Posts tagged ‘cycling’

Running past post-race funk and standing water


It was a day later than I intended, but I did run through the park today and it was gorgeous.  Well, the foliage was gorgeous.   The weather was rainy, gray, mid 60s and unbelievably humid.  Still, I had a great run and learned what I am sure are invaluable lessons about how to run through and around standing water.

I only ran 3 miles, but at least I was back in my running shoes and moving past my post-race funk.  I also mapped out a bike ride for my cross training Sunday in the hopes of revitalizing my training plan.  Variety is certainly the spice of my healthy lifestyle.

Looking at my training plan and calendar, I realize the next five weeks are going to be tough.  In addition to piling on the miles, I have all kinds of parties, concerts and travel plans.  And the busier I am, the harder it is going to be to make myself get up and run 5 miles in the freezing cold.

I have come to the conclusion it is time to get organized.  I have proved I am a serious runner who can compete.  Now, I have to prove I am a dedicated runner who can train.  The frequency and consistency of my weekly runs are going to be what carry me through my half marathon.


I have divided my weekend into the following productive areas:

1) Cleaning and Laundry—the house is a wreck after getting back from vacation

2) Running—7 miles on Saturday and lots of stretching

3) Cycling—riding about 20 leisurely miles on Sunday to loosen up and relax

4) Planning—mapping out training and social activities for the next 5 weeks

5) Halloween—this will be the fun part


Making a list always makes me feel better.  Now I know what I have to do and how to do it.  I am going to take my mantra from the Dillon Panthers: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

Photo Credit:


October 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

Testing Ways to Refuel Mid-run


One of the major differences between running and cycling is the lack of pockets and holders.  On my bike, I have two water bottle cages, a saddlebag and a bento box.  All my jerseys have additional pockets just in case I need more places to stash my stuff.  So far, my runs have been short enough to throw my key around my wrist and head out, but my 6-mile run tomorrow is where that changes.  I am become a true distance runner.

Including my warm up and cool down, I will be exercising for more than an hour, which means the need to rehydrate and refuel during the run.  I went to the running store yesterday (to buy pepper spray in case the white Honda comes back) and picked up two gus and some electrolyte jellybeans to try.  I always keep the jellybeans in my bento box, but everyone keeps warning me that running is harder on the digestive track and you should test your fueling agents.

I will test the gu tomorrow, but I also want to test some “real” food. I read a great blog post about a mid-run Rice Crispy Treats.  After searching around, I found a marshmallow treat recipe that uses Cheerios and incorporates peanut butter, too.  That sounds like the perfect power snack to me (and way better than raspberry gu). I may whip up a batch this weekend to test Monday.

It’s going to be 48 degrees in the morning, so I will be wearing my new running tights.  In fact, I pulled out all of my winter cycling gear and found that most of it will translate well into running.  I know 48 is not that cold, but I live in the South and 48 degrees with a 10 mph wind is cold to me.  I am topping off all the new stuff with a running belt to hold all my new snacks. Why is it that new stuff always makes running more fun?

I am ready for a great run to kick off a great weekend.  One week until my 13K debut with my sister!

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October 16, 2009 at 8:21 pm 1 comment

Safety First


If you are like me, people have been telling you to be careful your entire life.  And you probably tell them the same.  Sometimes I think about these words and other times I don’t.  But today the threat that faces us as runners and cyclist each time we walk out our doors hit me once again.

I cyclist friend in San Antonio forwarded information on a memorial being held for a husband and wife who were killed last week while riding their tandem bike.  I easily found newspaper reports from the incident and felt that numb shock reading a story that could have happened to any cyclist.

Next I received a newsletter from For Beginners Only, discussing how hybrid cars at slow speeds are almost impossible to hear.  Manufacturers are looking for ways to add noise so those around the car are more aware of its presence, but for now there are an increasing number of potentially silent cars cruising a neighborhood near you.

I have always felt the threat of the road more when cycling than running, but the truth is any athlete on the roads is vulnerable to motorist.  People are talking on their cell phones, interacting by passengers, trying to multitask.  We must be careful and alert, watching our surroundings and terrain throughout each workout.

These are the safety tips I try to follow for my activities and there are many other great tips online.

1. Leave a map. I make sure my family always knows where I am running and when I will be home.

2. Bring an ID and a little cash.  Better yet, check out an ID bracelet.

3. Ditch the headphones.  If you can’t handle running without music, choose an mp3 player that has a built-in speaker.  This will allow you to hear both the music and your surroundings.

4. Drive new routes before you run or cycle: A road may look great on a map, but in person it can be filled with potholes or overwhelmed by traffic.  A quick spin will let you know if this route is safe.

5. Mix it up. For boredom and safety, mix up your workout schedule and routes.

6. Assume motorist don’t see you.  I do a lot of waving when I run.  It sounds cheesy, but I want to make sure a parked car sees me before I cross in front of them.

7. Wear bright colors in all conditions.  Reflective clothing and lights are critical for earlier morning and twilight, but make sense all the time.

8. Stay alert.  Don’t zone out while pushing through the miles. Keep your eyes on the road and your surroundings at all times.

9. Run with a friend. The more people in the group, the more likely you are to be seen.

10. Hit the park. If you can’t find good riding conditions near you or just to avoid hazardous roads on rainy days, hit a local park, golf course or the gym.

I know I can do more to be safe when running and cycling, and when driving too.  Take care and stay alert.

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October 6, 2009 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

Out of the Comfort Zone

Leave behind the comfort zone

Leave behind the comfort zone

Who doesn’t love Friday?  Now, in addition to being the best day of the workweek, Fridays are also the best day of my training week: rest day. Running, while exhilarating, is also exhausting.  After a really tough run on Thursday (more about that in my next post), I made sure to do nothing on Friday.

Saturday I cross train, and this week Hal Higdon recommends 40 minutes of cross training and recovery.  I am not very good at recovery exercise.  I feel like if I am going to be out there I need to work hard.  But overtraining is a real concern for me, especially since I am rapidly increasing my weekly miles.  I decided a nice, leisurely bike ride was exactly what I needed.

One of my favorite people to ride with is my mom.  Moving has put me within three hours of my hometown and made it much easier for us to occasionally ride together. I woke up early Saturday, loaded my bike and the dog and headed down the familiar road to Mom’s.  I don’t think I could ever live in a small town again, but they are the ideal place to ride.  Mom and I rode for 45 minutes, cruising side-by-side the whole way, discussing the people who have moved and the people who have stayed.

Moving to a new place isn’t always easy.  Adjusting to new people, roads, routines, jobs, and gyms is as exhilarating and exhausting as running.  But visiting my hometown also reminded me of all we gain by leaving our comfort zones and how much I have changed in the ten years since I called it home.

Tomorrow, once again, I step out of my comfort zone and into my running shoes, drawing ever closer to my half marathon.  The road toward this goal is unfamiliar, and I don’t know how many hills I’ll climb on my way, but I know I am going to run into that stadium on December 5 having completed my first half marathon. And really, how could my comfort zone ever compete with that?

October 5, 2009 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

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