Friday, March 22, 2013

I Swear by Yoga!!

I have run over 130 miles since January 1st!! This is a number that I am very proud of, because I really didn't know if I was going to be able to climb back up the mileage ladder, but I did it, and while some people (mostly those who like math) would say that is only 11 miles a week, I am proud to say that it IS 11 miles a week!! When you are climbing back from injury, or starting over from scratch or just starting new, each and every mile is HUGE!!

I have been challenging myself to run at least 10% more each week, and while I have been doing fairly well maintaining that goal, I am not at the point where I am pushing myself really hard. I am too afraid to go too fast, too soon. I am happy to just be running and putting in pain-free miles each week!!

As I have said in a previous post, I do base a lot of my success on my new found love for Yoga!! I have to admit that the first time I gave Yoga the praise, I wasn't sure if it was granted. I have, of course, been working really hard on my running, and getting into a good training schedule, so, I couldn't be 100% sure that it was definitely Yoga that was keeping me from feeling the pain I had when previously running.

After having to take last week off of my Yoga routine, due to a conference for work, I now know 100% that Yoga is the reason I am feeling so good!!

Before going to my conference, I was attending Yoga classes 4-5 times a week. Last week, I was able to go to class only on Monday, and did not get back to Yoga until yesterday (a full week without Yoga!). At first, I didn't think anything about it, I felt fine, but I was also not running (its hard to keep a training schedule while having a blast at a Link Crew Conference!). By Thursday I was in pain, my back and neck hurt and felt stiff, and my hip was screaming at me!!

I ran a 7k race on Saturday, and it went fairly well, but in the back of my mind, I wondered how much better it would have went if I had been practicing Yoga all week.

Ever since I have been doing Yoga, I have been able to run faster, averaging 7mph on my runs!! This is  a HUGE improvement from my beginning days!! Even at my peak performance before my injury, I was not hitting 7mph!! I was averaging more like 5.7mph or 5.8mph.

Getting back into Yoga this week has made me feel so much better!! I am going to have to figure out some way to do Yoga when I am on the road.... I have a few trips planned in the near future!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Get Lucky!!

Winter is never ending this year!! We have had a little bit of snow each night this week, and the temps are in the low 20's and teens! I am so sick of winter!! Last year at this time, we had a few days in the 80's!!

Yesterday, I ran a very chilly race in honor of Saint Patrick's Day: The Team Ortho Get Lucky 7k!!  This was my second time running this particular race, and boy was there a big difference from last year!!  Read last year's race re-cap!

First off, I spent most of the week in Minneapolis for a Link Crew conference. I absolutely LOVE these conferences, as they are very interactive, thought provoking and active!! During the conference, I was hopping to put in a few good runs, but that didn't happen. One night of the conference, I did get a good hour of playing dodgeball in, so I guess that evens things out!! (Don't you all wish you went to conferences, where you played dodgeball?!!)

On Friday, I switched hotels, and Ryan headed up to Minneapolis to meet me. Since he has been working crazy hours, it was nice to get some time to just relax with him! We ate a late dinner, laid out our race clothes (rocked my Team Sparkle Skirt!) and went right to sleep!

Team Sparkle! and my Link Crew Vest!
Not knowing what Mother Nature would bring us, we set the alarm clock for 6am!!! Again, there was a dusting of snow (and ice -- as we found out later!!), but we had plenty of time to get dressed, grab breakfast and head downtown MSP to find a parking spot!!

7,000 people were registered to run this race! We knew it would be wise to get there early before the parking ramps filled up. And it paid off, as we got a prime parking spot, about a block away from the start of the race.

It was FREEZING!!! A very windy 20 degrees! Standing at the starting line, we shivered, while we waited to start running! Before the starting gun even went off, my toes were freezing!! Once we were able to cross the start line, I took off! I was just so excited to get moving, and out into the sun!!

Toes are frozen solid
In all of my excitement, I lost Ryan!! I don't think we even ran a minute of this race together!? I hoped that he was having a good race, as I was all smiles and loving every minute! I am so happy that it turned out to be sunny (still cold, but the sun helps!).
Freezing Start!!

This race takes runners through the old Milling district of downtown Minneapolis and across the Mississippi two different times. The course was pretty decent, but at times very icy (I walked to avoid falling!!). At one point, the course takes runners though a few cobblestone streets, which are killers on my legs!!

This was not necessarily a fast race for me, but it felt quick!! The course was beautiful, and the sun was so energizing! I know I started out too fast, and that slowed me down towards the end of the race, but before I knew it, I was "walking" across the finish line. YES!! WALKING!!

20 degrees and a sunburn?
I do not know what the issue was at the finish line, but I was in a full sprint to it when I noticed that the people in front of me were not moving!!! The race announcer was YELLING for people to keep moving once they crossed the finish line..... but it was a standstill!! I couldn't move, and pretty much shuffled with hundreds of other people across the finish line. It was a very anti-climatic ending to a great feeling race!!

Heading back to the car
After crossing the finish line, it took me about 8 minutes to make it through the chute and collect my medal. Ryan had crossed the finish line just a few minutes behind me..... I am so proud of him for finishing so quickly, and without much training!!! He said he could see me at the water stop about 1/2 through the race, but he wasn't able to catch up to me. I am going to have to train much harder for the next race....I am afraid he is going to start beating me!!! :)

Overall, it was a great race! A very cold start and an awful finish, but a really fun time!! I love that everyone dresses up!! When you are running it is just a sea of green!

After waiting to collect our medals, we were freezing again, and headed right back to the car. We had requested a late check out at the hotel and were very happy to take warm showers, and change out of our running clothes before grabbing some lunch and heading home!!

We are supposed to get a huge snowstorm again tonight..... I am really hoping we get a heatwave soon!!

Did anyone else race this weekend? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dreaming of Disney!

I have loved reading everyone's Princess 1/2 re-caps over the past few weeks! They are so inspiring and remind me of why I love running: for the pure joy and fun of it!!

I have been so inspired by all of your race re-caps, but I have to admit that at times I have been more than a little jealous!! The race re-caps have truly brought back so much excitement, and given me nothing but motivation to step up my training (in a safe way!!) and make another Run Disney experience happen for me again in 2014!!

The very first time I ever heard about Run Disney was on December 31, 2010. I was a very, very new runner, with just a couple of months of running experience under my belt and no race experience.

I can remember this date very accurately, because discovering Run Disney was a day that changed the rest of my life!

While I had been motivated to start running by watching my boyfriend's dad run the very first Mankato Marathon, and made it very clear that I was just running for fitness, and that never in my life would I want to, or would I ever run a marathon or 1/2 marathon!! I had no plans other than to just run a few miles a few days each week.

Flipping through my very first Runner's World magazine, I stumbled upon an advertisement for the Princess 1/2 Marathon. I was in awe!! The very first thought I had was "I have to do this!!" and thus my life was changed....forever!!

I jumped on the internet and started doing research! I found great blogs about the race, and as I scanned the Run Disney site, I found myself completely committing to the race!! I was going to run a 1/2 marathon! Was I crazy?

I called my sister right away to see if she was up for the challenge, and she said she was in!! The ball was rolling, and I was overly excited! I also got my cousin, Missy, to commit to the trip (and running the Royal Family 5k).

Long story short, my sister decided to bail on us, and so after over a year of planning, multiple races (including actually running the Mankato 1/2 Marathon, just one year after I said I would never run it) I ran my dream race at Disney World!!

Mankato 1/2 Marathon Finisher
Even though I ran the races (I ran the 5k with my cousin!) doped up on steroids due to a hip/lower back injury, and finished almost an hour slower than I did during my first 1/2, I was very happy to accomplish something so big, and accomplish a year-long goal! Here is my race-recap:

Royal Family 5k
Through the journey, I met so many amazing people and received amazing motivation along the way!! Reading all of the Facebook and blog posts got me through the long training miles, and motivated me to continue running through the Minnesota winter (which is awfully hard to train in!!).

I feel like I have come full circle now, I am back to where I started. I completely quite running after the Princess 1/2 due to my hip and lower back. I was depressed, and upset with myself that I allowed myself to be injured! And I was madder than hell, because I knew there was no way I would be able to run the Princess in '13 (if ever again!!).

I continued searching out Run Disney blog posts, and sending motivation to those of you on Facebook, who ran in '13.

Princess 1/2 Marathon
I started running again in September, and have been very slowly adding miles to my (now very strict) training program. Returning to running was hard, and so frustrating. I admit there were days that it was just easier to give up than to struggle running a route I had run so easily just a year before. I didn't give up, and I re-committed to just taking it slow, and building my strength back up. I like to count the miles, but I am much more focused on form than speed. I know speed will come, someday! Now, I am focused on being healthy and keeping my hips and lower back stretched out and limber.

 I am up to 6 miles for my long runs now, which may not seem like much to some of you, but I am very proud to be back there. It is a BIG accomplishment for me, and I am very proud of myself for continuing, even when I only wanted to quit.

Running is not easy, it has never been easy for me, but it was "easier" at one time. It has been so difficult to not get angry with myself. I remember when running 6-miles was a short run, but now it is long and difficult! It is so hard to re-enter this sport, our minds play so many tricks on us!!

I fought myself, and I feel like I won!! I am now on-board to complete the Princess 1/2 Marathon in 2014, and to again run my hometown Mankato 1/2 Marathon in October.

I am dreaming of returning to the Princess 1/2 course and showing it how brave I have been and how far I have come since we last saw each other!!

I am looking forward to meeting up with all the amazing people I have met online!

I am also dreaming of getting my Coast-to-Coast medal by not only running the Princess but also the Tinkerbell!

I am back! And I am so excited to be here!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow Day Run Pictures

These are the pictures from my snow day run! Posting from my iPhone so the posts got split!!

Snow Day!

Yesterday was a day that all teachers dream about around this time of year it was a Snow Day! And it truly was as exciting as it sounds, or so I guess, because I just could not go back to sleep after receiving the text that I did not have to work! 

We had received almost 11 inches of snow overnight, and about 5 inches the night before that. This is the most snow that we have received in two years! I could have snuggled back into bed and taken advantage of some extra sleep, but no, the first thing that popped into my mind was: "How am I going to get my run in today!!"

I have always been a pretty fair-weather runner, I don't like to run outside when it is too hot or too cold, or too windy, or rainy, or humid! I have even been know to not run because there are too many clouds in the sky!! So, yeah, I am a very fair-weather runner!! 

My favorite weather to run in is about 65 degrees and bright sun, a cool breeze, but not windy! If I would actually only run when the weather is like this, I would probably only spend about 2 or 3 days a year running outside!!

Lately, I have just hated running on the treadmill! Up until about 3 weeks ago, I have not really minded running on the treadmill, but lately I cannot motivate myself to do it, I would rather run outside!! Our YMCA is going through some renovations which make using the facility pretty difficult, and it is always so crowded, that somedays I have to wait to even get on a treadmill. 

I have braved the cold weather for two races this year already, and survived! I have been running outside for the past three weeks, and so I was not going to make an exception for a snow day!! 

I was nervous, however, about the conditions of the sidewalks and roads, I knew the trail I normally run on would be snow-covered and I have a huge fear of falling while running (I do not need to injure myself!). So, I decided to head to the one place where I know the sidewalks would be clear of snow: the campus of Minnesota State University - Mankato!!

While the sidewalks were very clean, there was some student traffic (as they still had school!), but overall it was a nice safe place to run! I ended up getting in 4.75 miles before calling it a day! It was cold, snowy and windy, but I made it and feel more confident about running in not-so-perfect weather!

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Blog has Moved!

Hey anyone and everyone out there! Is anybody out there???!!?!

Right now, I do not have very many followers  any followers! (That is my goal for the next few weeks, and I am hoping to gain a few followers!) But to any of you who stumble upon this, I have had to move my original Running Wild blog due to some issues with an update that was made with my account. Grrr.

While this is very frustrating, it is not a huge deal. You can still access my old blog posts at

I hope you do access my old blog, as it has many race re-caps and follows my journey from a very new runner to running my first two 1/2 marathons!

Also, if there is anyone out there that can help me transfer my old blog to my new blog, I will gladly take any advice!!


The Kindness of a Stranger

I have been making a real headway in my comeback to running. In the last four weeks, the weather has allowed me to run outside, and I have put in four 6+ mile runs outside. This has been a real step forward for me, as just months ago, I was struggling with 1.5 miles. It is very nice to be able to run pain-free again!

I give a lot of credit for my success to two very different things. First off, Ryan, has been such a positive supporter, and has really cheered me on during my training. He has been a real trooper, occasionally running with me and signing up for races, even when he is not much a of a runner. His motivation and encouragement has meant the world to me!

The second thing that has help me, is Yoga. Now, I have to say that I have never really been a fan of Yoga, it had always felt like too much for my wrists, and I just couldn't get into it, but recently I have found my inner Yogi and have really enjoyed and even look forward to going to classes. I have been trying to get to Yoga class 3 times a week. I have been doing Yoga for Strength twice a week and then a Basic Happy Hour class on Fridays. It has done wonders for my hips, lower back and hamstrings!! I am so happy with the results and have had some really amazing runs after getting all stretched out. I also feel like I am getting stronger, and my arms are toning up a bit. Overall, I am very happy with the results and really enjoy the classes, and the quiet time! 

I am trying to balance my running and my yoga. So I have been going to Yoga on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It has been working pretty good. 

Ryan became interested in my Yoga practice, as he has seen be become stronger, and he has heard less complaining from me in the way of aches and pains I usually have from running. He thought he would try it out, so last week we started a Beginners Yoga Series, which is a special course for couples and it was buy-one-get-one-free!! Ryan has enjoyed it so far, however, this week was hard because he is putting in so many hours at work and is just really worn down. I don't know how he manages during this time of the year!! 

So, for the past two weeks, I have "gotten my Yoga on" two times on Fridays, with a 30 minutes run in-between! Wow!! 

Today, I went to a Saturday morning drop-in Yoga class to get stretched out before my long-run. It was great, because I did not sleep very well last night and I was very sore and tight.

After Yoga, I went and had a quiet relaxing breakfast and well deserved vanilla-bean latte at one of my favorite coffee houses River Rock! If you are in the area, seriously check them out! Everything they make is outstanding!!

During breakfast, I was on Facebook and read about Erin Williams aka For the Love of Disney Running, and her plans for a @rundisney Run Fest! It sounds like a lot of fun!! I just need to see if my finances can handle another trip to Disney! I am really hoping to run the Tinkerbell 1/2 in California and then the Princess 1/2 in Disney World next year!  And as everyone knows, when I travel, I like to do so in it tends to be on the expensive side of things!! Lol!

Anyway, after breakfast, I headed out for a run. It was a beautiful sunny day here in MN, looking out the window it could be 40 degrees or better. When I started my run, however, it was 12 degrees and warmed only slightly to 15 degrees by the end of my 6.5 miles. 

Three miles into my run today, I completely broke down in tears, and I mean I had to stop running because I was sobbing!! Here's the story:

I was 3 miles in and just turning a corner to head up a long hill. In the car coming towards me there was a older man with his wife driving. He rolled down the window and gave me 2 thumbs-up and yelled "way to go!" I smiled and waved back, about ten steps later I broke down. It's been so hard to get back into running and this small gesture from a total stranger was so touching!!! It took me quite awhile to recover from this, and even as I started running again, the kindness hit me and I cried again! Luckily for me, I was red-faced already and sweating, so it was hard to tell I was crying!! This sweet man's gesture gave me the strength to finish my 6.5 miles, with a smile on my face (once I stopped crying like a freaking baby!!)

Have you ever cried during a run?