Wednesday, August 31, 2011
While on vacation a few weeks back, my brother-in-law asked me "do you get that runner's high they talk about? is there really such a thing?". It's funny, I've even seen people ask that on the chat boards here, wondering if they're doing something wrong because they don't get what they think this "high" must be.
For me, it's not like the feeling after a nice glass of wine or a good beer! It's not so much a change in your physical state, but a mental shift. It's also not always just a single moment, but more like the feeling you get later, when you realize that you've had a really good run. Like a good memory, it pops up later when I don't expect it, and sticks with me, affecting my mental state for days later.
There are specific sections of a trail I like to run, which always make me feel amazing. There's one stretch, in particular, which is a very gradual, loooong downhill part. It's not so steep that you fall down it, but just enough that the effort of running disappears, and when I run it, I feel graceful, effortless, and totally in the zone. When I run down this stretch, I feel like if anyone else saw me, they would say, "wow"!
Then there are little moments, like on last night's run, when the weather was cooler, my running partner challenged me a bit, and I caught a glimpse of myself in a building window and noticed that I just looked strong and fast. It lasted all of 2 seconds, but the image of that strong runner will stick with me all week.. that's what I'm *supposed* to look like when I run (even though I often don't!).
Then there's just that feeling at the end of a run, when you know you pushed yourself and did better than you expected. The run itself might have been tough, but you did it. When I finished my 18 miler a few weeks back, that's how I felt. There was walking, there were water stops (and other pitstops!), there was a feeling of complete exhaustion at some points, but at no point did I think I wouldn't finish it. The run itself might have been long and hard, but the feeling of finishing it strong stuck with me for a loooong time!
.. and I think, for me, that's what a runner's high is. It's what makes it addictive, what makes you feel good, what makes you keep coming back for more.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Ah, cool weather, I've missed you so! I don't know about the rest of ya'll, but down here in NC, it's been a crazy, hot summer! I feel like you do after you've been sick and your fever suddenly breaks, and things are heading back towards normal. Granted, hot IS normal for the South, but man! Gimme a break!
So earlier this year, I joined the NC Road Runners. Due to hubby's schedule, I wasn't really able to take advantage of some of the social runs and group activities until recently (schedule changed). The first two social runs were rough. Prior to our schedule changes, I'd been a morning runner. Mornings here are humid, but you definitely beat the heat. Afternoons are BRUTAL. My first several group runs were pretty pitiful.
Last night there was a group run prior to the team's quarterly mtg. There was a 3 mile and 5 mile option, through downtown Raleigh. Only one other person was planning the 5 mile route, so we buddied up. I was very open at the beginning, and let him know that I had not been super speedy this summer, but he said that was fine, he needed to pace himself anyway (always happy to be someone else's anchor!), so off we went.
He pushed me a bit. I didn't want to a wimp, so I hung in when I normally would have slowed down a bit. He charged hills head-on. Because it was downtown, we actually had quite a few mini-recovery breaks while waiting to cross intersections, so that helped tremendously. I was able to hang. We probably did about a 10 min/mile pace, a good 2 mins better than I've been doing in the heat. I found out DURING the run that this dude is a 1/2 IronMan, and is also currently training for a fall marathon.
At one point, I caught a glimpse of myself in the double doors of a building we passed, and I couldn't help but think, "WOW! Who's that badass?". My chest was high, my KNEES were up (normally I'm more of a shuffler), my stride looked strong, even my running skirt was doing a sassy little flip in the back. I have missed this runner! She clearly took the summer off, but I was happy to have her back!
Same story for the 8K this past weekend. My mother runnin' best bud pushed me a little harder than I would have gone on my own, and I finished with a very respectable 10.5 min/mile avg (probably 10 if you were to take out the bathroom break at mile 3). I need to run with faster people more often!
So RR new bud and I might do some long runs together. By making a new friend, I picked up my pace and challenged myself a bit, and have a possible new LSD bud. Just goes to show you, it's always great to meet new people and challenge yourself (or let them challenge you!)
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Ok, that's a *little* dramatic. Technically, North Carolina was in the middle of a hurricane, but here in Raleigh, it was more like a very (very) windy rainstorm. The Inaugural Raleigh 8000 was scheduled to kick off at 7:30am today.. and it did! I was checking in from bed at about 5am, wondering if it would go on or not, and I'm so glad that it did!
Best of all, one of my dearest friends decided a few weeks ago to run it with me, so I had great company... and a slightly faster pace that normal!
This race is probably my new favorite! They had a Facebook page, where they actually polled their followers to see what kind of shirts they'd prefer (cotton or tech), what color they preferred, they'd throw out ideas about the prizes, route, etc to see what people though. The end result was a race strongly influenced by the target audience, and it showed.
Awesome technical tees, including a women's cut. They're a beautiful blue with a super cool logo. The awards for each age group were pint glasses from one of the sponsors, a local pub, with the race logo on one side. It was limited to 400 runners, and used the greenway trails for about 80% of the route. Swag also included a sling bag, 20% at a sponsoring spa, 15% off at the sponsoring running store, and a free beer at the pub for anyone with their bib on race weekend.
They were also fantastic about answering questions on FB, sending out e-newsletters, had a very good website, and weather updates were very timely.
The weather... well, let's just say it was unforgettable. We actually did have about a 12 foot branch drop on the path about 20 feet in front us during the first mile! There were lots of puddles (I just gave up and plowed through them), lots of rain, and as we crossed the dam along the lake, the wind made me feel like I was standing still! The last mile was also all uphill.. you have to EARN that finish!
All-in-all, a well-run race that I will definitely do again.. .and won't soon forget!
Friday, August 26, 2011
no reason for this post, just enjoying one of my favorite things, and thought I'd pass it along in case you're missing out!
1. Plain greek yogurt (I like Fage 0%) with honey. Even better if you dump in some...
2. Trader Joe's Pecan Praline granola. The 1+2 combo is the perfect blend of protein and carbs for either a pre- or post-workout snack (or breakfast).
3. Oranges.. after a long hot run, there is nothing better.
4. Race shirts that you will actually wear again! Just picked up my Raleigh 8000 tech shirt yesterday, and it's beautiful! It's the first year for this race and they actually solicited feedback on their Facebook site for cotton vs. tech, colors, logos, etc. LOVE this shirt.
5. ActiveBands and SweatyBands for taming my unruly loose strands of hair. They do not budge, no matter what I throw at them!
6. Skirtsports running skirts (ok, all of their stuff). It's a little pricey, but they have sales now and again, and you can find them are REI and a lot of local running stores, who also have the occasional sale. Well worth the money. Good quality, super cute styles, and shorts that don't ride up! Plus, the owner is a former Iron Man winner herself.. she clearly knows what she's doing when designing tri apparel!
7. Banana french toast: when your naners get a little brownish, I like to smush them to a paste, then mix in 1 egg, a splash of milk, some vanilla and some cinnamon and use it to make french toast. You get protein from the egg, a little potassium, and whole grains (if you use the right bread). Another faboo pre-workout breakfast!
8. Anything by Great Harvest Bread Company. My husband once told me that I make the best chocolate chip cookies ever. EVER. But he does not complain when I take the shortcut by making GHBC cookies with their mix. Bonus, rolled oats and whole wheat flour that they grind in their store daily. Really!
9. Body Glide: does any more really need to be said here?
10. Honey Stinger waffles, which I could consume just sitting around the house.
What are your favorite things?
Friday, August 26, 2011
I've talked before about listening to your body, and knowing when enough is enough. Damn, this marathon training stuff is kinda hard! I was really excited about last week, which I'd planned to use as a stepback week. It coincided with our family beach trip, so I was pretty pumped up about some cool new routes and the ability to run them whenever I wanted, without having to hurry up to get back to work, home, etc.
It was a bit of a bust, plus I think the Hub and I both ended up with a little cold. It's a sneaky little bugger, too.. it's not outright snotty or achey, just enough stuffiness to give you a tickle in your throat at night, and enough to make you feel just a little off your game. My H.O.T. class kicked my booty this week (and gave me blisters), and that is just not me.
Oh yeah, and I ache.. not like sick / body aches, but just all over owies, where I know I haven't been stretching like I should and resting (or rather, getting GOOD rest!). So, I'm forced to admit that I might need a recovery week on top of my stepback week! I would normally be back to the high mileage this weekend, but I'm going to do the Raleigh 8000 (5 miles) and call it a day. I only ran one other time this week, and did 1 ST workout. I was *hoping* to do the 8K, then go follow it up with another 6 or 7 miles to at least make it a decent run, but I think I just need the rest.
Here's where I'm super-thankful that I'm such a planner! My last long run was 18 miles. My marathon isn't until Oct 30. I STILL have time to do a 20, 22, stepback, and then ANOTHER 20, 22, before I begin the taper. I can hit those big miles two times before the big day, and I really feel like I need those to be ready. I already feel good about them, because those 18 felt really good, and if I can do 18, well shoot! What's 2 more? And 2 more on top of that? It's not easy, but it's do-able.
The moral of this story? Plan well, and don't be afraid to listen to your body. I still plan to run this baby, well-rested and injury-free!
Get An Email Alert Each Time CARYNW Posts