Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

One Month In Already? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of a Cross Country Trek

Has it really been an entire month since this?

I made it, I can't believe I made it!

I made it, I can’t believe I made it!

Apparently yes, yes it has.  We have now officially been in California for an entire whirlwind of a month.  So here is the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good. I drove well over 3,000 miles (see above photo)  Yes me, if you really know me this is a HUGE accomplishment for the girl who falls asleep when not driving if a trip is longer than 15 minutes.  I also learned that “endurance” driving is like doing a half marathon.  If you want the time to go by you need to be alert yet in the zone at the same time.  I thank my time spent distance running for helping pass 8-10 hours on the road each day.  Get in the zone, don’t think about how much longer you have, just get it done.  You see we drove both our cars from the east coast.  In the Mom-mobile my crew was both my sons and just for fun our 2 cats, because if your going to drive cross-country you might as well add a few animals into the mix.

Snickers.  Cat, dog or ferret?

Snickers. Cat, dog or ferret?

 

Puffabella

Puffabella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling is exhausting

Traveling is exhausting

For the first few days we had some pretty good (read: blinding) rain storms rain storms.  So on day 3 we replaced my wipers.  As you can probably guess….it never rained again, lol.   We did however get to see some really neat places on our travels such as this…

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That is salt NOT snow, pretty cool.

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And this.

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????

OK we have no idea what that is but it was cool.  We renamed it the tennis ball tree.

My youngest played the iPad (ok probably too much, but hey it kept the complaints to a minimum so don’t judge me) and cracked jokes along the way.  We played a couple of entertaining, if not slightly disturbing, rounds of “Would you rather”.  Side note: whoever wrote the cards for that game has some issues…just saying.  My oldest was a pretty awesome copilot, keeping me company and reading google news to me when I started to get tired.  But best of all we got to spend time together and I realized he an I have the same sense of humor.  We like to laugh at the same things and enjoyed spending quality time with squishy (inside joke)  I love you kiddos!

The bad:  We saw very few accidents (ok yes that is good) except for the day the SUV right in front of my husband and daughter almost flipped.  Two things here, I am glad my husband had taken a drivers defense course at one time and God had his hand on that SUV, it swerved, spun and even went up on two tires but never flipped or hit any other vehicles on this busy stretch of road.  Depending on which way you take, driving across country can be very boring.  Lots of road, not a lot to look.  Unless you like grass, sand, dirt and lots of tractor trailers.  Also apparently different GPS’s don’t always agree.  We only lost each other once.

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The ugly:  In true PCS style (ok wait for it here comes the whinny part of the trip) a bunch of unexpected events happened.  This time not broken appliances or lost household goods.  As a family we lost not one but two Uncles (on my husband’s side) God Bless you Uncle James and Uncle Michael.  As we were just arriving in Cali this made it impossible to grieve with family as they are now literally on the other side of the country.  I also found out one of my Brother In Laws has been pretty ill  (at the time) due to an unknown cause, don’t worry he is fine now.  Then within a weeks time of arriving in California my Dad was rushed to the ER and later received triple bypass surgery.  Again we are here he is waaaaay on the east coast.  A few days later my husband’s aunt lands in the hospital with a severe illness.  I swear to you we cannot make this stuff up.  My daughter fell in a freak accident after church and nearly broke her nose, it was a close call.  Apparently if you can sprain your nose that’s what she did.  Thankfully no black eyes and only minor swelling but a good amount of pain.  We had placed ourselves and all our family in God’s hands, even before we ever hit the road here.  God is good, we know he has everything under control.  Imagine what would have happened if we didn’t trust in Him.

But enough of that!  This part of California is lovely, beautiful, breathtaking and like perfect running conditions EVERY day.  I am not kidding.  No humidity and partly cloudy to sunny.  Mornings start in the upper 50’s and go to highs in the 70’s.  I think we had one day in the 80’s, the locals were dying.  There are many misty mornings but hardly ever rains (both good and bad).  We had a thunderstorm last weekend which didn’t faze us being from the east coast, however according to the locals this was a really big deal.  Apparently they haven’t had a thunderstorm here in years.  Yes read that again my East Coast friends….years.  Who knew?  The downside for me at the moment is hills.  Virginia Beach is flat-as-a-pancake land.  Spending the last 5+ years running there makes one not well hill adapted.  I should have spent some more quality time at Mount Trashmore.  However I am determined to rock these hills….eventually.  Or at least climb them without dying.  If not at least I know if I am ever a flat lander again I should be speedy, or at least speedier than when I got here.

I have a feeling it will be hard to leave here when the time comes at least from a running point of view.  Luckily we have a few years here to enjoy it all.   Check it out…try not to drool.

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Oh and one last thing.  Never fear I have found a cupcake place here 🙂  Gotta have my cupcakes.

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Great Gifts for Running Friends $20 & Under!

It’s that time of year again and you have a long list of Running Buddies that have helped you rock 2014.  The big questions is…”What can I give them this is running related and won’t break the bank?”

No worries!  Here is a short list of fun running related items under $20 each!

 Help your friends:

Show their fun sporty and colorful side with gifts from Runner Decals.  Decals, Tumblers and more!**

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Be Safe with gifts from Road ID.  ID Bracelets, reflective items and accessories and more! *

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Keep fun in run in the run with gifts from Crazy Compression.  Compression socks and sleeves**

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Show them they are special with gifts from Momentum.  Beautiful, inspirational “Foot Note” bracelets, necklaces!***

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Great Holiday themed gifts from Gone For A Run.  In fact they have an entire Holiday Shop! Personalized Ornaments, Mugs and fun socks!***

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Keep your essentials with you on a run with the Running Buddy Mini from Running Buddy. (additional colors available) ***

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Keep cool while looking hot 😉 with Hippie Runner.  Sweat Wicking Headbands in hundreds of different patterns!***

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Man that chick looks familiar?!

 

Accessories from Skirt Sports.  Socks and visors.  

Under $20 when you use code RWM25AMB thanks to Running While Mommy and get 25% off!

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I hope some of these ideas might come in handy.  Enjoy your holidays!

Do you have a favorite runner gift to give for under $20?

Disclosure:

* I am an affiliate of Road ID and will receive a percent of items sold only when my affiliate link is used.

** I am an ambassador for crazy compression and runner decals however I do NOT receive any monetary compensation from these companies.

*** I am not an ambassador / affiliated with Momentum, Gone for a Run, Running Buddy or Hippie Runner or Skirt Sports (I just really think they had some cool items to share)

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Why Running Slow Really Might be the New Fast: Training by Heart Rate

Please Note:  I am not a coach or professional runner.  I am writing this blog using my own experience with HRT.  You should check with your doctor or medical professional before starting any exercise regime.  🙂

Also note that my HRT plan is based on the book:

Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot by John L. Parker, Jr.

There are different books with slightly different plans, choose which is best for you.

 

As a runner you have probably seen something like this…

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.52.34 PMAdmittedly I love this slogan!  Why?  Because I believe every runner fast or slow is still a runner.  We cover the same miles in the end no matter what the time!  But did you know running slow may actually be the key to running faster with less effort?

Welcome to the world of Heart Rate Training or HRT.

So where in the world did I even hear out about HRT? 

After reading Finding Ultra” by Rick Roll (in which he touches upon his experience with Heart Rate Training)  I remembered reading a blog about HRT on  Shut Up + Run (click here to read her post)  a while back.  Being August (at the time) and with a half marathon on the schedule for October, I decided that book was a good place to start. I was not in great long distance aerobic shape at all since I hadn’t run a half in almost a year.

I bought the book,  “Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot” by John L Parker, Jr. and got started. Now I have to tell you Heart Rate based training is first and foremost HUMBLING. It will knock your butt off your running pedestal  after run #1.  But we will get more into that later. The basic idea is that most people train far too often in their anaerobic zone, even when they don’t realize it.  That was totally me and most likely, it’s also you.  While most gains are actually made in the aerobic base building zone.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic training

For the sake of keeping things as simple as possible (you know keep it simple stupid)  I will use the following colors for each word to help us keep track:

  • Aerobic (pink, easy runs where most of HRT takes place)
  • Anaerobic (red, faster running, less time is spent here in HRT)  Not that there isn’t a place for faster running because there absolutely is.  But it’s how often should you be in this anaerobic zone that might surprise you.

OK so lets step back a minute and discuss the differences of Aerobic vs. Anaerobic.

 I found this on My Food Diary :

“During aerobic conditions, the muscle cells have adequate fuel and oxygen, and they can contract repeatedly without fatigue.”

“During anaerobic conditions, muscle cells must rely on other reactions that do not require oxygen. This anaerobic metabolism in the cells produces waste molecules that can impair muscle contractions. This results in fatigue. Fatigue causes you to experience added discomfort and weakening muscles. Eventually you will need to lower your intensity level and allow your body to remove the waste molecules.”

Using the above definitions we can conclude the idea behind aerobic training is training without fatigue to build your running base.  The heart of HRT (no pun intended) is building your aerobic base. 

 Less fatigue = less stress on the body = less injury = stronger base

Build a strong base and eventually the faster pace will come.  The science behind HRT is actually pretty cool and I enjoyed learning about it.  However I won’t be going all scientific on you in this post.

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 If you do want more info you can check out this great article from Runners Connect it’s worth the read.

Note: There are a few different books out on HRT and they do have some variations.  

As I mentioned earlier the book I am basing this post off is the one I started off with:

“Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot”  John L. Parker, Jr.

 

So how exactly does one build their aerobic base with HRT?  

Well that’s the kicker.  You do MOST of your weekly running slow at or below your aerobic training heart rate. And by slow I mean…

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How slow?  That depends on your specific training heart rate. And will differ for each person depending on factors like age, health, injuries etc. 

Wondering what your easy training heart rate might be?  

An fairly simple formula to use is called the MAF 180 (Maximum Aerobic Function)

Click here to find out more from 

TriFind.com about calculating your MAF training heart rate.**

**MAF is not the formula used in Heart Rate Training for Idiots but it lined up pretty darn close.  And is popular among those using Heart Rate Training.

 

And so it began:  Time to set aside your pride and get humble, really humble.

The hardest part of HRT for me (and it seems most participants) has been realizing how slow my base building pace really should be.  In fact in the beginning I had to walk…a lot.  Even today I still have to run/walk on my easy run days.  Seriously humbling.  On a happier note I have read about elite athletes (i.e.: Rich Roll) having to walk hills when beginning HRT.  That made me feel a lot better. 😉  In other words you can be a fast runner and have a crappy aerobic base.

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It’s also NOT easy to give up your “get out there and get it done as fast as you can” mentality.  I have read about people ready to throw the towel in after day #1 of HRT.  So if your going to do it your really need to commit to the process.  Check your pride and the door and dig in.  I admit I have strayed off the path a few times myself, but I buckled myself back in and am seeing benefits.

So what can HRT do for you?

Let me break it down in layman’s, or even better Runfyhp cupcakey (yes it’s a word, don’t judge) terms.  You will be doing most of your weekly running slowly, at first possibly even painfully slow (maybe even walking like me).  But this is how you will  begin building up your aerobic base. In our “cupcakey” example the base is the bottom half of your cupcake.  You know the part that holds up all the good magical stuff (the frosting!).  Strong, sturdy and the biggest part.

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If your base is not strong you won’t be built to last.  And I don’t know about you but I would like to keep on running for as many years as I can.  I’m not saying you can’t get fast any other way, BUT training at your anaerobic threshold on a regular basis is more likely to get you injured, fatigued and at some point dare I say it….you’ll drop your frosting!!!!!  Gasp!!! And no one wants that.

Injury / Fatigue =Pain / Frustration =Time off

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However over time using HRT at your aerobic pace you build a strong base and will begin to reap the benefits of your running potential.  That’s when the sweet stuff happens “the frosting” if you will. You begin to reach your happy pace with less effort!  Easy runs become easier at a faster pace, tempo runs become quicker AND you don’t feel beat up after a run.  Then when the time comes to race you should be strong, healthy, injury free and able to hold up and enjoy every bit of it. 

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OK so there is some bad news: 

  • Progress is slow, running at first is also slow.  It will take time, probably more than most of us would like
  • Patience and persistence are key.  This WILL NOT happen overnight.
  • Once you begin to reap the base building benefits you have to push yourself harder on tempo and speed work days to get your HR up.  But this is actually a good thing!

Benefits will happen.  I am starting to see progress with my pace. And best of all I feel great after a run!  It works if you have patience and stick to the program.

You might ask….Do you run slow on every run?  No.  The program I have followed from Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot” includes a weekly tempo run (at a specific Tempo Heart Rate) and weekly speed work (also at my specific Interval Training Heart Rate)  These heart rates are different from my easy run HRT.  But yes all other weekly runs should be done at my easy pace. I’m trying I swear! 🙂

The Pros:

  • You will build up a solid aerobic base
  • You will run more efficiently
  • Most runs are done at an easy comfortable pace (which gets faster with time I promise)
  • It will prevent over-training or under training by working at the right intensity for each run
  • You don’t feel beat up at the end of a run
  • You should be less prone to injury
  • Eventually your pace will improve (you will be running longer and stronger at an easier effort)

The Cons:

  • I would, at least, get a HRT book, or a coach if your so inclined, to help walk you through the steps of HRT
  • Be prepared to run slow (and possibly walk) in the beginning (like painfully slow, I’m not gonna lie)
  • Progress takes time (how much depends on the starting point of your aerobic base)
  • You will need to invest in a Heart Rate Monitor (if you don’t already own one)
  • Humility and Pride need to be checked at the door BEFORE you leave for your run

For me Heart Rate Training has been a huge blessing.  I don’t feel as tired and beat up after a run, my times and paces are beginning to show improvement and I have been able to find my happy pace on almost every run.  If your worried about your pace or training I would suggest starting HRT in your “off-season” That may help you with persistence at sticking to the program.

I would love to hear if any of you decide to try HRT out.  Its working for me, maybe it can work for you too!

So who’s ready for the challenge?

9 Comments »

Let the Runfyhp Summer Adventures Begin! #runfyhpsummer

Well hello summer my friend, we meet again.  🙂

What’s on your summertime agenda this year?  Travel, camping, beach weekends, hiking in the mountains?

My family and I will be having what we hope to be an epic adventure.  We will be traveling cross-country in an RV!  2 adults 3 kids what could possibly go wrong?!  Wait, don’t answer that.  Hey it can’t be worse than our Disney Pukefest 2014 can it?  (In case you missed that let me give you the quick lowdown.  7 people, the stomach bug and a new person down every day for the ENTIRE vacation.  Ewww)

Anywho….if we can last the constant togetherness

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I believe it will be one of the best family experiences we will ever have.  I know how blessed we are to have this opportunity.  Believe me only God could have orchestrated it.  Although we cannot stop in every state we will see many that we have never been to before.  I’m so excited!!!

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As a challenge to myself (and as a great way to share my trip with my IRun4 buddy Logan) I am also going to attempt to run, walk or hike at least 1 mile in every state we spend time in.  I mean who can say they did that?  I will be both blogging and posting about my adventures.  However most daily posts will be done via Instagram with the hashtag #runfyhpsummer 

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As a second “challenge” I will also be attempting to hit and critique the best cupcake stops we find while traveling across the country.  (Hey I’m a giver and I am totally willing to take one for the team.)  I mean I wouldn’t want you to have a bad cupcake?

A “bad” cupcake?  Hey wait is that even possible? Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.59.10 PM

 

  So also keep an eye out for #runfyhpcupcaketour on Instagram.

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What you don’t follow me on instagram yet?!?

No worries…

You can find me by searching Instagram for Runfindyourhappypace or just CLICK HERE.  

side bar: I know it’s a long tag name but I set it up years ago before I knew better.

Haha, oh and I follow back too!

I would love for you to join me as I travel across this beautiful land of ours!  Maybe you can give me some “must see” things as we travel thru each state.

Wish us luck!

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s National Running Day!! Who do you run for?

Happy National Running Day 2014!!

This year I am running for Alzheimer’s Association in honor of my Mom (with Charity Miles), Logan (my IRun4 buddy) and cupcakes!

Who do you run for?

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Knot Hole Crochet Cupcake Hat Winner!!!!

Thanks everyone for participating in my Cupcake Hat Giveaway with Knot Hole Crochet!

I just know the winner is going to love her hat as much as I do.  I hope you were able to check out all the wonderful things Amanda over at Knot Hole Crochet can make for you, your family or friends!  Because aren’t homemade items the best 🙂

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And the winner is……..Screen shot 2014-02-04 at 3.59.50 PM

Congrats Kim!!!!

1 Comment »

Cupcake Hat Giveaway from Knot Hole Crochet!

So if you know me you know I love cupcakes 🙂  I also love anything cupcake related.  In fact I saw this great quote last week on Twitter from Cupcake Quotes:

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LOVE IT!  So what better way to show your love of cupcakes than with this adorable Cupcake Hat from my buddy Amanda from

KNOT HOLE Crochet

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 I have worn mine out and about since I got it last week.  I have gotten lots of comments on it from little kids to the local waitress at one of my favorite restaurants.  My husband says I look like a cutie in it 🙂  In fact it couldn’t have come at a better time.  We got tons of snow (well tons for Virginia Beach anyway) this week and last week we lost power….twice!  Brrr.

Want to win one of your very own?  Just follow the rafflecopter link on the top right of my blog page!

Contest opens Saturday Feb 1 and runs thru Monday Feb 3rd EST.

Winner will be chosen and announced Tuesday Feb 4.

33 Comments »

Motivational Monday Aug 26,2013

I hope this post motivates you to take action.  Do your self exam, make your appointment, and join me in raising funds to find a cure through my Pink Awareness Virtual 5k, 10k or half marathon.  Very cool swag included 😉  Check out all the info in the events tab on my Facebook Page.

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Pink Awareness Cupcake Virtual 5k 10k Half Marathon

My family and I are proud to be participating in Komen for the Cure in October.

I have a strong and close family history of Breast Cancer.  My aunt, mother and most recently one of my sisters has been affected.  I decided it was time for me to make a personal effort to help aid in the fight against Breast Cancer.  I have committed to raising as much money as I can for the cause with the  help of my friend over at Running In Sanity and our Cupcake Virtual Runs for Charity.

So today I am happy to announce that in addition to my Breast Cancer Non-slip Headband fundraiser (for info on that click here) Running In Sanity and I are holding a Virtual Pink Awareness Cupcake 5k, 10k or half marathon.  Not only will you be supporting a great cause you will get a beautiful two-tone pink glittery (because a girls got to have sparkle) diecast custom medal.

 I will be running for my mom, sister and aunt….who will you be running for?

click  to register now:

Look for Pink Awareness Cupcake on the right hand side

5k 10k or half marathon $20

International Races $25

Here is the proof of the medal.

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Super Cupcake Now Open for Registration!

Registration is now open for our latest cupcake virtual run!  

Super Cupcake!

In just over a year Running In Sanity and I have raised over $11,000 for Team in Training!  Wow!  Amazing!  And it’s thanks to all of you who have participated or shared our events!

Super Cupcake info:

Race & Medal $20

Race & Medal International $25

We will be following the same honor system that we’ve had in place for all of our virtual races. You register for our race (5k, 10k or half marathon) and then run your race whenever and where ever you are.  The ‘official’ race day will be September 7, 2013.  But, you are welcome to do the race any time before or after!

 The Super Cupcake medal will be a 2 1/2″ diecut medal and the yellow will be in glitter 🙂

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This is the final design for the medal, it has been approved by our medal production company.  There will be a limited quantity available for this medal, and registration will remain open until capacity is reached.  Updates will be placed on both my Facebook page Run Find your Happy Pace and also the  Cupcake Virtual Runs for Charity Facebook page.

 Please note:  This is a diecut medal, it does take time to get it produced from our production company.

 Medals will not be mailed until approximately August 26.  But, do not delay in registering.

 The only way to guarantee your spot is to register early!

To register you must have a PayPal account, click here for registration ….    Virtual Super Cupcake Registration

All funds raised from the Super Cupcake virtual race will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training.

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