Hooked on Running With Friends Works For Me!

Yesterday, I had a rough long run in the heat and humidity.   Not feeling my run AT ALL and I realized that I would not have run over 9 miles if it wasn’t for my running family.  It got me thinking that I run the majority of my runs with friends and why I would much rather run with company vs tackling solo runs.  Sure there are times when everyone needs a good solo run!  I get that, totally.   In case you’re more of a solo runner all the time, here’s a quick list of my top reasons (by no means the only reasons!) for adding up the miles with some runner friends:

Reason #1: Running with friends helps you pass miles much faster than if you were running solo.  In addition to that,  it also helps you to stay motivated when you find yourself  in a rough spot (exhausting, just not feeling it, etc.)

Reason #2: You might need a lookout.  There has been at least a handful of times that I’ve had to hit the woods on a busy Saturday morning.  My friends have successfully saved me from embarrassment several times.

Reason #3: It’s therapy!  Nothing better than spending 2 hours with someone just talking and sorting through life’s problems and rewards.  It’s also the perfect time to catch up with each other after a long week or day.  We’ve talked about everything from things going on at work and school to new restaurants to favorite books and music to upcoming events.  You name it, we’ve probably talked about it. It’s our time to all reconnect!

Reason #4:  Nobody wants to eat a post run meal alone.  What better than finishing up a nice run and hit the bagel shop with a group of friends or find a patio for some post run beers and Mexican food.  None of that happen if you only ran by yourself!

Reason #5: This one is probably my most favorite!  By running with friends, you get to celebrate in their accomplishments as if they were your own.  I got to run with some friends this week who set a goal to run two miles without stopping!  It was so awesome to by their running cheerleader!  It wasn’t the first time we’ve done that for each other and it won’t be the last!  Katie wrote about our group run here.

So before you set out to run this next week, especially if you are used to only running solo, call up a friend or two!  Stop by your local running store and join a group run!  Just hook up with some people and see if it doesn’t enhance your running.

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Just some of the guys and girls that I run with!

As I get older I see that running has changed for me. What used to be about burning calories is now more about burning up what is false. Lies I used to tell myself about who I was and what I could do, friendships that cannot withstand hills or miles, the approval I no longer need to seek, and solidarity that cannot bear silence. I run to burn up what I don’t need and ignite what I do.”
Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run

 

What are your favorite reasons for running with a friend or group?

 

 

Spring Break! Grab the Chipotle Aioli!

This week has been my Spring Break, a much deserved reprieve from school.  My shoulders have returned to their proper position, instead of hanging out somewhere near my ears.  My sleep patterns are topsy turvy, staying up too late and waking up still too early.  I have savored long out-to-lunch lunches vs plastic box lunches (aka as microwave meals) since I have had longer than 20 minutes to scarf down some food.  I’ve had time to eat my breakfast and enjoy a second (or third) cup of coffee. Most importantly, time spent with H and my family has been so nice.

H and I went to visit my sister, brother in law and their newish baby S for a few days.  My mom was already there, so we joined her for the middle part of this week.  H and I drove down mid-day Tuesday, just in time for my sister to get off of work.  I was so happy to get in some baby lovin’.  I hadn’t seen my beautiful niece in a few months and it was so wonderful to see her.

On Wednesday, my sis had to go back to work, so my mom, H and I got to babysit. 🙂  I2013-04-03 14.51.13 needed to get a run in as well, so I headed out early so that we could go to lunch at the Bass Lake Draft House.  The fam tried it out the past weekend and my mom suggested it, knowing that the place was right up my ally.  It was so good that we ended up eating there one more time before we left yesterday.  I ended up trying two sandwiches, El Diablo and the Steak and Cucumber pita. I’m pretty much addicted to their chipotle aioli. The food was fantastic and the cold beer post run was well deserved!  Mmmm….chipotle aioli…oh wait…where was I?

Every time I visit my sister,  I pass the turn for the American Tobacco Trail on the way to her house.  I have friends who have run the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half or have traveled there for a Saturday long run.  They all rave about how nice it is and that’s a great place to run.  I was going to finally have the opportunity to check it out.  So excited!  In addition to running the ATT, it was also the start of April which meant another 5 by the 5th virtual run!

I laced up, drove the 20 minutes to the trail, and headed out once I got my bearings of where I was going.  Since I had to run 5 miles, I was just going to do an out and back along the course.  The trail isn’t really a woodsy “trail”, which I knew, but more of a pea gravel trail so I was happy to be running on a softer surface, just to mix it up.  ATT is very flat too; I had a slight uphill grade going out.  I had an awesome run!  The weather was perfect and the trail provided a lot of scenery and the miles flew by!  I ended up running the fastest 5 miler so far during this virtual run series, beating my February 5 miler by :30!  April 5 by the 5th

It was a great visit to my sister’s!  We enjoyed our time with them, relaxing, hanging with baby S and the rest of the family.  I look forward to more trips especially during the summer, when H and I can head down for a few days here and there.  I also would love to plan for our running group to head to the ATT for a summer Saturday long run.  It would be a great way to mix up our summer running and maybe we can sneak in a visit to Bass Lake, I’ll definitely need another chipotle fix.

 

 

A Color Me Awesome Week!

The last two weeks have been jammed pack and I really had all intentions of blogging about it but I just was holding on, waiting for Spring break.

The weekend after Wrightsville was the start of the local Spring racing season and we kicked it off in true Woo Hoo fashion at the Old Town Beerun.  It was a great time spent with friends even though the weather was less than cooperative.  Find our recap here:

I celebrated my 39th birthday the day after the Beerun.  It was the only good thing about a Monday…haha!  Nick and H bought me some beautiful tulips and some other goodies (my favorite coffee and sea salt chocolate) and we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Lindley Park Filling Station.  It was low key day, but it was perfect.  We were hosting a cookout the following weekend with some of our closest friends.

This week also brought another surprise.  I had applied through Active Ambassadors to become a member of Team ZonePerfect.  It had been several weeks since I filled out the application and I didn’t expect to hear anything for a few more weeks.  I received an email inviting me to join 99 other moms to joint the Team.  They are asking us to spread the word about their kiddo friendly line, Kidz ZonePerfect bars.  I still am learning everything that will be involved with the sponsorship, but I’m excited for the opportunity.  My bars and other goodies should be here any day.  H and I are pretty excited to try them out and pick our favorite flavor! #sponsored

We finished off the school week with a “Run to Frozato” with our girls running club.  We had 35 girls show up to run/walk the 2 mile trip to get some yummy frozen yogurt.  The girls did amazingly well.  The group I ran with held to a 3 minute run, 1 minute walk for the whole 2 miles. They have really come a long way since our first time meeting.  I’m really proud of them!  It was a lot of fun and they were super proud of themselves too.

And finally this weekend brought the much anticipated Color Me Rad run.  As soon as H saw the website for this race, she HAD to do it.  We were excited to be able to run another 5K as a family too. Several of our other running friends all signed up too, so we had a pretty large group all running together.  The race itself was super fun but before that, not so much.  It was a little hectic at times with over 7,000 runners and I had flashbacks of how I felt running the Cooper River Bridge Run a few years ago.  I do not deal too well with the lack of true corrals and although we were in the 9am wave that really meant nothing.  Everyone was all jammed together at the starting line.

We got separated from our group of friends moving to start the line.  Every time we’d look for someone, all you would see were white shirts.  It was hard to pick anyone out of the crowd.  I held on to H’s hand for fear that we’d get separated.  We ended up starting with only 1/3 of our group.  We stopped on the side of the road once we took off, hoping to be reunited with everyone else.  We ended up finding Bonnie and her kiddos and Carole and Henry and his niece and nephew.  We didn’t catch Christie and Eric.  (We later found out they were in our same corral, not behind of us like we thought).

We got moving along the course and the hectic feeling went away pretty quickly.  It was still tough keeping up with the kids with everyone dressed alike.  Need to figure out something different to do next year, if we run it again.  The kiddos had a blast!  The color stations were spaced out well, just far enough apart where the kiddos could walk/run and not get bored or whiny.  This one of the first 5Ks that H was probably disappointed to see the finish line. We arrived back at the start, fully colored from head to toe and smiling.  It was a wonderful time with our family and friends.  We stuck around for the last “color bomb” where everyone throws their packets of colored goodness everywhere then headed home, leaving dusty reminders of our fun all over the car. 601344_357524511035679_323518562_n

“You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.”

~Mel Brooks

Oh snap! What A Way to Start the Week!

As the racing season kicks off here in NC, there is a local race series that kicks off this weekend, the Greensboro Race Series.  As a runner, you can run as many or as few events as you would like, all while earning points for each age group finish. Points are tallied after each race and the top 3 people in each age group can win some cool prizes at the end of the season.  However if you aren’t the fastest runner, don’t be discouraged!  If you run 6 of the 11 events, you are invited to a post season banquet where you grab a really nice Brooks long sleeve tech tee for your accomplishment.  In 2011, I snagged 3rd place in my age group and won a gift certificate for Oakley sunglasses.  This past year, 2012, I didn’t place in my age group, but I did run all 11 of the events.  I don’t have plans to compete in too many of the races this year, I’m concentrating more on longer distance races.

Our local newspaper’s Sports Editor, Eddie Wooten, has this fantastic blog, Running Shorts, where he writes about local running events.  It’s the go-to place for all the information on the local running community.  He even spotlights runners every Friday!  I was lucky enough to be featured last August.  He contacted me and another runner, Thanh Ngo, last week to help provide some input for his upcoming blog post.  He was writing a preview of all the events that would comprise of this year’s race series, while hopefully  bringing interest and awareness to the race series and the races themselves.  Since we were the only two runners who ran all 11 events, who better to provide the info?  He wanted information about each course, doing our best to describe the difficulty, scenery, etc.  We also gave our “expertise” on why runners should run each event, hoping to draw newbies to the races.  I was thrilled to have been asked to contribute and quickly sent him my commentary.  Eddie combined all of our information and posted his blog yesterday.  It also ran in the newspaper itself.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, I also got some awesome news today!  My friend, Dena, had posted a month or two back that she had been accepted to be an Earthlete, Earth Fare Athletic Ambassador. I read through her blog and clicked on the link to learn more about the program.  Earth Fare is a fantastic small chain store that supports many of the community events.  They are really big into helping to create a healthier, more active community.  They worked with me for several years when my friend and co-worker, Sharon, and I ran a Biggest Loser competition for our staff.  They provided healthy snacks and gift baskets for the winners.  They were amazing!  I’ll have the pleasure of working with them again because I’ve been chosen to be a Earthlete!  I filled out the application after reading about the program, hoping that I would be chosen, thinking that the connection would be great for working with the girls running club at my school.  Part of the requirements of being an Earthlete is referring at least two other people to the program, so Dena, you got one! 🙂  The other perks are an additional discount for being part of the program, wearing their gear while competing at least 3 competitive events, which I have covered in April alone.  I’m really hoping to be able to call on Earth Fare too when it comes to working with the local 5K, Kirkwood 5K, which I am a co-director with Nick and our close friends and Woo Hoo Crew peeps, Katie and Nathan.  I can’t wait to find out all the details.  I’m sure the partnership will be a great one!

A Balancing Act

7 days of exercise this week, really?! I’m still in awe that I did it and I wasn’t totally shattered by the end of week and it didn’t disrupt our family life. At the start of the week, I wasn’t sure I was going to get any runs/exercise in with a school meeting Tuesday night and the hubby traveling for work, but somehow everything worked out!  Funny how that happens…

Here’s some of this week’s highlights:

Monday and Wednesday: Some running with some of my runner girl friends (Christie, Amy and Amanda), a solo run and Body Pump (Monday).

Tuesday:  Body Pump with 2 of my friends, Katie and Bekah.  Total bonus day of exercise!  I left school, hit the 4:30 class at the Y near my school, stayed through 5:15, freshened up, and headed back to school for parent night at 6pm.  True testimony that anyone can make time for exercise…where there is a will (or craziness) there is a way.

Thursday:  Another girls running club day!  We had 45 girls show up for some yoga.  Andrea led us through breathing exercises and several poses.  The girls (and Bekah and I) had their share of giggles, but settled down after a bit.  They really did a great job! I also realized how much I missed yoga! I need to find a way to mix in classes again.  I grabbed H from school and we headed out for dinner.  No cooking while Daddy’s gone!

Friday: March 1st started the March “RUN EVERY DAY” challenge hosted by I ❤ to run.  I was so torn because I didn’t really have time to run at least one mile before a group of us were heading out to celebrate Katie’s birthday, but I really wanted to see if I could even keep up with a streak for a month.  I finally gave it amends and thought, worse comes to worse, I could just start my own streak on Saturday.  After a few brews and some yummy pizza at Brixx, the hubby and I headed home for the night.

On the drive home, I couldn’t get the challenge out my head.  It was 9:30pm, I had a few beers and a full tummy, but I kept thinking I only have to run a mile, I only have to run ONE mile.  I could run a mile, just one, right?  I changed into my running clothes, threw on my reflective vest and called on the 12athon God and reminisced about our Drunk Pregnant Bunny run from last year’s challenge and headed out to run.  Though that day was way crazier than my mile run, who knew that all that 12athon silliness would be a prelude?!  Nick looked at me like I had literally lost my mind…perhaps I had.  I intended to stay just within our cul-de-sac, but actually felt good and headed out along my normal running route.  I giggled a lot about the ridiculousness of all this, I talked and sang to myself (not a big fan of running at night by myself), and knew that this would make a great story at some point.  Nick was waiting for me out on our driveway, just shaking his head when I showed back up.  March running streak…it’s on!

Saturday: A group of girls had made plans to run a local trail, Owl’s Roost mid-afternoon.  I wasn’t sure if I’d meet up with them or not, but H wanted to stay out another night at her grandparents and Nick was still tired from his trip, so it was the perfect time to get a run in without missing out on family time with them.  4 of us (Katie, Andrea, Sarah and I) met out 5 by the 5that the park and headed out for the 5 mile trail.  It was also the perfect distance for this month’s Mommy Run Fast 5 by the 5th challenge.  We all stuck together and had a great run!

Once we headed back to the parking lot,  Amy was just finishing up with her run and we headed for a quick brew.  After many appetizers and two desserts (!!), I headed home for movie night with the hubby.

Sunday: Long run day!  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel this morning, but I slept great and 2013-03-03 13.07.23apparently all my carb loading Friday and Saturday worked perfectly.  Kathy and I hung together for our 9.75 miler along the Greenway.  We both had a great day running and I enjoyed our time together this morning.  H and I had plans to see Annie this afternoon at a local theater, so I instead of doing the normal bagel trip, I opted for some homemade Mexican eggs instead and got home shortly after she did from the in-laws.

I learned a lot about balance this week, how to continue to juggle all the things that I have going on daily (work and family).  I learned that I can always do more within any given hours of the day.  I also reconfirmed that exercising and running doesn’t have to affect my family life.  I can make it all work with the help and support of Nick and H.

We need to debunk “work[out]-life balance.”  It’s not about continuing an impossible balancing act. What we need is a stronger support system.

~ Amy Tiemann, “Mojo Mom”

Weekly Mash-up — Herding Cats and a Team Challenge

This week has been an unusual one!  With a workday, some icy weather and just getting back into town from last week’s amazing girls’ trip, I didn’t have time to really sit down like I intended to write about this week’s fun — so a weekly mashup it is!

Thursday was our 2nd girls running club meeting.  We had 45 eager young ladies show up to begin our first day of our official Couch to 5K training run.  Andrea mapped out a route for us to take through the neighborhood near our school.  Heading out for our run, we walked as one huge group for 5 minutes to warm-up.  After that point, we were going to run/jog for 1 minute with a 1.5 minute walking recovery.  That’s when the group started to break up into smaller groups based on abilities–Let the herding cats begin!  Andrea took the lead with the girls who could run the whole route, I hung out in the middle with the girls who were running and walking, and Bekah was at the back of the group with the girls that were walking most of the route.  Luckily for us, we have a great group of girls and they payed attention, tried their bests and kept up well.

The girls did so great!  Most of them, I think, surprised themselves, at how far they could run and everyone was just beaming with pride when they realized that we had completed a 2.7 mile route.  They are excited to meet this coming week and to do it all again!

As the week came to a close, I was looking forward to this weekend’s long run.  Four of us from our running group, The Woo Hoo Crew, were participating in the #Anywhere5K Team Challenge, each team member’s time will be added together for a group time.  Daniel, Cara, Carole and I all signed up to be on a team and ran our 5K as part of our long run this morning. The weather was absolutely perfect!anywhere5K

Go ahead, Girls!

For the past few years, my co-worker and friend, Andrea and I lead a Girls Only Running Club at the middle school where we teach. We enjoy seeing the progress the girls make towards running their first race in the Spring and we love being a part of the process! In addition to the running/walking, we also spend time talking about healthy eating, body image, bullying and other hot topics among middle school aged girls. In the years past, we also coordinate runs and walks to local yogurt shops to help bring fun and exercise together.

This week we kicked off our first meeting and it was a blast!! Andrea takes the lead on most of the planning and I just follow in with whatever she needs me to do! This year we also have two other teachers helping us and we are so excited for them to be there, Bekah (who is one of our friends and fellow runner girl) and Tammy, a new teacher at our school. It looks like we’ll need the extra help too. We had 68 (!!!!) girls show yesterday ready to workout and try Zumba. It was awesome! Bekah led them through some quick warm-up activities, yelling “Go ahead!” every time she switched exercises and then it was on! Time for some dancing!

We had all kinds of girls, races, shapes, sizes and grades, dancing, laughing and having fun trying to keep up with our instructor, Sabrina. Bekah and I, of course, had to put our own sweet moves into the choreography which lead to a lot of raised eyebrows and giggles from the girls. If they can see us acting silly and having fun, hopefully, it will help them bring their guards down and have fun too!

We danced for about an hour, had some quick healthy snacks and Gatorade and called it a success! We’ll meet again next week and hopefully, get some running/walking started! The weather yesterday was dreadful, rainy and 41. Zumba was just what we needed to get our group off on the right foot!