Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ice Cream + Burgers = Success

I dont need to tell you that today was a hot one. The past few weeks we've had some great running weather but today, came the heat. While I was running I saw a perfectly good ice cream still in the wrapper just melting away on the side walk. I am not going to lie, part of me really wanted to eat it (gross I know, but I love ice cream) part of me was pissed ( who would waste a perfectly good ice cream?) and part of me started thinking about how much faster I would run if I was behind an ice cream truck. As I ran, I visualized myself behind an ice cream truck and how glorious it would be to actually catch up to it and get some sweet treats. I know its mildly delusional but while your running in 90 degree heat you have to have some sort of inspiration, mine happens to be fatty dairy products.  When I turned the street corner, sweat was dripping down my face and there was a little league game that distracted me long enough to forget about the imaginary ice cream truck. Luckily, there were a few people grilling near by so I was able to breathe in deep enough to get a good BBQ high to keep me going for the rest of my run. Needless to say, tonight Hans and I made burgers. I guess you could say it was the run that inspired me. 

Getting ready to grill after a toasty run.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Break Open The Piggy Bank

Recently, I invited all of my close friends to join me in the Midnight Madness race to celebrate my birthday. My good friend Jackie mentioned that all these races must be costing me a lot of money. Its true that running can indeed be costly, with all the gadgets and new clothing you think you need. But aside from that is the costs that you pay to actually run in organized races. In my opinion, its worth it to pay to run because its a change of pace from running alone. Its also nice to run new trails and meet new people. Theres nothing better then waking up on a sunday and hitting up a race with my cousin or Hans. Its fun, it makes you feel accomplished and perhaps most importantly, the money almost always is going to a cause. For Instance, the 5 miler I did this past sunday was for THON and all proceeds from registration went to Penn State to help cure childhood cancer. In June, my family will be running the Gary Papa run for your life which is for prostate cancer. If you find a good cause, theres no better way to give back and have fun then running! In my limited experience, I would say most 5k races range from $15.00-$25.00. 10k races are about $25.00-$35.00 a half marathon will run you about $65.00-$75.00 and a full marathon is about $150.00. Before you think about all the money you are shelling out, think about the cause you are helping and the great shape you are getting in while logging all those miles! Run and help out a cause near and dear to you :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday, Muddy Sunday

Hans placed 3rd for his age group!

After the 5 miler

This does absolutely no justice to the amount of mud we ran through.

This morning I woke up crabby and in no mood to run 5 miles with obstacles along the way. But, I got ready and ate some waffles before heading over to Windlestrae Park. The race started off with all runners together for the first 2 miles. At mile 2 you got to decide if you wanted to run the 5k or the 5 miler. Hans and I previously decided to run on the 5 mile path. As soon as we got into the woods I felt my feet sinking into mud. I naturally started screaming and trying to shelter my white sneakers. That lasted for all of 2 seconds. Mud was splashing everywhere I was fighting to move and then it happened. I lost my shoe. It literally got stuck in the mud and I kept running. I went back for it and the photographer who was camped out near the mud pit thought it was hilarious. He snapped a bunch of pictures of the screaming girl trying to get her shoe out of a mud pit, back on her foot all the while balancing on her one good leg. After the mud things got better. Hans and I went through the other obstacles with no problem and made it to the finish. We were able to finish in under an hour which was great all things considered. With mud ridden shoes and wet socks we made it. I made Hans stay for the awards, since I always aim to win a door prize :) He was shocked when they called his name, he won 3rd place in his age group. He totally could have one 1st place, but he stayed with me to keep me company (and make sure I didn't cheat). Next time, he's going for 1st!  I will post the professional photos as soon as they are up! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Midnight Madness

Recently, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook about a race she wanted to do this summer. The race is apart of the 20 in 24 series. There are several races during the entire weekend of July 15th including distance runs for 24 straight hours and relays for teams to participate in. This particular race involves running 8.4 miles at midnight along Boathouse row and beyond in Philadelphia. All race participants are required to wear some sort of reflective gear, glow in the dark body paint or glow sticks. The loop is said to be well lit and there will be people patrolling the loop all night for any distance runners participating in the 24 hour run.This year the Midnight Madness race will allow 525 participants. I signed up and encouraged all my friends to do it too. I tried to guilt Becky and Amanda into signing up stating that it would be for my birthday, since the race is July 16th, just a few days after my actual birthday. I am fairly certain they will cave. Like a true champ Becky will be doing the mud run in Philly the next morning. Pro? I think so! Races that have a fun spin are always a good time. I cant wait to add midnight runner to my running repertoire. Check out the website below for more info.

Midnight Madness Race in Philadelphia 

Midnight Madness

Friday, May 20, 2011

Running > Sleep

This morning with a lot of convincing,  I woke up at 5am to squeeze in my run. I put on my neon yellow tank top and headband and hit the streets. When all was said and done, I made it home right before it started to pour. It was a nice change of pace running in the morning, but I am not so sure I will be able to swing it on a regular basis. The highlight clearly being the flock of geese almost attacking me for getting too close to their babies. I survived ( thank goodness). Until tomorrow...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rain Run With My Brother

Today the weather was less then desirable. Luckily, after the sky opened up and it poured for hours, it stopped long enough to get in a quick run. Today was special because I brought my brother along with me. He rode his bike while I ran, and together we maneuvered my 3.0 mile route around the neighborhood and local landmarks. It was nice to run outdoors, especially since I couldn't bear to run inside on the treadmill again. Surprisingly, we passed about four other runners while we were dodging puddles and mud spots. Seems like everyone was dying to get out there today. I still feel like I am easing back into running. When all was said and done, I was able to run an easy 2.50 miles but I was disappointed to see that my time was a little slower then it used to be. Tomorrow, I am going to try to mix it up and run before work, lets pray I can actually wake up in time to squeeze in 3 miles :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Searching For My Runners High, Hell I Will Even Take a Buzz

Runners High : feeling of euphoria that is experienced by some individuals engaged in strenuous running and that is held to be associated with a release of endorphins by the brain.

Since I started running, I've been hoping to experience my runners high. I have had great runs where I've felt like I was really in the zone, experiencing a jolt of energy, but nothing as momentous as a runners high. In recent years, there has been a lot of research regarding runners highs and if they truly exist. Some runners swear that there is indeed a runners high, and that they are addicted to the feeling they get when those endorphins are released. Others claim that they have experienced it perhaps only once, but it did occur. Scientifically, there is no evidence that it really exists proving that the runners high is legitimate. Even so, I still believe. Like all good things I believe in (unicorns, Tupac and leprechauns) its out there, I just need to find it. If you have experienced it, leave me a comment. I would love to hear about it. 

Below is a link from an interesting New York Times article discussing the scientific elements of the runners high.

Runners High Article New York TImes

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back On My Grind, Well Sort Of...

Today I met Amanda at the gym after work. While looking for Gorillas, we pumped some iron and then planned on running....indoors. Let me just tell you, running inside is definitely not for the weak of heart. It may be the most boring and horrifying thing one can do. There is no comparison to being outside with the breeze blowing and changing scenery. I am not going to beat myself up over the mile and half run I had today since it was my first day back on the running scene. Tomorrow is another day. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guess who's back?

Finally got the green light to run from the doctor today! Seems there was some sort of Patella issue. No big deal apparently, he said eventually the swelling should go down and that with the help of a super inconvenient brace, I have to wear all the time for a while, I am back on the road. I am so relieved. I cant wait to run tomorrow. Come rain, sleet, snow, or lightening, I will be out there, with my lame brace. If I could do a cartwheel I would be doing them all around town. I am celebrating tonight with some ice cream :) So excited. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

26.2 Miles of Blisters and Bliss

Since my knee has been bothering me, I cant run until I go back to the Dr. Monday. ( cant come soon enough) Yesterday, my new book came and I couldnt be more excited. If you cant run, reading about it is a close second. Instead of going stir crazy I thought I could learn more about my new love while icing the old knee. After researching Dean Karnazes, I became inspired and wanted to know more about this incredible runner. I learned that he wrote a book called Run! and I immediately bought it off of Amazon. Unlike the other marathon and running books I have in my library, this book isn't based on tips or training schedules, but a montage of Dean's personal running stories. He shares his love of running, and all of his benchmarks and personal triumphs. He recalls people he has encountered while running and those who helped him get where he is today. He also recalls his more interesting running stints, where he ran at night, ran naked and ran for days without a wink of sleep. If you are looking for a book to make you feel like you aren't the only runner who needs motivation after 3 miles, or that you aren't the only one with blisters and runners knee in the tri state area, this book is for you. A great read for anyone who knows what its like to run free and feel strong. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Laughing while benching

Today despite the knee, I went to the gym for some strength training and cross training action. My cousin met me there around 6. For some reason, I had left way too early and by the time she got there she decided it was nice out and she was just going to run outside. Walking to the parking lot, we chatted and shared some laughs about the meatheads that were working out earlier. On my drive home I began thinking about how lucky I am to have such a great group of supportive friends and family. At work, Becky is constantly keeping me sane and on my workout game. We chat about running routes and the excitement of telling everyone we pass (including children) that we are running a marathon. In the gym, my cousin is my soul sister. Always giving me inspiration and good laughs to get through the most horrifying workouts. At home, Hans and Kath are always asking me how the workouts are going and helping me stay positive when I have to rest my knee. Who could forget about my best friends (Heather, Luisa, Sara and Jackie) who are constantly checking my blog and supporting my races and new found love for running. The point is, sometimes its nice to just have someone who you can depend on to work out with. Or just someone who supports you in your efforts to accomplish a life long dream like a marathon. Good Support systems make showing up to the gym or hitting the running trail that much more pleasurable. If you don't have a workout buddy, I recommend you get one. When the going gets tough, its nice to have a shoulder to lean on or another set of hands to help stretch those hammies :) Luckily, I have quite a few. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MRI acide

This week I finally went to the doctor for my knee. After x-rays the doctor told me that I needed to stay off it and go get an MRI to see whats going on down there. I wont know the results until Monday from the MRI. Hopefully, its not a serious injury and I will be back running the roads in no time. Until then, I will be cross training for the remainder of the week as per the doctors orders. Well technically he just said take it easy, but cross training seems to fit that bill. I would be lying if I said that not running isn't bothering me but I suppose an injury now is better then an injury later. Trying to stay positive! Monday cant come soon enough.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Inspirational Runners: Dean Karnazes

Today I would like to honor a special ultra marathoner, who happens to be easy on the eyes, Dean Karnazes. Starting in Disney World in February, Dean has been running across the country rain or shine, covering between 50 and 60 miles a day!!! Dean's vision to is bring attention to becoming active and living a healthy lifestyle. Dean was quoted as saying, "... maybe you can walk around the block after years of inactivity. You can begin to change your ways. I want my message to be something anyone can relate to: putting one foot in front of the other and doing the best you can." Dean has run with children and adults alike across the country with people cheering him on the entire way. He has also earned the title as the 27th most influential person in America, according to Time magazine. After 12 pairs of shoes and 3,000 miles, Dean is set to reach Manhattan tomorrow morning. Two days ahead of his scheduled May 11th date. If you are interested you can watch him cross the finish line tomorrow on Live! With Regis and Kelly.

 For more information on Dean please click here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day Iron Pigs 5K

First of all, I would love to give a shout out to my wonderful mother Kathleen Smith. Without you, I would not be where I am today or have the legs to do all this running :) I love you. This morning, my mother graciously allowed me to run in a race even though its Mother's Day. Hans and I ran the Iron Pigs 5k in Allentown. This was my first race with hills, but I remembered all the information I had read about tackling hills and  kept my pace as best I could. The people around me probably thought I was a lunatic, I think at one point I was talking to myself spouting off encouraging words. All in all, it was a great morning and a fun course.  Hans was waiting at the finish line for me cheering me on and afterward informed me that I had beat my December 5k race time by 8 minutes! Not too shabby. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I met Amanda at the gym this morning and got in some cross training and some strength training. Tomorrow Hans and I will be running a 5k in Allentown at the Iron Pigs stadium at 9am. Lets hope the old knee can keep up. At least if it gives out I have a doctor's appointment Monday. I am just waiting for the green light to continue running during the week! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

We could all use a laugh now and then

Oprah in 2009 running her first marathon
Time 4:29:20

Yesterday, my cousin Amanda and I spent some time talking about how excited we were for our training to begin. After we shared some tips and insecurities about the hard core training, we started talking about marathon race signs we had seen. She then told me about one that said "Beat Oprah" we both laughed and then seriously agreed that we NEED to beat Oprah for real, or else we would be feeling like total running losers. Today was an exceptionally bad day for me, so for some laughs I looked up some funny marathon signs. I think they might just be what the doctor ordered around mile 16. We could all use a laugh every now and then :) Here are just a few of my favorites.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dont Forget To Bring Your Goggles

Today after work I met my cousin at the local running store. She got new shoes and I picked up some sweet new running socks. Afterwards, we did some strength training action and then hit up the pool. Its been a while since I've gone swimming  but it was nice to break out the old green speedo. I have a 5k Sunday so I plan on waiting till then to run. I have to make sure my knee is back to normal before I continue to pound the pavement :) Not much to report until then, just pumping iron. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Inspirational Runners: Bob Wieland

After reading up on running one thing continues to resinate in all the books and articles I read; Anyone can be a runner. Bob Wieland is an inspirational and amazing runner. Growing up in Wisconsin, he attended the University of Wisconsin and was in negotiations with the Philadelphia Phillies when he was drafted to go to Vietnam. While serving, he lost both legs. Bob remained hopeful and thankful to be alive even after his injuries. After healing, Bob used his spirit and will to live to became a marathon participant. At the time, racing with a handicap was unheard of and certainly viewed as an impossible feat. Although the odds were against him, Bob followed his dreams. Today, he remains the only double amputee to have run the Kona,Hawaii Iron Man race without a wheelchair. He has completed several marathons sometimes taking days to cross the finish line. In the Los Angeles Marathon, Bob started one day before all participants, and finished two days after the last runner had crossed the finish line. His total time for that race was 74.5 hours. Bob is an inspiration to anyone who wants to run a marathon or become a runner. Bob Wieland is a prime example that anyone can run, even if you don't have legs. 

Click here for more information on Bob Wieland

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sweet Fanny Pack

I would totally be lying if I said that not running so far this week wasn't eating away at me. Today, I had a mild breakdown and felt sorry for myself. I am over it now, and I am currently counting the minutes until Thursday. While I am taking it easy I figured I might as well do some running research. This brings me straight to fanny pack shopping. OK, the proper running term is fuel belt, but lets get real, its a fanny pack. Although I know I will look like a total weirdo I am eager to get one and try it out. I plan on filling it with vital items like Chapstick, gum and of course my phone. That way I figure if the going gets tough I can call my brother to come get me. I am also toying with the idea of filling the water bottles with beer incase of emergency. Ok, I am totally kidding. But really, I need to get one and picking a good one is easier said then done. I like the one I posted above. I mean If I am running with a "fuel belt" it has to look good :) I love the colors of this one.  What do you think?

 Check out fanny packs for runners here, uh I mean fuel belts.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cross Training the Days Away

Strength training+ Ice Cream+ Ice Packs= :)
You know what they say, better safe than sorry. I seemed to have hurt my right knee over the weekend. After talking with my trainer Chrissy and my amazing soccer playing cousin, I realized it may just be an overuse injury. I never thought I would be sad to not run, but I was jealous of the runners I passed today on the way to the gym. I actually miss running. ( I know, Insanity) I am going to take a few days off to cross train/strength train and to ice this bad boy till its back to normal. Who knows maybe I can rest up and eat a few ice cream cones in the process. Hey, a little ice (cream) never hurt anybody :) I will pick back up on Thursday and just take it easy till then. I knew going into this there would be set backs, I was just hoping they wouldn't happen this early on! Good thing the roads are always open. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

More Cowbell: Broad Street Run 2011

The Broad Street Run was this morning and it was great. Watching from the side of Broad Street with my mom and aunt was wonderful and we got to take some really great pictures. We were able to see Amanda at mile 6 and take a wonderful action shot. Becky also ran by and I had to chase after her screaming to get her picture. But in the end, I got the shot. Hopefully, next year I will be running and not just watching. Congratulations to all the runners who were out there strutting their stuff. Great job! 

Please check out Amanda's Running Blog