Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A need for speed

A few weeks ago I joined the 21st century and got my first smart phone. I have been having lots of fun with it - there are more cat pictures been taken than any person has a right to have taken!

I have picked up a few free apps as well - solitaire, Facebook, Twitter, Yachty, the DD app. I also picked up Run Double - the Couch to 5k program.

RunDouble talks you through your workout, helping you to achieve your fitness goals, track, and share your results with friends. Start with C25K or Couch to 5K, and get running 5K in just 9 weeks, then progress to 10K and even a half marathon.

I know I've run 5ks, 8ks, 5 mile, 10ks, and half marathons, but I also know I want speed. My last two half marathons were slow. The last one I actually had a blast at (minus out the last mile where my fingers, but the one before that was miserable. I have had one really good half marathon (2012) and I want that to be the rule rather than the exception.

So, last night I started the C25k program through RunDouble. It starts with 5 minute warm up, 30 sec run/180 sec walk x 8, then a 5 minute cool down. I have to admit, that 30 second run felt sooooo short! But, I ran all 8 of them at 5.3 on the treadmill, which is faster than I've run on the treadmill all year. That's gotta be a good sign, right?

Over the next 9 weeks, I'm going to go back to basics and complete the C25k program. I'll admit, when I started running, I couldn't even think about doing the C25k program because I was so out of shape. This time around I know I can do the program, it's just how fast can I get myself to do it!

What do you do to build speed? Have you ever gone back to basics to improve your running?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boston Marathon Elites

Yesterday was the 2014 Boston Marathon. So many great things came out of it this year - Meb Keflezighi becomes the first male to win in 31 years, Rita Jeptoo won Boston for the third year in a row and set a course record, Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair division, and 36,000 people lined up to run.

But you know what the real story is? The real story are the regular people who ran yesterday. Sure, we as Americans were thrilled when Meb (cause Meb and I are like that) crossed the line because that last .2 miles were a little scary! But, as a slow runner I am impressed with those who crossed the finish line hours after Meb, Jeptoo, McFadden, and Van Dyk. They are the fabulous runners who get no recognition except from those who know and love them.

To me Erica Nash (USA - 7:41:52) and Kevin Counihan (USA - 8:58:53) are just as deserving of the same accolades as the top finishers. Sure, they started later and finished last, but heck they were there running. Everyone who ran Boston are pretty impressive. Congratulations to all the runners...including those who crossed the finish line hours later.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Motivational Monday

I figure most of my readers are either runners or at least know that I run. I'm not the best runner in the world (I freely admit this and I'm not putting myself down at all by saying it.), but I do appreciate good running and what it takes to be a fast runner. In Boston today, the 2014 Boston Marathon happened (actually there are still lots of fantastic people still running as I type this!).

I couldn't find the marathon on t.v., but did find it on-line and I watched the men and women cross the finish line today. Watching these elites of the sport finish the race is awe inspiring. How quickly these runners go, the condition of their bodies, their dedication to the sport is incredible. The fact that the top four women beat the course record is insane! How impressive is that??!!??

The photo for today's Motivational Monday is of Meb Keflezighi crossing the finish line - the first American male since 1983 to do so. I admire Meb for many reasons - he is my age, he runs with heart, he is humble, he is dedicated, he is kind. According to post-race interviews, he was at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon and left the stands about 5 minutes before the bombing. He decided then that he would run Boston in 2014 and hopefully win. Today, when he ran, he had the names of the four people who died in the blasts on his bib.

What I am taking from today's race is never to count yourself out. Meb didn't. He is almost 39 years old. He decided he wanted to win this race for the people of Boston. When he crossed the line his face was sheer joy. When he stood on the podium holding the trophy with the National Anthem playing he cried. This is what following your dream and succeeding does to a person.

And don't count out the other 36,000 runners today. These people are just as amazing. These people, who will never get the recognition the elites receive, have trained their butts off! They sacrificed much to qualify to run Boston and are running their hearts out today. They are also oh so motivational because they do this for themselves, their family, and for reasons that reflect 36,000 people.

So today, be motivated by the elites and the 36,000 people who lined up in Boston to run their hearts out and prove to the world that the acts of last year's race will not stop runners from toeing the line. If they can do it, so can we!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday peeps! It's here again! 

What am I thankful for this week? I'm going completely basic this week. I am ever so thankful for my house. Yes. I know. Totally basic. But, this winter and the last wacky weather week has made me appreciate having somewhere warm to lay my head at night.

I admit, my bedroom does not have heat or air conditioning, but we're ok with this. We have adjusted (heated mattress pad/electric blanket in winter & fan in summer) and other than this year, we never had to worry about the lack. This year, I spent Jan. through early April sleeping on the sofa in the living room because it was just too darn cold!

But, you know what? WHO CARES???? I have a house. I have a place to put my crap. I have a place to rest my head - bed or otherwise. I have a place to eat. I have a place to house my adorable furbabies. I have a place to go when I need to get away. I have a place I can decorate and make my own.

I am lucky. There are many people who have no home at all. There are many people who want to own a home, but cannot. There are many people who would love to know where they are putting their head down at night.

So today I am thankful for my home. I am a lucky person to have the lovely place that I have. What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who do you find beautiful?

We are bombarded by images of what is beautiful and what we should look like. I should be a size 0-2 with long blond hair, blue eyes, be 5'8", and have porcelain white skin. I can claim the blue eyes and fairly porcelain white skin (yea...I'm the lucky one who burns, then goes white again). I'm more of a size 16 (ugh), medium dark red (yea hair dye!), gray eyes (they can be blue, just depends on what I wear and my eye shadow), and 5'4". I'm not what you call the ideal woman.

Recently, I've decided who I believe is a gorgeous woman and someone who I want to emulate - Christina Hendricks. Christina Hendricks plays Joan Harris on the hit AMC show Mad Men.

Can I have this dress? Seriously. Can I?
I admit, I love this show. The writing is great, the costuming is gorgeous, and the acting a fantastic! Throughout the run of the show, I have been drawn to Christina Hendrick's character. Partly due to her attitude (and does she have it!), but also because of how they dress her. She is amazing and the costumers aren't afraid to dress her curves. Christina Hendricks has curves. And I think she is the first modern Hollywood star who flaunts them.

And this is why I feel I'm drawn so much to her. I have curves; I have an hour-glass figure big time. It's something I've always been proud of. One of the few physical features I've liked about myself as long as I can remember. And she makes curves look good.

Over the past few years I have gained more weight than I am happy about. Mad Men's fifth season started off this past Sunday and reminded me again of how much I admire Christina Hendricks and her body confidence. It is something I want to have.

Beauty isn't always model thin. It is confidence. It is knowing what looks good on you. It is feeling good about yourself. I learned this from both Joan Harris and Christina Hendricks. Which is why I am starting again to lose the weight. She is an inspiration and if I can look half as good as she does...well, then I can be a happy girl!

Who do you think is gorgeous? Who do you think sets a good body image example?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Motivational Monday

You know, this is so true. Unhappiness sucks. But, so much of it comes down to how we see a situation rather than the situation itself. How many times have we been sad about something, told a friend, and they didn't understand the problem? To us, it seems awful and cause for much teeth gnashing, but to others it's nothing.

We are all different - what I would be upset over might not upset you and vice versa. Of course there are those things that make us sad that we universally acknowledge as such and we (and others) allow for sadness and give sympathy. But, how many times does something make us sad that in reality, it's how we process it that is causing our feelings?

This week let's resolve to acknowledge our feelings about our situation, but determine if it truly warrants our sadness. Is it as bad as we think or will it be something that a week, a month, a year from now will not even be part of our memory? If we can recognize it's something that's fleeting, then maybe, just maybe, we can let it go without it ruining our today.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sole of the City 10k

Yesterday, hubby and I ran the Sole of the City 10k in Baltimore for the third time. We really like running in Baltimore, Charm City Run does a lot of races down there and they do a fantastic job! For the first time in our running "career" we had to chose between two races - Sole of the City 10k or Yuengling Lager Jogger 5k. We went with the 10k because honestly, there are fewer of them than 5ks.

We got up early to hit McHenry Row for packet pick-up. Our weekend initially was going to be crazy with a food truck event Friday night in York, then the race Sat. morning, then two Orioles games, but our tabby isn't doing well and we chose not to go away this weekend. Which means, we did packet pick-up morning of.

Parking was a bit dicey, but we found a spot not too far away and walked to get our bibs. We walked right into the store and up to the table. We had our bib and jackets within minutes - the ladies received the black jacket, the gentlemen the gray.

We dropped our jackets off at the car and put on our bibs and timing chips. Then we made our way to the start line. We took the obligatory selfie:

For a change, I got all of hubby's head in, but I missed my chin. LOL! Right after this, our friend Ada found us (we ran the St. Patrick's Day 5k in March with Ada!) and we got to see her and her friends before the race. The announcements were done - welcome, an introduction of Erika Brannock, a short speech by Erika Brannock (a MD runner who was seriously injured at the Boston Marathon in 2013), a fantastic singing of the National Anthem, then we were off!

This race is going to be hubby's last race until the fall as he will be having surgery on his legs next month. Within the first 50 feet he said his legs were hurting him. Uh oh. We kept going and thankfully it went away. We did a run half a mile/walk one minute interval. We were slow, but it was going well.

The race course changed from last year and took us through Fells Point and back. We really liked the Fell's Point area as we ran through and since it was Pirate's weekend, there was all sorts of stuff going on there! We debated stopping and just hanging out, but we continued on.

As an aside, we were running through Fell's Point and a gentleman had a sign saying "Ladies, run fast because Luke Bryan is waiting for you at the finish line!" I looked over and said, "Sir, I believe you are lying." He was quick with his response - "No, there is a Luke and a Bryan waiting at the finish line!" Touche sir, touche!

Hubby did GREAT! He ran further than he has since the last time we ran this race in 2013. I struggled during the last mile, but we came back to McHenry Row and ran across the finish line! Our friend Ada and her friends were there and were kind enough to give us bottles of water immediately. The temperatures were in the 60s, which is beautiful walking around being outside weather, but when you've trained in 10-20 degree temps all winter it was like running in an oven!

We chatted with our friends, then made our way back for some snacks...and beer. :-) We grabbed ourselves a pint of beer, a banana, bag of pretzels, and we had our waters.

And the obligatory post-race selfie...
From here, we checked out Charm City Run (because we are suckers) for buying running stuff after a race (and there was a $10 off coupon on the back of our bibs....). I grabbed a cute purple 5k shirt, while hubby grabbed a Baltimore themed shirt.

Since I want to run more 5ks this year, this will be the perfect shirt! It's soft too. I was able to get $10 off the shirt, so while pricey, at least it was a tad bit more affordable.

We headed home after our stop at the store and made our Saturday morning stop at Dunkin Donuts. We totally Earned Our Donuts yesterday!
I have a rule that I can only have an apply fritter when I run 5 or more miles. 6.2 completely allows me an apple fritter! So yummy!

Now, just a quick pros/cons from the 2014 Sole of the City 10k

  • It's a 10k (Not a common race distance around these parts)
  • The promo is a jacket (rare as well)
  • The course (all around Baltimore and loved the run through Fells Point!)
  • Start time (9:00 a.m. is helpful for those driving over an hour to get there!)
  • For this year only, the promo jacket was initially yellow but the color wasn't ready by the manufacturer in time. They replaced it was a black jacket for the women (the men's gray jacket stayed the same). My issue is in 2012 (the first year it was run) the jacket was black. Wasn't there any other colors available?
  • The course. Yes, I realize I am contradicting myself here. My issue is that for slow runners (like myself) when we ran by the Inner Harbor this time around we had to run through tourists. In the past, this part of the race (which I LOVE), had been at the beginning when there weren't a lot of people around. I would have liked this part of the race to be like it was the last two years, then head up to Fell's Point. Then when we return, run along Pratt Street, which is how we returned the last two years.
Outside that, this is a great race. Seriously. If you are in the Baltimore area or are looking for a racecation, this would be a great race for it. It's a 10k, which means it can be a challenging distance, but because it is a shorter distance you will be up to being a tourist afterwards. Baltimore is a great city for so many reasons and would make a great long weekend trip, especially since they do a day-of packet pick-up.

Did you race this weekend? Did you run Sole of the City 10k? What did you think?