Assigning Blame for My Crappy Summer Run

Remember my summer goal? I haven’t exactly kept up. During a recent summer run I did, however, manage to assign a lot of blame.

1) The humidity

Running through soup is the worst. I almost died a little while back running in Park City; but honestly, I much prefer the cardiovascular agony of that experience to the feeling of swimming through hot, thick fluid while pounding the pavement. I would like the only tackiness on my skin during and post-run to be my very own sweat and not the atmosphere building up on my pores. Gross! Humidity ruins running for me.

2) My thighs

I know the blogosphere is rich with those who argue that thigh gap is an unnatural and unreasonable body goal. But when it’s hot and humid (see #1 above) running capris or layering shorts over compression garments is really not feasible due to the substantial overheating they cause. However, the absence of thigh gap in running shorts results in a burning from chafe that escalates throughout the run. And the thought of the tackiness of body glide to prevent it in the soup (see #1, again!)….ugh I can’t even imagine despite the fact that rubbing thighs make for a less than awesome run.

3) That barre class that I took

Speaking of thigh gap (see #2 above), the effort to make the hammies and the quads along with the sartorius, tensor fascia lata, and gracilis (that’s right these baby muscles I didn’t even know could hurt until I started barre) lean, long, and strong might eventually abate the kissing inner thighs. But, in current practice, running too soon after a barre class leads to quite of bit of muscular agony with each step. Don’t get me wrong, the muscle strengthening I have gained from barre has made me a better and stronger runner (and led to a wider set of summer beach wear options) but, ouch!, the soreness does distract from being able to enjoy the run.

4) The sun

Typically it’s bright sunshine that lures me out to run. I have dark skin. I don’t burn. But on a sunny summer day the sun is my enemy (perhaps not as much the humidity but still). Constantly looking up for a cloud, or tree, or building to cast a shadow and alleviate the fire raging in your skin definitely ruins a run.

5) My hate of mornings

I know I could have avoided some of this bitterness at the weather ruining my run had a simply gotten out there before the sun (see #4 above) became such a foe, lingering mid-sky cockily, an while the refreshing dew was still cooling the early dawn air.  But I suck at mornings and, despite my best efforts, runs after 7am are easier for me than runs before 7am. This time of year, though, the conditions are oppressive soon after 7 and I spend my run cursing myself for having slept in. Calling yourself bad names makes you feel like less of a badass runner.


6) My running partner

My husband is my go to running partner. Typically he keeps up with me or I keep up with him; we make a good pair with our matched 29 inch inseams. But evidently the humidity is less of a battle for him. He runs ahead of me and then waits, patiently, for me to catch up. This waiting part seems so smug to me. Maybe it’s just the humidity getting into my head but a this moment I want to both stop running immediately and divorce him and thinking about divorce tends to take away from the joy of running with your life mate.


‘Twas the Night Before Ragnar

‘Twas the night before Ragnar

And all through the house

There were piles of crap all around

The need for gear could not douse

Three outfits to run in, zip locked to keep handy


Piled with deodorant and dry shampoo in a giant gym bag


Whilst a giant tote stores foam rollers and meds, and for when breath starts to reek some hard candy


And in the overnight bag, a real bra lest my apres Ragnar look start to sag

All paired with the matching back pack to to house electronic gear


To ensure no crinks in the neck with it too comes a neck pillow

Of course real rest will not come without the sleeping bags that appear


For them there is a hamper filled with pillows and blankets as snuggly as doughDSC08069 Sleep yearns for sustenance so we have a sack of carb laden, electrolyte rich food


And finally the Race Bible to ensure that all is understood.

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Ragnar hear we come!

All you need is a pair of shoes…

When I first started running, a friend of mine was extolling one of its many virtues by stating that “All you need is a pair of shoes.”  Well, that was right up my alley.  I get to buy shoes and that’s it?  Sweet.  I am a shoe shopping expert.  So, I set out to Athletic Annex to go buy my pair of shoes.  I introduced myself, and shared that I was never a runner and had signed up for a 5K.  The sales person was very nice and supportive, and then stated that we could start by videotaping me running.  I literally almost turned around and walked out of the store.  Are you kidding me?!  You want to videotape me and my bouncing post baby belly running?  He obviously noted my stricken face and quickly reassured me it was from the knees down only.  Whew… Once I started breathing again we did the videotaping bit, he analyzed my foot strike and got me into a great pair of shoes.

A couple of weeks into the couch to 5K program, a personal trainer at my gym was talking to me about my newfound fitness plan and started telling me about the benefits of exercising with a heart rate monitor.  To be honest, I wasn’t really sure about it, but figured I would try it.  So, I bought a Polar heartrate monitor and actually have been very pleased with it.  On my long runs, when my heart rate starts to go up, I know it is time to hydrate a bit more or have something with some calories in it (I’m a big fan of the sports jelly beans instead of the gels).  It also helps me more closely approximate my calorie burn which I use in the My Fitness Pal app.
Well, about a month after adding my heartrate monitor I was on a run and totally bit it.  I was watching this teenager who actually looked about 12 years old and was so focused on him not hitting me with his car that I literally face planted.  Although I was able to complete my run despite my newly skinned knees and torn running pants, I realized that I probably should start running with my phone.  Therefore, an arm band was added.  Because I was now running with my phone, I added the Map My Run app.  It keeps track of my running workouts, and since it uses GPS, it literally maps my route and calculates the distance traveled and the pace.  
My son thinks that my phone is the most fun toy ever made.  It lights up, makes sounds, and is super fun to teethe on.  Sigh.  Since the iPhone is not drool-proof, it now does not play music or transmit sound through headphones.  Running with my phone had spoiled me with my music availability and now used to running with music, I felt lost without it.  I then began “borrowing” my husband’s Ipod mini and using a wristband to have easy access to change songs or playlists as needed.
About two months ago, I hit a weight loss plateau.  My weight was Not budging.  I added additional workouts, tried to change up my diet, and nothing was working. One of my friends started telling me about her FitBit One and how much she loved it.  Needless to say, I splurged and got the FitBit One.  And, it really is great.  It tracks steps taken, flights of steps, calories burned, and my (lack of) sleep.  The other great thing about it, other than its ability to sync wirelessly with your phone, is that it links to the My Fitness Pal app.  I log my exercise and food intake into My Fitness Pal and this then transmits over automatically to the FitBit app.  
So yes, I probably look ridiculous when I run.  I started with a pair of Sauconys, and now have a heart rate monitor, my heart rate monitor wrist band on one side, an Ipod mini on my other wrist, my iPhone on an armband, and my FitBit One on my hip.  My iPhone apps also reflect my increased amount of technology.  I started with My Fitness Pal to log my food, and now have added not only Map My Run and FitBit apps, but also the Pure Barre App.
Some people may say all you need is a pair of shoes, but hey, I’ve always liked accessorizing.

To the dark side and back…

I am not going to lie, I have pretty much been on the thinner side of the scale my whole life (with obnoxious amounts of dieting as previously mentioned), but it’s true.  I rarely needed to buy a size larger than a 4.


All of this changed, however, when my husband and I decided to start a family.  Two heartbreaking miscarriages and two fertility medications later, we were successfully pregnant.  And, about 25 pounds heavier than my usual weight….at the start of my pregnancy.  Well, add 22 pounds of pregnancy weight onto that over the next 9 months, and by the time I gave birth I had an overall weight gain of close to 50 pounds.  Now I know this may not sound like a lot to some people, but for the record, I am 5’ 1”.

Unfortunately some people were brutal to me about this weight gain.  I can absolutely sympathize with Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson.  I actually had one person poke me in my thigh and make the comment about how big my thighs had gotten.  Women would just look at me and make cruel comments about how you can never lose all the weight.

I dropped the 22 pregnancy pounds pretty easily, but at 4 months postpartum I was still with almost 30 extra pounds and I was depressed.  I was officially overweight, unhealthy, and unhappy. No, not post-partum I can’t get out of bed depressed.  It was a “I can’t stand the way I look or feel” depressed.  It really hit me when I looked back and realized that I had only ONE picture taken of my child and I together because of my insecurity.  That is when I knew I had to make a change.

My career continuously teaches me that life is too short, and that message never rang more true than at this point in my life.  Although I do believe that life is too short not to eat a piece of cake every once in awhile, life is also too short to not be happy with yourself…especially to the point that you won’t have your picture taken, even with your newborn child.

So, I talked to my wonderfully supportive husband who seriously is the best man on the planet.  I started to think about my life and wanted to set a goal… something that I never thought I could do in a million years.  I signed up for a 5K.  Again, this may not seem like much to some people, but even when I was young and thin and a cheerleader, I was Never a runner.  I hated it.  Running around the track in high school was my own personal 7th level of hell.  But I needed something, anything to help pull me out of the dark place I was in, and I was hoping those 3.1 miles would be it.

Let me tell you, getting back in shape and in the gym was tough.  I felt awkward, big, and quite frankly, ugly.  I didn’t have cute gym clothes and couldn’t find any that were flattering.  So I worked out in maternity t-shirts and baggy shorts.  And I started out slowly, working out 3 days a week and slowly increasing to now 6 days a week when my schedule allows.  I did the couch to 5K program and literally started by running in 1 minute increments.  I also slowly and steadily changed my diet.  I downloaded My Fitness Pal and began recording my food.

Six months after my first road race ever, and before my child’s first birthday, I ran a half-marathon.  I felt such a sense of accomplishment I can’t even begin to explain the depth of it.


I was now 20 pounds lighter, but not yet still at my goal.  That is when I found Pure Barre.  I had a girls’ weekend and saw my best friend since 3rd grade for the first time in over a year, and she looked great.  I mean, high school thin and fit great.  So I asked her what she had been doing and she replied, “Oh, this is all from Pure Barre.”  I had no idea what Pure Barre was, but took a class with her over that weekend.  And just like the prior post, it was brutal!  I actually flipped her the finger during my first class, told her she was crazy, and that I didn’t realize that extremity seizures were supposed to be a good thing!  Well, needless to say, that first class unveiled my next self-imposed fitness challenge.  I signed up for the New Client Special, and told myself I had to go to at least 10 classes that month for the price.  I haven’t looked back since, and that was 5 months ago.  In the first 2 months I lost 2 inches off my waist, and those aren’t the only changes I have enjoyed.  Besides the better posture and the beginnings of sculpted arms and abdominal definition, I have regained even more confidence.  Confidence not only in how I look, but also in appreciation for what my body can accomplish!  I am working my way towards the 100 club, and loving every minute of it.


I celebrated my “Run-niversary” last weekend.  I ran the same race, but instead of the 5K, I ran a 15K at a pace three minutes less per mile.  The past year has been a journey from a very dark place, but having had the “overweight” experience has been an enlightening one.  Having been subjected to all the negative comments and jokes has made me not only a more sympathetic person, but because of the determination it gave, a healthier one as well.