I’m Still Here!

I just wanted to take a second to let you know that I’m still here, and hope to get back into regular blogging soon.

Except for a minor hiccup in my training schedule last week, I’ve been back on track for a few weeks now. I ran 12 miles yesterday and I am feeling good about that. And speaking of that, I have to tell you, that I really, really love my Due North traction aids for my shoes! Many of the roads I ran on yesterday were pretty much solid ice, but I didn’t slip or slide at all. I also find this type of traction to be much more comfortable than the sort that have a spiral track on the bottom, when it comes to running.

Also, if any of you are Google Plus users, check out the Running group under the new Communities link. So far, people there are being very supportive and encouraging of each other, and sharing all sorts of information!

I’ll post more soon! I promise.

Happy running!



Does it Hurt to be Beautiful?

Sunday was a busy day for me and Monday night I went to see The Avengers with friends (It’s AWESOME!) so I am blogging a bit late. Our run on Sunday was a recovery run of 5 miles, with a magic mile. My time was a touch slower than my last MM, which I’m actually fine with.  It was 9:07. Using Galloway’s method of taking the last 4 MM times, throwing out the worst and averaging the rest, I get an average of 9:10, which predicts a marathon pace of 11:55 min/mile or a 5h 12m marathon.  We still have one more magic mile to run before the marathon, so that prediction will probably change a little.

Just yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for the marathon itself. I’m not sure that it’s been very clear to my friends or my readers that I hadn’t gotten around to that yet, but I hadn’t.  Part of my dilemma was deciding whether to start at 5am with the walkers or 6am with the runners.  Since yesterday was the last day to sign up at the slightly discounted price, I made my decision and registered for the 5am start. I did this to lessen the pressure I might feel to hurry up to make it to the finish line before the party is over. I also thought it might be nice to get a head start on my friends who are traditional runners, so that I can see them when they pass me, rather than having them jet out in front of me, never to be seen again. I enjoy those times when the traditional marathon training class shares part of a route with us and thought perhaps it would be nice during the marathon itself.

This coming Sunday is our 23 mile training run.  It really doesn’t seem like much more than 20 miles did, so I’m not worried about it.  My Mizuno shoes are breaking in well and have been serving me nicely on the short runs, but I think I’ll appreciate being back in my more familiar Asics for the 23 miler.

I had a little brush with a shin splint in my right leg last week, but it seems to be gone now. For a few days I would have a fairly random pain in my right shin every once in a while during the day. It wasn’t severe or particularly frequent and I think it was caused by the boots I wear to mow the lawn in causing a problem with my arch. It’s hard to be certain of course, but using my foot rubz ball and stretching/rotating the ankle seems to have fixed it right up.

Today I learned that I don’t really have a great tolerance for running in the heat yet. It will come in time, I’m sure. NOAA says it’s 85 out right now and my route was fairly sunny. I didn’t bring water, since I was only going out for a short run and I regretted it.  Halfway through my run I opted to stop at the grocery store and use their drinking fountain before heading back home. I’m not sure if that made my run better or worse, since my stomach got a bit upset on the way back, but that may have had to do with the fact that I ran a bit too fast for a little while, which I explain below.

Finally, before I explain the title of this post and the reason for my overly fast running in the heat, let me just alert you to the fact that I am a feminist. That means a lot of different things to different people and this blog isn’t where I want to go into exactly what it means to me, but part of this post will make more sense in that context.

Does it hurt to be beautiful? That is what the 50 something strange man yelled at me from across the street as I was turning onto the trail that takes me home this afternoon.  So many things flashed through my mind just then.  Is he dangerous?  Is he going to follow me?  Why does he think he has the right to yell at me or judge my appearance?  He must be sorta blind, given that it’s really hot and I feel seriously haggard.  What I yelled back was a simple, Yeah, sometimes it does, before turning and running down the trail. 

I’m sure he didn’t catch any of my meaning. He probably assumed that I meant that I dislike running in the heat, which is true. Or that beauty is hard work, which can be true depending on what is meant by beauty in a given context.  What I really meant, right then was that yes, being hollered at by a strange man on the street did hurt even if only psychologically.

Since this man was unknown to me, I cannot guess at his motivations or what kind of person he is. He may have been perfectly harmless and nice or he may have been a danger. It’s impossible for me to know. What I do know is that his question was unwelcome and inappropriate and that I ran a good deal faster than I should have for about the next half mile, until I was certain I was well away from him.

Dearest readers, if you see a person run by and feel the need to call out to them, cheer them on. I can’t speak for all runners, but I sure don’t mind being cheered on. In fact, I love it. But don’t ask questions or make comments regarding their level of attractiveness. Just don’t.  It’s pretty gross. And that’s all I’m going to say on the topic today. If you want more information on why it’s not acceptable to yell stuff like that out to strangers, please go read a dedicated feminist blog like Feministing, Feministe, or any of the thousands of others.

The Missoula Marathon is in 53 days!  I’m officially signed up and I’m really looking forward to it!


Shoes and Safety

Monday was a big day for me.  I bought a new set of running shoes that I’m very excited about, along with some toe socks to try and an extra pair of the good socks that I know I like.  I also attended a Runner’s Personal Safety and Self Defense class.  It was presented by Run Wild Missoula and The Runner’s Edge, which also happens to be where I bought my new gear.

The class included some information from local police officers as well as some safety equipment sold by the Runner’s Edge.  My big takeaways from the class were: pepper spray, elbows, practice/preparation/planning, visibility, trusting your gut and be careful with headphones.

Pepper Spray:  The Runner’s Edge sells the Jogger Fogger, which is what I will be getting. The advantage of the Jogger Fogger is that it doesn’t require such accurate aim.  It sprays a mist or fog that will be a bit less powerful, but more likely to actually get into the eyes and mucous membranes of your target. The thing to remember to be careful of is not to be downwind if possible, and to consider holding your breath either way. But you’ll have adrenaline on your side, which will help a bit. One thing the officers emphasized that I thought was interesting was, DO NOT warn your attacker. If you’re in a situation where you feel threatened enough to use the pepper spray, just spray it and get the hell out of there. Warning your attacker will give them (if they’re human) time to cover their eyes or turn away so that your spray has less of an impact. They also suggested cutting the safety tab ahead of time. They seemed less concerned with accidental sprays than I would have expected.

Elbows: If you’re attacked by someone bigger and stronger than yourself, or even if that person just has the element of surprise your elbows are a good weapon to use. Punching them may well break your hand, but your elbows are a bit stronger.  You can go for their face or neck if possible, but other soft spots are good too. Even just using your water bottle to hit them in the face with or spraying your water at them is better than nothing and could give you the second you need to kick them in the old peas and carrots so you can get away.  But a lot of us aren’t experts at any kind of self defense technique. That’s where preparation, practice and planning come in.

Preparation, Practice and Planning: Being prepared doesn’t just mean having the right shoes or knowing whether or not you’ll be out long enough to need water. You should also make sure that someone knows where you’ve gone and when you should be back. That way, if you’re not back on time, they know where to start looking. If you’ve never taken a self defense class, consider watching some self defense vids on youtube and practicing a bit so that your body will know what to do in a scary situation. Plan your route and know your surroundings. If you get into trouble, knowing which way to go to get to the nearest open business or the friendly neighbors’ house may make a big difference.

Visibility: I’m lucky to live in a pretty safe community. There haven’t been many attacks on joggers over the years, but of course even the few we’ve had are too many. Visibility is helpful because anyone who is planning to attack a jogger is a little less likely to go after the person who is drawing a lot of attention, but also it keeps you safer from vehicles. Wearing lights when it’s dark out and bright clothes are great ways to stay visible to traffic and to other pedestrians.  There are so many options when it comes to visibility gear, too. Here’s just one set of good ideas.

Trust your gut: If you’re out on a run and somebody approaches you and makes you uncomfortable, trust your gut.  Cross the street if you need to. Draw attention to yourself by yelling, singing or using a whistle. Do whatever it takes, even if you look like a nutjob. If they’re not a bad person and you’ve just hurt their feelings, that’s sad but they will live. On the other hand, if they are a bad person you’ve just made it less likely that they will bother you because you’ve just drawn attention to yourself from all the other people in the vicinity. Also, walk and run confidently with your head up.  Know who is around. Look them in the eye.  Don’t stare at your feet like I do, when I walk.

Headphones are a problem. Many of us love to run with music, but you need to be able to hear what’s around you. Cars and people make noise and you need to be able to hear them coming. There are headphones out there that are designed to allow external sound in, including a very fancy and expensive brand called earHero. Their earHerosport model is out of my price range, but they look really fantastic.  One of the officers who spoke to us today has a pair and they’re tiny little things that don’t plug your ear and block the external sound. There are other options as well, but I haven’t explored them yet.

On Tuesday I ran in my new shoes, and so far I love them.  They’re light and comfortable. Sadly, I don’t think the toe socks fit me properly.  They work great on my toes, but they’re too loose and slippy under the ball of my feet.  On Thursday I will run in the same shoes, but with socks I am more familiar with, just to make sure it’s a sock issue. And I’ll run in my Asics for our 20 miler on Sunday. I’m not taking any chances, there!

The marathon is in 73 days and I just keep getting more excited!