Blog Archives

Do the Dew (Point)

You know those days when you walk outside, prepared to run, and you start sweating immediately? Don’t blame the temperature, it is all in the dew point. Now I’d never heard of this measurement until speed work one miserable day; I started kvetching almost immediately when I entered the track and coach explained that it was the dew point, not the humidity, that was killing me. According to coach (and science) the dew point is the temperature where water vapor will condense into water. To put it a bit more plainly, the higher the dew point, the harder it is for your sweat to evaporate. Sounds pleasant, huh?

Now before I go out for a run, I check the temperature and dew point. It helps to prepare mentally. If the dew point is above 65° then I know not to push myself too hard. The last thing anyone needs is to faint or become horribly dehydrated in this weather. If you notice that the dew point will be lower later in the day, consider changing your routine for the day. Remember to have water and a towel (or absorbent top) easily accessible if you are heading out in less than ideal conditions!

Check out this quick article (courtesy of coach) that gives a slight break down of the different ways to handle the varying dew points – Dew Point Information  If you want a more detailed explanation, well then go to Wikipedia (obviously).

Is this a measurement you’ve ever heard of? Do you take dew point into consideration before going outdoors? 

And then I ran

Yesterday I was lacking motivation. Heck, I’ll admit it, I was down on myself. By five in the afternoon I felt as if I hadn’t accomplished much and I hadn’t worked out in days (okay, it was only three but that is a lot for me). I desperately needed to do something. P90X just wasn’t going to cut it. So I sat in my chair (since I sold the couch) and I whined a bit to Ron about my dilemma.

It wasn’t looking so good for a moment. And then I realized it was the 4th Sunday of the month, time for #runchat. I didn’t really have anything to contribute, I hadn’t run in days (I don’t count speed training). So I decided what I needed to do. I threw on my running shorts so I had no excuses.

I’ll admit, I sat around for an hour or two waiting until the sun went down and the temperature was more agreeable. I set a time, I’d leave my apartment no later than 7pm for this jaunt. And when 6:54pm rolled around, I scurried off to my room to finish dressing and headed out the door.

At first my run was like most others, the first quarter mile was 15 seconds faster than my typical pace. I feared I’d gone out of the box a bit fast (as usual), but I kept going. Looking down at my watch as I hit 1/2 a mile I noticed something odd, my pace had dropped by another thirty seconds. Hm, okay, I’ll just roll with it. A quarter of a mile later (my laps are set to 1/4 mile) I had dropped another few seconds. I seriously had no idea what was going on. I was going fast (for me).

So I kept up the pace. At one point I thought I had slowed down, but Garmy informed me I had in fact sped up a touch. By the time I rounded my complex I had completed 2.5 miles at a pace one minute faster than my average. I felt like a champ. Admittedly I couldn’t run up my stairs as triumphantly as Rocky, though I felt just as proud.

It wasn’t the distance I had initially hoped for, but I was quite happy with what I accomplished. Apparently all of my speed training has helped me speed it up a notch! I’m hoping to keep up this momentum. Not necessarily run that quickly every time, but to improve my pace and focus on my goals (marathon in December, eep!).

A major thanks to everyone who told me to quit my bitching go out and do it.

When was the last time you felt triumphant? 

I can run fast?

I must admit I had another post written and ready for today, but then I realized how amazing speed training was last night. And that, folks, is worth bragging about.

When I walked out of the office, clad in my Nike running shorts and short sleeve tech tee, I was shocked at how cool it was outside. I knew it was going to be much easier to run in compared with last weeks 92° weather. Arriving at the track, I talked with coach and she mentioned that the dew point was 54° which meant that it was perfect running weather. And it meant that we’d be running 400m sprints. For some individuals 400m sprints (1/4 mile) are chump change. Not for this girl. I was very nervous to do so many.

After the first, bent over and out of breath, I declared that I wouldn’t be able to maintain that speed for five more repetitions. Of course the other folks (all much faster) told me to stop being a naysayer and to give it a shot. So I did. And it hurt. The next 400m I thought I had slowed down immensely. As I neared the finish line I heard coach screaming out the time. Wait, I’m going faster? That didn’t seem logical. Yet somehow I finished four seconds faster on the second lap.

The rest followed the same pattern. All seven sprints were faster than I had expected to run and the last six were all seconds faster than the first. I have no idea how I pulled out the strength to do it, but man it felt good! (After I caught my breath…) I’m still on a runners high!

Also, I’ve decided to register for Karen and Richard’s Really Big Free Marathon. I just heard about it, but any excuse to go to Vegas for the weekend is a good one. And, better yet, the race is free! So who is with me? I know plenty of you can conquer a half marathon, come join me! Melissa, I’m looking at you. You may not know it yet, but you may get dragged into doing this with me.  :)

Tell me about your recent accomplishments this week. When have you pushed your body farther than you thought it could go?

Poor Form

Today I woke up at seven and reluctantly got out of bed. For the last year I’ve been attending group runs at the local running store, but the past four weeks I’ve been away. I decided I needed to return to my routine and get in a few miles this morning. Sadly I was the only slow runner this morning, there was no one to accompany as I ran four miles (and I forgot my iPod, grr). At first I tried to keep up with the faster ladies. Then, after half a mile, I realized that going out of the gate that fast is killer. I slowed quite a bit and tried to focus on how I was running rather than my pace.

At speed training this past Wednesday, Coach Brenda photographed each runner as we were sprinting around the track. Since she is a pro, she analyzed each photo to help give feedback. I was informed that I am not overstriding, which is a good thing, but it seems my arms are too high. I need to lower my elbows and keep my hands lower than my waist. If I can learn to do this, I will waste less energy (and maybe go faster?).

I’m not horribly proud of how I am running in the second photo. As you can easily see, I’m blatantly heel striking. I’d like to blame the fact that I was tired. It was 92° and horribly humid, we ran 3×200, 400, 3×200, 400, 3×200. But who knows when that photo was taken, it could have been my first lap around. So what does this mean for me? I need to focus, to really consider how I’m holding my upper body and change how I land. I thought about that this morning, trying to lower my elbows and relax my shoulders. It didn’t work as naturally as I’d like, but practice will (hopefully) make perfect. Right?

Help me: Do you have any suggestions on how to improve your form? What techniques do you use to keep proper form while running?

Have you entered my Coach’s Oats giveaway? You should! Do it for a chance to win a week’s worth of oat deliciousness.

Thirsty Thursday

No, not the alcoholic type. I’m going to be chugging water for the next few days. Yesterday, after a hard speed training workout, I was horribly dehydrated. I managed to contract a miserable headache and I swore I’d drink more today. Well, after a long day of usability testing, I didn’t manage to consume nearly enough. See, when I’m testing, I drink less so I don’t ever have to use the bathroom during a session. Please, do me a favor, learn from my mistakes and make sure to hydrate in this summer heat. It is necessary!

After I completed my last usability test for my current job (at least I hope it was my last), I actually made it to Turtle Thursday. I haven’t been in weeks due to marathon training and the odd bit of socializing. Was great to get out with the ladies again. The whole purpose of Turtle Thursday is to take it slow and steady, well that wasn’t in the cards for tonight. Daisy, the bluetick coonhound (seen in her laziest photo ever), decided that tonight I’d be running fast. She set a difficult pace and our second mile was quick! I couldn’t keep up on the third, I slowed down and tried to set a more comfortable pace. As I finished the third mile it took a serious mental push to keep me going…

I’ve read recently about a lot of newer runners who have been struggling on their runs and I was considering that while having my own issues. When you are having a tough time, remember how awesome you are for getting out in the first place. You’re doing it! I kept reminding myself that I’ve run four miles too many times to count. Four miles I can do, just keep pushing. I may have slowed down for a quarter mile, but I didn’t stop. My average pace at the finish was exactly where I had hoped it’d be and I felt fantastic. Another very important note, smile. At everyone. Regardless of how you feel or how they look, give them a smile or a wave, you never know how you might improve their run day. And it is a bit selfish, all that smiling will undoubtedly make you feel better about your own run.

My wonderful run was complimented with the most delicious black bean and rice burger. I scarfed the entire thing down. It is healthy, right? Then I came home to a very exciting surprise…

At first I was confused why my mat had been moved, but then I realized why. The UPS driver likes to hide things under it so my neighbors don’t try to steal my packages. So exciting! I opened it up and boy was I surprised, such an amazing gift. I’ll keep the contents hidden for a few days, keep the suspense up and all (and I need time to actually try the contents).

I wanna know: How do you motivate yourself to push through when you are struggling? And what exciting surprises have you gotten lately?