Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

Lend a Helping Hand – Run a Virtual 5K

This Weekend I participated in my second Virtual 5K race.  The Divas and Dudes Virtual 5K.  Don’t you just love the name!  This race benefited TNT (team in training).  I love to run for something more that just myself!  Especially a 5K, I am NOT particularly fast and I much prefer to run long rather than short and fast.  So motivation on a 5K helps me….a lot.  Here is my sweaty “dreadmill” and dreadful picture, lol.

My first virtual race also benefited TNT.  Are you interested in trying one?  A fellow blogger of mine is hosting one in July.  “Running While Mommy” is running with TNT in memory of a friend’s daughter.  She has been training through injury (I can relate) and raising money for TNT while working towards a half marathon in October.  Here is the link to both her TNT page and her blog.  And yes you get BLING!

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ri/nikesf12/nzelenak#My-Fundraising-Page

http://runningwhilemommy.blogspot.com/  ( you can connect to her fundraising page from her blog also)

Someday I hope to get more involved with TNT, but for now I am just glad to lend a hand.  After all isn’t that what God asks of us, to help and support one another?

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Diva Half and a Sweet Surprise

Well I made it!  My fourth half marathon in five months, whew!  And also my first race of the hubby’s current deployment. I must give a BIG shout out to my parents for coming down and watching the kiddos.  Without them this trip would not have been possible.  Thanks Mom and Dad, love you.  I was joined by two great friends and fellow “Divas” Cara and Katie.  I love these girls and we have a great time together.  We even managed some shopping and found our favorite pre-race meal fajitas…yum.  On a funny side note it was also “Bike Week” in Myrtle Beach.  Bikers and Divas together hmmm, interesting.  The bikers outnumbered us about 1,000 to one, but it made for some interesting conversation.  Apparently someone in charge has a funny sense of humor.

The Diva Half in Myrtle beach lived up to its name.  This was the first year Divas Half Marathon Series was in Myrtle Beach and for the most part they did a really great job.  The expo was a little small but I have seen that with other first year races.  I was glad I planned ahead and brought my favorite GU and energy bar.  However packet pick up ran smoothly, no issues and volunteers were friendly and helpful.  By the way the t-shirt is also awesome.  I hope you can see it in my cupcake picture at the end of this blog.

The course itself was a beauty and probably one of my favorites so far.  The weather didn’t hurt either.  Starting weather was sunny, low 60’s and finish was sunny, 70’s with a nice breeze….sweeeet. After a forecast that called for rain and a possible visit from a tropical storm we really lucked out.  I am pretty sure Mother Nature is a Diva 😉 and she worked it out for us so thanks. The only thing I missed was an actual view of the ocean.  However that’s probably because we are super spoiled in Virginia Beach.  Most beach races here start/finish on the boardwalk at the oceanfront.  But back to the  Diva:  The course support from both residents and visitors was also better than expected for a first year race.  That’s always nice, especially for participants traveling without their entourage.  WHAT no entourage?!  I know very un-diva like, my bad.  This was also my first ALL WOMEN’s race.  (by law I believe they cannot deny a man from entering.)  The finish stats say there were only 20 male finishers in the half.  There were 3,043 female finishers!!  Go Divas….Awesome!!

After leaving the main strip much of the course ran along tree-lined shady (bonus!) neighborhood streets.  I was a little worried at mile 2 when I started having slight knee/IT band pain, but I made a very conscious effort to keep my form in check throughout the race, by mile 4 I was all warmed up and feeling great!  Part of the course passed by million dollar homes and a rolling green golf course which made for some pretty views.  Only a short part of the course consisted of a busy main road, maybe a half mile, and I believe that was in order to turn us back toward the finish.  In my opinion we had plenty of running space and cones separated us from traffic so I felt safe.  The entire course was flat with two very, very slight inclines.  Water/Gatorade stops were plentiful as where porta potties.  Somewhere between mile 12 1/2 -3/4 there was a tiara and boa station.  You were quickly handed your boa and tiara and kept moving.  The finish line itself was located around a corner so it kind of snuck up on you (I would have liked to kick in my after burners a little earlier)  I ended up grabbing my tiara off my head and carrying both it and my boa over the finish. My tiara started to slip when I kicked it in for my big finish.  I probably won’t have the best Diva photo finish but maybe the most motivated Diva photo?  I passed a lot of runners that last stretch and the crowd was behind me 100%…that felt good.  As I finished I glanced at my watch and was so excited to realize that I might have tied my Shamrock PR.  In the end I actually ended up beating it by a little less than a minute, I’ll take it!  Thus the sweet surprise!  After battling with injuries since late December and no runs over 6.5 miles since my last half in April this was totally unexpected and I couldn’t have been prouder of myself.  I Found MY Happy Pace for the day and that was just what I needed.  Check out my best Diva pose:

Speaking of the finish line WHAT A FINISH LINE IT WAS! The Diva medal is HUGE and was handed out by super hot guys (yet another bonus), some shirtless (double bonus. Hey I’m married not dead) including some local Fireman.  Each Diva was also handed a red rose and a cup of champagne.  When does that ever happen at a race!?  As my final act of Diva-ness during the ride back to the hotel, boa and tiara still in tact, I gave my best Diva wave to every Diva- sister and Biker we passed.  I’m a little goofy after a race….ok I’m just a little goofy.

All in all my friends and I agreed we had a great Diva experience.  Topped off by our celebratory cupcakes and chocolate milk!  

I have heard a few negatives (not enough Gator Aid and water out of a hose?) on-line.  I did see one suspicious water stop so I skipped it.  I have also heard on-line that Diva Myrtle Beach went better than Diva San Francisco. But as for my overall experience I give it a thumbs up!  I would do it again next year if the chance arrises, you might want to check it out if it comes to your town.

Anyone can be a Diva, even me, even if only for a day.

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The Tight Hip is connected to the hurt knee, etc….

So let me start off by saying I am NOT a doctor or a physical therapist!  And I am writing this not to complain but rather to put some info that has worked for me out there in order that it might help someone else.

If you have followed my blog for a while you know I have been suffering with PF (Plantar Fasciitis) since late December and now IT band issues.  Would have loved to be in physical therapy for it however I have a non-cooperative doctor, but that’s another story.

So in my own quest to be pain-free I have added foam rolling, yoga, kettle bell workouts and now extreme IT band stretching to my routine.   For the past 3 days or so I have been seriously concentrating on stretching my hip and IT band with a 4 point IT band stretch.  Painful!  And I mean painful as in using words you wouldn’t normally use painful! (and yet oh so good)  You know what I mean?  These stretches rate way up there with the love/hate relationship I have with my foam roller.  But you know what, I think its working! (please God let it be working)  Today I went for my first 4 miler without knee pain since my last half in April.  WHOOHOOO!  But maybe more amazingly was I also noticed my post run “increased” PF pain was simply not there!!  DOUBLE WHOOHOO!!!  Happy dance 🙂  Notice I said “increased” as in it is still there, just not worse after a run.  Hey I will take what I can get!

So could this decrease in post run PF pain be related to my tight hip?  Maybe?  So onto the internet I went.  I found some very interesting articles by a doctor and another runner about how tight hips may also lead to PF.  OH MY GOODNESS!  The things you wish you knew before you knew them.  They both also stated that tight calves (which I previously have had and continue to work  on) definitely still come into play, but so do hips!  So stretch, stretch, stretch people!

I would not call my PF or my IT/knee problem cured by any means, however I think things are looking up.  Any less pain is a good thing!  I will keep you posted.

More info:

Looking for more info on the 4 point IT band stretch?  I have the link on my facebook page if you are interested.  Just click on my facebook link on the right side of my blog.

Also here is a link to one of the articles I found.  http://www.healthfitchiro.com/pdfs/runners_triathletes/Plantar%20Fasciitis.pdf

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Work it Girl! A Diva Pace is Any Pace She Wants.

Tried to do a long(ish) run today.  Note the word “tried”.  I have the Diva Half coming up on the 20th, unfortunately it doesn’t look like my knee/IT band issue is going to cooperate.  Don’t get me wrong I am still doing it (Girls Weekend!!)  Plus there are going to be chicken fajitas (my favorite pre-race meal) and cupcakes (my favorite post race treat), I’m so in. However I have officially made peace with the fact that I will NOT be getting a new PR during this Half.  And you know what I am ok with that.  I may even be walking….a lot.

In the meantime, through research, it seems I need to work on my core strength and continue working on flexibility.  Not really a huge surprise.  I knew the middle was getting a little weak.  Therefore I have started P90X core workout again.  Ouchie.  I really should have been doing this all along.  Woulda, shoulda, coulda.  And I also need to work on my tight hips. I apparently like to learn things via “Trial by Fire” technique.  Not really, but the old saying “an ounce of prevention” really fits into this scenario.

So note to myself (and any newer runners)….do NOT avoid core training, flexibility and cross training in general!  I will continue enjoying the stretching of a Yoga routine.  Nothing too hard-core, a nice beginner Yoga routine can help one keep (or in my case, become) flexible.  Also a giant plus for a runner.

In hindsight I believe I had gotten too focused on just running in order to do 13.1 racing miles. Diva will be my 4th Half of 2012.  It’s also hard to fit in everything we should be doing (cross training vs. getting in mileage) when you’re a Mom.  I know many of you hear what I am saying.  Now don’t get me wrong for a well-rounded, more experienced runner 4 half marathons would probably not be an issue.  However,  I was not born a natural-born runner and seeing as I am not in my 20’s or even 30’s anymore, it time to take a step back and regroup.  It’s just so darn addictive!

I still plan on doing my best and enjoying the Diva, its gonna be a great girls weekend with some good friends and we are gonna work it!  Plus you get a crown and a boa (oh yea) even if you have to crawl past the Diva station!!!  😉  and I am pretty sure that my Happy Pace as a Diva is whatever pace I want it to be.  After all being a Diva has its benefits.

After the Diva my next Half isn’t until Rock-n-Roll in September and I want to ROCK it!!  Patience and cross training will be key.

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Run, I shall. And not take it so seriously

So in case you missed it today is “Intergalactic Star Wars Day”.  COOL!  Yes I grew up in the 70’s and am a slight Star Wars Geek.  And you know what, I am not ashamed to admit it.  Ok I have never been to a convention or anything like that, but I still love the movies and now so do my kids.  It’s so nice to have something that my 12-year-old down to my 4-year-old can share and enjoy together.  We embrace all that is Star Wars.  Old Star Wars, New Star Wars and Star Wars the Clone Wars, doesn’t matter.  So today, in honor of the day, my youngest and I played out a Star Wars battle (see pics)  I am pretty sure he won.

I even ran down our front sidewalk in a Darth Vader cape complete with lightsaber in hand. See I told you….geek 😉

Why you might ask?  Why not I say!  Life and running should be fun!!  When it gets too serious I lose interest.  I’m the girl you see in a race with the crazy socks, the sparkle skirt or the funny shirt.  I am never going to win a race (well maybe if I hang in there till I’m like 90).  However I will race against myself.  Me against me.  I may PR, I may not.  I will talk to the guy/girl next to me when I need some distraction or it looks like they do.  Running for me is something I enjoy, sure I worked hard for my last PR, but my PR does NOT define me.  I am a child of God and only he can define me.  Cape or no cape.

So work hard, race against your self, but please don’t forget to have some fun.  Find your happy pace every day in running and life.  If you have a hard run….remember you still got out there and did it!  People think your slow, who cares!!!!  We are not all fast, but we are all runners.  

Laugh at yourself and hopefully others will laugh with you, if not…their loss.  Oh and don’t forget to eat cupcakes….I love cupcakes, they also make me happy!

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Running and Rolling and Learning Things the Hard Way

Two and a half weeks post Dismal Swamp and my knee issue is better, but not 100%.  Seems to be an IT band issue which in turn is leading to the knee pain.  I added some short runs back in only because of a half coming up. Otherwise I would take  more running time off. The longest was yesterday at 3.5 miles. In the meantime I continue to foam roll, stretch, do yoga and kettle bells.  From my research it seems I really need to strengthen both my core and glutes.  I dislike core work…really, really dislike core work.  I know I should do it but it’s just so stinkin’ HARD!!  (cue the whining) I would rather run 10 miles than do 10 minutes of ab work.  Isn’t that just sad.

But when I look back to last year, when I was faithfully doing P90X and its core workout, I know what I need to do.  Now to convince my brain to do it.  The addition of my Kettle Bell workout is definitely working my inner thighs and glutes, which from what I read will also help with my overall issues. I just don’t walk or sit very well for the next few days 😉  But I know its working and that makes me smile.

CROSS TRAIN people!! (really I am just yelling at myself) I think I need to tattoo that somewhere on my person.  I need to make it part of my routine every week like I used to.

I have one more half coming up this month. “Diva Half” in Myrtle Beach.  Therefore I have also been researching Pro-Tec IT band wraps, just in case I still need a little help.

So wish me luck.  I have a date with Tony Horton 😉

Also any suggestions from runners with former IT Band problems would be greatly appreciated.

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