Sunday, February 12, 2012

So you call yourself a runner?
Greetings and Salutations everyone! Once again, it's been quite awhile since I've posted to my blog, but I have a REALLY good excuse...I've been running!!!!

Last October I had this fantastic idea. I decided that I was going to run the Augusta Half Marathon on February 26th, 2012. This would mean that I would have to ramp up my running from ZERO miles per week to a point where I could manage 13.1 miles on race day. Easy peasy, right?

I'll be honest...the first 6 weeks were terribly difficult. Just getting to the point where I could run 3 miles non-stop was the biggest challenge thus far. Even now that I'm up to 10+ miles on my long Sunday run, there are days when just running 3 is horribly difficult. I'm now 2 weeks out from the half marathon. I wish I were a little fitter, but I'll be honest...I'm ahead of my training schedule with regards to my long run distance, so I can't complain. I've got 2 more weeks to prepare and I'll prepare my best. I've learned a lot along the way, though, and wanted to share my personal thoughts on 'becoming a runner.'

1. Shoes--DO NOT skimp when it comes to purchasing running shoes. I am truly blessed to have an exceptional running store in my community, Fleet Feet Sports--North Augusta, and their staff and fit policies are out of this world. I've found the PERFECT shoe for me (I wear New Balance 890s) that are lightweight, easy to break in, and provide me great support. I also use an insert (SuperFeet green), which alongside good shoes has allowed me to build distance with absolutely no foot issues whatsoever. Score 1 for me!

2. Chafing--I've been lucky that any irritation I've experienced from running has been minimal, but I have to share because my chafing has GOT to be rare. The first time I had any issues was when I was running 7 miles. I got home and my left eyelid felt like it was on FIRE. Upon closer examination I realized that I had a blister on the outside edge of the lid. I also noticed that my eyelids were REALLY droopy (you do realize I'm almost 41, right, so I am getting older--Eeek!) and that the droopy bouncing eyelid combined with sweat and salt created friction. The result, a blister. ON MY EYELID! My husband and I joked that it would be an excellent reason for an eyelift, but I decided that a cheaper and less painful solution would be to rub a little Glide (sold in running stores as an anti-chafing lube) on my eyelid pre-long run. Works perfectly. If you chafe, be sure that you're wearing clothing that will eliminate it and if needed, get some Glide.

3. Clothes--Speaking of clothing, there's nothing that motivates me to workout more than new workout clothes. Now, you also have to understand a bit about me...I'm most definitely not a petite flower and I do NOT look good in spandex. I've got a big caboose and rather round thighs. And yes, I'm a bit self conscious about them. In addition, running shorts, on my body shape, would require me to purchase Glide in vast quantities and I would spend most of my run pulling them back down around my rather round thighs (see comment above). So, what's a girl to do? I have a two word solution...RUNNING SKIRT! Seriously, BEST CREATION EVER. Mine is a running skirt/capri tight combination which has been perfect for the weather. They're cute as can be, come in basic black or a variety of color combinations. Plus, there's something sort of fun about running and feeling your skirt bounce as you go. Sounds odd, I know, but I swear it's the truth.

4. Motivation--When I run, I have a tendency to play head games with myself. I'm not going to kid you, the thought of running 10 miles sounds horrible whenever I think about it. However, what about 3/10 of a mile? Doesn't that seem more doable? Is sure does to me. When I run, I'm all about breaking things down into sections and I plan my running route with that in mind. There's a fantastic running/biking/walking trail nearby (The North Augusta Greeneway) that would be a great place for long runs. The problem I have with running there, though, is that it would be 5 miles out, turn around, and 5 miles in. The thought of knowing I had to run for 5 miles on a straight stretch of path just seems SO agonizing. It works for some people, but not for me. So, I run in the neighborhoods by my house. I've learned where the sections are that are 3/10 of a mile, 1/2 mile, etc. and as each 'chunk' goes by, there's always a turn to be made, a new neighborhood to go to, and it just seems so much more doable. If I think that I have 6 more miles to run, it has a tendency to take the wind out of my sails, but when I say, "I'ts only another 3/10 of a mile till the next turn," it just seems manageable. Add all those 3/10, 1/2, 1/10, 7/10 sections together, and it still adds up to the same amount.

5. Recording--When I first started running, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone (I have a Droid). It made life so much easier...I didn't have to keep looking at my watch at how much time had elapsed and it even kept track of my pace as I progressed, announcing it to me at each change. As my mileage increased, I needed an app that could handle the increased distance, and I found it with Endomondo. It uses the GPS on my phone to determine my distance, announces at each mile how far I've gone, what my total time is, what my last mile pace was, and it'll play music. You can set both distance or time goals before your workout (I use the distance goal, but if you know your general pace and you don't want to run the GPS on the phone, the time goal is a good alternative). I LOVE IT! There's something so gratifying when I hear her voice say, "Your workout is complete. Great job."

6. Progress--There are going to be days when running feels like agony and you could swear that someone hooked an anvil to your pants somewhere along the way. I assure you, I've dragged that blasted anvil for MANY miles. That said, there are also going to be days when you feel as though you're running on clouds, when you think it just seems too easy to be exercise. There are so many things that can affect your run...for me, I find running after a day of work to be incredibly difficult. In fact, most days my 3-4 mile runs after work seem more challenging than running 8 miles on Sunday morning. There will be days when you have to walk for 30 seconds at the end of every mile, and days when you don't. Just know that it's normal, that you are making progress even though oftentimes it feels as though you're not. Keep putting one foot in front of the other because...

...I am a runner, and so are you.


  1. What a great post with some useful tips and tidbits of information I hadn't thought of (like the running skirt - genius!). I started with the C25K a couple of years ago. I was doing okay, then one day, I just didn't. That one day turned into a week...and here we are. But after reading your post, it's making me think I need to start up again. Yayee! and Ugh!

  2. Marianne...If I can run, ANYONE can run! Best of luck to you!!!!!