Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sometimes Rest is Better

maybe you did too much too soon
maybe your mileage increased too quickly
maybe your long runs took a toll on your body
maybe aches and pains are always there
maybe running isn't fun anymore
maybe you are running faster than you ever did before.

Whatever it is, sometimes rest is better. Sometimes running would hurt you more than taking a few days off. I got ambitious at the end of December and signed up for a 1/2 marathon that is next week. And as you may know, I dealt with injuries most of January and February. And when I did start running again, I couldn't just jump back in, I had to ease into it. I decided that the 1/2 was not worth it at all costs, but my goal was to be able to get to the start line and complete it. No time goals. Just for fun. For awhile it didn't look like I would be able to make it. However, I have persevered and I have been able to mostly complete my training. I won't be able to run it well, but since my goal is just to run it...that's okay. 

That being said, I haven't run since last Saturday. I had my longest run last Saturday of 10 miles and it was awful. I was fighting the wind the first 5 miles and a very angry tummy the last 5 miles. I walked the last 3/4 of a mile because I couldn't run from my stomach cramps. My IT Bands were getting temperamental. 

So I decided that rest was better. I was going to run yesterday, but I'm fighting a cold and decided that a nap was more important than running during nap time and I could feel a twinge in my hip. I'm running later today and it's going to be warm and windy, but that's okay. I'm not going to time it, just run and see how my body responds. My IT Bands are feeling better and if I didn't have this race, I'd probably take a couple of more days off. Part of me was freaking out that I am 2 weeks out from the race and I'm not running. But I realized that at this point these runs wouldn't help me more than rest would. By running my tired and breaking down body, I'd probably get injured. By resting, I'm hoping that I am able to get through the race. 

I am proud that I didn't give up even when it didn't look like I would be able to make it to the start line. I am trying to have faith that resting was the right decision and it will see me through.

How do you decide when rest is needed?

Have you ever run a race did you make it fun?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blogiversary and My New Skill

My blog turned 1 on Friday. It's been a little over a year since I really started reading running blogs and then decided I felt left out and wanted to do it too.

It's hard to believe that it has already been a year since I took a deep breath and jumped into this whole blogging thing with my first post ever.

I've learned a lot, but I have even more to learn. It's been fun and I feel like I am slowly figuring out the direction I want to take.

Thank you so much to the few that have stumbled across the blog and comment. I get so excited to see each and every comment. I feel like a kid on Christmas :)

And my excitement of the day:
My husband taught me to drive the 4-wheeler today. I'm officially worthy of living in the country ;) 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Water and the Effects of Dehydration on Your Running

Spring is supposed to be here--but it's not. It's 28 degrees and looks like it snowed, but it didn't. The white stuff all over is actually sleet and hail that froze because it's cold. Because yesterday it looked like it was snowing, but it was actually a thunderstorm. Weird weather going on here. I'm friendly with the treadmill this week :) An easy 2 miles yesterday and I have 4 today. I was going to run before I ate lunch, but I couldn't get all the boys down at the same time and Joel isn't feeling great so after I finally got them down I ate lunch and caught up on some Parenthood.

I read some interesting facts about water today on facebook:

1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.

3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 30%.

4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters 

studied in a University of Washington study.

5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease 

back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic 

math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can 

slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

I'm inconsistent at best about drinking water. I know I need it. I know it's good for me. But it's easy (especially in the winter) not to. This was a great reminder on why exactly we need water.

And dehydration negatively impacts your running. (info courtesy of Runner's World)

  • Your rate of aerobic energy production decreases, and you must run at a slower pace
  • Increases your heart rate.
  • Reduces your body’s ability to maintain your core temperature. Running fast on a hot day can lead to heat stroke.
  • Studies have found that dehydration of two percent of bodyweight leads to about a six percent reduction in running performance.
  • Your baseline fluid needs are about three to four pints per day. On top of that, you need to add your fluid losses from training and other activities. If you replace a little less fluid than you lose each day, after a few days you will run poorly, without obvious reason.

Some tips on how to drink more water.

1. Add flavoring! Sometimes I add a splash of lime juice. That was the only way I could stomach water when I was pregnant.
2. Have it available. I drink waaay more water when I'm carrying around my water bottle. I really like my stainless steel Under Armour bottle. It's insulated and keeps the water cold for a long time and is easy to drink out of.
3. Have water that tastes good--if your tap water is bad, get a filter or buy bottled water.

And best of all, being properly hydrated makes you less likely to overeat :)

How do you make sure you get enough water?
What's the weather like where you live?
What was for lunch today?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Run in Which I Ran 8 Miles and Met 4 Dogs

Today was my longest run yet since Nolan was born (hopefully I'll be able to keep saying that the next couple of weeks!)  Saturday is my normal long run day, but I ended up being sick on Thursday so I pushed my run from Thursday to yesterday and my long run until today. Thankfully I was only running 3 days this week so I was still able to fit all my runs in.  It really went great. I am super happy with how my training is going. I feel like my body is slowly getting back into it. I'm trying to be smart and I seem to be keeping all injuries at bay. :). I am so much happier when I can run. I would give up an awful lot of things in order to be able to run.

The weather was lovely for running, though a tad bit windy. However, I have realized in analyzing my best runs and races, I often do well in inclement weather. I pondered this for a good 2 miles on my run and think that for some reason I am able to be more mentally tough when I face adverse conditions.  I felt strong and didn't feel like I was working too hard, although I probably ran a bit hard for a long run. I also had a two minute walking break at mile two where there was a dog and a  four minute walking break at mile four when I encountered three dogs. 

They were not mean, but a bit unsure of me until I stopped running. I live in a rural area where people do not often restrain their dogs and all of these dogs encounter very little foot traffic. I pretty much know what houses have dogs and if they are a problem, however, I have never encountered dogs at this house before so it threw me a bit off guard. I don't completely dislike dogs, but I am a bit wary of dogs I don't know. I did a quick search on what to do when you encounter an unrestrained dog while running and they pretty much all said the same things:
  • DO cross the street or swing wide, putting more distance between you and the dog. You don't appear to be as big of a threat to their property then.
  • DO stop running.  Stand still or walk slowly. A dog loves the chase and by stopping, most of the excitement is gone. Most dogs will prove to be friendly albeit overly excited, but if one tries to jump on you, turn sideways and use your forearm to push it down. Another option is to turn around and slowly (so they are less likely to chase) head back the way you came. The dog is most likely protecting its property and really just wants you to go away. If you keep going in the same way you were go slowly without looking back. The further you get from the dog, the more you can pick up your pace.
  • DO stay calm and speak in a happy voice even if you are faking it ("good dog" "nice puppy" etc.). You can also try cues such as "sit" or "stay" or "go home".
  • Also consider removing your hat or sunglasses so the dogs realize you are just a person.
  • DON'T shout or scream at the dog.
  • DON'T make eye contact or stare at the dog. This can be seen as an act of aggression.
  • DON'T throw anything at the dog, again, it can make the dog feel threatened.

Spring is certainly coming. Everything is starting to turn green! And there were some pretty dark clouds that made everything look greener. Fortunately the rain held off until after I was done and then there was a pretty cool rainbow. I saw other people's pictures on Facebook and others had an even cooler view. Well I would show you the picture of the rainbow too, but my computer is being wonky and won't upload it.  So you just get to see the grey sky. Sorry.

After I got home, I refueled with Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries (Thanks Runner's World for the idea!) and a small handful of almonds and then had a taco for supper. Now I get to enjoy the *mostly* quiet house. (My oldest two are *supposed* to be in bed and Donovan is out on a call.) I think Nolan and I are going to catch up on Parenthood...

Do you ever encounter unrestrained dogs? Any tips to add?
Favorite foods to refuel with?