Posted by: kcarney2 | April 23, 2010

The Race Results

Woo hoo!  The race came, I did it, and now I’m taking a break.  The race was so much fun.  My best friends and I ran it together and we’re so glad we did it.  We had a bit of a rough start after only getting a few hours of sleep the night before (nerves, excitement) and then waking up at 5:45am to get to the start line by 7am.  Well that whole 7am start thing…we definitely didn’t cross the starting line until 7:20.  It was pretty funny, we BARELY missed the shuttle up to the start line.  It was seriously a matter of 4-5 seconds.  So we waited and waited and waited for the next shuttle along with the other latecomers.  We weren’t too concerned though because your individual time doesn’t start until you cross the start line.  So we eventually made it to the start line and we were off!

I felt pretty good for most of the race.  The first few miles were great to get my legs going and then after that I was able to pick up the pace a bit.  My goal was to keep an 8 min/mile pace.  Each mile time was consistent with that goal and I was feeling surprisingly good so I picked up the pace a bit more.  I had some cramping in my left thigh for miles 7-9 but it loosened up with a down hill part of the race.  Mile 11 was the most difficult for me.  I started feeling the tiredness hit me and mile 11 was at a gradual incline.  It drove me crazy because I could see the part where mile 12 started the entire time I was running mile 11.  It felt like that maker for mile 12 was running away from me.  Mile 11 was by far the worst one for me, but I was sooo close to the finish so that was some great motivation.  Mile 12 was a fairly steep downhill and I developed a massive side-stitch.  the techniques I used to try to get it to go away were deep, long inhaling breaths with powerful, quick exhaling breaths.  I tried massaging the stitch a bit and with about .3 miles to go in the race the stitch disappeared and it was just me and the home stretch!  I had a strong finish and it felt great to have finished.  I ended up running the race in 1 hour and 41 minutes, so that was a 7:41 pace per mile.  I beat my goal!  Woo hoo!  It turns out I got 13th place out of the 399 in my age group (19-24) and I got 333rd overall out of 4632.  I was so surprised by this, I was so proud of myself!

To see all the results visit: http://www.racecenter.com/results/2010/res_sq10.htm

My legs were pretty shot after wards so I got to relax a little bit with my friends and family and a particular somebody who surprised me by coming to watch me race 🙂  I’m so glad I did this half marathon.  It’s been a great experience for me.  Now it’s time to prepare for the Georgetown Half Marathon in Colorado on August 14th.  Let the training begin!

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Posted by: kcarney2 | April 3, 2010

Saturday, April 3: 2 Weeks til Race Day

Today’s run consisted of 50 minutes at a tempo run.  I used yesterday as my off day of the week and I could feel some heaviness in my legs today.  It just took a little bit longer than usual to really get moving, but once I felt my legs loosen up I picked up the pace slightly to go on with the tempo run.

I can’t believe the race is already so close!  I’ve been training for about 8 weeks and I’m so glad I have, otherwise I’d be pretty nervous for the race.  Preparation is key.  Benjamin Franklin stated:

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

These next 2 weeks will be very important.  Some tips my coach has given me and that many training schedules recommend are to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, eat nutritious meals, hydrate, and stick to my training schedule.  I’m excited for the race and am trying to get ahead in school and work so I can actually go through with all the pointers I’ve been given.

Although April Fools day was a couple days ago, I found that runners have a sense of humor too 🙂  Here’s an article meant to be enjoyed:

Race Weekend Misses One Thing: the Race,” by Mark Remy.

Posted by: kcarney2 | April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1st

After my long run yesterday today was scheduled to be an easy 30-40 minute run.  I decided to cross-train on this one by playing soccer with some good friends and my family who just came in town!  Although soccer is not considered a typical cross-training method, it is a great way to still get a work out in without overexerting yourself.  It felt good to change up the muscles being used.

Cross-training is very beneficial.  It means that occasionally a different type of workout replaces what you would normally run.  Most often this includes biking, swimming, or lifting weights.  The greatest benefits of cross-training are that it builds strength and flexibility in muscles.  Those in turn prevent injury by correcting muscle imbalance.  It’s great to change things up every now and then; cross-training prevents boredom and keeps you from burning out with one sport.  So if you ever are given the opportunity to go play soccer or football or go on a hike, go for it and let it cover an easy workout for the week!

Here is an article I found that addresses the benefits of cross-training and that gives some pointers on how to go about cross-training.

Cross-Training Tips for Runners: Mixed Blessing,” by Kelly Bastone.

Posted by: kcarney2 | April 1, 2010

Collision Course – Safety in Running

Running on busy streets can be very dangerous for both the runner and those in the automobile.  In 2009, 20 runners were killed but an automobile.  Between blind spots, carelessness, and lack of preparation there are many accidents waiting to happen.    The trick is to simply avoid tragedy by taking as many precautions as possible and by expecting the unexpected.

Collision Course,” by Liz Robbins tells tragic stories about runners who lost their lives while out on a run.  The article is touching.  Basic changes to running habits can make the world of a difference.  Changes include not running with headphones so you are more aware of your surroundings or running against traffic so you can react to any mistake a driver may make ahead of you.  So be aware of your surroundings when on a run and do fellow runners a favor by not being a distracted driver.

Posted by: kcarney2 | April 1, 2010

Chocolate Milk: Best Post-run Recovery Drink?

Recent studies have shown that one of the best ways to boost your body’s recovery after a run is to drink low-fat chocolate milk.  It provides just enough fat, carbs, and protein to replace what energy was lost.  Chocolate milk has the same recovery benefits of a carb-loaded sports drink.  It is also a lower calorie option compared to sports drinks.  See this short article called, “Grab Chocolate Milk for the Same Recovery Benefits as a Sports Drink,” from Runner’s World.

Runner’s World also offers a video with a few suggestions on what to eat or drink after an exhausting run.  They are quick and easy ideas and are quite tasty.  So reward yourself after a long run with something that not only pleases the taste-buds, but benefits your body.  Watch the video below for more information about these great options.

What to Eat After You Run

Posted by: kcarney2 | March 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 31: Running in the Rain

Just as a precursor, rain is my all time favorite type of weather.  And what was the forecast for today? Rain!  The workout on the schedule today was 50 minutes starting out easy to loosen my legs up after yesterday’s workout and then reaching a steady pace for the last 30 minutes of the run.  It was wonderful to run in the rain, I got soaked and my pony-tail transformed into a furry nest by the end, but it was so worth it.  My inner child came out as well, I made sure I took a big step into every puddle I came across.  🙂

This type of run is called a tempo run.  The purpose of a tempo run is to increase your body’s lactic threshold.  By increasing your lactic threshold you are improving your body’s ability to run at faster speeds for longer periods of time without fatiguing.  Some ways to determine if you are exceeding or maintaining your lactic threshold are to simply feel, breathe, and watch your heart rate.  Coach Ed Eyestone is the head coach of Mens Cross Country at BYU and he published an article explaining these methods.  The article is, “Tempo Runs Done Right.”  I suggest following the recommendations he has, but modifying them based on your experience with running.  If you are a beginner, wait until you have built a base of running about 20-30 miles per week to do tempo runs.

Posted by: kcarney2 | March 30, 2010

Tuesday, March 30: Repeats

Scheduled run for today = 15 minute warm-up, 5 repeats of 3 minutes at 10K race pace with 1:30 slow jog between each repeat, 15 minute cool-down.  This workout was tough, but I’m glad I did it.  I ran to Kiwanis Park for a warm-up then started the workout on the grass around the park.  The terrain was diverse, some up hill and down hill parts made it difficult to maintain a constant 10K pace, but it felt good to be on soft ground.  Running on grass feels so great on the joints and I highly recommend you run on soft surfaces whenever you can.

Some common injuries occur when stress is put on your joints.  You can prevent stress on your joints by running on soft surfaces.  Grass, dirt trails, and asphalt are good options.  Treadmills, cement, and indoor tracks are generally considered to be very hard surfaces, try to avoid them if possible.

Here are a few articles I found about running surfaces:

1. “What are the Best Running Surfaces for Runners?” Andy Johns, Feb 9, 2009

http://www.madetorun.com/running-resources/questions-about-running/what-are-the-best-running-surfaces-for-runners/

2. Running For Beginners by Daniel Watson

http://www.running4beginners.co.uk/Surfaces.html

Posted by: kcarney2 | March 30, 2010

Shout Out to Dakota Ridge

Yesterday the Dakota Ridge Track team raced in Fort Collins at the Runner’s Roost Invite.  Let’s just say Dakota Ridge is amazing.  I’m a bit biased, that IS my graduating high school.  My little brother is a sophomore on the team and he is such a stud!  He ran the mile, and guess how fast he ran it?  In 4 minutes and 33 seconds.  He’s 16.  I’m so proud of him!  To add to all of that, this was his first race of the season.  Sorry to brag, but that’s my little brother!

To any of you other Dakota Ridge runners, awesome job yesterday.  A couple other runners are Moira McNeil who ran a 6:11 for the mile and Jimmy Mohrbacher who ran a 10:11 for the two mile.  I know there are a lot more of you so post your times or let me know how you did yesterday.  Keep it up, you guys have got something special going for you.

It is amazing how fast some people are.  The world records that people hold are incredible.  Here are some stats about the fastest people in the world:

Men’s Mile World Record — 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco), September 9, 1999

Women’s Mile World Record — 4:12.56 by Svetlana Masterkova (Russia), August 14, 1996

Men’s 800 meter World Record — 1:41.11 by Wilson Kipketer (Denmark), August 24, 1997

Women’s 800 meter World Record — 1:53.28 by Jarmila Kratochvilova (Czechoslovakia), July 26, 1983

These records have been ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Posted by: kcarney2 | March 29, 2010

CORE

In my last entry I talked about doing what we like to call “Core.”  Core consists of doing exercises that strengthen the core of your body.  This includes stomach and back muscles as well as upper body and lower abdomen muscles.  The purpose behind strengthening your core muscles is to stabilize your body.  Running involves a lot of impact on your legs and it’s important to minimize the effects as much as possible.

The Mayo Clinic released an article called, “7 Reasons to Strengthen Your Core Muscles.”  The article explains the advantages of improving the strength in your core.  Not only does it prevent injuries and improve balance, but you tend to get a physique that isn’t too shabby.  Here are the 7 reasons given in the article:

1. Core exercises improve your balance and stability.

2. Core exercises don’t require specialized equipment or a gym membership.

3. Core exercises can help tone your abs.

4. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities.

5. You can take it slow.

6. You can do core exercises at home.

7. Core exercises can help you reach your fitness goals.

When doing core exercises, many coaches I have had recommend that they be done in sets.  General guidelines you can follow are as follows:

  • Do three sets total
  • In each set do 6-10 different exercises

    This is an example of the plank and side plank.

  • As a beginner, hold each exercise for 20-30 seconds.  As do core more regularly you can gradually increase the amount of time you hold the exercise.
  • Some examples of exercises to do are the plank (regular and side), crunches, push-ups, and superman.

*For explanations of these exercises and other running terms visit the “Running Lingo” tab on my blog.

Posted by: kcarney2 | March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29th: Feeling Good

The scheduled run for today was 30-40 minutes at an easy pace.  My legs felt a little stiff to begin with, but they loosened up fairly quickly.  The route I took was slightly uphill on the way out so I ran a couple minutes beyond my normal turn-around point to make sure I didn’t undermine the total number of minutes I was out.  The way back felt great.  My body was relaxed and I let my legs just go.  I really enjoy the easy days because that’s when I listen most closely to my body and allow myself some leeway to either slow down my pace or pick it up a bit depending on how I feel.

After my workout I did some core exercises.  Three sets of 30 second repeats for 6 different exercises: crunches, plank, left side plank, ride side plank, and hamstring leg-lifts on each leg.  I’ve felt a lot of benefits by strengthening my core muscles.  I noticed I’m more balanced, I have more power when I’m training hard, and I simply feel better.  By strengthening your core you improve form, reduce injuries, and increase your speed.  Overall, it was a relaxed day for running and I’m feeling prepared for a hard work out tomorrow.

This is an example of ideal form for the plank. Notice his body is straight like a plank.

.  Keep in mind that sets of small repeats are most effective.  Modifications can also be made.  For example, you do not have to use a medicine ball in order to do the plank, I simply put my feet on the ground.

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