For the Love of Running

I’m not sure what is going on with my mobile app, but my Sunday Seven isn’t posted (grrrr). I’ll post it shortly, but I did want to share a quick little article with you guys before I get back to my day.

My cousin lives in D.C. and recently posted a video of a “crazy” man, hopping up and down and running in spiraling circles through her neighborhood. I’ll be honest, when I saw the video I smiled. Man looks happy!!!!

Someone else commented that this was in fact a gentleman who was famous for his running in D.C. I read the article, and smiled some more. Apparently, the man is Cedric Givens, and he has been running for decades. I’ll leave you with the article link below and one final thought… We should all live happily, without fear, and smiling the entire time.

xoxo- H

My Treadmill

After graduating college, I was working really long hours and  by the time I was in my running gear it would be really late. During the summer months, I would run in the middle of the night. I was much more mindful of my surroundings, I wore reflective gear, lights and would run on the sidewalks. But as it got cooler, I began to realize I would need a better solution since it was getting darker earlier and the roads were slippery with fallen leaves and ice.

One night, while I was running, I saw my neighbor drive home. He was careening all over the road. I saw him hit his garbage can, before squealing up his lawn in his car and falling out of the driver door and into a puddle.  Drunk? I’m not sure, but I was horrified. Luckily, I was running on an adjacent street to his home and he didn’t pass me, but I did get a front row seat to his erratic and completely dangerous behavior. I got home and immediately ordered a treadmill online.

Yeah. I know. Not exactly the most normal response, but I knew I would need to run indoors during the winter anyway so I clicked away. I got my treadmill a week later. I guess I never realized how large treadmills are because whenever I had used them before they were at the gym, surrounded by other huge equipment. It was shipped in a giant crate and arrived by special courier. The box was so heavy I couldn’t even slide it across the driveway. I ended up disassembling the box on the driveway and dragging each piece of the treadmill, one by one up to the door. My sister helped and it took us almost the entire afternoon to move and assemble!

I still have the same treadmill. I purchased the Pro Form Competitor CS. Mine is the fold-able kind, but I really don’t use that function. It’s such a large treadmill that even folded it takes up a ton of room, plus it’s so heavy and hard to fold and unfold it every time you want to use it.

My treadmill is on the bottom floor of my home, which has a carpeted concrete floor. The treadmill faces a wall that has a ledge. I like to put my laptop on the ledge and watch TV while I run. I also keep a bunch of weights and other assorted work out stuff of that ledge. I also keep a separate pair of “treadmill” shoes near the treadmill. I don’t like the idea of tracking the mud and other junk from my road running shoes onto my treadmill, so I keep clean shoes for just the treadmill.




So. That’s my treadmill. What about everyone else? Do you own a treadmill? Do you go to the gym??



Tips for Cold Weather Running

Like most runners, I hate carrying things with me. I hate extra layers, water bottles, watches… anything extra that i have to carry is a huge nuisance and commitment because I am stuck carrying it until the end. I want to be free when I run.

Conventional wisdom tells you to layer your clothing, but they don’t take in to account freezing fingers, numb ears and achy nose from cold wind.

I’ve been keeping pretty good track of what I wear at different degrees and I have found that if my core, my head, hands, and feet are warm that I can handle cold runs even if wear less layers. Here are some more essentials to battling out cold weather runs:

1. A hat – not only does the hat keep your hair out of your face but it keeps your head warm. On really cold days, I’ll put a really thin nylon beanie under my baseball cap to cover my ears, but this only happens when temps drop into the teens.

2. Gloves – I used to hate gloves because they made me feel numb and too covered up, but I do wear gloves once the temperature goes below 30 degrees. I noticed that once my hands get chilled, it’s hard to focus on running because I’m flexing my fingers to make sure they aren’t falling off my body. I have thin running gloves from Champion. I don’t see a dupe online but any gloves should do the trick. You should look for fitted gloves, I find that the fitted gloves bother me less and they tend to be warmer since you aren’t getting cold wind stuck in the fingertips or what not like you do with larger gloves.

3. Warm socks – the shoes aren’t what keep your feet warm, it’s the socks. I’ve already posted at length about my socks, so I won’t say much more here.

4. Vests – to keep your core warm. I never really understood vests. Like… Where are the sleeves?!?! But I bought a neon colored vest to throw over clothes to increase visibility during my late night runs… And I discovered it really keeps you warm. I started putting the vest over my running tops and hoodies and discovered that one extra piece of fabric was better than extra layers of shirts. I like the vests because they keep your core warm, and your arms aren’t hassled by bunching shirtsleeves.

In addition to adjusting my running clothing to include these things for winter, I find adding some really good moisturizer to my exposed skin helps keep it hydrated and prevents wind burn. On really cold and dry days, I swipe a little Vaseline on a q-tip inside my nose and under my lips so I don’t get dried out. I also add some good lip balm to the surface of my lips to prevent chipping.

What about you guys? What do you do during the chillier months?

(I’m writing this on my iPhone, so it might be a little garbled, but I hope it helps!!)

Race Records and To Do’s

I promised a while back that I would share more about my running experiences, because I always find it helpful to read about other people’s races and how they felt. It’s a good way to determine which races you want to run, and just to see other people doing the same thing as you. When I started out signing up for races, I did it blind. I just googled random search terms and signed up for races as they popped up on my screen. Needless to say, I was pretty lucky because I lived in Baltimore and there are a ton of really good races in the area.

These are the races I have run:

Date Name Distance Time Pace
October 10, 2009 Baltimore Running Festival 5k 24:59 8:03
March 20, 2010 Carefirst BlueCross Blue Shield National Half Marathon Half 2:05:47 9:36
June 19, 2010 Baltimore 10-miler 10 mi injured
October 16, 2010 Baltimore Running Festival Half 2:03:03 9:24
November 25, 2010 Turkey Trot 5 mi sick —–
January 9, 2011 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon/Half Marathon Half 2:26:01 11:08
March 26, 2011 SunTrust National Marathon Half 2:06:19 9:39
April 3, 2011 The Cherry Blossom 10miler 10 mi 1:32:05 9:13
May 15, 2011 The Maryland Half Marathon Half 2:09:58 9:56
July 31, 2011 The San Francisco Marathon Marathon 4:30:48 10:20
October 15, 2011 Baltimore Running Festival Half 2:18:44 10:35
November 19, 2011 TCS: Annapolis Half Marathon Half 2:17:33 10:30
April 1, 2012 Cherry Blossom 10miler 10 mi 1:41:58 10:12
April 14, 2012 St. Charles Running Festival 10 mi 1:43:42 10:22
April 29, 2012 Althea Columbia ½ Marathon Half 1:59:47 9:09

As you can see, I was pretty ambitious in 2011 and ran 101.7 race miles, but at the end of the year I felt broken. My times had really been dropping off, and I was cranky at the end of my races (totally not like me). I gave myself a couple months to get my head back in the game, and signed up for races for April of 2012. I had thought that giving myself 4 months of race-free running would be a good way to come back stronger and faster than ever.

I started off with two 10 milers. Both were miserable. My times were horrible, my legs hurt, my stomach bothered me, and I dressed poorly for both. These two races really took it out of me. I was mentally and physically tired at the end of each, and I knew it was time to take a break. I had committed to a half with my friend Courtney, and this race was where things “clicked” again for me again. (I wrote about it here). I know it’s really easy to get THAT feeling back and then sign up for more races, and push yourself… but I decided, for the first time in nearly 3 years that it was time to take more than a couple months off.

So… It has been nearly a year since that race, and my next race is April 28. When I run, it’ll almost exactly a year to the day of my last race in 2012. I am feeling good about running again. I am back to a good place where I am running for fun and not fighting with my watch, my shoes, or my head.

What about you guys? What races have you run? Did you ever feel like you needed to take a whole year off to get back into the game?

(Also! If you have any questions about the races that I’ve run, please let me know! I’d love to give my impressions of the races for those who are interested!)

It does NOT feel like Winter

Two days ago, I woke up to snowflakes gently floating down and coating everything. I was thrilled. I love snow!!! Anyway, I bolted out the door with my dog and camera so that I could take some pictures… I was outside for 30 minutes before the snow turned into hard, little bullets of rain. Booooooo.

Yesterday was unusually mild here, I’m told it was in the 60’s in Baltimore/D.C. but here in the NY Metro area it was a balmy 48 degrees.   Unheard of during the winter months, let alone 24 hours after a beautiful snowfall. The snow had all but melted away when I was out the door and driving off for a run.

I went to a park that I normally don’t go to… only to realize that the path was closed for the winter. Being the naughty person I am, I parked my car down the street and jogged into the park. Once I got to the path, I realized exactly why the path was closed. Between the hurricane late last year, the torrential rain, crazy winds, and all elements of weather the path had been eroded quite a bit. The first few minutes of my run were littered with huge rocks that had cascaded down the hillside and falled trees. At one point, there was a mangled bench lying across the path. It was totally unreal… but utterly fun.

It was obstacle running… I climbed over rocks, trees, and skirted huge holes filled with icy water. Most of my runs are on asphalt, and I don’t have to pay too much attention. I just have to get going and get into the zone. This was an all together different kind of running. I loved it! I’m definitely going to make an effort to run more trails and paths that are more challenging.

For those of you who are curious: I ran 4 miles in 47:39 (about 11:54/mile).

And some pictures of the snow from Monday!








Socks! This Changes Everything!

I wrote a post a while back about my favorite running gear  and a while before that about a successful race I ran in Columbia, MD… which brings me to the title. SOCKS!

Sometimes I forget that normal people don’t count their socks going into the wash and then pull them out one by one and gently reshape them one by one before letting them air dry. Sometimes I forget that normal people put their socks in the dryer and don’t freak out when they find one fried dry in the dryer. Well, this last Friday (my laundry day), I found one of my poor little socks in the dryer. I was on the phone with a friend when I found it and let out a little shriek. There was a long silence on the phone when I told my friend how I treat my socks. Then… the doofus told me I was mental.

Okay. I’m not mental. For the record, Smartwool’s website even tells you to treat your socks nicely. They do say you can dry them… but I don’t because I’m trying to avoid CRISPY socks (like my poor little sock). If I’ve worn a bunch of socks that week, then I wash them separately in Woolite before gently reshaping each one and letting them dry in a dry room. Sometimes they get washed with the rest of my laundry… and occasionally one escapes me and makes it into the dryer. Sad sad sad.

Anyway… my sock neurosis aside, Smartwool socks are literally the BEST thing that has happened to me since I started running. Don’t get me wrong… I love all my running stuff, but my affair with my Smartwool running socks is totally different. These socks change the way you FEEL when you run. They change the PACE you run. They change how fatigued you feel when you run. They change everything.

My current favorite Smartwool socks are an older generation, but the Smartwool PhD Running Ultra Light Micro socks are a dupe for mine. They come in pretty colors and you can purchase them online or at or or any sporting goods store that stocks Smartwool.

You know what I love so much about Smartwool socks?

  1. They are special. Each pair is made for a specific activity. They make ones for hiking, cycling, running, skiing, snowboarding… the list continues. The point is, because each of the styles are made for a specific activity, they actually boost performance.
  2. The running socks are made with reinforced heels to prevent chafing. The arches of the socks are knitted to create a tight support for your feet. The toes don’t have those pesky and weird seams that make your toes bleed.
  3. This might be my favorite: The socks come is sizes. The average American female wears a size 8… which means ONESIZE fits all socks? They are made to accomodate a size 8 foot (and a standard deviation above and below that size). Smartwool sizing starts small. A small is sized to fit a women’s size 4.5-6.5. I wear a size six, so this is PERFECT. My socks actually fit. I never realized what a huge difference this made in performance. Socks that fit? Totally awesome.
  4. In the cold, they keep you warm, and in the heat? They feel just like normal socks. I hate when I run during the winter and I can feel the wind whistling through the little holes in my shoes and it makes my toes cold. Smartwool socks? Totally not a problem. Your feet stay the perfect temperature and none of that pesky cold wind.

What kind of socks do you guys wear? Also… compression sock wearers? What kind and brand do you use? When do you use them? Tell me more!!!



Laughs (and poking fun)

Yesterday, while I was chatting with a friend about running and getting “in shape” he made a teensy faux paus and stated rather seriously, “I am in better shape than you.” Just to tease him,  today I texted him a picture of me running with the caption “Out running, since you think I’m fat.”

Poor guy…  The apologies haven’t stopped all day. I’m going to let him simmer in a little bit more suffering before I tell him I was just teasing.

Anyway!!! I walked on the treadmill yesterday while I watched some really terribly cheesy TV. I do have the stinking treadmill after all… may as well use it. Today, I woke up to a beautiful day. 40 degrees!! Once I saw that it was actually FOUR-ZERO, I raced to throw my room into a semblance of respectable before racing out to the lake to run. I did a respectable 3 miles in 27 something minutes. I have to make a conscious effort these days not to over-do the running since I do need some energy to sit and plow through legalese in preparation for the upcoming bar exam… so instead of hopping through another 3 miles, I stretched a little extra and walked out any kinks in my legs before heading back to study.

On that note… my semi-less-in-shape-butt will be getting back to studying…. HAHAHAAAA


Things to do… on the treadmill

So I googled this “Things to do on the treadmill”

There are some truly awful suggestions out there… like AWFUL. And I found a picture of someone eating a bagel while running on a treadmill… like WHAT?!!?!?!

I’m a bit of a running purist when it comes to distraction… keep in mind I also began running before the advent of the portable music MP3 thing. Think: cassette tape player. So, when I did start running with music I found it horribly distracting. The cord flying everywhere, my hand getting sweaty and accidentally chucking my iPod into puddles, looking down at the music list and accidentally falling into things… it was a disaster to say the least. Then my then boyfriend bought be a cordless headset… and I started taking my music with me. Even then, I don’t listen all the time. It’s just part of my routine. I put it on my head and run… with or without the music.

I’m also a better outdoor runner. If I am outside, I can run much longer and much stronger than if I’m on my treadmill. On the treadmill I stare at the numbers, I do math, I get distracted, I miss a step, and then I fly off the treadmill and into the bookcase, that I swear I’m going to get rid of at some point. I also had a really bad 1st time on the treadmill experience… think gym full of sexy men and falling off the treadmill and bleeding everywhere and everyone staring.

This is really just a long-winded way of me saying… I get bored on the treadmill. So what do I do? I do little things to keep distracted. I watch TV, which I think is okay. I do agilities. I do lunges. Sometimes I walk backwards. Sometimes I take little weights and do little arm exercises.

The point is, I think it is okay to realize you are distracted and I think it is okay to go about continuing your workout with small exercises to help you blast through the ennui. Music and TV are pretty benign once you get the hang out it. Slowing the treadmill down and doing agilities is good too.

What I don’t think is okay? Eating a bagel on the treadmill. Think about this for a second. What if you choke? A treadmill is heavy machinery people.

Anyway – these are two good posts about doing “other” things on the treadmill to get through a treadmill workout for people that find it tedious. Just remember to workout “smart.” Don’t do something that won’t work for you, and don’t do something where you “might” fall off. We are running to be healthy and happy, not bruised and banged up.





Ten Mile Wednesday

It would have been way more awesome to be Ten Mile Thanksgiving… but I’m cooking tomorrow so I wouldn’t have time.

Anyway ~ I ran ten miles today. I was only planning on running 9… but it was just so beautiful! So I kept bopping along. 🙂 It was a gorgeous 54 degrees so my run was just phenomenal!

🙂 Hope you all have a happy thanksgiving!!!