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She Power Half (1:29.27)

She Power Half (1:29.27)

We were in Indianapolis for a wedding. I didn’t come to do the She Power Half Marathon, and when I found out about the race in downtown Indianapolis, it was sold out. I went to their facebook message boards and asked if anyone had a legal bib to transfer and a woman who couldn’t make it, did. So I legally got a bib. It was fun to find a bib to the She Power Indianapolis Race but if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and I wouldn’t have run.

There is a She Power Half Marathon + 5k, but I decided since I was there the Half Marathon seemed good. The 5k is an event that was put on just as well, but I thought a longer run and race would be better.

She Power Half Marathon Indianapolis me running

I wanted to do a race and would have been content running a 5k in the area. My ultimate goal was to run around marathon pace. 1:30 half marathons have felt like a struggle lately. If I could run a 1:30 half, I would be ecstatic. I hadn’t been to Indianapolis since I was a child and didn’t know anything about the race, course, or anything else. I did know the woman who transferred me the bib said the medals were “the best ever” and I can’t argue with that.

Anyway, I planned to use the She Power Half Marathon as a long run. I would just run, see how I felt and go from there.  The She Power Half Marathon is an event designed to empower women. It focuses on how good it feels to exercise, celebrates your strength, beauty, and determination. The She Power Half is for women of all ages and abilities-sorry guys, no men allowed.

I wasn’t stressed about the She Power Half Marathon, nor tapered. When I went outside in the morning and saw it was torrentially downpouring, I laughed. I have raced half marathons in the pouring rain, but this was pouring cats and dogs rain. In fact, you can see how hard it was raining in some of the photos.

This half had a couple of firsts for me.

The first time I ever ran a half marathon entirely alone and won.

The first time I ever ran through ankle-deep water during a half marathon.

I got my bib, made it to the start and by the time I knew it, we were off.

Immediately, I found myself alone in Beautiful Downtown Indianapolis. I stayed alone and ran the entire race alone. Luckily I had a police motorcycle ahead, so I didn’t get lost. I didn’t want a repeat of the Harrisburg half last month. I just focused on mile at a time.

I just had my watch on time setting. I was running by feel and nothing more. I hit the first mile in 6:51, and it felt fine. I was thinking to myself what a weird feeling it was to run a race out ahead and alone. I just had to keep running. Would someone catch me? Would I fall apart? Would I run the entire She Power Half Marathon alone?

The next mile didn’t have much excitement. I just kept running. The next few miles went off without any significant excitement. I ran between 6:45-6:51 pace.

She Power Half Marathon Indianapolis me running

I remembered someone saying we could go along a canal and as we went down into the canal, I was reminded of the San Antonio Riverwalk and how similar they are. I always wanted to do a race on that riverwalk, but when we lived in Texas, I never got around to it. The Riverwalk was desolate and peaceful, although there were a few geese around. I just kept running. I hit the 5-mile point in just over 34 minutes. It was only about a minute slower than my 5-mile race last week. 

I thought, hmm maybe I could keep the same pace as the 10ks I haven’t done well at recently. My average pace for the half was 6:49 while the 10ks have been around 6:51. Anyway, I continued running. By mile 7, I knew that for a woman to catch me, they would need to run around a minute faster per mile than I was running. I knew it could be done, and I wasn’t really in the mindset of “I’m winning a half.” I just kept running and focused on me. I just kept my determination one at a time.

Around mile 8, we went along another path. It became windier up top, and we were running into a headwind. No wonder I felt so good earlier, I had a tailwind. I kind of just told myself, “only 6 miles to go”. I felt as though I was running a hard workout and not an actual race. The motorcycle felt like my pacer, and I felt like I was in a one-person video game.

Mile 8 and 9 of the She Power Half Marathon were a blur. Miles were clicking off. Between mile 10-11, there was unavoidable course flooding. You ran through about ankle deep water. I laughed because beforehand many people had said: “swimming will pay off for you during the downpour.” I guess it did.

After running through the water, I felt my feet completely soaking wet. I was hoping for no blisters because I didn’t want to deal with that.

She Power Half Marathon Indianapolis me running

I ran a 7:01 next mile. The last few miles were into a headwind. I was starting to get relatively cold as the pouring rain along with the wind had chilled me.

I kept telling myself to make it to the next mile. Mile 11 gave me a boost of energy because I ran along with racers going the opposite direction. They were cheering “go,” and I was cheering “go” right back at them. It made the mile go by quickly, and by the time I knew it, it was mile 12.

I thought to myself: the longest mile. One more. You’ve come this far. I just ran. I wondered if I would see my husband at the finish. I told him he didn’t have to be there and might as well sleep. I just kept running. Around mile 12.5, you can see the finish line. I kept just trying to focus on the end. I’m not a self talker, but running for 90 minutes with nothing to focus on gave me a lot of opportunities.

She Power Half Marathon Indianapolis me running

This photo is funny to me because I ran under a low branch and go a leaf in my hair which stayed with me for most of the race

I crossed the finish line in 1:29.27, which is my fastest half marathon in a while. All race finishers got a flower presented by a guy in a suit which was fun.

She Power Half Marathon Indianapolis me running

I’m proud of my effort at the She Power Indianapolis Race and where I’m at with my training. I enjoyed the She Power Indianapolis and I will say, the woman who transferred the bib to me was right: they are the best medals I’ve seen. It’s so big; it makes me feel like Flava Flav walking around. All of the She Power Half Marathons are known for their medals.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. This weeks newsletter is my favorite and all about coaching and if it’s right for you!

Questions for you:

Have you ever run a race alone? Have you ever run a She Power Event? 

Have you run through water before? 

 

 

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Swimming for Runners

Swimming for Runners

If you have followed my blog since it’s birth in 2010, you may remember I was a swimmer. Not just a swimmer, but I swam competitively for college.  After college, I was done. Swimming is a hard sport and to improve at the college level, and you are usually in the pool anywhere between 2-4 hours a day. After college, I had no interest in staring at a black line.  I was burned out.  Swimming workouts are tough but swimming is great because it’s nonimpact.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I would ever reach a point that I WANTED to swim again. I’ve swam on and off in the last decade, but nothing competitive and usually not unless I was an injured runner. This is the first time I’ve realized…hey, swimming isn’t “too bad.”

I’m always thankful that I learned to swim at a very early age because it’s not as easy as an adult. I’ve taught swim lessons before and learning when you are older is much more difficult, although not impossible. I’ve taught the mommy and me kids classes, coached swim team, and once showed an 80-year-old woman how to swim.

So if you are a runner, or someone wanting to benefit from swimming…what should you do?

First Get the Right Equipment:

If you want to start pool running or swimming laps you need the right equipment. Like running, swimming isn’t expensive (minus the pool).

You need a swimsuit (make sure it doesn’t move when you swim), swim cap, and goggles.  There are a couple of pieces that are a bonus such as a kickboard or pull buoy.

The goggles I used almost exclusively through college are the Speedo Vanquisher. They aren’t designed for swimming in open water, but they are great the pool and minimally fog up. I used them for a decade and never had any issues.

Many people asked about swim caps.  Why use a swim cap?

Swim cap allows you to stay more streamlined as well as protects your hair. It might seem silly to wear, but it’s the swimmers’ norm to make swimming laps or even pool running a lot easier and keep your hair in better condition.

There are all different kinds. Latex is the cheapest and stays put on your head. If you use gel or hair product, this is usually the cap I recommend. Silicone is a lot more gentle on the hair and doesn’t rip hair out, but it will slide off and won’t stay put if you use hair product.

Pool Running:

Pool running is just how it sounds; you run but in the pool. There is more to it, though.  Pool running has a number of names from aqua jogging to deep water running. A simple google search yields dozens of pool running workouts. Unlike running on land, you don’t necessarily need a training plan.

Since your feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool, there is no impact. This means it’s a good option if you are injured with a stress fracture of stress injury. It’s easier to pick up if you haven’t spent much time in the pool.

The funny thing about pool running is that it doesn’t resemble actual running. Your running form doesn’t matter as much as long as you are running. The point of it is to get your heart rate up. Just always keep moving!

Pool running (versus swimming laps) is what is going to be most beneficial to runners. We don’t horizontal run (LOL if you get it), so while swimming laps might be more enjoyable, pool running is what will help actual running and build fitness and maintain fitness for running.

Use a pool belt when pool running. It will help with proper form. Without a pool belt, your focus changes from running form and jogging to treading and staying above the surface.

I like this video with Jeff Galloway. He teaches exactly how to pool run. You want to get a bigger range of motion than you would in land running and just keep moving.

Here are a few workouts.  Keep in mind, you will only benefit by putting the effort in, and no one can do that for you. You can half-ass pool running and float there, but you won’t get a workout in. You can text while on the elliptical, that is different than putting the effort in and getting your heart rate up.

30 Minute Workout:
5 minutes easy jog
10X 2 minutes alternating hard, easy. Focusing on getting your heart rate up.
5 minutes easy jog

Workout 2: 30ish minutes
5 minutes Easy
Cut the pool in half so you are jogging back and forth on the deep end side (or where you can’t touch the bottom)
10X one side. Sprint as hard as you can to one side, stop at the wall and jog back. Repeat 10X. I did this one time during college when I was injured (and slowly increased reps and it kept me in shape. Ultimately, I ran my fastest cross county time after being injured for 2 months).

The point is to get your heart rate up.

Swimming Laps:

As a “retired swimmer,” I am just more prone to want to swim laps. As I add swimming back into my routine, that’s all I’ve been doing right now.

When I swam competitively and ran competitively, I didn’t find (and still don’t) swimming shape to translate into running shape. You can swim as much as you want, but chances are it won’t translate into running your fastest times. Your overall fitness will be great, but the specific movements and cardio don’t translate.  You can also run as much as you want, but might not find yourself a great swimmer. This article about, Olympian Micheal Phelps, shows that the specific fitness might not always translate.

How do you Start Swimming Laps?

My biggest advice to anyone just getting started is to start small. You don’t have to swim 1000 meters to get a good workout. Swimming laps is going to work different muscle groups as well as build lung capacity. You might find when you return to running, breathing is much easier.

Like running, make it a goal to swim X meters, stop, regroup, and keep going. Most pools are usually 25 meters or 25 yards. Make it your goal to swim to the end, take a break, swim back, and repeat. Once you are more confident, you can say: swim to the other side, rest 30 seconds, repeat, and keep going.

Any swimmer will tell you, elite-level swimmers don’t just get in the pool for 2 hours and get out. It’s not like a long run. They do dozens of drills, sets, and intervals. In fact, realistically that’s what swim practices are. It’s almost like doing speed work for the entire practice.

In the 15 years of swimming, I had one practice where our coach told us just to get in and swim. Honestly, it was awful!

Swimming for Runners: a few workouts you can do:

Leg Recovery:
Need: Pull Buoy
Warmup: Swim 200 yards.
Set: 5X200 yard pulls with 2 minutes in between. Start off easy, and build to a faster pace.
Cooldown: 200 yards easy cooldown.
Total: 1400 yards

Kick Set:
Need: Kickboard
Warmup: 200 yards
Set: 4X25 yard kick. Using the kickboard, kick as hard as you can. Rest for 1 minute between.
50 Yards easy. Use this to flush out your legs, take your time.
4X25 yard kick: Kick as hard as you can. Rest for one minute in between.
50 Yards easy
4X25 yard kick. Alternate hard, easy, hard, easy. Take a minimal break as necessary, ideally working towards no break.
50 yards easy
50-yard kick as hard as you can. Take minimal breaks as needed, ideally working towards no break.
50 yards easy
2X25 yard kick. As hard as you have left. Take 1-minute break between but this should be all out, and your legs should burn.
Cooldown: 200 yards
Total: 1000

Swim Set:
Warmup: 200 yards
4×50 Freestyle. Your 5k effort. It should feel hard, but not like you are gassed out. Rest 2 minutes between each.
1X100 easy, “recovery.”
2×100 Freestyle. Moderate effort. This should feel like a half marathon, tough but controlled. Rest for 2 minutes between.
1×100 Easy, “recovery.”
4×25 Fast. Your hardest effort. This should feel like a mile sprint. Rest 1 minute between
1×100 Easy, recovery.
4×25 Fast. Your hardest effort. Rest 1 minute between.
Cooldown: 200 yards
Total: 1300

Just keep in mind, you have to do workouts that you enjoy. If swimming doesn’t click for you, that’s okay. I appreciate how enjoyable it’s been for me and a nice break from the outside world. You get lost in your own thoughts when you are submerged in the water for an hour.

Hopefully, you aren’t pool running because you are injured, but if you are, you can keep fitness up and build lung compacity by swimming and pool running.

 Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about rest days and cross-training.  In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have a question about swimming or pool running, ask!

Do you like getting in the pool? 

The Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners

The Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners

It may be hard to remember, but there are people in the world that don’t run!  It’s a weird concept, but it exists.

The life of runners and non-runners is drastically different. I can remember a time I didn’t run and can relate to all of these. Non-runners are cool people too, you know!  The differences between runners and non-runners can be drastic.

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

How Do Runners and Non-Runners Compare?

Runner vs. Non-Runner Budget:

Non-runners: Non-runners save money for a lot of different things: happy hour, the newest technology or even a great wardrobe. Look at those ultra-chic sunglasses…glamorous.  Whatever it is, they put away money to do the enjoyable “fun things.”

Runners: We save money for new shoes, new workout clothes, and of course races. Don’t forget saving for the latest GPS watch. The smaller the watch, the more money it is. Without these things, we can’t do what we love! Right?  Who runs without a GPS Watch? Barbarians, that’s who!  When we show up to brunch in an old ratty pair of running leggings…you know why!

Runner vs.Non-Runner Beauty Routine:

Non-runners: Non-runners know how to make their features look great. They might spend an hour preparing for the day and look flawless every single day. They have time to hit every last detail, all while looking through the best wrinkle cream reviews to boot. Each outfit is perfect.  Every makeup application is perfect.
Runners: Runners have mastered the ability to shower and put on makeup within 10 minutes. Did that runner just workout on the treadmill or are those fashionable leggings? The lines are blurred, and the world may never know…Good thing fashion has evolved into a lot more comfort.

Eating on the Go and Snacking:

Non-Runners: Non-runners can go hours without eating. Forget to pack a snack? That’s fine, they just hit up the vending machine and are ready to go. 
 Life doesn’t revolve around snacking and being rungry all of the time. If a meeting goes late, oh well!

Runners: Our non-running friends know us as the vending machine to go. We have more snacks in our bags than a vending machine. Are you craving an apple or a chocolate bar? We have both. Runners are never without snacks because you never know when the stomach will start talking. When Runger hits, you have approximately 5 minutes to get us to the nearest food supply, or you will see rage that you have never seen before.

Runner Vs. Non-Runner Week Days:

Non-Runners: Sleep until appropriate, wake up, get ready for work, and arrive to work on time. Spend work time doing work, get lunch, or relax, and eat packed lunch. Leave at the appropriate time, do an hour of exercise for overall health, or whatever, come home. Eat dinner, relax and go to bed.

Runners: Wake up at 4 am to get a run in. Shower, get ready for work, drink coffee in the shower, and get to work on time. When lunch hits, either tank a “runch” or running lunch,” or just gobble down lunch at the desk. Do more work, go home, get a second run in, or if you’re starving, eat, relax and go to bed.

Runner Vs. Non-Runner Weekends:

Non-Runners: After the work week is over, non-runners often catch up with friends by going out for happy hour or dinner. They have a few drinks, dance and let loose. Most of Saturday and Sunday is spent relaxing and catching up on other hobbies.

Runners: Runners look forward to the weekend too! It’s either race weekend or long run weekend! Either way, we are waking up earlier than a weekday. We spend Friday night cuddled up in PJs, watching a movie and in bed sleeping before 9.

Runner Vs. Non-Runner Weekend Brunches:

Non-Runners: Non-runners wake up anywhere between 8 and noon. After a well-rested sleep, they meet friends at a neighborhood breakfast spot. It doesn’t matter if it’s crowded because nonrunners are just waking up and going out to eat. They aren’t starving yet. Of course, our non-running friends look gorgeous and spent a few extra minutes getting ready for brunch. Heck, they might even fill up on mimosas beforehand! No wonder they are so happy waiting hours for a table!

Runners: On the weekend, runners wake up well before the weekday. We get our long runs in, and before we know it, it’s time to eat, and we are just trying to make it there on time. There is nothing more cringe-worthy than waiting for brunch after a long run. A messy bun, somewhat fashionable workout clothing and an old pair of sneakers are our signature brunch look.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

What is something you do that your “non-running” friends might not understand?

What are you some differences between runners and non-runners you’ve come across?

How to be an Instagram Runner

How to be an Instagram Runner
Step One: You have an Instagram.
Step Two (maybe?): You run.

In that order

In the last few years, social media has taken off. Before Instagram, there was blogging, and before blogging, there was myspace and Xanga. Who logged a workout on those?

Now social media is here to stay because who doesn’t want to take photos of themselves and promote their running. If there is anything I’ve learned, people love to talk about themselves (myself included).

So Now You’ve Thought: “Being an Instagram Runner is for me”…

First, keep in mind there is a difference between a runner on Instagram and Instagram runner.

how to be an instagram runner

Here are a Few Easy Techniques to Become an InstaRunner:

Step One: Create a (FREE) Instagram:

You need an Instagram account to be an Instagram runner. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to run. (Fake it until you make it!) You just need an Instagram.

Step Two: Run (Maybe):

Here is the thing about being an Instagram runner. You don’t actually have to run; you just need to say you did! I always advise honesty but don’t feel pressured to run just because you are an Instagram runner now. You never know with any runner on Instagram, but honesty is always the best policy. You don’t need to be an elite runner, but I do advice to run and race.

A Few Posts You Should Include in your Feed:

The Instagram Runner Watch Pose:

Stand with your watch on your wrist with your workout done. Snap photo to maybe include shoes. Decorate your wrist with pieces of jewelry to enhance the wrist. Bracelets, charms, whatever. Just add your own artistic flair.

Tips:

  • Try to find pretty grass to stand on. The bathroom or dirty floor is not desirable.
  • Clean your watch face.  It’s your watches time to shine!
  • If your workout did not go as planned and you would like to look faster, just end early. Want to look like you ran 13.1 miles in 62 minutes, just end early and log the 62 minutes. You could even write (in PaintShop) 13.1 on your watch for better authenticity.

The Instarunner Run Shot:

This can be the hardest to master, so don’t get discouraged. Some instarunners actually have professional photographers to follow them around every workout! Talk about glamorous. If you have a spouse or running coach, position them at the finish line to take instagram worthy photos.

Tips:

  • Buy a high-end camera. You have to pay to play! $800+!
  • Don’t choose a rainy day, that makes photos blurry. You don’t want to view that post on Instagram only for your shoes to be blurry.
  • Jog in place. That way you can get higher-quality instarunning photos.
  • If you don’t have at least one fight with your significant other about taking the shot, you are doing it wrong!
  • Use video mode and just grab a shot that way.

The Instagram Runner Motivational Shot:

Now, this is usually a recycled photo and that’s okay. Got a favorite picture of yourself from the 1980s with a big perm?  Perfect. The point of this photo is not the photo; it’s the caption.

Tips:

  • You should have a minimum caption length of 400 words. This is generally what is accepted to be “motivational.”
  • It should provide some sort of motivation. Hard to get out the door that day? Struggle from lack of sleep? Pants just don’t fit right? Struggle to balance everything? Did you get out there for 15 minutes of solid cross-training? Those are just some starters, but any old motivation will do. Remember, you are your biggest fan.

Instagram Runner Post-Run Selfie:

This can get confusing because you don’t need to run, just post a selfie saying you did.

Tips:

  • Make sure to download a photo app that allows you to make your skin as smooth as porcelain. Runners don’t sweat or have any lumps and bumps.
  • Just selfie. Work your best angle from myspace angle to straight forward. Do you have a signature pose? Mine’s winking!

The InstaRunner Flatlay:

Once you’ve found a few brands you like, this is your time to make them shine.  Before a race take a photo of every piece of gear, you plan to wear (don’t forget underwear!).  Arrange neatly so your fans can see your plan. They might want to track or recognize you on the course (thank your new found celebrity instagram runner status!).

Tips:

  • Include everything, even things you might think you would want but will never use. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this shot.
  • Make sure to find a beautiful backdrop. Don’t use the bathroom. Perhaps go to a fancy hotel with a 50,000 dollar rug. The hotel bought that rug for you to take the shot on!

These are just the basics to help you become what you’ve always dreamed, an Instagram runner!

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Question for you: What other Instagram Runner techniques do you use? Who is your favorite instarunner? 

 

 

How to Bounce Back from a Bad Race

How to Bounce Back from a Bad Race

The week before last I had a bad running race at the Phillies 5k. While yes, you can argue it was windy, my disappointing race wasn’t because of that.  Honestly, it wasn’t my day and these things happen.

While it stinks, I race so frequently there is no point to let one bad race ruin my day. When you’re an experienced runner you’ll learn that every race is a learning experience: the good and bad.  In fact, you’ll probably learn more from a frustrating race experience.

How to Bounce Back from a Bad Race

So How Can You Bounce Back from a Bad Race? 

Like the movie, Frozen, let it go…

Every athlete has both good days and bad days.

Find the Positives:

Every running race has a silver lining. When I  crossed the finish line at the Phillies 5k, the first thing I thought was: Wow I felt awful. Then I quickly remembered I’m injury-free.  The entire race was miserable, my mental spot was not great, but I finished healthy.

After cooling down, I caught up with one of my closest friends and still hung out. I saw many locals and chatted for a while. They asked how the race went, and I said: “awful it wasn’t my day for running, but it’s just running”.

Running isn’t my job; it’s a hobby.  If a hobby stresses you out or causes you misery, it’s time to find a new one. Sure, I won’t always “love running” but instead of dwelling on a bad race, look for the good.

It’s important to look at the silver line and positives of your running race:

Did you finish healthy and injury free?  Could you smile afterward and have a good day? 

Reflect so you can “Get Over” your Bad Running Race:

Immediately after the 5k, I chalked it up to being “a bad race”.

Now that I’ve sat back, reflected and recovered from a bad race, I know there are plenty of reasons the 5k was not a great race for me. You’ll never move on and get over your bad running race if you dwell on it.

My body was still tired from the weekend prior. I knew going into the race my body didn’t feel good. I haven’t eaten or slept well, and I’ve increased speed training and racing. Plus, I ran a half marathon the weekend prior. I’ve done it a dozen times, but I’ve always been more fit.

None are excuses but they all contribute to why my race didn’t go well.  Reflecting back and having a few answers is better than, “it just didn’t.”

It gives you ways and reasons to improve.  You can make adjustments to your training, nutrition, or sleep patterns.

With distance running, there is always another race. There are always more long runs. Marathon training is a long distance to cover and it’s important to also look back at training.

Most Importantly: Recover and Set New Goals:

After running a bad race, it’s important to take time to recover.  Even though the race didn’t go well, don’t go crazy. Take time to recover and relax.

Then set your sights on running a PR, new time goal, or maybe a new event altogether.  Maybe you need a change in training plans, training cycles or a new running coach.

Maybe a marathon burned you out…

Or maybe you want to run longer races…

Find something to get excited and refocused about! 

Remember there are many race days to come. For me personally, I have run many races over the next two months. While I’m not looking for magical redemption, I’m looking forward to chipping away my time and getting back into better fitness.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

How do you get over a bad race? Do you bounce back quickly? 

What has been your least enjoyable race?

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