Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm Back! Barefoot?

Thank you to all of my new friends for the well wishes!

Today was my first day back in a week and it was rough! :) But I'm still smiling. My knees ached and my right shin was a little stiff but I reached my goal of three miles AND I could walk off of the treadmill afterwards! That was huge for me! I plan on taking it easy this week (slower times and less distance) to see how my shins do. I don't want a week off from running to be for nothing! Thank you to all of my new friends for the well wishes!

There was a special tonight on the news about running barefoot. Apparently Harvard University researchers compared people who had always run with shoes to people that had recently converted to barefoot running. As to be expected, people who run with shoes are "heel strikers". Barefoot runners are more likely to point their foot and avoid heel collision. Click HERE for a more in-depth news report! Even RunnersWorld has posted an article or two. Try this ONE!

So I guess I'm curious...

Have you ever run barefoot?

Do you like it?
Is it something you would recommend to others?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Miserable and Unfocused

Well friends, I stopped running about a week ago because of stupid shin pain. :( Every day I would wake up, thinking that today would be the day to start up again and I would swing my legs onto the floor and instantly feel lightening running up to my knees. I just want to run! I am hoping and praying that tomorrow (Tuesday) will be the first day back. Maybe watching Biggest Loser while running will motivate my legs to behave.

I hope everyone is reaching their goals and loving life!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Focusing on Form

Since my shinbones are radiating lightening into my knees right now, I am going to be taking one or two days off from running. So I can continue progressing I thought it would be really smart to study running form on my off day. So, I hope the information I put in this blog is either helpful or can start some great debates with my more advanced running friends.

Achieving Perfect Form per Runnersworld.com: Take a deep breath, which naturally encourages your torso and upper back to straighten and promotes an upright posture. Maintain the upright position from the deep breath and imagine that you are a puppet on a string suspended from above. This entails further stretching yourself up to your full height with your back comfortably straight, your head in line with your shoulders, and your hips lined up underneath.



THE PERFECT FORM Running better, from head to toe.
By Jane Unger Hahn
(From the August 2004 issue of Runner's World)

Head Tilt: How you hold your head is key to overall posture, which determines how efficiently you run. Let your gaze guide you. Look ahead naturally, not down at your feet, and scan the horizon. This will straighten your neck and back, and bring them into alignment. Don't allow your chin to jut out.

Shoulders: Shoulders play an important role in keeping your upper body relaxed while you run, which is critical to maintaining efficient running posture. For optimum performance, your shoulders should be low and loose, not high and tight. As you tire on a run, don't let them creep up toward your ears. If they do, shake them out to release the tension. Your shoulders also need to remain level and shouldn't dip from side to side with each stride.

Arms: Even though running is primarily a lower-body activity, your arms aren't just along for the ride. Your hands control the tension in your upper body, while your arm swing works in conjunction with your leg stride to drive you forward. Keep your hands in an unclenched fist, with your fingers lightly touching your palms. Imagine yourself trying to carry a potato chip in each hand without crushing it. Your arms should swing mostly forward and back, not across your body,between waist and lower-chest level. Your elbows should be bent at about a 90-degree angle. When you feel your fists clenching or your forearms tensing, drop your arms to your sides and shake them out for a few seconds to release the tension.

Torso: The position of your torso while running is affected by the position of your head and shoulders. With your head up and looking ahead and your shoulders low and loose, your torso and back naturally straighten to allow you to run in an efficient, upright position that promotes optimal lung capacity and stride length. Many track coaches describe this ideal torso position as "running tall" and it means you need to stretch yourself up to your full height with your back comfortably straight. If you start to slouch during a run take a deep breath and feel yourself naturally straighten. As you exhale simply maintain that upright position.

Hips: Your hips are your center of gravity, so they're key to good running posture. The proper position of your torso while running helps to ensure your hips will also be in the ideal position. With your torso and back comfortably upright and straight, your hips naturally fall into proper alignment--pointing you straight ahead. If you allow your torso to hunch over or lean too far forward during a run, your pelvis will tilt forward as well, which can put pressure on your lower back and throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment. When trying to gauge the position of your hips, think of your pelvis as a bowl filled with marbles, then try not to spill the marbles by tilting the bowl.

Legs/Stride: While sprinters need to lift their knees high to achieve maximum leg power, distance runners don't need such an exaggerated knee lift--it's simply too hard to sustain for any length of time. Instead, efficient endurance running requires just a slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a short stride. Together, these will facilitate fluid forward movement instead of diverting (and wasting) energy. When running with the proper stride length, your feet should land directly underneath your body. As your foot strikes the ground, your knee should be slightly flexed so that it can bend naturally on impact. If your lower leg (below the knee) extends out in front of your body, your stride is too long.

Ankles/Feet: To run well, you need to push off the ground with maximum force. With each step, your foot should hit the ground lightly--landing between your heel and midfoot--then quickly roll forward. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring off the ground. You should feel your calf muscles propelling you forward on each step. Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running is springy and quiet.

I know this is just a tip off the iceberg, but I really like the descriptions offered in this article. Happy Running! If you have anything to add, please share!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shin Splints?!?!

It hurts... it hurts so bad!

Alright, this post is more of an advice seeking post. I need help, from the people that know running the best.

I started running this evening, (same shoes, treadmill, socks, etc.) and instantly felt a little tight in my left shin. I continued to run, thinking it would stretch out my sore muscles. At exactly two miles my right shin started shooting mild pain up my leg. After talking to my husband, who happened to be sitting on the couch next to me, I decided to stop running and stretch it out. I got off of the treadmill and instantly felt intense pain in the inside of my shin. It feels like it is right where my shin bone meets my calf muscle. After talking to my brother-in-law, who gave me great advice on how to deal with it, we decided it probably is shin splints.

What I need from you is advice on what to do now. Stop running (God forbid)? Run less? Walk? New shoes? Will they go away? How do you deal with them?

I really would appreciate any first hand advice you could give me. My race is in 101 days!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I broke into 12!

I truly apologize for my lack of postings lately. Running wise I have been doing ok, but mentally I have hit a wall. I am sooo tired. I think its because I have never run this much in my life. I have never sweat this much. I have never even worked this hard before. Because of that, I should have been taking better care of the rest of my life. Eating well and sleeping are so important!

On a happier note! Today was the first day in my life that I ran a mile under 13 minutes! 12:36 to be exact! I am just thrilled that I am seeing improvement on the timer. In comparison to how I used to run, I feel like I am sprinting now. Not that it is working me that hard, I am just going so fast :)

As a side note: Someone once told me,"Once an addict, always an addict." Even though I have never had an unhealthy addiction, I have always seen myself as an addict. I love trying new things and I throw myself into it 120 percent to the point of obsession then I move on. I go crazy doing my best at whatever it is that i am "addicted" to at that time and then I drop it for the next thing. Of course naturally my fear would be that running has become an addiction for me rather than a life style change. To keep that from happening, I have picked up my next true addiction... knitting! I am obsessed! This is what I have done so far:


If anyone would like a cute hat knitted for their child let me know. :)

Happy running friends!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Are the improvements... enough?

I am so excited! I have been cutting minute after minute off of my times. I am running at a faster pace and feeling a little better as I do it. The problem is that my improvements might not be enough. I think the Lincoln Half-Marathon has a time limit. I push and I push but I really am slow! I know what you are thinking, she is just starting, she needs to quit complaining. And you know what? You are probably right. But I can't help but worry. I am running a 13 minute mile right now. Is that good for a starter? Does anyone have any advice on how to improve the speed of my pace? I need you advanced runners to speak up! :)

I know I haven't posted a lot lately and I apologize. This running thing makes me TIRED! If anyone has advice on getting a baby to sleep earlier too that would be great! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thanks Tall Mom!

Thank you to Mel from www.tallmomontherun.com for mentioning me on her site! It means so much to me that someone is taking the time to help me reach my goal of running my first half-marathon in May! Every time someone visits or follows my blog it gives me that extra little boost!

Today is my day off so I will leave more posting for tomorrow! Night!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Push me... I need You.

The best I've ever run! This evening I ran 3 miles in 41:40. That is really good for me! I think I really need to get more sleep though. My morale and focus are just gone. Once I am about a mile into the run I am fine but it is so difficult to get started. Is this normal?

After reading my new friend Michele's blog, I realized that I might be in the minority of runners. I love to run on the treadmill! I think it is easy to develop a steady pace, keep perfect track of time and distance, watch tv, and be in the privacy of my basement. As I thought about it more though, I also realized that I am totally dependent on the treadmill. The thought of running outside scares me! I could trip over a curb, use up all of my energy in the first 1/2 mile, get hit by a car, or get made of by a passerby. Even as I type this I realize that it is probably rooted mainly in my own lack of self-confidence. Let's be honest though, who wants to see a large blob bouncing down the street on their way to work? I am not a small woman with rather *ahem* large breasts. It just isn't a pretty sight and because I know that, I just can't focus on running when outside. Putting all of my self-image issues aside... Does anyone have any advice on how to transfer what I have accomplished on a treadmill to outside? Is there a special way to start running outside? I'm scared.

I hope running is going well for everyone and I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow!

Short and Sweet!

Tonight my husband and I went to the Huskers basketball game (we lost) and got home really late! After putting a very grumpy baby to sleep (thanks Emily, she loves you so much!) I decided to still get my run in. Four miles started at 12:30 in the morning is NOT the best idea I have had. I did it, cried a little in the middle, but I did it. I hope everyone had a great day and I promise a longer and wittier post tomorrow! Night!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Started off running...

A new week is here and with it is a new set of goals and plans. This week I plan on running 17 miles, 1 more mile than last week, and I plan on taking down my pace to consistently under 14 minute miles. I think it is an achievable goal.

Did anyone watch Biggest Loser tonight? I am so amazed at the bravery those contestants exhibit every time! Getting in front of millions of people half naked? Ha! No way in hell! I kind of enjoyed watching that Italian mom wipe-out too. I am truly ashamed!

Running tonight was really rough at the beginning. My calves were burning when I walked but felt better when I ran. I guess that was good and bad :) I think it might have been my new socks though. I tried my new Thorlo Experias out tonight. My feet were super hot in them (not the good kind of hot) and they were almost sliding around. I think that might have attributed to my cramped calf muscles. Ever have to walk a couple miles in loose sandals? Felt the same way. Hmmm. My blister is filling back up too. They were super comfy tough! I guess we will give it a few more days. So for now the jury is out on the socks.

Good news though! In one week I have taken a minute off of my mile! Good enough improvement for me. I hope everyone has a great day tomorrow! I will be meeting my first day of schedule conflicts and squeezing a run in. I'm just hoping I don't have a black eye tomorrow. My overly exuberant Golden Retriever, Zeke, decided to rearrange my nose this morning. It still hurts to breathe through it over 12 hours later. Any one see Up? Doug is a fat version of my golden. :) Squirrel!!!

Week 2 Goals!

Mon: off / Tues: 3 mi / Wed: 4 mi / Thurs: 3 mi / Fri: off / Sat: 3mi / Sun: 4 mi

I have been bit by the running bug!

I woke up this morning praising the running gods that I had a day off today. My knees hurt, my calves are cramped and as you all know, I have a huge blister on my toe! :) By mid-afternoon though I started to get grumpy. I was sitting on the floor playing with my baby girl, Ayla, and feeling lazy. By dinner time I was bouncing around and definitely edgy. I am sitting here at just after midnight, wired. My body and I think maybe even more so my mind, wanted to run. I needed to run. :) Scary!

Just as much as my body "needed" to run I think it is a good thing that I took a day off. I took Ayla to the local running store with me and she helped me pick out soft, blister-free socks. Ok, well she just pulled socks off of the rack and chewed on them, I picked out the actual ones to purchase :) I decided to go with the white Thorlo, Experia. Tomorrow will be my first day running with them so I will let you know then. They better be like running in Heaven considering the price! I did save over $5 in shipping though by going to the running store. Remember to support your local businesses!

I hope everyone had a great Monday and I truly appreciate all of the support and encouragement I am getting from my friends and family!

Happy Running!
Amy

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Air Five for Day Five!

(I promised my husband I would use that title. He is a huge How I Met Your Mother fan.) :)

Phew! As this title indicates, I have run five days this week! That equals to 16 miles! I am pretty confident in saying that that is the farthest I have ever run. I guess I played soccer in grade school but I was always so afraid. I think I was most afraid of pushing myself. When I ran to the point of exhaustion or light headedness, it used to scare me. I would start walking or quit, convincing myself that it wasn't safe or healthy. I can only hope that those days are over! I am in control for the first time in my life so I am telling myself no more excuses!

I did my first "long" run today. Since it is week 1, my "long" run was only 4 miles long. I completed it in good enough time. Just two problems:

#1 I now have a large blister on my pinky toe! Luckily, tomorrow is my rest day, but I am pretty confident it will still be there on Tuesday. Was it my plain cotton socks? Or was it my brand new shoes? I am a little frustrated at this. If anyone has any advice I would love it!

#2 I only ran the first 1 1/4 straight though. The rest of my run I alternated running and walking every two minutes. Is this pathetic? Am I even able to call it a run? My body sure feels like it got a work out so for now I am going to keep doing what I doing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Great Day!

I can honestly say I had fun running today! I don't know what happened, but something clicked and I was smiling through almost the whole thing! Yay! I really appreciated the encouragement on my blog this week also.

I do have an important question though. What can I do to make the first 2/3 of my first mile easier? During it I struggle to breathe, I lose my focus, and I struggle to keep up my pace. By the time I hit 1 mile I am ready to go and I feel like I could go a long ways. Hmmm. Any advice fellow runners?

After a fun night watching Up with our great friends, I am enjoying just relaxing. I think I need to meditate and prepare for my "long" run tomorrow. I know it is only 4 miles, but that is the farthest I have ever run/walked! I will admit it... I'm scared! I just have to start telling myself now, "You can do it! You can do it!"

A new friend!

iFitness Giveaway! I think everyone should read Tricia's story and enter in her giveaway also! Congrats on your anniversary Tricia!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back in the Saddle...

After taking a day off, (on the wrong day... oops!) I was back at it today. I just ran three miles in 41 minutes. Which means in three running days I have taken off four minutes to my total. Whoot! Alright I know all of you runner people out there are like, "13 1/2 minute miles, pathetic!" And you know what? I agree. Completely!

I have to admit, today I sat on the couch and asked myself if this was the smartest thing I could be doing with my time. Am I being foolish? All I can come up with is, yes, I probably am being foolish. But, I want to prove that I can do this. And if for some reason I am able to run the half-marathon, in time and completely, then we can all be pleasantly surprised together. :)

Today is my day off! (Thursday)

For those of you so concerned because I didn't post my running successes for the day... relax! I am still on pace. I am actually following a running schedule that is developed for beginners trying for the half-marathon.

I am obviously on week 1. I also wanted to thank my brother-in-law for giving me some beginner tips. If he is right, I should be feeling great after Day 3 of running. Hope you are right Adam!

Thanks for all of the encouragement everyone! I'm going to go let my Golden Retriever run on the tread mill now. My day off is his day to run. If only they would let Zeke run with me on race day.

Post Script: So I was just rereading my post and realized that I have already messed my schedule up! Ha! That's how I would do it. Oh well, I guess this week (only) I will be running Fri-Sun straight. AND the website I found the schedule on is: http://www.halfmarathons.net/training_tips_schedule_beginner_runners.html.

Happy Running!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The second day is so much harder!

Well, I did it. I ran 3 miles again today. I think I groaned and complained almost every five minutes though. I am so sore! Is there someone out there who can tell me it gets easier? Please? I am just so proud of myself for getting up and walking to the tread mill. That was almost more painful than running and stretching my muscles out.

I decided that everyone reading this blog should know what I look like. I am most comfortable about this because you will also see me in 115 days, after running a half-marathon!

So, that's me. I hope seeing me at the beginning of this and seeing how out of shape I am can inspire just one person to get up and start running. If I can do it, you can too! See you tomorrow and lets hope I can walk to the computer!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My first run

Today, day one, was a great day! I struggled a little with that get-going motivation but luckily my husband, Rob, was there to remind me that the clock is ticking. I have new shoes that I got for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) and a tread mill that is in my warm, snow-free basement.

I ran a relatively easy three miles today in 45 minutes. I know the time is pretty bad (15 minute miles) and I will HAVE to pick it up. But I am just proud of myself for getting up and starting. I think tomorrow will be horrible! :) Good luck to future me!

Half-Marathon here I come!

Do you have a secret dream? A dream that you are afraid to tell anyone about? Have you thought that someone might laugh at you or silently think there was no way you could ever accomplish your dream?

I have wanted to run a marathon for as long as I can remember. I have dreamed of passing that finish line with my family and strangers cheering me on. I have dreamed of proving that I can do anything I set my mind to, even if the odds were stacked against me. When I was young, I had a severe asthma attack and have struggled with asthma ever since. I always wanted to be in sports, and tended to push myself far beyond my body's limit, but that limit was frustratingly small.

I have decided that now is the time to fight my fears. Yesterday, I officially registered myself in the 33rd Annual Lincoln City Marathon. Ok, well... half-marathon. All things considered, I don't think I am lowering my goal for any reason but safety. I have to start somewhere and I think 13.1 miles is the best place. I still get the finish line and I still get the pride and success of accomplishing a long time (secret) dream.

Wish me luck and please feel free to pick me up and push me along whenever you think I might need it. Your comments of love and encouragement are going to be fuel to my fire!