Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trash Clean Up

Today was my long run but it was also a run that I decided to do a challenge from the Daily Challenge group in the DailyMile website.
The Daily Mile is a great website for runners. What attracted me to it was the "Map It" feature that allows you to map where you run. I use it to plan my runs. *It doesn't help when I forget what street I'm supposed to turn down!*
They also have a Groups section. I joined a group called "Daily Challenge." It's really a weekly challenge that you're supposed to do every day.
This week's challenge is titled "Clean Up!" And it challenges you to pick trash up as you run.
It was impossible for me to clean up all the trash I approached. At first I limited it to plastic water bottles since we all know how bad they are. But then they started taking over my bag. So eventually I had to limit myself to smaller things, like lowering the overabundance of cigarette packs.
It was also very awkward to hold the bag. At first I was embarrassed but then I repeated my newest mantra, "Let me listen to me and not to them"and it was all good.

I found three of these (okay, 2 were in my hallway). This was a last ditch effort for Republican Richard Irvin to win the votes for mayor. He lost to incumbent Democrat Tom Weisner.

The trash I found. It's only a 16th of what was on the road.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Training Schedule 2009

My training schedule will be as follows:
  • Monday-Strength Training(ST) & Medium Run(Med)
  • Tuesday-ST & Short Speed Run (Speed)
  • Wednesday-ST & Speed
  • Thursday-Med
  • Friday-Off
  • Saturday-Speed
  • Sunday-Long Run

I figure that I can increase the mileage as I go.
For example, this week I will be doing 3 miles as my speed runs, 4 miles as my medium runs, and 5 miles will be my long run. Next week will be 4, 5, 6. And so on. My speed runs will be either a fast run, or fartlek training.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just Run

One of my favorite bands, The Dresden Dolls, has a song called "Sing."
I love to hear this song while I run because I always fit the word "Sing" in with "Run." I change some other words around to fit and it works really well.
*When you're running for a while, or when your run really sucks, you tend to get creative!*

So for your pleasure, "Run"

There is this thing that's like working except you don't work
Back in the day it just went without saying at all
All the world's history gradually dying of shock
There is thing that's like
walking except you don't walk
You run
You run

Run for the bartender
for the janitor
Run for the cameras
run for the animals

Run for the children shooting the children
run Run for the teachers who told you that you couldn't run Just run

There is thing keeping everyone's lungs and hips locked
It is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance
After the race you can not
run wherever you want
But for now lets all pretend that we're gonna get bombed
Run cause its obvious
for the astronauts
Run for the president
for the terrorists
run Run for the soccer team
run for the janjaweed
Run for the kid with the legs that refuse to run Just run
Life is no marathon
We don't care what you say
We're inviting you anyway
You motherfuckers you'll
run someday...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Racing in the Windy City

This past Saturday I had my first race of the season. My work buddy (mentioned in the previous post)and I signed up for Blackberry Farm's 5K Spring Gallop.
We arrived very early because we thought the race started earlier than it did. Which is better than missing the race or being late. It also worked out because something went wrong with my registration and they didn't have me on the list. I sent it a week ahead of time and the park is in my town so I figured it would arrive on time. That figures because I was just praising the USPS. :-)
After waiting in the cold and being shuffled around between race planners, they found my paperwork and gave me a bid number. We were able to stretch and jog around before the race started.

Waiting in the cold. Gloves were insufficient.

On your mark, get set........

Man, my stride looks good here. Last leg.

I love this pic!

After. We're awesome!

My race time was 26.53. I was 7th place. That's a few hundred dollars in the pros, right?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We Run Together

Twice this week I had the opportunity to run with two different people.
It was Tuesday or Wednesday and the weather was so great and I had already planned to run during lunch that day. My coworker and I were talking about the weather and I teasingly said to him, "Why don't you come running with me, then?" Expecting to be rejected. But instead he said, "Let's do it. Wanna go at 11?"
I was nervous about running with him. I was thinking that because he's a guy and he runs on the treadmill nearly everyday, he was probably a lot faster than I was.
But I had planned on doing a speed run so I was happy for the challenge.
He did start off fast. I think he was digging the sunshine (a far fetch from the fluorescent lights of the gym). But eventually, he slowed down. And we ran at a pace that I could deal with for a longer time.
Usually, I like to really open up at the end of a run. I mean bear down, dig deep, sprint as much as you can. But I didn't want to say that to my coworker, because he seemed to have been struggling.
But the last 400 meters or so, he said, "Come on, let's run fast!!" Imagine my glee!

The second run I did was with another coworker. She had also been a treadmiller for the whole winter. But she usually runs 6-7 miles so I was nervous about running with her too.
We decided to run at McDowell Grove Park in Warrenville.
It was a great run.
I really liked this run because we ran through the woods, around a pond, under Diehl Rd., and I-88.
It's a good trail because it has a lot of hills. And I love hills for the challenge.
The run came to about 4 miles total. My friend was also not used to running outside so we both did a slow and steady pace. I enjoyed this pace because it gave me a chance to check out the park and its wildlife. I didn't have my camera with me but here is a shot I found.

This shot was done by Jim Frazier in the summer so our run was not nearly as green as this. But what you may be able to see is that there is no pavement. You are running on dirt. That's it. Dirt. So it really had that rustic feel. I could easily forget that I was close to a major interstate.

After the run I finally went to Naperville Running Company to buy my new shoes!

By 11 am, downtown Naperville was bustling with shoppers. And the running company was no different. The shop was already teeming with runners looking at pamphlets, trying on shoes and talking to the sales people about the best fit. I got an encouraging smile from a worker (probably because I was still wearing my running gear) as I browsed through the running clothes.
I convinced myself not to buy anything extra this time and limped to the cash register. My shoes were already on hold and I got a 10% discount (that's $10.00 off my shoes) for being a member. I will probably go back to get my Nike+ sensor.

I did a short and fast run today in my new shoes. They felt really great. My feet were being controlled. And that is a good thing. I wasn't scared to kick back more because I knew that the landing would be better. I can't wait to see whether my knees improve.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

See Jane. Run.

"It was one of those March nights when winter seems to regain its sway, and flings its last snows and storms with malignant desperation." Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Throughout all my runs this week, I kept thinking of this quotation. It perfectly describes the kind of week Illinois had. Okay, so it didn't snow. But it did rain a bit. And it was friggin cold!

For my Wednesday lunch break run, said the temperature was 29, feels like 14. Throughout the run I kept telling myself that it would be the last time for a while that I would run in the cold. Then Thursday came and it wasn't much better. I ran with C and we still had to bundle up, and our breaths still produced little clouds.

But next week should be in the 50s and I am ready for that!

In other news, I need new shoes.

Today we went to a local running store in St. Charles called Dick Ponds. I thought that they would throw me on a treadmill to see how I run but the guy just looked at my running shoes and looked at how I stand on one foot (or tried to stand on one foot).
Surprisingly, I was satisfied with his analysis.
It was like he read my future (good 1/2 marathon time?) by the way I stood. He told me about the problem with my current running shoes; it turns out that they are too flexible for the way I run. Turns out, I have low arches so I need shoes with more support. And my knee pain is probably caused by the poor arch support of my old shoes.

I tried on about 5 different shoes. I won't list every pair but I will give you a brief overview.
I tried on a pair of Nikes that felt like there was a metal bar on my arches. A pair of Brooks felt like there were clamps on my heels.
The Sauconys felt perfect. According to coach C, Sauconys are great running shoes. But, I gawked at the price. They were $93! To some, that is pennies. But to me......"what?!!"
I know that the next pair of running shoes will be my close buddy for the next year. We will run through rain, heat, wind, dog poo, mud, snow, everything. But $93 is a lot to spend on something that I will discard in a few years.
Yet, a part of me really feels that it would be a good investment.

Either way, I know I have to shop around before I buy. C and I went to the Naperville Running Company to comparison shop. As expected, the shoes were more expensive in Naperville. Naperville is just too expensive for its own good!!
I also shopped online and found my shoe for only about 5 dollars cheaper. Once S&H is added, it's gonna cost more. So I will probably get my shoes from Dick's.

Ladies and gents, my next running shoe!

The Women's Saucony ProGrid Omni 7 Ultimate
Its well-ventilated and has good arch support. Knee pain, goodbye!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

She's Gone Country

This past weekend I visited my family in North Carolina. I was real excited to run a few runs in the heat. But let's just say that I had too much fun in NC and I only ran once. Either way, it was a great run.

I ran next to puppies! (or rather, I outran puppies, aw yeah!)

I really got a chance to look around the neighborhood and get a different perspective.

This cross says, "One Nation Under God." Thanks for the clarification.

I ran by some houses that were so cute.

This one was my favorite. I love the little handmade American flag.

But then I also ran by a lot of boarded up houses or businesses. It looks like the recession and/or drug war hits everywhere.

This one was an old convenience store or something by my mom's house.

Back to running.
I've realized that St Pauls is not very runner friendly. The only place I could run a few miles without too many turns was a road with a speed limit of 55. I ran it, though, because the traffic was pretty low.
Also, most of the streets do not have sidewalks (including the ones with the most traffic). I remember learning in my Humans and the Environment class that towns that are less walker friendly have higher rates of obesity. Just a thought.

The closest thing to a sidewalk that I saw. You can see that it ends fairly quickly.

Now that the weather should warm up, I will probably be running more after work instead of at work.
I will be running a 1/2 Marathon soon. I just don't know when or which one.
Also, a coworker and I were thinking of forming a running club with some others at work.
So there is a lot of cool stuff that's going to be happening in my lil running world.