Friday, August 26, 2016

Meeting My Biggest Challenge

In the beginning of this year I sat down and started to put together what my running goals would be for 2016. I needed a bigger challenge, something that would push me to new limits. I had decided that I would commit to doing my first 30K. With 9 Half Marathons in two years I figured it was time to stretch the distance. This sounded great in the beginning of the year. I ran a Half in April, May and June. Since then I have been consistently running four to five days a week yet my long runs are not as long as I would want them to be. Between the summer heat, blazing sun and ridiculous humidity Vermont received this summer, it challenged my distance running. I was beginning to wonder what would come of my big goal for 2016.

I decided last Friday that the first thing I needed to do was officially register for this race. If I registered I would be sure to follow through. Honestly I wasn't too worried about backing out. If I set my mind to something I am pretty good about committing and reaching that goal. I enjoy a challenge as well as know that hard moments of training only make me a better runner. This meant that with the race on September 17th I needed to get my ass in gear and start throwing in some longer runs.

Sunday I set out to do a minimum of 13. My heart really wanted 15 but I wasn't going to push myself if I wasn't feeling well. I knew my biggest challenge would be slowing my pace down and focus on my endurance. The bottom line of this 30K is to finish it, not to worry about speed. Anywhere between 8/8:15 minute mile is where I am most comfortable once I get in a groove on my regular runs. During a race I like to push and try to keep myself around 7:30 MM. I figured a safe place to complete 18.6 miles would be somewhere between 8:20/8:30 minute mile.

I started out nice and slow. I held my pace around 8:40 for the first three miles. The route I was taken would throw me some nice hills and I needed to be sure I was saving my energy for all the right places. Around mile 7 (this always seems to be my sweet spot) I had fallen into a nice pace of 8:20-ish. Sometimes a little faster and some miles definitely slower. I was feeling pretty good and happy to have my Camelback to keep me hydrated and fueled. Coming up on mile 11 I hit my last big hill and I knew if I could just get through that hitting fifteen would be attainable. 13 came and went, 15 snuck up on me and this is when I decided I would go for 16. Happy to see 16, I realize that I still was about a mile out from my destination so why not try to hit 17. The most I had previously run was 16 and that was last year. With determination, lots of sweat, my GU's and Vfuel I made it to 17 miles!

I was elated to have had such a great run. I finished feeling good and definitely was basking in a runner's high. I am still nervous about the 30K and know I need to get a couple more long runs in. I don't intend to try to hit 18.6 until that day. If I can get in a couple more13 to 15 milers in I will be happy. I want to save that mileage for the finish line the day of my race.

Okay friends, enough about me. Let's talk about socks! As a runner it is important for me to wear good running socks. I need to do my best to protect my poor, ugly running feet the best I can. It is inevitable that I get blisters from time to time and the heels of my feet are hard and splitting. Sexy right?! Hey, so far I have all my toenails and in my book that is pretty good. I do have to cover them up with polish since they too are not the prettiest but that's OK! I was asked to try SLS3's new running performance sock. No twisting my arm here!

Here is a little about the sock:

* Cushioning at the heel and toes for impact protection

* Mesh ventilation panels, moisture wicking, and arch support to ensure comfort

*  A "Y" heel gore and heel tab to prevent slipping

* Made in fun bright colors!!!

I have taken mine out for a few runs a do like them. I find them comfortable and my feet do not sweat in these. I even wore them on my long run and came back blister free. I like that it comes up high in the back to prevent from rubbing and blisters.

My only complaint is that I think I would go a size up next time. I had ordered a small but after a couple washes they seemed to shrink a little. Nothing crazy though and I am still using them.

If you want to try them out head over to Amazon and use code DKJIJERK  for $5.00 off a three pack!

Other Posts:
When Fear Gets In The Way
Running On Memories
The A,B,C's Of A Runner

Disclaimer: I was given a pair of SlS3 socks in trade of a honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. As always, all opinions are proudly my own.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When Fear Gets In The Way

One of my favorite things about running is my time alone. In the summer many of my runs are done as the sun is rising and morning mist meets the grass. I love the way the sunlight reflects off of it, tiny beads of water that shine like lights. The early morning sky displaying colors of pinks and reds painting the sky with it's beauty. I love the stillness in the air; the only sound is my feet on the pavement and the sound of my breath. I have said it before, the road is my church.

What happens when fear gets in the way of those runs? When it starts to scare you before you even get out there; fear that you are not safe. I practice safety on all my runs. If it is early I am sure to run main roads or neighborhoods I am familiar with. I carry mace with me in my running belt along with my phone. I am a strong woman yet that does not mean I am safe. None of it does. You can practice safety each and every day, on every run. Evil is out there and sadly none of us are ever truly safe

I had just finished a eight and a half mile run on Saturday morning. I was just around the corner from my house. I was so close! I had a great run this morning. I had set out to do five but found myself farther out than I had planned. I would be heading with my family to Rhode Island for the night for my bestie and her hubby's epic summer party they throw every year. I was in a wonderful mood and feeling happy. A gold car drove by soon after I finished my run. I couldn't tell you what make or model it was, but I am sure I could point it out again if I saw it. The car beeped and waved. I thought it was someone I may know in town and without hesitation I waved back. I didn't think much of it in the moment, I am a friendly person and returning a hello is important to me. (BTW, I hate when other runners don't say HI! Big pet peeve!

I was a few hundred yards away from where I needed to turn to get to my street when the car had turned around and was waiting at the intersection. Right away I felt nervous. Something didn't feel right to me and I can usually trust my gut. The man who was around my age, maybe a little younger, called out asking if I was Tanya. I replied no to which he creepily responded : "That's too bad." WTF! What did that even mean. I continued to walk which was only bringing me closer to the car. There was no traffic. No other walkers or runners. I felt so far from my house even though it was just around the corner. He then asked me how my run was. He started babbling about what a nice morning it was. I am not sure I heard everything he was saying. I was nervous. I didn't trust him. I did have my phone in my hand and was trying to figure out in my head what I would do if he got out of his car. It felt like ten minutes when in reality it was probably more like two or three minutes. Then he decided to drive off. He was gone and I was safe.

Who knows if this person had any intent. I hate to think that every person out there is bad, but reality is I need to be cautious, we all need to be cautious. I wish we lived in a world where there was more trust yet sadly we don't. The recent tragedies of fellow runners Alexandra Nicolette Bruger, Karina Vetrano, and Vanessa Marcotte hit close to home. All three were amazing women with so much ahead of them. Strong, independent and aspiring women who were taken from their loved ones. That could be any one of us out there running. Those women are more than just names that flash across the screen. They left their houses that day to embrace their time on the road. The one place they most likely felt at home was taken from them. They were taken from their family, their friends and from the running community. My heart aches for their families and the pain they have endured over the way these women lost their lives so unfairly.

Yes, their tragedies have put fear into me. As women runners I believe we are more of a target than male runners. Sadly, no matter how strong or fierce of the woman, evil itself is a strong force. As a woman runner I will not let this stop me from running, yet I will be sure that I do what I can to keep myself safe. I will do my best to be mindful. And always, trust my gut.

A few things we should always practice: Always carry mace! Tell your loved ones where you are running. Switch up your routes when you run. Be sure to have a phone with you. Run in areas where you will always be seen

I vow not to let anyone ever take my passion of running away. I would like to think I will be one of those old ladies still doing 5K's when she is 80. Will I let fear get in the way? No, I will allow it to make me more cautious and practice safety. Fear will not take away what is important to me. Running is far more to me than just a way to stay in shape. It is where I find peace and solace. Running is where I can reflect and take the time to appreciate life and all it has given. The road is my safety blanket, the one place I can be and really connect with who I am. It is where I can give back to myself while being grateful that I am able to run. Nothing can take that away from me!

Other Posts:
Running On Memories
The A,B,C's Of A Runner

Get Social with me: Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter