I Run for…

peace of mind, that “runner’s high”, my love for the outdoors, fitness…the list goes on and on.

Today is national running day and I fully intend to hit the pavement after work today to get in a few miles.  I also thought I would share a little bit of my running story.

It all started in elementary school, when I would race all the boys at recess.  Yes, I was that girl who would challenge the boys to race…and usually beat them all.  I was also that girl that hit her growth spurt early, so I had a little bit of a leg length advantage. So, you could say I have always loved to run.

In middle school I ran cross country and track, but always enjoyed being out on the cross country course or running though neighborhoods for practice rather than on the track.  The track stressed me out.

In high school I ran track during my freshman and sophomore years.  I would always run the starting leg or anchor leg of the 4 x 800.  I also ran the open 400 and occasionally ran the 4 x 400.  I was definitely a middle distance track runner.  My sophomore year I joined the cross country team and remained on the team through my Senior year.  Again I say, there was just something about being on the trails or running in the neighborhoods around our high school.

During college my running pretty much took a back seat..that was until my friend Hawley and I decided to train for a half marathon.  We would hit the sidewalks of Athens or go to the botanical garden and run the trails…it was so much fun and a great way to form a friendship.  Unfortunately, I injured myself (stress fracture in the hip) just before the half and had to cheer Hawley on from the sidelines.  She did amazing and I was so proud of her..and so thankful we were able to bond through our training.

Post college, running has been a semi-constant in my life.  I don’t run every day..and I definitely have periods of time that I don’t run at all.  However, I always find that I am happier with life if I am running a few times a week.  I don’t necessarily have a goal I am aiming towards, I just get out there for my health and well being.  I’ll do a fun run 5k here and there, but nothing competitive.  Sure, I would love to run a half marathon some day…and heck, maybe even a full…but right now I am satisfied for running for me, for my health, for my happiness, for my peace of mind, and so much more.

Some pictures from the past year of running:

Image

Franklin Classic 5K with Mom

Trail running - challenging but beautiful.

Trail running – challenging but beautiful.

My running shoes when they were brand new - they look nothing like this anymore.  In fact, it's probably time for a new pair.

My running shoes when they were brand new – they look nothing like this anymore. In fact, it’s probably time for a new pair.

Before and After: Bridge to Bridge 4 miler.  1 bridge per mile, love this tradition with mom!

Before and After: Bridge to Bridge 4 miler. 1 bridge per mile, love this tradition with mom!

Morning run down my street.  Country running is the best!

Morning run down my street. Country running is the best!

Edwin Warner Park - where I ran cross country meets in middle and high school.

Edwin Warner Park – where I ran cross country meets in middle and high school.

A little green goes a long way

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately and I think it stems from not spending enough time outside.  I’ve been neglecting my workouts or choosing to workout at the gym instead of outside.  I find joy in being outside.  I love being in God’s creation and I’m almost always in a better mood after taking a walk or run.  Even a drive through the country lifts my spirits. I put an end to that lack of outdoor activity yesterday.  The above pictures is a view of the field next door before I left for work.  Beautiful, right?  I love walking to my car and seeing that pretty long grass every morning.  It’s great.

Stairs at Percy Warner Park. I have fond (or not so fond) memories of track trips to those stairs during high school. We were forced to run them, suicide style. Trust me…it was hard, and I was in super shape at the time!

After work I met up with a friend and ran through Percy Warner.  We stayed on the road and hit some awesomely steep hills, but it really helped me re-energize and renew focus on health and fitness.  So thankful for accountability of a friend to keep me motivated.  Sometimes I find it hard to stay committed on my own.  I need someone there beside me to keep me going and push me to work harder…or even to workout at all.

I think part of this funk is also related to my spiritual life.  I haven’t been very committed to reading the Word or to prayer.  Prayer and the Bible are essential to a good relationship with Christ, and I haven’t been as devoted to that relationship as I would like to be.  I need to find a good independent study to do.  I want to dive deeper into the Bible.  Any suggestions?

Running the WP5k

Just saw a post about Automattic’s Worldwide WP5k that I happened to miss out on.  It was supposed to be a 5k run you did on your own on April 29 (or April 23-29).  Well, in the spirit of running, I thought I would post about my run yesterday.

Yesterday I stopped at River Park to run the Crockett Park paths.  The paths are absolutely beautiful and quite a bit cooler than just running along the road. They are mostly shaded and wind along a creek.  You can usually spot deer here if you run early in the morning..and I just happened to see 2 deer yesterday evening!  I didn’t snap any pictures as I had just started my run and didn’t want to hold up my progress.  The other bonus of this run..it’s mostly flat.  There are a few small hills on the path (and one huge hill if you get off the path and head into one of the surrounding neighborhoods), but for the most part..it’s flat.

I have this grand inner dialogue when I do runs in the evening.  I usually leave work and drive to my running destination and along the way I waver back and forth between running and just going home to cook a good meal.  The problem with running AFTER work is that dinner ends up being late. (8:30 sometimes 9 depending on what I’m making).  I never regret choosing to run, it can just be challenging to push myself to get there.

Yesterday I headed down the path feeling a little tired.  My legs were a bit heavy and my mind wasn’t totally ready to run.  But once I got a few minutes in, everything got better and I found a good pace.  I use the Map My Run app on my iPhone to track my mileage and time. The latest update to the app is actually pretty cool, it will give you your time and pace at each mile.  Very helpful if you are trying to pace for a race.  I’ve actually used Map My Run to track my runs for years (started using it in 2007) and love their site.  You can go online and chart a loop before you head out on a run to figure out distance ahead of time.

Yesterday’s run encompassed 4.12 miles (yes..a bit longer than a 5k) in 36:11.

I ran around this field (photo taken previously).

Blurry field while running

And when I finished my run, I saw this:

Nice sunset with a kite overhead

Running was followed by a nice dinner of salmon, stir fried zucchini and yellow squash, and wild rice.  So good after a run!

Run On

As much as I try to make running an important part of my life…the truth is, I get distracted and it’s hard for me to keep it as a priority.  To try and overcome distractions, I’ve decided to run at least one race a month.  I love a good 5K, they are short and sweet…and attainable.  I’ve done my fair share of 1/2 marathon training…and I get a bit overwhelmed by the distance I need to achieve.  So, rather than focusing on such a LARGE goal, I’m going to focus on little goals.  So, I’ll focus on 5Ks and maybe later this year, a 10K or 2.

This weekend I ran the Fangtastic 5K downtown.  I was satisfied with my results, but think I can do much better with a little more dedication.  I also did a few things different Saturday morning…like drinking coffee.  I never eat or drink coffee before I run races…but this weekend I did.  It was raining, and the race wasn’t until 10…so I figured I would be good to go.  WRONG.  I will never drink coffee before a race again.  I could taste it and feel it the whole race.  I definitely needed to eat something..but maybe a smaller snack next time.  Like a banana and a bar or something similar.

I wasn’t able to snap any pictures before the race. I was rushing to get my number and take a few things back to the car before it started.  It’s also hard to snap some pics when you are by yourself.  I did capture a few post race pics.  One after I changed out of my wet shirts, and one of my shirt and number:

Results:  I came in 22 out of 149 in my age group with a time of 27:22.  Will be looking to beat this time in future races!

Running with Purpose

Those of you who know me..know that I love to run.  Unfortunately, I am way out of practice and I’ve been having trouble fitting this love into my new schedule (partially due to daylight).  I got one run in this week (only 15 minutes) before going into work.  I’ll, hopefully, be able to start using the fitness center at work soon…at which point I can at least run on a treadmill after work…or maybe head in early and get the run in before work (this will be much more challenging…again, if you know me you know I love my sleep).

Ok..to get to the guts of this post.  With the move back to Nashville, something I’ve been wanting to do is start running races again.  I enjoy competing and it gives me motivation.  In addition, many races are for a good cause…there are lots of benefit runs.  So, I’ve signed up for 2 upcoming races.  The first one is a Turkey Trot through D1 in Franklin that supports Graceworks Ministries, a really great organization serving our Middle Tennessee neighbors in need through a food pantry and thrift store.  Mom and I started a tradition last year of running a race the morning of Thanksgiving.

The second race I’m doing (again, with my mom) is the Bridge to Bridge supporting the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program.  Now, this is where I need a little participation! Each participant is asked to raise $50.  So, I’m reaching out through my blog to ask for support!  This year the goal is to raise enough money to provide for 18,000 angels!  Pretty incredible goal, right?  Your donation will help provide much needed items such as school uniforms, shoes, clothing and even bed sheets- plus a Christmas wish; a toy for a child in need.

So, if you would like to join me in supporting the Salvation Army in accomplishing their goal and putting a smile on a child’s face Christmas morning, please go to my donation page.

Couch to 10k

In January I started this program called “Couch to 10k” to jump-start my workout program. Like most other individuals..I don’t always have the best determination when it comes to working out.  I love to do it..I just lack motivation from time to time.

After I reached my goal, I slacked off…and I definitely took a big workout hiatis this summer.  So…I’m back to it and I have restarted the Couch to 10k program.  I started a few weeks ahead this time, but I’m excited about sticking to a routine again.

Couch to 10k has an app for iphones and I’ve found that it really helps me stick to a routine.  Here is what the app kind of looks like:

This is definitely a great app for beginner runners.  Since I am not a beginner runner, I found my own way to make it work for me.  I generally run the entire time…just change my pace when it says “walk” or “run”.

Some features I love about this app:

  1. You can use your own playlists when you run.  I prefer to run to Pandora.  To do this, you have to start your music and then go to the Couch to 10k app.  BUT, if you use your own ipod playlists, you can control those from within the app.
  2. It will tell you when it’s time to run or walk.  That way you don’t have to worry about looking at the clock..you just go until it tells you to change.
  3. It tells you when you are 1/2 way done!  I personally love this for pace reasons.
  4. You can use other apps at the same time for mileage.  I personally use the Map My Run app to track mileage and average minutes/mile, etc. But, you can also use Nike+ in the background to do mileage.
  5. It gives you workouts for 3 days a week.  This gives you time to cross train and gain strength from other types of work outs (swimming, weights, biking…just to name a few)
So..if you are wanting to get started..and you want to run, this is a great place to start.  Check out more information on the app at felt tip inc. or at the Apple App Store.
If you don’t like this program and have another one you use, let me know.  I would love to try out others, as well!