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Posts tagged ‘Trail Running’

Diva Dash Recap

Let me start by saying that I LOVED this race! I’m pretty sure this is the first race where I thought to myself “Man, I can’t wait to run this again next year” WHILE still running it! It was a ton of fun and if it comes to a city near you, I recommend checking it out.

My team and I put our best foot forward for this event… and we did it in pink, zebra striped socks!

First, it was a 5k with 11 obstacles. The obstacles consisted of climbing over mountains made out of hay, dirt, and tires (separate mountains). Climbing over “jersey barriers.” Scooting through a maze that was also covered in a net around waist height (so you had to bend down to go through it). There were plenty of balance beams. We had to carry large logs for awhile. And my favorite: the thing where you have to run with your feet through tires (so you get some nice high knees) while also being hit by inflatable pink balls!

My favorite obstacle. Looking for my teammate.

On top of the fun obstacles, the course itself was pretty challenging. Some of it was on a paved road, some of it was over gravel, but most of the running was a gorgeous trail run through the woods. Obviously, this part is specific to the Massachusetts one. I like to consider myself a trail runner (although let’s be real, half of my trail is paved), however, my trail is along the Charles River and is mostly flat, flat, flat. The trail for this 5k was LEGIT! It was winding, thin, and constantly going either uphill or downhill (steeply). And we actually had to hop over fallen trees! Luckily, everyone started in preassigned waves that were separated by 15 minutes, so I never felt like the course was crowded. Absolutely top-notch orchestration, I have to admit.

Besides the actual run, there were a lot of things that I liked about this race. It was my first ever “Women-only” event. If all “women-only” events are this nice, I will totally be doing more of them. Everyone was so cordial! Plus, so many people really thought about what they were wearing. I loved it! I wish I had gotten pictures of my favorites, but let me at least describe them.

  • For about half of the run, I followed some women from a Boston Book Club, the back of their shirts read “I like BIG books and I cannot lie” (oh how I love it!)
  • There were about 20 women in aprons as “Domestic Divas”
  • There were some shirts that read: “My mascara runs faster than you!”
  • “If you run faster, you’ll get wine sooner! “
  • “Oxygen PLEASE!”
  • And one of my favorites: some women from a labor and delivery unit at some hospital (it said on the front of their shirts but I can’t remember now) had on the back of their shirts “We deliver!”

My team all dressed up. Who doesn’t love Animal from the Muppets?! Also, this is what happens when a bunch of theater nerds creating a running team…

Everyone was so friendly and encouraging the whole time, I had no idea women could all be so supportive of each other. Early on in the race, I knew I wouldn’t be the fastest, but I could try for the nicest! So anytime I was passed by someone or actually passed someone, I threw out a compliment. It was so easy! Everyone had on something cute (even if it was just a pair of socks that said “Bad Ass (with an arrow pointing up).” It was great chatting everyone up. Of course it was easier to talk to everyone because this was my first race without music. Whoa! But one of the women on my team ran my pace, so we had each other to talk to the whole time. That’s a first for me and it was awesome!

That was actually another of my favorites for this race. I ran as part of team of 10! We were a variety of speeds and we all mostly ran our own race… but with a buddy who was similar to us. I loved it!

They also have the best swag bag I’ve gotten so far:

Our swag included a t-shirt, a drawstring bag, a canvas bag, a magazine, and a Luna bar.

Plus, 90% of the vendors at the vendor fair were giving out free goodies. For example:

  • Socks from Asics
  • Frozen greek yogurt pops from Yasso
  • 5 hour energy shots
  • More Luna bars
  • Sahale Snacks – I took the cranberry, sesame seed, and honey covered almonds – AMAZING! I totally recommend them!
  • Beer from Coors light
  • Coconut water from Zico (I’ve tried coconut water a ton of times and I must be missing something, I never see the appeal)
  • And samples of about half a dozen energy or recovery drinks – most of which tasted pretty chemical filled.

There were just a few things that I think Shape could work on for next year:

  • They could use some bottles of water at the finish line. Instead we were given 3 oz dixie cups that we could fill up ourselves… dehydration was plentiful
  • On the course we were handed the same cups and we could also fill them up ourselves, on Facebook a lot of runners complained that they should have been filled up for us and I can see their point. I was running slowly so it didn’t bother me, but if I was going for speed I would have been pretty upset.
  • Something to nibble on at the finish line would have been good (none of us knew about the Luna bar in our bags). Once we realized everyone was giving out samples, it wasn’t so bad. But those first 30 minutes waiting for all of our friends to finish was a little tough without food.
  • They had a bag check at the race and I’m glad I didn’t use it (I left everything in my car), it was a total disaster!

All in all though, I would totally do this race again! It was a blast!

Because I didn’t know what the run/obstacles would be like. I didn’t go in with many expectations. I was hoping to finish in 45 minutes. I thought there would be more upper body stuff (there was really only 1). Next year, I know to be smarter on the obstacles. When going over the Jersey Barriers (you know, those large sometimes concrete road blocks, these were plastic though), I lead with my right leg on all of them and my right glute hurt like whoa the whole time. Next year, I need to switch up the leg choice every other time.

The course’s jersey barriers

Final stats:

Time: 44:53:97
Place: 3184 (out of 5489 total – thus 58%)
Division Place: 1379 (out of 2286 – thus 60%)
Pace: 14:58
On my team, I was the second fastest runner (well… tied for second when you count my racing buddy, one other women on our team beat us by about 15 minutes). I’m pretty psyched about that too!


Listen to Your Body

I know that when it comes to listening to music while running people can have some strong opinions. So since I was so pro-music yesterday, I thought I would offer a counterbalance today.

These images come from The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log 2012 Calendar by Andrews McMeel Publishing that my wonderful boyfriend was nice enough to buy for me for Christmas 2011.

I hope you enjoy them (even if I scanned them a little crooked):

I also thought I should be a little “pro no music” today since I will be running without music at the Diva Dash tomorrow because I’ll be running with friends! 🙂

Music as Motivation

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan when it comes to listening to music while working out. I really think it helps me to keep going and to shut down the negative voices in my head. And I discovered a website/app that I’d like to share with you in case you’re also a fan of running to music.! matches your desired pace with songs that have an appropriate beats per minute. What a fun way to find new motivational music! I hope you enjoy! It’s also available for your iPhone, but I’m not finding it on the Android platform (bummer!).

Plus, you may enjoy this study about increasing lung function and working out with music.

I also find it funny that the site reminds people:

The phrasing cracks me up, but that’s because I hear my mother’s voice from my childhood telling me not to run into traffic… However, I do agree with be careful where you choose to run with music. Personally, I run on the treadmill or on a running path in an urban environment (lots of people – so less of a chance of being attacked, I hope – and if a car is going to hit me, it’s going to have to first crash through a grocery store or an apartment building for the most part…) I think I’m pretty safe with my music, but please be safe with yours!

What do you think?

First Group Training Session

This post is a week late but… last Sunday was great! I worried about the group training for the Diva Dash obstacle course for nothing! It all really did work out. Six women showed up to run together. Conveniently, 3 of us considered ourselves to be runners and 3 considered themselves “woggers” (walk-joggers, as it was explained). It was great. We would all run or jog for about 1/2 a mile. Us faster ladies would do lunges or various other things as we waited for the slower ladies, we’d all walk for about 1/2 a mile and then begin again. It was actually really nice.

I’m super excited to continue training with them because the 2 other runners are a bit faster than I am. Not so much that I lost them, but fast enough that I felt like I was chasing them a little. Plus, at one point, I was walking with the joggers when we picked up the pace so I had to sprint to catch up with the fast ladies. It was a nice variety.

I know I probably sound a little dopey, but this is the first time that I’ve ever run with other people! Typically I do my own thing. (Not including races… where other people exist but we don’t interact)

Plus, in order to run with them, I had to drive about 45 minutes, which means: a new running path! This one was also tree-laden, next to a pond, and totally lovely (no running next to grocery stores and bus stops that far out!). It had WAY more hills than I remember though. To be honest, those hills were a lot of work, but I loved every single second of it! There were also a ton of giant puddles because it had rained all weekend! We considered them obstacle training and jumped over them. I was actually a really good jumper: not getting muddy is great motivation because I’m PRISSY! When I was in the 8th grade, I was on the track team for like 6 weeks. It was an indoor track and you had to run around it 13 times to run a mile! It was dreadful! I tried hurdles. For about a week, I felt awesome jumping over them. And then one day, I hooked my foot on one and landed face first. It was stellar…. After that, I was too afraid to even try again (yep, I was a big ol’ quitter!) And I eventually quit track because it was just no fun (and I SUCKED!) But it was cool to run and jump the puddles this past weekend. It almost makes me want to try hurdles again… but on some grass, not the cement gym floor again.

I felt this awesome, although I don’t think I looked this awesome. This photo is from the REI website.

At the end of the loop, while waiting for the slower ladies, I drew a line in the dirt with my foot. Then I hopped (with both feet) back and forth over the line, traveling down it (it was about 10 feet). I was pretty sure the Shape magazine training guide suggested something like this. We all ended up doing it a few times. On my last go around, I totally sprained my right ankle! Boo! It felt bad enough that I couldn’t support all of my weight (and thus made stretching a little rough), but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t hobble out to my car. It was also feeling fine by Tuesday and I managed to go for a 2.5 mile run before it complained.

One other downside though was for one of the “woggers.” I didn’t even think about it, but she’s dreadfully afraid of dogs… and this was basically a dog walking park! There were so many dogs! But they were all so well-behaved! Afterall, they are just excited to be there, they don’t care about the other people who happen to be in their park. I live in a tiny apartment so I don’t have a dog, but I LOVE them! If a friendly dog walked by anytime we were stopped, I was all about petting them (if they were into it). But poor Jodi would scream and run off. I felt terrible! I’ll have to invite the group out to my part of the state… where there are fewer dogs on my paths.

Where I see a smile, she sees the teeth… From

We all cancelled this (most recent) Sunday… but I hope we can stick with it, I really like having running buddies (and you all live too far away!) 🙂

Sneakers Pounding Pavement Again!

I went running outside this past weekend and I’m in the best mood because of it!

I would typically consider myself to be a “trail runner.” Although I should mention that I live in a pretty urban environment… so the closest thing I find to a trail is paved… but it’s near a river and there are some trees! I count it! (and I ignore the apartment buildings and grocery store and bus stop on the other side of me). If I lived somewhere more rural, I’d totally be running on paths through woods, etc. I also refuse to run on the sidewalk down the street (I mean… I do… but only for the 1/4 mile to get to the trail) – there is no way you’ll find me willingly running down the sidewalk on main street (or any of the other busy streets near me). So… because of my obstinance, I’ve been forced to run inside this winter. It’s too dark when I get home from work. And it’s cold and I’m a giant wuss when it comes to cold! Oh, and I’m not a morning person; nope, nope, nope.

But finally, this past weekend felt like spring. When I noticed it, I simply had to strap on my sneakers and head outside. What motivated me was the feeling of missing something great.

A few things I realized when I was out there:

  • I probably should have brought gloves and earmuffs… it wasn’t THAT warm! It was only about 40°F.
  • I never run in cold weather… my lungs didn’t know how to breathe! I was actually wheezing and coughing for HOURS after coming home, but luckily it passed without a problem.
  • I took off a LOT of time this winter! Whoa, out of shape!
  • I have MISSED my trail!

It was a pathetic run overall… as in, I only ran about 1/2 a mile before needing to walk. But that 1/2 a mile was the fastest I have ever run on the trail, so thank you treadmill boredom that made me increase my speeds. So I walked, and ran, and walked, and ran. All in all, it was like when I first started last year… I’m pretty sure it even took me my old speed to complete the 5 mile loop (based on how far I made it through my iPod’s playlist).

Sadly, I limped home… which was a new development. The back of my left knee was screaming, which is weird, because my left knee never hurts (and if it does, the right hurts worse). My hips used to hurt together… and then my ankles… but those strengthened up. My LEFT side has never hurt before my right side. I’ve had surgery on my right leg… so it’s always the weak one. I’m SHOCKED the left knee hurt (and it hurt for DAYS)… over-compensating maybe?

Also, my upper back hurt a little. That’s easy to understand though, those muscles got lazy having the cup holders on a treadmill. My arms haven’t had to carry my iPod nor water bottle in months.

It feels really good to be out there again! I’m so looking forward to spring!


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