Archive | September, 2012

Life-Changing

11 Sep

Running has changed my life in ways I had never anticipated. It’s more than just a workout or a calorie-burning exercise. Everyone has their own reasons for running and how it has impacted their life, but here are my own reasons:

1. One of my absolute favorite aspects of running is feeling my body getting stronger. I’m always reaching new distances and speeds. I can remember feeling like a champion for being able to run a mile without stopping. With every week, I felt like a champion all over again. That feeling never goes away. I know there are people out there running the same distance is less than half the time, but it doesn’t matter. In that moment, I feel like the strongest, fastest person in the world.

2. I frequently say “I can’t”. Everyone makes goals for themselves, whether it’s completely planned or just passing thoughts. “I can’t” and “I wish” are two of the worst ways to begin a sentence. I’m extremely conscious of my attitude toward goals and dreams because I never (ever!) would have dreamed that I could run a 10K race and have a blast doing it, but here I am running 10K’s and loving every minute of it (even the minutes when I’m tired and out of breath). I refuse to say that I can’t run a half-marathon. I WILL run a half-marathon in February, even if I can’t fathom it just yet.

2a. This extends way beyond just running. I feel like I can do anything when I work hard enough at it. Nothing ever really comes easy to me – I don’t hold any special talents. It’s my perseverance that brings me to success… not that I’m always so dedicated. I know I just need to focus my energy to really working for what I want in my life, and now I know I can¬†achieve great things.

3. Endorphins! That “runner’s high” you hear runners talk about? It’s REAL.

4. Running creates a schedule for my day-to-day or even week-to-week routine. I thrive on having a solid schedule. If I don’t have a schedule, I start to go a little crazy. I get overtired, moody, and frustrated. I like to get to bed at pretty early hour and wake up in the morning for breakfast and a solid run. Of course I take one to three days off from running a week, but if I can’t keep that schedule going, I’m just not happy.

I would really love to hear about how running has impacted your life, even if it is as simple as losing as few pounds!!

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Streeetch!

2 Sep

Someone requested that I post about stretching over a month ago, but I’ve been terrible and things kept happening. I’m finally getting to it!

As always, I’d just like to remind everyone that I do not hold any training or medical certifications, and I am merely sharing what I’ve learned and what works for me.

Most articles that I’ve read and advice I’ve heard from trainers that I’ve spoken with say that it’s best not to stretch too hard prior to exercise because your muscles are not yet warmed up. This could lead to more injury than the exercise itself!

Before I run:

1. I do a basic quad stretch by lifting my foot and holding it by my butt (you know the stretch I’m talking about, I’m sure).

2. After that, I stretch my calves by standing on my heels, pointing my toes up, and reaching down towards my toes.

3. Finally, I just sort of reach my hands to the sky, and lean to each side to stretch out my sides.

What I’ve learned to be far more important is a post-exercise stretch. You may notice you turn into a pretzel after running or basic exercise because your muscles are nice and warm.

I once found a stretching image guide on Tumblr that I use for my post-running stretches, so I’ll just share that with y’all! I don’t necessarily stretch for as long as this guide instructs, but the stretches work wonders after a good, long run.

I hope this helps you when you’re stretching before/after your exercise. It’s very important – don’t leave it out! Consider it part of your exercise routine.

Heat Exhaustion/Dehydration

2 Sep

On Monday, I went for a decent 3.5-mile run around my hometown. I’d been away from home for almost three weeks (yet managed to go out for a run almost all of the days I was away), and I was eager to get back on my feet in familiar territory.

I still don’t understand why my legs wouldn’t get into the flow, and I felt like I needed to consciously force every step. I just assumed my body was tired, so I kept going.

I finished my run down the street from my house, and within minutes I knew I was about to pass out. I felt like I was going to vomit, my vision went dark, and sounds were fading. I knew I wasn’t going to make it home, but I managed to make it across the street to my neighbor’s house. I rang the doorbell, sat on the porch, and when my 15-year old homegirl opened the door, all I could say was, “Water.”

I felt better enough to walk home after I drank some water, but it didn’t end there.¬†For hours, I felt like I was going to pass out. My migraine was so intense that my vision was spotty. I was vomiting, shaking, and forced down over two liters of SmartWater (electrolytes!). Even with all that water, I didn’t have to pee for almost four hours.

I have yet to see a doctor about this (and I really, really need to), so I don’t know if it was heat exhaustion or just severe dehydration. It was only 80 degrees out, and I’d spent a couple of weeks prior running in 100-degree weather in Houston, Texas, so it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Now I have anxiety when I run. I’ve only run twice since Monday’s dehydration episode. I only managed to run 1.75 miles on Thursday because I kept thinking as soon as I’d stop running, I’d pass out. I felt alright, though. I ran again on Friday morning, only this time I managed 2.5 miles. By the time I got home, I was feeling faint and nearly passed out in the shower.

I’m so frustrated because running is what keeps me motivated in so many other aspects of my life. It gives me time to think, and those endorphins are important in my daily life!

I’ll see a doctor this week, but in the meantime, go grab a glass of water!!