For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run Bare

Three things today:

First off, I had my final long run (before the Chi Half) last weekend. My mom, sis, and I camped at Point Beach State Forest outside Two Rivers, WI. I mapped out 14 miles before I left, memorized road names, and had the run looming on my mind for days prior. Fun!

Now we all remember my last 14 miler three weeks before my first half. Lots of pain. Lots of tears. Well this one would prove to be some more of the same. Not necessarily pain, however. Here goes: 3 miles into the route, I came up on the road I would be running back on. It was SUPER bright and sunny. Aka: super bright sun I wouldn't want to run back into at the end of my run. So I decided to reverse the loop I planned. Mistake. I totally got lost. I've been camping at Point Beach for nine years now, but I don't really venture into T'Rivers. Long story short, I went two miles out of my way to find my route back. I ran along this combo of roads, back and forth back and forth back and forth, trying to figure out where the heck I was. The road name was correct, but the sun was in the wrong place! Haha! Anyway, being lost totally zaps your energy. And this was only six miles in. I was 4 miles from the campsite and my mind just gave up. I stopped to walk and just felt sorry for myself and started thinking about my mom and sis just waiting there for me, worried about where I was. I just burst into tears. I know, such a drama queen. But getting lost when you're running really f*cks with your mind, man. Because it's not like in a car where you can just turn around and press the gas pedal. Ok, so I walked for eight minutes...huge drops of salty discharge streaming down my cheeks. What a display. After the eight minutes were up, I started running again and yelled at myself a bunch. I rolled into our campsite and let 'er rip once again (seeing your mom does that to you sometimes). She and my sis gave me water and peach nectar juice and started cookin' up some mean breakfast burritos and I felt worlds better. Final tally: roughly 16miles...exactly 3 HOURS of running (well minus that eight minutes haha!). Definitely a PR even though it lacked some grace.

Second, I received a FANtastic piece of "fan mail" the other week. I think maybe it was my second or third email since I started this blog a year and a half ago. There truly is nothing more inspiring than someone reaching out to take the time to thank you for something. This blog isn't much more than a stream of consciousness. Mostly complaining. But we're all in this together and if there's anything I blather on about that can possibly be helpful, well then, hey, it's all worth it I guess! So thanks Michelle!! I hope you heal up quick and get right back out there!!

Third, barefoot running.

I have a friend who is literally obsessed with running barefoot. He's up on his big puffy barefoot cloud looking down on us silly, small-minded, shoe'd dummyheads who have no idea how big of a mistake we're making. I was NOT a fan of this. But when I got an email that barefoot runner Michael Sandler was stopping at my local running store with his fiancee to talk about it, I thought: hey, maybe I'll check it out, just so I can tell my friend I've given it a chance.


Talk about an eye-opener. I'm going to have to write an entirely separate post devoted to all the ways my mind has been changed, but in short: shoes suck. Ok they don't completely suck. And Michael doesn't think so either. They serve purposes. Like becoming hand weights ;) No no, seriously, running shoes still take part in training, but runners don't have to rely on them so heavily.

Shoes mess you up though. After listening to the science, there's really no denying it at this point. Anyone who has ever had issues with knee pain, IT band pain, arch pain...even NECK pain, you could potentially trace it back to running shoes. And we all think: "well I must need different running shoes." I myself just wrote in a past post: "I need new shoes. My feet hurt." New shoes? How about NO shoes.

SO! I drank the Koolaid, I purchased Barefoot Running, and I'm going to give this a whirl. It takes awhile to build up, however. And as Michael had us all repeat three times: "I will only go 200 yards on my first run!" So this past Tuesday, I put my shoes in my hands, and ran two blocks barefoot. Invigorating to say the least! Like I'm a kid again. After my 8 mile yesterday, I took off my shoes and ran four blocks. Then iced my feet :) Ever since the seminar, I try to go barefoot as often as possible. Through the Target parking lot, on the route to church, and I don't put my work shoes on until I step inside the building and I have QUITE the trek from car to building (let's just say I get to work on the later side...)

If you've ever considered running barefoot, there are probably 340350325 concerns that tell you not to. I'll address some of the ones I had next post. At the end of the day though, this running thing has been quite the struggle for lil ol' Katie ever since the spring Half. I just don't feel it. I don't have that "I love running" except in fleeting moments that are ruined by pain and frustration. I need a change. I can't do the same old thing anymore. Even after only a year and a half. Starsky's bored. So I'm giving this a shot. This and the whole Run Bare attitude: running isn't about times and PRs and mileage. It's supposed to be fun. I'd like to have fun while running again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Now that the weather is cooler and the humidity is gone, running is wonderful again!! Ok I've only run twice this month. TWICE. And I have a half marathon in less than a month?? Ooook. No but get this:

1. I've come to terms with this Half not being the Half for me. Some people can train just fine in the humidity. Maybe they don't like it, but they do it anyway. I'm looking at you Claire ;) The winter was brutal, but I kept at it. When the wind was just too icy I bought a balaclava. When the sidewalks were covered with a foot of snow, I barreled through them. But in my own mind nothing can help humidity...except running indoors. Now, next year I think I might invest in a gym membership during the summer months, but that doesn't battle dreadmill boredom. Which leads me to...

2. With a month left, I was so fed up with not being able to run, I attempted to find some sort of indoor access. I had to rule out a day pass (do these still exist?) at the Y because I wasn't sure how I'd be able to handle running 144 times around the track (to do 12 miles). I also ruled out the Pettit Nat'l Ice Center's track because of the Wisconsin State Fair burgling the parking, causing its close to the public. I finally decided on using my parents' Nordic Track which is NOT a treadmill and five billion times harder than running!!! I could only do an hour. Which in Nordo time is apparently THREE MILES??? You've gotta be kidding me. I wasn't aware at how much different the muscle usage's like riding a bike basically only standing up. The bottoms of my feet killed (like peddling would do), and my quads were worked like you wouldn't believe. Overall a GOOD workout for some cross training but not such a good substitute for a 12mi run. And staring at my parents' basement wall covered in Lord of the Rings posters and Presidential Exercise Awards "signed" by Bush himself, failed in the scenery department. All I had were the soothing sounds of Ira Glass to whisk me away.

3. The humidity broke this past Sunday and I didn't have time to squeeze two hours in, so I saved it for bright and early Monday morning before work. 5am, two hours and eight minutes, a SPECK shy of 12 miles. The weather was PERFECT. The two episodes of TAL eased the time. And I felt pretty good. Except for my feet...which brings me to:

4. Shoes. I've barely put 250miles on my current shoes. Maybe 300? But seriously not enough to require a new pair. But my feet KILL. I know your feet aren't going to feel the greatest after 12 miles, but honestly?? There's no way I'd be able to take much more and there are people out there who run like 50miles at a time! They just, I don't know, HURT. The bottoms. It's not's just the whole foot. Like in the bones. Now as much as I never wanted to admit it, I don't think this current pair of shoes was ever for me. I've had problems from the getgo. Like the outside of my arch hurting. What causes that?! So yeah, I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a new pair. And REALLY get checked this time. The girl who sold me my first shoes (my former HS classmate) did a great job. Those ASIC Cumulus ruled. But these Kayanos I picked out myself because they were $40 off. Stupid. In addition to my feet killing me, I did something to that tendon that's right on the top of my ankle. Some kind of tibial something or other. It got all super puffed out and bulgy about 3 hours after my run. Ice and wrapping it did wonders though as now it's fine. I've never hurt that part of my foot in my year and a half though, so now I'm wondering if THAT'S a shoe issue as well!

5. EXCITED ABOUT RUNNING! Buying new shoes for over $100 MAKES you into running again! I also downloaded the iPhone iMapMyRun app because I don't own a Garmin and I heard that this app is actually surprisingly accurate. I bought a little pouch thing that snaps around my waste to carry my gels and my iPhone fits there just I'll test it out one of these days...use the app as well as map out/time my run manually. Cool weather is right around the corner. Just gotta get through August and the Indian Summer of September. Then I'm golden! Ready to take running by storm once again!

6. With that said, because this Chicago Half Marathon is a wash for getting anywhere close to a PR (just have NOT trained hard enough), I've got my eyes set on possibly running another Half on November 6...8 weeks from Chicago. It's like long enough to retool my training but short enough where I won't just slack off and lose interest (see: the past few months). I've also got three other races on the docket in October: an 8K, a 10K, and a 15K respectively, in that order. So that'll be good for training too.

7. The end!