Imerman Angels

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What do I think about/listen to when I run?

Sometimes when I've  told people that I have run a half-marathon or full marathon, they respond with, "do you listen to music? or what do you think about for that long? I would get bored. Both questions are interesting because I also wondered the same things before I started running. I decided I could combine the two topics into one blog post. 

I will start with the music portion of the blog. The first thing I do before starting any run is pick out what I am going to listen to. Personally, I like to listen to anything I can sing along or even occasionally dance to (yes, attempting any kind of dance move while running is as awkward as someone would think it might be). I like to create fun mixes that I know will help keep going and distracted while running. The one thing that I do try to avoid is putting songs on a playlist that might get me too pumped up and make me run faster than I want to. Someone might say it is good to get pumped up and run super fast. Part of that is true, but it is also important to conserve energy for the end of a race or run.

On my five-mile run yesterday this is what came up on what I call, run mix I (in order):

The Mowgli's-Carry your will
Jordan Knight-Give it to you
Foster the people-Houdini
The Mowgli's-time
Walk the Moon-Fixin'
Sleigh Bells-Crown on the ground
The Mowgli's-The Great Divide
Foster the People-Pumped up kicks
Fall Out Boy-Grand theft autumn 
The Killers-On top
fun.-be calm
Royal teeth-for keeps

My phone/iPod really wanted me to listen to the The Mowgli's and Foster the People. I do not mind that at all because both groups have really awesome songs that I can sing along to. Speaking of The Mowgli's, they have a new album out called "Waiting For the Dawn." I would recommend it to anyone that likes upbeat music that makes them feel good.

The answer to what do you think about when you run? Well, not much really. I will set a mental goal saying that if I make it to a certain point, I can easily finish my run. I know that is not a super exciting answer but it is the truth. It probably is the music that makes me think that way but I think even without music it would be the same. It is super easy to kind of just get lost in your mind on run. When I start running the only things I might think about is being done with running and having good form. That sounds funny to say I think about being done with running, but being done is the best part because it means you have made it! 

While I do not think about much on runs, I do notice the scenery around me. Scenery is one of things that keeps me distracted. I do not  really get bored on runs, but I might if I did not have much to look at. I recently ran the Soldier Field 10m and the second half on the race is fun because it is on the lake and you have really cool views of the skyline. Once I saw Soldier field in the distance, I could smell the finish line and finish strong!

Once I am done with running I usually feel pretty good. If I run with my running app I will take a look at it and analyze my run by checking out my mile splits. I will then think about how I can make next run better and think about how I can apply those to my run. That is probably the most thinking I will actually do. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

How I got hooked on running

I have been reading a lot of blogs and got the itch to start my own. Whenever I talk about running with people and participating in races, the story that often comes up is the story of my first half-marathon. It only seems fitting to discuss the story of how I got hooked on running for my first post. It all started around this time of year almost exactly three years ago. My friend Nicole texted me one day saying that she wanted to do something big for our twenty-fifth birthday's. She discussed the idea of signing up for the Chicago Half-Marathon and I just groaned. Running 13.1 miles (and paying to do so) always sounded like a crazy idea to me. Eventually, I got another text from Nicole saying she had signed up. She eventually convinced me to do it and said I would have plenty of time to train for the race in September. Eventually I signed up for the race and decided that I actually needed to train so I could actually complete the race. Nicole suggested I use Hal Higdon's training schedule as a starting point for my training. It seemed very intimidating at first because I am not sure I every ran more than five miles in my life before that point. It also important to note that I had been pretty out of shape in 2010 so I set small goals like running three blocks consecutively without stopping. It may sound like those goals are minor but when you do not have a starting point as a runner, I believe it helped me greatly. I followed the training schedule to point. I did all the of the running but I did not really any strength or cross training (If I knew what I know about running now, my running would have gotten off to a better start). Slowly but surely my running got better and I could not believe that I actually started to like it. It also helped that I started to lose a decent amount of weight and looked and felt better. Lets face forward to my first ever race day. It still seemed crazy that my friends and I were about to complete this ridiculous race. Who gets up at 5:30 a.m. to run 13.1 miles for fun? The race started out really well but I got a little defeated when I got to mile four or so of the race and could see people on the other side of the Lake Shore Drive heading towards the finish. My legs wanted to give out on me by mile seven but they did a great job of staying in the game. The worst part of the race came at mile 11 when we hit a hill at 47th street and I got go so annoyed! Where did this silly hill come from?! Eventually I finished and I felt really good about my time. Now that I had just finished my first race ever, I wondered how in the world did people run marathons! The idea seemed pretty crazy to me at the time.
Nicole and I after the race 

Since my first race, I have completed two other halves, a 10K, an 8k and even a marathon! Thank you to Nicole for making me a runner and also unintentionally making me a healthier person.