Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's in Your Fitness Closet?

Here's a peak inside my "minimalist" fitness closet:

My running gear!
Minimalist actually means "no money."  So I pick things up one at a time as I can afford it; everything shown is well used and well loved.

  • The white pair of Nike's are so old, I can't remember what kind they are.  They are semi-retired and mostly used for hiking and trail running now.
  • The pink pair are my current road shoes.  They're the Saucony Guide 6 and I heart them a lot.

  • I use Champion; I have no idea why.  But I love them and they're cheap and I wouldn't run in anything else.
  • I have two pairs of Adidas.  They're exactly the same except for the color of the stripes down the sides.  I've had the older (pink striped) pair for a couple of years.  I wear them almost every day and they're still like new.
  • I have a pair of black Under Armours and a pair of really bright Nike shorts.  I wear them when it's hot out and I'm feeling especially body confident.
  • Both the shirts I run in most often are Champion.  To be honest, I bought them because I tan faster than anyone on Earth and these were cut low enough (but with enough support) that I wouldn't have a ridiculous tan line across the top of my chest come summer.
Sports Bras:
  • I have two, one is Champion, one is Nike.  They're both pink and support the ladies quite nicely.
  • I run in a University of Montana track jacket when it's cold.  Go Griz!
  • My MP3 player because you've gotta have tunes.
  • The beanie was for registering for Run for the Luck of It in 2011
  • I pull my fingerless gloves over my hands during winter running.
Other things:
  • Here is a small sampling of race/running related t-shirts (and the medal from my first half marathon).  The grey shirt is one of my favorites.  It's a list of running trails in Missoula with "I Run Missoula" written at the bottom.

And there you have it!

Thanks to Pavement Runner for starting this post and linking all of us bloggers on his site.  You can visit his website from the links at the left.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Race Recap: Getting Over a Not So Good One

I have a confession to make: after my half marathon this past summer, my running got sloppy.

I was so happy. I had done it!  Now I had no race to train for and was more than willing to take a little break.  It was supposed to be one, maybe two, weeks off from running.

And I had no shortage of things to take up my time.  It was summer and I had a new boyfriend, Sam.  Life was good.  I spent time at Flathead Lake and hiking in the woods.  I went to Arizona for a trip to Lake Mead with my family.  I watched my boyfriend's band play and planned a trip to Oregon.  I did everything except run.

Oh, I didn't give up entirely.  There was a sporadic couple of days in a row here and there.  But without a race to train for and a budding social life, running went on the back-burner.

Time passed, and then a little more time passed.

The days (and free time to run) got shorter.  I was spending more time at work and less time outside.  The lack of daylight depressed me and made me less likely to run.  I didn't want to do anything.  The less I saw daylight, the less I wanted to do anything.

It wasn't until early February that things started to get back on track.  That's when I started this blog to help keep myself motivated and to share my love of running.  Because I really do love it, slump or not.

Anyway, on to my first race of the year.  Run for the Luck of It was the first of several races I have planned this year.  It's fun, people dress up and there's free food and beer.  The Celtic Dragon pipe band plays and everyone has a good time.

Celtic Dragon pipe band

 But I was nervous.  I was psyching myself out, I could feel it.  But this was just a 5K!  It's supposed to be fun!  My friends were talking about how I was going to smoke it, get a PR, leave people in the dust. 

The days leading up to the race, I kept thinking PR, PR, PR.  And more realistically, I thought - if I finish under 30 minutes, I'll be happy.  I didn't want to say that to anyone because I knew they'd be thinking what I was thinking, you can go way faster than that.

I got ready on race day in my shamrock shorts and socks.  Sam and I watched the seven milers take off.  We watched the pipe band play and chatted with friends until I had to line up.

They ran the whole race with that giant rainbow.

The gun went off before I was ready and it set the tone for the race.  My head wasn't in it; I couldn't focus and it showed.  My form and pace were sloppy.  I was too focused on my fall/winter running slump.  After two miles, people started passing me.  I finished in 31:59, my slowest 5K since the one I walked two years ago.

The morning after the race, I went for a run on my favorite route, a 3.2 mile loop along the Clark Fork river.  My pace and cadence were smooth, my thoughts uncluttered.  I paid no attention to how long it took to complete it.  I remembered that I loved running.  I understood that I couldn't expect a PR on my first race back from such a long hiatus and that it wasn't my body that failed me, but my mind.

Stayin' positive!
 My ego is still a little wounded, but I'm getting there. 

And one other thing, a bad run is still better than a day stuck inside.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Not Getting Hit by Cars

I did my first day of half marathon training this week.  My schedule works like this: I do shorter runs (up to five miles) Friday - Sunday, and then my long run on Monday.  I don't work on Monday, it's a wonderful thing.  On Tuesday - Thursday, I do some basic core work.

But my spreadsheet - yep, I made a spreadsheet - starts the week on Monday.  So, for the hell of it, I put a 4 mile run in the first Monday slot as the very first day of training.

The run was slow and I felt off.  I'm not sure if the patches of ice on the sidewalks were a factor, but it wasn't my best run regardless.  And I was almost hit by a car right off the bat, which is never a good omen.

This is what happened: I was running down the one street I have to take to get to my route and there's a McDonald's that I pass.  The drive-thru exit is sometimes tricky, people are on their phones, checking their food, etc.  Anyway, two kids were stopped a few yards from where one would stop before pulling out into traffic.  I saw them not seeing me so I slowed down to see what they would do.

The kid hit the gas and then braked hard at the edge of the exit, a few inches ahead of me.  I jumped back and the passenger looked at me; the driver had not seen me.

The passenger mouthed sorry to me and said something to his driver friend.  Driver friend still didn't look my way.  Passenger looked at me again and I asked if I could go.  He gestured to go ahead, a split second before the driver flew out into traffic without so much as a glance in my direction.  I really hope the passenger called him an idiot, because he was.

Don't you learn in Kindergarten to look both ways when there is traffic?  Shouldn't that apply when you're driving?

After that, I had trouble getting into a rhythm.  I was distracted by my thoughts and trying to pay attention to all the drivers (this particular route takes me around the University campus, lots of vehicles).



I count myself lucky that I've never been so much as bumped by a car, but I've come close and my route only takes me through a single intersection.

At this point, I've been running long enough to know that I have to pay rigorous attention to people on the road.  But I shouldn't have to pay attention for the both of us.  When you're driving, you have one job - to drive safely.  My life is way more important than a text about how bored you are or how awesome that party was last night.