Finding the right fit

Most fit issues posted about online involve finding the right running shoes. Easy peasy for me. One fit session at the store and my Brooks Ghosts and I haven’t had any problems. Oh no, of course, for me, it’s finding the right bra fit (which brings up super fun memories of adolescent bra searching). Much like my first pair of shoes, I kind of just stumbled onto my first bra. I was killing time in a store in DC and they had a sale on Moving Comfort bras. I picked one up and it sat in a drawer for a few months. It wasn’t until September of that year I realized what a gem of a bra I found. What I should have done was mass ordered them immediately. What I did was assume I could order more at any time.

Well, of course they discontinued it and I began the search for the next right bra. I thought I had found it with another moving comfort sports bra. The Esprit de She 10k was on me and I was trained and ready to go. I slapped on my would be awesome bra replacement and went to the start line. Three miles in, I felt great. Four miles in, I felt less great. By the end of the 6.2 (which I ran in an hour and seven minutes), I was hurting. I had expected the usual post-race aches and pains (especially when I didn’t stretch out afterward). What I was not expecting was the killer back pain from 6.2 miles of not enough support.

A week or so after the race, I tried a quick little two and a half miler job. I sure as hell wasn’t running in the 10k bra, and so I busted out the original moving comfort gem. Sadly, the bra was not working anymore. I sought out the advice of another busty runner and ordered the moving comfort fiona. It is super ugly, but should do the trick. I waited eagerly for it to come in the mail and kept telling myself how excited I would be to go running again– especially with the Westside 10k coming up.

Well, the bra finally arrived and I ripped open the box like it was Christmas. I put on some running clothes and then the ghosts of unsupported runs past showed up. So, instead of running, I sat on the couch and came up with lame excuses to avoid running for the rest of the week (especially today when I had to update by blog instead of running).

Now, I’m a month away from a crazy hilly 10k (that is sponsored by a brewery making it totally worth it) and a little gun shy to run. Go team.

Was the couch to 3.5 mi training a success?

Fuck yes it was…and I was one of the last five people to cross the finish line. And you know how it felt? Fucking awesome. I was the last member of my relay team to run (you know, because I was going to be the fastest…or because no one wanted to run after the temperature rose for the day). Our team consisted of two sick people, a girl who was up all night drinking (happy birthday to her), someone training for an iron man, and me: the slowest runner on the team. Despite the future iron man runner, our team was a bit of a mess. By the time I got the baton/slap bracelet from Aileen, there were roughly 6 or 7 other teams about to have their last person run and everyone else running had finished the race. I took the “slow and steady” approach in finished it just in under 45 minutes and only a handful of people (3 or 4) between my finish time and dead last.

A few days later, I came across this article discussing the shift in race times and increases in races that don’t even time runners. The gist of the article was that young runners are less competitive (because everyone got a trophy growing up), that races are becoming parades and not races, and that this will lead to the downfall of America (you know, because if you’re not a hyper competitive runner, you must be lazy and not care about anything). 

I found this article hugely offensive. Yes, I am one of those young people who think it is good enough to finish a race and I don’t focus on my time that much (and when I do, it’s out of curiosity). I don’t want to be mistaken for trying to represent everyone who was given a trophy at the end of every sporting season. I do not think I am the voice of my generation or a voice of any generation (Trophy for you if you get the Girls reference here– not everyone who reads this article).

Yeah, I check my times out of curiosity. Yeah, it doesn’t bother me if I finish fifth from last or dead last in a race — as long as I finish. I don’t run to be the best. I don’t run to win races. I run because it makes me mentally and physically a more healthy person (and tires out my trouble-making, shoe chewing dog). Finishing that race, as slow as I ran it, felt amazing. Fucking amazing. Every time I ran up a hill, I told myself at the top of the hill, I could decide if I wanted to walk, but that I would make it up that hill first. And you know, I didn’t walk at all. I wasn’t running a race against the other relay teams. My competitor was that voice in my head telling me I was the fat kid in gym and that I should stop and just take up an art or music class instead.

The fact that I’m not a competitive runner isn’t some statement about attitude or work ethic overall. I am obnoxiously competitive. One time on a date, I wouldn’t agree to stop playing this video game until I had beaten the guy. Naturally, he threw the next round, which I didn’t let fly. I needed to genuinely beat him and I wasn’t going to stop until I had. (In case you’re wondering, it was a pretty bad date.) I also felt the need to beat two of my favorite Louisiana people in a pass/fail trial. I kept every and all evidence out that I could — not because it was bad for my case, but solely because I could. Could I have written a shitty brief for my pass/fail appellate advocacy class? Sure! But why would I when I could get the high pass or even an excellent?! Joni folded Chinos the best at Banana Republic? Not for long!! Drew makes a good mac-n-cheese? Well, clearly we need a cook-off to see whose is better! 

I can go on forever.
The bottom-line is that I am fiercely competitive. I work my ass-off. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I have accepted that I am not the best at absolutely everything. Yeah, I’m a slow runner and I’m not concerned about winning the races I sign up for. Instead, I focus on the cause that the race is fundraising for and other things (you know, like pass the bar or finding a job in my field). I have a huge ego (as much as I hate to admit I’m flawed) and it’s a nice reminder when I’m the slowest person at run club that I’m not invincible or that I’m not as awesome I as I think I am. Sometimes, we all need a reality check and Tuesday nights, I get mine. 

Beyond that, waistlines are increasing, along with rates of diabetes. And why wouldn’t they be? Fast food is right around the corner and way more convenient than going to the grocery store.  One way to curb potentially curb this is to make races, running, and exercise more accessible. Even if the color run is more of a parade than a race, if that is what motivates someone put on some sneaks and give it a shot, what’s wrong with that? There are plenty of races that foster the competitive spirit, if that’s what you want, and require what I consider unachievable qualifying times. But fun runs that encourage people to get out there, even if they aren’t fast, aren’t a bad thing.

Twas the night before the race

And all through the loft, not a creature was stirring, because Zeph is running around in Augusta, I’m tired from work, and the roommates are all out.

So, the two week 3.5mi race training plan went about as well as expected: terrible. My last few runs have been a disaster. I ran with the Phiddippides Ladies Run Club on Tuesday and it was hilly, hot, and a mess– I was walking in no time. My morning run before work through midtown on Thursday WAS AWFUL.

My first week of starting over went really really well. I took that first run in Piedmont Park, and realized my beloved, original running shoes were way passed overdue. I said goodbye to my old friends and donated them (although I have no idea who would want them at this point). old shoes

I picked up some new kicks (after quite the selection process and a few laps around the store). On my first run, I was as fast as a cheetah (according to my broken GPS– I don’t really run this fast).

map

 

What happened the second week? I was running in much hillier areas, the temperatures were much higher, and my puppy/running buddy was (and sadly still is) in Augusta for some time to chase squirrels.

Zeph

 

So, how will I make it through this 3.5 race tomorrow? Naturally, through bribery. I told myself that if I ran the entire 3.5 miles without walking, then I get a pretty new bag that I have my eye on at work (and maybe a cute top, too). Fingers cross that training in crazy hilly areas compared to the course and bribery get me through this relay. I got my bag packed, my carpool meeting at 6:30am, and mimosas will be at the tent after the race. Pictures of race day to come!!

The two week couch to 5k program

So yeah, it’s been a while. Sometime in March, I donated a ton of hair to locks for love– which was awesome. However, it was so short that I couldn’t pull it back and the temperatures in BR where quickly rising (along with the humidity). So, like a fair-weather runner, I stopped for the summer and instead took exams, moved to Atlanta, and took the Georgia bar (super fun–right?). I have been cheering on my roommates and friends while they do things like run the Peachtree and train for marathons and half-marathons. They’ve even forgiven me for forgetting the OJ and champagne for post-Peachtree mimosas.

Sometime during the summer, while being blinded by the bar exam, I agreed to run a relay race where I thought we all had to run a 5k. The bar came and went and I attempted to enjoy unemployment (which I failed at) before finding a temp job and a retail job at Athleta. While selling (and buying) super cute athletic apparel at work, one of the managers asked if anyone was training for any races. I volunteered that I was running some relay in Piedmont in mid or late September. Turns out, the Run Around the Park is on September 8th and as of August 24, I had not run since March or April. And the cherry on top of this is that it’s not a 5k; each person in the relay has to run 3.5 miles– awesome.

So finally today, I braved the Atlanta heat, hills, and humidity and got my ass to the park to run. I figured since I have roughly two weeks until race day, that I could just start with the last two weeks of my couch to 5k app. I put on my cute new cranberry shorts (with a convenient pocket to hold my phone and keys) and ran two miles through Piedmont Park– complete with not one, but TWO HILLS. Yeah, they weren’t the biggest hills in Atlanta, or the even the park itself, but they were a hell of a lot bigger than any hill I’ve seen in BR. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it together and not embarrass myself too bad at this race.

Speaking of embarrassing ourselves, we need help coming up with a team name/costume for the race. Below are the ones that have been batted around a bit. Please feel free to name suggestions!!

Runs with Tissues

Between exams and the holidays, I have been a pretty terrible blogger. Just to quickly catch you up over the past month, I finished exams (which are still ungraded) and headed to Savannah for my baby sister’s graduation. While there, I conquered my fear of running with “real runners.” Usually in Baton Rouge, I only see one or two people running in the neighborhood. I avoid places were serious runners go, like the lakes or the rec center. However, while in Savannah, I ran in Forsyth Park where people run all the time. I was super self-conscious at first, but then I saw what other people running looked like, arms flying all over the place or leaning so far over it looked like the person was going to fall over. Soon, I was running with confidence though out the park and certainly didn’t look any dumber than anyone else there.

The next week was the big day: the 8k. Unfortunately, due to traveling so much, getting sick, and exams, there was no way in hell I could run all 5 miles of the race. My good friend Katie was in the same position and we ran/walked the race and still didn’t finish last in our age group!!

Seeing as there is also no way in hell I’m posting the race photos online, you instead get to see us in NOLA in September. Despite the free shirt, the free fleece blanket, and the bragging rights that I ran/walked the race, the best part by far was the free beer afterward (yes, at 10am).

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Preparing for and running the race would have been ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE without the playlist made by Tom Harang. Not only do I have awesome music to listen to while I run, I’ve also discovered my unknown love for house music in general. If I had stuck with what I was listening to before the playlist, I would have quit a long time ago.

Since the race, I’ve been a super slacker about running. Rather than running three times a week, it’s only once a week. Every time I get out there and it’s nice and cold, I tell myself I’ll run more often (and then never do). However, because it is so cold out in Augusta lately, my nose runs (gross, I know. It gets grosser so if you don’t want to know, stop reading now). Despite all the coaching by Hayne Caliva, and plenty of practice attempts, I cannot blow a snot rocket to save my life. Instead, I just carry a travel sized container of tissues with me on runs. I’m sure it’s totally embarrassing that I do this, but whatever, it works for me. I’ve embraced my need to run with kleenex and instead of being ashamed, I am admitting it. I run with tissues– but at least I’m out there running.

I hate the heat

Two posts in one day!! But after my attempted run this morning, I was feeling super inspired.

I fucking hate the heat. I am so sick of being hot. With the exception of Christmas break in Georgia, I have been uncomfortably warm every day for the past two and a half years. Mostly due to my ridiculous school and work schedule, I end up running at night (which was a happy coincidence that it cools off then). Today, I decided to run during the day, thinking that my race is going to be in the morning. My iPod lied to me and told me it was cooler than it was and i thought, I’ll be fine if I stay in the shade and wear a hat.

Zeph and I headed out. In the usual way, I hated it at first, found my pace, and was doing fine. Right after I finished a mile (which I ran in 11 and a half minutes) I realized that there wasn’t going to be any more shade. I kept going for what turned out to be another fifth of a mile before I was too hot and pissed off that I stopped and turned around and walked home.

As it turns out, I was halfway done, so I could have just ran back the way I came. I wasn’t thinking all that rationally though. On the walk back I calmed down and will try again tonight after it cools off a bit.

Now, I realize that me quitting because of the heat when it’s 70 something degrees out is ridiculous. But what’s more ridiculous is that IT’S NOVEMBER 10th and 70 something degrees out. I have been counting down the days for it to cool off here and it just won’t stay cool for some terrible reason.

Fact remains, short of not being in school, I hate summer. Yeah, at first, the beach is fun and if I had the whole summer at the beach, I may think different. But it’s hot. My summer clothing is not nearly as cute as my winter clothes, and I just can’t seem to cool off (especially the summer I spent in Baton Rouge). Fall and winter on the other hand, are so much more fun. Sweaters and jackets are so much cuter than shorts and tanks (and look better are a way larger range of people). The food is better as well. Who doesn’t want to drink teas and coffee all day and have soup and melty sandwiches? If you’re still cold, you can always add more layers or grab another tea or hot chocolate! You can only make yourself cool off so much. Personally, I tried to be patient with summer and the heat, but by NOVEMBER 10, I think it’s reasonable that it should be cooler now than it is.

I really want to lose three pounds

One year ago today, I very irresponsibly adopted Zephyr from the LA-SPCA in New Orleans. With roughly two weeks before exams, I adopted a heart worm positive dog that couldn’t stay at my apartment and had to crash on my very nice friends’ couch (Thanks again Josh and Justin).

Although she is very sweet to people, she is very much Regina George from Mean Girls with other dogs. At the park, she could care less about chasing a tennis ball until another dog gets it. Then, she will stop at nothing to steal it and run around with it until everyone chases her. When Zach and Anna were nice enough to let her say there at the last minute, she not only terrified their dog, Ramsey, but was dead set on stealing his toys. The vet merely confirmed this Regina George trend when she put Zeph on the scale and said that she really needed to lose three pounds. Which I assure you is top priority in my life–making sure my dog loses three pounds.

In the past year, she went from living in a shelter to crashing on a couch, to the very boring two months of heart worm treatment (this time from my couch).

Her return to the dog park after the 60 days of no fun.

To being a country dog in Georgia over the summer.

And back to Baton Rouge where we started running.

And taking a nap when we get home (because a tired puppy is a happy puppy who doesn’t chew on anything)

And most importantly, besides the top priority three pounds that must go immediately, the vet also told us that Zephyr is now heart worm free! Apparently, the LA-SPCA has only had one treatment where the dog tested positive after–but when they tested him a week later, he was negative. Zeph is now the 120-something dog to come back heart worm negative.