Category Archives: running

How to Get Your Running Mojo Back

We’ve all been there. We’ve all hit a slump of some kind and it suddenly became a little harder to lace up our sneakers in the morning for a run. I mentioned yesterday that I feel like I’ve lost my mojo and you all responded with some great advice! Here are a few tips on how to get your running mojo back.

1. Change It Up

After running two half marathons during the month of February, I started having a hard time convincing myself to spend more than an hour on a run. That’s when I started focusing on speed again and got a new 5k PR! Sometimes changing up your goals can make your runs a little more interesting – and a little more exciting!

Another great piece of advice I received yesterday from Mary suggested changing up my routine too.

Be ok with the small changes. Shift your focus away from running if you need to. Tri season is coming up – sign up for a couple races and get in the pool some more. I have loved cross training in the pool for sure! It helps to keep the variety alive!

She’s right. Triathlon season is a great way to keep your running fresh, while challenging your fitness in new ways. Getting back into the pool is one of my new goals!

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break

I think many of us who have been very focused on training plans start to panic a little when we think about missing a day or (gasp!) a week. But sometimes a break is exactly what we need. When I got pregnant with my son, I could no longer run and I found myself getting insanely jealous of people who were out running on the sidewalk. Taking a break from running made me appreciate it more – and I couldn’t wait to get back out there!

3. Remember WHY You Run

This is such a tough thing to articulate, isn’t it? But maybe I just need to look back at this post about Why I Run and remind myself of all those reasons. The comments on that post are great too – so many great reasons to run!

Another great way to get your running mojo back? Find out you’ve been featured as Women’s Running Magazine’s Blogger on the Run!

I am so honored that this wannabe runner is being featured by a national running magazine. Can you believe it?!?! So here’s my last piece of advice. Don’t be afraid to dream big. You might have attempted a two mile run this morning and felt like death. It’s okay. It’s happened to all (okay, most) of us. It’s definitely happened to me! But that doesn’t mean you’re not a runner. Maybe you’re in a slump. Maybe you’re recovering from an injury or just starting running again after having a baby. That’s okay. You’re still a runner! Remember – all it takes to be a runner is to RUN.

As a special treat, Women’s Running Magazine is giving away a FREE subscription to their magazine to a lucky Wannabe Athlete reader! Just go visit their blog and leave a comment on their post to enter. Good luck!

Have you ever hit a running slump? How did you get your mojo back?

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Honda Grand Prix 5k Recap

I rushed out of work on Friday evening – I had somewhere exciting to be. We were running the Honda Grand Prix 5k as a family and I didn’t want to be late!

We headed downtown to Vinoy Park where they were holding packet pickup.

I was actually a little surprised at the amount of fanfare at the starting line. I expected it to be a small local race (and it was) but it’s not everyday you see this at a packet pick up.

These young men at packet pickup were fantastic. Some of the friendliest volunteers I’ve seen at a race!

The Mini Athlete approved of the tshirt.

As I mentioned, I organized a tweetup for the 5k. I enjoyed meeting a few new people, including Rachel whose blog I read daily but had never yet met in real life! She’s all the way on the right. We’ll be running IronGirl together next month!

We headed over to the starting line and got ready to race. Yes, the start line and the finish line were the same – maybe they got the banner backwards? 🙂

I tried to convince my husband to push toward the front, but people seemed skeptical of a man pushing a stroller starting ahead of them. They would quickly find out what he can FLY while pushing that thing.

They sang the national anthem and we were off! It took a little while to get the crowd moving which got a little frustrating since I knew the race wouldn’t be chip timed. I just wanted to cross that starting line and get running! We headed downtown and passed the Pier. I’m not going to lie – I enjoyed not running the Pier for once.

Just south of the Pier is where things got exciting. We got to run on an Indy Car track!

I absolutely LOVED this part of the course. I run through downtown St. Petersburg so often that sometimes the scenery gets a little boring to me. I psych myself out knowing exactly how far I have to go. With the track in place, it almost felt like running in a new area. The roads of the track aren’t right on the actual roads (part of it goes over the local airport) so I spent a lot of time trying to find my bearings. That helped the time go by a little faster!

I started the run determined to run a more even pace than my last 5k. I even brought music this time which helped tremendously. I ran my first mile in 9:40 and my second mile in 10:09. I felt great.

Somewhere in the middle of mile two we saw this – pit row. That’s actually where they had the one water station on the track. Pretty cool!

Right after mile two, my stomach started getting a little queasy. I almost felt like I might throw up a few times. I told myself that the Grand Prix crew wouldn’t appreciate having to clean up my mess on the track, so I pushed on. 🙂

When I read Rachel’s recap of the race, I spotted myself in this photo she took. There I am in the red on the right.

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We rounded a corner and I saw the beautiful Dali museum ahead of me. Not too much farther now!

(Funny side note: My husband saw the picture below and commented “You shouldn’t be taking photos – you should be passing people!” But if you compare this photo to the one above, you’ll see I had caught up with some of those people ahead of me!)

I ran out of steam at about mile 2.5 – around the same place I really felt like I threw in the towel at my last race. But I got to thinking about it – I usually only run two miles on my runs during the week. Maybe pushing that up to three would help me get past that feeling?

I tried to gut it out at the finish line and the clock read 31:12 as I passed. As I told you yesterday, my Garmin said 30:49 which would have been a more accurate chip time. That is the ONE thing I would change about this race. I’m just a big fan of chip timing!

They had a great scene after the race including lots of snacks and free beer. Can’t go wrong there.

Another successful race by our family!

My husband, by the way, came in with a clock time of 23:14. Yes, while pushing a stroller. Don’t you just hate him? 🙂

Where is the coolest place you’ve ever run a race? 

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Did I PR At My 5k?

I had such a great time at the Grand Prix 5k last night – a full recap will be coming soon!

But here’s my big question. The race wasn’t chip timed. And I can’t figure out if I should call this a PR or not.

Here are the facts:

I crossed the finish line with the clock showing 31:12. (But it took me a while to cross the starting line).

My Garmin said 30:49.

But my Garmin also showed that course was a little short – a total of 3.05 miles instead of 3.1.

My chip time at my last 5k? 31:12. And the course showed as 3.12 on my Garmin.

I ran that race at exactly a 10 minute mile. Last night’s race? 10:07 minute mile.

On that basis alone, I think I’ll still be claiming the Harvey’s 5k as my PR, but I wanted to get your thoughts.

Any other number-obsessed runners out there want to weigh in? Did I PR with a 30:49 time or not? 

 

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Starting To Run After Age 50?

I could not be more proud of my mom.

At the age of 53, she has signed up for her first 5k. She is doing it with my sister, who just had a baby seven weeks ago. It will be her first 5k as well. Which 5k did they choose?

Yep. While I was at Disney running the Princess Half Marathon, they caught the bug and decided to sign up for their own runDisney race – the Expedition Everest Challenge. This race looks like SO much fun!

Here’s the catch. This isn’t your typical 5k race. There are obstacles (which apparently you can skip without penalty), the race starts at 9:30pm and there is a time limit.

That’s right. They have to maintain a 16 minute mile pace for the 5k. That means they have to complete the race in 49:43.

They both started training a few weeks ago but my mom is starting to get worried about the race. A little background on my mom – like me, she has always loved the idea of running, but has never been a runner. She considers herself a confirmed couch potato and is about 30 pounds overweight. She is also 53 years old. She also claims that “other than getting your dad I have never done anything I set my mind to”.

I can’t even imagine the sense of accomplishment she will feel crossing that finish line!

But we have to get her there.

She ran/walked two miles last night and it took her 38 minutes. That’s a 19 minute mile – not fast enough to avoid getting picked up by the Disney “sweepers”. Not to mention she would have to add another 1.1 miles to that distance.

The race is on May 5. That’s six and a half weeks.  46 days.

I believe she has enough time to get ready. She wanted me to get input from all of you. Here are some of her questions:

  • How often should she be running?
  • Is it better to train on the treadmill or outside? Could she combine both?
  • How long should she wait to run after she eats?

FYI – I’ve encouraged her to try Couch to 5k, but she has trouble keeping track of the intervals. She doesn’t have a smart phone so an app wouldn’t work for her. Any other suggestions for how to make that work?

Do you know anyone who started running after age 50? Do you have any advice or encouragement to give her? 

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What Running Has Taught Me About Parenting

It takes time.

Stepping out the front door to run for the first time isn’t easy. Over time, your body adjusts to the miles you run. You build up your stamina. You get faster. You figure out what works for you. You figure out which shoes fit you best. Whether you like running with music or without. Where you like to run. Slowly but surely, running starts to become a little more comfortable. It’s still not easy – and just when you think you’ve “arrived”, an illness or an injury throws off your schedule. But you start to notice as time goes by that this running thing is starting to feel a little more natural to you.

The same is true for parenting. You won’t get it all right when you first get home from the hospital. You will be so afraid of somehow hurting your delicate baby every time you try to give him a bath. You will feel like a zombie after your first night up with him. You will constantly second guess yourself. But over time, things start to get a little easier. You start to identify the sound of his cries – if he’s hungry, feeling sick or just angry. You settle into some type of “routine” – but as soon as you do, a new tooth or the sniffles throws you off. But you start to notice as time goes by that this parenting thing is starting to feel a little more natural to you.

Enjoy every mile.

I remember Jeff Galloway saying that when we were at Disney. That’s his philosophy about running – to enjoy every moment. Savor the experience. Take in your surroundings. Enjoy every mile.

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The same should be true about parenting. I can’t tell you how many nights I have been frustrated because my little one wouldn’t go to bed “on time” so I could finally do what I wanted to do. But as I sat in his room one night, rocking him and singing him to sleep, I got a little teary eyed. I shouldn’t be wishing this time away. I should be savoring it. Soaking in every detail. Enjoying every moment – because I already know that it flies by way too quickly.

The sacrifice is worth it.

Running isn’t easy. It takes work. It takes commitment. It sometimes requires a little less sleep, not as many nights out with friends, and a change of habits from what your “non-running” self would have done.  But I think you would have a tough time finding a runner who doesn’t believe that the sacrifice is worth it. As you cross that finish line  – the sense of accomplishment is exhilarating.

Parenting isn’t easy either. It takes work. It takes commitment. It always requires a little less sleep, not as many nights out with friends, and a change of habits from what your “non-parenting” self would have done. But as you hold your child in your arms, as you see his smile – it is more than worth any sacrifice.

What has running taught you about parenting?

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My Next Half Marathon

As you might remember, the next “big” race on my schedule is the Athleta IronGirl Half Marathon on April 22 in Clearwater. I’m starting to get a little nervous about it. Why? Because I don’t really have a plan.

Here is what my “long runs” of the weekends of the past month have looked like:

2/12 – St Pete Rock n Roll Half Marathon

2/18 – 4 Miles

2/26 – Disney Princess Half Marathon

3/3 – 5 Miles

3/11 – 2 Miles

3/17 – Harvey’s 5k

I know it’s only been three weeks since I ran a half marathon, but it feels like a really long time since I’ve run a “long” distance. I really should have run a long run this past weekend, but it just didn’t happen. And that’s okay.

But I need to start upping my distances again. So here’s what I’m hoping to run the next five weekends:

3/24 – 6 Miles

3/31 – 8 Miles

4/7 – 12 Miles

4/14 – Sharkstooth 10k

4/22 – Athleta IronGirl Half Marathon

Something you should know about my next half marathon? It has bridges. As in more than one. And these aren’t little canal bridges. These are these kinds of bridges:

(Photo courtesy of Caroline who got it from her friend Jenny)

Maybe that incline won’t bother those of you who run hills all the time, but where I live is flat flat flat. I’m hoping to get over to run at least one of the course bridges sometime before race day.

I’m not sure yet how much pressure I want to put on myself to PR at this half marathon. I’d like to say I’m going to run it “for fun”, but I know my competitive side will kick in when I get to that starting line. Just in case you missed it yesterday, I asked do you run every race to PR? I’m loving all the comments!

The weird thing about my next half marathon? It’s the last “big” race on my calendar until November. I’m thinking I might need to find a few new goals to keep me motivated through the summer. Nothing keeps me going like having a race on the horizon!

What’s the next “big” race on your calendar and what are you doing to get ready for it? 

 

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Do You Run Every Race to PR?

I didn’t have fun running my 5k yesterday.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a fun day overall. I loved running a 5k in my town with a bunch of awesome friends!

But the actual running part? Zero fun sir.

 

It was work. Hard work.

I spent the entire race playing mental games with myself. Next time I try to PR, I’m going to try to remember to take music with me. Being lost in my own thoughts really got to me.

I have never pushed so hard during a race. I don’t even remember half the course – I’m pretty sure I spent most of the time staring at my Garmin fretting over my pace.

I’d like to say it wasn’t worth it. But when I see my official results:

I can’t help but get a little giddy.

Running for a PR can be stressful. It can be frustrating. And while I’m still bummed that I missed my “real” goal, I can’t help but be excited about an average pace of 10:05. I never, ever dreamed this body could do it.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I really didn’t have fun running yesterday.

I really live by the philosophy I learned from Jeff Galloway to “enjoy every mile.” But every once in a while, it’s nice to enjoy the result, even as painful as the process might have been.

Maybe it’s just the competitive person I am, but I can’t help but want to PR every time I line up to race. But then again, I want to be okay with my effort if it doesn’t happen.

Here’s my real question and the whole point of this post. Do you run every race to PR?

In all honesty, I’m pretty sure I’ve only not PR’d at one race – the Disney Princess Half Marathon. That’s the good thing about being a beginner runner – there is usually a lot of room for improvement!

But I’m sure at some point you begin to level off. It’s easy to call a race “successful” if you get a PR – but how to you measure the success of a race if you don’t achieve that goal?

Do you ever get to a point where you are no longer expecting (even if just subconsciously) to PR and can just be pleasantly surprised if you do?

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Harvey’s 5k Recap!

There is just something about small, local races. Here’s the back story on this one.  Our favorite local restaurant is Harvey’s 4th Street Grill – you can find us there at least once a week for brunch. When we heard that Harvey’s sponsored a 5k, we knew we had to run it!

We headed downtown bright and early – dressed in our green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

A little back story on that too. My husband went out with friends from out of town last night in Tampa and didn’t get home until 5:30am. Yes, you read that right. He literally slept one hour before going out and running the 5k. I don’t know how he did it. Needless to say, he is napping right now!

We gathered quite a crew for the Harvey’s 5k. From left to right – Katie, her husband Nathan and their baby, my sister Shannon, me and the Mini Athlete, Kara, Mary, my husband Nate and Mary’s husband Marcus.

We had several 5k newbies including Kara and Katie (though Katie doesn’t really count since she’s already done a 10k and a half marathon!) My sister Shannon decided last night that she would run her first 5k today. Her training consisted of two separate one mile runs this week. I love that she was willing to just come out and give it a go!

You all know that I’ve been dreaming of running a sub 30 minute 5k. I felt good this morning so I decided to give it a go. I had no idea what I was doing – no real strategy – just decided I would run as fast as I could. I realized about two miles in that this is the first time I’ve run a race without my phone in a long time so I apologize for the lack of “in race” photos!

I took off like a bandit. I mean it. I looked down at my Garmin and I saw average pace numbers like “7:34”. Yiiiiikes. I tried to reign it in a little. I knew I couldn’t keep that up very long. I took my first 10 second walking break around a half mile and tried to catch my breath. At this point, I realized I had made the classic race mistake of “going out too hard.” I ran the first mile in 8:59. While I am INSANELY proud of that time, I knew it didn’t bode well for the rest of the race!

I tried to run as fast as possible, and give myself 10 second walk breaks when I felt I needed them. The walk breaks started getting more frequent as time went on. I ran the second mile in 10:09. Still ridiculously fast for me, but obviously slower than the mile before. I knew that I still had the sub 30 minute 5k in sight, but my body just didn’t want to cooperate.

I played every mental game with myself I could. I repeated my favorite race mantras. I thought about your inspiring stories. I thought about injustices in the world. I thought about this post I read this morning by Ericka.  I thought about this post I read last night by Britt.

But at some point, I feel like my body disconnected from my brain. I kept telling myself to push faster, but my body simply refused. Or maybe my mental motivation wasn’t quite as strong as I’d like to think. That last mile was tough. And I have to admit – at 2.75 miles with 3 minutes to reach my goal time, I gave up. The finish line felt so far away. I forced myself to keep going. I knew I would PR, and I kept trying to tell myself to focus on that. But I felt frustrated. I passed the 3 mile mark at exactly 30 minutes. SO close. Just one lousy tenth of a mile to go. That third mile took me 11:04 to run. Quite a change from the first mile out.

I crossed the finish line and with a new PR (official time 31:18) – almost THREE minutes faster than my last 5k in November! That sub 30 minute 5k may have eluded me this time, but you better believe I’ll be coming for it soon!

My husband and the Mini Athlete finished before me with a time around 23:47. Pretty ridiculous considering his lack of sleep combined with the fact that pushing a stroller while running is no easy task! Kara came in a few minutes after me and then I saw Katie and her family heading toward the finish line!

I just LOVE that they ran the whole thing as a family. How cute is that?

Not too far behind them were my fellow IRunMommies – Caroline and Ali!

I love that Caroline looks like a total goofball in this photo while Ali looks like a total rockstar. And I love that Caroline won’t mind me saying so. 🙂

Right behind those two, I saw my sister Shannon coming in to the finish line!!!

She totally gave it everything she had and sprinted to the finish line.

She beat her goal and finished under 45 minutes! I could not be more proud of her. I think she might have caught the running bug. 🙂

You might have noticed that I failed to mention Mary and Marcus. That’s because they were WAY ahead of me. How far ahead? Well, first we learned that Mary won her age group…

And then they announced she had finished as the FIRST woman overall!

She is such a rockstar. But you know what I love most about her? She is one of the most humble people I have ever met. She is so encouraging and supportive to runners of all paces. I am SO proud to know her! Oh and apparently that trophy isn’t her only prize. You’ll have to watch her blog to find out just what else she won. 🙂

We walked back to our car and soaked in the beauty of St. Petersburg. Seriously. We live in such a beautiful place!

It only seemed right to celebrate the race with brunch at Harvey’s 4th Street Grill. I told you we love this place! One other family joined us and we had a total of 11 adults and 5 babies under the age of one. We fondly refer to our group gatherings as “Baby Palooza”. Fitting, no?

Despite the length of this post, I still have some other thoughts to share about running with a particular goal in mind – but I’ll save that for another day. It’s amazing how writing this recap took three times as long as actually running the race! I told you this post would be ridiculously long. 🙂

It’s time to enjoy the holiday – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Let’s Take a Vote – St. Patty’s Day Race Outfits!

Happy Friday!

Let’s have a little fun, shall we? Like many of you, I’ll be running a St. Patrick’s Day themed race tomorrow. It’s the Harvey’s 5k here in St Pete and I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to run it for time (aka try to finally get that sub 30 minute 5k). My husband is running it too and we haven’t decided yet who is pushing the jogging stroller.

But I AM sure I want to get into the festive spirit! I dug through my dresser last night and came up with a few St. Patty’s Day race outfits. Let’s have a vote!

#1 – Black tank, black capris with tiny shorts that I would never, ever wear out of the house. Unless of course they are over capris. On St. Patrick’s Day. At a race.

(Don’t you love that my shoes are St. Patrick’s themed too?)

#2 Green tank (Ann Taylor LOFT – totally not a running tank), black Nike tempo shorts. Basic. Maybe boring. But practical? Yes.

Random outtake because my husband made me laugh:

By the way, that soft, cushy floor for my baby to play on is also an awesome surface for things like planks and pushups. Just FYI.

This outfit would probably also work best with the socks Katie picked up for me at Target. Don’t you just love this photo she emailed me?

Hehe. Made me laugh. Especially the cameo appearance by her baby. And the fact that the socks go over her knees and will probably barely cover my calf. She’s tiny like that.

#3 Reappearance by the Princess Half tutu?

I walked out of the bedroom and my husband said, “I am not taking a picture of that.” Hehe. I guess that means he probably wouldn’t be crazy about the idea of me wearing it to the race. Oh well. Unless he comments here, he doesn’t get a vote. And since he rarely reads my blog, I’m not expecting him to chime in. 🙂

Time to vote…which one should I wear?

 

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How to Run Fast

Those of you who have read my blog for a while probably clicked on this post out of curiosity more than anything else. I am probably the least qualified person to tell you how to run fast.

But while I enjoy representing the 10+ minute mile runners out there, I do have dreams of someday running a 5k under 30 minutes.

It’s funny that when it comes to running, it seems that the most simplest statements have made the biggest impact for me. I’ve mentioned it before, but my husband once said to me “All it takes to be a runner is to RUN”. So simple, but so true. That’s when I finally started calling myself a runner.

So what is the simple statement about running fast?

It’s actually from my Karna Fitness Boot Camp leader Christie who says,

“To run fast, you have to run fast.”

Told you it was simple. But it’s true. If you don’t run fast, you’ll never get faster.

So yesterday morning, I decided to run fast.

I hadn’t planned on it – actually I had planned a typical morning run with Katie. But she slept through her alarm. She has a seven month old baby who still doesn’t always sleep through the night so she gets a pass! But I knew I had no excuse.

My neighborhood is just one big loop that is exactly 0.4 miles. I started out and ran as fast as I could. I looked down at my phone at the end of one loop (I tend to use the RunKeeper app on my phone in the morning because it is too dark to see my Garmin) and I realized I ran that first 0.4 miles in 3:50. Ooh that’s fast for me. I decided to see what I could do. I walked for about ten seconds and ran the 0.4 miles again. Then walked ten seconds. Then did it again. And again. And again.

Whoa. An average pace of 9:46? Me??

Even though I walked every 0.4 miles, I still ran faster overall than I ever have in my adult life.

Maybe I really could run a 5k in under 30 minutes…

But those two miles weren’t pretty. They were downright hard. I haven’t breathed that hard and pushed myself that hard in a long time. But oh did it feel good to see that time. I couldn’t stop smiling all morning.

I think I will be seeing a lot more of those loops in my near future.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to get faster? 

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