Politics and Running

Hopefully the title didn’t scare you away, for this edition of Thinking Out Loud!  This isn’t a blog about political parties, or an opinion piece trying to sway you one way or the other, no need to worry about disagreeing on policy.  Rather I thought of this blog as I have watched Presidential candidates ‘suspend’ their campaigns.

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It has happened on both sides, democrat and republican, once a candidate realizes they do not have a chance at winning they throw in the towel.  After spending millions of dollars and lots of time prepping, they decide to call it quits.  The saying ‘when the going gets tough, they tough get going’.  Apparently that doesn’t apply when you are running for the most powerful office in the World.  Perhaps those that drop out aren’t that tough and we should be happy they do not stay in the race.  Some run for office knowing they are going to drop out, they do it to get name recognition to run again in the future.

By this point I am sure you are saying to yourself, this is a running blog, how does this relate to running?  Imagine if we applied the same thought processes to running.  I would venture to say most of us have to pay for our race entries and then spend lots of hours and miles training.  On race day (most recreational runners) don’t plan on winning the race.  With that presidential campaign mindset we should probably quit running after a quarter mile and ‘suspend’ our participation in the race.  Yeah, that sounds weird, it’s called quitting, whether you are running a race or for President it is quitting. (If you get injured or something happens where you can’t finish I’m not calling you a quitter)

My question then, are runners tougher than the men and women who want to be President of the free world?  My unscientific opinion is…yes!  Runners endure hours on the road/trail in preparation for a race, knowing in most cases we aren’t going to win.  We are training to do our best to set a personal record, we have goals in mind.  Even when we don’t meet those we keep on going until we cross the finish line.  We don’t quit when the going gets tough, many runners I know will run through all sorts of adversity, injuries, illness, and of course the dreaded ‘wall’.  Shouldn’t we ask the same of our Presidential candidates, go to the finish line, let all of the voters in each state decide when it is time for your to exit.

When casting your vote for President this election, maybe we should be looking at candidates who have a running background who know how to get through the tough times and come out on the other side a better person.
Perhaps we need a runners guide to Presidential candidates?  
What are your thoughts on the correlation between running races and running for President?  

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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Get comfortable, being uncomfortable Part II

Last week, for thinking out loud, I talked about being uncomfortable while running and the more I thought about it that wasn’t really fair.  I should offer some solutions to ease uncomfortable issues while/before running so you can get as comfortable as possible.  Here are some things I think are important make those uncomfortable distance runs a bit more comfortable.

  1. Clothing and Shoes  Make sure you buy clothing and shoes that fit properly.  Clothes shouldn’t restrict your movement and need to be sweat wicking, even in cold weather.  Of course we still sweat.  If you have never had your stride evaluated before getting shoes do it!  It is usually free and well worth it, the proper fitting shoes keeps everything in line and you avoid pain after the run.  Clothing and shoes are two areas you shouldn’t skimp on!
  2. Socks  Yes, I know socks are a part of clothing!  Make sure for every run you wear clean socks, let’s be honest for a second, we have all worn the same running clothes for consecutive runs.  It’s okay, we’re runners which means we do a lot of laundry so we ‘cheat’ sometimes.  Clean socks mean dry feet, dry feet means a more comfortable run and fewer blisters!
    Disclaimer:  Not my socks!
    Just get better socks than these!
  3. Form  I’m not going to spend a lot of time on form, if you have read my Running 3:16 blog you know I am a big believer in everyone running the way that they feel comfortable.  Find what works for you, but most importantly make sure your stride is efficient that is key to distance running.  It took me almost a year to ‘perfect’ my form and how I run.  Watch other runners, read articles, google, and youtube and use tips that work for you!IMG_5768
  4. Breathing  In through the nose, out through the mouth.  This technique keeps you from drying out fast.  I’ve also worked to inhaled on alternate foot strikes, it takes some practice but before you know it you will be doing it without even thinking11157314_1041033655911028_1385354061_o
  5. Anti-Chaffing  It happens to everyone and in the most tender places.  Make sure you use glide!  Use it under your arms, in between your legs, bottom of your feet, and your chest!  Guys I recommend (for anything over 10 miles) some band aides to cover the really sensitive parts of your chest (if you get my drift).  

There are 5 easy things you can do to make that long uncomfortable run more comfortable!  (I’m thinking there will be a Part III in the future)

What did I leave out?  What do you do to make your runs more comfortable?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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Get comfortable, being uncomfortable Part I

TOL:

Get comfortable, being uncomfortable, those were my exact thoughts as I eased into my run last night.  The same thoughts I had 4 years ago when I started training for my first marathon.

Maybe I should back up a little first.  I haven’t blogged in a while, close to 3 months.  I have been busy working on some other things that have required my attention.  I am a Senior Advisor to Better Baltimore County and I have been working on the web development, media, and video production for that site.  It has taken up quite a lot of my time, if you have a chance check it out.  We will be featuring lots of great things going on in Baltimore County.

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Plus I haven’t been running much.  To catch you up a bit since my last blog (Thanksgiving), which was also my last Thinking Out Loud post, I’ve only been running once or twice a week.  My body really needed the rest, plus it has gotten cold.  I know last year I ran everyday no matter the weather, but I’m glad I don’t have to this year, especially since we received 30 inches of snow last week!

Snow piled up from street removal.
Snow piled up from street removal.

Now back to my point, get comfortable being uncomfortable, yesterday I didn’t feel like running.  It was raining, cold, snow still on the ground, and I didn’t have anyone to run with but the 2016 race season is just around the corner and I need to get my training started.  I haven’t picked out a marathon yet, but I’m already signed up for 2 half marathons and some shorter distance races.  The first one is a 5k in Boston, I’m doing the B.A.A. distance medley.  My friend, Cat, is running the Boston Marathon and I’ll be cheering her on, she ran a BQ but the cutoff dropped so much this year she wasn’t selected, so she is running as a charity runner.  If you would like to support an awesome runner and a great cause please do so here!

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As I ran through the puddles and tried to avoid slipping I reminded myself distance running is all about being uncomfortable and getting comfortable with that.  Each person has something that makes them uncomfortable, but in the end the perseverance of pushing through it makes the pain and discomfort seem not to matter as much.  Being uncomfortable running could really be a metaphor for life, life is a series of uncomfortable situations (in one way or another) that we get through on a daily basis, but we probably don’t breath as hard 😉

As I ended the race season last year, I wouldn’t get uncomfortable till well after 15 miles, on Monday night I was uncomfortable in the first half mile, could have been the wet shoes, patches of ices, or light rain failing.  Regardless I knew I had to push through it and I could not delay the beginning of my training any longer.  Getting comfortable being uncomfortable can get you through a lot, but the only way to get comfortable being uncomfortable is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.  Hope that makes sense!

I also hope to start blogging more frequently again as I begin my training season!  Next week I plan to elaborate on things that make me uncomfortable running and how to make them more comfortable!

What makes you uncomfortable?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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CH3CH2OH Thinking Out Load

Perhaps that is a bit of an unorthodox title to this week’s Thinking Out Loud.  I can’t blame you for being confused.  Most of the time I write quite a bit on a certain topic.  Tonight I have decided to change things up a bit.  Often times I struggle from Monday to Wednesday thinking about what I am going to write about for TOL.  This week, as Thursday approached, nothing came to mind; I could have written about my upcoming marathon, this weekend, but I felt like I have stressed the importance of that enough.  So I was at a loss as Thursday approached.  On Wednesday, I watched the Country Music Awards and was inspired by them and some other life changing events that occurred of the week.  (yes I am a country music fan)

As I collected my thoughts I knew I had more to say than I could fit in one edition of Thinking Out Loud, so I thought it would be a good idea to lay out some of my thoughts in an outline and discuss them over the next 5 weeks.  After all I have noticed most bloggers who write on Thursdays create a list, so I thought I would create a list to follow as a guide to my blog on Thursdays over the next five weeks.

I hope you enjoy my Thinking Out Loud series in 5 weeks!  It may not make sense now, but in the end I hope it does and it may not always be related to running, but it is always meant to get you  Thinking Out Loud!

The five topics I will be covering are (not necessarily in this order):

  1.  Tennessee Whiskey and Kentucky Bourbon
  2. 365 Days and 10 years later
  3. You are who you believe you are
  4. 4 Minutes (When you couldn’t wait)
  5. A Letter to:

Bonus Points if you know what the title means 😉

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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365 Days Later

I wanted to end my running streak where it began, Central Park in NYC.  Last year on October 25th my friend, Lizzie, and I went to NYC and ran in Central Park while we were there she didn’t know at the time but I was starting a run streak.  Heck at that point I wasn’t sure I was going to; 365 days seemed like such a long time.  The next morning at breakfast I told Lizzie about my idea of a run streak and that I was becoming a vegetarian.  I’m not really sure what she thought, but I do remember her telling me that is was great that I was becoming a vegetarian but I needed to eat healthy as well.  Advice I followed over the last year.

Penn Station in Baltimore
Penn Station in Baltimore

On Friday I woke up early before work and ran, I wouldn’t have time later.  Lizzie and I were taking the train to NYC and had dinner reservations at 2200 hrs.  The train ride to NYC was pretty quick and painless, last year we took the bus and that was rather interesting.  Once we arrived we walked to our hotel, changed, and walked to dinner.  We had made reservation 3 months ago and had been looking forward to dinner for quite some time.  If you ever find yourself in NYC and want an absolutely amazing meal make reservations at Per Se!  Trust me it is worth it!  We actually had to take one of the dessert courses with us because we were so full.  I can even put into words how amazing the food was!

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Saturday morning Lizzie went to meet one of her friends and I decided to go for a run in Central Park.  Our hotel was only 2 blocks away.  I wanted to try and get a longer run in since I had been taking it easy most of the week.  On Day 364 I managed to logged 12 miles; I looped Central Park and then did an out and back path.  There were so many people in the Park, bikers, runners, walkers, horse carriages, there was even a race going on.  I really enjoyed the run even though it was a bit chilly.  After the run we met a friend of mine for lunch, rested up a bit, had a dinner at supposedly the best falafel cart in NYC according to Yelp!  We aren’t so sure about that but it got the job done.  After dinner we made our way to Times Square to see An American in Paris and enjoy wine from a sippy cup!  Definitely  a highlight!  The show was fantastic.  Again I would recommend seeing it if you have not and are in NYC.

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Sunday had arrived, this was day 365.  There were plenty of times I thought it wouldn’t get here but it had.  It was gloomy out and a light rain was falling in the city, but it was time to run and weather couldn’t stop us.  We left the hotel and started to walk towards Central Park, Lizzie said to me ‘Are we going to walk or run?’  With that we starting running towards the Park.  We ran out and back and stopped to take a selfie, just as we had done 365 days ago.

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It felt good to complete the streak.  I’ve never done anything for 365 days straight before, at least nothing that required me to go out of my way to do it.  In total I estimate during that time I ran approximately 1355 miles, with lots of them coming during marathon training.  I’m glad I completed the streak, but as Lizzie pointed out to me a year is an arbitrary number, so very true.  Why not make it two years?  I’m not, but what made me choose a year?  I suppose I thought it would be a good measure of time and give me something to do everyday.  Some people have said it was inspiring, I didn’t do it to inspire anyone but I’m glad I did.  I do hope that I have motivated someone, somewhere to run, or embrace a healthier lifestyle.  In the last few weeks of the streak I began looking forward to stopping and resting my legs.  I thought about some things when it comes to a streak and keeping it going.  One person who inspired me and has a streak she doesn’t keep track of (at least I don’t think she does, anymore) is my Mom.  Twenty years ago she gave up smoking, I still remember the day she quit.  We were at the park fishing and it started raining, my Mom, Dad, and I started running for the car.  Before we made it we stopped at a pavilion to catch our breath and that is when my Mom quit smoking.  She took out her cigarettes and threw them in the trashcan.  She was pretty winded and finally realized smoking was destroying her lungs and her health.  She hasn’t smoked since.  I’m really glad she quit that day.  I know my Mom is going to read this so ‘Keep up the streak Mom, you’ve got 19 years on me!’

Not the actual trash can
Not the actual trash can

Looking back on the streak it was challenging at times, but helped me stay on track and maintain a balance in my life.  I am sure I will write more about what the streak has meant to me in the future, when I’m ready to share some things.  In the meantime I am looking forward to letting my legs rest.  If you are wondering did I stop, no, I ran on Day 366.  It is Tuesday evening about 2145 hrs; as I begin to write my blog for Thinking Out Loud it feels odd that I haven’t ran today.  As I showered tonight I actually thought about running after getting out of the shower, and I’m thinking about running now, but it is late and I am much to tired.  Just a few days ago that wouldn’t have stopped me, but today is finally a rest day!

2014, yikes!
2014, yikes I had gained way to much weight!

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I’m not going to stop running or training, I decided to try and break 4 hours in the marathon again!  I’m running the Outer Banks Marathon on November 8th.  Between now and then I will be training, but with a few more rest days.

Stay tuned!

Have you added a race to your season?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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–Running 3:16–

Day #…

…361.

 

After the marathon I was exhausted, but already started thinking about the next marathon.  After finishing a marathon I’ve never started thinking about which one I wanted to run next, almost immediately!  Perhaps it was because I was so close to my goal and I knew what I did wrong in the race to keep me from reaching it.  (Read about it here!)

PR Bell Sign

I left the marathon went home and watched the recap on television and hobbled around most of the day.  Hurting more than my legs were my arm pits, they were rubbed raw by the arm warmers I was wearing.  That night we had a post-marathon party at my house and some of my run friends were able to make it.  Sarah and I could both celebrate that our race season was over and we finished with PR’s!

Running done! Party Time!
Running done! Party Time!
When I woke up the next morning I was starving, but to my surprise able to walk without much pain, just some general soreness.  I’m not sure if this is because I stood out in cold for so long after the race that it helped with the swelling or my training paid off; perhaps a combination of both!

About mid-day I decided to attempt  to keep my run streak alive!  I ran a mile and felt pretty good!

I’ve ran everyday since the marathon and Wednesday was day #361 of the run streak.  Four days to go until 1 year.  I will have a lot more to say about my run streak once it is over.  I never thought I would make it this far into the streak when I started, I wasn’t even sure I could run 3 days in a row.

This weekend a friend and I are going to New York City for the weekend, that is where I began my streak and I thought it would be a good place to finish it.  Sunday in Central Park a year of running will come to an end, but it has been a great year that has really helped me focus on not only running but other things as well.  I look forward to sharing some of those stories in future Thinking Out Loud updates!

On a completely separate note a few weeks ago I was selected as a Shower Pill Ambassador!

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If you haven’t had tried these out before they are great for post-run when you don’t have an option to take a shower.  They even work great if you just want a mid-day wake up and refresh.  They are athletic wipes you can use to combat, sweat, stink, and the salt build up if you have been going really hard!

The sweat life or the salt life?
The sweat life or the salt life?
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Use my code for a discount!

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What is your must have gear for a race?  How was your race season?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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4 Months in under…

I now look forward to Thursdays and Thinking Out Loud, even if I don’t get to post every Thursday!

For those of you who are regular readers of the blog you may have noticed I haven’t posted any training updates for the Baltimore Marathon.  Not to worry, I completed Week 16 and 17 of the training plan, the run streak is alive, and I am ‘enjoying’ taper week.  The Baltimore Marathon is Saturday.

 

Hill repeats with November Project
 
I’ve been running for 354 days straight and training for the marathon for the last 4 months according to the Hal Higdon Training plan.  That training culminates on Saturday.  The last few months I’ve had many nights were I’ve lost some sleep thinking about the marathon and if I will be able to complete it in…under 4 hours.  

 

Final 8 Mile Run, with a fast 5k to finish!
 
I feel prepared!  I’ve never trained harder for a marathon!  Now it is time to hydrate, carbo-load, and run!

 

Trying to keep my feet rested while standing at work!
 
I will have much more to say about the marathon on Saturday, so check back!  Not a very exciting blog post this week.

4 Months, in under 4 hours

  

Is your race season over, how was it?

-Veggie Fueled Runner