Why I continue to run

Recently I read one of those articles – with the before and after picture of a person telling me how running is bad and weight training is good.
Yes, I know the advantages of weight training. Weight training is good. Building more muscle burns more calories. Weight training allows you to “shape” your body better.
And last year my doctor told me to stop running. Said I didn’t have the body type for it; said I should do other activities instead.
Friends and acquaintances tell me how running is not fun, and I often agree with them.
I have so many runs where I just want to give up.
I still have problems with weight loss even when running.

So why do I continue to run?

1. Exercise is better than no exercise

Running may not be the best form of exercise but it still burns calories. When I start doing my long runs I burn many calories and do start to see weight loss.
1.5 hours jogging is better than 1.5 hours on the couch in front of boob tube.
If I can’t be motivated to do anything but run isn’t it better that I run?

2. Still haven’t gotten a big injury. 

Many runners complain about injuries. I carry an extra 20+ pounds when I run and besides sore bunions I have never really had an injury that has put me out for a considerable amount of time.

3. Goal setting

 Running helps me with goal setting. When I get a race on the schedule my life just flows better. I have scheduled workouts that I accomplish. I am better able to manage my time because I am forced to. During running season I find myself accomplishing much more in my professional life.

4. There is a high

 I starting running about 9 years ago and it took me a while to finally get a runners high. I only get it once in a while but when it comes it is nice. You feel like you are on top of the world.

5. Camaraderie

Running can be a social activity. I have made friends through running and strengthened existing friendships by realizing we have a common hobby. I don’t usually run races with friends but I enjoy meeting them before and after races. I like talking about our running experiences.

5. Some races are fun

Races can be like huge parties but the admission is just completing a run first. Disney puts on some great after parties at the theme parks. Many races now have free beer afterwards. I really enjoy the races that have musical acts playing along the course.

6. Competition

I am so slow but even I get to pass up people in races. Sometimes you just want to be better at something than someone else. There is always someone to beat or to try to beat. (It just blows when the 70 year-old passes me up!!!)

7. I have more energy

During running season I get less tired. I can hang out longer without getting tired. My volleyball skills improve. I am in a better mood.

8. Because I want to.

This reason should supersede all other reasons. Isn’t it really about what I want to do and not about others?
As long as this activity still makes me happy I keep running……

Crossing the running threshold

This past week I believe I have crossed a threshold as a runner. Up until this point every race had been a challenge, including most of the 5ks. Every race I have entered required a good amount of training preparation.  My last big race was the wine and dine in November. I trained pretty hard for that and was still disappointed that I didn’t beat my time. However for the first time I was able to enjoy food and alcoholic beverages post race without getting a massive headache.
Since that race my training has been sporadic. Some weeks I had no runs at all; others only 1-2 times a week. I even had a long break of no running while we were traveling through India. I needed motivation, I needed a race on the schedule.
One distance race that I like to do was coming up soon. I haven’t trained seriously for it but I really wanted to sign up. I decided one cool Florida morning the week before that if I could complete 6 miles (run/walk) that I would sign up for the Winter Park Road Race Distance Dare (10K plus 2 miles). I went about on my run and even finished it with a sprint at the end to beat someone running on the trail with a heavy backpack (I always feel bad when old people or people with heavy packs pass me). Because I completed this long run, I decided to sign up and I did.
Race week I did one short training run, played volleyball, and rode my bike one day. I didn’t want to overdo it pre-race but I also wanted to keep up my fitness level.
Race day I felt ok. I sort of regretted signing up since my training was so sparse. I started the 2 mile race. Pushed myself hard so I could complete in time for the next race to start.
Race 1 was done so I immediately traveled up to the start line again. I ran into my friends who were getting ready to start the 10k. They were smart enough to only sign up for one race for the day.
The race started and I tried jogging with some of my friends for a bit but I let them go since I could never maintain their pace.
Later in the first mile another two friends caught up to me. I chatted with them a bit but then they decided to hold back a bit so I carried on by myself. The first 5K was good. I felt mostly ok during the 3 miles. It was after the 5K mark that I started to lose my wind and did much more walking breaks.
This was another race where I had to pee the entire race but luckily I ran into a row of porta potties near a lake around mile 4.5. After a quick bathroom break I was on to the finish.
I finished and picked up my two metals. I attempted to fully hydrate afterwards. I thought I was hydrated and decided to try a free post race beer (New Belgium Brewing!!!) – that proved to be a big mistake since I had terrible tension headache/migraine the rest of the day. I should have learned my lesson by now – I am not one of those people who gets to partake in alcohol post race.
The part of the story I wanted to note is how I have crossed a threshold as a runner. My body now has muscle memory. I can complete (albeit slowly) distance races with very little training now. I never thought I would get to this point. I now have hope that I can speed up some day. With time and training I will eventually see improvement; I just need to put in the work.

Pre-race salmon

Two medals

Really nice wine glass as gift

Wine and Dine Race Recap

My third half-marathon is done. This is my second Disney wine and dine race. My goal last year was to be able to eat and drink afterward. I purposedly paced myself slower to keep myself from getting sick post race. I failed at this goal and finished way slower than my first half marathon. I was still too exhausted and nauseous to eat and drink
My goal this year was to beat my first half-marathon time (which would have been even better if not for the long bathroom break mid-race).
I noticed my corral placement wasn’t ideal so I requested an upgrade based upon my miracle miles race results.

The race itself takes you through three of the Disney Parks.

A bunch of my girl friends did the race this year as well. It was great following up with each other ocassionally to see how training was going. We provided motivation for each other. All my friends beat me of course. I have fast friends. My husband and my friend Melvin also signed up this year.

The race was pretty uneventful at the beginning but something happened miles 8-10. I think this is when my lack of discipline in training came back to bite me. I slowed down in the miles and could not physically push myself to speed up. When my interval watch would beep for walk mode I would zone out and lose and minute or so of running time – this happened multiple times during these miles. I am going to use this stretch of miles as an example of why consistency in training is so important. I was 10 minutes faster than in the race last year’s wine and dine but still 6 minutes slower than my best time. I did not reach my goal this time but some day I will.

My favorite part of the race is running through Disney Studios and the Osborne Family Lights display. Any kind of rough patch you are in will be stopped when the lights energize you.

 I think I ate ok meals ahead of time, but maybe I ate a bit much earlier that day. My meals were left over pasta from the night before and high fiber granola pancakes. The food was high in fiber but did not cause any gastrointestinal issues. I think however the extra calories may have weighed me down a bit. Next time I am going to eat a little less earlier in the day prior to a night race.
I felt like I did a good job at hydration prior and during the race, even if I did have a few glasses of wine the night before. I never felt like I had to stop to go to the bathroom during the race, nor did I feel dehydrated. I am getting better at this part. This time around I used coconut water the day before the race and immediately after the race to hydrate. This may have prevented me from getting a migraine and sick after the race.
This year I was finally able to enjoy the party. Disney provides you with a $10 gift card to use after the race at Epcot. You can purchase food dishes or beverages from around the world.

I was able to eat multiple dishes afterwards and drink 2 beers and never got sick. Walking was tough but not impossible.

The whole gang prior to the race.

My post race meal (the next day) was from a latin restaurant down the street.

There is a 90% chance that I will sign up again next year. Perhaps with a few more friends who are now motivated to try their first half-marathon. I may not be fast but if I motivate just one friend to decide to try it then I am satisfied!!!

Miracle Miles Recap

My first distance race of the season is complete. I completed the miracle miles 15k for the second year in a row. It looks like my pre-race meal worked out for me.
We ended up having a beautiful and cooler fall morning here in Orlando. It was still hot but not blistering like in years past. It got a bit tough running sometimes in the sun but I was rewarded with cool winds and shady trees. Miles 1 and 2 were run at too fast a pace. It could’ve backfired on me but luckily I had energy to complete the race. Things started to get a bit challenging at mile 4 but by the time I got to mile 5 I got another energy boost. It wasn’t until around mile 8 that my energy stores were depleted. Mind over matter I kept at it. A last boost at the end made me complete the race in just a bit over 2 hours. If I keep up this time improvement, I am on track to meet or beat my best half-marathon time.
I still haven’t found a way to beat the post race headache (or migraine as I call them). I think they are a stress headache related to repeated movements from the race. They cause the same result as my regular migraines though. I am not sure how to prevent them; I tried hard to relax my shoulders and stretch my neck and shoulders during walking breaks. If anyone has any suggestions for these I would love to hear.
Happy running…….