A surprise running partner

I had a pretty good run today, which was good because after a string of tough runs I needed a good run. After work I ran 6 miles at 9:57 pace on the roads around our house. It was 21 degrees outside, but it wasn’t too bad because it wasn’t windy. The sun started setting around halfway through my run though, and it started to get colder which made me feel pretty chilled at the end of my run.

Speaking of the end of my run, I was joined for the last half mile by a dog we call Mr. Boy (we don’t actually know his real name). He is a free roaming dog that lives down the road from our house. I often see Mr. Boy all the way in town, which is quite a feat for a dog the size of a Jack Russell since that’s about 6 miles away. Every once in awhile Mr. Boy will be out making his rounds when I’m out running and he’ll join me for a little bit. Typically he runs out in front of me on the road and will look back and bark occasionally. It’s highly entertaining. He ran down our road with me and up around the water tower, but stopped before we got to the house. I ran inside and got my camera, but he had already gone on. Maybe I’ll get a picture of him another time to show you.

One other item of note from today’s run: I ran in my new pair of Asics GT-2170’s. This is my third pair since they switched from the 2160s to the 2170s, and I love them. They feel great right out of the box, although I always make sure to break them in before taking them out for a long run. These ones are dark grey and pink, a new color for the shoe (as far as I know).

Now I just have to keep the puppy away from them….

Running Rules

Not much to report today. I didn’t go for a run because it was already dark when I got home from a long day at work. So I decided to do the p90x Cardio X workout. I had a mentally-taxing/stressful day at work, and the cardio x is my favorite workout. I like just getting to jump around and have my heart rate up for around 45 minutes, and it helped me unwind from today.

I came across an article recently called “A Runner’s Rules“. Some of them were real rules runners should follow, others were funny, and others were just true. Here are some of my favorites:

9. Don’t throw away the directions to your GPS watch; one day, right before a race, you will need them.

11. When racing and a kid sticks their hand out, always give them a high five.



[Source: Spectator Tips from Rock n Roll series]



25. Preventing injuries is much easier than recovering from them.

35. On training runs, never avoid hills.



[Blue Ridge Marathon]



38. Don’t take running too seriously. Don’t define your life by running. Do make it a big part of your life.

47. Don’t try to over complicate things too much — just go out and run.

 

It’s cold outside

So I didn’t end up doing that cross training I was talking about yesterday. . . but I did watch Spirit of the Marathon. That counts for something, right???

It is very cold here today. Right now it is 21 degrees, which is the warmest it has been all day. But with the windchill, they say it currently feels like 7 degrees outside. Great day for a run? I thought so, too 🙂 When Barry got home from work we headed out. We kept it short and did a little over 3 miles, which is good enough for me. I wore enough layers to keep my body warm, but my face was pretty cold. It felt like a hard effort, but our average pace was 9:42/mile, which is my typical pace for a weekday run. My legs are still feeling sore from my hilly Sunday long run, so I guess that had to do with it.

I have one other thing to share with you, and it is a funny thing that happened on Sunday. I am sharing this with you at my own expense, so you better appreciate it. Here’s the background: we went to the grocery store on Sunday and among other things we bought some house brand apple juice because we had a coupon. We got home, got all the groceries put away, and the fridge was full up with all of our stuff. After a little while I decide I want a glass of apple juice, so I open the fridge and grab the container and pour myself a glass. While I’m sitting at the table drinking my juice, I notice it’s a little funny tasting. I decide to let Barry know that the house brand apple juice we bought tastes weird. He looks at it and says “that’s because you’re drinking white grape juice”. That would explain why the color of the juice looked a little too light, too. Apparently we also bought white grape juice (something I was not privy to) and that’s what I actually grabbed out of the fridge. Lesson learned: always read the label.

A rest day

Random tidbit from yesterday that I forgot to mention: we are on a boil water notice and have been since Saturday morning. The water treatment plant lost power due to the snowstorm, which was the reason for the notice. I have two things to share about this:

1. The water I drank during my long run yesterday was still warm from having been boiled earlier in the morning. Turns out drinking warm water while running in cold air is actually pretty good. You should try it sometime!

2. I am boiling our water in our largest pot, which typically only gets used to make kettle corn. As a result, all of our drinking water tastes slightly like kettle corn!

 

Last night Barry and I watched the movie Looper and I spent the majority of the movie very confused. I can’t even try to explain it on here, but I will tell you Barry had to pause the movie more than once to explain to me what was going on.

 

Today is another day off from work, and I think I may take a rest day after yesterday’s hilly long run. Or maybe I’ll do some kind of cross training this afternoon… I’m trying to be better about cross training on a regular basis. Either way, I leave you with a little inspiration.

Facing the Heat

First things first, I ran 8 miles for my long run today. It was a t-o-u-g-h tough run. I ran on the roads around our house and the hills are just relentless. I wore shorts and a long sleeve fleece jacket, and even though it was 36 degrees outside I got pretty hot with the sun on me. There’s a quote from a book I’ve been reading the past few weeks called A Life Without Limits, by Chrissie Wellington, that says: “some sessions are stars and some are stones, but in the end they are all rocks and we build upon them”. Today was a stone, but it sure was pretty outside:

 

I read an article in the January/February edition of Running Times called Facing the Heat. It discusses the growing number of races that have had to be shut down due to heat, and who is to blame. The article alternately points a finger first at the inexperienced/under-prepared/first-time marathoner, then at the veteran/fast marathoner, and finally at the race directors/officials.


The article begins by referencing the mid-race cancellation of the 2012 Green Bay Marathon. Initially the race director, Sean Ryan, got the brunt of the criticism. Most of the reviews on marathonguide.com blasted Ryan and I read more than one that stated Sean Ryan needs to step down from his position if the race has any hope of restoring faith in future participants. But then in a turn of events, the veteran marathoners turned their criticism on the “first-timers” (those participating not with a time goal, but with a goal to finish) for Ryan’s cautious approach. One reviewer of the marathon went as far to say:


 
“It was the inexperienced runners that didn’t heed the warnings their bodies were giving. I changed my goal from ‘a BQ’ to ‘finish at Lambeau rather than the hospital’. If more runners had done the same, the race would have probably gone off just fine. “
 
 
In addressing the issue of the inexperienced runner, Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, makes the proposal of a qualifying system for marathons.
 
 
I am not opposed to this idea. I think it would help address the growing number of “inexperienced” participants that full marathons are seeing. However, Phil Stewart, director of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and publisher of Road Race Management newsletter, makes a good point that the recent growth of half marathons is actually beginning to address this problem.
 
 
Maybe within the next few years, the marathon will not see so many participants, as the popularity of the half marathon continues to grow exponentially. So if the “first-timers” are to blame, it is because they rely too much on course support/aid stations and are quick to blame race officials when something goes wrong. But what if the inexperienced runner is not to blame for these race cancellations?
 
What if it’s the fast/veteran marathoners? The article goes on to discuss faster, finish time-oriented runners who are unwilling to adjust their goals to the conditions.
 
 
They go on to cite last year’s Boston Marathon, which allowed participants to defer to 2013 due to expected record high temperatures. Around 2,200 runners chose to defer, but many others chose to participate and did not do so cautiously. Out of the field of veterans, 2,000 ended up in the medical tent and 200 had to be transported to the hospital, according to the article. So if the veteran marathoners are to blame, it is because they are unwilling to adapt their goals and strive to achieve them at all cost.  
 

Finally, the article turns it’s pointed finger on the race directors. It is true that with the growth of the sport and influx of slower-paced runners, they have become more cautious. But who can blame them? No one wants to be the one that put a “black eye” on the sport due to some major disaster. If we are to blame the race director/officials, it is because they have become overly cautious with the growth of the sport.
 
 
McGillivray sums it up nicely when he states that it really is a shared responsibility, and the blame cannot be put on one individual group. It is the job of race directors to be there when you do get in trouble, but it is the responsibility of the participant to be well-prepared and realistic. As someone who hopes to complete her first full marathon (possibly in the near future… hint, hint), I will be adequately prepared to complete the distance. I am not a fast runner, so I guess that puts me in the category of “finishers”. But I do not feel that means I should not be allowed to participate in the event. After all, every veteran marathoner had to run a first marathon before there could be a second, right?
 



"I've opted for fun in this lifetime." -Jerry Garcia