.  My runs were short this week and much slower than my “normal pace”, but I didn’t mind that at all.  I was so happy just to be running again that I mentally was in a very good place.  I’m looking forward to another week of training coming up, with 4 x 2 mile runs planned!

Anyone else experience anxiety when coming back from an injury? Any tips for recovery, building base mileage, and staying injury free?

~Betty

 

Counting Down to 2015!

It has been a lot of fun reading everyone’s 2014 recaps.  It’s strange how one year can go by so fast and so much can change at the same time! I am one of those saps that happens to get a bit nostalgic about the New Year! I like the idea of new beginnings, optimism, and looking forward to better things.  Not that 2014 wasn’t an awesome year, because it totally rocked! Like most people, I went through highs and lows but feel like the positives far outweighed any negatives.  This is going to be a quick and dirty post because I’m ready to start celebrating! My NYE plans are perfectly low-key…a bonfire, some wine, and some fireworks with my two favorite people!

Some of my running highlights in 2014 included….

  • Ran 1155.55 miles!
  • Running the Color Run 5K with Ilana! Race review/recap here.
  • I won my first race, the Barlowe Bolt 5K, while supporting fundraising efforts for playground rehab in my BFFs neighborhood.
  • A new marathon PR and winning 1st place in my division at the Garden Spot Marathon
  • A new half marathon PR at the Annapolis Zooma race.
  • Ran my first trail marathon and LOVED it…Northface Challenge 26.2.
  • Running relays/fun runs with friends, and making new friends at the American Odyssey Relay, Warrior Dash, and my 5th D.C. Ragnar!
  • Having Danny come to my races to support me and cheer me on!
Blurry post-race selfie!

Blurry post-race selfie!

Some of my running lows in 2014 included….

  • Struggling with maintaining consistency and balance with my training (and the rest of my life).
  • Having to defer Wineglass Marathon until 2015.
  • Having to skip several other races due to work travel and injury.
  • Getting injured (3 separate stress fractures in my right foot) and having to hang up my running shoes for 8 weeks while recovering.
  • Accepting that 2014 was not the year for me to BQ
  • Having to take a big step back with my training (which also was a good opportunity to reassess!)
Danny loves taking pics of me on the treadmill!

Danny loves taking pics of me on the treadmill!

I also happen to believe in New Years Resolutions, all though I don’t limit myself to making and working towards my goals to the 1st of the year! So whether you are a resolutions person, or someone who chooses to forgo the New Year’s pressure, here are some of my resolutions and what I’m going to call “Anti-resolutions” (As in, things I probably should do better at, but I’m realistic and going to admit up front I am not going to make any effort to improve upon them in the New Year 😉 )

Resolutions:

  • Be more positive
  • Minimize the clutter and distractions from my life
  • Find more balance and consistency
  • Do more cross training
  • Do more trail running!
  • Run ultra-relay with friends (All ready registered for WV Ragnar Trail in June 2015!)
  • Be less competitive with my running, and enjoy it more
  • Enjoy life more
  • Remember to take my vitamins!
  • Drink more water.
  • Stay injury free!!

Anti-Resolutions:

  • Continue to eat too much frozen pizza (What can I say, I’m hooked on Dijornos!)
  • Continue to consume chocolate and red wine. Also, continue to talk about how much I like chocolate and red wine!
  • Do not go into work early (I have a flex schedule and I like my sleep!)
  • Continue check various social media sites daily (Facebook/Pintrest/Wordpress!)
  • I will not stop day dreaming in the middle of conversations (Sorry, ADHD is a real thing!)
  • I will not clean out my purse, but instead wait until one purse gets to0 cluttered, move my wallet into another purse, and throw cluttered purse at the bottom of my closet (Only to wait for my annual clean all of my purses out day!)
  • I will continue to cave to running peer pressure to do various silly/fun races.
  • I will not sort my socks, ever. Instead continue to throw them all into one giant clean sock basket.

new hope

Do you have any new year’s resolutions or “anti-resolutions”? 😉 Happy New Year everyone!!

 

 

 

One more mile!

Hey there! What are you up to this morning? Me? Oh, nothing much…I just ran 1 mile! With no pain! *fingers crossed* And it felt am-az-ing!!!

image

Sorry for being a cheesball, I’m just so excited to start running again. It makes me feel like I’m finally on the road to recovery! I was like a kid on Christmas morning…waking up at 3:30am…a full hour and a half before my alarm clock.  I laid in bed and tried to get my last 90 minutes of sleep (I’m a girl who loves her sleep) but no such luck. Then when my alarm went off at 5…I had butterflies and laid in bed for 15 more minutes reading blogs and checking fb statuses (aka procrastinating!!) before dragging myself out of bed. I did 20 minutes on stair mill to warm up, then hopped on the treadmill. I started off really, super, snail pace slow and stuck at that pace for about .25 miles before realizing my foot felt just fine, and I was babying my foot a little more than necessary….So I speed up to regular snail pace slow! 😉 It took me almost 11 minutes to run 1 mile, if I don’t have any pain tomorrow I’ll speed it up a bit when I run a mile wed. I finished off my workout with 20 mins on the elliptical and some stretching.

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I don’t usually try to bore people with daily workout blogs but super excited about my first post injury run…as short and slow as it may have been! At least I’m running again and I’m going to be patient and show discipline in sticking to my recovery plan and training smarter. Just in time for the new year!!

Have you ever had a running injury?  How did your first post-injury run feel?  were you excited? Nervous?  How did you find balance between not babying an injury too much and not pushing to hard/avoiding reinjury?