Who am I?

Who am I?
A runner....or Herky the Hawk?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 2 Review: Hills = Tight Calves

I'm happy to say that the mileage in the second week was more bearable than the first week. I was able to complete the 4 mile and 5 mile runs, which felt awesome. I contribute the completion of the 5 mile run to the fact that I had my friend, Michelle, running next to me. Thanks Michelle!

As for the 3 mile run on Saturday...I was in Templeton, IA for a family reunion, but I didn't use it as an excuse not to run. Instead, I traced a route on http://www.logyourrun.com/ and set out for my 3 miles. I quickly learned how important it is to scope out your route prior to your run. After about a half mile, I came to a steep hill. Okay, not fun, but just do it and then keep going. Well, it wasn't the only hill...it was one of 3 steep hills. And I had to turn around and run those hills again to get back. Not fun. My calves were on fire and eventually my right food went numb. But I finished it, and I guess it's always good to change up your routine a little bit.

This week is going to be tough. I have 3 miles today, 5 on Thursday, 3 on Saturday, and 6 on Sunday. I recently started a second job and have to work on Thursday evening, so we'll see if I can find a way to get my run in. A friend of mine said that some mileage is better than none, so I think I'm just going to get in as much as I can in the little time I have. 

Here we go week 3!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 1 Review: New Obstacles

I finished my first week of the Runner's World Training Program yesterday and I'll be honest, I struggled yesterday. I ran 3 miles on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and attempted to run 5 miles yesterday. I don't know if it's my shoes or just my feet trying to get used to the increase in mileage, but after 3.5 miles yesterday, I had to go back and forth between walking and running because I now have blisters on the inside of my feet. And then there was the sweat that would drip in my eyes. If you have contacts, you know that if something comes between your eyeball and your contact, it hurts like hell. I could barely keep my eyes open, which forced me to walk at times. And then there was the lack of hydration. I'm really struggling with this, as I get tired of water very quickly. Unless I'm thirsty, I have to force myself to drink it. I'm trying to drink more water, but clearly I'm still not drinking enough.

So yeah, my excitement for my training has weakened a little, but I'm still determined to follow it as best I can. I wanted to quit and walk back home when I had a chance...but I continued on because no matter what, I was going to get my 5 miles in. I walked some of it, but I still did the whole 5 miles. I increase to 4 miles on Saturday, I think. I'm trying to stay positive, but it's tough when I'm struggling to complete 5 mile runs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Let the training begin!

I was looking through my stack of magazines that I have yet to read, and I found last month's edition of "Runner's World". The edition is focused on the Half-Marathon, and specifically targets those who are training for their first. Well, that's me....so I am starting their training program this week. It looks like this: Rest Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Run 3 miles EZ on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and Run 5 miles LSD (whatever that means) on Sunday. My mileage has decreased a little with the heat, but I'm determined to follow the plan...even if it means walking to finish the mileage. We're still under an Excessive Heat Warning, so I will be hopping on the treadmill today. Anyone else training for a race? How's the training going?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Running in the Heat

After looking at the 7 day forecast for Des Moines, it appears that we won't get relief from the excessive heat and humidity anytime soon. Unfortunately, I used the heat as an excuse to avoid my training runs. If you're like me, you've had in your mind that it's going to cool down soon, and it's too dangerous to run outside right now, so it's better to just wait it out. And it's hard to go back to the treadmill once you're used to running outside. It's just not the same.

I ran outside on Tuesday, and felt fine after one lap around the Aviva lot, so decided to go for a second and make it a longer run. Bad decision. Half-way through the second lap, I was soaked in sweat and I could feel the heat radiating out every inch of my body. It was like running in porridge. This is a guess, as I've never actually had porridge. Does it actually exist outside of storybooks? Anyways, I'm pretty sure I could have walked faster than I was running at that point, but continued running because I just wanted to get back to the air-conditioned building ASAP and lay my head in the drinking fountain. To make a long story short. I should have been smart and not pushed it, because by the end, I had the urge to throw up and the chills, and I didn't feel better until later that night.

Back to my original point that the heat and humidity aren't going anywhere. It's time to stop excusing ourselves from training, whether it be for a 5K, half marathon, or a mile, and time to reacquaint ourselves with the trusty old treadmill. Yes, it's boring and you don't get the same feeling when you finish, but you're still excercising. And it's air conditioned and safer, and in the end, our ultimate goal is our health, right? My recommendation is to try and mix it up a little bit with intervals and try out a new playlist on your iPod. It should make the time go by quicker. And don't forget to increase your incline to at least 1%. Doing so will prevent shin splints, give you more of a workout with little noticeable strain, and it boosts your booty :o)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bring on the Half...

I'd like to start this post by saying that I apologize for the lack of posts lately. With my brother getting married (congrats Adam and Krisie!) and my new role at work, I haven't been able to focus on the blog, or my running for that matter, as much as I'd like. And to be honest with you, I didn't think anyone would notice my absence. BUT to my pleasant surprise, I've learned that I do have a few people out there who actually read this, and a couple of you have even used the word "inspiring" when you ask me about it. And hey, being a positive inspiration, even if just a small one, is a great accomplishment in my book.

As you know, I intended on using this blog as a tool to motivate myself to train for the Des Moines Half Marathon in October. Throughout the past couple months, I have had serious doubts about whether or not I can complete the Half...but last week, I woke up one morning and decided that I'm ready. I'm ready to set the sights of my mind, body, and spirit on it, and ready to take training seriously.

As I commit myself to the Half, I ask that you put some thought into challenging yourself and perhaps, commit yourself to a fitness goal. It can be whatever you want...it's your goal after all, but I'd love for you to share it with me so I can help you get there as you're helping me reach mine. It's easier to get through the hard times and more fun to celebrate the good times when you have someone beside you :o)

And here we go....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why I run

In no particular order...

1.) Stress relief: It gives me a chance to have a mental conversation with myself without interruption. And I feel as though I am sweating the stress out of my body.

2.) Music: I love music. L-O-V-E. My body responds to it as it provokes specific emotions. Depending on how I feel, I choose a genre and ride the wave of emotions, be it happy or frustrated, which takes the focus away from my aching legs or lungs.

3.) Cardiovascular Health: Who wants to be the gal that gets winded playing with her kids? Not this girl.

4.) Speed: Because you never know when you'll need it...but at some point, you will.

5.) A Toned Body: Well, that's the goal anyways :)

6.) The Feeling Afterwards: It's a feeling of accomplishment that you can't ignore.

So tell me, why do you run?

Monday, June 13, 2011


I did it!

I ran 7 miles yesterday (in 1:16:38)! And I didn't die!

In fact, I even enjoyed myself!

The common theme of the advice that I'd received from my runner friends was to pace myself. I'm still not very good at it, so I started out slow knowing that I had a long ways to go. I felt great the first 3 miles, with the exception of some pain in my left ankle, I must have tweaked it early on. After 3 miles, it's as though I could hear my body say 'Wait a minute, it's time to stop...where are you going?'. It was used to running 5Ks. It protested, but I was able to quiet it down and made my first goal: To make it to the 4 mile mark without stopping to run. This would be a personal record for me, as I had only made it 3.5 miles before stopping. Between miles 3 and 4, I passed my brother and sister-on-law's house. It brought me back to when they first bought the house in the spring of 2008. Shortly after signing the papers, the house flooded and and the water was up to the top of their basement stairs. It was definitely not something that a young newlywed couple should have to deal with...and I felt my heart swell with pride as I remembered the cause for this race...to raise money for flood victims of 2008. I was even lucky enough to see Karen at the house as she was letting the dog out. I shouted her name and waved and kept on going.

I made it to mile 4, and set my 2nd goal: 5 miles without stopping to walk.

My left ankle was still sore and my right knee started to hurt, so I did my best to stay on the level part of the road and kept pushing. As I looked ahead of and around me, I saw people standing on their porches, waving or clapping for us. People would stop walking their dog to turn and cheer us on...and even a few drivers would clap as they were waiting for us to cross the street. My heart swelled and I made it to mile 5.

Unfortunately, shortly after passing the 5th mile marker, I had to stop and catch my breath, but after about 150 yards, I was good to go again. And you know what guys and gals....I finished the race without stopping again.

My friend, Michelle, who ran her first Dam to Dam 20K a week ago, told me that she experienced "Runner's High" when she finished...and when I crossed that finish line, so did I! Don't get me wrong, I was glad I was done, but I felt an energy that I hadn't felt in years...since track meets in high school. It was just as awesome as I remembered.

I did something I never thought I could do. And I'm 30! I keep going back to a memory from when I was in high school and my track coach, Lowell, made us run 3 miles to improve endurance (I'm sure there were some other reasons), and he had to pull me the last half mile. Fifteen years later, I still didn't finish the race alone...but this time, I wasn't being pulled.

Thank you, Tony, for encouraging me to push myself and not leaving my side on Saturday. Without you, I wouldn't have found out what I'm capable of.

(Pictures to come)