Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Race

Yesterday, I had a grand time running The Great Race through the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. There were over 14,000 runners at the venue, 5000 of them running the 5k and the rest the 10k.

I was up by 6:15 a.m. to prepare myself for the start of the 5k at 8:00 a.m. I made sure the night before to go to bed as early as possible, so I could rest my muscles. I've always learned the earlier you go to bed, the better you feel the morning of a race. Also, take it from someone who decided to eat Italian food the night before running a half marathon, do not eat anything that you know could be difficult on your stomach the night before your race. If I do eat in the morning, it is usually something small like a granola bar or piece of fruit. I'm one of those runners who has to wait a couple of hours to digest before running, but I know some that can eat dinner and then run three miles easily. I don't like feeling nauseous when I run, so I usually won't even drink much water before I head out. Just know your body. Overtime you'll see what you can handle and what you can't handle.

After some much needed stretch time, I hurried up and got dressed, tied my Aasics extra tight, but not too tight, and headed to the shuttle that brought me to the start line. We arrived in Oakland around 7:30 and I immediately began to prepare myself for the run. In the past two years of running, I've learned that it is very important to warm up before a race, especially if it is cold outside. Since it was the morning, dew was still on the ground and the air was still cool. I knew I had to get my body temperature up, so my muscles would loosen up and not spasm during the race. As I looked around at the certified athletes, children, grandmas, grandpas, and families at the start line, I knew this was going to be one interesting race. One of the reasons why I love running so much is because anyone could grab a pair of running shoes and just go. There are no exclusions in running. Likewise, there are no exclusions for the reasons why a person runs. When I jumped off the bus to see a sea of runners of all stages and ages, the excitement in me rose and I was ready to run.

Before the gun went off, I had to do some much needed warm ups. I ran around the block a few times and did some jumping jacks. I also made sure to stretch out before I jumped behind the start line. The anticipation of waiting for the gun to actually go off is almost unbearable. I just clear my thoughts, say a prayer and focus. I wanted to beat my time from last year more than anything in the world. I had a goal with this race and I was going to give it my all to complete. Once the gun goes off and the runners slowly move through to the start line, the pressure of completing my goal can sometimes be hard to handle. It hits you like a pile of bricks once you realize you are actually running the race you have trained for, for months. I try my best to stay focused and listen to the pit pat of the runners shoes around me.

The best part of this race hands down is the volunteers. The people who cheer, the band that plays and of course those who pass out water are what keeps me going. It can be difficult to stay focused at times, but with people all around you cheering you on and being surrounded by people who all have a love for running gives you the feeling of pure excitement. In that moment I want to prove to everyone that I am a runner, even if I'm not the fastest I can still hold my own in a race.

Around mile two, I started to feel the burn like never before, but I needed to book it. I realized then that I shouldn't have started so far back at the start line. Doing so, definitely made my pace slower than usual. I kept on going as fast as I possibly could and tried to divert my attention to something else besides the pain I was in. Half way to the finish line and I took it up a notch. I knew I had to finish strong and I know I did. Even though I didn't complete my goal of beating my time from last year, I am still proud of myself. I did not have the time to train as much as I wanted to and I know I always have next year to improve. This year I clocked in at 30:27 and next year I will clock in at 28:00. I better start training now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facebook and Twitter Pages

Facebook Page 

 I created this Facebook page to reach out more to new runners. If you like my blog, please like my Facebook page. I will upload every post I do on my blog to my page, so please like the page to learn more about my running experiences and to hear my running advice. Thanks for the support!

Twitter Page

I also created a Twitter page to help broadcast my blog more. Please follow me on twitter to read about my blog posts. Once again, thanks for the support!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beginner's Blog

For Beginners Only Blog

Here's a link to a running blog from the Runner's World website.  It's very informative and has beneficial advice for runners. Below is my review of one of the posts.

The blog for beginners only is extremely helpful in understanding where to begin if you are a first time runner. The blogger comments about how important it is to have a goal with running. When I first began running, my goal was to get in shape. Before I knew it my goal became to run just to become an overall healthier person. I also enjoy the challenge of running. I compete with myself to see how fast or how far  I can really go.  Now that I run races, running does more than just help me stay in shape, it helps me to release any aggression or stress I have bottled up inside.

In this particular post, the blogger also discusses training plans. I can’t stress enough how vital it is to have a running plan if you want to become serious about running. If I don’t schedule in when I am going to run each day of the week, then I will never run when I’m supposed to. It is very easy to get side tracked and think of all important task you have to complete before the day is, but I always tell myself that my health comes before anything else.

Running plans are even more important when you are getting prepared for a race. This is when cross-training needs to become a part of your schedule. Simply put, cross-training is just a mixture of whatever workouts you like. For example, I love to run stairs and striders. Stairs help me to build muscle and  pick my legs up when I’m running, which helps to faster and endure more miles. Striders help me to work on my form. Like I said before, form is very important and striders will help you to find your form.

What I like most about this blog is what the blogger mentions about running every day of the week. Some people think you should run every day, but coming from someone who used to run every day, it’s really not a good idea. Like the blogger says, you have to give your body a break. You need “recovery time” or else your body can have a break down. Even just one day of rest was good enough for my body to recuperate.

Just like the blogger says in this post, your running plan needs to be what works for you.  I used to follow a running plan with my running partner, Miranda, but then I realized her running skills were way too advanced for me to follow the same plan. I would do some workouts with her, but I would make sure I did it at my own pace. In addition, as you continue to run and build more miles and become more advanced in cross-training then your goals with running will change, which means your running plan needs to change. I change my running plan up every month at least. I get extremely bored with running the same routes, so I will sometimes try new runs/workouts. Doing this helps me to grow as a runner.

This blog was written by a writer for Runner’s World, so I know its suggestions have merit to them. Taking advice about running if you are new runner is what will help you the most to get started. As always don’t forget to just shut up and run!

Here's my comment on the blog:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Perfect Form According to Runner's World

Runner's World has always been my go to guide for running. It has given me the best tips on running, which has without a doubt made me the runner I am today. The link below has seven great tips on running form. Like I said before, form is the most important aspect of running. Running takes a lot of energy out of you, and bad form will do nothing but take that energy away; therefore, you will not be able to run as fast and as long as you will like. When I first began running, I ran with my head down, my shoulders up and tense, my arms swinging into my chest and my feet dragging along the pavement. After reading the link below I'm sure you will understand why my form was so bad and why I was always in severe pain after I ran. Form does take time. I still haven't mastered mine, but I know I need to. I think the time to do so is right now. Shut up and run!

Tips for running form

Form means everything

Watch this video to learn good form.

The Great Race

Photos Courtesy of Google Images

One week from this Sunday, I will be participating in The Richard S. Caliguiri Great Race held in Pittsburgh. I ran the race last year and I fell in love with the course, which you can see above. The 5k track was not as difficult as I expected since it was mostly downhill, but the race is fun and fast paced just like the city it is held in. The freeway makes up a majority of this course, which can be challenging to run on since it is nothing but concrete. However, the sound of 'pit pat' coming from the runners shoes around me made it easier to stay focused on finishing the race. I highly suggest this course for new runners. It isn't too difficult,  yet it gives you a taste of running races. Unfortunately, registration is already closed since every running spot has been taken, but it is definitely a fun event to attend! My goal is to run the 5k at 28:00, which will beat my time last year of 29:30. Wish me luck because it is going to be a difficult week of training. I will without a doubt be telling myself to shut up and run.

Feeling Alive...

When I began running just two years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today. I would 'run' maybe two miles before I decided I needed to stop. In reality, I wasn't really running. I would run and then stop and then start back up again. Needless to say, my muscles were highly confused and, as a result, I was always in severe pain. 

Before I began running, my lifestyle wasn't the epitome of health. I was too busy with school and work to have enough strength for exercise. However, I knew I wanted to get in better shape before I began college. Slowly, I began to implement exercise into my life and trust me, it was awful. During the first few weeks I wanted to give up more than ever, but I knew I had to keep on. I had quit all other sports in high school because they were too aggressive for me, but with running the only person I was competing against was myself. And I just had to win the fight against the part of me that wanted to throw in the towel. 

Just one month into running, I became officially addicted. Even though I would barely be able to feel my knees, blisters had developed on my feet and my neck was throbbing, I could not stop. Running gave me a reason to wake up early every morning, and I'll admit I sort of enjoyed the pain I felt after each long run. Despite the pain running gave me, it made me feel healthier, cleaner and more alive. 

By fall of freshman year, I began running with a friend from high school who was an avid runner and who used to be just like me. The first day we ran she took me on a seven mile route. That was by far the worst running experience I have ever had. I couldn't even go three miles without stopping, but I tried my best to keep up with her 8:00 mile pace. I some how finished the run three hours later and I knew it was time for a change. 

My friend trained me to have better form, so I could run longer and faster. The pain I felt when I first began running was a result of my lack of good form. Form is the most important aspect of running. If a runner wants to be able to endure more miles and run them faster, fixing his or her's form is the first place to start. 

Miranda, my running partner, told me if I fixed my form I would be able to run forever. By the end of my first semester of college I could run 5 miles without stopping, and if wasn't the winter months I knew I could have gone longer. Before I knew it I was signing up for a half marathon and adding on more and more miles as the weeks went on and spring began.

My goal with this blog is to provide advice for those who are considering to add running to their schedule.  Running is easy to become addicted to, but first starting is a difficult task to conquer. I know this because I have been there. I have had the sore muscles, joints, blisters, moments of dehydration and even bouts of dry heaving. I know what it's like to run in 90 degree weather and 20 degree weather. I have had great runs and several frustrating runs, where I just wanted to stop. But I could never stop. What kept me going? Feeling alive. Each time my mind says, "Stop Kalea, this hurts," I say to myself shut up and run and I keep on moving.