Monday, November 19, 2012

Snot Rockets

I failed at my weekly run update which should have happened on Friday.  Instead you got an entertaining post about hills.  Here's the recap of last week:

Mileage total for last week (Sunday - Saturday) = 25miles
Mileage total from the week before = 29.5miles
Total Miles since Ultimate season ended = 72.5miles

My mileage totals from last week were less because I mixed in a day of hill repeats.  I don't know what to count that as mileage so I just wrote down hill repeats on my calendar and that's that.

With that out of the way a note on snot rockets. If you have never heard of a snot rocket then you are either blessed with a mucus free life or you don't know any runners. I am more than blessed in the mucus producing department and that production line goes into overdrive when I do anything athletic, especially running. I've been dealing with it pretty well since I normally run outside so I just spit wherever I want. However, the whole snot rocket thing is hit or miss.  And by hit or miss I mean sometimes I miss myself, sometimes I hit my leg with snot. Yes, I'm aware that is gross, but it's helps to get it out that way rather than wait for it to run down your throat. To be honest, my running gloves and sleeves of my shirts are pretty much covered in snot anyways so it all ends up in the wash covered in snot.

My recent issues with snot rockets are my ears. I've always had sensitive ears. Growing up in Duluth my ears would get plugged and pop going up and down the hill. I also have had some pretty horrible plane take-offs and landings due to my ears.  As of late when I do a snot rocket, my opposite ear gets plugged. It doesn't hurt, but it is annoying. I spend about a minute "yawning" to open it up. I end up having to do this a lot during runs because of the above mentioned mucus production issue. Does anyone else have this problem?

Friday, November 16, 2012


When I first started running I lived in Breckenridge, CO. There are very limited places in Breckenridge where you can run without going up hill or down hill unless you run inside on a treadmill. I will admit, my first training runs were inside on the treadmill or around the mini track (13 times around = a mile). Part of that was due to the weather and the mounds of snow on the ground. I was also scared to run uphill.

The year I started to train for my first marathon I had just finished my second summer doing the Summit Trail Running Series. This is a great event, and if you spend a summer in Breckenridge I would sign up for the series. There are, I think, 5 races over the summer on different trails around Breckenridge. If you sign up for all 5 you get a cool shirt and a deal on the race fee. You also get drink tickets, half priced appetizers, and a raffle after each race at a bar in town. The raffle is great because you are pretty much guaranteed to win at least once over the summer. They have a short course and a long course you can run. I always signed up for the short course because in my head I was terrible at trail running and there was no way I could do the long course.(I have a great story about the short course/long course experience that I will save for a later date).

I thought I was terrible at trail running because I couldn't run up hill. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can see now what my problem was, but in that moment I just thought I was physically incapable of running uphill. I would start out running, but I would always end up walking most of the uphill. In case you are wondering, no it didn't occur to me at the time the only way to get better at going uphill was to practice going uphill. So I wouldn't really "train" at all and then get frustrated that I couldn't run uphill. However, my second year doing the races I started to feel a little more comfortable and could piece together more running uphill despite never really working at it.

When the training runs got longer, Jeremiah and I actually put together longer runs that did not involve going uphill up a mountain. We'd run to Frisco and back, or up a dirt road towards the Dredge. When the time came to do the really long training run (18miles), we were actually in the Midwest and did the run in Bentonville Arkansas while visiting my sister for my nephews baptism. I am sad that I left Breckenridge before I really learned to like hills.

How did I come to like hills? It finally dawned on me to get better at running uphill, I actually needed to practice running uphill. I made it my goal to get better at running uphill and I made myself practice running uphill. I think the one thing that really pushed me into it was I signed up for a trail race. Jeremiah and I didn't get into the Moab Half Marathon one year and he found a different race in Salida. It was a trail half marathon and full marathon. I signed up for it and I knew I had to get comfortable running uphill.

The best thing I learned in practice was how to find a pace I was comfortable running at uphill. In the past I just tried to run like I did on flat land and I would tire myself out pretty quickly which would result in my walking. I also learned how to take smaller quicker steps (hence the name of the blog tiny footing). I might not be the fastest uphill runner, but I can go at my pace for a long time. True, I still walk sometimes, like on really long steep sections. But I am able to "run" uphill and feel comfortable doing it. It's not the prettiest, but it allows me to keep energy for flat/downhill sections.

In short, if there is something you are struggling with in running, the only way to get better is to practice. For me, it was sucking it up and running hills and be okay with being a little slow, especially at first. If you want to go faster, you need to practice running faster. If you want to go further, you need to practice going further. A lot of race training programs include tempo or speed workouts. I usually just ignored that and did the mileage required for that run without paying attention to speed. But really the only way to get better is to practice the thing your scared of and pretty soon you'll be tiny footing it up a mountain too.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Running Motivation

Mileage total this week (Sunday-Friday) = 22.5miles
Total Miles since Ultimate Season ended = 35.5miles
I skipped Sunday and Wednesday.
Last week I only really count as half a week since I was in Florida I got 13miles in (Running Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday).

I've had a pretty successful running week thus far and I'm happy to report that I think of gotten back in to the rhythm of running which is not easy to do. A lot of people have a hard time getting into running because in all honestly it's not that much fun to do on a consistent basis when you first get started. Sure that first run is invigorating, you feel awesome cause you just did a run. Then the next day comes and you realize you have to do it again because the run yesterday only counted for yesterday. I've always found it easier to run with a schedule that is usually tied to a race. For example it's easier to say "I'll run those 10 miles because I don't want to die during the marathon" than it is to say "Oh hey, it's -20 out I think I'll run 10 miles". So obviously a good way to get in to running is to get yourself committed (monetarily) to a race and tell everyone you know you're doing it.  Why tell everyone you're doing it? Because of a few things: they won't get mad at you when you're busy and can't hangout because you're on a run, they don't judge you when you eat a 10" pizza* by yourself because you'll probably run it off, and they will ask about it and your training. People will ask you how your training is going, so you can't be a liar liar pants on fire and say you've been running when you haven't. So go on that training run because nobody likes a liar. But beware, that doesn't mean they want to hear you talk about your training, they are just confirming that you are still their weird friend who pays money to run races.

But what do you do when you don't have a race to set up a training schedule for? Like I do right now. Which is not totally true since I have some races in the queue I just haven't paid my entry fee yet. When you get in to running you're sort of always training because you are trying to get faster so you can get a certain time. However, it's still not easy to get yourself excited to go out multiple days in a row. I was finding this really hard right after Ultimate ended. I wanted to give myself a fat week to just laze around, but I couldn't. I needed to jump in or I would continue to find a reason to not go for a run. So I just did it, I went on a short 3mile run and set myself up for miles of fun in the coming months. I was jazzed on Wednesday, so proud of myself as I wrote a three next to the date on the calendar, imagining all the mileage totals I'd be racking up. How pumped I'd be to tell the world in this blog how much I've been running. Then Thursday came and I realized that three I wrote can't also count for today. Thus I had the fight in my head, "do I really need to go running". If you've run you've probably had this same internal conversation; "you did run yesterday, and your body is still recovering from ultimate, and you deserve to ease into it....etc". No I had to ignore it. I needed something to out shout the voices in my head. Would it be rock and roll? Hip Hop? Could I blast it out with some Thrift Shop echoing into my head from my ear buds? No I needed something more. Something that would block those thoughts out for good so what did I choose? What was my secret weapon?

You guessed right! Peter Sagal and the crew of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" the NPR news quiz. A couple things to quell you naysayers. First of all Peter Sagal is a runner. He actually had a great article in Runners World about training for the Chicago Marathon to beat his PR. He's run a lot of races and he chronicled his journey along with some great pictures. There was one of him peeking out from a port-o-potty but I couldn't find it so you get some nice white thighs instead. I also knew that I had a buttload of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me podcasts on my ipod that were begging to be listened to. I wanted to listen to them so I made a deal with myself - you can listen to the podcast, but you have to go on a run. It was prefect because podcasts are about 45minutes long and I needed to go on a 5 mile run. So that has been my secret weapon all week. Listening to NPR. The most obvious choice to inspire any athletic endeavor. I'm sure it also amuses those I see while on my run as a blond haired runner hops by giggling to herself about something Mo Rocca just said.

But really if you need to find motivation to get yourself out there maybe you need to give yourself another incentive not a punishment for not running. For me it was getting to listen to a great podcast. For you it could be a book on tape, or maybe you love sour gummy worms and you stash them in your pocket and you get to eat one every half mile, or maybe you want to look at Christmas lights in your neighborhood. Running is fun, and after you get into your routine it's pretty easy to want to go out for a run because it just becomes a thing you do. But there's nothing wrong with combining it with something else fun.

*who am I kidding, I can't finish a 10" pizza by myself. Although the guy at Hops and Pie last night did say when I ordered it "is that all you want?".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Posting schedule

I am going to attempt to create a posting schedule that will be loosely followed.  Basically on Friday's I'll try and always post some sort of running/training update. This is more for me to keep track of what I ran over the past week. It's going to be weird because I usually do long runs on Saturdays or Sundays, but whatever I'll make it work. I will also try and do at least one other post during the week.

So the election is today. Thank god. This election has really ruined my attempt at caring about football. I care because I paid (or will pay since I haven't sent in the money yet) $10 to join a fantasy football league, therefore I paid $10 to care. Here is what $10 got me:

  • Hilarious recap emails from Anna about the week and about how I should bench certain players.
  • Funny trash talk emails from everyone else on the league usually directed at Sally and why she hasn't subbed out her bye week players
  • Frustration when I finally start moving players around and they always have amazing weeks right after I get rid of them (or start sucking as soon as I start to play them). Not that RGIII is sucking, it's just when I didn't play him he was scoring like 30pts and when I do play him he gets 17.
  • Delight in finding a game that comes in on our TV (which works better with the new antenna, thanks DOD)
  • Anger at having this delight ruined by political ads.
I would recommend fantasy football because it's been fun to care about a sport I know very little about. But I really wish I had liked this last year when I didn't have to sit through election commercials. I'm looking at all of you too, not just one side or the other. I can't imagine it does much to swing people. First of all if you agree with one party you are going to cheer for your team and make snarky comments about the other team when their commercial comes up. The only thing I can say is it does get me fired up to vote, so if these commercials are GOTV motivated then good job because both sides inspire me to fill in my ballot. I would be interested in knowing how an undecided voter views these commercials. My first instinct is an undecided voter would either turn off their TV, mute it (like I do), or sigh loudly and decide they hate everyone and not vote. Which is the opposite of what the people putting on the commercials would want if they are GOTV motivated.

Anyways, after today at least the commercials will be done. But I am not ignorant to the fact that the news people will continue to talk about the election, election results, hanging chads, voter disenfranchisement, voter fraud, and the like for weeks following the election. That is fine, just as long as they don't do it while I'm watching Redman pick up a lot of yards the week after I took him out of my lineup because someone on ESPN noted that he was injured and might not play....

RGIII you've been warned...Christian Ponder is ready to sweep in as soon as I give up all hope and put all my eggs in the vikings basket.