April 30, 2014

Day by day calendar for runners!

In my Christmas stocking this year was a day by day calendar, published by Runners World Magazine that includes a tip each day for runners. I have never been a fan of these calendars, but thought I would give this one a chance.  One of my siblings put this in my stocking and whoever it was, thank you so much!  We keep stockings a secret and buy a couple things for each other's stockings.  It is fun to see what creative items everyone has found.

Back to the calendar,  January 1st started with a great quote by John Bingham, "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start!"   When we start a new year, we, as runners usually set goals for the year, and this quote helps me remember that if you do not achieve your race day goal, at least you gave it a chance.

My friend Megan, at running toward the prize would have found this very useful this year during the long cold and snowy winter in Michigan while she trained for a spring half, "When running in a winter wonderland, look for snow that's been packed down- it will provide better traction." I remember reading numerous posts when she had to deal with not only snow but ice too! Thankfully the snow and ice is in the rearview mirror for most runners by now.

Did you know that sweet potatoes contain more potassium than a banana?  I did not, but am quite thankful that they are a popular side dish in my household in many forms, including baked, on the grill, and as fries.

Each time you have run a mile, you have burned approximately 100 calories.  You can think of a 10k as being the equivalent of two slices of pizza as your treat afterwards!  Most of us, or at least I feel that after certain distances of running, I have earned the license to eat anything and everything in the house.  It is important that we refuel with the appropriate foods as well as calories.  It is very common for less experienced runners to gain weight during half marathon and marathon training.

"I often hear someone say, 'I'm not a real runner.' We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner."  Bart Yasso made this statement and it is one of my favorite running quotes.  We all have our gifts and just because you may not run faster than your friend, does not make you any less of an athlete/runner. Enjoy running for the many great benefits it brings to your life.

Do you have any special quotes about running to share?

April 29, 2014

Girls just wanna have fun!

A ladies only trip to the Diva Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach exceeded all my expectations! We took two large SUV's and filled them with 6 ladies for the ride to the race expo. We had a total of nine racing, but two were arriving on race day and one drove herself and met us for expo fun. The expo was located at a community center with several rooms used for the vendors and packet pickup. The place was literally a sea of pink with loads of items for purchase! We were all so excited to get our race packets, shirts and then shop.

It took less than five minutes to get our race packets.  Putting our names on the bibs was a nice touch and the string bags and race shirts are pretty in pink but also things I will use.  More often than not, my race shirts sit on a shelf in my closet, but this one fits well and is a ladies cut. This race has a registration fee of $90 and they do not disappoint with the quality of the items and the race itself. (more on that in my race recap).

Mitzie really wanted to buy a skirt for race day, so when we found the Sparkle Skirts booth, she was in shopping heaven.  Leah had quite a small booth compared to the runDisney race expos, but this made the choices a little easier to make! Unable to choose just one, Mitzie bought a Dress Me Up Ebony and Diva Pink, two lovely choices! Kelli also purchased a skirt and surprise, it was also pink! 

Leah was adjusting the ribbon on Ebony!

Next up was a visit to Team Sparkle.  The lovely Elise was working the booth since Carrie and Kelly had just run Boston earlier in the week. I had planned to buy a visor to wear during the race, but unfortunately, the one size fits all did not fit my big head!  Instead, I saw this burn out tank top with "Respect the skirt" logo and that was my one expo purchase! It will be great for those runs on hot summer days in North Carolina!
Sparkly silver lettering is hard to photograph!
After a few other small purchases such as running belts, socks and Body Glide, we were ready to check out the photo booth.  It was fun to try out the tiaras and boas prior to race day!
Lauren, Mitzie, Kelli, yours truly, Roxanne, Holly and Lisa
I guess we should not have shown our race bibs, you never know who might want to forge one and be your evil twin on race day!

We checked into the condo and immediately Mitzie put the boom box into service and I thought I was in the middle of a sorority hazing ritual.  My dance moves are not up to normal standards, so I just watched Mitzie get her groove on! 

After organizing the condo and relaxing a bit, we headed to dinner at Joe's, a local restaurant. We had delicious dinners, lively conversation, sans adult beverages!  As we walked out of Joe's I realized I had forgotten to pack a throwaway shirt.  It was chilly and we would have a longish wait in the morning before the race start.  We walked to one of the tackiest local tourist shops and bought these lovely 80's style sweatshirts.
Sami, Holly and Kelli loved modeling their new purchases!

Aren't they good looking?  We intended to pitch them on the roadside, but since Sami was not racing, she took them and put them on top of the car while we raced.  Three hours later, we returned to find them exactly where she left them!  That should be no surprise because who would be caught dead in these shirts other than at a costume party!

We got organized for race morning and soon enough we were turning off the lights and going to bed.  It had been such a fun day and we were all really excited about race day!

April 28, 2014

Volunteering at Cherry Blossom 10 miler

I fully intended to get this info posted earlier, but that clearly didn't happen!  Cherry Blossom is one of those races that everyone talks about.  It's a bucket list race for most.  After seeing that so many of my running buddies were heading to DC for the race, I started thinking about volunteering.  Once I confirmed that my friends were willing to house Paddy and I, I went back to the volunteer sign-up online to pick my position.  Since it was last minute, there weren't great selections.  I settled on an awards ceremony position with a 6:30-11:00 time.  

On Sunday morning, I woke up bright and early to head out.  It was much cooler than I anticipated so I borrowed a pair of tights from my friend Jamie and layered up.  Before I added my volunteer shirt that I would receive upon arrival, I had on 3 layers.  The early Sunday morning wasn't so bad since my friend James was headed to the airport and he dropped me off at the Roslyn metro on his way.  The metro was totally deserted which was a little unnerving but soon enough, I was headed in town with no issues.  I got off the metro at Smithsonian and had a magnificent sight!
Metro selfie - duh!
Good morning, DC
I headed to the race area to figure out where to check in as a volunteer.  I kept re-reading the instructions but it wasn't easy to find the right tent.  I stopped in at a few other volunteer stations to check where I was supposed to be and eventually found it.  And along the way, I got a nice view of the start and finish line.

I found the stage and my volunteer coordinator.  Immediately, I was a little surprised by the interaction because the coordinator seemed annoyed with all of us.  There were a few other volunteers there and we were asked to start hanging signs on the stage, which seemed simple enough.  Apparently that was a wrong assumption because we had to redo the sign placement a few times so the coordinator was satisfied.  Mind you, they didn't have any supplies to hang the signs so we had to hunt those down.  Luckily in the midst of all this, I got to see a few buddies.  And in typical style for DC pre-race, Danielle was clothed in a trash bag.  She sure is classy! 

Once we hung the signs, we were supposed to be "security" for the stage to make sure no one stole any of the awards.  Note that the awards weren't even out - they were in a box under a table on the stage.  From about 7 until 10, we had nothing to do.  Seriously.  We just milled around the stage and chatted with each other.  Luckily there was a huge screen that was live streaming the finish so we got to watch the elites finish.  But otherwise, it was really boring.
My view for the morning!
Around 9:00 or so, I started seeing friends that finished the race which was fun!  I got to see Danielle with Dan and Pat, and Cyanne and her friend, and I finally met Becca and Kathryn.  I also got to formally introduce myself to Kathryn's husband, Preston.  Funny story - when Mom and I finished the WDW marathon, we asked someone to take our photo in Race Retreat.  It turned out to be Preston!  I put two and two together after Kathryn commented that she thought he was the one who snapped the photo.  It's a small (runDisney) world.   
Me, Cyanne and Kathryn
After I saw all of my buddies, my volunteer gig was getting underway!  At long last, they were giving away raffle prizes and the race awards.  Seeing all of the elites was really cool.  The Kenyan ambassador was there and was clearly very proud of her athletes.  Sara Hall, aka Ryan Hall's wife, was also there and represented the U.S. women well!
Top 10 Elite Women - Sarah Hall is 4th from left
Top 10 Elite Men
Overall, I'm glad I volunteered.  I was more than happy to donate a few hours to helping the race run seamlessly.  I found it frustrating that there wasn't much for us to do and our coordinator wasn't terribly nice to us.  And after hearing friends say the overall race experience wasn't that great, I'm questioning if I'll even use my guaranteed entry next year.  I know that if I do, I won't have expectations for a PR since it appears to be a crowded race.  

Did you run Cherry Blossom this year?  How was your experience?

April 27, 2014

Weekly Roundup - April 27th

This has probably been one of my lightest workout weeks.  I would be lying if I didn't disclose that it was a really chaotic, exhausting week largely due to some things going on at the office.  My workouts really suffered.  But on the flip side, my legs are FINALLY starting to come back!  I've found some speed again which is really exciting! I'm actually looking forward to my long run today.

It's been perfect weather in VA this weekend and I've gotten to take advantage - planting flowers, long walks with Paddy, dinner on the deck…I love getting outside after this crummy winter!  I even got to spend Thursday afternoon volunteering at a charity golf tournament.  It was a great time and they raised tons of money!
It was a rough day on the golf course!

Sunday, April 20th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Rest day

Monday, April 21st
Pam: 30 minutes stationary bike, 2 minute plank, weights
Christine: 5 mile progression run, starting at 8:55 and ending at 8:12 pace

Tuesday, April 22nd
Pam: ran 4 miles, average pace 8:58
Christine: Rest day

Wednesday, April 23rd
Pam: 20 minutes stationary bike, weights, plank 2 minutes
Christine: Rest day

Thursday, April 24th
Pam: WOL track practice total 3.25 miles 6 X 400, 4 X 200 with warm up and cool down
Christine: 35 min stationary bike, lunges, squats, core work

Friday, April 25th
Pam: rest day
Christine: 4.4 miles at 8:40 avg pace

Saturday, April 26th
Pam: 2 miles with pickups
Christine: 1 hour yard work, long walk with Paddy

How are you taking advantage of your spring weather (finally)??

April 25, 2014

My Shrine

Put your hand up if you have a "shrine" in your home, apartment, place of abode!  If you have been running for a while, you will have multiple medals, perhaps a few age group awards and maybe a plaque or two.  While Christine visited during the Easter weekend, she commented that she was going to redo my shrine.  Yup, that's what she called it.  I have a bookshelf over my desk that houses races photos, a special tennis trophy and other souvenirs from races.
Before the transformation
The next step was finding photo frames and places for all my goodies!  Everyone has race memorabilia, but what do you want to have on display?  I chose special race photos, the runDisney race buttons, and a few other items like my Mickey Vinylmation and some age group awards.
My favorite age group awards!

And my medals went from this:

To this:

Now I have all my race medals in one place!

And here is the result of my shrine makeover!

Thanks Christine for making my desk less of a mess and for rearranging everything so well.  I love the new look and especially my new monogrammed frame with one of our Dopey Challenge photos!

Do you have a place where you display your medals and race photos, souvenirs?  Please tell us about it, and better yet, send us a photo at werundisney@gmail.com and we will feature some in a future post!

April 24, 2014

Why Richmond?

After sharing that I'll be running the Richmond marathon later this fall, I figured I would share some details on why I settled on this race.  I spent a lot of time researching races for the fall and settled on three options: Marine Corps for charity, Richmond, or Philly.  I eliminated Marine Corps almost immediately because I've already done that one.  And as much as I adore that race and it will always hold a special place in my heart, I wanted to try something new.  And after traveling for other races this summer, I decided I wanted to stay closer to home.  So what else brought me to Richmond?

1. Fabulous race reviews.  I've heard from numerous runners that this is a fabulous event and worth trying.  I usually don't make decisions solely on reviews but since this isn't one of the "big" marathons, I was really interested in feedback.

2. A hoopla-less event.  After doing some big races and races that require significant advance coordination and travel, I was excited to do something more low key.  You know, the kind of marathon that costs less than $100 and doesn't require a lottery?  Yea, I'm into those these days.

3. It's sort of local for me.  Richmond is about an hour and a half away which means I can go up Saturday and come home after the race…aka doesn't require a plane ticket and multiple nights in a hotel room.  Win!

4. Nice looking course.  It's flat and covers a good bit of the city.  Win-win.

5. It's later in the fall.  The race is mid-November which means that I'll be able to avoid the dead of summer long runs.  I won't be doing my 16-20 mile runs until September which is fantastic!  The very long runs in July and August were really tough as I was training for Marine Corps last year. 

How do you select your marathon races?  Anyone else running Richmond this year?

April 23, 2014

Race pacing a runner

On Sunday morning, Mitzie will be my guinea pig as I attempt to pace her for her debut at the half marathon distance.  It will be a day of firsts, since this will be my first time to pace another runner!  Here are some of the ways I hope to make the Divas Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach a successful race for Mitzie.

*  Start Slow The excitement at the start of a race makes it so easy to get caught up in the moment.  I will have my eye on the Garmin watch to make sure we keep our pace and emotions in check.

*  Keep my runner relaxed  Tell stories and talk about things other than running!  I remember Megan talking to me and keeping me occupied before the start of the marathon last month.  It really helped to have someone diverting my attention away from the race.  She also chattered pretty much non stop during a large portion on the race.  I need to think of some fun stories to keep us entertained during the rough parts of the race.

* Hydration and Fuel  I plan to wear a belt so I can carry gels or whatever fuel source Mitzie might need.  Of course I will need some gels as well!  The course offers numerous water stops and we will devise a plan as to how to navigate those to save as much time as possible.
Necessities to do my job: Garmin, belt and fuel!

*  Smile According to my Runner's World daily calendar, squinting will zap your energy.  So I will be reminding Mitzie that we need to smile and keep our faces relaxed!

*  Negative Split Our goal is to negative split the race and my plan is to start approximately 5-10 seconds slower per mile than race pace for the first two to three miles.  We will have plenty of time in the last few miles to make up that time. We will build each mile after the first 5k and hopefully bring it home strong for the last 5k!

*  Race Day Mantra  During our meeting on Thursday morning, I am going to have Mitzie come up with our race day mantra. Last month, I copied coach Sami (and Christine) and used "Feeling strong and Looking gorgeous!"  I've got a few ideas in my head, but will save those for my meeting.

*Finish Happy We will be collecting a feather boa just before the finish line and then toasting with a glass of bubbly.  Hopefully this will be a great incentive to really go all out the last couple miles!

Now I need your help.  Have you ever paced someone.  Please share any advice you may have!

April 22, 2014

Dear Shalane

Dear Shalane,

Hey girl.  I know you're bummed out you didn't get the olive wreath, but we are SO proud of you.  You stepped over the line and you did it big, girl.  You owned those first 20 miles.  You were fearless. 

As race day approached, I told all my runner gal pals that I was DYING for you to win.  I could sense the fire in your gut to bring it home to Boston.  Everyone knew it.  Everyone could sense your determination and your passion.  We felt it.  You shared that with us and no one doubted your determination for a nanosecond.

I watched as you owned those first 19-20 miles.  I managed to catch bits and pieces of the live feed as I attempted to focus on my work yesterday morning.  I got a little misty eyed when I saw you run through Wellesley, a place that means so much to me.  When I saw the updates that you'd fallen off, my heart sunk.  I kept thinking it was strategy but I knew.  I knew that maybe you had led as far as you could.  And the pack was starting to close.  I bounced around in my chair hoping that there was a second wind in you somewhere, but yesterday wasn't your day.

Please don't think you let us down.  Cause that's just crazy talk and so unbelievably far from reality. You set your own personal record out there yesterday.  Your blonde ponytail led the pack to a new course record.  You are America's sweetheart and we thank you for your determination and spirit out there today.  You are Boston Strong, girlfriend.

Hugs and high fives,

P.S. Meb, you are THE MAN!

April 21, 2014

Best Easter basket ever!

I had a huge surprise yesterday morning when Christine presented me with a gift bag filled with Easter/running treats.  Not only were the items fun and useful, but can you detect a theme?

Polished my nails last night!

Yummy goodies for watching the marathon today!

It was so exciting to find the sign Christine wore on her back during the Shamrock Half Marathon the day I was running the Quintiles Marathon. It will soon be framed and added to my "shrine" above my desk!   I love the Wicked Fast Runnah shirt and the Bahston Runnah sticker will go on my car.....but not until after I complete the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015!

Last of all some reading material to get me psyched up to watch/follow all my teammates and other running friends participating in the marathon today.  My television and computer will be tuned in and turned on for the excitement.

Fun magazines!

Will you be watching the Boston Marathon today?  Have you eaten any Easter candy? I confess to many many many peanut M & M's!

April 20, 2014

Weekly Roundup - April 20th

Happy Easter!  We've had a great week of fun and some good workouts too!  Christine arrived on Thursday in time to celebrate Tom's birthday with lunch out at his favorite burger joint!  We finished out Thursday with a hard track workout with the Without Limits group and then dinner at home.  Our dogs had a blast playing together but little Lulu was quite the brat trying to boss Paddy around throughout the weekend.  Paddy loves it when a mat and foam roller make their appearance as seen below!

Head nuzzle!
Now for the workout recap.  I feel really good about my running and so happy that my first solo run is behind me after the dog bite attack two weeks ago.  Hopefully each time out will make it a little easier. And I realized that I never took a rest day this week, so next week I will have two including today!  Hope everyone has a very Happy Easter spent with family and friends!

Sunday, April 13th
Pam: 8 miles with my group 3 at 8:45 pace with the rest at easy pace
Christine: 8 miles at 9:07 pace plus 3 hours yard work

Monday, April 14th
Pam: 20 minutes elliptical, 15 minutes stationary bike and stretching
Christine: 30 min stationary bike and lots of stretching

Tuesday, April 15th
Pam: 4.2 miles descending, average pace 8:53
Christine: 4 miles running

Wednesday, April 16th
Pam: 30 minutes stationary bike, weights, situps
Christine: Rest day

Thursday, April 17th
Pam: WOL practice 1 mile warm up, 4 X 1 mile repeats with 400 hard in between each mile total 6 miles
Christine: same WOL practice

Friday, April 18th
Pam: 20 minutes, elliptical machine, 20 minutes stationary bike, weights
Christine: 35 minutes elliptical, abs, stretching

Saturday, April 19th
Pam: 6.2 miles at 9:27 pace
Christine: 6.2 miles at 9:27 pace

How was your week?  Anything special happen?

April 18, 2014

Friday Five: Fitness Goals!

The girls from DC, Mar at Mar on the run, Cynthia at You Signed up for what and Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run DC have a Friday link up and this week the topic is fitness goals.  I decided to join the party and take part by establishing what my fitness goals should be for the remainder of 2014!

1. Strengthen my core  My core is the weakest part of my body. My goal is to start strength training with a coach in May, with the hope of this improving not only my running but my overall fitness. Last year I participated in a strength challenge during the month of August and it really helped tone my middle!

2. Run a really strong 10k  My race calendar has been set with big races until April of next year, but I do not have a 10k on the schedule.  My time is not that great and I really want to have a PR in that distance!

3.  Become a better swimmer I have no goal to become a triathlete, but swimming is something I enjoy.  I would like to learn to do a proper flip turn and to be able to swim for at least 45 minutes without dying.  Advice anyone?

4. Improve flexibility with stretching: Despite leaving my foam roller and Yoga mat next to my chair, they are not used near enough.  Starting today, I will attempt to spend at least 10-15 minutes every day using these items to keep flexible and injury free for running!

5.  Plank for 2 minutes without a break  This will be the easiest item on my list of fitness goals, because I try to do a plank at least 3 times a week.  However, over the last few months, I have slacked and it definitely shows in the amount of time I can hang on.  Hopefully by June I will reach this goal!

What's on your fitness goal list?

April 17, 2014

My first running buddy

You may think that Mom was my first family running buddy and that would be a reasonable assumption.  But it would be wrong.  When I was in high school and swimming year-round, I often ran at the beginning of a season or during the off season to stay in shape.  And the person who usually ran with me was my Dad.  Being a former Army guy, he often had some good chants or stories that he would share while we were out on our runs.  We usually didn't run far, probably 2-3 miles or so.  But it was good bonding time during my teenage years when I was a pain in the you-know-what.

And why am I telling you this story you ask?  Because today is my Dad's Birthday and I'm headed down to Wilmington to help him celebrate.  I'm looking forward to taking him on a lunch date and maybe a mystery ride for good measure.  When I was little, he would take me on "mystery rides" where we went on fun adventures like going to see a movie (probably Disney) or to get ice cream or something along those lines.  I loved riding in the 'Blue Bomber' aka his Honda Prelude on our adventures.  He usually had Tom Petty or Genesis or another killer 80s band playing.
Celebrating my Birthday a few years ago
As I get older, I tend to get a bit sappier about Birthdays and I'm also realizing that Dad isn't one for much of a fuss, which is all the more reason that I'm ready to amp up the celebration.  It will be nice to get to spend some time together and enjoy some springtime fun!


April 16, 2014

What's on my race calendar!

After qualifying for Boston at the Quintiles Marathon last month, I have been thinking about what should be on my race calendar through April 2015.  After a last minute application for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery was accepted, it seemed the perfect time to plan out my race calendar for the next twelve months! Easy right?  Well not exactly.  This morning I had a long conversation with coach Sami trying to figure out what I should add, and what should be eliminated from my potential race list. Here are my races so far, and I may add a couple shorter ones this summer just for fun.

April 27, 2014 ,Divas Half Marathon North Myrtle Beach:  I can't wait to pace Mitzie for her first half marathon.  We have team shirts (8 girls from my running group will be racing) and we will be all gussied up in black tank tops with pink trim/letters and pink shorts or skirts.

August 6, 2014, Rock 'n Roll Dublin: So excited to be running in Ireland with my best running buddy! Christine and I are thrilled to be Rock 'n' Bloggers for this event and look forward to a week vacation in Ireland along with racing in such a fun city!

August 31, 2014, Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach: I will be looking for a relay partner for this race soon! Christine will be doing this race, and I plan to either be on the sidelines cheering, volunteering, or participating as a relay runner if I can find a partner!

October 4, 2014, Tower of Terror 10 Miler: This will be our first time to run this race, and it will be a fun way to celebrate Christine's birthday weekend.  Tickets to Mickey's not so scary Halloween Party and trick or treating in Magic Kingdom will be part of our fun Friday night!

October 26, 2014, Marine Corps Marathon: Last year Christine ran this marathon as her first full marathon.  Her experience was so great that it made me want to register for the race.  To say I was shocked to get an entry is an understatement.  My email came through very late on the day that runners were notified.  But a hotel has been booked and I am ready to have this great experience of running in DC!

February 22, 2015, Disney Princess Half Marathon: This will be my fifth Princess half and this one should be a blast. Both Christine and Alison will be running (I hope) and we will form teams of mother/daughter and sister/sister if I can be part of two different teams.  We have loved this weekend and some of our favorite running friends (Krista, Megan, Lacey and Meranda) are committed to run this weekend too!

April 20, 2015, Boston Marathon: My goal race and I can't wait.  There will be no pressure on finishing in a certain time, but I want to be well prepared for the tough course. Sami will be working me extra hard after Marine Corps so I am in great shape for race day. And the race is on my sister's birthday (not the running sister Alison) and hopefully lots of family and friends will be along the course!

May 10, 2015, Tinkerbell Half Marathon: Not only will we run this race for the first time, but it gives us another chance to experience the parks in California where we had so much fun during the Dumbo Challenge.  Hopefully there is a mother/daughter team event during the Tink half too!

April, 2016, London Marathon: After living in England for five years, this will be a dream race for me.  Spending any time in this wonderful city is always entertaining and I will be so excited to race there.  It's a shame I did not run while living overseas.  There would have been many race options!

I'm pretty sure there will not be any more big races added to this list until after April 2015! It seems like a very full load, and some races will be run as training runs. Do you map out your races this far in advance?  What special race is on your bucket list?

April 15, 2014

Running and dogs

This is a hard post for me to write.  I had an unfortunate encounter with a dog and this time, it was while I was out running in my neighborhood.

Sorry for the graphic photo, but I want to emphasize the importance of self protection.  April is the month when dogs are back outside in force after spending the harsh winter indoors.
My poor leg post dog bite.
Safety while running is clearly an important issue, but what do you do to keep yourself protected from animals?  This is something all runners should think about because a stray dog can appear out of nowhere and having a plan will help protect you.  As someone who has unfortunately been attacked in the past, I never run without Halt attached to my running belt or clothing.  Postal carriers have used Halt for many years and I remember as a child, my mother carrying Halt on her daily walks.  Fortunately for me, I had my spray accessible last week and managed to fend off the attacking dog after it had already bitten me on both the hand and lower calf.  Clearly this post is being written to help you avoid an unpleasant situation while out on what should be a pleasurable run.

Ways to protect yourself from an attack:
* Stop running and walk at a slow pace or stand still when a strange dog approaches you.
* Do not make eye contact with the dog.
* If your gut is telling you a dog in the distance is unfriendly, heed the warning
* Kicking a dog in the jaw is an option, but if you should lose your balance, you will be completely defenseless on the ground.
* Know your running route and always check a new area before you run there.  Better yet, run with a buddy if you are going to try out a new route.
* Buy yourself some Halt. (available on Amazon here)
I always have a few in reserve!
Have you ever been bitten by a dog? Any other suggestions on how to protect yourself?

April 14, 2014

Dreaming of another marathon

I daydream about the marathon almost every time I run.  And when I say "the marathon," I mean my first marathon experience at the 38th Marine Corps Marathon.  Everything about that day was pure magic for me and I often get caught up in the emotions I felt during the race when I'm out on a run.

The nerves as I waited for the race morning shuttle to take me to the Pentagon parking lot where I would walk up to the starting area to meet Lisa and Danielle.

The excitement of the unknown as I crossed the starting line.

The happiness I felt at mile 7 when I told Danielle that I loved running and was having a great time.

The temporary disappointment I felt when I thought I had missed seeing Jamie at the Kennedy Center.

The apprehension when my muscles started to tighten at mile 15 and wondering how long I could stay with Danielle.

The elation after seeing one of my dearest friends on the course.  I needed that hug and encouragement more than I can put into words.

The determination I felt crossing the 14th Street bridge.

The exhilaration I felt when I jammed through Crystal City and kept improving my pace.

The pride I felt when a Marine yelled "one mile to go" as we turned down the off ramp toward the finish line.

The chutzpah I felt when I looked up the final hill and tore up it as fast as my legs could carry me.

The overwhelming sense of accomplishment, relief, and satisfaction I felt after crossing the finish line.

After watching Mom train for her big spring marathon, seeing lots of friends complete spring marathons, and cheering for friends accepted into fall marathons through lotteries, I've been thinking long and hard about another marathon.  Knowing I'm not in marathon shape now has eliminated all hope of a spring race.  And I'm not sure I could even get my head around it, mentally speaking.

I know distinctly that I want to be ready, like really ready, when I run my next marathon.  I respect the distance and I don't have dreams of running one frequently.  I want to PR at my next 26.2.  I have a vision of a goal time, but I will have to get into training before I can solidify a true goal.

On Thursday night, I made my decision.  I'll be running the Richmond marathon in November.  And I can't wait!

How do you know when you're ready for another marathon?

April 13, 2014

Weekly Roundup - April 13th

Spring has finally come to North Carolina and the running capris and long sleeve shirts and jackets have been packed away.  However, after such a bad winter, I have kept a couple clothing items at the ready just in case. We had a little break this week spending a day in Charleston and a few days at Hilton Head.  The weather was glorious and some rest and relaxation was greatly needed.  I came home refreshed and ready to tackle a long run today.

I am joining some of the girls from my group Without Limits for an 8 mile run. They have been so incredibly supportive since my dog bite injury and the aftermath.  It will also be nice to get out of my own neighborhood and run down at Wrightsville Beach!

Next Sunday is Easter and last year I made a running basket for Christine.  Here are the details if you are interested in making a special basket for your favorite runner!

We both had pretty good weeks and hopefully next week will be even better!  Tell us what you are doing to enjoy springtime!

Sunday, April 6th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Volunteered at Cherry Blossom 10 miler and walked around Alexandria

Monday, April 7th
Pam: Rode stationary bike 35 minutes, weights
Christine: 4.5 mile run descending pace (9:58, 9:21, 9:15, 9:02, 3:52) plus 0.5 mile cool down, arms and abs

Tuesday, April 8th
Pam: Group workout 4 miles including pickups
Christine: Rest day

Wednesday, April 9th
Pam: Walked 4 miles in Charleston
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, arm weights, abs

Thursday, April 10th
Pam: 20 minutes elliptical, 15 minutes stationary bike,  4 miles walk on beach, stretching
Christine: 5.7 miles around neighborhood at 9:07 pace and "cool down" included backyard sprints with Paddy dog

Friday, April 11th
Pam: Speedwork on treadmill 3.75 miles total, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, April 12th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 4 mile trail walk with Paddy

April 11, 2014

Friday Five: Shamrock Recovery

If you've been paying attention to the blog and our Twitter accounts, you've probably realized that I've been struggling to recover after the Shamrock half marathon.  I've never struggled to recover from a race like this.  At times, I've felt like my body has betrayed me as if to say "Ha, I gave you one fast half marathon and now you're donezo!"  My recovery runs have been pretty challenging, even if I was in it mentally. 

I know that part of it is my fall and winter marathon cycles followed up by very aggressive training for my spring half.  Deep down, I know my body is tired, but I've had a hard time getting comfortable with that fact.  And somehow, I can't help but wonder if this is just a small vision of what getting older will be like in terms of recovery. 

I was bound to turn a corner eventually.  After volunteering at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler (more on that experience in an upcoming post) and getting to spend some time with the elite athletes, my interest in training and running was renewed.  I drove home from DC on Sunday vowing to find my groove this week.  And guess what? I did!  So let's look at the 5 key factors that have played a role in my Shamrock recovery, both good and bad.

1. Post-Race Fueling: I didn't do anything right.  I only ate a banana, bag of pretzels and a sugar cookie in the 4 hours that I spent at the post-race party after I finished my race.  Oh, and I had 3 beers.  Mmm beer.  And then I came home, crashed on the couch and ordered takeout Mexican food.  It wasn't exactly the picture of the appropriate post-race refueling and hydration.

2. Knee Care: When I'm on a training plan, I'm usually very diligent about taking good care of my left knee, aka the bum knee.  I remember icing my knee from the couch after the race but I've basically ignored it for the last few weeks.  With my new Dr. Cool wrap, I've been icing more, but I've been lax on stretching and foam rolling, which typically help.

3. Inappropriate Paces: I didn't adjust my pace after Shamrock.  It wasn't necessarily conscious, but I kept running (or attempting to run) at the same paces I ran while in the midst of my training, which brings me to item 4....

4. Running Slow: I turned the corner this week and that's because I started running slow!  By now, you think I'm a Mensa candidate right?  Yea, I know...  When I hit the treadmill on Monday night, I decided to try a descending run, but started at 10mm pace.  It's the slowest I've run since Dopey.  Pretty crazy but as I ticked off 4.5 miles, I slowly increased my speed each mile, but kept all 4 miles over 9:10 pace.  And it worked!

5. Embrace the lazefest: While I'm eager to get back to training, I've really enjoyed my lazefest.  Yes, that's the nickname I've given this time.  I've spent many evenings after work with friends at happy hours or enjoying indulgent dinners.  I've gained a few pounds and that's ok.  I know I'll be back to training before I know it and evenings with friends are a real treasure.

How do you recover after a tough training cycle?

Have a fabulous weekend!

April 10, 2014

Foot Health Awareness Month

Did you know April is Foot Health Awareness Month?  As runners, we are conscious of how we treat our feet on a daily basis.  We have sung the praises of our favorite running socks and shoes...thank you Brooks, New Balance, and Thorlos.  What we have not done is discuss how to treat your feet.

Since I do not work outside of the home, it is very easy for me to wear comfortable shoes, sandals or sneakers daily.  I do not have to dress up, nor do I really care much about footwear. Instead, I wear flats 99% of the year.  My few pairs of heels might come out of the closet for a special holiday party or wedding.

Besides wearing comfortable shoes, others things I do to keep my feet happy include using foot lotions and scrubs on a regular basis. Having pedicures is something many runners avoid and I freely admit that I sometimes polish my own nails due to the embarrassment of "runner feet."  Keeping a Shea butter foot cream on hand is helpful for those tootsies. An Epsom salts bath will help not only your body but your feet too.  My favorite one includes spearmint which smells extra nice!
Some of my favorites!
Now, best of all, our friends at Thorlo socks are offering a wonderful giveaway!  You can find all the details here. Besides the giveaway, they also have the option of trying a pair of their socks for the shipping cost only. Hurry on over and enter in the giveaway and treat your feet to a new pair of socks!

How would you like a dresser drawer full of Thorlos?
Photo courtesy of Thorlos and used with permission

How do you take care of your feet?

Disclaimer: We received no compensation for this post.  We just really love Thorlos and would love for one of our buddies (or us) to win a bunch of them!

April 9, 2014

Yoga on the National Mall

When I was contemplating a weekend trip to DC to coincide with the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, my friend Danielle shared some of the fun things she had planned for her weekend.  One of these was yoga on the National Mall on Saturday morning.  As the weekend drew closer and I'd confirmed I was heading to our nation's capital, I mentioned it to my friend, Jamie, whom I was staying with.  And lucky for me, she was on board.  I also found out that Cyanne and her friend were also planning to attend.  The morning was really shaping up to be fun times!

Saturday morning, I exchanged text messages with Danielle and Cyanne to coordinate meeting times and whatnot.  Little did Jamie and I know that metro'ing into DC would be much slower than she anticipated.  We arrived a bit late due to long metro waits and an event at the WWII memorial that kept us from getting over to the Washington Monument quickly.  We grabbed some space on the grass at the back of the pack and agreed to meet the girls after the class.

Aren't those aqua pants amazing?!  Also note that there is no one behind us.
It was a perfectly sunny morning and there was hardly a cloud in the sky, but it was quite windy and our mats were flying around a bit.  I was surprised to find the class much less basic than I anticipated.  I'm certainly an amateur yogi, but I really enjoyed the class and found it pretty manageable in terms of level of difficulty.  The instructor offered different options for more advanced poses, which made sense given the large crowd.  After a challenging week of workouts and my legs still feeling fatigued, yoga was just what the doctor ordered.  I enjoyed the chance to stretch and work out some kinks in my hips.

Jamie and I after class
An hour later, we were able to catch up with Danielle, Nicole, Cyanne and her friend, Heather.
Reunited for another DC adventure!
Yogis on the mall: Christine, Nicole, Danielle, Cyanne and Jamie
Even though it was a bit of a trek to get into the city for this class, Jamie and I agreed it was worth the hassle and a really fun experience.  Plus, you can't beat free!  Have you ever tried a special event yoga class?


If you weren't the lucky winner of the Dr. Cool Recovery Wrap in our Favorite Things giveaway, fear not!  The great folks at Dr. Cool are offering a 10% discount code on your orders.  Use code themouserun10.  Happy shopping/injury recovery!

April 8, 2014

I'm afraid

Sunday, March 30th has forever changed my running life. While running in my neighborhood, I was viciously attacked by a dog. This was not my first time to be bitten by a dog, but the first time since I started running in October of 2010.  I know the phrases, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade" and "what does not kill you makes you stronger," but a part of me was severely damaged when I was attacked.  I am not talking about my leg, which has a bad injury and will be permanently scarred.  It is my confidence that has been shattered to my core.  No longer can I slip on my running shoes and happily walk out the door to enjoy a little run around the neighborhood.  That happiness is gone. While my neighborhood is a gated community that should feel safe and secure, it does not.  Freedom to run without fear has been taken from me.

On Saturday, I had a long run on my calendar and after my recent injury, my running has been limited.  I will be pacing one of my group members at a race in three weeks time, so I really wanted to get in a long run. But you know what?  I was petrified to go outside and run.  Not only was I afraid, I also had a major meltdown.  Poor Tom not only consoled me in the best possible way, but also offered to  be "my bodyguard" while I ran through the neighborhood.  As he said, "baby steps."
Perfect card I received last week!

So off we went with Tom on his bicycle and me running along side with my Halt at the ready.  During the course of the run, we encountered probably four or five dogs along the way, all on leashes with their tails wagging.  My new plan is to always walk when I see a dog, unless it is one that I know.  I am sure people are wondering why I slow down to a walk pace, but this is non-threatening to an animal and it makes me feel a little more secure.  Hopefully, time will help me get over this problem, but quite honestly it is hard to imagine not worrying at all when I see a dog in the distance.  It makes me very sad since I own a lovely sweet dog, and I want to have confidence when I step outside.  In the meantime, I have a wonderful bodyguard when I run!


April 7, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

Wow, what a fantastic response to our Favorite Things Giveaway!  Thank you for supporting us and thanks to some of our favorite companies for sharing fabulous products!  Our big giveaway is done and we have the winners of the various prizes.

1.  4 pack Nuun and water bottle: Allison Dailey

2.  Pair of Luv footwear: Connie Tornow

3.  3 pack Thorlos Experia socks: Lori Hancock and Joy Chambers

4.  Flipbelt: Jennifer Nelson

5.  Sparkly Soul Headband: Lauren Bothwell and Amy Ostella

6. Dr. Cool Compression Wrap: Natalie Yusko

Thanks everyone for entering and congratulations to all the winners.  Please send us an email at werundisney@gmail.com to claim your prize!

April 6, 2014

Weekly Roundup - April 6th

This was a really tough week for me.  I got bitten by a dog while out on my run on Sunday morning and clearly that made a huge impact on my week.  I spent alot of time elevating and icing my leg.  My physical therapist had me run several times to test the injury and so far so good.  It had some soreness after the runs, but not to the point that I can't run. However, it will be a long time before my leg is totally healed and I will most certainly have some ugly scars.

Lots of this to help my injury!
Today Christine is volunteering at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler race in DC and will be seeing many of our running friends.  Last week, I volunteered at a local 5k to benefit Autism awareness.  It was a rainy Saturday, but there were loads of runners out supporting the cause.

My rain jacket came in handy!

Here are our workouts for the week!

Sunday, March 30th
Pam: Ran 5.65 miles
Christine: Lazy Sunday

Monday, March 31st
Pam: Unscheduled rest day
Christine: 5.1 miles at 9:25 pace

Tuesday, April 1st
Pam: Ran 3.5 miles
Christine: 30 min tabata class, 10 min cool down on stationary bike

Wednesday, April 2nd
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 3.5 miles at 9:00 pace

Thursday, April 3rd
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Rest day with lots of housework!

Friday, April 4th
Pam: Track workout with my group 3 miles total
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, April 5th
Pam: 5.5 miles at 9:45 pace
Christine: Yoga on the Washington mall with lots of Cherry Blossom 10 mile runners

How was your week?  Has spring finally arrived where you live?