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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DIY Race Bib Holder

As runners, we are extremely proud of the races that we take on. Be it a 5k or a marathon, we cherish the medals and the bibs that we have earned on each of those races. I have been looking around for the perfect bib holder for a while now. I hate that I keep my medals and bibs in an iPad box. They deserve to be displayed. And since I cannot find anything that suited my taste or my budget, I decided to make my own.
Here are the materials that I used:

I bought the board and the stencils from Michael's Arts and Crafts Store with a 40% off coupon. The wood finish, hooks and everything else was from a local hardware store. Total cost was around $15 (superhero ring not included).
My plan was to stain the wood and use the stencils to add the design or a saying with the stencils. It took me a couple of days to figure out what I should use as a heading. I decided to stencil in race distances. Apparently, my Martha Stewardish skills do not extend to stenciling.
I taped the stencils down, but apparently not good enough and the paint bled all over the place. So, back to Michael's I went.

    Armed with another 40% off coupon I purchased another board. This time I decided to go with pre-cut wood letters which I will attach with wood glue. The wood letters were .25 cents each since they were on sale (ka-ching!) I had the wood glue already at home. The board cost me another $7.49.
 This time, I glued on the letters "RACES" on top of the board. I also drilled the holes for a frame hanger and for the bib hooks first. I used my smallest bibs to measure the distance between the hangers. It is much easier to punch additional holes on the longer bibs than to measure different hanger sizes.

 I then stained the wood with a light, cherry stain. I attached the hooks after the stain had dried.  I am still deciding whether I should varnish the bib hanger.

TA-DAH!! This is the finished product!
I am quite proud of the finished product. It looks clean and simple.  My next project will be the medal hanger.
What do you think,  should I varnished the board?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My First Runcation

Since my children were very young we have taken them to many. many theme park vacations. I am sure that most if not all of you can relate the hour long lines for a 45 second ride, the endless amount of walking, hundred degree weather, and of course the ridiculous amount of whinning for an over priced toy in the tourist traps  gift shops which are conveniently located at the end of each ride. This year was going to be same, but by some twist of fate (or an online glitch) we did not end up in sunny Florida. Instead, we took a nice road trip along the California Coast.
Before, I hear the word beach and all I could think of is tan time! I'm on my blanket slathered in sunblock with a good book ( I did plenty of that, don't worry).  Now, the first thing that I thought about was "hey, I could run on the beach!"
Pismo Beach is a beautiful beach town situated somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We had originally planned on doing adventurous things like renting dune buggies and learning how to surf, but the cost was ridiculously prohibitive. I am a cheapskate and a two hour rental on a dune buggy for $200 was just way out of our budget. The boys had a good time playing on the sand and we even rented a Surrey bike! Anyway, I digress. The highlight for me on this trip was my early morning beach run. After a few wrong turns, I found myself running along highway 101. Once I got to the beach, the view was breathtaking. It was still misty, the air was crisp,  fishermen on the pier and surfers were just about to conquer the waves. I felt good, very good. I ran a total of five miles from the hotel, around the beach, and back. When we were in L.A., I wanted to run along the Santa Monica Pier, but got very intimated by the good looking people running around. So I stayed in the hotel gym which worked out because they had cold towels for after my workout!
Anyway, we went back to Pismo after a few days in Lalaand so I did another beach run. All I can say is awesome!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sometimes the Road Will Get Rough

Today was a tough running day. I started later than I wanted to, all because I felt that my bed was much more comfortable place than hitting the road. I usually try and get a five minute warm up (a brisk walk) before I start my run.  I had gone a mile before I even noticed that I was still walking! So off I go. Two miles, three miles and I was out of gas. I pop an energy gel in and keep on running (struggling) waiting for that gel to do it's magic. It did not quite happen. I did more walking that I did running.
It was a long, slow run.
This was the slowest I have been in months. I felt discouraged and deflated. Just this past weekend, I run a 10k in one hour and five minutes. It was very tough to silence the negativity that was going on in my head. There was no amount of self talk that could get me going. The only reason I kept going was because I needed to get home!
On the road, I tried to figure out why I was dragging today. I had a healthy breakfast (a smoothie and a coffee), I had water, a Shotblock and I had a couple of days rest. The only reason that I could figure out was that I stayed up too late last night watching past season of "Breaking Bad".
I have to honor my goals and my body. I have to learn to set priorities so that I could meet my goals.
To honor my body, I need to give it the rest and nutrition it needs in order for it to run properly. I need to be able see that what I do in the present time greatly affects the results I am going to get in the future.
I know that this training is going to get me the success I need for my first half marathon. I also know there will be bumps along the way and just like any runner, I have to be able to get beyond those bumps and just move on. No one ever said this was going to be easy, right?

What do you usually do to when you are unmotivated and struggle during a run?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Need for Speed

I started this blog as a way to keep myself accountable as I train for my very first half marathon. The San Jose Half Marathon will happen on October 6, 2013. I started training about four weeks ago and I have been using the training program from the book Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and  Sarah Bowen Shea. The training program mixes up long and short weekday runs, crosstraining and speed training. They allow flexibility as moms have tendency to not have total controll of their time. They do stress the mandatory long weekend run to ensure your sucess.
I find the training program is easy to follow and quite enjoyable, here is the pdf from their website Half Marathon Finish It Plan.  The only part of the training that I struggle with is the speed training part. Holy heck! If ever you have felt that your heart is about to jump out of your chest and you are about to lose your breakfast, lunch and yet to be consumed dinner, then you would know how I feel during these speed training runs.

So far, I have been able to follow the training program religiously. The only draw back I have experiecned so far is the ridiculous heat wave that have hit Northern California last week. I know that I have to discipline myself into going to bed early so I can also get up early. I am currently on summer hours as I am on summer break with my kids. It is VERY, VERY easy to fall into a lazy pattern. 

What is your biggest challenge during summer run training?

The Reality of a Virtual Run - Jedi Style

Being new to running, I have recently learned about virtual races. After some research, I found out that virtual races are quite common, they have different themes and I could GET a medal. They are also run on an honor system. You sign up for a race, pick your distance, run/accomplish said distance and BAM you get your bling via USPS. My family are big Star Wars fans so when I found out about a Jedi Virtual race I immediately signed both my boys up for the 5k. As I have mentioned before, I try and encourage my kids to get out and exercise. It's not always easy but with a Star Wars medal, there were not Jedi mind tricks necessary.
My running group had organized a group in beautiful Monterey. The weather was great, the water was blue and we were pumped for the run. The trail was a bit crowded since it was the last day of the Fourth of July weekend. The three point ten miles flew by amid a view of the ocean, seals sunning themselves on rocks and tourists weaving in and out of the trail on family driven surreys (four to five people bikes dangerously being driven by happy, enthusiastic tourists. Stay out of their way, apparently the safety guidelines include "stay on the trail, avoid crowds and if you break it you buy it).
We ended the run at Monterey State Beach. The people on the sand was enough of an invite for us to relax and dip our toes in the Pacific for a post race R&R.
Monterey State Beach

The Jedi Bling

I really enjoyed the Jedi Virtual run. The kids did too. The registration proceeds went to Team in Training (win!) and the medal was pretty cool!

Have you ever done a virtual run? What are your thoughts on it?
If you haven't done one, would you consider it?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Running With My Child/The Sharks Fitness Challenge

It was a 5k run that I signed up for at the last minute. I had originally just signed up my 11 year old for the kids fun run, but he begged and begged me to run the 5k with him (ok he didn't really have to beg that hard).  So sign up I did.
Seven tutus for seven runners
Since my cousins were also signed up, we came up with a crazy idea to make teal tutus in honor of the San Jose Sharks. So Friday before the race, on a blistering day when my A/C chose to break down, we made seven tutus.
That Sunday, June 30th was the middle of a very unusual heatwave that hit our fair Bay Area. (Yes, I will admit that we are spoiled crybabies who will complain if the temperature gauge flactuates beyond 75 degrees.) It was predicted to go up to 99 degrees that day, so I made a deal with my son to try and finish the 5k in forty minutes. Not too much to ask for, right? And we are off!
We were off to a running start, well at least for the first thirty seconds before my Bubba decided to slow down to warm up first. But the warm up walk kinda lasted almost the entire race. (To be fair, he did tell me he wasn't able to sleep all night because it was too hot.) I tried to encourage him to keep going and to try to at least jog. I found myself getting frustrated because it was a race after all. I literally had to stop take a breath and come to a realization that he has not trained for this. He is trying is best and I had to forget about my time and worry about him just getting to the finish.
I run for many reasons. One of them is so that I could inspire my children to try their best and to also to as healthy as they could be. In light of that, I need to keep in mind that signing them up for one race without really helping them train for is not a way to help me reach my goal.
Thank you for reading my first blog. I hope to share with you more of my journey and I hope that you could join me.

How do you encourage your children to excercise?
Have you run races with your children?