October Roundup

October is over! That means a recap of my month is due! You can catch up on all previous months’ recaps here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September.

With 3 miles this morning, I finished out October with 103 miles, which is my second most miles in a month, ever! The highest mileage I’ve run was in March of 2014, with 119.  103 miles this month is my second most, followed by 102 miles in February 2014, and 100 miles in August of this year.  With 103 miles this month, I’m up to 816 miles for 2015, and right on track to meet my goal of 950 miles, and hopefully exceed that and reach quadruple digits, 1000 miles!! I need 184 more miles to reach 1000, which averages out to at least 92 miles for November and December.  My last 5 months have been in the 80s, 90s, or 100s, for milage, so I am confident that if I stay healthy, I can reach 1000 miles this year!!!  To reach my goal of 950 miles, I will have to run at least 67 miles each in November and December.

Photo Oct 31, 4 35 33 PM

I started off October by going to Milwaukee to visit my sister.  We ran together twice, and I was able to volunteer with her at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon finish line, which was a huge inspiration for me to want to commit to completing my first full marathon next fall.  I also took my second ever cycle class, taught by Kristen.

Photo Oct 05, 8 42 44 AM

I had one race in October, the KC Half Marathon.  I PR’d this race by over 10 minutes, and felt more strong and confident than I’ve ever felt during a half marathon.  Running this race solidified my desire to complete a full marathon next fall, and I will do so at the same race next October.  You can read my race recap here.

Photo Oct 17, 10 57 53 AM

My longest run in October, besides the KC Half Marathon, was a 7.5 mile run in Milwaukee, with Kristen, on October 4.  I ran with KC Running Co. 8 times, including 2 really great feeling speed workouts.  I’ve been continuing to see the chiropractor about every 1-2 weeks, and I’m having marked improvement with my left IT band/hamstring and my right glute/hamstring.  We’re making progress!  I was only able to make it to 2 yoga classes in October; I need to get back to yoga once a week!

Photo Oct 24, 3 09 10 PM

Looking forward to November, I have the Cliffhanger 8k tomorrow, November 1, which will be my first 8k (4.97 miles).  Then, I’m flying to Las Vegas with Mom and Kristen to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k and Half Marathon! I’m really looking forward to a girls trip, runcation, and VEGAS!

I’m going to try to keep my mileage steady to end the year with at least 1000 miles, and try to stay healthy and keep my ailments on the mend! Let me know how your October went, and what your goals are for November and the rest of the year!

Tips for Running in the Dark

Running in the dark is probably my least favorite type of running. I do love running in the snow, in the rain, and in the sun, but running when it’s dark, early morning or after the sun sets in the evening, presents lots of unseen obstacles (HAH! See what I did there?).

With winter right around the corner, and with the time change this weekend, I’d like to use today’s Thursday Things to share some tips and tricks for Fall and Winter running, aka running in the dark. The 4 tips below are common sense, but all are tried and true and will help keep you safe while running in the dark.

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1. BE SEEN! When it’s dark, it’s dark. Don’t dress in dark clothing. A good share of my running clothes are black, but when it’s dark out, I try to light myself up like a Christmas tree. Light colored shirts, reflective clothes, blinky lights, anything at all that you can do to be seen is a good thing. Running in the dark is not the time to be a fashionable runner all matchy matchy, it’s a time to make sure you are seen! It doesn’t matter if your clothes match, as long as they are bright and visible. I also have quite the selection of clip on or Velcro blinky lights. I clip lights on my shoes, on the back of my visor, on my shirt… blinking lights tend to catch more attention than steady lights, so keep that in mind as well. Many of my lights have blink or steady options, and I almost always pick the blinky setting. It’s definitely worth the money to get some lights to attach to your body.

Reflective clothing is also one of the best ways to make sure you are seen. Running clothes on the market these days often have reflective material built right in. If you don’t have clothing that already has reflective material, definitely wear light or white colors. If it’s black outside, and you’re wearing black, you won’t be seen! If you’re wearing white, you have a much better chance to be seen by drivers or other runners. If you do a lot of running in the dark, maybe look into buying a reflective vest or reflective tape to tape on your torso.

Photo Nov 11, 2 34 21 PM

2. BE ABLE TO SEE! Being seen by drivers means nothing at all if trip over something and break your leg. If you’re running in the dark, you have to be able to see. Use a headlamp, handheld lights, or run in lit areas to help yourself stay safe. There are so many products on the market to help you see and be seen. I have a headlamp (the Black Diamond headlamp) that is lightweight, easy to use, and rechargeable. It has a few different settings to allow me to see where I am going when it’s dark. The last thing I want to do is trip and fall, or slip on the ice. Without a light, I would be lit up for others to see me, but I wouldn’t be able to see where I’m running, which is just not smart. If you don’t have lights to light yourself up or to be able to see where you are going, be sure to wear your light colored clothing and stick to well-lit areas. If you don’t have a light, it’s not the time to run on the trails; stick to roads with streetlights.

3. DON’T BE STUPID! Follow the proper rules of the road. Run on sidewalks if it’s dark out. If you must run in the street, please PLEASE run against traffic. If a car is driving up in your direction and they don’t see you, you will have a much better chance of not getting hit if you can see the vehicle coming at you and jump off the road if necessary. If you are running with traffic, you will never see that vehicle, and if they don’t see you either, you could get hit or run over. I generally prefer to run in the street, but if it’s a busy road, or if it’s dark out, I will run on the sidewalk, away from cars.

Don’t ever get comfortable and think the drivers will always see you. Always be prepared to take your own life in your own hands and jump out of the way of cars if necessary. I sometimes pick up a couple rocks and hold them if I’m running alone in the dark. I would not hesitate to throw a rock at a windshield if necessary, to keep from being run over. Never assume the driver will see you; be prepared! Running in the dark is also not the time to run an unfamiliar route. Stick to what you know, because you know it! No surprises leads to a safer run.

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4. SAFETY FIRST! If you run alone, and it’s dark, and you are well lit and able to see, but it’s still dark, take your safety into consideration. Maybe don’t listen to music and be shut off from the world. Be alert and listen to what’s around you. If you feel you need to, carry pepper spray, or a personal safety alarm. Tell a friend where you are going, and when you should be back, or even better, take a friend with you or run with a group! If you don’t normally carry your phone while you run, maybe take it on runs where you are alone and in the dark, and think about using an app (like the Road ID app) that allows friends or loved ones to track you, and notifies them if you stop moving for a length of time.

Keeping yourself safe is something that should be in the forefront of your mind, no matter when you are running, but it is extra important when it’s dark out. You never really know what could be lurking around the corner. A pothole? Someone who wants to abduct or hurt you? A stray animal? Be alert, and be aware that things in the darkness can likely see you way before you can see them, especially if you are not paying attention like you should.

Please be safe, friends! What other tips do you have to share for running in the dark?

Half Marathon Tips

The KC Half Marathon is right around the corner! 2 days!  I’ve completed a handful of half marathons so far, so for today’s Thursday’s Things, I want to share some tips I’ve learned, and some tips I’ve heard that I’m going to utilize this weekend.

Photo Oct 18, 10 18 28 AM

KC Half Marathon, October 2014.  My second half marathon.

My #1 main goal for a half marathon, any half marathon, is to finish! My #2 goal is to run the whole thing without walking.  So far, I’m 5 for 5 on my #1 goal, and 0 for 5 on my #2 goal! I feel like I’m in the best running shape I’ve ever been in, and am going into the KC Half Marathon with high hopes, but I’m not putting pressure on myself.  I want to go out there, have fun, enjoy the beautiful October weather, and run with thousands of my running buddies!

Start slow.  Don’t start out too quickly.  It is nearly impossible to “bank time.” Usually, you run too quickly, positive split, and run out of energy in the tank.  It is hard for me to slow down at the beginning, because the excitement of starting a half marathon and tons of people around makes me want to run faster.  Use that garmin and make sure you start slowly!

Photo Oct 30, 8 44 58 PM

Hydrate before and during the race.  The days and weeks leading up to a half marathon (or any lengthy race) are very important.  I pride myself on drinking lots of water and staying well-hydrated, but in the weeks, and especially in the few days before my race, I up my water intake even more.  And during the race, it is important to drink, and fuel, for that matter, BEFORE you are thirsty, and BEFORE you feel like you need fuel.  In the past several weeks, I’ve been using fuel on long runs to know what my body can handle (more on this in another post later) and to practice my water and fuel intake.

Nothing new on race day. Nothing at all should be new on race day.  No new shoes, no new outfits, no new fuels.  Don’t eat something weird or new before the race, don’t try running with (or without) music if you’re not used to it.  Race morning needs to be as routine and boring as possible.  Race morning is not the time to try out a new sports bra or a new pair of running shoes.

Get some good sleep.  And be nice to your body in the week leading up to and the week (or two) after the race.  Sleep, and being rested, is very important, but really, who sleeps well the night before a race? I sure don’t!  Research has shown that a good night’s rest two nights before the race is more important than the night before.  Be nice to your body, don’t do any crazy new workouts the week before a race.  Respect at least a bit of taper; slow your times down and/or run less mileage the week to 10 days before the race.  This allows your body and legs be rested for race day.

Photo Oct 13, 1 23 19 PM

Always use the bathroom before the race. Always a good idea to use the bathroom or port-a-potty at least once before the race starts.  I have a nervous tummy, and use the bathroom approximately 240957 times before a race.  Don’t pass up that opportunity, because you don’t always know if there will be a spot to stop on the race course when you might need one, and who wants the time to keep ticking while you’re doing your business?

HAVE FUN! Remember, most importantly of all, running is supposed to be fun! You’re racing for fun!  Unless you’re an elite athlete, where running is your career, the rest of us mortals are running for fun!

Now, there are hundreds of tips, tricks, and things to remember for training, racing, fueling, running, etc.  I only highlighted a few that I find very important, and want to remember, going into my sixth half marathon this weekend.  If you have a tip for me or the readers, please leave a comment!

For those running or racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK!