Category Archives: Running

Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run

Last night I ran Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run 5k. The course reminds me a lot of the Pittsfield Independence Day 5k course. It started with a slight uphill, then it was pretty flat the rest of the way.

It was also 89 degrees and with the humidity felt like 98 degrees (not the “band”). Hopefully the Independence Day 5k will be less humid.

Before the race stared, I was standing under the Mo Pac bridge with all the other runners and it felt like it was 120 degrees. My clothes were sticking to me before I had even taken one step! Once the race started, I felt pretty good. I took off at about 5:55 pace, and was able to hold that for a bit. My first mile averaged 6:12 pace.

I caught myself falling into to 6:40’s in the second mile, but I was able to focus on catching up to “the next pack” and pulled out a 6:18 mile. The third mile I was able to concentrate and focus on finishing strong. I sped up a bit for a 6:17 and I kicked the last 0.1 in at 5:53 pace!

All in all I finished with a chip time of 19:29 which is a Texas PR (last summer I only broke 20 minutes 3 times, with a best of 19:50). I feel like I’m in much better shape this summer, I think because of my longer track workouts.

My next race will be the Independence Day 5k in Pittsfield. It should be cooler than I’m used to running in, so hopefully I can take advantage of that and get a good run in!

Day 5, right on schedule

The loop I planned on running today was the 6 mile loop from Monday with an extra 2 mile out-and-back tacked onto the end to round it out to 10, but I took a wrong turn.

That’s a running theme with me.

My wrong turn turned the 10 mile loop into a surprising 4 mile loop. That turned out to be a great distance, though, because I was able to go ahead with Monday’s 6 mile loop and round it out to an even 10 without the hassle of an out-and-back!

I also worked in a half hour of 1 minute one, 1 minute off fartleks, totaling 15 minutes of speed work. I felt real good. Carrying water with me makes all the difference. (It also didn’t hurt that it was at least 15 degrees cooler today than it was on Monday)

I’m right on pace to get 25 in for the week! It’ll be pretty exciting when I hit that mark because i haven’t run a 35+ mile week in almost 8 months.

One last note, I RSVP’d for the Midnight Moontower Run next week. It’s a 7 – 16 mile run that starts at 11:30PM Friday night. I have an 11AM flight to Massachusetts Saturday morning … so we’ll see how that works out.

Day 4

Yesterday, I didn’t buy a $3500 vacuum cleaner from a door to door salesman.He did vacuum and shampoo the biggest room in my house, though. Unfortunately his demonstration took over 4 hours and sucked up all my training time.

Lesson learned: If someone knocks on the door, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any floors.”

Today I will sneak some speed work into a 10 mile run. Probably 10×1 fartleks. Saturday will be track day. And tomorrow I’ll get 7 – 10 in. If I can stick to this plan then I should be good for a 35 mile week and right on pace for 500 miles in 100 days!

Day 2, 488 Miles to Go

Remember my training theme, “Don’t skip the water stops?”

I didn’t.

I set out for a 10 mile run yesterday afternoon after staying out too late the night before and postponing what was supposed to be an early morning run. Mentally, I haven’t adjusted to the heat of Texas, and I am still not accustomed to having to carry water with me on my runs. Five miles into my run with no shade and amid-80’s temperature and I was beat. I cut the 10 miles down to about 6.5 because I wasn’t able to keep my pace up, and it’s far too early to invite injuries.

So, I learned a few things. First, I will be carrying my water bottle with me on every run. No need to risk dehydration when I don’t have to. Second, I will be picking up a massive amount of sun screen to wear on my runs.

This was the first time I ran in my new neighborhood. The loop was pretty good. I was hoping it would be closer to 7 miles than it was, but at the time I was glad I was a half mile closer to water than I expected. My plan for 10 miles was just to add on a few miles before I turned onto my street, so I can make it work.

I’m almost 12 miles into the challenge. Today is my day off. Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to find a track and get some speed work in!

Day 1, 495 Miles to Go

I started by own 500 Mile Club Challenge today.

I’ve run 500 miles in 100 days several times before. It’s never been easy. In High School, my team used the 500 Mile Club to keep in shape over the summer and take our fitness to the next level for the Cross Country season. After college, I used the 500 Mile Club as motivation to keep my mileage up and counter balance all the excuses to skip a run that I might conjure up during the day.

It’s easy to say “I had a long day at work” and “it’s getting dark” and “I have to get an early start tomorrow” and rationalize that it’s okay to skip today’s run. But when you give yourself a goal of 35 miles a week that means you have to make that distance up by running on your rest day; or by tacking an extra mile on to every run for an entire week; or running a double … and who has time for that? It’s tough to make up the distance once you miss a few days in the 500 Mile Club Challenge.

This time around, I would like to run a half marathon once I have completed the challenge. I’m leaning towards The Hottest Half in Dallas. I think it will be an apropos end cap to my challenge because throughout the 100 days I plan on running in the Sunstroke Summer Stampede 5k Race Series, which is exactly what it sounds like. The theme for my 500 Mile Club Challenge will be “Don’t skip the water stops!”

So, my plan is to run 5 days a week. According to my personal 500 Mile Club Challenge page, I need to average 7 miles a day. I ran on the trails for 4.75 miles this morning. The funny thing about trail running is that it always feels like I ran farther and faster than my watch reports. I think it is because I take shorter steps and basically do a high knee drill for most of the run.

I’m not worried about getting off to a slow start towards 500 miles, I’ve still got fresh legs so I should be able to make it up pretty easily. Tomorrow I will get up well before the crack of dawn and run 10 miles in the dark.

Strong Arming your way to Fast Finishes

When I first started racing, my arms were always the first to go.

Arm strength is important in running. Swinging your arms helps to drive your legs and propel yourself forward. When you need to dig a little deeper, push a little harder and run a little faster you pump your arms more vigorously and the rest of your body will follow.

When I raced, before my legs felt fatigued, before I was winded, I would struggle to keep my arms up and swinging. My shoulders would tire out and I would find my arms dropping down to my sides. After I spent so much time and energy making my legs strong and my lungs robust it was my neglected arms that dragged me down like an anchor!

I took one really simple step to solve my mid-race arm atrophy affliction: pushups. Not a lot of push ups, I only needed to make my arms strong enough so they could hold up their own weight for the duration of a 5 or 10k race.

So before I left for my next workout, I dropped and gave myself 30. At least, I attempted 30 push ups. I gave a good effort until about 20 and then I sort of wiggled around for “10” more. So, before my next run I lowered my bar and only did 20 push ups, but I concentrated on making sure they were high quality push ups. You will get more out of doing fewer push ups correctly than to do many push ups with poor form.

Doing push ups before your run will do two things for you. 1) push ups make your arms stronger. 2) Doing push ups before you run will make your arms a little tired before you even start running which gives you the perfect opportunity to practice running with tired arms. So you are both getting stronger and getting better at running when weak. That’s a double whammy workout!

After a couple weeks doing a few quick push ups before each of my runs I began to see results in my race times. My arms were no longer getting tired at all during my races! I was able to run strong much longer and that made me more confident. I was on an upward spiral!

Every few weeks, as I grew accustomed to doing push ups before each run, I would add a few more push ups to my routine. I still do push ups every day. I topped out at 50 push ups. That’s all I need to keep my arms strong enough to push me through any race I might find myself running and it only takes me 1 minute to do them.

Start your run off right. Do a few pushups and you’ll be strong enough to hold your arms up high when you cross the finish line!