Star Wars Half Marathon Playlist

More recently, I’ve been listening to The Nerdist or just random shuffle during my runs, but as I approached Race Day, I couldn’t help but feel I needed certain songs to keep me going. If you know me, MOST of these songs should be no surprise and the amount of New Found Glory, albeit a lot, is probably less than what most would imagine. I’ll admit – I made this playlist in a hurry and I miss the days when my running list was really, really good. Thanks to a loss of …. everything …. my stored music is a little less affluent these days. But still – thanks to these runs for pacing me and pumping me up through 13.1 miles of Southern California.

  • Paramore – Ain’t It Fun
  • Kelly Clarkson – Catch my Breath
  • Paramore – Fast in My Car
  • New Found Glory – Selfless
  • Sheppard – Geronimo
  • A Day to Remember – The Downfall of Us All
  • A Day to Remember – I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?
  • Fall Out Boy – Centuries
  • Paramore – Grow Up
  • A Day to Remember – NJ Legion Iced Tea
  • New Found Glory – Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing
  • New Found Glory – Something I Call Personality
  • New Found Glory – Belated
  • New Found Glory – Boy Crazy
  • New Found Glory – Ballad for the Lost Romantics
  • New Found Glory – At Least I’m Known for Something
  • New Found Glory – Over the Head, Below the Knees
  • All Time Low – The Beach
  • All Time Low – Let it Roll
  • Allister – Overrated
  • Andy Grammar – Honey, I’m Good
  • The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Parade
  • Blink 182 – Roller Coaster
  • Blink 182 – Easy Target
  • Britney Spears – (You Drive Me) Crazy
  • Every Avenue – Where Were You?
  • Finch – Stay With Me
  • Good Charlotte – Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
  • Good Charlotte – The Anthem
  • H2O – Role Model
  • Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
  • Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us
  • A Loss for Words – JMR
  • Nsync – Dirty Pop
  • Nsync – It’s Gonna Be Me
  • Nsync – Bye, Bye, Bye
  • Panic! at the Disco – The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicides is Press Coverage
  • Panic! at the Disco – London Beckons
  • Panic! at the Disco – Time to Dance
  • Panic! at the Disco – Camisado
  • Panic! at the Disco – Sell You Beautiful
  • Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance
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Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell…

Over the weekend, I took a break from training and instead participated in a 5K fun run ahead of a night of holiday debauchery – the Santa Dash. Unintentionally, I ran my fastest 5K in three years: 29:48. As I rounded the corner of the last half mile, my pace was such that I wanted to ‘kill’ everyone in my path and see how strong I could finish. (PS; ‘kill’ in the running world simply means you passed another runner and I slayed.)

I felt awesome. I ended up finishing #36 overall and walked back to my car reflecting on my running journey and how I never thought ‘just a 5k’ would be like ‘just brushing my teeth.’ Seamless, easy, routine, but not twice daily.

I should note for those that don’t know, I used to be really, really overweight. Running was one of the many life changes I’ve made that helped me shed 75 pounds (depending on the day). I played soccer for eight years as a kid, but perfected my position at Goalie so I wouldn’t have to run. When I got to high school, I quit during the first day of tryouts because they wanted me to run a mile as my warm up. 

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Couch to 5k. Every other day, I’d spend my lunch break at the gym (and the rest of the afternoon smelly… note to self, future blog post: tricks to working out on a lunch break and not return looking like a hot mess.) The app does just as it pretty much says – helps you go from not running at all, to completing 3.1 miles (or 30 minutes) without stopping. The first few weeks went by pretty quickly and soon enough I was consecutively running 10 minutes, 20 minutes, one mile, two miles, three miles… I was unstoppable. And, I was hooked – as noted by all the different 5K Fun Runs I was signing up for.

How it works:

  • 3 times a week
  • 30 minutes to include: warm-up, walk/run combo, cool down
  • Each week, total running-to-walking ratio increases until you can run 30 minutes straight
  • The app will queue you when to run and when to walk
  • Voila! You can even create your own playlist to go along.

So, to all those who cringe at a mile, or to just running from your car to the front door during a rainstorm, my advice to you – there’s an app for that.

8 Ways to Get Through an 8 Mile Run

Training runs greater than a 10K are what start to get my nerves going. Can I do it? Ugh, it’s so far. Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. Nonetheless, it needs to be done to get closer to that end goal. Today’s mileage: 8 miles. Course: Double Diamond to Double R, to South Meadows, to Veterans, to Steamboat Pkwy and finally back to Double Diamond. A perfect 8 miles.  Here’s how I often survive the trek:

  1. Listen to a Podcast. Today was actually the first time I chose chatter over tunes. Thanks to The Nerdist, Chris Hardwick, Daniel Radcliffe, Allison Tolman and Kelly Carlin, I found myself laughing through 90 minutes of frigid cold pavement pounding.
  2. Brush up on your boy band dance moves. My playlists are known to have a few Nsync and BSB tunes so if you ever see me out on a run, don’t take it personal if I’m motioning and mouthing “Bye, Bye, Bye.”
  3. Plan an errand mid-course. Something quick like making a deposit at the bank. Jog up to the ATM, do what you need, and keep on going. Long runs take time – gearing up, stretching, recovery and of course the actual run — so take advantage of where your feet are taking you and double dip.
  4. Stare at something pretty and zone out.
  5. Count how many times you almost get hit by a car because the driver is texting. Spend a quarter of a mile cursing them.
  6. Use a gel for an energy boost half way through. In the past, I’ve used Cliff Blocks, but might have gotten too used to them as they no longer have an effect on me. Right now, I’m testing out a GU variety pack I ordered off of Amazon and find that I prefer the fruity ones over desserty ones.
  7. Channel your inner B. Rabbit and have a rap battle with yourself. If your trail is secluded enough, don’t hesitate to belt that ish out. (Side tip: if you can’t rap/talk aloud without huffing and puffing, you’re running too fast.)
  8. Run with a friend. It never hurts to have someone along the way to motivate you. Even if you both have your headphones in, their presence alone keeps you on pace, focused and finished in no time.

These Mizunos Were Made for Running

Advice is everywhere. Blogs, trainers, magazines, friends, stores… some consistent, some tailored, some perhaps the worst you’ll ever hear. The one thing I constantly hear that I couldn’t agree with more is that your shoes are the most important part of your success. I learned the hard way.

DSC_0717Three years ago, my bestie Adam and I decided to run the first ever Reno 10 Miler. And when I say “decided,” what I really mean is that three days before the event, we probably had too many glasses of wine and said “Hey, it’s only 10 miles!” Only…

Being the -frugal- person that I can sometimes be, I was currently training in a pair of black and pink Nikes that came from the running section at the Nike Outlet Store. Those count, right? By mile five, I could feel blisters at every curve of my foot and the mad desire to just give up. What the hell did I get myself into? I did make it to the finish line but not without putting out my hands and saying, “I’ll take that advice now.”

I made the trek to Reno Running Company and instantly made a connection with the team. After being fitted for some sweet Saucony’s, I was in heaven. It was like running on pillows. It was almost instantaneous that I realized running didn’t have to be painful. Running on hypothetical pillows was worth the three digit expense. By the way, I don’t think I’ve spent more than $50 on a pair of heels or other girly foot covering in my life.

Those Saucony’s took me through my first half marathon with power and stride. On my next trip to Reno Running Company, I graduated to a lesser-known brand in Mizuno and have bought nothing else since. Protecting your feet – and in turn, the rest of your body – has to be one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned as a runner. I’m no preacher, but praisith those who made protective feathers for my feet.

Getting fitted is actually pretty fun, too. I try to support local as much as possible, so RRC is definitely my store of choice. The process is simple – what will your shoes be for? Compare your feet to Godzilla’s (at least in my size 11 case). Let’s test your running style. Here’s a few options. Run around the block. Will that be cash or Visa?

To note, I ran the Reno 10 Miler again this year, and because I didn’t have to limp-run-walk-die-limp-run-walk for over half the course, I beat that first year time by 15 minutes.

 

No rest for the gluttonous

Forgive me Gym Gods, for I have sinned… it’s been three days since my last real workout.

No big deal, right? Pair that with four days of cookies and casseroles and DSC_0670you’ve got yourself a real problem at that next workout. Thanks, Thanksgiving.

Today was like day one all over again – only in more ways than one. I started working with a personal trainer at Evoke Fitness. I’ve done their infamous 30 Day Body Challenge a few times now, and always like what I see at the end. In fact, Evoke is the place where I’ve felt my strongest and weakest. I’ve jumped higher, lifted heavier and ran faster under the 30 Day Challenge. But I’ve also beaten myself up over the weight I didn’t lose during my second challenge and landed myself in the ER after a catastrophic game of Burpee Tag… no really. Try explaining that one to the doctor as he’s X-raying your ankle. I digress – today was day one all over again.

Strength training is the one thing I’ve never put much focus on, despite knowing that it would help me run faster, prevent injury, lose more weight, tone up and just be an all around stronger athlete. So when I signed up for the Marathon, I made a deal with myself that I would focus on more than just cardio. Strength training is important for runners for many reasons. The biggest thing for me is that I’m building muscle on the parts of my body that help me run further and faster, but with less impact. Pavement can be so hard on your body – it’s nice to slow things down a bit. Plus, running works your muscles the same way every time to the point where it’s clockwork and you’re no longer building, just maintaining. The other plus of strength training? It boosts your metabolism and wakes up those hormones that burn fat.

Additional reading: Ten Reasons Why Runners Should Include Weight Training

My body felt weak today from the Thanksgiving destruction. I couldn’t believe how badly I was shaking. I certainly am going to feel it all tomorrow. But the important thing is that it’s done.

Personal Training Session #1:

  • Half-mile treadmill run, moderate pace
  • Round 1 (Repeat 3 times)
    • 90lb leg presses, 15 reps
    • 40lb leg lifts, 20 reps
    • 20 weighted, alternating lunges into bicep curls
    • 15 tricep dips
  • Round 2 (Repeat 3 times)
    • 75lb sled push 10 yards
    • 15lb shoulder presses, 10 reps
    • 15lb shoulder flies, 10 reps
    • Full sit-ups, 10 reps
    • 10lb skull crushers, 10 reps
  • Round 3 (Repeat 3 times)
    • 60lb lateral press, 15 reps
    • 10lb elevated front raises, 12 reps
    • Elevated leg lifts, 15 reps
  • Round 4 (Repeat 2 times)
    • 15lb, single leg rows, 15 reps each side
    • Balanced V-ups on bench, 15 reps

On your mark, get set…

GO! That’s what my mind told me after weeks of deliberation on whether or not I was going to click submit.

After being unhealthy my entire life, after years of self-doubt, no confidence and size 22 pants, I finally decided to take action. I struggled with dieting, lacked consistency at the gym, and couldn’t face reality. Then, I found running. Or rather, running found me.

With the longer miles went the pounds of fat. With the need to focus on other areas, came group fitness classes and fitness friends. With the desire to fuel the body, came better eating habits. One mile on a treadmill turned into a 5K by the Truckee. Thirst quenched for longer distances and bigger medals and my wall ached to add more racing bibs to it. A random emotional panic lead to signing up for a half marathon. “Can’t imagine running another 13.1 miles,” turned into “I think I’m finally going to do it.”

You’ll learn more and I’ll tell more as we embark on this journey to 26.2 together. I plan to share my training journey, new products tested, trails explored, aches, pains and cries for motivation. Whoever you are, for whatever reason you’re reading, I hope you’ll enjoy.

See you at the finish line.