Finding your pace


I think one of the hardest parts of starting a new fitness program is finding the right pace. More often than not we sprint out of the gate and wind up gassed and resentful of the exercise.

When I’m teaching class, I can always spot a new student over doing it. Sometimes this person leaves during class and sometimes they stick it out looking increasingly frustrated. Often when I see this, I give my running example to class.

Before I began running, I’d randomly hop on the treadmill and just start increasing the speed. After a minute, I’d think “I’m faster than this” and start increasing speed. Very quickly I was gassed and hated running. It was stupid, I wasn’t good at it and clearly, I wasn’t meant to run.

OR, my approach was totally defeatist! When I decided to truly give running a chance; I did a lot of research and decided to start with intervals. I walked for 2 minutes and ran for 1. In the beginning my run was too fast, but I was determined so I slowed down the run on the next interval and surprise – found a speed I could maintain. Who knew?

Over time, I learned how to find my pace. This doesn’t mean I didn’t get faster. My pace has certainly changed over time. I’ve been faster and slower, but I learned how to adjust and find where I need to be.

How does this relate to strength training? Almost the exact same way! It’s important to pick up a weight or choose an exercise that challenges you to start, but makes it hard on your last rep. If your first rep feels really hard, your tenth will be impossible and odds are you won’t like it. 

Whenever you enter a class or workout, look at the options and pick the right one for you. There is a lot of trial and error that goes into it and that’s ok. The idea is to not give up and find your personal sweet spot. It will make exercise that much more enjoyable because, yes – it should be mostly enjoyable!

Do you struggle with finding your pace? What helps get you on track?

Why I race!

Surprise, it’s not to win πŸ˜‰

I like goals

I do well with external motivation and races provide it in spades. You have to keep up some form of training. This becomes internal motivation as you go, but it is having a deadline and set distance that gets you started. There is also the group of people lining up with you at the start. Sometimes this gets you going a little too fast, but it often shows you what you’re capable of!

Sense of community

As you know, I love running with my husband, kids and friends; but we also see friends before and after running. As we’ve been doing it for a while, we now see many familiar faces and have made new friends along the way. At my pace, there’s always other people around and you build relationships along the course.

Accomplishment

There is nothing like crossing a finish line! Hopefully there are people cheering, and a nice big clock showing your time. This always fuels that last kick as you come across the finish. Knowing that line (and clock) are waiting for you really keeps you going. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small race or a big one, the finish still represents the end of a goal.

Celebration

Let’s be honest, a post race beer is extra delicious; but it doesn’t always happen. Many times we have obligations or the race is super early in the day. There is still plenty of celebrating at the finish line. There are high fives and lots of congratulating. Everyone crossing the finish has met a goal. For some it may not be the time they were hoping for, but crossing the finish is still something to celebrate!

Honestly, it’s fun!! I love everything about it. Sometimes I get a little cranky about it and then I get to the race and am re-energized immediately! If you’ve always wanted to try a race, go for it (with your doctors permission) and remember to soak in the whole experience 😊

Have you participated in a race?  What’s your favorite part?

Hyannis Marathon, Half & 10k ~ Recap

I must admit, I don’t know where to begin with this recap – there are so many emotions and stories! I guess I should just start at the beginning. After running the trilogy last year, my husband placed in the top ten and qualified for free entry in all three races this year.  

After lack luster (to put it mildly) training for the last race in October, I wasn’t too sure about doing it again. In the name of support and having a goal, I decided to join him again.

As the race approached, I read my recap from last year and felt that my training was actually pretty good. The weather looked great again and I started to get excited for race day. We met up with our friend to collect out trilogy jackets at the race expo and the excitement went to a new level.The buzz around this race is contagious!! You can’t help but get pumped! You know this is true because my friend spontaneously signed up for the 10k! I was through the roof to have a friend run with me!!

We got to the race nice and early as parking can be a challenge and enjoyed amazing people watching (one of my favorite activities πŸ˜‰). There are so many different types of people at this race. It is one of (if not the) last qualifiers for Boston. This means there are a lot of serious runners looking for great times. There are also lots of half marathoners training for Boston or accomplishing New Years resolutions.

As we were sitting there, the Hoyt’s came in and started getting ready. I don’t think there can be anything more inspiring! It really is such a treat to see them in person and know how much running has done for them and others!

We met up with a few other friends and headed to the start. My friend revealed her “Roger That” t-shirt during pre-race photos and I can assure you it was a huge hit along the course. I’m pretty sure it must be what it’s like to run with a celebrity. One of the college kids volunteering along the course even threw her a football around mile 3. Of course, I wasn’t paying attention and almost took it to the face, but I didn’t and she made an Edelman catch πŸ˜‰.

My friend hadn’t had the opportunity to train as extensively – because life happens. We decided to have fun and take it all in. I know she was a little frustrated and wanted me to go ahead, but I reminded her that I had talked her into it. I was so happy to have company!!

We finished and found out my husband had his best time – he was pretty excited. The three of us had some water and decided to go grab lunch. After battling our way out and getting to the restaurant we discovered my husband had won his division and the awards ceremony was about to start. Back to the race we went and luckily made it just in time for the awards ceremony. Here he is collecting his trophy from Frank Shorter (who won the Olympic gold medal for the Marathon in 1972 and silver in 1976).

We were doubly lucky to have gone back as they held up a found car key. Yup, it belonged to our group! It had fallen out of an arm strap designed to hold your phone and wait for it, key πŸ˜‰. Luckily all is well that ends well.After collecting his award and the key, we went to the after party for a post run beer 😊. It seems crazy to think I was considering not running. The day was everything I hoped for and I’m already looking forward to the next one!!

First Day 5k ~ 2017

You may recall, we ran this race last year and our youngest experienced every running emotion possible over three miles (you can read about it here). This year, we stayed at a New Year’s party until the ball dropped – making everyone a little tired. Of course, my husband and I still planned on going and “coerced” the little men out the door.

The weather was perfect for a January run in Massachusetts, sunny and 43*. The crowd was a little bigger than last year’s and everyone seemed in good spirits. We met up with one of my running friends as we were walking to get our numbers.  (Our color scheme wasn’t planned πŸ˜‰)As always, I ran with our youngest (carrying his inhaler), but this time the oldest joined us; rather than run ahead.  The boys and I picked our plan: running to a landmark the youngest picks, walking to the next one, etc.We had a great time, we talked and laughed and ran plenty!  It’s funny when you walk/run because you pass the same people along the course. There were a few families moving along at our pace making for a fun and festive time.

While it took some effort getting out the door, it was a great experience. I may have threatened that we won’t do it next year, but I changed my mind πŸ˜‰

CHiPS 10k+ Recap ~ only 4 months later

 Right after this race, I went away with my husband and came home to the end of school year joys and completely forgot to write a recap. As our latest race got closer I thought I would simply combine the recaps into one post, but they were such different experiences, I decided to write them separately!

Some of the specifics of this race have faded into the background. I had to look up my pace and the temperature, details that aren’t important anymore. What I do remember vividly is the feeling I had while running and after!

  My friends were running the half and we came up with a plan to pace ourselves steady and slow from the beginning. I decided I would take pictures along the way and just enjoy the course.

We chatted the entire time and the miles seemed to cruise right by. I remember distinctly thinking how are we already to mile 5? It just felt good and fun to be with my running friends. Eventually we parted ways as they continued along and I turned back towards the finish.

  One detail I remember very clearly is the distance of the race! A few days before the event, an email was sent explaining that the cute little plus was a whole mile ~ eek! I had never run 7 miles before. It wasn’t even on my radar.

I knew my legs would carry me through and they did. I had finally reached a point in my training that allowed for extra distance without too much thought. How could I just tack on an extra mile? Seems crazy to me even now!

The day was a great success and I was very happy with the whole experience!

Live Like Renee 5k Recap

  
Funny story, while I haven’t been blogging, I also haven’t been running. Coincidence, I think not ;). I did run a 10k+ at the end of May and I will be sharing about that race in a later post.

Since I last wrote, I have simply been busy being a mom and getting in what I can. With school back in session and a 10k on Sunday, I’ve been trying to get back in the swing of things while not getting discouraged.

While I’m not in the same running shape as I was in the past, it is my lack of mental strength that is the most frustrating! Like all muscles, it is slowly coming along and has taken a little tough love; but improvement is improvement.

This next race is the third part of a trilogy and would probably not be happening if I weren’t a crazy person. You can’t run 2 out of 3 – that’s just silly!

While trying to win the mental battle and find miles at any cost, I decided to sign the boys and I up for a local, charity 5k (my husband was traveling for business). The course is beautiful and one I run often, so it seemed like a good idea.

While my friends and I have been trying to figure out how in the world we are going to run our distances next weekend, we brought it back to basics and the reliable run/walk method. Right where I started with the run for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute system from Jeff Galloway.

I figured I would apply the method to the 5k and see how it felt. Our youngest wound up spectating as his asthma was acting up, but the oldest and I went to the starting line feeling a little underprepared.

The oldest bolted from the start and I set into my 2/1 system right away. It worked like a charm. Not only did it keep me in a good routine, but the time flew! I wasn’t thinking about anything other than counting down to the next walk/run interval. In the end, I finished with an 11 minute pace all the way through. Certainly not speedy, but not that far off from my usual time. 

 Our oldest was a little disappointed with his time (29:34 – still 5 minutes ahead of me) as he went out too fast, but he was happy to have done it and wants to train more in the future.

Sometimes I can’t believe that I can go out and tackle a 5k without a lot of preparation. Struggling through my first mile seems like yesterday and a million years ago at once. 

The running bug is coming back strong! My legs are feeling pretty good and I love running with my friends! Of course, we’ll see how next week goes – yikes!

  

3 years (and 1 month), 1161 miles, Friendship and Family

  
This is the hardest recap to date. I find I’m struggling with perspective on a year that saw new adventures and unevenness in commitment. In many ways, it seems to be my new normal.

The blahs…

Honestly, I can’t blame last winter (but how how convenient it would be to blame all that snow) – it was all me. By accident, I learned that I had reached a point in my running that I could pull off a race without a lot of training. It may not be my best time, but it wasn’t even that far off. Training seemed unimportant (eek!)

There were months with a lot of miles and months with very few miles; yet there were miles. Even when it didn’t seem like much, I would get out and walk. The hardest part was deciding to run when walking seemed just fine.

Time to run…

As the boys get older, my schedule continues to change. This is obvious, yet hard to get a handle on. I’ve said before that I try not to say we are busy (all the time) and accept it as normal. To sound like a teenager, “all of my friends are doing it too!”

I’m pretty good at sneaking in running time, but it is definitely the first thing to go. My goal for the summer is to be more consistent in my running. I’ve been pretty good about it, but last summer was pitiful. 

Friendship…

This year saw not only running with my usual partner in crime, but reconnecting with an old friend. We had lost our ways when our kids were tiny and we live 30 minutes apart. A mutual love of running has allowed us to meet mid-way and chat through our miles.

I can’t imagine running without my friends. They help get me out and keep me going. It is always a highlight within my week!

Family…

Not only have I expanded my friend circle, but my family circle as well. My husband and I never thought we would run more than a 5k, this year we ran our first 10k and 5+ mile legs of a marathon relay and a 5 miler! We’ve already run as many races in 2016 as we did in the spring and fall of last year. Pretty crazy!

There has also been the welcome addition of our youngest running 5Ks. Our oldest has enjoyed them and we are now at a point where we trust him on the course by himself. The youngest was a little more hesitant. Mainly because of his asthma. We worked out an agreement where I run with his inhaler and he runs with me. Somehow, he already has three races under his belt.

We are at the beginning of their busy sports season and I’m not sure how many races they’ll run this spring, but it has been amazing to include them in the fun. It’s only a matter of time before they are both speeding by me on the course.

Sharing the running bug…

I am asked about running often, probably because I talk about it so much ;), and I have to say it has given me so much more than I ever imagined. When I am contemplating (arguing in my head) about walking or running on any given day – I remember how much I enjoy the race and time with my friends and family.

When I started running and followed runners on social media, I would get frustrated when people would post “a quick 5k today” because I was still struggling to get through a 5k. Now, 3 miles doesn’t seem far (I’m still not quick) and I get it. I vividly remember the struggle to get through one mile and I’m not going back to it!

Some days and weeks are easier than others, but it has all been worth it!