“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?

It’s Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Week!

These cherry blossoms are by my house. I don’t even have to run ten miles to see them.

Even though it feels like I just raced, it’s race week again!  (This is what happens when I schedule a race for every month.)  This Sunday is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, a pretty popular race here in DC.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  I really love the ten mile distance.  It’s long enough that I don’t feel like I have to sprint the whole time, but it’s not as long as a half marathon (obviously).  CUCB was the first ten miler I ever ran, a huge jump from my prior 5Ks, and the first race I ran after moving to the DC area.

I also love the course.  I know a lot of people hate running Hains Point, but I don’t mind it at all, and when the flowers are blooming, it’s absolutely perfect.  I’m not sure what the flower status is going to be this weekend, but either way, it’s a nice, peaceful part of the race course.

In terms of race goals, I don’t really have any.  I’d like to continue my recent trend of strong running and come in with a fast (for me) finish, but as always, it’s all going to depend on how I feel.  No chance at a PR here – my ten miler PR is from before my heart issues were diagnosed, and it’s going to take a lot to get me back to that speed – if it’s possible at all.  But that said, if I can beat my time from last year, it will be the fastest 10 miler I’ve run since that diagnosis back in 2010. So I suppose something under 2:08:46 is my goal.  But I’ll be delighted with anything under 2:10.

This weekend, I’m excited to run with a bunch of my Coeur teammates.  Well, “run with” is a loose term.  We’re meeting up beforehand, running our own races, then meeting up for brunch.  Some of them will have time to run extra miles and shower before brunch.  I will be pushing to make it to brunch on time.  The joys of being a slower runner.  But no matter my pace, I have not once felt like a lesser team member because I’ll be in the party wave at the race.  (The purple wave is totally the party wave.)  And they’ve promised to save me a seat at brunch.  That’s the most important part.

Set Your Own Goals

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

So here I am, back in taper week.  Remember when I said that I wanted to run fewer half marathons and when I did run them, I wanted to really focus on running strong?  Well, I’m still focused on running strong, but I’m not sure two half marathons in less than a month is really what I intended when I said I wanted to run less.

This weekend, I’m running the Little Rock Half Marathon.  Why?  Because a bunch of my friends are doing it and I didn’t want to miss out.  Seriously.  That’s the only reason I’m going.  And yes, I am aware it is possible to go on a race trip and not actually race (I am trying that in 2018 for Disney Marathon Weekend) but I figured that since I was trained, I might as well run.

I have a lot of friends with very different racing goals, and it can be tough to not be pulled into setting all of those goals for myself.  Some friends are currently working to set a half marathon PR.  I’ve gotten into pretty good shape, and if I trained for it, this would be a reasonable goal for me as well.  However, I don’t actually want to train for it.  When I set that PR, I was solely a runner.  The last time I (inadvertently) got close, I was trying to come back from a period of very slow, out of shape races, and I was running 4+ days a week.

I don’t like running that much.

The reason a number of my friends are running this weekend is because they have set a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states.  This is an awesome goal, and totally different from a time-based goal.  It’s a pretty sweet goal for someone who doesn’t want to focus on training to get faster, but someone who runs to stay in shape and have fun.  (Of course, plenty of people I know who are aiming for this goal are also working to set PRs.)  It’s tempting to try for the goal as well.

But considering that I’m also doing triathlons, trying to cram a bunch of half marathons into my schedule becomes complicated.

Unfortunately, I can’t do everything.  I need to go to work to pay for these hobbies, and I need to sleep sometimes.

So it means figuring out what my goals are.  This year, I’m working to improve my cycling.  I’d like to improve my triathlon times.  Setting a PR is definitely possible, though I personally don’t love comparing triathlon times between races.  There are just so many variables.  But if I can cut a chunk of time off of my average, I’ll be delighted.

But I also want to have fun.  That means more volunteering, more cheering, and doing things like going with my friends when they check Arkansas off of their goal list this weekend.