Logan has been bugging me for a few months now to write a blog post for the store site. Bug, bug, bug. Nag, nag, nag. Run, run, run. That’s all he does. Just kidding, he really is the best! :) I really do want to tell you what it’s like to be a runner’s wife, though. I think it is important that all you runners out there with significant others know what it really is like, so you can warn your true love before the relationship gets too serious. For those of you in a relationship with a runner, GET. OUT. NOW. Kidding again, honey! I originally thought this might be a one post kind of thing, but as I began to write, I realized there is so much to WARN YOU ABOUT!!! (ahem, I mean so many joys to share).
Let me give you my first warning in today’s post: All of your “vacations” will center around running. Have we been to Chicago? Yes. Was the purpose of our va-cay to go shopping on Michigan Avenue and dine on fancy dinners? I know this is hard to believe, but no.
Let me take you back to the fall of 2011. Instead of packing my bags for a romantic weekend getaway with my new husband of two months, I was forced into a stinky car with four men, and one woman…me. I was reassured that it would be a fabulous trip.
Shortly after hitting the road, one of the guys (I won’t name names) bragged all about the hotel in Iowa he had found on a website that was really nice and a really good deal. Imagine my surprise when our caravan pulled up to a casino hotel. Classy, right? Not so much. The boys spent the evening gambling away the money they had “saved” on this good deal of a hotel that I heard so much about. Being the fabulous wife I am, I joined them for a couple rounds at the penny slots. My sweet, caring husband and I left the casino to go to bed at a decent hour, leaving the other three gentlemen behin…or so I thought. About a year and a half later, I found out my new husband had waited until I had entered the REM portion of my beauty sleep just to sneak back down to the casino with his friends!! I tell you, these runners are shady people.
After our not so classy night stay at the casino hotel, I was promised a nice breakfast at a hotspot in town. Let me just say this: The restaurant was famous for their “Magic Mountains” and “Volcanos.” The boys scarfed down their nacho cheese and gravy drenched pancake and hashbrown mountains while I contemplated my escape back to the good life. I was somehow tricked back into the car, though.
We finally made it to Chicago. Ahhhhhhhh….what a fabulous city! We explored the town that evening (and by explored, no, I don’t mean shopping) and hit the sheets early for the big marathon in the morning. Luckily, one of the guys was not running, so I would have company to watch my husband in all of his sweatiness and tiny-shorts glory. Did anyone else know that watching a marathon does not consist of hanging out on a portable chair while watching the runners pass and cheering them on? You actually have to WALK a marathon. No one warned me. I did not train for that. A couple miles into my unexpected marathon trek, I got an awful, terrible, ugly, painful blister on my little toe. My marathon viewing partner would not even let me stop for a band-aid. It was the most torturous day for me. Later, I found out that one of my husband’s friends had bloody nipples after the marathon, but I told him to stop his whining because I, too, knew what that felt like from my toe blister experience. I’m sure it was basically the same thing. What a baby.
That night, we feasted on another manly dinner of the largest, thickest, cheesiest pizza I had ever seen. When would I be getting to choose the meals? If you ever have to go on a marathon trip, ladies, let me just say you will NOT be eating at the Cheesecake Factory.
I woke up the next morning to FANTASTIC news. We were heading to Michigan Avenue! While the boys walked around seemingly constipated from their marathon soreness, I tried to avoid the embarrassment by shopping in every store possible, until my 30 MINUTES were up. The boys didn’t seem to understand that a half hour is not a long time to shop. I successfully argued for an extra hour, but could have used three…or twenty.
It was finally time to head home. I was ready, the runners were not. We made a couple of stops on the way back to “the good life”, one to see who could fit the most chicken McNuggets into their tiny little runner stomachs, and the second to feast on chocolate covered bacon and Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers at a dainty little dinner café called “The Machine Shed,” because obviously we hadn’t had a lot to eat on this trip already.
We were finally home! While my husband struggled to get up the stairs to our apartment, I got in the car and drove to the nearest office of a divorce lawyer. Just kidding again! We are still happily married, at least until the next marathon trip.
Stay tuned for my next post about what it’s like to be a runner’s wife. In the meantime, I hope you will check out my new blog, The Fashionista Teacher. I promise not to be discussing bloody nipples or Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers.
The very worst thing about running is getting into shape. It is even worse if you have been fit before and let yourself lose that fitness. When fit, it is easy to take for granted the ease and enjoyment of running. Therefore, in order to have a more fun and enjoyable spring and summer of running, you must find a way to keep yourself in shape during the cold winter months here in the 605. In my last blog, I told you how to keep running outside. This one will give you a few other tips on how to keep fit even if you don’t want to run much outside.
If you use these tactics to stay fit through the winter months, you will have a more successful and fun spring and summer season.
I had the opportunity to attend the group run on Saturday December 27th, and despite 3-4 inches of snow falling overnight, there was a confident (or maybe crazy?) group of runners who met at the usual spot at the store. While I really enjoyed getting to talk with all of the individuals there, I had the opportunity to talk with two attendees, Lindsey and Ben, about the idea of "running free". Unfortunately the topic didn't come up until about mile 4.5 of 6 so we didn't get to discuss it in-depth, but we talked about the idea of running without a watch (or "running free").
When I started running in 7th/8th grade, it was a matter of survival. I didn't run cross country, I hated track and I dreaded having to go to practice every day in the spring. Even after that, for the longest time, I ran purely based on time. I would take my Target watch and just estimate my mileage based on time, and of course I rounded up like all good runners/accountants/mathematicians. Even in my later high school years and into college as I developed as a runner, I would either a) round my mileage based on time or b) go off the predetermined mileage markers that had been established by someone before me.
When I was a junior at Nebraska Wesleyan (athletically), I became OBSESSED with splits, and I needed to know every mile, 400, 200 and even 100 split during the race to make sure I was on pace. If I wasn't on pace, I could speed up (I told myself), but more times than not, it took me out of rhythm. I became totally and utterly dependent on my watch. I had to buy a new watch when I started marathoning after graduation because my old Target watch could only take 10 of the 26 splits, and everything culminated to this fall when I purchased my very first GPS watch (Tom Tom brand) and spent time analyzing pace, speed, heart rate, etc.
When I looked at where I started with running and where I was this fall, I realized that I had become controlled by my watch. There were times where I would just put on my shoes, run however long I pleased, and then figure out the distance later (either map it online, estimate based on time gone or actually drive my course). In my opinion, this is the most honest type of running that can be done.
I'm not writing this blog to discuss the pros/cons of GPS watches, but just to incite the thought about "running free", with or without a watch. If you go without a watch, it's easy. If you stick with your Garmin, Tom Tom, Timex or Adidas brand watch, try not to get tied to it. The easiest way to do this is to wear the watch, start it, but don't look at it until the very end of the run. Whether you ran 3.9 or 4.0 miles does not matter, nor does whether you ran 6:00/mi or 8:30/mi. What matters is the act of running.
Run Free and run happy in 2015!
Tim Meyer teaches economics at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, and is also on the 605 Racing team. Tim runs many races all over the region, and although you might not know his name, you may recognize him if you saw him.
Last week, amid the blizzard, your fearless assistant manager Kyle Schmidt ventured north to Brookings to run a workout with Chris Gruenhagen and yours truly.
I had not run anything "fast" for quite some time, but I was not too concerned about being able to hang with Kyle and Chris. Since Chris and I both live in Brookings, we probably run together once a week on average, and even though Chris always beats me in races (I'm known as Mr. Second Place in Brookings), I can usually push him in workouts.
Kyle on the other hand, was a bit of an unknown. You see, Kyle is a sandbagger. He says things like, "I don't have any speed," or some variation of that an average of 17 times per conversation. He might even point out how much faster I have been than him over the last 12-18 months.
What he won't point out is his 5k or 10k PRs. I'm not sure what his 10k PR is, but I know his 5k pr is in the 14:45 range...and no the course was not short!
As the workout progressed, I realized I was going to be outclassed in our last set of 300 meter repeats; and I was right. By the first turn of each lap I was 5-10 meters behind, and by the finish I was half a straightaway behind. I'll be honest, it was a little disappointing.
Then I looked at my watch, 50, 48,51 for the last 3...or 4:25/mile pace with short rest; suddenly my mood changed. I didn't have a bad workout, I was just running with guys faster than me!
I view the opportunity to run with these guys as a privilege for two reasons. First, one of the best ways to get faster is to run with people faster than you and second, Chris and Kyle or the only two people I know who are bigger running nerds than myself.
So if you're reading this and you're a solo runner (like I used to be), find someone to run with. If they're faster than you, don't worry; it won't hurt anyone. The neat thing about running is that no matter how fast you are, unless you are Usain Bolt, there is always someone faster; but we all have the same goals.
Treadmills drive me crazy after the first few weeks of running on them. Something that I have found very effective for both passing the time and gaining fitness has been doing structured workouts on them. The specific workout that I am going to talk about today is uphill interval training.
Here is the workout:
Warm up for 5-15 minutes depending on how much you want to run total for the day. This is a workout that you can work into as well so you don’t have to be fully warmed up to avoid pulling a hamstring. I would recommend at least a few minutes of running otherwise your first interval is going to be really difficult.
Finding the right pace and grade for you might take some trial and error. You want to make sure that you can run the full interval and be recovered enough within 2-3 minutes to hop back on and do it again. I would recommend 4 intervals on your first workout of this type and you can do more next time if you didn’t get enough.
Set your grade somewhere between 5 and 10 percent incline. Don’t do more than 10 because you won’t really be running up that grade. That would be more of a hike or a climb. No less than 5 percent because you won’t get your heart rate high enough. Pacing can be tricky, if you start off too fast you won’t finish the workout and if you start off too slow you won’t get your heart rate up high enough to get the full benefit of the workout.
Warm up 5-15 minutes
2:30 climbing 5-10% at your pace
2:30 running flat at same pace or a little slower
and repeat this 4 times.
After hard workouts, I always recommend a cool down to help your body begin the recovery process. Similar to the warm-up, just run for 5 to 15 minutes.
I performed this workout twice per week for 6 weeks and felt major gains in fitness. It also breaks up the monotony of just flat running on the treadmill. The main benefit of uphill treadmill running for me was that it is very easy on the body. There is a lot less pounding than if you were doing comparable workouts on flat ground. In order to get your heart rate up as high as while running uphill, you need to run much faster.