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Your Questions… My answers!

So I gave you guys the option to ask me any question you wanted and I would answer it to the best of my ability. Here goes nothing! :) It’s A LOT of writing, but I tried to be descriptive and helpful!! :)

Kirbey asked : Please please give us your opinion on how to go about increasing mileage. For instance – I just finished my first half, now what? Should I go for a faster time on another half or should I begin training for a full marathon?

Alright! This is a big one. Honestly, you can do whatever you want. If you weren’t happy with your time, work on some speed work during your training and that should help decrease your finishing time. You can do whatever you want. If you want to start looking for a marathon, do it! Don’t be scared of anything, and believe in yourself. I first signed up for the Long Beach Half and then I signed up for another half not long after that. I was content just running half’s for a while and I do love running half marathons still! If you want to run half’s, run half’s. If you want to try the full, find one and sign up for it. I really feel that signing up for a race makes you work towards that goal because of the ‘deadline’. Lastly, no matter what your goals are, do something because you love it. Not because of the pressure, or because you feel like you have to. I enjoy running so much because it’s for ME. I think the moment that it isn’t for yourself it becomes work and isn’t fun anymore. So, do what YOU want! :)

As for increasing mileage. When I first started training for my first half marathon a year ago, I upped my long runs by a mile a week. When I trained for Long Beach Marathon this past October I upped my mileage for my long runs by a mile a week as well. This works well for me because each week I tell myself it’s only one more mile than the previous  week. You can increase your mileage however you want if you are into that, but just increase your mileage slowly if you haven’t run that distance before. Starting out slow is the best advice I can give anyone when starting running or upping mileage.

Tri Girl asked: Do you find you lose weight from all your running?  Or do you just maintain?  and also 2.  When you do your long runs (15+ miles) do you ever have any issues with pain in areas that you usually don’t have pain?  Such as a new pain in your leg or foot that you normally don’t feel when doing shorter runs?  If so, what do you do?  Continue on? Stop your run?  I have pains during long runs (always in the same spots… behind my right knee and the top of my right foot) that I don’t have during short runs, and I never know if I should stop running or just grit my teeth and continue on?

The weight question. I really don’t mind discussing this at all. I gained nearly 50 pounds when I graduated from high school and stopped running competitively, and since graduating from college, I’ve dropped down twenty pounds again, but I also started running much more consistently. Though the number on the scale doesn’t always sound like a good number to me, I feel great and am somewhat healthy. I have come to realize that the number on the scale is just a number. Sometimes I wish it was smaller than what it is, but I can’t change it unless I go on a strict diet and really restrict myself from what I love to do, EAT! Also, I know I’m okay because I do maintain the same number, it seems like, no matter what I do! Weight is such a weird topic to so many, and though sometimes I wish I weighed less, I am what I am, and I’ve come to learn that that’s how it’s going to be. I don’t go out of my way to eat overly healthy and that’s okay with me at this point in my life. Also, I talked more about weight on this post.

About the pain in long runs. I do experience this to a certain extent, but I never have gotten pain that I have never gotten before. Most of my ‘long run pain’ is in my lower back and my butt. I know this is because of some sciatic nerve problems and because I have a history of back problems throughout my entire life. Most of the time it’s pain I have experienced on a long run before so I know I just have to get through it and ice it after I get home. I have cut a few runs short because of it on occasion and sometimes I just accept that the miles are not going to happen that day. Also, I don’t usually experience the same ‘long run’ pain as I do on shorter runs either. I think it’s just the combination of the miles building up and your body getting tired that new things start to happen to your body and new pains can surface.

Becky asked: What motivates you to run (besides being able to eat more of your favorite junk…that’s mine too)?  What do you feel you get out of it?

I really do love running. I didn’t realize this as much before the Long Beach marathon, as I do now, but I do love being able to do something for myself and taking the time to get out there and run is really invigorating to me. It can be for you too, but it’s all about your mindset and how you approach it. Believe me, if I think a run will suck, it usually does. If I can enjoy it and just run around looking at things and breathing in good air and loving life, it’s usually great. I love being able to look around in the morning on my run and see the sun shining and the birds chipping and really just taking time for myself. An added perk is eating junk food and meeting amazing other runners, but bottom line for me is that it’s something that I enjoy. Not every single run I have is fantastic though, some really are hard work and I do not love every moment I step outside to run, but most of the time, once I return home I feel refreshed and I’m glad I did something for myself. Taking the time for myself and reflecting while I run and enjoying the fact that I CAN run really means a lot to me. So many people can’t, and that fact that I have a healthy body that propels me mile after mile, is pretty freaking amazing. I think that’s where I get the most out of running, when I do it for myself and enjoy every step that I’m taking.

Erin, Britt, Kristen, Lizzy, Kirby and Jess (and about a ten other people emailed me) asked: What happened with you and Mr. R?

I didn’t say anything about it earlier, but Mr. R and I broke up about three and a half months ago. Don’t feel bad or sad for me at all, we parted amicably and now I’m single and things are going fine and I’m very happy. I’m sorry that I didn’t really say anything about it, but I definitely am not one to air dirty laundry out on my blog and that was personal for quite some time. Thank you all though for your sweet emails, kind and encouraging words and just checking up on me. <3 I’m happy and doing great! Okay anyways, now the burning question is answered!! :)

Kelly asked: If you had to live off of one food group/restaurant/meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

If Pillow mints were a food group, I would eat those for the remainder of my life. I also LOVE Mexican food. Hands down. At the same time though I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE meat and potatoes as well! It would be a coin toss if I truly had to choose though. :)

Amber asked: How often do you buy a new pair of shoes? And do you wear more than one pair at a time, alternating running in them?

I wear Nike Volmeros and love them. I buy my shoes every 300 miles. It’s very weird but I can tell almost the moment my shoes are done. I only wear one pair of shoes for running and I wear an older pair when I go to the gym or do spin classes. I have never alternated in running in different pairs simply because I cannot afford getting more than one pair of shoes at a time.

Also, r.e. your speed, is that the average speed you’ve always ran (8:30ish miles I think you said?) or did you work up to that over the last year??

The average speed I run, which is roughly around 8:30ish miles, has been pretty consistent since I started running again. I never do any real speed work, but if I want to run fast, I do. If I am not feeling like running fast, I don’t. I know I could easily get faster if I was really diligent with speed work and worked on being more consistent but right now, that is not my main focus.

Finally, do you take walk breaks during your long runs??

I have before, and I will continue to sometimes if I feel that they are necessary. When I first started back into running and training for longer distances I thought of walking as failing in my mind. I had never walked during any type of training before. Alas, come to realize looking back, walking is not failing, walking is giving your body a rest if it so needs it, and making sure that you can continue forward. If you are hurting, take a short walk. Though mostly I don’t walk that often, when I do it does switch up the muscles I’ve been using and helps me feel a little bit refreshed and lets me continue on my run.

Spike asked: What is your favorite Taco Bell item?

Well, this is a good question! I do love the chicken quesadilla and I also have become very partial to the 99 cent chicken burrito. I also love the cinnamon twists. Sigh, I guess I just love Taco Bell in general.

Lizzy asked: what was your weekly mileage when you got back into running and how did you increase without getting hurt? How long did it take to get faster?

I started off running 2-5 miles during the weekdays about 3 days a week. I decided to sign up for my first half marathon and things really started to ramp up in my training. I started with a 5 mile ‘long run’ and upped my mileage by one mile every weekend until I ran 10 miles 3 weeks before my race. I still ran 2-6 miles 3 days during the week after work during that time and did VERY little cross training at the gym. My biggest thing to say about starting running and increasing mileage is GO SLOW!!! If you start out too fast or with too much, you’ll get burnt out, way to sore to work out, and hate running. You up your chances to get hurt too, which is a failure.

Everyone just wants to get faster don’t they! I think that implementing speed work into your running plan once a week will up your speed, but be careful when doing it. When you do speed work you work totally different muscles and it hurts. It’s hard to hold that pace for that long. Believe me, I did a lot of speed work in high school and running that fast and that hard is much different than going out and enjoying a nice morning run. You can do track workouts that you can find online but I would recommend that you seek a coach or coach like figure who knows what to do and how to implement speed work if you are really serious about it. Right now, I don’t do speed work, because getting faster is something I don’t care about.

Emily asked: What would you recommend an on/off runner stay motivated? I WANT to love running, I really do. But, I’m just not sure how to fall so in love it with it I can’t stop :-)

Honestly, do it because you love it. What’s the point of something if you hate every time you have to lace up your shoes. If you only want to run 3 days a week, run 3 days a week. If you want to run 7 days a week, run 7 days a week. Every time you go out and run, look around you, realize what you are doing! You are doing something that so many people can’t or choose not to! Sometimes the quite moments I have to myself in the morning are some of the most invigorating moments that I’ve ever had, and just let yourself go. I really have found that letting your body go (wow this is starting to sound really weird) and just enjoying each step, not worrying about the time and what your place is, and the upcoming race, and what your having for dinner and what the work day holds, really allows you more enjoyment of each step. Seriously, I’ve found myself laughing on a run before. And yes, sometimes I just have a that big silly Long Beach Marathon grin on my face when I run. Don’t burn yourself out, especially if you are just starting out, with too much speed work, and following a plan so incredibly closely and worrying about every little thing. You’re running! That’s amazing in itself! :)

Alisa asked: Aside from PB&J experiment of food while running have you ever tried candy? If so, pros/cons.

I have tried Sport Beans and jelly beans and gushers. Personally I LOVE gushers but since I tried them in the summer they got a little warm in my pouch and kind of exploded over each other and became a sticky mess on my longer runs which made them almost inedible. Sad, I know. I wasted gushers and I’m not proud of it. Jelly Beans works great, but I’ve gotten some weird flavors out on my runs and I do really love Sport Beans. Sport Beans seem to be bigger than regular Jelly Beans and also have caffeine in them which makes me a little cuckoo! :) If you haven’t tried Sports Beans, I would really recommend them! I love the Cherry Flavor and the Watermelon Flavor and I really like chewing them when I run too. They are tasty little suckers. I ate a ton of them during Long Beach Marathon. The only cons with candy that I’ve tried is that after a while they get warm and start to stick together. I also take them out of their little baggie that they come in and put them in a little snack ziplock. I haven’t tried any other real foods besides those and PB&Js though.

Bootchez asked: About motivation and also, other training besides running?

Usually when I do make it to the gym I do some free weights and also spinning (as of recently) with free weights I do a lot of lat work and also arm work. I really like to do the rowing machine as well because when running my upper back and shoulders can get tired when doing a longer run. I do the lat pull and also a few of the machines there as well. I usually only got to the gym once or twice a week.

As I mentioned before about motivation, just do it for yourself. That’s the only thing that you can do, is making the decision and doing it for yourself. You’re the only person whose going to benefit, and you will benefit once you come back through the door after your workout, and that feeling is irreplaceable.

Kristen asked: What do you do for your day job?

Well in school I got my BA in Communications with a minor in creative writing. It was during my senior year creative writing classes when I really realized that I do actually love writing! Weird, I know. I currently am an Account Coordinator at an Advertising Agency. You know online ads that you might see on Yahoo, or Myspace? My team builds those. We also build websites and I work a lot on writing proposals and working on content development for websites as well. Oddly enough, I recently am starting to think about going back to school. My love for writing is taking over my life! I am considering getting my MFA in Creative Writing, but we’ll see what the future holds. :)

Ken asked: I have a torn meniscus, any advice?

I have never had that injury, knock on wood. Honestly whenever I feel pain or don’t know what to do, I google stuff. This pretty much is my life when I need an answer. Google things and also, when discussing injuries make SURE to go to the doctor. Self diagnosis usually doesn’t work and doctors go to school for a reason. Also, when injured allow yourself time to heal, or else you are just going to keep hurting yourself over and over again and thus making your recovery time longer and longer.

Jamie asked: How do you stay hydrated during training runs? Also, what do you do other exercise wise?

I am pretty lucky to run where I do because though I run through mostly neighborhoods and parks and on the beach path there are a lot of water fountains that I use. I have used a hand held before and I don’t mind it as much as I thought I would but I really despise fuel belts. I have one that I used for all my training runs before San Diego and hated it. I used it at San Diego and hated it. During Long Beach Marathon I used all the water stations that they offered and drank when I felt thirsty. I have also carried a bottle with me that seems to work well.

I go to the gym and ride my bike a lot for other exercise during the summer and around town sometimes on the weekend. I used to do a lot of Jillian 30 day Shred videos and I need to get back into doing those because I feel like they really help!

Rudy asked: I have difficulty running with headphones that don’t stay in my ears….any recommendations? Besides using pills to reduce inflammation….is there other options?   and lastly, do you have any interesting stories from your running years in high school?

I LOVE my Sony headphones and have never had a problem with them coming out of my ears when running. You can find them in my aStore and there are multiple colors, but here’s a link to get you started. I swear by them and they wrap about your ear and I’ve never had a problem with them. When I first got them I thought they would be uncomfortable, but they are great and really work. I used to have the same problem with the ear buds falling out of my ear as well!

Using pills to reduce inflammation is option one, ice baths are option two and BenGay and IcyHot are option three. Those are the three things I swear by and I rarely ever take pills. Mostly after a long run I ice bath immediately and then use IcyHot and BenGay and Theragesic later if I feel like it or want to put some on my lower back or legs if they are tight. Miss the ice bath video? Check it out here. I SWEAR by ice baths. They are seriously what keep me feeling much, much better after a long run. Try one, you’ll be surprised!

Running stories from high school! That is pretty funny actually but I don’t remember that much. I have a horrible memory. I do remember my very first race in high school I was in the lead and lead the pack the wrong way and a girl threw up on me. I’ll have to think about that and try to come up with some good stories!

Tonight I’m headed to the gym again to see how I do with the cough and working out. I am hoping for a good day and if nothing too intense getting a little sweaty will feel good! Last night I watched Newsies and totally forgot what an amazing movie that is! So now onto… SEIZE THE DAY! :)


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