2015 Running Resolutions

Do you have a running related resolution for 2015?

Thinking of checking out Couch to 5k in 2015? Ready to tackle your first marathon next year? Hoping to run a half marathon every month in the year 2015? I want to hear it! No, not read it in the comments – I want to HEAR it so I can add it to the January recording of myRun Pennsyltucky podcast.2015_res

Just click on the Speak Pipe link that is in the left sidebar of my Run Pennsyltucky blog. You might have to log in but they don’t send a bunch of emails, if they did I wouldn’t be using it. You are given 90 seconds to share what you have to say and even have a chance to preview the recording and re-record it if you aren’t happy with it before you send it.

You don’t have to share your name but certainly may if you want hold yourself accountable. You don’t even have to be a runner, share a fitness resolution instead. Bonus points if your resolution includes something in Central PA!!

I am trying to come up with mine and promise to share it on my January 2015 recording of Run Pennsyltucky. My hope is to take all of our resolutions and just run one after the other; a big pile of thoughts, hopes, ideas and dreams for running around in 2015.


What’s Old is New Again

Week 9/52 Recap

3 Hills – 3EZ indoor track – 4.8LSR

4th Runniversary

4th Runniversary

Excerpt from a private journal I had in 2010:

I found a guideline that might suit my needs, Couch to 5K. It is in line with a goal that I have never dared set for myself but always though it might feel very satisfying to achieve, to run in a 5k race maybe even in Puxsutawney. I will at least be moving toward running 5k and I hope I can keep in mind that even if I fail I am still getting some exercise.

Building back my running base is almost like rediscovering running and this is a great time to reflect on when I started this journey! It was 4 years ago as a New Year’s resolution that I took my first steps on that Couch to 5k program. I was pretty brave to have started it and am pleased to keep battling back from injuries and set backs to have made it 4 years as a runner.

Now, after multiple half marathons, a full marathon, a significant relay race and many shorter races, this year feels a lot like starting over. I don’t think I will be able to even think about PRs but it will be great to actually even walk without pain.

More miles that degrees club is close for me this year!

More miles that degrees club is close for me this year!

My PT has been going ok. This week slammed me hard with a really bad upper respiratory infection. I was probably really stupid for doing so but I ran out in the cold anyway. I am tired of things setting me back and just had to get a 3 miler in on the last day of the year. Struble Hill called and although it was the slowest I have ever run the course, I felt so glad to have accomplished it.

I was coughing hard all the way, shooting snot rockets left and right and tippy-toeing along with less than ideal footing. The ground was super cold and the air at 27° was allowing a light snowfall to start to accumulate. Where cars had compressed it was a bit slick. Jim and I gave a new to us product a test run. They are Rough Hewn’s ice traction slip-ons.RuffHewn

This saved us from having to decide which pair of shoes we would have to put sheet metal screws into as I described making in Snow Studs a few years ago. We just pulled them on over a pair of chosen sneakers and off we went.

We weren’t sure if it was because there were less screws across the bottom or the way that they attached that made us feel our footing was a bit uneven. They did lend good traction up and down hill. At the end, mine had shifted significantly and Jim’s had a bit too. We agreed they are certainly better than nothing and would grade them about a “C”.

So my training is progressing but very slowly. Jim tackled Struble then added on a couple more miles and had no shin pain, he is doing great! I will have built back just enough mileage to be able to participate in the 4th annual Capital 10-Miler and can’t wait for registration to open. I assume we will run it together this year!

Joggler in Training

Joggler in Training

3rd Run-iversary

snowrun2013Winter can be such in introspective time for me. I was born in the winter and raised in central Pennsylvania where the winters have a stronghold for at least a couple of months.

It is no wonder that it was in winter, 3 years ago yesterday, I decided to do something for myself and try a new fitness regime. It happened to be a Couch to 5k program that I thought sounded like an easy thing to do. I discovered that it was no easy task to keep jogging for a minute straight and my cocky, “I used to run,” self learned to respect the walk/run program.

No music, no running shoes, a watch I bought at Walmart for $7 and set of warm-up pants for $10 saw me through probably the first couple of months. Although I still use that watch and warm-ups, my parents bought me a good pair of running shoes for my birthday. Jim decided to try out the same training program about a month behind me and we were both pleased with how it was set up. Check out Long & Winding Road to read how those first months went leading up to my very first race. Jim’s first race recap can be read at Jimmy the Eye is on the Run.

Not every winter has blessed us with beautiful snow as is evident on My Runniversary. I also didn’t meet my goal of 1,000 miles as I hoped that year because I was suffering from plantar fasciitis. Indeed, 2011 was a difficult year as I had to defer my registration for the Wineglass Marathon as I healed and built back from that injury.

2012 started off in a hopeful way as I continued to recover from plantar fasciitis and actually gained speed after having some time off. A failed annual run-iversary tradition, I was dressed improperly last year and was too cold to run to the horses and back. Early last year I waited to find that I was not chosen through the lottery for the 2012 NYC Marathon (thank goodness as it turns out) and started training for the Wineglass Marathon whose registration had deferred. That was a big victory and first for me, I completed the Wineglass Marathon in 4:34:54. I also ended the year with about 1, 040 miles logged.

Here I am, 3 years after starting that difficult C25K in the snow and still running. I dressed warmly enough yesterday and made the traditional run out to the horses and back (about a 5 miler). I don’t have many firm goals for the year and that makes me a little crazy. I will probably enter the NYC Marathon lottery since I am the last year to be phased out the the 3 times refused and automatic entry in the fourth year. If I am refused this year, I might consider signing up for the inaugural Mt. Nittany Marathon since it is local and I am really familiar with most of the course. Other than that, I am hoping to run the Capital 10-miler again since I am streaking that race. Honestly, I am just glad that running stuck and I am feeling pretty good at 50 years old.

My Runniversary

Today is my runniversary. Last year on this date I started the Couch to 5k program. I ran 2.1 miles that day at a 14 MM pace. I graduated the program in about 9 weeks and have gone on to run 860 miles to this day.This is me at “the horses” (about 2.1 miles in) on my last run of 2010. The total run was a 5 miler at a 10 MM pace. It was the last run of the season with jingle bells on my shoes.

Today I went 3 times as far as last year on this date. This year I hope to log at least 1,000 miles total.

A Slice of Paradise

Jim graduated from his 9 week program officially on Saturday. We chose the gravel road out at Fisherman’s Paradise as our running location. It’s a nice level mile and a half out and back on which we don’t have to watch for motor vehicles. I do carry my pepper spray because we have run into loose and sometimes aggressive dogs in the past.

Saturday was gray and drizzly and I ran without the iPod. I was able to enjoy hearing many spring birds as I jogged up Spring Creek Canyon. It’s rare when I can’t spot a Belted Kingfisher or two even while I am running and this day was no exception.

I jogged on the grassy shoulder so quietly that a couple of men taking a walk were startled when they noticed me. The one guy admitted he thought they were being approached by a bear and were goners. I chucked and said, “A very little bear.” It surprises me how many people who seem to enjoy walking in nature have a very present fear of being attacked by bears. I agree bears deserve respect and being aware of every situation is best. The central PA black bear does like the easy picking humans sometimes provide like garbage and maybe fish guts but they do not lie in wait and seek out humans to attack on the trail. I warned the men that yet another jogger would be approaching so they would not be startled again.

Jim was not far behind me and caught up to me as I checked that a friend’s letterbox had been re-hidden by the last finders. It seemed fine so I did not open it up and started running as my dear fellow came up. We were together for a bit but I poured it on for the downhill knowing that I would be stopping to swap out the log books on our own two letterboxes father down the trail.

Both had been closed properly and neither contained hitch hikers. Jim gave me a wave and ran on as I confirmed that the logs we had been planted over 5 years ago were finally full. The final finders had stamped their image and added a bonus sticker to the last pages of the logbooks. I feel badly that the next finders won’t be able to enjoy the many varied images of the many signatures stamps. Some letterboxer’s stamps have since been re-carved or totally changed so it was a lot of fun to see the old images that Archaeobirder, Mososo Kruppe and Janila used to use. The Loyalsock Skippers were the 4Rhines when they found it. Any future finders will have to make their own history in the new logbooks.

I realized that I had messed up the timing of my run a little bit by forgetting to turn off my watch at one point so I decided to not take too much stock in my total time running. Jim and I crossed paths one last time as he was heading back to the car and I chose to enjoy the total 1.7 miles distance out to a wonderful bend in Spring Creek. It used to be near a by a reminder that it is penitentiary property. Since winter, neither end of Spring Creek Canyon has had signage posting no trespassing so I am thinking it is a bit of a transition to allowing public access.

I didn’t want to push my luck jogging where it has been posted for so many years and I really didn’t want to run too much more than 5k total that day so I chose to turn around at the middle of the bend. Just as I was starting to turn I heard the piping of what had to be a large raptor and I looked up stream to see the huge dark wing span and white flash of the broad tail of a mature bald eagle. What a treat to have seen this bird. It was my reward for running just a little farther than I had intended when I set out.

The special encounter set my mind to wandering in the way I love the most when I get in the groove of running longer distances. All of the wildlife that I live so close to and the beauty of the day and the area filled my head. I was very tuned in to how alone I was. I estimated it was probably a mile to the closest fisherman, Jim or any other random person. I was fine with being alone and the worst of anything happening to me would just be part of my life. I hated carrying the pepper spray at that moment, I need to find a way to carry it without letting it induce fear or not carry it at all. I realized it felt hardly better than going out with a gun to protect myself from bears.

My pace was not bad for the return mile and I picked it up for the final tenth. I felt pretty good over all even with the stopping and starting in the middle of the run. Jim had a good graduation run too. The Blue White game had ended while we were on the trail and it was a nice place to get away from the craziness that local sporting events can stir up.

Jimmy the Eye is on the Run

RGBisMe has a new gangster name all because he registered for the Coaches vs Cancer 5k race. The run came with a lot of little perks for locals including an all you could eat spaghetti supper the night before the race.

When this past week started, we had no intention of ever running in any local races. I had been volunteering my mornings at WPSU, the local public radio station, for their Spring Pledge drive. I got to talking with one of the women who works there as Donor Services Coordinator and she too had just started running outside recently. She was going to run in her first race and it was the Coaches vs Cancer 5k race. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself signing up and talking RGBisMe into signing up also.

Do note that RGBisMe has, prior to yesterday, never officially even run 5k before. He has been training in the Couch to 5k program and had built up to running 28 minutes. He was just finishing his 8th week of the 9 week program and up to running 28 minutes straight. He had no idea how far he had ever gone. Fitness has been our main goal and quantifying the distance or speed has not been a focus.

We decided to take advantage of the free spaghetti dinner for all participants (we took our own sauce) to have a fun meal Friday night. We got to the church where it was being held and gave our names at the table where registrants were to check in. Our last name always give a bit of a problem but they found us right away and verified by reading off our first names. The funny thing was that they got my name right but read his in diminutive form.

The meal was very good and we chuckled over how they had read his name. RGBisMe said he hadn’t been called that since he was about 8 years old. We decided that the fellow may like calling everyone by a knick-name like that so men signed up as “Bob” he might take the liberty to call “Bobby” and a guy who signed up as “Tim” would probably get “Timmy.”

The odd little twist kept the meal light for us. We were pretty much the oldest folks there, surrounded by high school and college athletes chowing down and carbo loading for the short race the next day. We had small portions but enjoyed it very much.

The morning of the race was so cold that it started to sleet an hour before the start. We got there early to get our racing chips. The registration table asked for our names so they could give us the correctly numbered chips and RGBisMe looked down to see his name, again in diminutive form on the sheet! It wasn’t just the guy last at the spaghetti supper, somoene chose to change his registered name from “Jim” to Jimmy.” We had another good laugh and thought that should be his permanent racing name.

Until closer to the start time we huddled by a heater in the nearby Intramural Building to stay warm and did our warm up and light stretching in there too. We chatted with the woman who had inspired us to register and her team, Cool Blue. They were all first time racers and we lined up with them outside between the 10 minute milers and walkers. I have yet to break the 10 minute mile so this was perfect for me.

RGBisMe and I were all set with racing chips lashed to our sneakers. We knew our time would be up to 30 seconds off since we were starting so far back in the pack but I would try to use my chronograph by starting it as we crossed the actual start line. I got all distracted when the gun went off by making sure RGBisMe had the iPod going to his liking and giving him encouragement and stupidly started my watch when we started running – DUH!

Times and distances are secondary so I let the blunder go as we jogged across the start line with a small section of the Blue Band playing the Penn State Fight Song. We are not fans of any PSU sports teams so it was a very odd thing to experience directed at something we were participating in.

The pack of joggers and runners and walkers started filtering into distinct pace groups during the first mile of the certified 5k course. We passed jogging strollers, people tripping over their leashed dogs and families who needed to stay together at a pace slower than our own.

Just around the first mile marker came the next surreal moment of the run. The course was about to tackle on of the steeper hills and at the base of it was The Nittany Lion slapping hands with everyone that ran by. Yes, we slapped his hand and chugged up the hill. I noted to RGBisMe that our first mile split was a little fast to maintain so we probably should gear it back a bit. He nodded in agreement and slowed his pace for about 20 yards.

His iPod music must have been really inspiring because he was all pepped up and started up again at a faster pace. We had both agreed that we would have no problem if the one or the other of us needed to go ahead so I allowed him to put some distance between us after trying to keep up for a short while. If I wanted to make it to the end I had doubts of being able to maintain a pace that close to 10 minutes a mile.

By the second mile, I looked and saw he was just shy of the 21 minute mile and I grabbed a water at just over 21 minutes. We weren’t far apart but it was during the last mile, when the course snaked through traffic on Curtain Rd, where I finally lost sight of him. Go Jimmy!

I had a fair run, I was cold and a little bored. I was glad I hadn’t given any the name of anyone I knew as a memorial tribute. They had the names posted all along the race route and I would have broken down. For some reason I get emotional when I run. I am not certain if it’s fatigue or some altered state. Seeing the name of someone I cared for or knew passed from cancer would have been too much. It was hard enough seeing the poster painted names of people I didn’t know. I held thanks in my hear that my Dad wasn’t among those who could be posted and tried to keep my thought positive. Surreal moment 3 was quite near the the 3rd mile marker. Along with the names, someone had painting the word “Spring” on one of the posters. All I could wonder is if they thought Spring had died of cancer that chilly morning.

I could then see the roped off shoot a tenth of a mile ahead. If I was a real runner I would have picked up my pace but I knew if I wanted any push for the very end I would need to wait a bit. This is the second race I have been in and what seems to light a fire under my tail is the clock at the end. When I could finally see it, it had just turned to 32:00 and I was excited that it was going to be a 5k PR for me. It was more than 2 minutes better than any other time I had estimated. I crossed the sensor 50 seconds after Jimmy and got the time of 32:15.95.

We chatted about our separate experiences and for the next few minutes RGBisMe still had the iPod in his ear. It was as we were going to cool down and get our post run snack he remarked to me, “Hey! The program says I am supposed to start my cool down walk right now!” It was great that the Couch to 5k program as brought us to a level of fitness we never would have imagined as possible.

During the afternoon RGBisMe decided that “Jimmy” could be his racing name but it was just too Mafioso to sport in regular life. We tossed out a few twists to his gangster name and came up with “Jimmy the Eye” since he has a good eye for design as opposed to “Jimmy the Knife” for his skills with an exacto blade at work and carving rubber stamps.

This run didn’t draw a lot of serious runners but some pretty fast youngsters lead the field of 500+. Jimmy and I don’t have any other plans to run in local races. We agreed it would have to be for a charity we felt pretty strongly about.

I am looking forward to a couple more women’s races later in the year. The first is actually a 10k and the second is a duathlon sprint (12 mile biking / 5 mile run) with an obstacle course at the end. Last fall and winter when I was recovering from a terrible lower back injury I never would have dreamed that my frustration with recovering would have lead me to this. Jimmy the Eye and me are always up for new adventures, see?

Long & Winding Road

From January, the road I have traveled has taken me to a bit of a graduation. This is the weekend I participate in an 8k run. A personal journal I have kept has shown my progress in endurance, overall fitness and 5″ smaller waistline.

January 3 – Today I have a lot of unrealized hopes. I am striving to bring back a more healthy way of life and adding more exercise has always been helpful.

January 4 – I found a guideline that might suit my needs, Couch to 5K. It is in line with a goal that I have never dared set for myself but always though it might feel very satisfying to achieve, to run in a 5k race maybe even in Puxsutawney. I will at least be moving toward running 5k and I hope I can keep in mind that even if I fail I am still getting some exercise.

January 5 – Man, I have looked at all of the 5k races and I am so not any of those people. I can’t go that fast even though I know I have just started. All I can hope is that general fitness will be a strong enough goal for me, it’s so nebulous.

January 7 – Nothing feels too good on a morning where the cats force you to get up hours before you are ready. I am a little stiff and sore.

January 8 – My run in the snow was a slow and tricky, terrible unsatisfying. I may have kept up a better pace for parts of the run but it was snowing and footing was slick almost everywhere. About halfway, my right groin muscle started to hurt. That slowed me down for the rest of the trip.

January 15 – I am totally chuffed to have done so much better on my run today. I was a little exerted but didn’t have the same feeling of having pushed way too hard.

January 17 – I suppose I did my best yesterday going out to a restaurant for the first in a while. We had a lovely sit down Indian meal with Tim & JJ. The best part was reconnecting with two very good souls who nourished me in ways that not many friends can do. Tim and JJ are good people with positive attitudes who keep things in perspective.

January 20 – My right ankle had been feeling just a little sore so I tried to keep aware of it. It was when I was trying to make certain that I was running on my toes instead of flat footed that I rolled over on it a bit and fell.

January 21 – Thinking back on yesterday, I am really pleased with the groove I got into for my last mile or so. It’s pretty cool to know I can be moving at a slow jog for a couple 5 minute stretches. This program may be building endurance and I like that.

January 29 – This winter has just been brutally cold. How do people with no resources for gym memberships or workout equipment stay in shape in such cold and long winters? I know that isn’t why old folks move to Florida or they would all be fit. This apartment is just too small to run around in (no internal steps) and I can never see spending money on a huge treadmill.

February 5 – My breathing was good and I joked with a woman taking a smoke break about the impending snow. That took me to 23:00 before I started away from Walmart and across the lots. The program was complete after the 20 minutes but I had gotten into my head that I think 10 minute intervals if paced properly might be the best for me. I kept the pace really controlled and 30 minutes found me at College Gardens, proof that I was going much slower.

February 12 – The roads are icy and it’s bitter cold so I decided to check out the Rec Hall indoor track. All went pretty well and I got my 30 minutes in a day early. I also got a blister on my small toe but it will heal.

February 18 – I tried on some running shoes at Dick’s and have a better idea of what type of shoe suits my running style. I supinate (or underpronate) by running on the outside of my foot. I have always had a certain amount of natural turnout which was encouraged by dancing. Because of this I tend to run on the outside of my foot and do not roll into it’s center.

February 19 – I decided to run 5k to try out some shoes I have been breaking in around the house. I even peeped in at the guys doing construction on the new location of Nature’s Pantry to finish off the 5k with a little hill out of their lot. Who would have EVER thought I would just run 5k to try out some shoes. I am shocked, thrilled and in slight awe of myself. What I have accomplished and at the ease is nothing short of amazing to me.

February 25 – January 4th I started the C25K 9 week program and today I ran 8k (over an hour) nonstop. My pace wasn’t fast nor was my 5k split time but I am proud of how far I have come.

March 5 – Not a good morning. Cats were as terrible as always all night and I never got back to sleep. I only made it 5k before deciding that my hurt foot/ankle/calf was only going to get worse. I hope a weekend of rest will allow it to get back to longer distances on Monday.

March 10 – I think I am going to try the 3.3 mile loop of Big Hollow Rd near Services Rd today just before meeting Jim for lunch. The small band of rain will have cleared by then and it should be a little warmer. I will be warmed from biking in so hopefully that will build up my stamina too. I am not certain if I should try to go any farther than that or not. I have to bike home too and don’t want to hurt my ankle.

March 12 – It was breezy and drizzly but the temperature was above 45° so it wasn’t too bad. My pace was really slow but I still made 8k in about an hour. I made it home (almost 10k) in an hour and 23 minutes.

March 19 – Last day of winter and I mixed it up a little. I had Jim leave my bike at my 8k mark to transition to about 3 miles of biking afterward. It would push the cardio but not the muscular skeletal as much.
I let out a little whoop and drew the attention of big ol’ goofy Curt who came over to talk while I got ready to bike. I took some water and Vitamin Drink and stretched a bit before heading to Trout Road and home via Gerald St. I was more fatigued on the hills than I would have expected so it’s a good thing to practice now and then.

March 25 – Did a late morning final 8k before I start backing off my distance this coming week. It was my personal best. It got warm when the sun came out. I can’t imagine running when it’s 70° – ugh!

March 27 – I geared back my run this morning to roughly 5k – 36-ish minutes. I ran the gravel road at Fisherman’s Paradise out and back with Jim doing his W6D1 program.

Cold morning but beautiful. No loose dogs. I started with my left shoe too tightly tied and stopped about 2:30 minutes into my run to retie it. I stopped and restarted my watch. That foot was crampy again for the whole first mile and the ankle hurt after the 5k. I am icing it now.

April 1 – My final 5k and workout before race day on Saturday landed me a good personal best.

Unfortunately I started off way too fast and had to back off the whole run. I need to remember to calm down and pace myself better if I want to make it 8k.

April 2 – I am up early and have a headache from being excited about the coming weekend. I chose the all women’s run for it’s dynamic and the fact it is a walk/run. No shame if I have to walk any part of the way although I haven’t walked any 8k I have done in quite a while.

I am a little worried about not having a goal to work toward after this weekend. I will do my best to try to look back and see what I have accomplished, enjoy continued better health and hope to maintain a good balance.