How to Start Running | Part 6: The iPod Edition

10.30.2013


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Two things before we get started:

One: I just want to brag on myself and say that I am super impressed that I've taken this series into part SIX. Who knew I had so many things to say about running?

Two: On last week's post, I got the best comment ever! 

--->Molly said this: During my run this morning I thought "Oh! It is Wednesday! Amanda will have her running post today!"

How awesome is that? I had no idea anyone even noticed I've been posting these on Wednesdays! I'm not even sure I noticed I was posting these on Wednesdays! So thanks, Molly! You made my day.

I really hope you guys have been encouraged, inspired, and educated by these posts, and I also hope you've been enjoying hearing from the featured running bloggers! Hopefully by now you're in the right mind-set, you got fitted for some shoes, you made a training schedule, haven't gotten injured, and are learning how your body reacts to fuel before, during, and after running.

Now for part six. I'm calling today's post "The iPod Edition" because we're going to talk about the age-old question I get from people who don't understand how I can actually look them in the eye and say running is fun: Don't you get bored?

Honestly? Yes. Sometimes I want nothing more than to claw my eyes out because I'm so bored, but for the most part I have way too many thoughts to work through to keep me occupied for days. You really don't want to know what goes on inside this brainy head of mine. Besides my thoughts, I also have my ipod to keep me company. I know there are runners who debate the merits (or not) of running with music, but I love it. To each his own.

And so, today I want to share some of my favorite running songs and podcasts that keep me company as I wind away the solitary miles through my neighborhood. Old-school nano for the win!


Chris Brown 
"With You"

I hate that I love this song, because I probably wouldn't want to run into Chris Brown in an alley after dark, but this jam seriously has saved my race more than once. For some reason it has the perfect beat for me, and I just get into a groove and play this on repeat for a good long while. Once I played it on repeat for the last 45 minutes of my half marathon because I needed the beat to keep me on pace.


One Republic 
"Everybody Loves Me"

One Republic is awesome in general, and this song is the best for keeping me on a good beat. Another play-on-repeat-for-45-minutes song. Give it a listen and tell me I'm wrong.




I recently discovered this podcast and have been enjoying it quite a bit. The episodes are 30-40 minutes and cover interesting topics about everything from "Women and Wine" to whether or not men are more forgetful than women. And, if you notice in the above picture, the topic of the day is "lady farts." If that discussion doesn't keep you occupied while running, I really don't know what will. I also just listened to one about Instagram, which was really interesting.



Yes, Jillian Michaels sounds like a man. And yes, she's kind of crazy. But I have started to enjoy these podcasts. Each is about 40-50 minutes long and made up of 2-3 segments, where she talks about fitness, weight loss, her own life, and answers call-in questions from listeners. I especially likes when she talks about The Biggest Loser. During one I listened to last week she called Bob Harper!



I think it's the weirdest thing ever to listen to a sermon while running, but for a reason I can't explain, I love it. Matt Chandler is the pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas, which is where my parents go and where I go when I visit them. He is a great preacher, and his 45-minute sermons are perfect for my shorter 3- and 4-mile runs. 

Here is an mp3 link to an excellent sermon on abortion that I listened to a few months ago. Whatever side you fall on the issue, I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this sermon if you ever get the chance to give it a listen.



I don't love this podcast, but I like it. You understand the difference, yes? My main problem is the MC, whose hyper voice annoys me. But if you can get past that, I do enjoy listening to a podcast about running while I'm, you know, running. Plus, they're about 60 minutes long, so I can get in 6 or 7 miles during an entire show.



Similar to "Stuff Your Mom Never Told You," the Freakonomics podcasts cover a host of awesome and interesting topics. Most recently I listened to one examining whether or not having a baby girl increases a couple's chances of getting divorced.


So that's it! I usually alternate between podcasts and music depending on the length of my run and how I'm feeling. Now I'd love to hear from you!
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Any podcasts or songs I should add to my ipod? 
What is the most played song on your running playlist?
Are you a fan of running with music or without it? 
___________________


Don't miss today's featured running bloggers!


< Amy's Blog | Coffee, Scarves & Running Shoes >


< Elizabeth's Blog | Curly Pink Runner >

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**Today I'm also linking up with Emily for "Favorite Things"**

Grab a button and link up on Friday with your post!
Beauty and the Greek

*I am not a personal trainer or physician. This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Contact your doctor before beginning a fitness routine or if you experience pain while exercising.

My Favorite Meals + a Dinner Log

10.29.2013


A few months ago, I won this cookbook in a blog giveaway from Allison, which is where I got the brilliant idea to keep a dinner log. So that's what I've been doing since August 7.

Call me crazy or obsessively organized or whatever, but every night for the last two and a half months I've written down what Jordan and I have eaten for dinner. The reasons for this insanity are threefold:

1. I wanted to see if there was a pattern to our dinner menu/repeated meals/etc.
2. I thought it might make future meal planning easier to have a list of our favorite meals to choose from.
3. I just straight up thought it would be interesting.

Instead of boring you with the full list, I've broken down the log into a pie chart! Who doesn't love a good pie chart?

As you can see, the majority of our meals consist of home-cooked meals and leftovers. The Bumgarners are a huge fan of leftovers. We're also a fan of being huge nerds and making pie charts, but we're not going to talk about that.

When we eat out, it pretty much boils down to Chinese, Mexican, or Pizza. Jordan really loves Chinese food, and surprisingly our Oklahoma town has a wide selection of restaurants. So that's awesome/terrible.

"Invited to dinner" just means we didn't eat at home, but we didn't pay for our dinner. Example: when Jordan's mom invites us over for Sunday pot roast or my aunt and uncle call and offer to take us out to eat. Yes, please!

Okay, so now what you really came for: the meals. Not to brag, but I cook a mean dinner and you want these recipes. Of course you can check out all the recipes I've posted on my recipe page HERE and the recipes I've pinned, tried, and liked HERE, but these are the ones we have been eating lately (Vegetarians beware: we eat a LOT of chicken. Poor little chickens.):

 + Chicken pot pie (Pioneer Woman's recipe)

I used to think making a homemade chicken pot pie would be a huge ordeal, but it's so easy! Seriously, if you haven't tried whipping up a pot pie, you're missing out. You can chop up the carrots and celery in advance if you want to make the prep work go faster.

Cheeseburger macaroni

I have a stash of Rotel in my pantry just for this recipe. It's one of the easiest skillet meals to put together, and it's delicious! It's even easier if you cook and freeze your ground beef in advance. I've cooked this so often that I've gotten this down to about 20 minutes from start to finish. Winning.

Chicken & rice bowl

Chances are high you will have the ingredients for this recipe in your freezer at all times. Vegetables, chicken, and rice. Boom. A Bumgarner favorite.

+ Mac 'n' cheese from a box

YES. 
Don't you dare shake your head at me. (Melinda is shaking her head at me.) 

Kraft macaroni and cheese! This is probably aka definitely the most processed meal we eat (if you don't count Jordan's Ramen noodles, which I DO NOT). We love the "three cheese" flavor, and we buy Polish Kielbasa sausage (Hillshire Farms brand), which we cook on the skillet and then chop up and add to the mac. It makes to more of a meal, and it's so good. Just try it and thank me later. 

Word to the wise: Do not get the cheap brand of sausage. Get the good stuff. We've tried to cheap sausage, and it tastes like....cheap sausage. Shocker.

+ The Crock-Pot

If you don't use your crock-pot or don't have one, you are missing out on one of life's grander inventions. It's so awesome to pop everything in the crock-pot in the morning and have dinner ready when you get home from work! Our most recent favorite crock-pot meal is this slow-cooker chicken & wild rice. I've already had a few friends make this and tell me it was delicious, so it's not just me.

Make sure you eat it with 189584 pounds of corn like Jordan does.

We have so many more meals we love, but these are the best, the easiest, and the favorites for the rest of time. Or until something better comes along.


What's your go-to meal? 
Leave a link in the comments so I can love it too!
Sharing is caring.
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Linking up with Jessica and Ashley for Taste of Tuesday.

Weekly Wishes: Where I Admit Failure and Also Make it Rain

10.27.2013


I skipped writing weekly wishes last week because I didn't want to admit my HORRIBLE FAILURE from the week before.

Here's what happened: 

Goal #1: Cross off #25 on my 30 by 30 list 

If you looked at my list, you know that #25 is make a mojito from scratch. A weird thing to put on a 30 by 30 list, yes. But also awesome because we all know mojitos are delicious. As it turns out, every grocery store within a 15-mile radius of my apartment conspired against me, and I couldn't find mint leaves anywhere. As you know, mint leaves are a pretty important mojito ingredient. So I have limes and vodka and ginger ale sitting on my counter. But no mint, hence no mojito. Fail.


*EDIT: After a few comments from people confused about why I can't find mint leaves anywhere, I want to clarify that the stores sell mint leaves, but they're just sold out. I can only assume everyone in my town is buying mint leaves and drinking mojitos without me. This reminds me of the time I tried to find eggs to make cupcakes. First world problems.

Goal #2: Drop off clothes at Goodwill


I drive past Goodwill every. single. day. And I just straight up didn't stop to unload my trunk full of clothes and shoes and other things. Fail. 


Maybe I should just do a slow drive-by and toss boxes of stuff out the window. Yes?

Goal #3: Go to the car wash

Let's just say that almost as soon as I posted about going to the car wash, it started raining outside. And let's also say I considered running downstairs and throwing soap all over my car and letting the rain do my job for me. I didn't do the soap thing, but the bird poop washed away in the downpour, so the car wash dream lives on.

I'm considering this only a half fail. I mean, I basically MADE it rain just for me.

Goal #4: Run half marathon #6! 

Okay, I did do this one, so I'm 1 for 4. You may remember how that went. Portapotties without toilet paper. Hills that tried to kill me. Dry heaving. Good times. 

If you follow my blog on Facebook, you may have seen the race picture I posted! Note my look of intense concentration. This is me trying not to throw up. I just have to remember I paid for this kind of pain.

Aaaaanyway, this time I'm going to be realistic about my goals for the last week of October. I have a LOT going on this week, plus a few things that are super duper exciting, which I will tell you about next week. NO I'M NOT PREGNANT. Ohmygosh I can't believe you would even ask me that.

That being said, I have one single goal for this week and that is to find mint leaves and make a freaking mojito! I, an omnivore, will not be bested by a plant. 

Here's the plan: I will make a mojito, and then I will take a picture of it, and then I will blog about it.

The end.

The Nectar Collective

What Makes All the Difference

10.26.2013


It's hard to explain how horrible and awesome this year has been for me. Mostly hard to explain because I'm confused about how I feel about this year in general. It started out terrible. Like, depressed and crying all the time terrible.


A few weeks after The Meltdown, I got fired from my job, which was horrible and awesome. Horrible because being fired is one of the worst feelings ever. You feel worthless and stupid and humiliated and stressed out as crap because yesterday you had income and today you do not. 

Getting fired was also awesome because that job was not a good fit for me, and I was better off being broke and unemployed than being depressed and angry all the time at a job where I did nothing but sit at my desk and count down the minutes until I could leave and go home. Mostly. I mean, I still worked and all, but in the back of my mind I was calculating minutes like a wizard.

So that was February.
Now it's October, nearly November. Eight months went shockingly fast, and to say I have enjoyed more free time than I've had maybe ever is an understatement. No schedule! Pajamas all the time! Trips to the grocery store when no one else is there!

The downside? Our budget took a hit like a cocaine addict, and our house savings fund was growing at the rate of a leaky faucet. (Who's got two thumbs and a thing for metaphors? This girl!)

In the midst of it all, over the past eight months I've learned some amazing lessons about what it really looks like to trust. To have faith. To truly believe that everything will work out in due time.

I was reading a blog the other day, a blog I read regularly and enjoy quite a bit. The author was talking about how scared she is to take a leap of faith into doing freelance work, which I can definitely relate to. 

Then she said this: "I know that everything will work out, and I just need to trust myself and the universe."

That made me pause.

My goal here is not to point fingers at anyone, but when I read that I knew it was a great opportunity for me to share with you something that's made all the difference in my life when it comes to how I view my future. And yes, I'll spoil the suspense right now and tell you it's Jesus, but if you're rolling your eyes at me, just wait.

You see, to me it seems so sad and empty to trust the universe with anything. The huge universe, full of pain and death and billions of people--and somehow the universe just works out? It just all comes back around? Randomly by chance?

It makes all the difference to believe in a creator, a loving God who is watching out for me, who cares about me. Who loves me enough to work it out for my good. To go back to the quote above, it works out different yes, and it's better because that's how he planned it

There isn't time or space here for me to answer all the questions people ask about God. 
-Why would a loving God allow something like the Sandy Hook shootings to happen? 
-Why are Christians such hypocrites? 
-How can you say there's only one way to heaven? 

The list goes on and on, and they're all good questions.
It does seem contradictory to talk about a loving God when there's so much evil in the world. And yes, Christians are hypocritical. I feel sad for those who no longer go to church because they had a bad experience with a particular church or with a group of people who called themselves Christians. I wish that didn't have to happen. I hate everything about it.

Still, I do want to be clear on one thing:

Going to church doesn't make you perfect. It doesn't mean you have all the answers. It doesn't make you better than anyone else or give you an excuse to act like a jerk or "holier than thou." It doesn't mean you can write a hateful slogan on a piece of cardboard or beat people over the head with your Bible. 

It just means you're a sinner saved by grace who has acknowledged that you want Jesus to take control of your life. It means you're working hard, every day, to be more Christlike. It means when you fall, God picks you back up, dusts you off, and forgives you. Seventy times seven.

And it means that through it all he's working it out to be different from what we pictured. Different but better. Call me naive or foolish, but I truly, honestly believe that with all my heart.

And let's just say--for argument's sake--that I'm wrong, that there is no God. Isn't it still more comforting to believe in a creator watching over me and working things out for good than putting my faith in the universe to do that for me?

I think it is. 
It's what makes all the difference.

_________________
*I'd love your thoughts on this post, as always. Just remember that the purpose of this was not to get into a theological debate or start name calling. I just wanted to share something I have been thinking about this week. That to say, I know some of you will have a different view on the subject, and you are more than welcome to share it.

How to Start Running | Part 5: Fueling & Running Nutrition

10.23.2013

This topic was requested by Samantha, and it's one I became more interested in when I started my marathon training. I wanted to know how to eat both before and after a training run, as well as during the race itself, since I was going to be burning so many more calories. (Fun fact: I burned an estimated 3,300 calories during my marathon! That's a lot.)

What I've ultimately decided is not going to be very helpful for anyone who's not me. Basically, I've come to the conclusion that how much you eat and when is a matter of personal preference that comes from a long series of trial and error. 

Case in point: I have learned the hard way that eating Mexican food two hours before a run is a terrible idea. I realize this should have been obvious just in theory, but apparently I like learning these types of things for myself. (Remember what happened during my half marathon last Saturday?)

I mentioned this as one of my 10 things I've learned in my first 3 years of running, but I can't handle very much food before a run. Some people can eat a lot and be fine. I can't, although I do still try to eat a little something because, well, because you're supposed to. However, I am always so hungry after a run! I used to wonder how people could possibly eat right after a run, but now I pretty much shovel it in.

Other than personal preference, there are a few basic rules of fuel that are good for everyone to keep in mind. As you may have already gathered from reading my blog, I am not a poster child for eating healthy or dieting. I'll admit right now that I don't do everything/anything right when it comes to my eating habits, but hopefully in this post I can offer some practical advice to get you started. 

And maaaaybe some of my running friends will offer advice in the comments?

1. Eat something within the first 10-15 minutes after your run/workout.

For me, this usually means a glass of chocolate milk and a protein bar. You might be interested in reading this post, where I broke down the nutritional value of 4 different energy bars. As you will see,  Cliff Bars are my favorite, but I was sad the learn they have a lot of sugar. This shouldn't have surprised me, seeing as how they taste like a dang candy bar. You might be interested in checking out something like the Kona case, which sends a box of healthy, organic snacks for runners right to your mailbox every month. You can find my review of the July box here. I would totally buy this if I didn't have a budget. For real.

I might not eat a lot or eat something that's necessarily the best for me, but I always try to eat something. A bowl of cereal, some oatmeal, a bagel... Your body needs it!

2. If you're going on a long run, make sure you stop to eat & drink every couple of miles.

What I like to do is carry a protein bar with me or leave one in my car if I'll be making loops around my neighborhood. Every 3 miles or so I'll stop, get a drink, and take a bite of the energy bar. There's a science to fueling that I won't get into in this post (mostly because I don't really know what it is), but basically as you run your body is losing its stores of energy, so you need to be fueling during the run to build those stores back up. 

Have you heard of "the wall" a runner hits during a race? This is due to the fact that your body has been depleted of glycogen. (For more, read "How Hitting the Wall Works") You are going to hurt yourself if you don't take time to stop and get a drink. That's why there are water stops throughout races.

One reason I feel like my marathon went so well was because I ate throughout the race. Orange slices, GU, part of a banana... all those are good to build back the stored energy that I'm burning as I run. The hard part is figuring out exactly how YOUR body stores energy and what is the right method for fueling during a run. Some people love GU; some hate it. Some people carry Snickers bars with them (it's true! I've seen it); some people love energy chews; others eat fruit. I really don't think there's a right or wrong method to what you should or shouldn't eat during a run as long as you feel strong and healthy. That's where the trial and error comes in.

In the book I talked about in Part 1 (Run Less, Run Faster), they offer this formula as a simple way to estimate the number of calories needed on race morning:


(hours before the race) x (body weight in pounds) 
= (number of calories to eat)

I've never personally tried this, but it seems like it would work as least as a good estimation.

Hopefully this has helped to give you a little idea about how fueling works and at least a place to start. I don't pay as much attention to it as I should, but I think you'll be fine as long as you listen to your body, drink often, and avoid Mexican food for at least 5-6 hours before a run. 

Note: If you actually want to get faster and stronger, you should definitely look into more specific nutrition habits. My point for this post is that if you're just starting out, don't be intimidated by all the information out there on fuel and just do what feels right for you. Maybe keep a log of what you ate and whether your runs felt easy, hard, etc. to see if there's anything in particular that doesn't agree with your stomach while running.

If you have any additional questions, shout it out in the comments! Maybe a seasoned runner will be able to offer advice if I can't. *crosses fingers*

Check out these articles for more:

A Quick Comment on Weight Loss

Something interesting I discovered that many of you may already know is that it's actually not uncommon to gain weight while training. This most often happens while marathon training, although it has been known to occur during half marathon training as well. Usually with 5k and 10k training, weight gain isn't as common. Here is an interesting article on the topic.

The point here is that I know more than one person who started running "to lose weight" and then was disappointed when the weight wasn't falling off as quickly as they would like, if at all. I also know a few people who actually gained 10-15 pounds during marathon training. If weight loss is one of your reasons for starting to run, paying attention to your eating habits is going to be just as important as making sure you get your workouts in. Running alone isn't going to be the key to weight loss for most people.

Here is a helpful PDF on nutrition from Runner's World that I recommend checking out for more on running nutrition. And, as always, you can follow my boards on Pinterest for more great articles and tips.



Meet today's featured running bloggers!


< Claire's Blog | My Devising >


< Abbey's Blog | Finding My Forever >
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What's your go-to meal before/after a run?
Any other helpful fueling tips to add?


Also, just FYI, I have for sure one more post in this series planned and then possibly a runner's FAQ to end of the series. Let me know if you have any questions you want answered or anything to add that I have missed so far!

*I am not a personal trainer or physician. This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Contact your doctor before beginning a fitness routine or if you experience pain while exercising.

Crock-Pot Chicken & Wild Rice (aka Jordan's new favorite meal)

10.22.2013


I've been killing it on Pinterest recipes lately. Like, for real. I actually started a "entrees I've tried and liked" board, which is where I put all the Pinterest recipes I've, you know, tried and liked.

This most recent recipe is sure to be a staple in our house for years to come. As in, it's in the Crock-Pot right now for the second time in just a few weeks. It's so easy and super super super delicious. We served it with a side of steamed corn. Hello, yum.


Ingredients Needed 

3-4 chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or other cream of soup variety)
1 onion
1 box long grain & wild rice (like Uncle Ben's)

Find the full recipe here.

It uses a grand total of 4 ingredients and no prep time except cooking the rice and chopping an onion. Throw it all in the crock-pot and be done! Seriously, make this.

See what else I've been Pinning!

**Linking up with the lovely Ashley and Jessica for Taste of Tuesday!**

Half Marathon #6 Race Recap: The One with 1,000 Hills & No Toilet Paper

10.19.2013


Every so often you have a magical race where the stars align and everything goes exactly as you imagined. The weather is perfect, you're feeling good, and you wave in amazement as you fly past your time goal on glitter-covered angel wings.

Then there are the races where it's all you can do to not throw up all over the finish line.

Unfortunately for me, half marathon number six was the latter. I've alternatively named this race The One with 1,000 Hills and The One with No Toilet Paper. Both factors combined to make this race a battle like no other.

A few weeks ago I read an article about setting race goals. The author recommended having three: good, great, and awesome.

Good is your minimum goal. If nothing else, you can still have a good race if this happens. This type of goal could be finishing, not stopping to walk, or, in my case, having fun.

Your great goal is your second best. It's what you would be happy with if you started running and realized it just wasn't going to be your day. Mine was to finish under 2 hours.

The awesome goal is best-case scenario. This is what will happen if everything goes right. My awesome goal was a finish time of 1:55 or better.

I knew my awesome goal wasn't in me as soon as I had to make a port-a-potty stop at mile two. TWO. Oye.

The short story long is that earlier this week I received an unscheduled visit from my red dot friend. And I don't mean coupons in the mail from Target. So add that to race jitters, and I was already in trouble bathroom wise. I HAVE ISSUES! Someone tell me I'm not alone.

I went to the bathroom before I left the apartment but didn't go the bathroom in the port-a-potty once I got to the race because there wasn't any toilet paper. My nerves had abated, and I figured I would be okay. Almost as soon as I started running I knew I was not okay.

So I stopped at the first bathroom I spotted, which, ironically, had no toilet paper. Curse everything. I tried to be quick, but I probably wasted a full minute in there, after which I sprinted the rest of mile 2 because I was mad to be off pace so soon. That was when I promised myself I would always carry an emergency TP stash to races.

I feel like every time I talk about running I also tell a horrible bathroom story.

I arrived at mile 3 nursing a pretty serious side cramp from the furious sprinting. That's when I threw Awesome Goal out the window and set my sights on Great Goal while muttering, "You will have fun" to myself. When you have to tell yourself to have fun, you know you're having a good time.

It took at least half a mile to get rid of the side cramp. I just kept breathing really deep and trying to run as upright as I could. I read once that deep breaths help cramps, and it definitely works for me. 

Miles 4-10 were pretty good, and I actually did a decent job making up some time I'd lost. My pace was in the 8:30-8:40 range for the middle part of the race. I got into a groove while rocking out to my sweet tunes, and I actually was enjoying myself quite a bit. Good Goal success.

Then.
The hills.

When I say hills, I'm not talking about a straight road that sort of inclines. I'm talking a direct route to the sky. Just picture a vertical line. Then picture three of those, all in a row, taking up the greater portion of miles 11 and 12.

It. Was. Brutal.

I actually did stop to walk twice for maybe 5-10 seconds each. It was just so hard, and I was feeling super nauseous. I actually dry heaved a couple of times, which was really fun. Once was right in front of a photographer, so I can't wait to see that glorious picture.

There was no sprint to the finish because I was just trying to keep it together, and all I could think about was how embarrassing it would be to barf all over the finish line. I mean seriously. Has that ever happened at a race before? What would they do? Throw down a towel, I guess.

In any case, I didn't throw up, although as I hung over the fence after I finished I kept having flashbacks to watching The Biggest Loser contestants barfing in buckets after a hard workout. I don't know what the deal was. I've never felt like that after a race before. I think I just pushed really hard, and the hills were a killer.

My finish time according to the official results was 1:57:26, although that was gun time, not chip time, so my actual time is probably 20 seconds less. In any case, obviously I did not hit Awesome Goal, but I did hit Great Goal, which I am super proud of all things considered. And anyway, it's not realistic to expect to PR every single race. I'll just have to try again!

Besides the dry heaving and the lack of toilet paper and the suicide hills, there were some good things.

1. The weather was awesome! It was chilly at the start (35 degrees), but it wasn't a terrible kind of bone-chilling cold, and it felt great once I got started.

2. I wore the perfect outfit! This being my first really chilly run of the fall season, I had a hard time deciding what to wear. I finally ended up with a pair of leggings and my oiselle arm sleeves, which I LOVE. It sucks to wear the wrong thing for a race.

So there you have it! Half marathon number six is in the books. The Lady Okie over and out.


RACE STATS
Distance: 13.1
Time: 1:57
Pace: 8:56 min/mile
Age group placement: 9/42
Female placement: 28/221
Overall placement: 80/344
Personal half marathon rank: 2nd fastest out of 6 run

The Boy Behind the Blog (I Live with a Cheesehead)

10.17.2013


1. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Awesome. Manly. Handsome. Stubborn. Awesome.
(Yes, he said awesome twice. See what kind of ridiculousness I have to deal with?)

2. What is your biggest fear?

Something happening to Amanda.
(Insert collective awww.)

3. What is your favorite candy?

Those peanut butter bar things.

(I hunted the Great Internet Land for a picture in case that description wasn't specific enough.)
4. What was the best Halloween costume you've ever worn?

That would either be when I dressed up as Dr. Grant from Jurassic Park or Lt. Commander Geordi Laforge from Star Trek.

(I  have added a picture of the Star Trek guy for your reference since I had no idea who he was.)

5. Who is your favorite football team?

I'll let the picture speak for itself.

Mal Smiles

How to Start Running | Part 4: 3 Ways to Avoid Injury

10.16.2013


* * * 

As I have said and will continue to repeat: I am not a personal trainer or physician. However, over the past 3+ years I have managed to stay injury free (unless you count a few blisters and some boob chafing), so I feel like it's not completely ridiculous for me to offer advice on this topic.

For today's post, I want to focus on three things I feel are important to staying fresh and avoiding injury. That's not to say that even if you do these things you won't get injured, but it will reduce your risk.


1. Stretch


There's an ongoing debate about whether you really need to stretch before you start running. Me personally? I don't. I've noticed that the first few minutes of a run (or first few miles) are slower, and that's just me warming up.

There is, however, no debate about the importance of stretching after a run.

I used to not take the time to stretch or if I did, I would maybe stretch for 2-3 minutes after a run. Now I consistently spend 5-10 minutes stretching, and honestly, I really don't know why you wouldn't want to stretch. It feels so good, and it's a great reward for your hard workout. Well, that and chocolate milk. Amen.

Also, I can tell a difference when I haven't stretched. When I don't stretch, I'm more sore and tight the rest of the day and the next day as well. Here are a few links to stretching resources. You can find more helpful tips on my Fitness board on Pinterest.

-Lower Back Stretches for Runners
-Fit Tip: Stretch to Success
-A Stretch for Your Lower Back and Hips
-5 Injury-Prevention Stretches for Runners
-30-second stretches to do after a run


2. Stick to Your Training Schedule

I mentioned this in Part 3: Setting a Schedule, but it's important that once you set a schedule that works for you, don't compare yourself to what other people are doing

Example: Let's say you and a friend are signed up to run the same race at the same distance. But your friend has been running longer than you and has a personal goal in mind that's faster than your goal time. Or maybe your only goal is to finish.

Your schedule says to run 5 miles on a specific day, but your friend is running 7 miles. Should you try to run the seven miles with her? I would suggest not.

Now, obviously sometimes it's okay. Maybe you're ahead of your training, or your schedule ends up being too easy and you want to see if you can take it up a notch. However, in general, I strongly suggest sticking with the plan you had in mind when you started.

What I want to be clear about is that during training you will come across all kinds of people doing different mileage than you. Don't freak out and think you need to increase your training! You don't. Trust the schedule and listen to your body, and don't compare to what anyone else is doing.

Overuse leads to injury, and if you run too much too fast, you are almost guaranteed to hurt yourself. Just ask my dad, who got a stress fracture in his foot during marathon training due to overuse. The key is gradual increase. Whether that's in time or distance, only crazy people (like my brother) go out and run 13 miles with no training. Usually it doesn't end well.

3. Take Rest Days

First of all, every plan you will ever see includes at least 1 rest day a week. That means doing nothing and not feeling bad about it. You've earned rest and, more importantly, your body needs rest to recover and be stronger for the next time.

How many days a week you plan a rest day is up to you. For me, again, I have at least 2 rest days per week. Some people only have 1 rest day a week. Some people have 3. Neither is bad as long as you're doing what's right for you and your goals.

On top of scheduled rest days, you also should know that it's okay to take an unscheduled rest day. This is not something you should feel bad about or beat yourself up over. 

There are many different reasons to take an unscheduled rest day: scheduling conflict, weather, preventative injury rest, lack of sleep, feeling sick, and the list goes on. Obviously, taking an unscheduled rest day just because you "don't feel like running" is pretty lame, especially if you do it every time you have a run scheduled. However, sometimes you just need a rest! You aren't feeling the run, maybe you don't have time to squeeze it in, maybe you're starting to feel sick. Some people may disagree with me about this, but I say it's okay. 

You're not going to lose months' worth of training by skipping one or two runs, and forcing yourself to run if you just aren't feeling it is going to make running feel like a chore. This should not be the case the majority of the time, so if you really aren't feeling it, don't go! That's been my attitude about running since the beginning. For me it's helped keep running fun and something I look forward too instead of something that overtakes my life and makes me sad.

Here are a few additional articles to check out:

5 Things Runners Should Know About Knees
How to Prevent Common Running Injuries
Workouts to Injury-Proof Your Body
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Do you agree with me about rest days? 
What other tips do you have to add about not getting injured? 

*I am not a personal trainer or physician. This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Contact your doctor before beginning a fitness routine or if you experience pain while exercising.
・ DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS