Sweet Silver Lining

just watching the clouds…

Music for Your Pace March 25, 2011

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 9:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Finding upbeat music for your workouts can be difficult sometimes. I’ve recently started teaching a  fitness class which I call Body Blast, and I spent a while coming up with a decent playlist for it to keep the participants motivated. As a runner, I know the benefit of having upbeat music while training or even during a hard race. Jog.fm is a site devoted to letting you know how many beats per minute a song is and gives you lists of songs according to pace. So for instance, say your goal is to run a 10 min mile in training. You plug that in and it gives you songs you can listen to that should help keep your running cadence that fast. If you don’t think you’ll run to the music’s beat, I challenge you to put a good song with a particular beat on and hop on a treadmill. For me, I run right with the beat. Jamie used to sit out in our workshop while I ran when our treadmill was out there, and it was so evident that I was running with the beat that he noticed and even commented on it one night. So this website could be really useful for someone trying to increase their pace or even for the fitness instructor or exerciser who just wants some playlists with a certain beat speed.

Here’s the website: Jog.fm


New Year, New Laws… for Runners | RW Daily January 5, 2011

Filed under: entertainment,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 6:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I had a workshop today involving the Promethean Board, and I think I knew more about it than the teacher. She is kinda awful at what she does. Anyway, while we waited on her to get things going/fixed/more messed up, I played on Runner’s World and Facebook. I found this cute tongue-in-cheek blog about new “Runners’ Laws” that have just gone into effect. If you are a runner, how much money would you owe in fines right now? I think I’d only owe a few bucks. I do have a 13.1 sticker, and I do love my bullet points!

“Well, I did a bit of detective work and unearthed the following brand-new laws, which are now in effect. You’ve been warned.

* For runners who live in the western United States, it is now illegal to complain about how “cold” it is if the temperature is above 50 degrees F.

* For runners who live in the northern United States, it is illegal to complain about how “hot” it is if the temperature is below 75 degrees F.

* Unless you are a sponsored athlete, wearing a single brand of running gear from head to toe is now punishable by a $50 fine on the first offense. Second offense is $100. On the third offense, your gear is confiscated and a judge may order you to wear athletic apparel from Wal-Mart exclusively for six months.

* In Texas, it is now legal for runners to urinate on any stopped or parked car whose occupant(s) had earlier heckled or menaced them while driving by. (A defecation amendment died in committee.)

* In what is mostly a symbolic federal law, runners wearing headphones or earbuds now have no official right to feel upset when they startle as another runner passes them from behind.

* Any runner with an oval “26.2” or “13.1” sticker on his car is now subject to an annual $1 fee per sticker. Just because.

* Runners who do pushups within 6 feet of any race finish line now face 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

* Running bloggers are now subject to a bullet-point tax of $5 per bullet point.

Uh oh.”

via New Year, New Laws… for Runners | RW Daily.


My First Half Marathon Race Report October 18, 2010

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 6:11 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

On October 9, 2010, after much training and preparation, I finally ran the Run for Life Half Marathon in Madison, MS.

It’s been over a week now since I ran my first half marathon. I decided that I needed to think about things for a bit before I put it all down in writing. It was such a crazy experience. We spent the night at a hotel in Canton, MS, and I didn’t sleep well. I maybe got 5 hours of interrupted sleep even though I laid down about 8 hours before my phone was set to go off. My mom and I got up and got ready. I really had no appetite, but I choked down a half of a blueberry muffin before leaving. I packed a banana and a container of yogurt, hoping my appetite would increase before the race began. It was a cool but comfortable 52 degrees. I don’t know how we managed to get to the race in Madison with only 30 minutes to spare, but I found myself in the line to the port-a-pottie and stood there for 20 minutes. I finally got to use the bathroom about 6 minutes before the start of the race. I ran back to my mom, called my husband who was late himself and still not there, and tried to get my fuel belt adjusted and get into my pacing group. It all happened so quickly, too quickly.

I pulled out a gel to get at least a little nutrition before the shot went off and got most of it down before beginning to run. I had meticulously made my ipod race mix, and barely heard the first song as we all raced forward. The first few miles felt pretty good. I was running at about a 9:00-9:30 min/mile for the first 3 miles. The route with hilly and curvy, which I like because it keeps my mind off the running. My left ankle, which I’ve been struggling with for a while, began to hurt some by then, and I also felt that my toes on my left foot were developing a blister again even though I’d covered them with moleskin. I thought I’d lose too much time by stopping and recovering them, so I just continued on.

I noticed around mile 6 that I was drinking my water much too fast. I felt like I needed to puke I was drinking so much, but around this point, I was getting tired and just wanted some comfort, and water was the only comfort I could find. At this point, I’d slowed to about an 11 min/mile, which was fine. I can usually pick back up near the end and gain a little time lost. I had gotten to the long, flat loop of the race, and the mental part of it began to get to me. It felt like I was going nowhere. Now I completely understand why people say you should try to run the race course before your race. It wasn’t possible for me since the race was about 100 miles away from home, but it really would have helped me to be more mentally prepared for the course. It was getting really hot. I didn’t anticipate how much seeing others stop running and begin walking would mess with my mind and make me want to stop, too. By mile 8, although I wasn’t yet out of water, I stopped for a bit at a water station. By this time, my right calf began tightening up really bad, and I feared I’d cramp up before the end of the race. I stretched a bit and began running again and tried to figure out my pace. This is where I got confused. I knew that at the end of mile 9, I was supposed to be at 99 minutes to stay at the 11 min/mile pace. But you see, when you get really fatigued and kinda dehydrated in a race, you can’t think very straight. When I saw the mile 9 sign (which meant the end of mile 9), I thought I was at the beginning of mile 9, which meant I was about 10 minutes behind in my pace (or so I thought). How had I lost so much time? I’d only stopped for a bit to walk. Well, instead of trying to figure it out, I got really discouraged. I began to stop for walk breaks more and more. My ankle and blistered toes were really hurting. I was so hot. My calf was tight. I wondered if I even should finish. I cursed myself for not bringing my phone in my belt. I just wanted to call my mom. By this point, I had run out of water, so I stopped at every other water station. I tried to run as much as I could, but I felt such a weight of despair. I just didn’t know why I was doing a half marathon anymore. It was not pretty. Yet, I still pushed myself to run as much as I could. I’d walk for 30 seconds or a minute and run some more. I probably walked 5 or 6 times for short moments, so it really wasn’t bad, but it set me back on my time, that’s for sure.

I finally saw the mile 11 flag. What? Just at mile 11? But then I realized that it had to be the end of mile 11 (this is when I realized my earlier confusion and wanted to kick myself). I knew that the race was almost finished, and it gave me some hope. Someone yelled out that just over the hill was the finish. Finally, a hill. Something different than a long stretch of never-ending road. I ran up it at a steady pace, refusing to allow myself to walk anymore. Through an intersection and around a big curve, I saw the finish up ahead. I couldn’t help but smile. I knew that rest was so near. The clock said 2:38 and some odd seconds. It was 10 minutes past the finish time I wanted and knew I was capable of, but I pushed forward as hard as I could anyway. They called out my number and name, which surprised me, and there I was at the finish, someone handing me my finisher’s medal, a bottle of water, and a soaking paper towel to cool off with. My official time was 2:39:12. I was glad I finished but pretty bummed about my time. I’d done 14 miles in 2:42 in training, so I should have been able to make 2:30 in a race, especially running as well as I did in the first half of the race. I know that they say that just finishing your first half marathon should be your goal, but I am who I am, and I know I could have made under 2:30 had I not let the mental part of it overcome me. I did finish, though. I ran a half marathon for my 30th birthday, and whatever the time, that’s still a pretty awesome thing. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and it was no doubt a learning experience that will help me in future races. No 14 mile long run would ever have fully prepared me for racing 13.1 miles. I now show off the 13.1 mile sticker proudly on my Jeep, because only anyone who has ever raced that distance can understand what a true challenge it is on the human body and mind.


things i learned from running a half marathon October 17, 2010

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 7:04 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

i haven’t really had time to put into words my half marathon race report yet. it has been one busy day after another since saturday, but here are a few thoughts i wanted to put down as advice for others (and for myself if i EVER decide to do another one of these races!):

Things I Learned From Running a Half Marathon

1. Do your business at the hotel if AT ALL possible, or you’ll end up in a port-a-pottie for 20 minutes and almost miss your race start. – *lol* just reread this and meant, you’ll be in the LINE at the port-a-pottie for 20 minutes! hahaha!

2. Warming up first is a good idea. So is not getting to the race with only 30 minutes to spare. I thought that’d be plenty of time, but it really isn’t.

3. Eating a good breakfast is also a good idea. Don’t wait until you get to the race. You’ll have too much else to worry about. IF all else fails, down a gel before the race begins. Something is better than nothing.

4. Don’t start out too fast. Don’t start out too fast. Don’t start out too fast! – I read this over and over on RR’s, I knew I’d do it b/c I do it in 5K’s, I put slow music on my Ipod mix early to keep me running slow, I was telling myself over the first few yards to keep it slow, and I still did it! And I paid for it later. Honestly, I barely heard my music for the first mile. The slow music was a great strategy in training but not really for race day. I was running about a 9 to 9:30 minute mile for the first 3 miles, but I couldn’t maintain that pace. So here I am telling you the same thing. Slow down and pace yourself through these long races.

5. You’ll need more water than you do on training runs. I almost puked around mile 6. I think I’d already drank too much water. It was getting hot, I was getting tired, and I just wanted some comfort at that point. Thankfully, there were tons of water stops, but running out of water definitely slowed me way down and screwed up my finishing time.

6. Take more gels than you need. I did, and it helped.

7. Encourage at least one other person. Even just a thumbs up helps when your motivation is flagging and you’re wracking your brain trying to figure out what possessed you to want to run a half marathon in the first place.

8. If you’re hurting somewhere on training runs, that same place is REALLY going to hurt during the race. Just keep this in mind. I put moleskin on my toes that tend to blister, but they still began to blister by about mile 4. It was not pleasant. Also, I’ve been having pain in the tendons around my left ankle, and it hurt from mile 2 on. I have been barely able to walk on it since the race and think I may have sprained it, perhaps partially from rolling it because of the blisters I developed on that foot. My right calf has also been tight during runs. It was VERY tight during the race, and I feared at any moment that it was going to cramp up and stop me in my tracks.

9. It is very easy to get discouraged out there, even though you rarely get discouraged on your long runs. Figure out a way to motivate yourself when it gets really bad. In hindsight, I wished I’d written some motivation on my palms. I also wish I hadn’t handed my phone to my mom. I really needed to hear her encouragement late in the race and wished I’d brought my phone with me.

10. Put pace info on your arm. You will get so befuddled and confused by 8-10 miles in that you won’t know if you’re on target or not. I was running a consistent 11 minute mile later in my race, but because I got confused about how many miles I’d already completed, I thought I was behind, which just discouraged me and caused me to walk some, therefore causing me to end up coming in slower due to my confusion.


14 miles! September 27, 2010

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 6:35 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Saturday, I had 13 miles planned. I have been having some issues with my right quad for a few weeks. Sometimes it’d feel better, but mostly, it’d just ache while I’d run. I stopped doing any ST on my legs and would just do the arms part of the CLX dvds, if I did them at all. On Tuesday’s run, my quad ached some, and I cut my run short but mostly because it got dark on me. On Thursday’s run, it ached the entire time and I *had* to cut it short. So I let my leg rest the entire weekend and took Monday off from work. I’ve been needing a day off anyway, and the temps were set to stay in the 50’s and 60’s most of the morning, which is unusual for this far down south this early in the Fall. We might have a cool morning, but it’s usually in the 80’s by 9 a.m. Well, this morning, I left the house at 9 a.m. (I slept in for a change!) with the temps still in the upper 50s, and it stayed cool the entire time I was out there. It felt so GOOD! I hit 13 miles at 2:30:32 and kept going to finish out the last mile of my route. I made it to 14 miles at 2:42:37, beyond the half marathon distance! My times were a little slow this morning, but I have to admit that I found myself on several occasions just running along at a very easy pace, enjoying the cool weather, the changing leaves, and whatever song was in my ear. The wind was really pushing against me this morning, too, but it felt so good that I couldn’t be mad about it slowing me down some. And I only ended up with a tiny blister on my pinkie toe this time. I feel like if I can do 13 miles at 2:30 on a leisurely LR, then surely I’ll come in a bit faster on race day. As the date draws nearer (October 9th), I have to admit that I’m starting to question myself, my training, my fate *lol* Everything! I’m most worried that I’ll start out too fast and bonk midway. I know that if I can keep my pace under control, I’ll be okay. But in 5K races, I usually do hit the first mile or so a lot faster than I should and struggle some in the end before speeding up with the finish line in sight. I’m really regretting that I didn’t run a 10K before this distance. Of course, if I had, I figure I might never have taken on a half marathon race! Running a distance at home and in a race are two different things. I wish I could just do this without worrying about a time and just enjoy it as my first go at a half marathon race, but I am so competitive with myself. If I’ve done it X pace before, I should be able to do it again! But it still amazes me that I am running this distance, when this time last year, I could barely get past 6 miles. No matter what happens at that race, I have run the distance already. I am the healthiest I’ve ever been. No one can take that away.


Look, Think, Ask August 7, 2009

The first few days of school went pretty well this week. I’ve definitely had worse starts to the school year, so I can’t complain. This year, I tried a new tactic to begin my classes. Usually I do some type of getting to know the students exercises, which the students half-heartedly participate in. This year, I let them write down some stuff about themselves on an All About Me worksheet, and then, I made the rest of the class period about ME!

Well, sort of. What I did was a lesson called Look, Think, Ask. I brought in some important items from my house (a painting I painted, a silly hat I got on Beale St., an afghan that I crocheted for my grandmother before she died, a framed baby picture, and the race shirt I got from my first 5K). I told them that they needed to look at the items I was bringing out, think about questions to ask to find out more info about the items, and then raise their hands and ask the questions. This activity served two purposes. For them, it stressed critical thinking skills, and for me, it helped them see me in a different and more personal light. I think that if students can relate to you and see you not just as “teacher” but more as a human being, they will find it harder to be disrespectful or to act out in class. I hope this will make the first few weeks a smoother ride.

You know, work or other relationships might even benefit from the Look, Think, Ask activity if we only take the time to notice little things about those people and get to know them better by asking questions. After all, everyone likes talking about themselves, at least a little. I know there are certainly coworkers at my school that I haven’t gotten to know very well, even though this is the fourth year that I’ve worked there. Maybe I’ll mosey into some classrooms and see what i can Look, Think, and Ask about this year.


How I Started Running August 1, 2009

Filed under: hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 10:21 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When I started running, it was completely treacherous. I started out on a small, cheap treadmill that I bought at Walmart 3 years ago (it’s still going, by the way!). I had stopped smoking a year or so before that, and I decided that I didn’t have the crutch of bad lungs anymore to keep me from exercising. I began by running as much as I could and then walking and repeating it. So I’d run a whole minute or so and I’d walk for a few minutes. Then, I’d run another minute and walk. I never thought I’d make it to five whole minutes of running, then ten, and finally a mile. Those were all really big milestones for me. I remember being so excited that I’d hop onto the beginner’s forum at Runner’s World and tell everyone my accomplishments. They seem like nothing now, but I was really proud of myself for pushing forward. I was running at a 15 minute mile, the pace most people can walk. I was determined, though, to get faster.

I got terrible shin splints about a month or so into running. I was running on crappy training shoes that I bought at a discount shoe store. They were Adidas, but they were the wrong pair to be running in. I didn’t know this, so I kept running in them. The shin splints got so bad that I had to quit running for several weeks. I read up on them and wondered if I had caused stress fractures in my shins. That’s how bad it hurt. I was hobbling around in my classroom like an 80 year old woman. It’s comical now, but it wasn’t then. I finally took the advice of everyone on Runner’s World and went to a specialty running shoe store, Fleet Feet in Jackson, where they watched me run and fitted me with good shoes. They were Adidas Supernova Cushion, and I loved those shoes. They fit me like a glove! If there’s one thing about all runners, it’s that we really love our running shoes. It’s our sport’s main equipment, so it has to be good. After an update to the Supernova that didn’t agree with my foot, I switched over to Mizuno Waverider. They are also really great shoes.

In the midst of those treacherous runs on the treadmill and learning to adapt to road running through my neighborhood, I somehow gained a love for running. This is the part of my running that I can’t explain. It just happened. I remember hating running when I first started, but my goal was to lose weight, and I knew that I had to do some vigorous working out, so running it was. I remember balking at the people on the Runner’s World forums that boasted their love for running. Then, one day, I remember not hating it so much, then kinda liking it, and before long, just loving to do it.

Last fall, I completed my first 5K, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K in Tupelo. It was the most exciting race and a really wonderful experience. I didn’t increase my speed much until I began road training for this race. Up until a month before the race, I had not run over about 2 miles at a time. I was running at about a 14 minute per mile pace. The day I decided to do the race, I had run 2.5 miles, so I knew I could do 3.1 miles. The whole month of October, I trained hard. I ran as much as I could. My chip time for that race was 37:58 , or a little over a 12 minute mile! I couldn’t believe that I had improved my time so much. Since then, I’ve done a few other races and have improved my time even more. I’m running 5K in about 32:30, or a 10:41 minute mile. I’ll run the Komen Race for the Cure 5K again this October, where I hope to have gotten nearer to a 30 minute 5K. Last spring, I had gotten up to over five miles for my long runs. They wore me out, though, so I decreased my long runs but will get back to that distance at some point. I’d like to complete a 10K, which is 6.2 miles. I know I can do it, so that’s my next goal.