Tag Archives: run free

RunFree4Me Recap

3 Jun

If you’ve been tuning in to my blog, you know that throughout the month of May, I participated in the Run Free For Me Challenge hosted by Cori of Olive to Run. Now that it’s a wrap, I wanted to share my experience with running sans tracking devices for (nearly) a whole month.

First, I have to be honest. The chance to win a pair of Brooks running shoes was the initial motivation for joining up. (Um, hello.) However, the challenge quickly became much more than that as I started to enjoy tech-free runs again and began to reacquaint myself with…myself.

runfreeforme3Not every run I went on in May was “naked,” but a majority of them were. That was one thing I really liked about this challenge – flexibility! There was no pressure to post a run every single day and there were no Run Free Police showing up on your route to make sure you truly left your GPS behind.

Sometimes I ran without ANY technology whatsoever (including music) and a couple of times I ran with the mapymyrun app going on and didn’t check it until after I finished my run.

photo 2During these free runs, I tuned in. Instead of looking at my wrist every few minutes to check my pace or distance, I paid attention to my body and to the world around me.

I gained self-awareness by seeing and feeling my form, changing pace based on what my body was telling me, and finishing my run when I felt like finishing or when I reached my destination. Being completely present with my running was the ultimate meditation in motion.

photo 6I enhanced my connection with nature by taking in the sights, sounds, and weather and appreciated my surroundings.

embracetherainI ran at various times and in various places, on the road and on the trail.

photo 3If I was looking down at my wrist instead of all around me, I could have missed so many beautiful sights.

nakedrun rbbOne pretty incredible thing that I noticed is that when I did measure my pace (invisibly) toward the end of the challenge, I had gotten faster. My comfortable pace had changed in a positive way! I can’t say for certain if this was due to releasing myself of the psychological attachment to running stats, but I won’t discount that theory. After all, others have reported similar results, so I guess anything’s possible!

photo 4Although I have really appreciated the insight into myself and my running that this challenge has given me, I am ready to rekindle my relationship with my Garmin 110. Things have certainly changed between us. It’s no longer a love affair and I won’t be depending on it as much as I used to.

We’re better off as friends, anyway.


A few quotes from the linked article to meditate on this week:

“Wearing technology while running intrudes on the mind’s attempt to give itself over to the body.”– Ben Agger, Ph.D., author of Body Problems: Running and Living Long in a Fast-Food Society

“As much as numbers sometimes motivate us, they sometimes limit us. We all have this number in our head—we think we can’t perform well unless we’re at that exact spot, and we limit ourselves to that number.”– Jessica Underhill, Fit Chick in the City

“…But by blinding yourself to the various digits, you might push past your own barriers and discover another level of running.” – Jenn Miller, Runner’s World

Happy running!


What runners do on rainy days

26 May

This week has been a little light on the blogging, but if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to lately, I’m going to fill you in. For one thing, I’ve been staring at pictures of Cape Cod and wishing that trip didn’t have to end. Besides that and being busy with life in general, I’ve been getting in a lot of technology-free runs to keep up with the Run Free for Me in May Challenge (see image on the right).

photo 6Monday – A hot, humid, sweat-tastic run of a little less than 4 miles (a route I run regularly)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Same route as Monday but with a little light rain and an ab circuit later on (I really need to get back into my strength training…)

Thursday – A 4ish mile trail run with the Albany Running Exchange as part of the Summer Trail Run series

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 6.5-ish super soaked miles followed by some core work and delicious crepes

photo 4

Bananas, strawberries, whipped cream, and Nutella wrapped in a tasty crepe with a honey-vanilla chai latte. Mmmmm. Post-run heaven.

Sunday – A fast, strong run of 3.3 miles. I wanted to gauge my progress, so I had my mapmyrun app recording and checked it when I finished. Turns out, I’m getting faster! I don’t know if it’s all the hills I did not so long ago or if it’s this whole “run free” thing, but I like it.

photo 7Let’s rewind to that super-soaked run I mentioned from Saturday. It was raining pretty good, but I decided I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I mean, I used to let rain be an acceptable excuse for skipping a run but long distance running has made me approximately 72% more hardcore.

rainhardcoreTo keep the rain off me, I made sure to wear this Columbia rain jacket, even though I knew it was not very breathable.

photo 1As I was running, the rain got heavier and heavier…

photo 2…but I actually found that I enjoyed it. Running has helped me appreciate many simple things much more than I did before. Instead of avoiding discomfort, I’ve learned to embrace it.

embracetherainI felt like I could have run 10 miles and I would have been happy to (I’m already missing those LSDs). But after I’d gone somewhere near 6 miles, I realized that my rain jacket was not waterproof at all. I was soaked through to my bottom layer and I was worried my phone would drown in the inside pocket. I also didn’t have any kind of fuel on me. Sadly, I had to turn back home.

After I dried myself off, I did what any other runner would do in similar circumstances. I immediately started searching for a proper running rain jacket. My first instinct was to check Brooks‘ sales page. Well, not only did I find myself  some rain gear, I filled my cart with some other sale items and qualified for the free t-shirt. (If you’re familiar with the current promotion going on with Brooks, you can do the math…)

I also signed up for two more races…

The Strawberry Fest 5K on June 15th and the Camp Chingachgook Challenge Half Marathon on August 10. Yes, that’s right, another half! I’ve become half-crazy. And I’m loving it. 🙂

What do you do when it rains? Do you still run?

Half marathon recovery tips

15 May

Running a half marathon challenges and stresses the body, so it is important to take certain steps to ensure an injury-free recovery. That means electrolytes, hydration, ice, stretching, and resting! It took about 3 days for my foot injury to reveal itself after my first half marathon, so this time I wanted to be pretty careful about my post-race recovery. I found some great tips that I’d like to pass along.

  1. As soon as you cross the finish line, keep moving! Do some easy walking to keep the blood flowing in your legs.
  2. Within a few minutes, consume sports drink or a recovery shake to increase blood sugar and replenish electrolytes. (I drank a Designer Whey chocolate protein shake).
  3. Consume a high carb/lean protein/low fat meal 30 minutes post-race. There is a 60-90 minute window where the body is most receptive to fuel absorption (whoops, didn’t eat lunch for a couple of hours). Eat carb-rich foods for the next couple of days.
  4. Continue to drink water throughout the day/days following the race. Do the “pee test” – if your urine is pale yellow, you’re adequately hydrated!
  5. Soak your body in a cold tub within 2 hours after the race (I didn’t do this, but I did ice sore joints later).
  6. Schedule a massage after 24-48 hours (I have one scheduled Friday!). Too soon can cause more muscle soreness.
  7. Take a nap 20 minutes after your post-race meal. This is one of those times that it’s totally OK to doze off for a while after eating.
  8. Pay attention to aches and pains. Most aches and pains subside 48-72 hours post-race. If they stick around for a week or more, consult a physical therapist or doctor. Better safe than sorry!
  9. Take a week off from running. The general rule of thumb is to take one day for each mile in which you run very easy and do not race.
  10. Cross-train with low impact activities such as cycling, swimming, and yoga. Keep it low intensity.
  11. In the following days, be sure to get a lot of sleep.
  12. Know your body and pay attention to what it is telling you. If you’re still hurting, give yourself more time. Just as every body is different, so is every race and recovery process!
  13. Beat the post-race blues by setting a new goal or signing up for another race a few weeks away (at any distance).

For more details, read this, this, and this.

My post-race meal was a plate of fries and a giant chef’s salad. To be honest I didn’t have much of an appetite so I mostly ate the fries and poked at the salad. I dug into it later for dinner.



I gave myself three full days of rest. That meant absolutely no workouts, runs, or strenuous activity (beyond cleaning the house for Mother’s Day brunch). The majority of the muscle soreness has subsided and I’m only slightly achy in some spots.

So, early this morning I went for an easy run of about 3 miles. To keep up with the Run Free for Me challenge, I went out without technology and just focused on how my body was feeling. It felt pretty good and it was nice to loosen up afterward with plenty of stretching.


Running free!

This Saturday is our first wedding anniversary, so we are heading out of town early tomorrow morning for a romantic weekend getaway in Cape Cod. What better way to recover from a big race than to relax by the ocean with the love of your life?! We plan to do a little biking, plenty of walking, and maybe I’ll go out for a short run at least once. Maybe.

Fellow half-marathoners, what are your best tips for recovery?