Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm So Going There

Okay, I'm not actually going to go there myself. But it's a topic I've always wanted to ask about. Not surprisingly, no one seems to bring the topic up. And you'll see why. Consider yourself warned ... digestion is involved.

Thank you to the writer at for "going there."

How to Avoid Runner's Trots

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bridge To 10K: W1, D2 -- And My Race Schedule

Little victory: After my original running plans for the day were delayed for another time, I still got my butt off the couch and went for a run. Not an easy feat considering the weather. The temperatures climbed throughout the day from just below freezing to the lower 40s, but the wind and precipitation were pretty unpredictable. But I decided I could handle it, and since I took two days off (and because next week will be a roller coaster of weather and really unreliable), I went big.

Today I returned to the Bridge to 10K program. The app is now my favorite app ever. (Here's the link to its iTunes page.) I've had the app since early last fall but had only used it 1.5 times (one failed attempt, one successful attempt). Within the last month or two, I purchased the GPS add-on for $1. Best dollar ever spent. Like the iMapMyRun app, the app tracks your progress geographically. Here's a shot of my run today.

The purple pins mark the miles, the red and green pins mark my start and finish.

The app also does what the Couch to 5K app did: pipes in and tells you when to warm up, run, walk, and cool down. Like C25K, it beeps at halfway. Unlike C25K, it also chimes in for each running segment to tell you when there are 5, 2, and 1 minute left.

Today I did Week 1, Day 1 -- Warm up for 5 minutes, then run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute, repeat the 10:1 intervals 4 times, cool down for 5 minutes. That's 53 minutes. Woohoo!

Now, the app also has a nice journal feature where you can record a general "how do you feel," the weather, the path, and other notes. And, best of all, it keeps your stats straight. iMapMyRun does speed and pace, but this app breaks your pace down into walking segments and running segments. AMAZING!

Here's the journal screen.

Check out my run pace, y'all! I'm thrilled with that!

Okay, enough of my sales pitch. Go get the app if you're shopping. (I think it'd still be a good app for iPod Touch users, just sans GPS.)

It was good run! Gloves, headband, slimeys + running pants, "under armor" shirt + long-sleeved t-shirt (the usual winter wear). Because of the wind, I also wore my windbreaker (doesn't breathe AT ALL), which kept me super toasty. At one point I thought it might be too much, but yeah, no more sweat than in the middle of July. Thrilling, no?

Today I had to do something I haven't done since fall: I yelled at myself to get through my last interval. I think I've been pooping out too early lately because I haven't been yelling at myself enough. Well, let the yelling begin! I'm ready to bring the pain this spring.

Now I just have to wait for this next bout of winter to pass. I'm a pessimistic Cincinnatian, so I'm betting on one more winter storm before we can call this season over. It's okay, I can wait.

20 more days until Daylight-saving Time begins!

Oh, and here's the promised race schedule for this spring:

March 12 - Emerald Miles 5K
Caitlin and I picked this run because it meets a pre-birthday goal for her and because it's cheap. The Hearth Mini Marathon is the following week (which includes a 5K) but is incredibly expensive as far as 5Ks go in my experience. I know it's a good cause, but we have economic concerns to deal with here. Anyway, even though the Emerald Miles run is downtown, it seems like a good path. It stays on the Purple People Bridge and within the boundaries of Sawyer Point. No downtown streets. Blech. Unfortunately for my efforts of not disappointing myself, Caitlin has me wanting to finish this one without walking. Time to work on some hills! (For those of you that don't know, if a race goes across a bridge over the Ohio, those bridges are rather beastly hills, so be prepared.) Oh, and my co-worker's husband, Matt, might be joining in on this one too since he's rocking C25K right now. Fun fun!

The Purple People Bridge. I don't know this person, but I stole this awesome photo from this blog.

May 1 - Cincinnati Flying Pig Half-Marathon
Oh lord, here it is. I'm still completely petrified to do this but I still strongly feel like I need to do it. I'm guessing I'll be doing it alone too, which is sad. It'd be nice to have company the whole time ... it would probably make the 13.1 miles go much quicker. But it's expensive and it's long, so I can't really force anyone to join me. And I don't need anyone, right? Right? Psshhh... I do expect a cheering section of at least 1 somewhere along the course, hopefully at the end (cough, MOM, cough). If anyone wants to stand with her, I'm sure she'd appreciate the company. =)

May 21 - Forest Hills 5K
This one holds a special place for me for more than one reason. First, it's in my hometown. Not just Cincinnati, but in the neighborhood I grew up in. It supports the schools I went to. Alumni get a discount. WOOT! Second, last year was the first year for this race and I was too scared to do it. It would have been my first. Well, I'm not too scared this year. I'm all over it!

There they are, the next three races! Eeek! Should be fun!

So, that short post turned into a novel, and not a very exciting one. Sorry about that. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Time For Rest

My self-inflicted week of hell is complete. I ran for 6 days in a row and didn't do as well as I expected. But, considering what the last three months have looked like for me, as far as running goes, I guess this wasn't so bad.

Though I'm seriously starting to doubt the accuracy of the app and/or the GPS on my iPhone, here's what iMapMyRun recorded this week:

This is missing Tuesday's "speed work," so add on another, oh whatever two laps at TQL is (30 minutes).

I -- am -- beat.

And I'm taking tomorrow AND Saturday off. Hopefully this will result in a productive run on Sunday.

Next blog: Race schedules for the next 2-3 months! Yay!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

News Flash!

Running is hard.

That is all. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Racing Daylight: Intervals

First announcement:
It is now late enough in the new year to run in a park after work! Yay daylight! Well, assuming I get home and get there quickly. I gave it a go today and headed to TQL. I figured it has the least trees (none) so nothing could block what daylight was left. I had plenty of time.

Second announcement:
I'm still trucking on this "run every day" thing that I'm attempting. I started Saturday and have managed to get out every day. Yes, it's only 4 days and yes, yesterday's run was HORRIBLE in so many ways, but I've done it.

Third announcement:
Yesterday's run was HORRIBLE! It was way colder than I thought it was, probably due to the wind. I went out without my gloves so the wind froze my hands. It also froze my leg muscles. My shins and quads were rock hard, inflexible, and burning. I only did one lap around the parking lot, and didn't even really finish that. According to my iMapMyRun app, I did about .75 miles before I pooped out and tried run-walking. Ugh.

Fourth announcement:
I will not be completing my "run every day" challenge because I'm skipping Friday and going to Joseph-Beth Booksellers to meet/get a book signed by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. YAY! I'm okay with missing a run for that, and I'll make it up over the weekend.

Fifth and final announcement:
I did something different for today's workout. I tried what seasoned runners might call "speed work." For me, it's probably like normal people running. I went back to Week 1, Day 1 of Couch to 5K (run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds, repeat) and ran "fast" for 60 and walked/jogged for 90. It was fun! It was definitely challenging and I felt like I did when I started running about a year ago. I'm not doing it to gain speed in my running, but as a way to build new muscles and possibly lose some weight. I got the idea from the most recent issue of Women's Health.

So yeah, that's what's up. That and Jeopardy is awesome this week! Ha!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day One Of The February Butt Kicking

I had a great run this afternoon at Otto Armleder Park. I planned on tackling the hills of the Five Mile Trail, but it's still just a teensy bit too cold for me to feel comfortable doing that on my own. And I'm a bit out of practice. But oh well, my slackertude led to a pretty great accomplishment.

Here are the stats for my run according to my iMapMyRun app.

First mile
Time - 11:50
Pace - 11:47 min/mile
Speed - 5.1 mph

Second mile
Time - 25:37
Pace - 12:48 min/mile
Speed - 4.7 mph

Frankly, I'm a bit shocked at my pace and speed. That's fast for me! When I last ran Juilfs, I was lucky to do pull off a 16 min/mile pace.

There are a few things to consider, though.
  1. I didn't include my warm up walk in this. I waited until I was ready to run to start tracking.
  2. The wind was at my back during the first mile.
  3. The wind was in my face during the second mile.
  4. Either the markers on the path are inaccurate or the app is. My app put me at 1 mile about 0.05 mile before the markers did. Just something to consider.
So anyway, great run today and I'm doing another one tomorrow with Caitlin. Yay!

This is just for fun ...

After my run this afternoon, I came home to make the filling for the chocolate chip whoopie pies I made for a party tonight. For future reference, melted chocolate plus marshmallow fluff plus a little butter looks like ... well ... be your own judge.

Whoopie poos!

Friday, February 11, 2011

February Heat Wave

Cincinnati has just been gifted a 10-day forecast filled with upper 40s and a few 50s. And I've worn my sunglasses home from work for two days in a row now.

Needless to say, my spirits are much improved. Also, I have every intention of (in terms of running) kicking my own a$$ for the next week, starting with a visit to Five Mile Trail tomorrow and a run with Caitlin on Sunday. It's time to get moving.

Let's do it, people!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Slumpy Slump Slump

So, I want to try to post more often after reading that tidbit of advice on the Pioneer Woman's website, but it's difficult when I haven't been doing much. That's putting it lightly, actually. I feel lime a sloth this week. I just want to bury myself under several layers of blankets and sleep. The thought of physical activity sickens me at this moment.

Slump much?

I keep daydreaming about how much easier it will be when the weather warms up and the daylight extends past 6 p.m. Unfortunately I know my own ways and I'm afraid I won't be able to come through on those aspirations. For example, I want to up my runs per week to 4 or 5 instead of the 2 or 3 I maintained most of this past year, but my money says that my laziness will get the best of me.

I'm not exaggerating either. I am lazy. I could sit still and do nothing productive for days and be mostly okay with it, as long as I could spend some of those hours sitting outside on my balcony or just out in the sun.

So, with that being said, how on Earth am I going to keep myself moving this year? What's my motivation? I finished Couch to 5k already and I definitely need some sort of checklist similar to that to motivate me (I'm task-oriented, not goal-oriented). Will the Bridge to 10k app fit the bill? Any ideas for what I can do?

On that note, I'm off to bury myself under some blankets. Brrr!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Memories And A Memorial: A Trip Back To Turpin

I have tons of pictures to share for this post, so I'm going to do my best to keep the writing part short to spare you all. "Do my best" being the key words here.

First, a bit of a rewind. Earlier this week, in an attempt to stick to my plan of doing at least one video workout a week while this winter drags on, I set out to do all three sections of my Jackie Warner DVD (upper, lower, and core). She goes through the type of workouts I did in Adventure Bootcamp this summer. Tough stuff, but the last time I did the video, I was still strong from ABC and it was fairly easy. Right, I've lost all that endurance for sure. I only made it through the upper body tract before giving up. Wow, feel the burn.

Today I got out and ran. I've been so jealous/inspired by my co-worker's husband, Matt, who just jumped on the Couch to 5K bandwagon after much deliberation. [He's been reading my blog for a while, and has been talking about starting, but now that he's finally started, he's kicking major butt. He just did his first 20-minute run last week (Week 5, Day 3). Go Matt!] Anyway, I finally got to act on my envy today and went for a run on my high school track (Turpin High School). I thought it might be fun to return to the place that has been evoking fear and loathing in me since I was 5 years old. See, my elementary school is right across the parking lot from my high school and therefore shares a running track. Therefore the huffing, puffing, sweating, side-cramping, and tears started very early and lasted until I graduated, all in the same place.

Don't get me wrong, I have tons of great memories from that track (namely from track practice and meets and marching band practices and football games), but it's definitely the place where my aversion to running started. Thank you gym teachers! I thought it might be fun to hit a new PR for distance run in one workout session ... more distance that I ran in one go on that track in the 12 years I spent there. I did it. It was a little more painful that I anticipated, but I did it.

I haven't run on a track since I started this running business nearly a year ago (actually, at the end of February, it'll be one year!) And that track wasn't exactly up to snuff; the surface was either asphalt or one step up from it. Turpin's track is nice and squishy.

Turns out flat and squishy kind of hurts. Does that make sense? My lower legs pooped out much quicker than they do on paths with slight elevation changes. What's with that?

Regardless of the quality of my workout (I'd give it a 6/10), I did enjoy running while experiencing a virtual slide show of memories. Every view, every step, every corner of that track and football field carries something for me, and I didn't even break the surface of those memories in my 8 laps today. I'm grateful to have those memories and grateful to still live close enough to get to re-live them whenever I want. What can I say ... I'm ridiculously nostalgic.

So, that was my attempt to write only a short post before the pictures. Let's get it started.

These are the stairs leading from the elementary school side up to the track. It was on these stairs (and the shorter set of stairs preceding these) that the 5-year-old Beckey began her tradition of formulating an excuse to just walk instead of run, or rehearsed faces that told my gym teacher that I was in pain and couldn't participate. But, being a guilt-ridden person from a very young age, I usually ran anyway, even if it was only in 50 meter run/200 meter walk increments.

Dun dun dun! Down the home stretch to the finish line. Those are the stands to the right and the shed straight ahead. Ah, the shed. Nothing like squishing into a wooden shed with 30 other teenagers on a rainy, humid, hot Saturday during a track meet.

A shot of the field (now artificial turf ... what's the fun in that?) with Turpin in the background to the right and Mercer Elementary to the left.

Score board!

There's the front part of Mercer. Mostly the cafeteria, gym, kiva (a weird auditorium), and offices. The field straight ahead is where I sprained many ankles during gym class, kicked the crap out of kickballs, and played some of my earliest softball games.

Hail to all at Turpin High ... hail maroon and gold. That's my high school, and those two trailers in the foreground (beyond the bushes) are the band trailers. What the heck? Where's the re-purposed U-Haul?

Ah the band-practice-field-slash-baseball-field (the diamond is out of the picture to the left). I spy a podium!

The first person to comment and correctly guess what this is and explain why it's sitting next to the track gets 30 nerd points. =)

Awe, this is my favorite part. This muddy pit, stuck in the corner of a practice football field, is the discus ring. (Click here to see what the heck a discus is.) I spent many cold days here digging a 1 kg piece of rubber out of the mud and then fliging it back into the mud, and equally as many days getting awkward sunburns waiting for my turn to spin around in circles on a slab of concrete. Wheeee! Only the backstop fence is gone! This means they are either getting a new fence or they got one of those fancy net backdrops that are portable/removable. Pssshhh ... whatever.

And now I beg forgiveness for those of you who read this and are in this picture. Let me just explain that no one could possibly look worse than I do.

Let's play "Where's Beckey?" Here's a hint ... I'm not hard to find. Turns out girl's track uniforms aren't meant to fit girls who are at least two times as large as typical track girls. This trend changed drastically when I threw in college. Big thrower girls are much more common in college. Heck, I wasn't the scariest looking thrower I encountered by far. Can we say Ohio State scholarship thrower girls? YIKES! There may or may not have been mustaches involved.

Ah, there she is. In her guy's jersey. And black shorts instead of uniform yellow. And white legs. And terrible hair. Wedged between two mid-distance runners. Hey Mr. Nester and your possibly-inappropriate pose in front of high school girls!


So, I'm about to change pace a bit. Sorry for the whiplash.

Backstory: I went all the way through school with a fella named Andrew Frank. We're talking early elementary through graduation. Andy was also on the track team with me, I believe for all 5 years. He was a great pole vaulter.

Andy went to the Citadel after high school, and then went on to serve in the Marines overseas. Unfortunately, Andy was killed on a "food distribution mission" on or right around Thanksgiving 2008. The circumstances around the event, on top of losing a former classmate, were just plain sad. Read about Andy here on Arlington's website (pictures). A friend of Andy's and another long-time classmate of mine worked with a local Eagle Scout to put a memorial together for him. The gazebo and statue have pride-of-place right in front of Turpin's main entrance. I made my first visit to the memorial today after my run and was run over with emotion.

Because Andy was my classmate and teammate, I wanted to share these pictures with you, especially those of you who also knew him.
The gazebo memorial. The main entrance is right behind, past the auditorium doors.

A straight-on shot of the Battle Cross statue

Andy's Battle Cross. These get me every time.

This is the back of the statue. The Eagle Scout who put this project together is there on the bottom.

I've already mentioned it on Facebook today, but I hope my Turpin classmates get a chance to get to campus to see the gazebo. It's pretty great.

Thanks for reading, folks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Using Your Resources

I thought I'd take a little while to talk about some of the resources I've found really helpful over the past half a year or so. Aside from the priceless advice from my friends and from some of you, as well as the few books I've perused (mostly Jeff Galloway), these sites and their subsequent publications/apps have been hugely useful.

Runner's World

Screen shot of the Runner's World website.

I subscribed to this magazine a few months back through a family member's fund-raising campaign and it was probably one of my smarter decisions. Yes, the magazine is probably most useful to people who have been running for some time. There's lots of talk about race pace versus casual jogging pace, taper workouts, ultra marathons, compression tights, nutrition gels, and lots of other business that beginning runners don't need to know. But that's kind of the cool part.

I am so nowhere near the point where I need to worry about my pace for a daily workout versus my pace for a 5K versus my pace for the half Pig, because I only have three paces -- not-running pace, "let's try to run and not die" pace, and "look, there's the finish line" pace. But I'm moving forward. I have so much room to grow in this world of running and I truly hope that someday, this wealth of knowledge I'm collecting about things that are currently outside of my reach will be useful. I may need to worry about these things in the future. In fact, it's from either this magazine or one of Jeff Galloway's books that I realized I should probably start thinking about those gel pack thingies if I'm going to do the half-Pig.

Anyway, my point is, this is a good magazine. It's an even better website, chock full of HOARDS of information, entertaining and helpful blogs. Need new shoes? Check out the shoe section. Sore muscles? There's a section for that. Need info about food? Yep, that's there too.

The magazine alone has played a big part in keeping me sane during the winter weather. Somehow, just reading about running helps. It keeps me wanting more.

Screen shot of the website.

I'm not too familiar with this site yet, but I've done a little browsing. There are lots of forums too, which usually isn't my thing. But when I found one for 200+ lb runners, I got interested. That's where I discovered the Finally Airborne blog. Very inspirational. They also have several mostly not annoying e-mail newsletters you can sign up for.

Women's Health

Screen shot of the Women's Health website.

I subscribed to Women's Health Magazine back in the summer, I think, at the recommendation of my friend, Sarah. It's pretty great. It includes lots of info about nutrition and general women's issues, but also includes strength-building workouts, some of which I plan on trying before winter is over. I haven't tested the usability of the website. For the guys, try Men's Health.

Screenshot of

This website and its companion app (iMapMyRun) are amazing. Many thanks to John for sharing the love this summer. The app uses GPS to do what you have to do manually on the website, but both are great. Use a map of the area you run in to trace your running path. The path doesn't have to be on roads or sidewalks or any sort of plotted land. You can trace your path through the woods and across a lake and the site would still track your miles and provide you with an elevation chart. The app keeps track of handy things like your current pace, your whole-run pace, your distance, and your time, and then it talks to you while you're running. I believe the site has other useful information on it, but I haven't gotten around to checking it out yet (except for the 30-in-30 challenge, which I'm failing miserably).


So, like I said before, these sites/magazines/apps are keeping me sane through the winter and are really educating me on the world of running. They've helped me stay excited are responsible for my running habits surviving the winter. I recommend giving them a spin!

Time for your input! Are you reading anything now about running, working out, and/or generally staying healthy? Have you in the past? Will you please share with all of us? THANKS!