Good and Bad Runs, Ipods and My(Difficult)Quest to Step Lightly

Hi everyone! No race reports from last weekend. We had considered running one on Saturday but decided to skip it and take the kids (and Flat Stanley – my nephew’s book project) to the Jackson Zoo and State Capital. It was such a fun day and even though we could have run the race that morning and then gone on our trip, we might have felt a little less than energetic by the time we got home that night.

Buckled in and ready for an adventure with our family!

Since I don’t have a race recap to give you, I thought I’d ramble on about a few things that have gone through my thoughts this week while I was running or during my few and far between moments of quiet time around here.

Isn’t it amazing how you can run one day and feel like you are most likely the worst runner that’s ever stepped foot on the earth and then, a couple of days later, you go for a run and feel like you could go on forever? This was my experience a few days ago and then on Monday. Last week it was hot and I mean super hot. (I’m sure you get so tired of hearing me fuss about heat but, guess what, it’s only going to get worse because summer is coming, haha!) I decided to go for a run on Thursday afternoon. Jason said to bring the kids, along with the jogging stroller,and he would just meet up with me after he finished up his run because he was already running at the same place. I’d been talking to my friend, Stephanie that day, who’s just beginning her journey as a runner, and she said she’d love to come along and run with me. We’ve tried several times to get together for a run with no success, so I was thrilled that we’d actually get to go. She’s still doing running with walking mixed in and I thought, since it was so warm, it would be a great day for me to take it slow and enjoy getting back to the basics. We all met up as Jason was finishing and I could tell by the sweat pouring off of him that it was going to be a lot hotter of a run than I had anticipated. I grabbed up my Ipod and ushered Steph over to our starting point, making sure to only put one earbud in my ear so we could visit a little while we ran but I could still hear my music too. I, probably like at least a few of you, don’t like running “unplugged”! For some people, they’d rather hear their breathing and feet hitting the road and stay in tune with their body. For me, I’d rather have something moving me along, especially on those runs when I start to struggle. Sometimes it just takes turning on that certain song and I can switch off my left brain that’s trying really hard to convince me to stop and switch my right brain on and push through until I feel strong again. I think if I only had my labored breathing and sluggish sound of my feet to listen to during that time, I’d probably not be able to make it. That being said….we weren’t more than 2 or 3 mins into our run and my Ipod stopped. (Noooooo!!) I was in shock at first but then remembered what was going on. Now that I have my Nike watch keeping up with my running, I don’t bring my Ipod inside after every run and plug it in to recharge it/upload. I had a miniature freak out and then decided I shouldn’t set a bad example for my new-at-running buddy. I did complain outloud (just a bit!) but decided that we’d probably visit more without the musicΒ  anyway. Problem was, since she was walking/running and I was running/running, we weren’t together the entire time. I would run with her and then when she’d stop for a walk break, I’d run ahead and then turn around and come back to meet her. By that time, she’d be ready to run a little more and then we’d repeat the process. (Did I mention it was really hot that day?) By the time we had about a mile left, she told me to go on ahead and finish my part of the run out. I did it but was suffering from the torture of having no music and lack of air to breathe. After I finished, I trotted back to Steph and walked back with her. Jason had been taking pictures of us as we started our run out and was taking some of us coming back too. I was so thankful he didn’t snap any of me after I’d finished because it would have been ugly, lol! I gave Stephanie a quick hug and told her goodbye and was secretly a little happy that she didn’t stick around to see my misery in full force. I was nearly lying down on the back of Jason’s car, eyes clenched shut in pain because so much sweat had gotten in them, and feeling like I had probably just done the worst job in the world at being a good example of a runner. Honestly, for a day or two, I really began to wonder if I was losing my running mojo. That’s not a good feeling, by the way.

Just beginning our run. Pretty sure at this point my Ipod had already fizzled for the day.

Zach and Zoe relaxing in the jogging stroller.

I was pretty disgusted with how my run turned out that day but, keeping in mind that a bad run on one day can make your next good run feel great, I headed out on Monday to try again. I was thankful for much cooler temps and a chance to redeem myself from my less than impressive performance a few days before. It was a cloudy, unseasonably cool day and it felt wonderful! I went there knowing I was going to run more than 3 miles but also knew that I couldn’t run as far as I wanted because our cat was at the vet and had to be picked up by 5:30. It was already almost 4pm so I scrapped my dreams of running 7 or 8 miles and opted for a little over 4-ish. The run that day was one of those that I didn’t want to end. I felt great, the weather felt great, my Ipod worked great…everything was..well, great. I’m not sure if it was truly the best run I’d had in a while because it was that good or if it just was in comparison to the train wreck of a run from Thursday. Either way, I finished feeling strong and excited that probably weren’t as bad as I had thought they were. I’ve said over and over that the heat is basically my kryptonite. Now I just need to remind myself of this when I have a bad run on really hot days!!

Now here’s something I’d like to ask you about: How do you run? Do you startle people when you approach them from behind because of your stealth-like stepping or is there no need to say a word because your feet do all the “talking” as you clip-clop along? Unfortunately for me, I’m in the second category. As I mentioned on the Run Like a Mother page today, I feel like a Clydesdale when I’m running (and not in the glorious, majestic way). I make so much noise and I know it’s not a good thing but I don’t know how to stop! Believe me, I’ve tried. Yesterday, while out running with my husband (who’s not only a faster runner than me but a stealth-stepper too), he was trying to help show me (again) how to take those ever elusive lighter steps. I tried and tried but no matter how I changed my stepping, the noise stayed! What’s the deal? His theory is that I’m pressing down with my foot (into the road) instead of pushing the pavement away. Seriously, I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to this. I know what I need to be doing but somehow I can’t implement it. I’ve heard that Chi Running was helpful in learning how to run lighter and wearing Vibrams can help too. I’m sure I’m losing a lot of energy by pounding it into the pavement and I’d probably even knock off some of my time if I could ever figure it out. Have any of you had this experience and how did you fix it? I’d love to hear any suggestions that you might have for me!! I’m going to post a pic of my feet while I’m running. Maybe you can see a problem that I don’t?

How's my driving?

Β I forgot to mention that our run yesterday (besides obsessing over every step I took) was a really good one again. It was another cool afternoon and the company wasn’t so bad either. πŸ™‚ I love being able to run with Jason although I know he probably feels like he’s going at a snail’s pace, he never complains, only encourages me and that means a lot to me.

So, those are a few of my thoughts this week. Zach is already out of school for the summer and my older kids have next week and they’ll be finished, which means our Florida vacation will be just around the corner! Our racing will significantly slow down during the heat of the summer but I’m sure I’ll still have more than enough to blog about. I’ve still got to fill you in on our Nike watches, some of my supplement/eating tips and I’ve got to keep you up to date on my quest to become a quiet runner (and faster one too).

In regards to my Ipod dependence that I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see how many of you have (or don’t have) a music dependency when you run. So, here’s a quick poll I’ve set up just for you:

One more thing! My blog has had over 3000 hits as of this week since I created my first post on March 22, 2011. This is so exciting for me (even though I’m sure some blogs get that many a day, lol) because when I started out, I figured I’d have mostly family and a few friends reading it. I never dreamed that I’d have as many readers as I do and I want to thank YOU for that! I also appreciate all of my other fellow bloggers that have linked my site to theirs, Rod’s Racers for promoting my blog and Facebook page and to the ladies at Another Mother Runner for profiling my blog on their site and sending a lot of new readers my way.

Thanks again to all of you for being such an encouragement to me! (And for looking over my writing errors that I’m quite certain I miss sometimes.) πŸ™‚


Filed under Family, Running

11 responses to “Good and Bad Runs, Ipods and My(Difficult)Quest to Step Lightly

  1. Dan Beets

    Hi Gina,

    I had no idea you were a runner. Leslie and I recently read “Born to Run” and I have decided to give it a go. Big difference between reading about running and actually doing it though. I found a “couch to 5k” guide to help kick things off. Wish me luck! Hope everything is going well for you and the family. Try to stay out of the heat. πŸ˜‰

    Dan Beets

    • Hey Dan! I’m so glad that y’all have decided to give it a try. The couch to 5k will be a great way to get started and I think that you’ll really enjoy once you do. Just remember that all of your runs won’t be great ones (as I mention often in my blogs, lol) but they are all worth it – even in the heat. πŸ˜‰ Let me know how it’s going!! Oh and did you see my blog post about meeting Chris McDougall? Our family is doing great and I hope yours is too. It seems like forever since I’ve seen any of y’all. It’s great hearing from you and good luck with your running! πŸ™‚

  2. Kristyn G

    I’m not sure how loud my feet are—can’t hear them over my music πŸ˜‰
    I have to have tunes when I am running by myself, but on the very few occasions that I have a running buddy, I usually ditch the tunes (but not the ipod-got to get those miles logged in to Nike+) and prefer conversation. It makes the run go by SO much faster.
    Hasn’t the weather this week been great? I think it is gone for good as of today though! oh, and next time you are on the coast, you may want to stop in at Run-n-Tri and let them do a gate analysis on you (if you haven’t before). They may have some other tips for any improvements that could be made to your running form.

    • Kristyn,
      You are so right about the music, lol! I never knew how loud my feet were until my husband mentioned it because my music is always so loud, haha. I’ve loved the weather this week and hope somehow we’ll have more like this before summer is in full swing! I have Run-n-Tri as a Facebook friend but didn’t realize they do gate analysis. Thanks for the info! My cousin is running in the 5k down there this weekend — wish we could make it down and run too! Hope you have a great rest of the week!

  3. Tracy M.

    I definitely clomp around like Bigfoot when I run. I have consciously tried to run lighter, but just can’t figure it out, either. Oh, and since we’re “sharing”, the other thing I don’t “get” is the mid-strike and toe-strike! I heel-strike, for sure, most likely contributing to the whole Bigfoot running style of mine. Yep, I’m pretty much a hot mess when I run….

    • I used to be a big time heel runner until I royally messed myself up with shin splints and then a stress fracture. I think if it hadn’t been for that, I’d probably still be running heel first. I had to work really hard to try and stop stepping that way and even though I do “better” I’m pretty sure I’m still not doing something correctly since I’m still clomping my feet. I’ve had a few people recommend Chi Running and also I’m going to try wearing my Vibrams some. I’ve heard that wearing them will help self-correct the problem…so we’ll see, lol.
      I’m sure I’m a hot mess when I run too, so don’t feel bad, lol!! At least we’re out there trying! πŸ™‚

  4. Ha! People can barely hear my clod-hopping feet over my heavy panting. Seriously, I’ve just begun this running journey with my husband. I’ve never been a runner. Dont’ really like running, but I’m doing it to get healthy and to help my husband, too. I just posted about my first experience with an MP3 player…loved it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to run without it now. I need the motivation.

    • Music is so important to me when I’m running. I’m sure I breathe pretty loudly too but since I have my music turned up full volume, I don’t have to hear it, lol. πŸ˜‰ That’s great that you’re getting out there and giving it a try! I hope you will begin to love it like I (and so many others) have. Just give it a little time and don’t push too hard so your body can adjust. Congrats on being a runner now!! πŸ™‚

    • I think your blog is great, btw!!

  5. Hi Gina! Love your blog. You give me hope that speed will come in due time. πŸ˜‰ LOL I def. don’t clomp when I run. I battled some shin/inner ankle issues pretty major last fall and since getting new shoes, shortening my stride a bit it seems to be that I pound a little less.
    Good luck on your adventure to be a little lighter on your feet!

    • Thank you, Jamie! I visited your blog too and it looks like you are well on your way to faster running! I admire you for your cycling too. I haven’t ventured out in that arena yet! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll come back by sometime!
      Have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

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