Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Summation of a College Career

It's been a really long time since I blogged and I'm pretty sad about it. Let's just say I had writer's block for like...6 months. I felt like I wrote everything about running that I could. I still don't have a list of ideas, but I have been reflecting on my collegiate runner career a lot recently.

As of May 12th, 2012 I was officially finished competing as a collegiate runner. It still hasn't fully hit me that I am done with something that I have been participating in for 10 years of my life. Yes, I will still run, I may even join a local club running team, but competing as I know it will never be the same. I'm not complaining nor I am feeling sorry for myself. These are just the facts. I know when fall comes around and everyone else is starting school and going to XC camp and running the first race I will probably have a melt-down and really freak out. But for now I will continue my summer training and try to forget that I'm done. I have always been one that is ready to move on with my life when the time comes. In 6th grade I couldn't wait for middle school. In 9th grade I acted like I already was in high school. And by the end of my sophomore year of high school I was already wishing I was in college. But now that I'm done with college....I'm not really sure what I am supposed to be looking forward to! Definitely not ready for kids yet, and I haven't applied to physical therapy school yet either so I am just a bum on the street working and running and feeling in limbo.

But! This blog is about running, not about my up-in-the-air life. Its been 2 weeks since I ran my last track meet. I took 8 days off: no running, no exercise, no nothing. I was going crazy. I get super antsy and anxious when I don't work out, so this week I've been back at it. Cross-training and running. I've tried to put my last track meet out of my mind. I really sucked it up :( They say if you want something bad enough, if you dream it hard enough, that it will happen. Well, I think that's a load of crap. Cuz I definitely wanted more than anything to end my career on at least a good note if not an awesome bang! No such luck for me. Its okay, I've learned not to let one race define my life or who I am, but trust me, it still sucks. I once wrote a post when I had an insane dose of wisdom fall upon me. In it I wrote,
"The race isn't over when you cross the finish line. The race is never over, it is only a stepping stone on your climb up the mountain. You must use every race, every run, as a learning experience; you must get stronger with every success and every failure."
What I could learn from listening to my own advice! Fortunately I have an awesome friend who also offered me words of wisdom when I shared my disappointing performance with her. She reminded me that my contributions to the team were much farther reaching than 2 crappy races my last weekend as a college athlete. There is more to being on a team than racing well. There is the camaraderie, the sportsmanship, the hours of agonizing workouts, the bonds that form when you go through struggles with each other, the example I have been to others. She helped me take a step back and remember 4 years of running, not 24 hours of it. I have been reflecting back on my four years and realizing how much I have grown and changed since I started.
2009: I could not jump over that barrier...
2012: Steeple pro. 
I think these two pictures depict quite the change. Not only could I not jump that barrier the first 20 times I tried, I had many other running barriers I hadn't learned to overcome yet. Now, four years later there I am jumping that barrier like nobody's business. Okay, not quite, I still have terrible form, but it wasn't such a barrier to me anymore. More like a stepping block to help me over that water. So it was with many things in my running. I learned to overcome the mental barriers that held me back from being a good distance runner (anything longer than 800m killed me my freshman year). I learned to embrace pain instead of resist it. Of course running is going to hurt a little bit. But instead of backing off, just accept that pain and deal with it. It doesn't get worse. It stays the same. Like the steeple barrier, it can be something that stops you, or it can be something that you use to your advantage. You need to find the barriers you have in your life and turn them in to a stepping block to clear that pit of water. 

I also learned how to have fun. Running used to be so serious to me! Which I thought was fun, and I did enjoy it, but I think I took it way too seriously. Bad races and workouts were devastating to me. As I matured as a runner and person I learned that a race is just a race and the more fun I have doing it the better I usually do. I love that pictures can capture these emotions so well.

Notice: Top picture-teammates, smiling. Me, not smiling, not paying attention, totally focused and freaked out. Bottom picture-all laughing and having fun.

I have blabbed enough. I am going to let my pictures to the rest of the talking. These are some of my favorite memories from the past four years. I know that although this chapter in my life is over, I have many new and probably just as exciting experiences to come. I will never stop running. Running makes up the person I am.

the race that changed my life. Read about it here

The first and maybe only race I ever won.
Thank you UVU for the best four years of my life so far!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest Post: Athletic Shirt Giveaway and Review

Trudy Zufelt, a fellow Utah blogger, recently had the opportunity to tour the factory of a local athletic apparel company. Check out her blog Made in the U.S.A.  to find more USA made products, great reviews and awesome giveaways.

For this post, I teamed up with her to give away 5 of these awesome athletic shirts. The post below is her review of the product. Enjoy the read and good luck winning a new running shirt! (You can never have too many).

                             There's nothing better than getting your Game Gear on and getting ready to run.

I know, I don't look like a runner, but I do like to take a break from the gym or from cycling and run at least twice a week. Cross training works best for me. That way, I don't get bored easily. I got the chance to try the Game Gear Women's Performance Tech Slash Short Sleeve Shirt from Game Gear and I absolutely loved it.

The performance athletic shirt is made with high tech moisture wicking fabric that not only keeps moisture away from your skin, it has antimicrobial qualities too which helps keep odors away. Yeah, lucky me. I didn't have to smell myself sweat during my run. Even when it's cold outside, I sweat and I really didn't smell myself. The shirt was amazing for keeping me feeling dry and warm. I love the form fit. The fit around my arms was perfect. Not too tight and not too loose. I have a tendency to chafe under my arms when I run. This shirt kept my arms from rubbing and chafing. Though I tried the shirt on a cooler day, I look forward to wearing it when it when it's hot as well. The lightweight fabric will be perfect for warmer weather.

I've always been a fan of moisture wicking shirts when I exercise, but I like the Game Gear shirt better than usual. It is well made and I especially liked the fit. At $19.99 with free shipping in the U.S.A., you can't beat the price. I often hear U.S.A. made apparel is too expensive. This is not true with Game Gear. In case you missed my online factory tour at the Game Gear manufacturing facility, you may not know that Game Gear makes athletic clothing in the U.S. in the state of Utah. They strive to keep their prices competitive, while at the same time provide great customer service. I purchase athletic clothing on a regular basis and I am thrilled to find such great prices on well made clothing.

My husband had to opportunity to try the Game Gear Men's Performance Tech Slash Short Sleeve Shirt. Like me, he also loved the moisture wicking fabric and the comfort of the shirt.

We're giving Game Gear's shirt two BIG thumbs up.

We'll be running off now, but not before I tell you that Game Gear has generously offered to give not one, but 5 of my lucky readers a Performance Tech Slash Short Sleeve Shirt in the size and color of your choice. All I can say, is who wouldn't want this shirt? You don't have to be a runner. It is a great, every day shirt that looks good as well.

Game Gear sells everything from individual athletic apparel for a variety of sports to athletic team uniforms. They outfit high schools across the country. Their items can be screen printed with your team and/or logo. You can visit them on Twitter, Facebook or on You Tube as well as their internet site.

Contest Details:
I've teamed up with Run Like A Girl Blog for the drawing.  Please use the Rafflecopter form and read the additional details there as well. Contest starts February 10, 2012 and ends February 24, 2012 at 10:01 MST. Contest is open to U.S. residents 16 and older only. By entering the contest, you certify you are 16 or older. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When You Gotta Go....

Okay let's face it. You are not a true distance runner until you've had to poop on a run...and maybe not made it to the bathroom. Admit it. Poop is a runner's initiation and we are going to talk about it. So why does this happen? What can you do about it?

Why do runners get the runs? Well all that bouncing and jostling is bound to do something to your stomach. Plus the fact that when you are exercising, blood flow is increased to the muscles that are working hard. That means blood flow is taken away from your intestines and such. If they are still trying to digest, this could be a problem and they may not be able to digest properly. However, the exact cause of the so-called "runner's trots" is not really known.

What can you do about it?

Well....you could invent a running toilet and make it run everywhere with you! There's been many a time I wished I had this :)


You can visit those super creepy nasty looking outhouses that you find in the woods randomly....

But those probably aren't the best solutions.
First you should analyze your diet. Is what you're eating before a run causing you to get the runs? Do you eat too close to running or too early before a run? This takes trial and error to find out what works for you. Yogurt is good for the stomach because of the active bacteria in it. But, dairy is usually really bad so you have to find out if yogurt will help you or not. I know that I need to be done eating at LEAST an hour before I run, but not more than 2 hours before I run. When I run on an empty stomach I often feel just as sick as when I run on a full one. As a runner with gluten intolerance it has taken me a long time to find out what I can and can't eat before a run.

Another solution I have discovered is to tie toilet paper in my shoe laces because sometimes, no matter what you do, you just can't help what happens to your stomach on a run. Yes, I look like a dork. But I can't tell you how many times my teammates have asked me for a square or two :) Now you may think that is a little gross because the TP can get dirty, but only the top layer and you know what? I bet its a lot cleaner than whatever branch or leaf you would otherwise use.
Sorry for the poor picture quality. I cannot locate my camera at the moment.

If you only run in densely populated areas and neighborhoods then packing toilet paper with you probably isn't going to be very helpful. This is when you will have to plan your route ahead of time knowing where there will be bathrooms you can use. As you get to know your body you will find that "that time" usually comes around the same time during every run (e.g. after 15 minutes or after 25 minutes, etc.) As you learn this you will be able to plan your route accordingly.

Hope this post was helpful and not too distasteful :) There is no shame in being a true runner! I'm sure you marathoners and ultra runners know all about this! Feel free to comment with any funny stories or other tips!

For a little more info on why this happens check out this short article: http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/qa-why-this-post-race-toilet-problem/1538.html