Sunday, February 16, 2014

Running for Beginners

My lovely sister Lauren (who blogs over at Faith and Macaroni) has started to run and has desperately begged me for some tips... so here they are.  And, as always, excuse my cell phone pictures.  I might be the only blogger that doesn't own a real camera.

P.S.  She has an awesome giveaway going for one of her handmade creations- custom burp rags, key chain thingy, baby toy, or sunglasses case.  You should enter.

In fact, here are her exact words:

Just finished day one of couch to 10k. I am optimistic that I will not die during this. Madison-I'm still waiting on my dedicated blog post from you entitled "How To Run If You're A Moron and Signed Up For a 10k In 60 Days and By the Way, You Hate Running." K, Thanks."

1.  Get some proper shoes and socks.  New and shiny things are always motivating.  Plus they will keep you from getting sidelined and frustrated from an injury later.  Socks aren't as important for injury prevention, but believe me from experience-- blisters are the worst.  Your local running store will be awesome.  I promise.  They will get you fitted for shoes and give you all of the new running advice you could ever want- where to run in your town, popular races, training techniques, ect.  Also from experience, buy your shoes bigger than you think you need them.  Otherwise your toenails will fall off. And your feet will be ugly during the summer.  Actually, as a runner, you can go ahead and assume that your feet will never look as nice as they did before you started running (but proper shoes and socks will definitely help).

2.  Listen to yourself.  Sure, listening to advice from seasoned runners is awesome, but there are some calls that you need to make yourself.
  • "Oh these shoes are really great, they are awesome.  You should wear them."  They might be awesome shoes, but if you try them on and you immediately hate them, don't feel like you need to wear them for the rest of your life.
  • "Oh you are ready to ..."  Motivation from other runners is one of the best things about the sport, but if you feel like you are putting yourself at risk for an injury, don't do it.  That is what leads to stress fractures, ect.
3. Don't refer to running as jogging.  Just don't.

4. If you run, no matter how fast, you are a runner.

5. Subscribe to Runner's World (or -Lauren- take the old copies from your little sister).  It is confusing and overwhelming at first, but it will teach you all the tips, tricks, and terms.  (Just kidding, there aren't many tricks in running.  Just miles.  But it will help you make your miles more meaningful).  I picked up Runner's World when I was a beginner.  I am pretty sure it was the marathon issue.  I was completely overwhelmed, but I learned quite a few things, even in the marathon issue.  They cover everything from shoes and gear to training plans and strengthening exercises.

6. Eventually, you will need to buy a technical t-shirt.  Running in a "real" running shirt will change your life.  Especially if you live in Charleston.  I will do a gear post soon.  I promise.  Especially because I just got some new things that I am dying to share reviews about.

This one is on my wishlist...
7. Get over the fact that you may look like a dork when you are running.  Yes, runners may sometimes wear a fuel belt- a glorified fanny pack, or a hydration pack, but nobody is judging you.  We all feel the pain.  For the record, I had a Nathan fuel belt (for one big bottle) once upon a time.  I didn't like it, and I now run with a Gregory Dipsea hydration pack and I love it, but see advice #2.

Embrace your inner fuel belt fashion.
Headlamp selfie.  There are now 10 of those on my phone.

8. Find a routine that works for you.  Just because everybody else you know runs in the evening doesn't mean that you have to.  Find the routine that works best for you and stick with it.

9. (Eventually,) get an app for your phone(free), a GPS watch($$-$$$$$$$$$$$$$), something to track your runs.  Initially it is perfectly fine to run by time (and even some very, very, very advanced runners still run by time), but I prefer knowing how far/fast I have run.

10.Have fun.  I know this is cliche, but you won't keep doing something that you hate, so enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It is wintertime...

School is cancelled today AND tomorrow!  Bridges are closed.  Everything is closed.  The roads are yucky, and so are the sidewalks.  So naturally I had to go for a run after the news anchor told me to stay off of the sidewalks.  Now, I am not an expert at winter running.  Winter running is a very rare thing in Charleston.  Cold weather- sometimes.  Snow- very rarely.  I had fun trying not to fall on my face though.  (And it was slow, but successful).
This may not look like a lot of snow, but it is a lot for Charleston.  We haven't seen snow in a few years!

I have been spending the day reading Runner's World and trying to stay warm.

Stay warm and safe out there on those streets!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review

My puppy turned 1.  And had a birthday party with the rest of her litter where they wore party hats.  How cute.

Somebody didn't want anyone else to use their wifi.  (Aka... nothing eventful happened to me.)
I started this lovely blog!
I did a group run for Boston and it was the coolest thing I have ever done.

I finished my second half-marathon!
I ran a 5K and placed in my age group (even though it was just a funish run for me).
I did a run streak.
Lauren Fleshman responded to a comment I left on her blog.  Yes I screen-shotted it.
I celebrated National Running Day.
I drank Cheerwine (but not for the first time, of course) and I swam.  A lot.
My niece finally arrived!!! Two days after my birthday! Go check out pictures on my sisters blog at  She literally has the craziest hair now.
I ran the ALS HOPE race in memory of my wonderful Aunt Tina.
I gave blood.  You should too!
I ran the hilliest 10K ever.  Well for Charleston.  There is my shoe.
I ran my 3rd half-marathon at Kiawah.

What was your favorite moment of 2013?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kiawah Island Half-Marathon 2013

December 14, 2013

Thomas, my brother-and-law, came to pick me up bright and early at 5:45 to carpool to Kiawah.  Unfortunately, I slept through all my alarms, but fortunately Thomas was there to wake me up or I probably would have slept through the race.  Luckily, we made it to the race with plenty of time to spare.  We took a bus to the start from a parking lot since there is not enough parking on the race itself.  We met some very nice marathoners who we had a conversation with.  This was slightly intimidating too- he wanted to run a very fast marathon- all I wanted to do was run a sub-2:00 half-marathon.  Oh well.  He was nice.  As most runners are.

At the start.
We got to the start.  I lined up with the 9 minute mile pacer.  The first two miles clocked in at an 8'30" pace.  Waaayyyyy to fast.  I double checked the sign- 9' mile pace.  So I slooooweeed waaayyyy down.  Sooooo much energy wasted.  Boo.  Boo.   I was able to maintain my pace for the next few miles, but by mile 8 I was all done.  The last 5 miles were rough.

The course was gorgeous!!
Training for this was a bust.  Sleep got chosen a lot of times over training.  My long runs were better than normal, but overall training was worse.  Disappointing race for sure, but the course, volunteers, and employees of the resort were awesome!!  The aid stations were well stocked and well organized.  The food afterwards was delicious and everything about the race was well done.  No complaints.  My time was disappointing, but I really enjoyed the race.

Mile 13- Almost Done!!!

 I am so excited for a fresh start in the new year.  I will have a year recap and future goals post soon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Random Finds

1. Foam Rolling 101- this is the basics of what you should be foam rolling.  I have had a foam roller forever (made one here), but haven't been using it to its fullest potential.  But now I am (a few tight runs later).

2.  Plantar Warts* A plantar wart may look like a little bump with a pinhole through it.  Mine was little bitty and it felt like I had an embedded splinter in my foot.  PSA: it doesn't have to look like your typical wart (cauliflower pattern).  Your foot callusing (runners- I am talking to you)- might just cover it up.  I went to the doctor because I thought I had something stuck in my foot.  I waited for 30 minutes only for my doctor tell me it was a wart after a 3 second look at it.  Awkward taco moment.

Also, under no circumstances should you ever look up plantar warts on google images, that was gross. And, I learned that my foot problems do not compare to others'.

3.  French Fry Holder.  Only in America.  Only at KMart.

4. Knitting and Running
Somebody knitted a scarf and ran a marathon here.  Crazy.

5. I ate McDonalds after a Thanksgiving feast.  My sister and I ate Thanksgiving as lunch, got hungry at 9 pm before going black friday shopping at 10.  Nothing was open except McDonalds.  Bad decision.  My stomach was not happy during all the shopping (even though I only had a snack wrap- although my sister's decision to eat a cheeseburger was probably more painful).  Also trying on clothes after a Thanksgiving meal is difficult.  I definitely had a food baby.

*I am not a medical professional.  I am not responsible for your foot problems.  This is just based on my experiences.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Giving Blood

Why You Should Give Blood:

I gave blood today.  Here is why you should consider it:

1.  It saves lives (the most important thing).

2.  There are free cookies afterwards!  (Today we even had Chick-fil-a)!

3. You can figure out your blood type.  For free.  People pay money for that- the Red Cross sends you a card with that info on it- fo' free!

4.  You can justify that piece of Reese's Cheesecake after dinner.  It was soooo good!

5. If you forget to tell them to do it in your non-dominant arm (like I did)- you don't have to do much with that arm for the rest of the day.

(Those were meant to be humorous-- do it to save lives!! The rest are just fun perks!)

Running and Blood Donation

Ok, it is not advisable to do this one week out from a race, but if you do it mid-week, surrounded by easy runs, you will be fine.  Check with the organization you are donating with and they will tell you how it should affect you, when not to exercise, ect.  Runner's World has also written some articles about the best way to cycle it into your training:


Eat your iron before you go (and in life in general).  They will test you for iron so that your body can healthily regenerate blood cells after you give blood.  This is especially for women athletes (so most of us)- it is possible for our iron to get low- so watch out.

The Process

1. Sign in.
2. Mini Physical- blood pressure, health and travel risks, temperature, ect. (They don't want sick/infectious people donating... obviously).
3. Then they sit you down in the chair with a stress ball.  They clean your arm, give you a Sprite (so you don't pass out), and mark your vein.  Here comes the fun part- the stick.  The lady will say "You will just feel a little poke."  Wrong.  I looked down and the needle was, in the words of my father, "the size of a drinking straw."  Yes, it was VERY large.  I was bit worried, but once it is in, you mostly can't feel it.  The actual "insertion" hurt a little bit, but it was not terrible.  Don't let the big needle deter you.  Honestly, it is not that big of a deal.  Blood will flow out into a bag.  They take the needle out, and put a band-aid and a wrap on your arm when it stops bleeding.

4. The Feast- cookies, pretzels, food so you don't pass out!  Yummy!
5.  Your arm will be a little sore, but it is well worth it.  (Next time, I will ask for it on my left arm, because it made writing, driving, ect. difficult for the first few hours-- which is why I am currently typing).

I don't judge you for not giving blood, but if you are able, please consider donating.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Race Bucket List

I just looked and I forgot to post last week.  Sorry... This weeks post will surely make up for that!

Race "Bucket List"

1. Downhill at Dawn- this is a downhill (hence the name) half marathon that starts early in the morning: at 6:00.  It runs through the mountains of North Carolina near our mountain house so it would be fun.  All of that downhill running would be painful, I am sure, but better than uphill, right?!

2. Boston Marathon- some people are opposed to having a race that you have to qualify, and I agree that running should be an open sport, but I think that it is kind of cool that you have to qualify.  This might be distant- I am not ready for a marathon, yet, and I definitely have some time work to do, but I really want to do it.   Especially because of what happened this past year.

3. Nike Women's Half-Marathon Washington DC
I love Washington DC and I really really wanted to run this race last year, but it was just too far to go for two days!  I want to run it someday because I have heard Nike puts on a good race and I love DC so of course I want to run this race.

Those are the three for now and I know that they pop into my head all the time, so I will have to do an updated post (or maybe a tab) later!