The Friday 5 – 9th Edition

It’s Friday! Here are five things I’ve been thinking/doing:

1. It’s not very warm out yet, and I love it! Okay, I whined about it being cold and rainy on Wednesday, but once I got outside, I remembered that 48F is actually a pretty perfect running temperature. It didn’t take long for me to have some sense knocked in to me. I am now appreciating every sub 60F day, because I know I’ll long for them in a few months.

Good Weather

This is good. I don’t care if it’s almost June.

2. I’ve been doing short runs lately.  My legs are feeling much better now than at the beginning of the month, but I’m still keeping most of my runs fairly short (between 2 and 4 miles). Yesterday, I ran with Jeff for 25 minutes. It’s nice to get a run in and still have lots of free time. 

3. Yesterday’s post got a lot (for me) of responses. I liked reading all the how I started running stories people commented with! I’m glad I posted about how I started running; I always thought it was kind of boring (still do, actually), but it resulted in some fun comments, so it was a good choice!

4. I love to Juggle.  After mentioning joggling last week, I’ve been juggling more often. In fact, I decided last Friday to start a little knitting project. Over the course of a week, I have now knit 6 juggling balls. I love them! I still have no plans/desire to joggle, but I’ve started juggling on a regular basis.

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Aren’t they awesome? And they’re filled with beans!

5. I got my fitbit! It finally arrived, and works! Woohoo! Now I’m back to tracking my steps. I’m working my way up to 10,000 steps per day. I started with a goal of 1,000 steps in a day (easy), then I moved on to 2,000 steps for two days in a row; then 3,000 steps for 3 days in a row, etc. These early ones aren’t hard, but I like to have a system.  When I get up to 10,000 steps per day for a week straight, I’m giving myself a reward. 

Have a great weekend! 

Any interesting plans? How do you feel about cool temps when it should be warm? Do you juggle? Do you reward yourself for exercising?

Throwback Thursday – Starting to Run

Before I jump back in time for Throwback Thursday, let’s talk about yesterday’s run. I did my first level 2 key workout: a ladder run (I think that’s what it’s called). I did this same run a couple weeks ago, but I’m having to repeat level 2 because I didn’t finish it before I took a week off.

This time around wasn’t exactly easy, but my legs felt better than the first time I did it. I really feel like the run went pretty well, except I’m having a hard time getting too excited about it because I stopped and sat down to rest on a bench for a couple minutes at about the halfway point. Ha! I think this is the first time I’ve ever sat down on a run. But I needed a little break, and the bench was there, so…haha.  I think the problem was that I ran too soon after dinner.

Anyways, the little break made my full stomach feel better and I continued on with the workout. Is there something wrong with me that I feel so happy/good about a workout that should probably be considered a failure because I SAT DOWN during it?

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Sitting breaks are a good time to take pictures. This is the Beverly Commons. It’s not much, but it’s a nice little gravel path for a change.

The details

  • Warm-up
  • Brisk Run: 3 min, Jog: 1 min
  • Brisk Run: 5 min, Jog: 2 min
  • Brisk Run: 8 min, Jog: 3 min
  • Brisk Run: 5 min, Jog: 2 min
  • Brisk Run 3 min, Jog 1 min

Total: 3.68 miles, (9:45/mile)

 

 

 

 

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Now, onward into the past….

Last week I jumped on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon, and I wrote about my first experiences with running that I encountered during my time on the soccer team in high school. All the running during soccer didn’t make me a runner, though. I hated running then, and once high school was over and soccer was over, I didn’t keep running. So this week’s post is about when and how I started running.

Up until college, I never exercised just to exercise. I played outside as a kid, I was on sports teams, and my family went on the occasional bike ride or walk, but outside of team practices I didn’t have a regular exercise routine and I never went to a gym or exercised with the purpose of staying healthy or losing weight. That was never on my radar. In fact, until college I didn’t realize that people actually went to gyms. I kind of thought that that was just something that happened on TV (the episode of Full House when DJ stops eating and starts exercising too much was pretty much the only exposure I had to a gym while growing up).

So, I went off to college, and my main exercise became walking to/from classes and meals. I played a few sessions of intramural sports (soccer and broomball), and tried out some club teams for a few practices before quitting (rugby – ha!, and indoor track – ha ha!), and I also went to the gym a few times to see what it was all about. But nothing stuck, so mostly I was inactive.  And that was mostly okay with me.

Until midway through senior year, when I realized I had gained weight, and I never exercised, and I decided that maybe that should change.

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December 2005, going in to the last two terms of senior year.

So, slowly, I started to exercise. My weapon of choice was the elliptical. I would listen to music and read while working out, and it wasn’t really all that bad. A little boring, and I wasn’t very consistent, but it was a start. When winter term ended and spring began, I had more free time. I went to the gym more regularly, and I noticed a girl that would come in and run on the treadmill for an entire 45 minutes.  This was astonishing. Amazing! How could someone run for so long? For some reason, this made me want to run, too. I figured if she could run for 45 minutes, I could run for 10 min. And one day, when no one else was in the gym, I hopped on the treadmill at the end of my workout and tried to run for 10 minutes.

I’m not sure whether I made it through a whole 10 minutes that first time.  It was not easy, and it was not fun. But whatever it was, it made me want to be better. Being so bad at running made me want to get better at it. There was no reason I couldn’t run for 45 minutes if that other girl could. After all, I used to run all the time for soccer.

For a long time, I still mainly exercised on the elliptical and the arc trainer, but I also tried to run for a little bit every time I went to the gym. Eventually, 10 minutes of running wasn’t so awful, and I added a 1 mile run to the end of my workouts. I wasn’t quite a runner yet, I wasn’t hooked like I am now, but it was a start.

How did you start running? Was it hard? What made you stick with it?

Catching Up & My 1st Trail Run

I took another week off of running (the first was immediately following the half marathon), and last Friday was my first day back. I hadn’t necessarily intended to take the week off, but it happened. Turns out it was a good thing. My legs never really seemed to bounce back after the half, specifically my hamstring has been acting up. But after this additional week off, I’ve got some spring back in my step. The last three runs I’ve done, my hamstring has felt perfectly fine. Hooray! I don’t know if I’m completely back to normal, but I’m going to keep up with my strength exercises and stretching and hope for the best.

Friday and yesterday were both easy two mile runs. Short, sweet, and not much to talk about. Sunday on the other hand, was longer and much more interesting. Because it was my first ever trail run!

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A couple of weeks ago I got it in to my head that I might want to try an easy trail run. I brought it up to Jeff, and as it turns out, he was interested in trying a trail run as well. I found a nearby trail and we picked a day and headed out on an adventure.

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Let me present: Willowdale State Forest!

Our plan was to run for 30 minutes and then find a place to eat a delicious picnic brunch of fruit and bagels. Things didn’t exactly go according to plan. This was our first time at this forest, and it was not marked nearly as well as the one we snowshoed this past winter. That one has paper maps available at the trailhead and is very well marked throughout. This one, not so much. And there were lots of forks and turns.

Can see where this is going?

At some point in our adventure, we got turned around, and at the 30 minute mark when we checked our location on the GPS, we found ourselves at the entire other end of the forest. Oops!

So we headed back in, and checked our direction at each fork, heading back towards the car and our delicious bagels. We didn’t know exactly which way we had come, and were not heading back on the same path, and after another 30 minutes we were still not back at the car.

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Surely this path leads out of the forest?

You’d think that doubling our running time would be a problem, but as it turned out, we both felt great! The weather was cool and overcast, and the softer surface of the trail seemed to go a long way in keeping our legs fresh. While it was starting to feel like we were perhaps never going to get out of the forest, it was still a beautiful and fun adventure.

There were several points along the way where we were close to the road and/or people’s houses, and not too long after hitting the hour mark we decided to take advantage of being close to an exit and we left the forest to finish our run on the road. I’m sure we could have made it back on the trails, but who knows how long that would have taken.

When we finally reached the car, we’d been gone for an hour and forty minutes, and what I estimate as approximately 8 miles of running. We were both shocked and pleased with how well we did over such a distance considering how our legs have been feeling.

Even though we got mixed up (I wouldn’t exactly say lost since we didn’t really have a plan), I had a great time and can’t wait to go trail running again.  Maybe next time we’ll try the better marked trail where we snowshoed this past winter.

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I’m sure it will look totally different without the snow.

Before this weekend, I’ve really not had much of a desire to run trails. I don’t really like nature very much, (bugs, animals, poison ivy, etc.), and I’ve been afraid of tripping and of getting lost. While I can’t say that none of these things was a problem, they weren’t really as bad as I thought in my mind.

This forest has a fire access road which is where we ran for the most part.  This was wide enough to be able to run side by side, and the trees and plants were not right on top of us. This kept nature far enough away from me that I could relax and enjoy myself.  Also, because the trees were further away from us, tree roots weren’t really a problem. While it was more tricky than running on a path or road, and I kept my eyes down for a lot of the run, I didn’t fall and I didn’t feel unsteady for most of the run.

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See, plenty of space between me and nature.

However, while trying to get out of the forest we ran into some paths that were single track, and these parts were not fun for me. I felt too close to the trees, there were tons of roots, and for some reason it was also hillier in these areas. I will definitely avoid single track trails when I have the option in the future. It’s just not for me.

As far as bugs and other animals, we didn’t really have much of a problem.  The bugs weren’t an issue except when we stopped to check the GPS. If we were moving, they weren’t really noticeable. The only other animal we ran into was a frog, and it startled me quite a bit. I thought I was about to put my foot down on a leaf when it hopped and I realized it was actually not a leaf at all! I yelped, and then obsessively checked for frogs the entire rest of the run.

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I bet there are millions of frogs living in that little pond. Just waiting to hop out and croak at me.

The last thing I want to note about the trail is that apparently people horseback ride here.  We didn’t see any actual horses, but there was a fair amount of horse poo on the trail. While some people might find this gross, we found it hilarious. It was supremely entertaining to holler out “poop”, “watch out for poop”, and “poop on your left” every so often. I laughed every time. In the grand scheme of things, the frog was way more disturbing to me than the horse poo.

All in all, I really enjoyed the trail running, and I think my legs really loved a break from the roads. I look forward to my next chance to give it a try, and I think it will only be better when I know what to expect.

 

#100HappyDays – Days 64 – 70

Another week on the happy days challenge:

Day 64: Fancy Cupcakes There are perks to living down the street from the cupcake cafe. 

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Day 65: Planning for my next knitting project What do I want my knit blanket to look like?

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Day 66: I’m an Aunt (x2) My sister had her baby. Now I have two little nieces.

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Day 67: Working on my board game Some day I might be finished with this one. 

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Day 68: Nice day for a walk I like taking walks.

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Day 69: Amy’s Mac ‘n Cheese This frozen mac ‘n cheese is so good. Better than what you can get in some restaurants.

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Day 70: Finished a knitting project. It’s a little big, but I’m ready for winter (just a tad early).

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 I forgot to post to twitter once/maybe twice this week, and I also forgot to tag happy days challenge once. You’d think I’d have this routine down by day 70, but apparently not.

 

 

The Friday 5 – 8th Edition

I hope you’re having a lovely Friday! Here are five things:

1. This weekend is Memorial Day weekend I have a plan to count all the flags I see on my run on Monday. Then (if I remember) I’ll do the same on July 4th and report back as to which is the flaggiest holiday.  I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time now.  2014-04-18 17.24.51 2. I’m going to try trail running this weekend. Or if it’s too hard, maybe it’ll be mostly a walk. I’m nervous about tripping, and also about bugs, ticks, poison ivy, etc. Why am I do this again? Nature, ick!

3. My fitbit is coming tomorrow! Remember on Tuesday when I complained that fitbit was out of stock in my color and I had to wait. I guess they were wrong because the very next day it shipped! According to tracking on the USPS site, it should get here on Saturday. Hooray!

4. I’d like to knit a blanket for our bed. I have to find a pattern I REALLY like though, because it turns out I will need an extremely large amount of yarn to do this. And, yarn is NOT cheap. 

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It took months to knit this baby blanket – about 1/9 the size I’d need for my bed. It may take a decade to knit something for my bed.

5. Have you ever seen a Joggler? I learned to juggle a long time before I was a runner, and was intrigued by joggling (running while juggling) as soon as I heard what it was. It’s never something I’ve wanted to do myself (cue visions of dropping a ball and breaking an ankle as I trip on it), but just thinking about it makes me smile. I saw a joggler once in a 5k and I was ecstatic… a real life joggler! The record for women’s 5k joggling (3 balls) is held by Trish Evans – 21:46. This is 4 minutes faster than my current 5k PR sans juggling.   

I hope you enjoy your long weekend, and if you decide to run on Monday, let me know how many flags you see! 

Throwback Thursday – Running Edition: Soccer and Running

I’ve been seeing Throwback Thursday (aka #TBT) stuff all over the internet lately. Looking at people’s old pictures is usually good for a laugh, but I haven’t jumped on board and participated at all.

Until Now!

But, instead of posting pictures from when I looked like boy and/or was shaped like a rectangle, I’m going to tell some stories and recap some races from my pre-blog running days. (Of course, I’ll add some pictures when I can).

My first real experience with running was when I played soccer in high school.  We ran a lot. And I hated it. My coach (for the first two years) was also the school’s track coach, so I always assumed we ran so much because of that. However, after he left, we did not run any less so it’s possible we just ran so much because it made us better at soccer.

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Brian Andreas’ take on soccer. He couldn’t be more right.

The kind of running we did on the soccer team was different than the kind of running I do now. We’d show up at practice and stretch and then run as a team for 1 to 2 miles (at least this is an approximation of what I think we did, but it was something like 15 years ago, and we never measured it). We ran as a team, and occassionally we’d sing songs to help the time pass. We ran in our cleats, and mostly ran on the grass, but also on sidewalks. I always liked the sound 20+ pairs of cleats made when running on concrete (although, I know it wasn’t good for our shoes, and probably not our legs either).

Aside from the running at the beginning of practice, we sometimes did running drills during practice too. These were mostly sprint drills. We ran suicides and some type of intervals, and I even remember running up and down the field carrying another player piggyback. (Was my coach just doing this for a laugh?)

We also did a lot of laps around the field. On days before games, we ran less at the beginning of practice and maybe just did a couple laps. We were threatened with laps if someone was late. The rule was that the entire team had to run one lap for every minute the person was late. The late person watched. (I only remember this happening once, and we ran something like 38 laps around the field, and the girl who was late cried – she definitely felt worse than we did.)

In between all this running, we also played soccer. I don’t remember a lot of the specific drills we did as much as I remember all the running, because I never felt as strongly about the soccer part of soccer practice as I did about the running part. The soccer part was fun, the running part was torture.

But it DID make us a better team. Even then I realized it. I always thought we were a fast team, that we could outrun the other team. And I was proud that we had the best off-sides trap in the league – may or may not be related to the running. (Any Mounties out there reading this? Don’t you agree?)

And now for that TBT picture you’ve all been eagerly awaiting:

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This is a picture of a picture out of my yearbook. Can you find me? Middle row, 3rd from the right. When searching for it, I found something else that I completely forgot. I used to sign my own yearbook/write myself a note every year. I’m embarrassed for myself.

Go Thunder!!!

Running and things…

I don’t want to write an organized blog post, so let’s just go with a list.  Nah, bullet points. –

* The Runner’s World Summer Run Streak is starting up next week. I still really want to do it even though I know it’s not a good idea.  This is how I will fix that: I will do a summer stretching streak…in lieu of running at least 1 mile every day from memorial day until July 4th, I will stretch every one of those days. Huzzah! I’ve solved it. Stay tuned for my progress…also, feel free to check up on me, stretching everyday is not as easy for me as running every day.

* Talking about a stretching streak has made me want to do other types of streaks too. Like a cleaning/decluttering streak, and a knitting streak, a blog streak, and a board game streak. I tend to go overboard.

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I knocked off the Runner’s World image with my crazy awesome paint skillz

* My sister had a BABY yesterday.  A little girl. I’m so excited to see them all in a couple weeks when I make the trip back to my hometown. Do you know what this means? Another potential family member to run turkey trots with (I know, I’m getting ahead of myself). What age is appropriate to buy a baby her first pair of running shoes? It’s older than two weeks, isn’t it?

* I haven’t run since last Thursday. It feels like FOREVER. Isn’t that funny? I mean it’s only been 5 days, but it still feels like a very long time.

* I “have” a fitbit flex. I mentioned it’s brokenness in another post a while ago. I downloaded a software update and it went bonkers. I contacted support and found out they couldn’t fix it. They had FedEx send me a shipping label. Eventually, after me asking multiple times, they explained that I should send parts of it back. Eventually, I did that. It was a ground label and took an entire week to get there. Finally yesterday (it’s been over a month since this started – thanks to their and my slowness), I got word that they will ship me a new one. Hurray! But wait, the color I currently have is out of stock. So, I get to wait until they get them in. Then I can wait another 5 to 9 days for it to get to me. I contacted them to see if I could get another color, but no response.  The color doesn’t matter. I didn’t have to send the strap back to them, I already HAVE the strap in the color that I’m waiting for them to get so they can send it.  Come on FITBIT! Don’t you know I have a problem with lack of patience?

* I want/need to run a five mile race. I haven’t run one in a long time. And I know I could PR easily.

* I save all of my race bibs. I didn’t do this on purpose from the start; one day I noticed that I had saved all my bibs, so I started doing it on purpose. Last Christmas my sister gave me a BibFolio to hold all my race bibs. I decided to use it for bibs from my PR races (I already have a binder full of bibs, and the BibFolio is not big enough to hold all the bibs I anticipate accumulating over my life time). I like it a lot.

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Bib’s on disply

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My 6.66 mile race PR. The Devil’s Chase is such a fun race. 🙂

 

* It turns out I didn’t actually save EVERY bib, and I’m missing the bib from my current 5 mile PR. So, now the BibFolio is missing a distance. See, I need to find a five mile race and set a PR. Until I do, my poor BibFolio will feel incomplete.

* I made a board game once, and it was really fun. For a few years, on and off, I’ve wanted to make another board game – a Harry Potter themed one. I’ve started working on the game, but haven’t really followed through. I recently got the idea to make some kind of running board game. But first, I must dust off and finish the Harry Potter one.

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Pieces of my HP board game board. Yes, this is a very involved board game. #GoBigOrGoHome #YOLO #BestBoardGameEver #HP4LIFE

* I’ve been taking Epsom salt baths. Well, I’ve taken 3 over the course of 4 or 5 weeks. I’m not sure exactly if they’re helping with leg soreness or whatever else they do, but it is relaxing. So, I’m going to keep it up. It’s certainly more enjoyable than an ice bath, that’s for sure!

Well, I’ve reached the end of my bullet points, thanks for hanging in there. Until next time…