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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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  • Reply Eric Selvig

    Great stuff.

    I have a comment on Tri Girl’s question on pains during runs. I would suggest that if it’s a sharp pain or one that gets worse as time goes on to stop. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:08 am
  • Reply Es

    Great questions and answers. What a great post. Thanks :)
    Sorry to hear about you and Mr. R. Your next boyfriend should definitely be a runner!

    November 5, 2009 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Alicia

    I just happened across your blog a few days ago and I’m already hooked! My very first half is in Feb., Valentine’s day to be exact. It’s in Austin, Texas and I hear quite hilly! I really think your blog is fabulous and so motivating! I have run all of my life due to my weight so it’s nice to hear that you’ve lost so much! Alicia in Houston, Texas

    November 5, 2009 at 9:53 am
  • Reply Morgan

    Ooooh I loved all this juicy info about you/your running/etc. :) LOL!

    I hope you get to feeling better Missy!!!

    I <3 that you're so happy! ;) <3

    November 5, 2009 at 9:56 am
  • Reply Gretchen

    A thought re: food experiments … you might consider trying gummy bears. Put them in a zip-lock bag and tuck them in your run belt/whatever.

    I’ve found that A) it’s much cheaper to buy a huge bag of gummy bears than those itty-bitty bags of Sport Beans; B) you have to really chew at the gummy bears — a perfect distractor, particularly on long runs; and C) they pack the same carb punch (sans sodium) as the Sport Beans.

    Just a thought! I take a bag with me on all my long runs. Happy trails – love your blog!

    November 5, 2009 at 10:55 am
  • Reply Vic

    My first half is that same one in Feb in Austin, too! I’m a friend of Kelly’s & love your blog.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:01 am
  • Reply Jenny from Lucky in Love

    I loved these. I think you have such a great perspective on running. Sometimes I feel like I run just because so many other people are doing it and I want to say that I am a runner or I feel pressure from other people to do it. I am hardly ever running just for me. But I want to!

    Also, sorry to hear about you and Mr. R. Glad to hear you are doing well though :)


    November 5, 2009 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Alisa

    Whoa all about ChicRunner!

    I love that you love TacoBell sooooooo funny! I actually have become partial to DelTaco and their bean and cheese burritos.

    I have tried sport beans and really like them. My only problem is its hard for me to eat so many of them. I really like them for the bike =)

    November 5, 2009 at 11:56 am
  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    THANK YOU for answering my questions, Danica!

    That’s interesting, I have almost the exact same job as you :-) I am an account coordinator at a PR/Marketing agency. We don’t make a lot of ads but we do build tons of website and write a lot of strategic plans.

    Also, I’d been wondering about Mr. R, too. I’m glad to hear that you’re happy and doing so well!

    Thanks for answering everyones questions, very interesting :-)

    November 5, 2009 at 11:59 am
  • Reply Sara

    Sounds like we are the SAME size! …and I used to write proposals as well!.. Loved the Q and A!

    November 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm
  • Reply Marlene

    I was wondering why we hadn’t heard about Mr. R for a while. Glad to hear you’re happy – that’s what matters! And toally understandable not wanting to put it out there right away.

    November 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm
  • Reply KatieA.

    Love it!
    Definetly go back and get your masters, best thing I could have done!

    November 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Kirbey Broome

    Thanks for answering all of those questions- they all helped. You are going to make me want to run a full now. I guess I should find one and start getting motivated. I love mexican food too, I could probably eat it every other night and our town has a bazillion places to eat mexican.

    November 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm
  • Reply Milltini

    Oh yeah, I meant to ask this awhile ago…but what is the deal with the PBJ sammys? I read about them in your marathon recap. How do you make them? Are they just to give you fuel when you need it?

    November 5, 2009 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply Julienne

    Love the Q and A!

    To Ken with the torn meniscus – get to a doctor if you haven’t already. I had a torn meniscus that I needed to have repaired surgically. Worked wonders!

    November 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Jess

    Wow thanks for taking the time to answer all of those questions! I didn’t know part of what you did involved web content development! I think that’s so fun. I got my BA in Journalism and I’m finding I really love the website stuff and I’m taking a few classes now to see if I want to go back to school to get more of a tech-y background to help with that!

    November 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm
  • Reply Katie

    I must try those headphones. My right one has no sound! I hope you find your dream job (and guy!). I’m still looking for mine hoping I found it, but I don’t know.

    November 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply Katie

    Meant dream job still SOL on dream guy…

    November 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    thanks for the Q&A, Danica! I always look forward to reading your posts! I also work in marketing and spend most of my day on proposals. Funny how so many of us have similar careers… :)

    November 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    Hey, just popping in to say hi again!

    (No, I haven’t forgotten about you and Malibu…)

    Love your Q&A! Glad to see you’re inspiring so many of your fans!

    November 5, 2009 at 9:41 pm
  • Reply pinkpearlsandmuddysneakers

    I handled the Handsome break-up the same way. I love blogging, but personal things are exactly that – PERSONAL. I am happy to hear you are doing well :) The guy who gets you is lucky!

    November 6, 2009 at 10:39 am
  • Reply Marathon Maritza

    7-layer burrito ♥

    November 6, 2009 at 11:34 am
  • Reply RunToTheFinish

    good job on helping out all the runners!!

    November 8, 2009 at 5:53 am
  • Reply Bonnie

    I had been wondering about Mr. R as well. I’m sorry to hear that but it sounds like you are getting through it awesomely! Love the Q&A, thanks for sharing!

    November 9, 2009 at 11:50 am
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