Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Race Recap: Doreen Myers 5K 2012

I live in S.E. Georgia - Home of the Small Town Festival.

Every small town around here has an associated festival, complete with parade, a festival Queen, food and craft vendors, local entertainment on stage and an associated race.

St. Marys, Georgia has the Rock Shrimp Festival
Kingsland, Georgia has the Catfish Festival
Folkston, Georgia has the Okefenokee Festival

And Woodbine, Georgia has the Crawfish Festival and Doreen Myers 5K Race, which my husband and I ran on Saturday.  This is actually a fairly decent sized race with about 170 participants and official race times for everyone.  There were no chips, but my Garmin and the official results are spot on, so whatever their system, it worked.

The race started at 7:30 am, and we arrived around 6:50.  Parking was easy and packet pick up was a breeze - one of the benefit to these smaller races.  They were handing out "Run For Boston" bracelets at the start and finish of the race, which I thought was a nice sentiment!

After attaching my bib, I started my warm up run.  I had already gone through all my rolling and stretching at home, but I knew that in these short races I absolutely must have at least a mile warm up to get my body moving.  There were no race port-o-johns, but there were festival ones that I came upon during my warm up.  Positively the grossest port-o-johns I have ever seen!  I will spare you the details.  After looking through them all, I finally found one that I could hover over without feeling totally sick.  I'm telling you right now - running is not for the dainty!!

I made it to the start line about 5 minutes before race time.  Chatted with my husband and a few friends, had a moment of silence for Ms. Doreen Myers and then we were off.  I - as usual - went out too fast.  It's just so hard in a race to reign it in, especially when I'm feeling so good.  This was my first serious race since I had to take time off earlier this year for injuries, and I was just hoping to come in under 30 minutes.   However, when I finished the first mile at a 8:55 pace, I figured I was either going to do pretty well, or end up crashing and burning!

There was a little boy and his father that I ran with for the entire race.  The boy was around 9 or 10 and this was his first 5K. (Actually just looked him up - his name was Ashton and he was 10)  We kind of leap-frogged each other for most of the race.  But when he turned on his sprint during the last 1/4 mile to pass me for the last time, I yelled "you are going to beat me".  He turned around with a big grin on his face and said "That's the idea!"  That gave me the kick I needed for the final bit, because, honestly, at that point I was starting to get that nauseous feeling that means I have taken myself as far as I can go.  Right at the end, when I was thinking this race was not worth throwing up over, I turned a corner and saw a nice downhill ramp onto the boardwalk that would end the race.  I gave a 'Whoop!" and managed to pick up the pace enough to end the race in 28:46!  Only 29 seconds off my 5K PR of 28:17!
Making sure I stop my Garmin at the finish line!!

I found Brian, a banana and a water bottle, and then we stood around talking to friends for a couple of hours waiting for the results... that never came.  Apparently, there were some technical difficulties.  However, they finally posted the results online yesterday, and I was thrilled to find out that I came in 3rd in the 40-49 age group!!!  Brian also came in 3rd in the 40-49 age group with a time of 25:04.

So here is my Race Wrap-Up:

Doreen Myers 5K Run/Walk 
Time: 28:46

  • 170 participants is a nice race size.  Enough people that you are never running alone, but not so many that you are tripping over each other.  
  • Course was flat and scenic - even though I develop tunnel vision during a race and tend not to even notice.  
  • Water stop at 1.2 miles had ice water!  I loved that!
  • Parking and packet pick-up were painless.
  • Route was free of local traffic and staffed with plenty of volunteers to keep you on track.
  • The race ended at a different place than it started.  I do not like this at 5Ks since that means that my conveniently parked vehicle is now 1/2 mile away.   Next year, I will know to park closer to the finish line.
  • No results or awards presentation - although this was due to technical issues that should be resolved next year.
  • Sand Gnats - not really a problem during the race but terrible as we were standing around afterward.  I did have bug spray in my car (of course) but it was parked a half mile away.  Next year I will put it on before the race.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Favorites: A Roller, a Ball and a Stick, Oh My! (Part 3 of 3)

Two weeks ago, I began a 3 part series documenting my favorite massage tools.  In Part One I reviewed "The Stick Travel Massager".  If you missed that post it is HERE.  Last week I reviewed "The Grid Foam Roller" by Trigger Point.  You can find that review HERE.

Part 3: "Massage Ball" by Trigger Point Review

(Before I begin, I'd like to point out that Trigger Point has a new, slightly larger, slightly harder massage ball - The X-Factor Massage Ball.  I have not tried this product, but I imagine that for my main purpose - glute/hip massage - it would be better suited.  I'm happy with the original ball, but if I were buying today... oh, who am I kidding.  I'd probably still get the original because $25 for a glorified tennis ball is ridiculous!)

 The original Massage Ball by Trigger Point Therapy

As I stated last week, I have a continuing problem with hip pain.  It moves from hip to hip and comes and goes both during running and afterward.  I've seen a couple of therapists and no one can pin it down.  Is it bursitis?  Problems with my gluteus medius?  Tendonitis?  IT Band issues?
Who knows???
But it hurts.  In fact, 2 months into my running adventure it brought me to my knees.  I could barely walk the pain was so bad. 
In the intervening months, I have become an expert on managing my own hip pain - and at this point I have discovered some things that are effective for me.  I am including them here because I was helped so much by other's experiences. 

A few weeks after my initial hip pain started, I had found two things that seemed to be working.  The first was the Grid Foam Roller, which I reviewed last week.

The other thing - a mini-miracle really - was a somatic exercise that I found online.

                      (Exercise content starts about 3 minutes in.)

When I tried this exercise, I found immediate relief of my hip pain.  I still do this release before every run and have been known to stop and do it in the middle of a run!  I did order one of her Essential Somatics DVDs and found it helpful.  I'll save that review for another time.

I do not now believe that I have IT band pain, but this exercise does seem to work for whatever I do have.

Anyway - in my never ending search for hip pain relief, I visited my local running store - Jacksonville Running Company.  You know - that store I can't seem to go into without handing over my savings acct. number!
I happened to mention my hip problem to one of the employees.  And he brought out this ... umm... glorified tennis ball.  Then he got down on the ugliest, nastiest rug and showed me one move with the ball.  It is the move my daughter demonstrated with the foam roller last week:
Except there is a ball under your butt instead of the roller.  The key to this move is to cross the leg of the hip you are working on over the leg you are balancing on.  This opens up the hip and allows you to work the ball deeper into the muscle.  Just roll around on it slowly until you find  the spot that hurts.  It is likely to hurt VERY MUCH - like an 8 on the 10 pt. pain scale hurt!  I usually find the spot, and then slowly lower my weight onto the ball until the pain is too much.  Then I hold that position until the pain starts to fade and allow a little more weight to press down into the ball.  Eventually, all of my weight is on the ball and the pain is mostly gone.  I then roll the ball around a bit and repeat on the other side.

Well, I got down on that nasty rug and tried this move - and walked out with a $20 ball.  Supposedly, this is better than an actual tennis ball because it is firmer.  I've not confirmed that, myself, but I do know that this one massage move is the most beneficial to my hip problem.  I NEVER run without doing this exercise first, and this ball is convenient to take with me to every run, race, whatever.

Supposedly, this ball can be used for all sorts of massage.  I have not done that.  I have only used it on my hip and the bottoms of my feet.  I prefer the Stick and the Grid Roller for massaging other areas.  However, even though I have made fun of the price, I do feel that this ball was worth every penny.  It has saved me from chiropractic visits and massages that would have cost much more. 

In conclusion, if you are suffering from hip or glute pain, I think this ball is worth a try.  If you are in need of deep tissue massage on hard to access parts of your body, this could be just the ticket.  But if you are looking for a general purpose massage tool, I'd stick with the rollers. 

And there you have it.  Reviews of my three favorite massage tools.  My 4th favorite is my husband - but he is hard to stuff in a gym bag :)

May you run happy today!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Have Ugly Feet!

I'm declaring Wednesday "Get Real" day, and here is my REAL fact:

My feet are ugly!

I don't mean the typical runner ugly - I mean ugly.  Period.
I wasn't born that way.  I am quite sure that my little baby feet were quite plump and kissable.  But they were also rather wide, so when I started school and had to wear shoes all day, my capacious feet were bound up in too narrow shoes which eventually caused my 4th toe to sit up on top of the others.  When I think back to my childhood, I cannot remember any shoe ever feeling comfortable.  It seemed perfectly normal for my feet to be tormented all day.

I spent a lot of time trying to hide my feet.  All shoes had to cover my toes and I avoided any situation where I might be barefoot in public.  I remember being at the beach with friends and trying to bury my toes in the sand with each step so they couldn't be seen.

But today - Get Real Wednesday - I am revealing my ugly feet to total strangers in internet-land!  I am so brave! 

I DID warn you!

As an adult, my one goal has been to find comfortable shoes that will actually fit my feet and hide their ugliness.   I have never been able to enjoy shopping for "cute" shoes.  Most of my shoe shopping trips end in tears.  Not figurative tears - real tears, streaming down my face, of frustration and sadness.

I have 3 pairs of orthopedic sandals that I wear year-round.  They all look basically like this:
Orthaheel Sandals - most comfortable shoes I've ever worn!

 I wear them with pants, shorts, dresses and pajamas.  They are uber-comfortable.  They are not fashionable.

Yesterday while shopping at TJ Maxx, I found.... drum-roll, please......
cute shoes that were comfortable and looked good on my feet!

 This is the first pair of high heeled shoes I have purchased in 2 or 3 years!  I just love them!

One of the unforeseen benefits of running, is that I have now joined an entire community of ugly-footed people!  Blisters, callouses, black toenails, missing toenails.   No one even bats an eye.  They are just par for the course.  Perfectly normal. 
Why, I fit right in!

Just another thing I love about being a runner!

Do you have any physical flaws that you try to hide?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Tunes #3

Each week I share with you some of the songs on my running playlist.  If you are into Rap, R&B, Country or Electronic Music you might want to look elsewhere - but if you like Pop, Rock, Alternative, or Contemporary Christian Music you might find something you like!

Many training plans and running form clinics recommend a running cadence of 180 steps per minute (90 steps on each foot per minute).  Whether this works for everyone, I don't know.  But, I do find that I am a far more efficient runner - no matter the speed - if I am taking 175-185 steps per minute.   Here are some songs that help me maintain that cadence

"Light up the Sky" - Thousand Foot Crutch - 178bpm (2X89)
This is a race day favorite - really pumps me up!

"Hey Mama" - Mat Kearney - 180 bpm (2x90)
This is such a fun and happy song.  Love it!

What could be more worshipful than using our "fearfully and wonderfully made" body, powered by the Lord Almighty, to run surrounded by the beauty of His Creation?! 

"You Are" - Colton Dixon - 192 bpm (96x2)
I missed American Idol last season, but I am enjoying this guy's music.

Our final category is reserved for those songs that always make me pick up the pace.  Songs that put a huge grin on my face and a spring in my step!

"Good Morning" - Mandisa - 120bpm
I always start my long run with this song!

May you run happy today!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Favorites: A Roller, a Ball and a Stick, Oh My! (Part 2 of 3)

Last Friday I began a 3 part series documenting my favorite massage tools.  I reviewed "The Stick" massager.  If you missed that post it is HERE.

Part 2: "The Grid Foam Roller" by Trigger Point Review

When I started experiencing hip tightness and pain with running, I first turned to Dr. Internet for advice.  At the time, I remember seeing this particular foam roller show up several times as a recommended item.  So I looked up the price.  $40!  For a 13 inch piece of plastic?  Not interested.

I continued to research other (cheaper) massage methods (including making my own version of "The Stick").  I began doing stretches, somatic exercises - even signed up for private Pilates classes.  Sometimes I crack myself up with the amount of money I will spend to try and avoid spending money. 

Then, one day, my husband and I visited a different local running store.  Of course, when I say "local" I mean 45 miles away in Jacksonville, FL.  Nonetheless, on my first trip to Jacksonville Running Company, I walked in and told the employee I has having hip pain while running.  He nodded, pulled out this baby and said - "Go ahead - try it!"   Within 30 seconds I looked up at my husband and said "I'm taking this home!"

 It felt that good!

When I stood up after a scant 2-3 minutes using the Grid Foam Roller,  I noticed a significant difference in my IT band tightness.

There are 2 things I almost never do while shopping:
1) Impulse buy
2) Pay full price

I did both that day and have never regretted it.  This foam roller just seems to get to my problem areas better than regular rollers.  It is stiffer and has less give.  It is also a more convenient size to take along than longer rollers. (I take this to every race to use beforehand)   I have not yet missed any extra length.  The 13 inch length has proved adequate for my use.

  • Provides a deep, effective massage to larger muscle groups like Quads and glutes.
  • Durable.  After 9 months of almost daily use, mine still looks brand new.
  • Compact as far as foam rollers go.
  • Can be used for core exercise as well.
  • Cost more than traditional foam rollers
  • As with all foam rollers, can be difficult to maneuver body into a position for most effective massage.

There are plenty of sites on the web to show you how to use this roller, but I wanted to demonstrate one exercise that I think is the most effective for hip/glute deep tissue massage. 
Turns out it was easier to have my 6 year old pose while I took the pic than vice versa!

If you are experiencing tightness in quads, hips, glutes, lower back or hamstrings and would like a pre-run alternative to stretching or a way to help relieve pain afterward I highly recommend this roller.  It is one of the best for all around massage - although not the best for my specific hip problems.  I'm reviewing that option next week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - Boston Marathon Edition

Yesterday was a horrific day in the lives of Americans, and was especially painful to the running community.
In light if such sadness, I thought I should skip Tuesday Tunes.  But then I remembered the power of music to heal and encourage.  So this is a special edition of Tuesday Tunes which will (hopefully) include songs to encourage you as you run today in honor of the victims and loved ones of this act of terrorism.

Before I list the songs, I wanted to link to a friend's blog post, which I think quite eloquently expresses what a lot of us are feeling.  It is a beautiful post and worth reading.

Run for Your Life - The Fray - 161 bpm
This was the very first song I thought of and I think it really captures the sense of loss and community.

When We Stand Together - Nickleback - 188 bpm
A wonderful call-to-action type song.

Stand - Britt Nicole - 188 bpm (2x94)
Worshipful song of encouragement.

May you be blessed today and in the days to come.  Thank you so much for being a part of my world!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston - I'll Never Know Thee

I just found out that the Boston Marathon is run on a Monday.  
Apparently that is Boston's Patriot Day - 3rd Monday in April. 

I won't be there.  In fact, I've pretty much had to abandon the dream of ever running a full marathon.  I am a realist, and I must accept my body's limitations. 

I'm injury prone.

This isn't anything new.  I had periods of time in my early 30's with back pain so intense that I was unable to do much of anything for weeks at a time.  Thankfully, with the help of my chiropractor, I have been able to keep that under control for the past decade. 
When I started Zumba, I suffered knee problems, plantar fasciitis, and constant ankle strains.  Thanks to Astym (and my Physical therapist) - my PF and ankle pain were cured, and strength training helped with the knee problems.
When I started strength training I injured my rotator cuff and that took a couple of years to clear up.
And when I started running - hip pain became my nemesis.  Not to mention falling and breaking my fingers.

Yes, I am injury prone.
But I'd rather not focus on the negative.
I'd rather count my MANY blessings.
  1. I am able to run, dance, do yoga, etc.  So many people are unable to even attempt these things!  I think that sometimes, those who haven't suffered injury take for granted the miracle of just being able to work their body!  To be able to challenge their limits and see them expand!  That is an incredible feeling!
  2. I have fantastic insurance that (mostly) pays for Dr. visits, PT visits, chiropractic visits and even my post-race massages!
  3. I have the time to concentrate on running.
  4. I'm married to my running partner!  So often we'll be running side by side and I'll look over and just praise God that my husband loves and is able to run!  It transforms running from a fun exercise into a bonding activity.
  5. I have babysitters!  Back when my first 4 children were young, my husband and I could never get away to do much of anything together - let alone run.  But these days I have a grown daughter at home, another daughter who lives minutes from our running route, and a mother in law who lives nearby.    We are free to go to races or train without worrying about the little ones!
  6. I have money to pay race fees, buy CW-X compression wear and decent running shoes.

(Running the Zooma 1/2 marathon with broken fingers)

So, I may never run a marathon, but I just can't help but praise God for all the things I can do!  And today, I will be following the progress of several of my blogging buddies as they run the Boston Marathon.  Living vicariously through others - that's Blessing #7!

So, what are you thankful for?
Do you have plans to run Boston one day?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Today Was a Very Good Day!

I have been smiling all day long.


Well, thank you for asking!
It's because my long run today was awesome!  For the first time since I resumed running 6 weeks ago,  I ran my long run at pre-injury speed.  And I was a full 15 seconds per mile faster than last Saturday's run of the same distance!

Also:  Runner's World just put up this article, which confirms that I am actually timing my workouts for best performance!  Who knew?

We run our long run on Saturday mornings because we are always back before our 18 y.o. daughter has anything planned (or is even out of bed!)   Our hard runs are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  I clicked on the article link sure that I was running all wrong.  I guess the joke's on me! :)   According to RW, the best time for long runs is in the morning when you are in a fasted state and with a low core temp.  And the best time for harder runs is in the evening when the body is warmed up and we have more carbohydrates available for energy.

The only reason we run in the evenings on Tuesday and Thursday is because that is when my children take Taekwondo - at the same place that we like to run.  So, we are already there and we have babysitters!
This is before Gracie's first Taekwondo class last year.  She is now a green belt and Levi is a brown belt.

What time of day do you run?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Favorites: A Roller, a Ball and a Stick - Oh MY! (Part 1 of 3)

 Part One: The Stick Review and how to make your own for under $12!

When I first started running in May 2012 it was at our local park, where there is a very nice .45 mile walking trail.  At first this seemed plenty far to me!  But as my mileage increased, it got increasingly boring, so on Saturday morning, August 4th, my husband and I set out on my very first "long run".  We used a route a friend had printed out for us in an area I was unfamiliar with.  Here is what I wrote on Endomondo after that run:

"This was our first attempt running a Saturday Long run.  Everything that could go wrong did.  My GPS was screwed up, and I injured  my hip and had to cut the run short."

I know exactly when it happened.  There was an area where the sidewalk ended and there was high grass for about 50 feet before the sidewalk resumed.  Now that I know this area like the back of my hand, I know how to bypass this sidewalk breach - but at the time I just bounded through. 

A 45 year old beginning runner should not "bound".


Long story shortened for you, Dear Reader, I am now very familiar with various massage tools as well as many other methods for alleviating hip pain.  Today, I'd like to review "The Stick" massager.

 Well, being a cheapskate, before I bought The Stick I tried making my own.  It looked like this:

I used a piece of 3/4 inch PVC pipe for the main part.  Then I bought a bunch of 1" couplings, slid them on the pipe, and finished the whole thing with foam bicycle handle grips that I purchased from Amazon for about $6.  This actually worked quite well!  The couplings were nice because they have a raised ridge in the center which help them to rotate more freely.  It does tend to pinch bare skin a bit, but that only seemed to bother me and not my husband.   In fact, my husband Brian, still uses this stick every day at work before his lunch run.

As for the actual Travel Stick Massager, I chose that size based mostly on price and Amazon reviews.  It is indeed an upgrade from my homemade version in that it looks nicer and doesn't pinch my skin as badly.  However they work much the same - and while I feel the massage it provides is quite nice for calves, shins, and even hamstring/quads, for me it is inadequate for my hips and glutes.  It feels nice to use on these areas, but simply doesn't provide the penetration to get to my really tight hip areas.  I do find this tool very helpful for relieving tight calves before a run, and I like the slight flexibility that allows it to conform to the roundness of my leg.  Another pro is that you don't have to get into any difficult or awkward positions  to use this.  You just roll it up and down your leg like a rolling pin.

From what I have read, many trainers do recommend rolling instead of stretching pre-run.  A good article about how rolling prepares us to run can be found here.

Who would I recommend this for?

Someone whose main area of concern is in the lower leg or a runner who just wants an alternative to stretching pre-run that doesn't require him/her to get on the ground.

Tune in next week when I review the Trigger Point Grid Roller in Part 2!

What are your favorite massage tools?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Running Is Just One Big Time Management Game!

Can you keep a secret? 
 I try not to let this get out, since everyone thinks being a homeschooling Mom is sooo much work - and I have sooo little time, because I am basically lesson planning, teaching, cleaning and baking bread from scratch ALL DAY LONG.
But the fact is that I have perfected the art of wasting time.  And one of my time-wasting addictions is computer games.  I don't mean the fancy online social games like World of Warcraft or even Farmville.  Nope, my dealer is Big Fish Games, and I love a good, old-fashioned "Download and Play all by Yourself" time management game.    Like this one:

I played this game for weeks... until I had made "GOLD" on every level.  Sometimes I would work on one level for hours, just to get that elusive gold star.   Silver was not good enough!

All for what?
No one knew but me.
No one cared but me.
But I had a blast just challenging myself!  I loved that game, and was kinda sad when I finally completed it.

Last night - as I was replaying a level of my newest favorite game for the 5th time, I had a thought.
Running is just like computer games.

Absolutely NO ONE cares how fast I run - or even IF I run.
No one cares if I PR.  
Oh, my husband or other family members might act like they care, but what they really care about is me and how I feel.  They do not derive any personal sense of accomplishment or joy from my faster time.
And that doesn't bother me one bit.
You see for me, running is all about the numbers.
Yes, running is a fantastic anti-depressant and great for fitness.  But so is Zumba, or Spin, or Yoga.
And no, I do not just looove the great outdoors!  I live in the hottest, most humid, most bug-infested area of the United States! 
I run for the thrill of shaving 5 seconds off my 400 meter time.
I run for the thrill of running 1/2 a mile further than I did the last time.
I run for the thrill of running 1 more mile this week than last!
I run for the thrill of looking down at my Garmin and realizing that I am running a 10 minute pace and I'm not even breathing hard.

No, I'm not leaving my Garmin at home!  And yes,  I'll keep playing these levels until I make GOLD!

 Proof that S.E. Georgia is a HOT and BUGGY place to run!  Those little black dots are Sand Gnats.  (BTW, they taste like chicken!)

Why do YOU run?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Tunes #1

Each week I share with you some of the songs on my running playlist.  If you are into Rap, R&B, Country or Electronic Music you might want to look elsewhere - but if you like Pop, Rock, Alternative, or Contemporary Christian Music you might find something you like!

Many training plans and running form clinics recommend a running cadence of 180 steps per minute (90 steps on each foot per minute).  Whether this works for everyone, I don't know.  But, I do find that I am a far more efficient runner - no matter the speed - if I am taking 175-185 steps per minute.   Here are some songs that help me maintain that cadence.

  1. Fight For You - Jason Derulo - 178 bpm  (2X89)
    (YouTube video) (Amazon)
  2. Welcome to the Show - Britt Nicole - 180bpm (2X90)
    (YouTube video) (Amazon)
  3. Hey Mama - Mat Kearney - 180bpm (2X90)
    (YouTube video) (Amazon)

What could be more worshipful than using our "fearfully and wonderfully made" body, powered by the Lord Almighty, to run surrounded by the beauty of His Creation?! 

  1. I Will Run - Misty Edwards - 172 bpm (2X86)
    (YouTube video) (Amazon)
    This is a race favorite!

Our final category is reserved for those songs that always make me pick up the pace.  Songs that put a huge grin on my face and a spring in my step!

  1. Running Just to Catch Myself - Mark Schultz - 155bpm
    (YouTube video) (Amazon)
    Boredom Busting Song!

Monday, April 8, 2013

1,000 miles in 2013!

Back in December 2012, I was training for my first half marathon and averaging around 23 miles a week.  During the last week of the year, I found a facebook group with the goal of running 1,000 miles in 2013.  That is about 19 miles a week - which sounded doable.  And I am a goal oriented person, so.....
I signed up to join the group.  I believe my exact post was
 "Barring injury, I think I'll give this a try."
I added the bold here to relay a sense of foreshadowing.

Enter 2013.

The evening of the very first day of 2013 I went for a 7 mile run. 
(Cue the "shark approaching" music from Jaws)
Near the end of the run I tripped and fell.  Not the kind of fall where you think "Whoops, I'm falling!" and spread out your hands to catch yourself.  This was the type of fall where one second you are running, and the next micro-second your face is planted against concrete.  
And your hand is jammed underneath you.  
And you immediately know that this is very, very bad!

(Right hand - pinkie broken, ring finger pretty much shattered, but I'm still wearing my Road I.D.!)

It has been a long recovery.  I still - 4 months later - cannot bend my last two fingers and my first two fingers have limited movement.  My Dr. told me not to run at all - but I did manage to run the 1/2 marathon 3 weeks later.  (I'm sure I'll do a report on that in the future.)  However, I ended up injuring the tendons in the top of my left foot during the half, and ultimately was knocked out of running until March.
Oh the irony!
But here is my very good news!
Last week was the first week I was able to run over 20 miles.  23 in fact!! 
It feels so good!

I am incredibly grateful to God for each step I am able to run.  I now realize that I can never know when tragedy might strike - when I might break a bone, pull a muscle, inflame a tendon or develop a stress fracture.  But I can be thankful that for now - in this very moment - I am running and it is good!

And I still haven't given up on my goal of 1,000 miles in 2013!

 What were your goals for this year? Well, 1,000 miles Are you meeting them? I should be at 265 miles and I'm at 137, so not really.  But If I run 23 miles per week from here on out, maybe.  Oh - no pressure there!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Car Distance Stickers-Love Them or Hate Them?

Yesterday, while leaving TJ Maxx - where I had been scouring the racks for great deals on running clothes (and I need more running clothes like a dog needs more fleas) I saw this:

Wild Guess: The owner of this vehicle will not be at my next 5K!

Then there is my husband who, after completing his first half-marathon,  put this magnet on his beat up old pick-up truck:
This got me thinking about these types of stickers in general.  I've been exposed enough to the "run blogging" world to know the disdain for them that many share.  In fact, I've heard so much negative that I refused to get one.
When I showed the zero point zero photo to my husband, he chuckled and said: "Oh!  That reminds me.  I meant to get you one after your half!  Why don't you go on Amazon and order one now?"

Why don't I?
  Well, because I'll look like a total loser, that's why!  I mean, it's just a half.  It's not like I ran a REAL marathon!  And I don't want to make anyone feel like this:

But then I stopped myself.  I worked hard for 6 months to get ready for that itty-bitty half.  I went through therapy for my ankle, therapy for my hip, running in 90 degree heat, ice baths, days where I was too sore to move and finally, falling and breaking my fingers.  
To some it might be "just a half", but for me it was a big freaking deal!
And so I ordered my 13.1 magnet.
In bright PINK!!

Do you have any runner identification stuff on your car?  Why? or Why not?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Favorites : Feetures! Elite Sock Review

Let's talk socks!

When I first started running in May 2012, I was content with whatever sport socks I had picked up at TJ Maxx.  And a normal person would have remained content.  
 But not Product Research Queen Mendy!
(Maybe I should make that my official title!)
No, I had to find the BEST socks.
So I did my research and found out that there was definitely a best sock - the Drymax/Thorlo/Injinji/Wrightsock!  It seemed that everyone had an opinion - and a sock they "could not run without!"

I took one look at the prices and decided I could, in fact, run without!   After that, injuries took over my attention and I forgot the whole thing.
Until I found myself in my local running store one morning.
With a 15% off socks sale.
I am a total sucker for sales!
So, I sat down on a bench and ordered the salesperson to "show me what you've got!"
(This is what I LOVE about local running stores - having employees at my beck and call!  Try that at a Big Box store!)
Thankfully, this employee was unusually patient and basically let me try on every sock in the store.  I was not impressed - well, not $15-20 a pair impressed anyway.  Then he slipped these babies on my feet:
It was LOVE I tell you!
  Something about the arch support felt so good to my post-plantar fasciitis feet.  And the cushioning was just perfect - not too thick or thin. 

 So I brought a pair home, and they immediately became the "sock I cannot run without!"
Yes, I am now one of those runners!
I have purchased more of these socks (and even their compression sock which I will review at a later time but, in short - LOVE!) and find that they hold up well and do not require any special treatment.
The socks are left-right specific and clearly marked on top, but better yet, the size is imprinted inside the ankle cuff.  This is very handy when doing laundry since my husband and I have identical colors.   So, If you are looking for another opinion in the sea of sock recommendations, this is mine!
What is your favorite sock?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Family Run?

Last Saturday, Brian and I ran the local Bunny Hop 5K.  It was a very small race - only about 60 runners.  While we were racing, our youngest 2 children (ages 6 and 7) had a chance to run in the 1 Mile Fun Run.  They had a blast!  My youngest daughter (Gracie) even got her picture in the paper!
After the race, Levi (age 7) started talking about running a 5K, and being an um....obsessive runner as well as his mom, I started planning.  I  found a family friendly 5K coming up in May and Googled "training kids to run a 5K".  Of course, what Levi does, Gracie feels like she should do as well!  So, this morning I woke them up bright and early for our first training run.  Keep in mind that we're a homeschooling family, so "bright and early" is 7:30 AM :) 
So not happening! 
I cut them some slack since this whole "night owl" thing is genetic, and rescheduled their first training run for this evening after Karate.
This is how it went:
First 200m - everyone is running along at a nice easy pace.
Next 100m - walk because Levi's side is hurting.
Next 200m - jog very slowly because Gracie is busy watching her ponytail swing back and forth.
Next 200m - Levi and I leave Gracie and Daddy behind because Gracie has decided hopping and skipping are preferable to running.
Next 300m - "Look at that Mom!  I think it's a fox!"  What is that, Mom?  "Have we gone a mile yet?  "Can we walk?  My side is hurting!"

This is when I decided it was time to turn around and go back.

I guess this was a success.  We "ran" a mile and a half, the children had fun, and Brian got to hear an entire recap of "the Tortoise and the Hare".

How about you out there in cyber-land.  Anyone have experience running with children?
Festival of Lights 1 mile Fun Run - December 2012

Howdy Folks!

(My husband and me at the Bunny Hop 5K)

Hi!  My name is Mendy.

Welcome to my first Blog Post ever!

Like anything new, this is slightly terrifying!  However, I am looking for a place where I can share and record my running experiences - and I think I've pretty much exhausted that option on facebook (ha!)

If you stumbled here by accident you should know that I am not a writer, a nutritionist, a trainer or even a good runner.  I am just a mom who loves running and I enjoy sharing that love with others.  Thanks for stopping by!