Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Not a Jogger

I ran across a Pearl Izumi poster entitled Runners Are Not Joggers. I've pondered on this question myself whenever I go to the track or to the gym.

When I started running, I went from nothing to running. I didn't go from nothing to exercise to jogging to running. I bypassed any in-between steps and jumped right into running. I don't know how to jog.

The words in my running conversations include "intervals" "tempo runs" "paces", etc. I don't think joggers use these words. I believe that jogging is somewhat similar to an easy run, but at a slower pace and for shorted distances. For instance, I have never heard anyone say they went for a "3 mile jog" or "long jog" Instead they just say that they "went jogging". I used the words "went for a run," but this implies that there was some distance involved and that I was staying at a certain pace.

An article I read commented that jogging was anything over a 9 minute pace, but I think it is more defined by goals involved. Jogging does not involve races. Even someone who doesn't run a 9 minute mile could still be defined as a runner if he/she is involved in racing. Racing requires a dedicated effort to achieve.

I have no disrespect for Joggers. They are making a conscious effort in keeping themselves healthy, but I don't think I'll ever be one.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chew Before You Breathe

The theme for the month of January in Utah is Fog/Smog/Haze. You turn on the news to listen to the weather and the words "inversion","haze", "smog", etc. are used probably used in the same quantity of tooth whitener that was used on the overly cheerful meteorologist's teeth. It's a daily word and I'm sure that the weather people can only put a positive spin on it so far before it just gets old. I tell my children to make sure that they chew before they breathe.

Today's weather must have matched my mood because when the alarm went off at 6:30 am I definitely did not feel the burning desire to leap out of bed and into the shower. It could possibly be related to the large popcorn and 32 oz soda that I had instead of a meal last night, but instead I am attributing this lack of enthusiasm to the weather.

I got out of bed, looked out the window and grimaced. The tell tale signs of an impending foggy morning was out. The slighty hazy sky, the overly frosted over car windows. The forecast called for mid-40s which gave me hope that maybe, just maybe our run would be in above freezing temps. Seeing the status of the weather, I pulled out the extra layers.

Why are there no clothing options that say "fogproof" or "haze resistant" on them? Is it because fog is so microscopic that it penetrates even the tightest of fabric? Or is it that someone just hasn't figured the marketing potential out on this fabric? If the running store offered a running jacket that was "fogresistant" and "waterproof" I would be first in line.

I arrived at the meeting spot and the conditions had not improved much. When I stepped out of the van, I realized that no amount of layers was going to make a difference today. It was the bitter, wet, foggy cold that penetrates every layer I have. My mizuno gloves are NOT fogproof.

The fog got thicker and thicker as we ran until we had climbed enough that we emerged from the fog like a pack of college football players emerging from the stadium tunnel. It was breathtaking. In fact, I think I took my first real breath of the run at that point.

We turned around at mile 4 and enjoyed a mile of fog-free running. My fingers had warmed up, I unzipped my jacket and was getting into a groove. At mile 5, we hit the wall and immediately I zipped back up my jacket, rubber my hands together and grimaced. By mile 8, we couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of us. The usual post-run chatter didn't happen. Instead it was jump in the car, turn on the heater and wave good bye to the others.

I'm glad February is almost here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Running Around...Literally.

Last week I logged 32 miles in my running. I'm on track to meet or exceed this. My life recently has spun into a routine that revolves around running. Here's what's currently on my list.

1. Training for upcoming races. I am working toward qualifying for Boston by my June marathon.
2. Assisting my son in his running. He's planning on joining the cross-country team in the fall and run his first half-marathon in the late spring. This assistance involve me going to the track with him and running in addition to my regular training.
3. I am working with the local Fleet Feet store in coaching their half-marathon training group. They were looking for volunteers and I felt this was a good opportunity to give back. On Tuesday and Saturday I get to share my vast wealth of running expertise, my vast knowledge of useless information my love of the sport with others.
4. Race director for Renaissance Academy Race for Literacy. This is the third year i've run this race for my kids' school. This year I have a host of volunteers which drives the control freak in me crazy makes it easy.
5. Race director for the city celebration in June. I opened my mouth last year and offered some feedback to the 2010 race. Guess what that got me? An invitation to put my butt on the line and do better.

I currently have two training schedules on my running board. The first is the schedule for the Half-marathon training group that I am coaching. The second is my marathon training.

While there are days that I am doing two runs in the day and looking for sponsors during down times with my business, I am enjoying my days. I'm enjoying the feeling of tight calves and the little aches and pains associated with my increasing mileage.

The next question is whether I will survive this continued training schedule. We'll see....

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Am I Supposed to Do Now? Cancer to Gemini

According to the latest horoscope news my sign has changed from Cancer to Gemini. This new little bit of information has me as confused as a runner coming off a snow-covered trail only to discover that he missed a turn somewhere.  My running has been thrown off also. For instance, today my horoscope with Cancer is:

You may wonder if you're losing your memory today. You might have the strange feeling that there was something you had to do but can't quite remember what. Don't worry about it, Cancer. 

With this reasoning I could totally "forget" about running today and instead of feeling guilty about it, I could just chalk it up to my horoscope.

But now that has all changed. As a Gemini this is what I am supposed to be about:

The best way to relieve the jumpiness is to get some exercise - at least take a walk.

See? Now what I supposed to do? I've been living a carefree life as a Cancer centered runner and now I'm supposed to just turn into a Gemini centered runner? Just like that? There was no notice!

I attempted to express my feelings via my Facebook page. I was told a variety of options ranging from "it's a bunch of hooey" to "Live life like it's my last day alive".  While I can picture myself going out for a run on my last day, I doubt it would be anything serious. In fact, I think it would fun to just "kill over" in the middle of one of my running paths...but that has to be a story for another day.

If it were my last day,  it would look something like this...

Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Day Freeze Your Butt Off 1/2 Marathon

At 6:30 am on Saturday January 1, I dragged myself out of bed. I stood by my alarm clock looking down and the pile of running clothes, back to clock, back to my warm bed, back to my clothes and sighed. I was up, I paid the money for this, I might as well go. Starting the new year off with a DNS would not be a good sign.

After a warm shower, I started putting on the layers of clothing. Tights, shorts, tights, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, thin pair socks, long pair of mid calf socks, shoes...then it was in for a light breakfast. I turned on my iphone to check the weather....3 degrees..."Oh Da@#" I thought to myself. After breakfast which consisted of a protein drink and a PBJ sandwich, I filled my bottles and got the rest of my gear together. I got my jacket, gloves, ski mask, Garmin, ipod and headed for the door. I looked like a walking running clearance rack. Just put in the store window with a sign that says "cold-weather running gear with your own personal runner attached."

I drove to the start of the Marathon Maniacs New Years Day 1/2 Marathon. This was a "bare-bones" event thrown together 3 weeks before. We started from the race organizers house, we timed ourselves, the restrooms consisted of finding a gas station, knocking on someone's door at 8 am, or finding a Honey Bucket along the course (which actually turned out to be pretty frequent).

We met in the garage of the race organizer, signed our wavers, picked up a bib number and a map, and got ready to run. The gun sounded something like "Everybody ready? Let's go.." and we were off. There were no aspirations of a PR (it had warmed up to a toasty 5 degrees), but high expectations that no one would slip and break a leg. After a mile into the race, we veered onto a snow covered trail (not snow packed) for 3 miles. I learned a new pacing in the foot falls of those who ran before you. It worked surprisingly well.

Somewhere between mile 1 and mile 3 there was a turn off. Myself and two other ladies missed the turn off and ended up 1 1/2 miles farther East than we needed to be. So we turned west and caught up with the route and continued on. The race organizers wife was the mobile aid station. She met the group at mile 4 (which we missed), mile 7 and mile 11. At mile 7, I stopped to get a drink only to discover that the pull caps on my bottles was frozen. The mobile aid station had enough water for everyone so I took off my belt, threw it in the van and got a water bottle.

At mile 7, we were getting a drink when a police officer pulled up behind us and wondered what we were doing. We explained that a group of us had put together our own New Year's Half-Marathon. He just looked at us bewildered and told us we were crazy. I agree...

The miles went by, my layers and layers of clothing paid off. The ski mask worked beautifully, but the moist air when I exhaled traveled up to my face to form icicles on my eyebrows and eyelashes.

The end of the race consisted of us stopping in the driveway of the starting spot and cheering ourselves. We promptly starting taking off layers as we went into the home to fresh homemade chili, donuts, chocolate milk, french bread and yogurt. We all received race medals. In true race fashion, we put the medals on each other. The remaining runners (there were 40 of us total) came it a various times.

All said, my 1/2 marathon consisted of 14.4 miles and 2:16 time which was faster than I thought we would be considering the two aid station stops.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate the New Year...ok, well that's not entirely true...but it did feel good to get a long run in with others who enjoy it as much as I do.