Thursday, March 27, 2014

RockMyRun.Com

Now that spring is right around the corner (surely it is, right?)...some of us have actually made it back outside to run.  I know some of you die-hards run outside all winter, but I get pretty friendly with my treadmill once it dips below 25 degrees!  In the winter, I binge on Netflix movies and tv shows during my running time.  When I finally head outside, I forget how wonderful it is to lose yourself in a great playlist of high-energy songs.  

But how do you make a great playlist?  Who has the time to download and put together songs in the right order?  Not me.  I'm horrible at it and usually end up pressing shuffle or fast forward quite a bit when I'm running.  But not any more!  During one of the #RunChat twitter talks (can't remember the month...), I found out about a great app for my phone called Rock My Run.  

Wait, do you know about #Runchat?  Here's a little bit of info for you:

"RunChat is the leading Twitter chat about running. It is held at 10 p.m. ET on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month and at 8 p.m. ET the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. David (@RunningBecause) and Scott (@iRunnerBlog) are co-founders and co-moderators of #RunChat." -- from http://therunchat.com/faq/)


Rock My Run is an app for smartphones "that provides The Best Running Music in the World for active people."  It's a free app and Standard Membership is also free.  Yes, there's the ability to upgrade to a paid Premium Membership, but I haven't tried that yet.  I think an advantage of upgrading to a paid membership (for me) would be to have access to downloading running mixes longer than 45 minutes.  I'm already thinking about this option for my next half-marathon.  

What do I like about Rock My Run?  I love that I can download a complete run mix to my phone without having to hook up to my computer or some other nonsense.  I also like that the mixes are already calibrated to specific BPMs.  For me, that helps me stay on track!  I respond to music innately so songs with faster bpms automatically make me pick up my pace.  I like the diversity in the music too.  Yes, sometimes it has a bit of a techno/dance club feel to it as the songs transition, but that usually depends on the DJ. 

Currently I have 7 different mixes from RockMyRun:  3 are 45 minutes long and the other 4 are 30-36 minutes long.  

 

My current favorite mix is the RunChat Fan Mix.  With tracks from Lorde, Train, Adele, Jay Z, Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Robin Thicke, Mumford & Sons, Run DMC (It's Tricky!), and more... it is a great smash up of current and past pop songs.  

I suggest you give RockMyRun a try!  No, I don't receive anything if you do and no, I didn't receive anything to promote the app here on our RunTeacherRun site.  RockMyRun is just my newest favorite running tool and I think you'll love it too!

Happy Running!

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Running Story by Danielle

Three years ago when I was visiting my parents (who live out of state) as I do every summer. My father, who is diabetic, is never without a diet Pepsi in his hand (going through about 20 a day) now has to give himself shots for a disease that just a few years ago his doctors told him could be controlled with diet and exercise. Was this my future? I knew then something had to change. I scheduled a physical the week I returned. My doctor told me I could stand to lose a few pounds (she was being gracious) and was concerned that some of my other issues, like insomnia, lack of energy, and depression were exacerbated by my lack of activity.Things had to change.

This isn’t the story of a girl who grew up active and fell off the bandwagon after college. I wasn’t ever an athletic kid. I didn’t grow up in an athletic family. I really had no idea where too start. Team sports were daunting and I joined a gym with good intentions, but never got up the guts to go. What I did have in my favor is location. I live within walking distance of two state parks and the Appalachian trail is just a quick drive from my house. So I started hiking. My dogs were especially happy with this new routine. I loved it.

Something inside me just sort of clicked after several weeks of hiking. If I can walk and hike, I thought, I can run. So, like Forrest Gump, I started running. Well, it wasn’t quite that epic. The first time out I ran about a tenth of a mile and walked another four. But I kept going. We had a treadmill in the basement that I dusted off. I started making deals with myself while watching shows on the DVR. Walk during the show, run through the commercials. Soon, I was running through the show and walking during commercials. Finally, without really realizing it, I broke a personal record and ran six miles in 1 hour. SIX MILES! The girl who never thought of herself as athletic was running.

Now I was confident enough to try out some 5Ks. There was a zombie run and a few mud runs. Then I got the crazy idea to run a half marathon -- not an actual organized event, I wasn’t ready for that. Instead, I mapped out a route locally and after about two months of training, got out there to tackle those 13.1 miles. There was some walking, there was lots of sweat, and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it. Such an amazing feeling to know that my body, the one I had spent most of my life feeling uncomfortable in, was now strong -- strong enough to tackle some pretty incredible challenges.

But pride (and a smaller waistline) weren’t the only benefits I’d noticed. I was sleeping better, I had more energy, and I’d found an alternative to eating my feelings. There is nothing like coming home from an especially stressful day and running until I can’t run anymore. My last physical turned up great numbers - all the numbers that used to be of concern are now well in the normal range. I am not the fastest or the most graceful runner. Any sort of physical activity seems to turn my face a lovely shade of tomato red and I sweat like it’s my job. Somedays I walk more than I run, but I still get out there. Judging myself against the progress of others is something I let go of long ago, instead I focus on how far I’ve come. I am strong and I am a runner. Something I couldn’t have imagined three years ago is now something I can’t imagine ever being without.

Bio:

Danielle has been a high school English teacher 14 years and a geek her whole life.  When she’s not out  running or hiking, she can usually be found lost in a book. You can follow her literary and school related adventures and misadventures on twitter (@MyMercurialMuse) or on her blog (www.MyMercurialMusings.com).

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals



(This is part of a longer post I did at A Year of Reading today. In this post, I left out my reading and professional goals and really focused on those that connected to fitness, health, etc.)



Well, 2013 was not a great year in terms of meeting any of my goals. A ridiculous concussion with a unique healing-turned-into-migraine cycle, followed by drugs that didn't really help, made for a pretty blah year in terms of getting things done. It was a real bummer as I spent 2012 working hard to get in shape (Couch to 5K and Yoga) and read lots.  So, now, at the end of 2013, I am kind of back to where I was a few years ago. But when I look back, I learned lots.  I am not good at slowing down and the Concussion Year forced me to do that (since I had nothing else to do).

I realized that the goals aren't really so important.  Having a time in my life that I couldn't read, work or exercise was fascinating.  I really had nothing to do as I don't have many hobbies not related to reading, work on computers.  So, it forced me to take a break and to think about what I love and how I want to spend my time.  During my first week of the concussion rest, I told a friend that I thought God was telling me I needed to rest.  She said, "He has been trying to tell you that for a while. You just weren't listening."  Good friends say what you need to hear, I guess.

Anyway, going into 2013, I am just celebrating the fact that I can read again. And I can exercise again. And I can work a lot again. And I can write again. I do love work.  But I did learn that I also love rest. And I learned that I haven't been taking care of my own learning.  And I learned that I got so busy that I didn't even realize it.  And I realized that once I had to quit on all of the ongoing projects I was involved in, it was okay.


Fitness
Our #runteacherrun Facebook Group has grown to over 200 members! I haven't been very active on it this year as I've lost so much running time.  And I was never great at running anyway. But I do want to get back to it.  The Facebook Group started a challenge and I think I'll join.  With some modifications.  Here is the official challenge:

2014 Run Teacher Run Challenge- join me?
*Run or work out at least 14 times a month in 2014.
*Post at least 14 times on run teacher run.
*Run at least 4 "real" or virtual races in 2014. (Or create your own with friends!)
*Run at least 400 miles in 2014. (Or create your own workout equivalent to miles.)
*Encourage 4 teacher friends to run/workout and join us here in this group!

I'll modify in a few ways.  I definitely want to work out at least 14 times a month in 2014 and I want to post at least 14 times on the Run Teacher Run page. I'll also encourage others to join the group.  In terms of races, I am going to try for 1 race or virtual race. I am not a big fan of races so one seems like plenty to me.  And I am not going to set a mile goal. I am a very slow runner (15 minute miles--slower than walking). I think my goal will to be to keep track of my mileage in 2014. That's all. Just to begin that habit.

I also started a membership to My Yoga Online. I love going to the yoga studio and we are lucky to have a few great ones and lots of great teachers here. But, some days, I just don't have the time for the driving, set up and 1 hour class. My Yoga Online has all different classes that I can do at home with my membership. If I add this as an option, I should be able to fit in 3 yoga classes a week.

Word for 2014

So, I have always been fascinated by people who have a word for the year.  I haven't really had one of those as I could never think of the write one.  But I think I have one for 2014.  I was looking for one and have been pondering my need to "get things done", plan ahead, etc.  I never seem to just enjoy what I am doing as I am always worried about or thinking about what's next or what I don't have done or how behind I am.

Nerdlution has been good for me. Even though I have been on a 10 day nerdlution-vacation.  It helped me see that I do need breaks and balance.  And that I have to be careful not to think too far head.  Mary Lee posted this link to the #nerdlution Twitter group this week and it said a lot to me.  So my word for 2014 is going to be TODAY.  I am going to try really really really hard to not stress about all that is coming my way and enjoy each day whether it is a day full of work, rest, friends, exercise, whatever.  I love my days but so often I get caught up on what's next or what I didn't get done, that I don't enjoy the day or what I am currently doing as much as I should.  Each day is different and TODAY seems like a good word for me for 2014.



Birthday
And I will turn 50 in 2014.  I have been telling everyone and saying I'm 50 for a while as so not to be too shocked when it actually happens.  (See why TODAY is such a good word for me!)  In 2012, when I started C25K, I figured I'd be in great shape by the time I turned 50. I had plenty of time, right? Well, it didn't turn out that way, but it is what it is. I'll just keep working toward that goal.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Back in the Saddle


December 7, 2013 was my slowest 5K ever (and probably my coldest as well).

But neither of those details really truly matter.

Why?

Because I ran.

In a race.

15 weeks after my accident.

10 days after finally returning to the world of running.

For me, it was a celebration of healing and gratefulness for the ability to run.

A far cry from the beginning of 2013 where I celebrated turning 40 by running my first marathon...

but no less important.


It will be a while before I'm able to run longer distances, but I know how to work towards that goal:

By lacing up my running shoes and putting one foot in front of the other.



As we wrap up 2013 and look forward towards 2014, I hope that you continue to #RunTeacherRun.

I know I will!





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Still Running by Gill Hunter

Still Running
by Gill Hunter

I ran two half marathons in the last two weeks. The performances themselves are certainly nothing to write about; I finished way, waaaay back in the pack in both races. I could write about the uniqueness of the races or courses – both were first-time events, both were hilly, and both were definitely scenic. On November 2nd, I ran in the Shakertown Half Marathon, the first trail race I’ve run, and my slowest ever. I was faster, but by no means fast, on November 16th, when I ran the Renfro Rock ’n Run Half Marathon.

I can spin those details, right? More time to enjoy the view…. Made sure to get my money’s worth…. Started my recovery run halfway through the race….

The thing is, though, that each time I crossed the finish line, more than an hour after the top runners had finished, it felt like a victory. Because I couldn’t help but think about how far I’d come.

***

I went for a run on July 9th. I didn’t get a particularly early start; I had run Lexington’s annual Bluegrass 10k on July 4th and left for a short vacation with my family the next day. We got back late on the 8th so I slept in a little and moved slowly to start the day. By the time I set out it was nearly 10:00 and the temperature was already climbing. I had envisioned an 8 miler, but cut back those plans, heeding the weatherman’s heat advisory. I still wanted to be tough, though; after all I’m a runner, so I followed a familiar 6 mile route.

That route offers little shade, and the sun beat down. I ended up walking more than I usually do, and by mile 5 or so I didn’t feel very good at all. I decided my blood sugar was low, so I stopped at a hotel about a mile from home and asked for a Coke. Taking pity on me, they gave me one and I sat outside for 5 minutes or so, drinking and hoping things would improve.

Things didn’t improve, so I self-diagnosed some more: my body temperature had to be too high. I went back in to ask for a cold towel. I just needed to do enough to get back home. No one was up front, so I balanced myself at the counter and hollered my request toward the back.

I don’t know what happened next.

I heard a man’s loud voice, “Sir! Sir! We’ve called the paramedics!” I looked up, discovering I was lying flat on my back on the hotel’s hardwood floor. I tried to sit up, but couldn’t really do it. I asked the man to call my wife – I said something like that anyway – and tried to give him her number. He was nervous and I couldn’t talk clearly, but I knew enough to point to my shoe: my wife feared the Road ID tag she bought me would come in handy. On this day it helped save my life.

Two young ladies came around the corner. One brought the towel I had asked for, several of them actually, and the other was pushing a bucket and mop. It was then that I noticed the pain in the back of my head.

Again, I don’t know what happened next. Evidently I drifted in and out of consciousness, with the towel-bearer kneeling behind me, putting pressure on the gash in my head and holding me up as much as she could. She told my wife I was humming/mumbling/singing; I wish I knew the song. The bucket and mop-bearer cleaned up the pool of blood that had poured from my head and – a really good thing – got it cleaned up before my wife showed up. I was thrilled when my wife rushed through the door; it dawned on me that it was a miracle that I was seeing her again. I saw immediately the concern on her face. The paramedics, for whatever reason, didn’t share her concern: 19 minutes after the hotel’s manager called, they still hadn’t arrived. So my wife helped me to the car and we left.

She took me home, helped me get cleaned up a little bit and I sprawled, rather pathetically, on a towel on the floor trying to get the blood to stop flowing from my head. It wouldn’t quit, so I agreed to a trip to the emergency room.

It’s amazing how quickly a patient gets attention when his head is pouring blood. The nurse had never stapled a head closed before, but 5 staples later she considered herself an expert. Two bags of fluids got me to the point where I could at least comfortably sit up. The ER’s biggest concern, though, was my heart. Their thinking was simple, really: lots of people run in the heat, and lots get overheated, but I had passed out, and there had to be a reason.

Multiple blood pressure tests, an EKG, and an Echo test. A brief visit from the cardiologist, a follow-up appointment with another cardiologist, and a treadmill stress test. A baby aspirin every day, avoiding ibuprofen (did I mention the renal failure?), opting for the treadmill when the heat and humidity are high. Lots happened on July 9th, and lots has happened since then. I learned that day – and had to confess it to the cardiologist before he released me from the ER – that I have to be smarter than I am tough. My wife holds me to it, but she doesn’t have to. I now understand that taking care of myself the right way is literally a matter of life and death. I’ll exercise – doctor’s orders, after all – but I won’t be stupid.

And I’m going to race. Well, maybe not race like those at the front of the pack, but I’ll make strides. I’m still running, and I’m competing with myself – especially with what I would be if I weren’t running at all. And I’m steadily and purposefully and carefully, if slowly, running away from what could have been on that day in July.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lament

I'm injured.

It's been 5 weeks since I last ran.

My last run was a truly awful one of 6 miles instead of  the planned 7.  I chafed so badly in my favorite pair of running shorts, I actually called my husband to come pick me up instead of finishing the last mile.  I have NEVER called him to pick me up from a run.  Not in rain, snow, or from exhaustion.

5 weeks later I'd give anything to go back and run that one last mile despite the pain.  Even walk the last mile.  Just savor being outside and being ABLE to put one foot in front of the other.

I had an unfortunate accident with a knife after I returned from my run.  It severed the tendon to my big toe which resulted in surgery and 4 weeks in a walking boot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as crutches for the first 2 weeks.

I'm out of the boot now.  The stitches have been removed.  I still can't walk normally.  I can't even move all of my toes.  My foot is purple and swollen.  I'm icing.  Elevating.  Trying to relearn how to walk.

And all I can think about is running.

When will I be able to run again???

I miss it something awful.  The solitude.  The sense of accomplishment.  The release.

I had already decided I wouldn't be running the Chicago Marathon in a few weeks before the injury.  Now I wonder why in the world I backed out instead of just going for it and embracing the training.  (Anyone need a bib?  I have one...cheap!)

Now I'm looking ahead.  Will I be able to run a half marathon by winter of 2014 or is spring more realistic?  I just don't know what to expect or how long this recovery is really going to take.

What I do know is I regret not taking advantage of every single day I was able to run when I was healthy.

I regret taking it for granted.

Running and being healthy enough to run is a gift.  A blessing.

Embrace every single step.  Every single mile.  Enjoy the journey.

Get off the couch and #runteacherrun!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Running Streak

If you're a member of our Facebook group or follow our #runteacherrun group on Twitter, you probably saw many postings about "the streak!"  Several of us made the commitment to join the Runner's World run streak (#RWRunStreak) and run at lest one mile a day from Memorial Day through Independence Day:  39 consecutive days of running...

I made the commitment because I love having a goal to achieve in running. I've found that I'm not one of those people who will just go out and run. I need a set plan, usually a training plan working towards a race, to tell me how much to run that I can check off as finished each day. This running streak seemed like a great way to stay motivated and be active each day.

The streak ended yesterday on July 4th. This morning I'm sitting in my recliner with my legs propped up and relishing the idea that I'm not going to run today...not even one little measly mile!  

I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the streak. It was motivating to know that no matter what, I needed to make sure I logged a mile daily.  What I found was that many days, it was difficult to only go "just a mile".  Other days, I was beyond grateful that I only had to run "just a mile".  It's amazing how my perspective changed depending on day-to-day circumstances and aches/pains.  I loved seeing my running friends post on Twitter and Facebook about their daily miles and encouraging everyone to #runteacherrun!

I was most worried about breaking the streak during my travels to ISTE and ALA, but packed my running gear with plans to hit the hotel treadmill daily or run outside with friends.  Sunday, June 23, was my busiest day during the streak. Leaving at 4 a.m. for an early morning flight to San Antonio and a jam packed day of our award recognition, meeting friends, and ISTE festivities equaled being on the go all day long and never actually putting on my running shoes. Arriving back at our hotel at almost midnight, I decided my mileage wouldn't be logged on Nike+ that day but it would definitely count! We walked from our hotel to the conference center (and back), the RiverWalk, as well as a portion of the giant exhibit hall, not to mention downtown San Antonio! I'm only counting 1 mile for this day and have the map to prove it! (yes, I DO realize that shows a car and not a pedestrian...and it definitely took us longer than 3 minutes to walk it...but the MILEAGE shows .5 mile -- that's the important stuff here!)






My totals for the streak:

May: 13 miles
June: 99.1 miles (I obviously wasn't paying attention or I would have run "just 1 more mile"!)
July:  13.4 miles

125.5 total miles

I am proud to say I completed the streak, but will relish today and not run!

Tomorrow is a different story...

Now to plot my next training plan and race!