Tag Archives: running

Striding for Sara at the Get Lucky 7k

It has been both an exciting and emotional week, punctuated by a really great St. Patty’s Day race and beautifully warm weather this morning.  We booked our venue and photographer (which I will write about in a separate post tomorrow), my grandma is in the hospital and her prognosis has been anywhere from “she may be going home tomorrow” to “she might not make it through the night” (now, if she leaves the hospital she will need 24-hour hospice care), and this morning I ran the Get Lucky 7k in honor of a graduate school friend, Sara, who has been in the ICU at HCMC because of a car accident two weeks ago.  This was one of those weeks where you realize that life shouldn’t be taken for granted.  First, I’ll give you my public service announcement on donating blood and then I’ll tell you about the race.  (side note: the craziness of this week is also why I didn’t post my update picture for Weigh-In Wednesday.  I will make sure to do it next week!)


I met Sara when we both traveled to Brazil in January 2009 for a short-term study abroad.  She is a very warm and friendly person.  But, as odd as it may sound, I really got to know her better this past year over Facebook.  She became an avid runner so we started corresponding more and more, and planned to run some of the same races this year.  It’s weird how Facebook friends become real friends (if that makes sense).  She is just one of those people who is so warm and friendly that, even over a social media site, makes you feel like you’re a friend.  Judging by the number of hits to their Caring Bridge site, I think a lot of people feel this way about Sara and her husband.

Anyway, when our mutual friend Robin told me about the accident, I was really sad and wanted to help in some way.  But, how can you really help in a situation like this?  You can give blood and raise awareness about blood donation.  (visit the Red Cross blood donation website for more information).  Sara and her husband both benefitted from blood donations after their accident and my grandma had a blood transfusion this week to improve her pain level.  All three of these people benefitted from the generosity of others who have donated blood.  To be honest, I haven’t donated yet.  But, I plan to.  I know it won’t go to Sara, Chris, or my grandma but it will go to someone else’s friend or loved one.

The thing about runners is we like to use running to spread messages, so Sara’s friend Angela had t-shirts made to help us spread the “Save Lives, Give Blood” message at the race.  This is me in my shirt:

There were 6 of us who ran the 7k and 8 people who ran the half marathon to honor Sara.  The effort is growing via the Strides for Sara website, where many runners are logging their miles and more information about donating blood can be found.  I have a list of the races Sara planned to run this year, so Angela is coordinating a group of us that will cover all of her races.  If you’d like to join the community rallying around Sara and/or the effort to raise awareness about blood donation, visit Strides for Sara to log your miles or get information on future races.


IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!  I ran the Get Lucky half marathon last year and it was in the 20′s.  This year, it was in the 60′s when the race started.  Of course, all of us Minnesotans were loving the weather!  This was my first time running the 7k and I loved the course.  The half marathon is held in St. Paul and the 7k is in Minneapolis.  I definitely prefer the views during the 7k run.  I carried my camera with me to document some of the course:

Toward the back of the starting line – there were 7k people running the 7k!

This is my wave running to the starting line…

Running behind the Guthrie…

It is hard to tell in the picture, but there are still runners at the starting line waiting to go (just past the buildings) and the street below is about .5 miles into the race.  Lots of people!

An Irish band singing along the route…

This is me about 2.5 miles in (yep, I look scary while exercising)…

The people at the finish line (and I was in the middle wave so this isn’t even everyone!)

Matt and I at the end of the race (he finished ahead of me)…

I was very under-prepared for this run so my goal was to finish without stopping, which I did!  I was a little sad that I averaged 10:30 pace for a 7k, but completed a half marathon last October at an average pace of 10:00.  I guess that is the difference between the beginning of race season and the end!  My goal for this season is to run a half marathon in 2:04 or less, which is a far cry from my very first half marathon time of 2:30 in 2008.  I guess I am getting faster, even if I still feel like I’m running in slow motion.

I don’t have many races lined up for this year yet so I better get moving on my training if I want to hit my goal!  When I picked up my Get Lucky packet, I signed up for Team Ortho’s first annual Women Rock half marathon on September 1.  It is 1 week before my wedding, so it will force me to stay in shape!  As a prize for being one of the first 100 people to sign up, I got this:

Matt said he will use this as motivation this year! (he doesn’t need to – he is already in good shape) I’m honestly not sure what to do with this calendar but I found it funny anyway.  Ok, this has been a long and somewhat rambling post so I’m going out to enjoy this wonderful weather.

What races are you signed up for this year?  Do you have any activity goals this year?

Weigh-In Wednesday, Week 2: FAIL.

Obviously I had a very exciting event happen last Thursday that was cause for a lot of celebration!  Unfortunately, it didn’t bode well for Weigh-In Wednesday.  I’ll accept it as a good excuse for this past week, but if I want to gain momentum I know it can’t be an excuse after this week.  Besides, now I have more motivation to move the butterfly (see right toolbar) – dress shopping!!!

What didn’t go well:

  • I didn’t track any points four of the days.  Even if I go over or have to use generic foods to estimate, I should track to maintain awareness of what is going into my body.  I am not at a point yet where I can abandon tracking, even if I feel like I know the healthiness of what I’m eating.
  • I ate a baggie of black licorice in one day!  My coworker found out I like black licorice and brought me in some that his wife ordered from Europe (you know, someplace where they have good black licorice).  It was so good that it was gone by the end of the day. 
At least I ate them one at a time and not by the fistful?
  • I had wine or beer Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday night.  I know there will be a lot of celebrating over the next month but I need to reign it in if I want to gain momentum.

What went well:

  • My measurements didn’t move, despite my one pound gain!
  • I incorporated weights into my workout on Sunday (thanks to Matt!).  I have been feeling it in my legs ever since.
  • I did 25 minutes of a great treadmill interval workout that Peanut Butter Fingers posted on her blog yesterday.  It kicked my butt!
  • I made a few food tradeoff decisions I wouldn’t have previously made.  I had a big salad for lunch on Thursday was balsamic vinaigrette in anticipation of going out to dinner that night to celebrate Matt’s new job (which turned out to be an engagement celebration!).  I had a protein shake for breakfast instead of pancakes.

Said no to these!

... and yes to this!

I know I will have my ups and downs throughout this process.  I didn’t expect it to happen the second week, but reflecting on what went well and didn’t go well will help me adjust my habits this next week.  My challenges this next week will be:

  • Fitting in workouts on top of looking at wedding venues and going out of town.
  • Cutting back on the celebration alcohol.
  • Making good choices when we are out of town this weekend.  We will be helping Matt’s dad move so I expect we will be eating out a lot.  Portion control, portion control, and more portion control!

Sunny wanted to have a body shot this week since Macy had one two weeks ago:

"I'm not fat, I'm just fluffy."

How do you manage through times when eating healthy isn’t convenient?  How do you balance alcohol into your diet?  I bet I sound like a complete lush asking that question!

What I’ve learned about training

We finally got snow in Minne-snow-ta.

(this would actually be a laughable amount any other year)

So, what do I do?  I decide that today is the day to break out these bad boys:

My coworker was so nervous I was going to fall on the sidewalk that he offered to walk next to me so I would fall on him and not the ground.  What a nice guy.  But, walking in high heels is actually one of my many talents (except that one time I completely “biffed it” at work… but, hey, nobody is perfect).

I actually wore these because I have a two-day meeting for work and was presenting today.  My practical footwear just wouldn’t do for such an occasion.  Maybe tall heels make me look smarter?  I don’t know, but it is worth a try.

Anyway, I like to doodle when I have a lot on my mind.  While I was mulling over my presentation, I doodled this:

It is a rough draft of our Tough Mudder/sprint triathlon training schedule!  (that big scribble is our trip to Cancun for our friend’s wedding).  I was a little impressed with myself that I could put together a rough outline for our upcoming events :)

It got me thinking about my very first half marathon training experience in 2008.  My coworker sent me a link to an online training schedule and helped me modify it to fit my schedule since I was working full-time and going to school part-time.  I was so nervous and diligent about following that schedule that I gave myself bronchitis two weeks before the race.  Fun times.

It was the worst race ever (but still completely awesome because it was my first race ever).  My knees killed, my hips hurt and I missed a lot of my last two weeks of training.  I figured I wasn’t meant for running, but I really just didn’t know how to train well.

After six half marathons, two 10 miles, two 20 miles and a marathon, my approach to training is much more laid back (which also makes the process a lot more fun!).  These are some of the most important things I’ve learned through experience, talking to my doctor, running stores, or my running books and magazines:

  • Start small.  I know the idea of starting at only one mile isn’t very sexy, but sitting out because of knee pain isn’t sexy either.
  • Build supporting muscles.  Most likely, your knees hurt because you don’t have good supporting muscles, not because you are predisposed to have bad knees (but please see your doctor to verify).  My knees hyper-extend when I run and I wore a really cool knee brace when I played soccer in middle school, but I’ve gotten knee pain under control by doing squats, lunges and biking.  Colleen and Matt both got their knee pain under control with a runner’s knee strap.  Click here for good information about runner’s knee and how to prevent injury.
  • Put your training plan somewhere you will regularly see it.  It will be easier to stick with.
  • Rest if you need it.  If I would have rested for a few days, my cold probably wouldn’t have led to bronchitis and I would have enjoyed my first race much more.  A good rule of thumb is you can run if the sickness is neck up, but you should rest if you have body aches.
  • Get fitted for good running shoes.  I know most of the cool-looking shoes aren’t bulky, but if you have frequent knee or hip pain you probably aren’t wearing the right shoes.  Go to a running store and have them fit you by watching you walk.  I was over-pronating, which was contributing to my knee and hip pain.
  • Vary the speeds of your runs throughout the week.  Each run serves a purpose.  Enjoy the recovery run and push yourself during the interval runs to build up speed.

Ok, I guess that was more than “some” tips.  There are a lot of good resources available about how to prevent injury and put together a good training plan.  Whenever I have a quick question, I check out the injury prevention section of Runner’s World online.

Here are a few links to training plans online:

Do you also like to run races?  What are important tips you’ve learned about training and injury prevention?

I wasn’t a runner before I became a runner

Happy casual Friday!  I live for casual Friday.  It’s so relaxed and everyone is in such a good mood.  Where are all of these smiles Monday through Thursday???

Today, I found a great Guide to Running on Pinterest that I thought deserved to be shared with the eight people who read my blog.  What?  You’re not a runner?  Neither was I before I became a runner. 

It took me two half marathons before I finally admitted to myself that I’m a runner.  I didn’t consider myself a runner because I’m not very fast and I don’t have the cute runner legs (they more closely resemble my hockey player days!).  After running a dozen races over the past four years, I’ve learned there is no typical runner.  In every single race, there have been people of all shapes, ages and abilities. 

I like running because it can be done anywhere and isn’t very expensive.   I love running because of that point in the run when you feel almost invincible, also known as “runner’s high”.   It took me a few months of running before I experienced the runner’s high, but (trust me) it is worth it if you can get through the pain of the first few weeks or months.  I hope that doesn’t make me sound slightly like a drug addict!

The first race I ever ran was a half marathon (when I dive into something, I really dive in!).  That is still my favorite training period even if it was my worst race.  I was beating milestones every week and it felt fantastic.  Running four and six miles were mentally the largest milestones for me.  Once I discovered I could actually run for an hour without dying, I knew I could make it through the race.

Enough about me, let’s get to the whole reason I was motivated to write about running.  Here is the guide:

The two things I like most about this guide are: the half marathon training schedule and the section about injury prevention.  Most runners experience knee or hip pain – it is all about the actions you take to prevent and care for injuries.  Happy running!