Friday, July 29, 2011

Newsflash: It gets hot in the summer

Me & Robert
July 19, 2009
yes, I'm wearing a cardigan. 
In case you didn't notice, it's hot out.

Perhaps you were clued into this fact by a Facebook post or Tweet by some non-runner who dared step outside their overly air-conditioned shelter only to post "oh my gah I'm so sick of this weather like mother nature get it together before my make-up sweats off!!!1111!" [dramatization]

Or by one of the many posts and tweets by runners who like to act all badass about running in 90 degree temps and/or 100 percent humidity. ['sup]

Or perhaps you have read one of the many articles titled something like "666 ways to deal with running in the heat. #1 hydrate. #2 run early before it gets hot."

Or maybe you looked at your calendar and noted that it is July and like every other July before this one (except for 2009 which was just a crappy summer - see photo proof), it gets a little hot.

I'm sure you have your ways of dealing with running in the heat. Good for you.

This morning's run
Oh hai there sprinklers
Now here are mine, other than the usual "hydrate and run early."
  • Suck it up and run in the heat. If you were a genius like me an registered for a half marathon in the middle of August, this is probably a good idea to acclimate yourself to the heat. Eventually you will get used to it and temps in the low 80s will feel good.
  • Find a forest preserve that does not have a story about some lonely jogger being murdered in it, and run there. (Alternate option for bad neighborhoods: Bring pepperspray or a buddy. I have found husbands who are 6'4, 250 pounds to be effective at assuaging my fears of running in the forest.)
  • Wait until the sun is setting so at least you can get mostly shade during your run. Sadly I have found that no one has their sprinklers on at this time of day. Jerks. (Could also be the watering restrictions.) 
  • Get over your body insecurities and run in as little clothing as possible. I guarantee that no one cares more about the way your body looks than you do.
  • If you are running and see a sprinkler, run through it. Multiple times if it has a weak spray and doesn't get you wet enough. (TWSS?)
  • Or: While running, stick your face in every drinking fountain you pass. (Drink some water too.) 
  • Same idea but I haven't done this yet: After putting on your running clothes but before heading out the door, turn the shower to cold and jump in. 
  • Or: A few hours before your run, get your running shorts wet and put them in the freezer. Put them on. Make "oooh!" sound and feel simultaneously cold and hot & bothered. 
  • Last resort: Run on a treadmill. Feel like a failure the entire time. 
What do you do to deal with these lovely temps? 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Running while on "vacation"

Peeps, I did something this past weekend that I've never been really good at.

I went running while on "vacation."

I was out of town from Friday - Sunday for a family reunion in the Quad Cities, where my pops grew up. It was pretty great! Two nights of 70+ people related to me in some way.

Our hotel was on the Mississippi River, and I am three weeks from the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon. I was actually excited about running while on vacation.

On Saturday, I woke up early. Like, 7am. I'm glad I did, because it was cool-ish (70s) and cloudy. During my last mile I think the sun came out. So good thing I got my tush out the door when I did.

Good morning! Time for a run.

Mississippi River. Nice spot for a run.

I also got to start breaking in these. Yup, my long run on Friday was cut short because of that familiar "it's time for new shoes" pain in my lower legs. I bought a pair of Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7s before heading out of town.

New shoes. Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7. Let's see how long these last me.

On Sunday, I woke up early ... but it was raining. Not hard, but I thought I could wait it out. Everyone was still asleep (they were on vacation, too), so I curled up in bed with some hotel cable. There is nothing good on at 7am on a Sunday. I could have read the book I brought, but instead I ended up watching Say Yes to the Dress and marveled at how crazy people get when it comes to weddings. (Yay for David's Bridal, that's all I'm sayin.) Around 9am it was still raining and I still wanted to get a run in, so I went out. It wasn't that bad at all, I don't know why I was being such a wuss. The rain felt nice. It stopped raining after a couple miles and I wished it hadn't. I saw a couple cousins while running. We're an active bunch. I got back to the hotel and realized breakfast was ending soon and my Mom told me I didn't smell (she also thinks I'm cool), so I ate breakfast in the lobby.

In addition to running and seeing various relatives, I also got to take in the Rock Island Train Festival.

Rock Island Train Festival 2011

Rock Island Train Festival 2011

Rock Island Train Festival 2011

And spend time with this cutie.

Rock Island Train Festival 2011

Also: two 20+ weeks in a row! Woot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When running is like a part-time job

Team Sparkle Completes the Huntington Beach Surf City Marathon
Also: Should I get a Sparkle Skirt?
I spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for running. Probably as much if not more (probably more) than I actually spend running. (I like spread sheets and charts ... )

I know I'm not the only one because I talk to and follow a few other runners. I know there are thousands of runners who spend a lot more time (and money) than I do planning and running. And they have full-time jobs too.

Anyway, this is not about them. This is about me. Back to me.

Running is starting to feel like a part-time job. Or just a really involved hobby.

Scheduling running can be really difficult. Right now especially. I work normal business hours (8am - 5pm). My commute is about 45 minutes each way. I have other hobbies/activities (right now = burlesque class at my sister-in-law's studio and Pilates at the gym). It's really hot out right now. (Highs in the 90s until Monday.) We're trying to move. I'm going out of town this weekend (but the husband is not, so you can't rob us). When am I supposed to run? (Yeah, I know, I need to wake up early, but it's hard when I can't get to bed early some nights and whine whine whine.)

I wanted to start focusing on getting more freelance work, and that hasn't happened. But running has.

I'm not complaining ... I'm ... observing. This is something I chose to do, so I can't really complain about it. And honestly I do enjoy it. I feel healthier. I feel powerful. I like reaching goals. It helps me clear my mind. And it's making me like my body again.

But seriously, whoever said running is "easy" or "cheap" because all you need is a pair of shoes ... missed out on a lot of great marketing opportunities. Clearly many other businesses have filled that marketing gap.

When it comes to stuff, I "need":
When it comes to non-stuff, I "need":
  • Time to figure out my training plan (around my normal schedule)
  • Time to actually run
  • Time to get enough sleep
  • Comfortable temperatures
  • Shady routes that pass by drinking fountains
  • Motivation
And there's so much more I could do - pay for training plans, pay for a running coach, join a running club (yeah I keep meaning to ...), buy compression socks (seriously, do I need those? I'm starting to think I do, at least for long runs), enter more races ...

Many people have hobbies that take up a lot of their time. That's kind of the point of a hobby, isn't it?

Anyway, like I said, I'm not complaining, because I do like running and I want to do more of it. I think what I am complaining about is growing older and having more demands on my time that take away from the things I want to do. Just imagine when I have kids! Can I just invest in a jogging stroller and it'll be like nothing has changed? Yes? Please?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Milestone: 20 miles in one week.


I know 20 miles in one week isn't a big deal to a lot of runners. Many of them do 20+ miles in one day. However, as this is my first time hitting 20 miles in one week, it's a big deal to me. I probably would have hit it sooner, but I'm still trying to pursue non-running activities, like Pilates and burlesque class. It has been pretty hot (temps in the 80-90s plus humidity), and while I've still gotten out there and ran on all the days I've wanted to, there were some days when I would have run farther (and certainly faster) had it not been quite so hot.

I did break down and run on the treadmill today. I didn't wake up early enough to run before it got hot, and the high today was 94. And I had a bit of a headache (probably caffeine withdrawal) so running in the heat didn't seem appealing at all, not even in a shady forest preserve. Plus I knew I needed 5 miles today to hit the 20 mile goal, and I certainly didn't want to do that much outside. However, I did make those 5 miles on the treadmill count. I did a "track" work out (alternating 0.25 mi intervals at 6:50 - 7:30 pace with 9:30 - 10:00 pace) and my total time was 44:24 which I'm pretty sure is the fastest I've ever done 5 miles.

27 days until the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Chicago.  55 days until Fort2Base. Feeling: great.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This isn't so hard ... right?

I'm trying something new this month. No frivolous spending. We'll see how long it lasts.

Now, in all honestly, I'm being pretty lenient on what I allow myself to buy. For example, on Sunday I was at a pool/grill/fireworks party at my friends' place. To the best of my knowledge, they are not coffee drinkers. I have an addiction. So picking up a couple bottled Frappucinos was necessary - one for the afternoon and one for the following morning since we crashed in their guest room.

Sidebar: WHY does Starbucks insist on putting sweeteners in their Frappucinos? Don't they realize some of us like coffee + milk or cream and NO sweeteners? I hate that I consumed the empty calories and I didn't even want them. 

The biggest sign that I'm actually sticking to this no-frivolous-spending thing? I went to Target the other day and DIDN'T BUY ANYTHING. Not one thing. I went in looking for the following:
  • Navy blue camisole sports bra, to wear under a bathing suit cover-up worn as a dress. Didn't have navy blue.
  • High intensity sports bra. They didn't carry my size. (I even checked their web site - nope.) 
  • Leave-in conditioner. Didn't have anything that sounded like what I wanted. 
In addition, I casually checked out work-out clothing, bikinis and cheap & pretty panties (you know the 5/$20 stuff) but stopped myself before I got too far. And for once, I did not check out their shoes. And I just now realized I didn't check out their shoes. I don't think I've ever set foot in a Target and not gone out of my way to look at their shoes. Just for funsies.

Anyway, stay tuned for more super exciting posts about all the things I'm not buying. Also I'm burying this at the end of the post intentionally: The reason I'm doing this is because we've decided to move in with my parents. If we suck it up for a year or so with them, we should be able to pay off all of our credit cards and perhaps save up a down payment for a house. I figure more frivolous spending = more time living at my parents' house. And I certainly don't want that.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Acclimating to heat

This morning my plan was to go to Pilates at the gym and then do 3 miles on the treadmill afterward. Because it was hot today. Like 80 and humid by 9am. Forecast in the low 90s. Working out indoors seemed like a good plan.

Well, on the way to the gym, I noticed a new sound coming from my car. One of my tires was going flat. By the time I went to the gas station and filled it, it was too late for Pilates.

The Sailor was planning to go for a run, and I figured I should probably run in the heat because I'm signed up for the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon on August 14, and knowing Chicago, even though the race is at 6:30am, it will either be 80 and humid or 60 and breezy. Best to prepare for heat. Plus I like running with my husband :)

By the time we got out the door, it was 11am. So ... the hottest, sunniest part of the day. I've been wanting to run in just a sports bra for awhile now but haven't had the guts to do it. Normally after work I run along busy streets or in residential areas. Today I said "Who cares. It's hot. I'm probably the only one that cares what I look like anyway." My "good" sports bras were in the laundry bin, so I wore two. Don't want to look too offensive.

However, without a shirt, there is nothing to wipe the sweat dripping down my face on. So lesson learned. Time to rock a sweatband I guess ...

Because it was hot, we ran in a nearby forest preserve. It was a few degrees cooler in there, but still hot. I think I did good considering the temps.