Friday, July 23, 2010

Stuck on Slow

I think I’m stuck in a rut. I’m still running – trying to get in at least 20 miles most weeks. But on each run, I seem to be stuck on slow. I don’t know if it’s the heat or not having a race to train for but I seem to be in slow mode.

Plus, I’ve been kinda quiet in the blogosphere so here’s a rundown of what’s been going on in my running life for the last few weeks:
  • I’m breaking in a new pair of running shoes. I usually run in Brooks Adrenaline GTS and I like my Brooks but I won a pair of New Balance 760 in a raffle so I’m giving them a try and so far so good. They’re comfortable but the soles aren’t as firm as my Brooks. My longest run in them has been 8 miles and my feet felt fine so they’re keepers.
  • I took a few trips. I went to New York/New Jersey and Michigan. The humidity and heat in the Tri-State area was pretty intense. I only ran once and I was spent by the time I had finished. My trip to Lake Michigan was great. I ran along the water one morning. The weather was perfect for it – 60s and breezy. I told my husband we have to go back. The water was beautiful.
  • I started a new job. Adjusting to a new work schedule coupled with the heat changed up my running schedule. I really wanted to run in the morning but the local park and running trails don’t officially open until 7 a.m., which doesn’t allow me enough time to run and get ready for work. I told myself I was going to get up at 5:30 a.m. and run in the neighborhood but the one time I did that, I saw how dark it was and went back to bed. I don’t like running in the dark alone. I don’t feel safe. So that leaves running after work, which I do from time to time, and cross training on the days when it’s too hot to run.
  • I figured out a simple solution to my sports bar woes – wear two. I’ve been doubling up for about a month and haven’t had any chaffing problems. Plus I can now run in tank tops. I should have thought of that a long time ago.
  • I’ve been bike riding with my husband, although we fell off the wagon since our vacations. Our longest ride was 18 miles. Cycling is great cross training so I’m enjoying it. Plus my husband refuses to run outside of the gym so this is something we can do together.

So what am I going to do to break out of my running funk? Well my running partner, who is faster than me, is running again. She broke her foot the day before the Glass City Marathon and had to take two months off from running. Now she’s healthy and we’ve been running together. Most of our outings so far have been long runs and we run at a fairly moderate pace. We’re planning to do tempo and speed workouts but they haven’t started yet. Also several of the local running stores offer marathon and half marathon training programs to get folks ready for fall races. We’re been doing the group long runs on Saturday mornings. It’s been a great way to meet people and running with a group always pushes me.

How about you? What do you do to break out of your running ruts?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sun Safety

Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer but people have been baring plenty of skin while running for weeks and I’m one of them. It’s hot and I’m trying to stay cool.

For me, when the clothes start to come off, the sunscreen goes on. I’ve faithfully used a sports sunscreen on my body for years but can’t say the same about my face. I did use a facial moisturizer with SPF but felt like I needed more protection. This year I decided I was going to find a sunscreen for face that was suitable for my active lifestyle. I wanted a sunscreen with a high SPF that wouldn’t run in my eyes or cause breakouts. There are several on the market but after trying a few, I choose Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55. It’s very water resistant and retains SPF after 80 minutes of activity in the water.

Regardless of the brand you choose, we all need to use screen. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1 million basal and squamous skin cancers are found each year and there are more than 68,000 new cases of melanoma. Since runners are out in the sun a lot, we need to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. I also slap on a hat or a visor and wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light.

The skin on our faces is fragile. Not only do I want protection from skin cancer but the premature aging sun damage can cause. What type of sunscreen do you use and why?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When Bugs Attack

April showers bring May flowers and bugs are definitely in the mix. All that rain we’ve experienced so far this year has provided the puddles and ponding necessary for a healthy bug population.

Lately when I’ve been running and riding, I’ve had to watch how I breathe to make sure I don’t swallow any bugs.

I had a particularly bad bug encounter last fall, about a month after I had moved to Northwest Ohio. I went running in a wooded preserve like I did every Wednesday but this time it was one day after a heavy rain. The bugs were out in full force. I had to cut my run short after a mile. I had bugs in my hair, in my eyes and all over my clothes. There were plenty of people out running but I couldn’t take it anymore. I went home and debugged in the shower. I learned my lesson and haven’t done that again.

Now that the weather has warmed up, the bugs are back. I’ve been breathing through my nose and really careful when I breathe through my mouth. If I do shallow one, at least I hear I’ll get some protein but I hope that doesn’t happen. Wish me luck.