All the Running

A screenshot from an app called RaceAddict. (And yes, that race start time is the default and likely is not correct.)

I joke that I hate running.  I don’t actually hate running.  It’s just that upon taking up triathlon, I discovered that I like doing things in addition to running, and having to run four+ days a week is kind of terrible.  I love the killer workouts that triathlon season brings.  And yet I spent my winter season running.

Why?  Well, I’m one of those people where if I don’t race, I’m much more likely to skip workouts.  If I have something I’m training for, I’ll get out there.  (I’d like to think that with Chattanooga 70.3 on the schedule, that would be enough, but really, who knows?)  Plus I have a lot of friends who I met through running and I want to keep racing with them.  For me, running races are also a lot less stressful.  I think it’s because the logistics are much simpler.  So much less to pack.  Weather plays much less of a role (except in what I wear).  The races are also shorter, time-wise, so that makes things easier.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not aiming for big things this season, but I’m taking each race as it comes.  For example, with this weekend’s Army Ten Miler, I’d love to improve my time from the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler earlier this year, but I’ve been a bit tight for the past couple of weeks, and I’m just not sure my body’s up for it.  But we’ll see what happens race morning.  Goal is to finish and have fun.

Then it’s on to half marathon season.  I’m not sure what I’m most excited for.  Space Coast has become a tradition, and I’m excited to hang out with friends and get my that 5th coveted space shuttle medal.  Donna is also slowly becoming tradition and a trip to Florida in February is so amazing.  BDR New Orleans is new, but I’m pumped to finally get to run with Kim again.  So each race has something awesome about it in addition to the actual running part.

Plus if nothing else, all that treadmill time helps me keep up on my tv watching.  Thank goodness for the fall tv season!

Should You Wear Makeup For a Race?

croisy / Pixabay

A couple of months ago, Runners World posted a video of how to do your makeup for a race.  This got a lot of attention in various running communities, mostly with a lot of disdain.

Who needs to wear makeup during a race?

Racing isn’t about looking good!  It’s about racing!

If you’re doing it right, your makeup will wear off anyway.

I didn’t really participate in any of these conversations, but I have to admit that I’ve been thinking a lot about appearance and sport.

First off, no one should feel like they have to wear makeup for a race.  In one of the threads I saw, a woman commented that she didn’t necessarily want to wear makeup, but she felt that the appearance of her skin was so bad that she needed to.  This just makes me sad.  As long as all your key parts are covered and you don’t have offensive sayings written anywhere, you shouldn’t ever have to worry that your appearance at a race is bothering anyone else.  No one has to wear makeup to a race.

But along the same lines, if someone wants to wear makeup to a race, why does anyone else care?  We all have different motivations for racing.  Heck, we all have different motivations for racing depending on the race.  Some races, I go out to push myself and try to set a PR.  Some races, I go out to have fun with my friends, and my plan may even include running and chatting with a friend for the entire distance.  Both are valid reasons to run.  None of these things have any effect on anyone else’s race.

And let’s be honest, a lot of us do pay attention to what we wear to a race.  Yes, I want to be comfortable, but I also want my kit to be cute.  I’ve loved racing in my Coeur Ambassador tri kit this year, and weather permitting, I will be wearing it for my upcoming road races as well.  I feel great in it, not only because it’s comfortable, but because I think it looks really great.

When it comes to a triathlon, I have never worn makeup, because, well, swim.  Though I do often use a tinted moisturizer (mainly because it’s SPF 50 and doesn’t destroy my sensitive skin).  Does that count as makeup?  And for a road race, I sometimes put on waterproof mascara, though that happens less and less as I get older and care less about what other people think.  (Don’t get me wrong though – I wear makeup for work every day because I enjoy it – I love a bold lip and defined eyes.)

But who am I to judge if someone else wants to wear makeup?  Maybe they feel more confident with makeup on.  Maybe that added confidence helps them be a stronger runner.  Maybe applying it is a calming part of their race day ritual for all I know.  Maybe they want to ensure their photos look great (note – photos can look great with or without makeup, but it’s definitely personal preference).

So makeup or no, go out and rock your race.  No one should feel like they have to wear makeup (I certainly won’t be), but if you want to, go for it!

“Get To” vs “Have To”

Something I often see in the running world is people complaining about runners who say “I have to go run.”  This phrase is often uttered with a bit of exhaustion or disgust.  The common response is “No, you don’t have to run, you get to run.”  Because the ability to run is a privilege and it’s awesome and you shouldn’t complain about it.

But you know what?  Sometimes you can complain about it.  The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

First off, we all complain about things that we’re lucky to have.  There are plenty of mornings that I think “Ugh, I don’t want to get out of bed and go to work.”  I love my job and it’s awesome to be employed, but that doesn’t mean I go skipping off to the office every morning.  I also often don’t want to clean my house.  But I’m also privileged to be able to have a house.

And I think the same goes with running or any other sport you’re training for.  Some days, you just don’t want to do it.  And it’s your love of the sport that makes you do it even though you don’t want to.  If I didn’t love triathlon and want to race, there are plenty of days that I certainly wouldn’t be working out.  Sure, some days I’m looking forward to a certain workout, and many times, I’m looking forward to the endorphins and sense of satisfaction that come with completing a workout (or the food I will get to eat afterwards).  But that’s certainly not every day.  Some days, I do not want to get on the treadmill after work.  I want to sit on the couch and watch tv or read a book or go to bed early.  But I do my run anyway, and 95% of the time, I feel better for having done it.

So yes, you get to run.  But you’re allowed to not love it all the time.

 

Storing and Displaying Racing “Stuff”

I generally feel like I haven’t been racing all that long, but I ran my first half marathon in 2010 and haven’t stopped since.  So over all of those years, I’ve accumulated a lot of race medals and other related things, and I thought it might be fun to share how I store and display and encourage others to do the same.  I’m always looking for new and fun ideas.  (And yes, I know there are plenty of people who just throw their medals into boxes in the back of their closets.  Clearly, that is not me.)

Race medals as of the beginning of August.

These are my running medals.  I’m not exactly sure how many are there, but there were some years where I raced a lot.  My runDisney medals are on their own separate hanger, partly because I love them and partly because I actually have the second hanger bar hung lower because the medals are so huge.  Assuming all goes well at this year’s SpaceCoast Half Marathon and I get the fifth and final medal in the series (plus the second piece of bonus bling), I’m considering getting a separate hanger so I can display all of my awesome space shuttle medals.  I don’t often race for medals, but I definitely want those five shuttles.

Triathlon Medals as of the beginning of August

These are my triathlon medals (and one swim race medal), which hang separately.  Clearly not as numerous, but I’m pretty proud of these.

As you can tell, these all hang near windows, so they’re tough to photograph.  They’re all in the basement, which is where I also keep my treadmill and bike trainer.

Army Ten Miler coins, with plenty of space for many more years of running

The Army Ten Miler does finisher’s coins, which I absolutely love.  Clearly, I love this race, as I’ve only lived in DC since 2007, and I’ve run the race every year starting in 2008.  It’s one of my favorite races all year, and I even forced myself through it last year, two weeks after Augusta 70.3.  If someone else could run it on prosthetic legs, I could certainly run it on tired legs.

I keep all of my race bibs on a display my sister bought me.  It’s designed so you can hang them straight on the hooks, but I have so many that I ended up putting them on rings and hanging them this way.  It’s getting to be a bit much, so I may take some of them down and put them in a box for safe keeping.

Hanging above the bibs is my first marathon bib.  That one will always be special to me, so it gets its own spot.  I’m considering doing the same with my Augusta bib.

In front of my treadmill, I have these two things hanging on the wall.  The clock is actually an award from Giant Acorn, and I love that it has the wacky squirrel on it.  (Also, it tells time, which is useful.)  I also have a poster that I got after my first marathon, which is great inspiration when the training gets tough.

Finally, I have a box of stuff.  This is where I toss things that I want to save after a race.  In here, I’ve got programs from some of my first races, cool handouts, the rack labels from my Rev3 races (I’m not sure why I need to save these, I just do), stuff from virtual races, etc.  I should probably go through this and figure out what I no longer really need to keep, but it doesn’t take up much space, so for now, it’s fine.  It’s also a good place to put my bibs once I cull through the hanger.

How do you store your racing stuff?  Do you keep any of it or does it all get tossed right away?

 

Friday Five 2.0 – Summer Running Tips

This week, I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for their Friday Five 2.0 topic, Summer Running tips.

While I love the long days of summer, I don’t so much love the hot days of summer.  And I live in the land of humidity (DC wasn’t actually built on a swamp, but I totally understand why people say that), which makes summers even more fun.  I am much more of a spring and fall weather runner, and don’t even mind running in the freezing cold.

That said, summer is here, and I’m in training (when am I not?) so here’s how I handle the heat.

1. Go Out Early

Okay, I’m actually terrible at this one, but if you want to beat the heat, get up early and get running.  I don’t like to run in the dark, but hey, the sun’s up early in the summer, so get out there as soon as the sun comes up.  The day is just going to get warmer, so get in your workout while you can.  You can always nap later.

2. HYDRATE

I can’t emphasize this one enough.  Drink water.  Drink so much water.  Drink all the water.  (Also, get some electrolytes.)  In the summers, I make a point to carry more water than I need. For long runs, I wear a hydration pack and put ice into the reservoir, which definitely helps keep me cool.  I use NBS Hydration and Preload for running.  The Preload has really helped me prevent cramping and post-run headache issues.

And hydration isn’t just when you’re working out.  I make a point to get at least three liters of water a day outside of my workouts.  No matter how much water you drink during your run, if you’re starting at a deficit, you won’t be able to make it up.

3.  Protect Your Skin

I am a pale, pale redhead.  But even if you’re not, you should protect your skin from the evil rays from that glowy orb in the sky.  My preferred sunscreen is by Zealios (who is conveniently celebrating Ginger Awareness Month).  This stuff is amazing.  It’s zinc based, which I prefer, as I think the physical barrier gives me better protection, and it has amazing staying power.  This is the only sunscreen that I can confidently use during a triathlon and know that it’s not going anywhere, even on the swim.

I also own DeSoto Cool Wings, which not only protect me from the sun even more, but if I can manage to keep them wet, they also really help keep me cool.  I mainly wear these for races, as it’s easy to dump water on them at water stops.

4.  Slow Down and Listen to Your Body

Don’t kill yourself in the heat.  If you’re out for a long run and you feel like your effort is the same as normal, but you’re slower than you want to be, don’t automatically push yourself harder.  Take a minute to evaluate.  How are you feeling?  Is the heat getting to you?  It’s better to be a bit slower and be safe, especially on training runs.  But this also applies to races.  If you’re feeling sick from the heat, slow down a bit.  Get some extra water or ice and try to cool off.  It’s not worth pushing yourself so hard that you’re sick.

This was my theory during my 70.3 last year.  The temps in Augusta were abnormally warm, and by the time I got to the run, the joke became that we were running on the surface of the sun.  I did my normal intervals for a good chunk of the run, but I hit a point where when I tried to run, I would get lightheaded from the heat.  Rather than push, I decided to pack my sports bra with ice and power walk, with a few jaunts of running.  Yes, it meant I finished slower than I possibly could have, but I also finished under my own power and I felt good doing so.  Worth it every time.

Any good summer running tips you can recommend?