I do it my way: Runfessions August 2019


Not only are we into the unofficial end of summer, for the most part, lately, the weather has been hinting at Fall. Are you ready to let go of Summer and plunge into Fall? I enjoy every season, except Winter. It’s just never been my thing. I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and getting a few other runfessions off my chest.

Easier to find things when it’s all put away!

I runfess . . .
I have a clean secret: it’s the mountain of washed, unfolded laundry that’s been living on top of my dryer this Summer. Usually I’m not quite this bad, but YTT took up a lot of time — at least it’s a clean secret, and not a dirty little secret.

Since I wrote the paragraph above a few weeks ago, I have actually tacked the mountain. Now it’s just a little spilt soil.

I runfess . . .
I am only loosely running by heart rate. I have a couple of books that talk about it, and I reread one and did some calculations. I still haven’t looked at the second, newer book. It’s similar to the way I did Galloway: my own way. Not paying strict attention to the “rules”, just seeing what feels right to me.

I’m probably still not running as slowly as I ought to if doing HR training, but I am running slower on my easy runs. Which has been a big help on those hot, humid days when I got out too late lately.

I runfess . . .
That I think HR training is great for runners, like me, who have a hard time with “perceived effort”. I know if I didn’t have HR data available to me now, I’d probably be looking at my pace and running a lot faster even when I shouldn’t (hot days, easy runs, days when I slept poorly the night before, days after a race).

I runfess . . .
I also find myself running a lot of positive splits these days, because my HR definitely seems to go up as I run, although that’s also dependent on my route. It will be interesting to see what happens when fall arrives — yes, some trees are already turning and losing their leaves — and cooler morning temperatures are the norm.

Yup, even these capris are Skirt Sports

I runfess . . .
I have a lot of summer dresses. Dresses are so easy, amiright? Except . . . as I’ve slowly built up my Skirt Sports wardrobe (which yes, includes dresses), I find myself not wearing my other Summer dresses that much.

I am able to live in Skirt all Summer long, since I don’t work — and when I get a job teaching yoga, I can still sort of live in skirt (only it will be tights, and yes, Skirt Sports makes those, too). I no longer need so many dresses, so I’m in the process of going through them and paring down.

BTW, the Skirt Sports Labor Day Sale is on! here.

Any big secrets you need to spill? 

Does your clean laundry get put away immediately — or does it like to hang around?

Stick to the rules or do your own thing?

What do you have to runfess from August? Come join us


I am also linking up with:

Finally Coming Clean: Runfessions July 2019


I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and at the end of this post I have what might be a surprising runfession to a lot of my readers.

I runfess . . .
I actually brought an insulated backpack to Firecracker 4 (which I left in the car, as they don’t allow that sort of thing into the building where you do packet pick up).

In that backpack was my PackIt bag (has built in gel packs — it’s genius for keeping things cold — you can buy one at my Amazon Affiliate link here). In my PackIt was:

  • My small water bottle (didn’t have to drink warm water on the run)
  • My cooling towel (they dry out wicked fast when it’s hot out!)
  • My Sqoosh (terrycloth wristlet to wipe off sweat)
  • A ziploc of ice, so I could keep everything cold while waiting for the race to start

People may have made fun of me, but they also enjoyed helping themselves to some of that ice to cool down before the race.

I runfess . . .
One of my favorite tricks to keep water cold on hot runs is to put my half filled water bottle in the freezer the night before. Then you just fill up with water the morning of, and voila! Cold water.

Except I kept forgetting to do that. So now as soon as I use one, I half fill another bottle and stick it in the freezer so at least I have one bottle of cold water waiting for me.

I do give the swimsuit two thumbs up (even while wishing the back came up a bit higher on the bottom)

I swimfess . . .
I bought one of Skirt Sports new swimsuits months ago when they were running a sale on swimwear. Little did I know the pool I swum at regularly had already closed. So there it sat, dry, mocking me.

I finally got the chance to wear it at our party/bookclub meeting last weekend. I do wish the back was not quite so low cut and the leg openings were higher up, but other than that, it was really comfortable and I would definitely recommend it — you can buy it here. You can use code SSA490Jud for 15% off most non sale items.

I runfess . . .
You’ve heard me say it a million times recently: I’m not training for any big goal race. There are several reasons for that, most of which I can’t go into on the blog presently. However, that leads me to my last and final runfession — I decided to tackle a big, hairy goal I’ve had for a long time. Something that scares me and motivates me. I signed up for it over this summer because I knew I had the time, and even though I knew it would be time consuming, it’s consumed far more of my time than I expected. It’s my last runfession for July below.

When you’re motivated and excited about something, it’s not hard to get up early and stay up late to pursue your dreams.

Didn’t want to share this photo until I shared what I’m up to

I runfess . . .
I’ve been keeping a big secret from y’all. Some readers have noted an increase in my yoga practice on this blog. In February I signed up to do my 200hr Yoga Teaching Training (or YTT as it’s known). It’s something I’ve thought about for literally years, but there was something that nudged me to finally pull the trigger.

I am roughly 2/3 through the program (which is online), and sometimes I feel as though my head will explode with all the new information I’m learning. Am I the best yogi? No, not really. There are poses I can’t do. There are poses I can. There are poses I do really well, and others I don’t do so well. Let me share a little secret with you: yoga isn’t about being the best; it is about being your best you. And not just in your yoga asana practice.

Aspiring to teach yoga does not at all mean I do it perfectly; and that isn’t the true aim of yoga anyway

I hope that I pass and can find a teaching job — it’s both nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. Much like this blog and my running, I want to show people that you don’t have to be the best at something to reap its benefits. That you don’t have to have the body of a goddess to do yoga.

I haven’t completely decided if I will fold yoga into this current blog (probably) or start a new blog. Don’t be surprised if you see more yoga cropping up into my IG (follow me here) or here on the blog.

Any big secrets you need to spill? 

What would you do if you no longer needed to work?

Ever bring some ice to a hot race?

What do you have to runfess from July? Come join us


I am also linking up with:

Will I Swim again?: Runfessions June 2019


I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and here we are, halfway through the year already! It’s time to get off my chest those odd and pesky little runfessions for June.

I swimfess . . .
I was completely oblivious to the fact the community center I swim at closed. The horrors! Where will I swim now? Apparently they closed last October, but yeah, I don’t like to swim in Winter and you know how cool it was for most of Spring!

Not the hill outside my neighborhood, but another I’m not avoiding

I runfess . . .
That I used to run down the road outside my neighborhood quite often. It’s a really long hill out (several, actually), and you know what that means. I’ve gotten back to running it. Hills make you stronger people!

I runfess . . .
I actually never even opened the box of Freihofers’ cookies from last month’s 5k. I did eat the small sample package I picked up at the expo. Let’s just say for the most part sugar and I do not see eye to eye, and there’s no reason to open Pandora’s box.

I have the zucchini brownies I made, the chocolate chip cookie dough balls I made  . . . but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with those cookies!

Had a good time despite going solo

I runfess . . .
I tried like heck to get someone to run last week’s trail race (read about it here) with me, and I was totally unsuccessful. If you read my recap, you know I met some new people and had a good time anyway.

I runfess . . .
That I recently found out my chiropractor will no longer be taking my insurance going forward. I’m not sure whether I want to stick with her or see if I can find another one that does. With minimal racing it’s not as important right now.

Do you enjoy winning food from races? I’ve never won any AG awards, but the two times I came close both were food. Not all runners are that food crazy!

Ever belonged to something that closed and you didn’t realize it for months? In my defense, I didn’t actually belong to that community center. I just swam there occasionally.

How important is your chiropractor to you, if you see one?

What do you have to runfess from June? Come join us


I am also linking up with:

It’s all about that base: Runfessions May 2019


I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and sort of bearing my soul at the Runfessional. Don’t know what I’m talking about? We get together and share all those little things that only runners understand (or care about).

Could Mother Nature get the memo it’s Spring already?

I runfess . . .
The weather in May, for the most part, was a real buzzkill. Rain, rain, go away! Then of course, as usual, it decides to bring in Spring/Summer right before the Freihofers Run for Women (but just here & there). This year doesn’t look too bad; typically it’s a hot race. A couple of days ago they put back in the chance of rain. I’d prefer it to be dry, but I already had yet more practice running in the rain this week.

I runfess . . .
This was my second month of simply rebuilding my base after illness. I’m generally healthy, though, and I bounced back fairly quickly from a nasty stomach bug. Life is good.

I runfess . . .
I thought I would be racing at some point in May. Between mentoring for Freihofers, illness, and the almost incessant rain, it just didn’t happen. This 5k will only be my second race of 2019 — or what I consider a “real” race (our supported runs/races in the Winter don’t count in my mind).

No big deal, as I tell people all the time, running will always be there when you’re ready for it.

I runfess . . .
Speaking of running always being there, sometimes I wonder why I am still so committed to running even though I have no grand plans at present. Oh yeah, because I want it to be there when I’m ready and I’d rather not rebuild from the beginning. And because I still have roughly 30 states to run half marathons in!

Still getting out there and seeing what’s growing on the run

I runfess . . .
For now I am content with my shorter runs. Especially during summer (whenever that arrives), it’s nice to take a little break.

What season is your favorite to train hard?

Racing a lot or barely racing?

Why do you run if you don’t race?

What do you have to runfess from May? Come join us


I am also linking up with:

Rookie Mistakes: Runfessions April 2019


I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice a little ahead of time, because she’s running just another marathon. Well, not just another, she’s running London to wrap up her quest to run all 6 major world marathons — how awesome is that? Let’s all send her some great running vibes! Marcia’s moved the Runfessional to next Friday, along with our Coffee/Tea dates, but since I’d already written this post I’m just going with it.

So tired of being cold — thankfully we’ve had some warm weather

I runfess . . .
It’s Spring. Sort of. No blizzards here, but we still had a lot of rainy, very windy, and some days almost winter-like temp during April — even some snow in the beginning. Motivating myself to run outside, when there are no goal races out there, has been hard.

Most days when I do get out there, it’s really not as bad as I think it is (although some days it really is). I also know my body actually appreciates some treadmill runs. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

By the end of the month we got some beautiful Spring weather, allowing me to run outside and shun the treadmill again, but it’s still back and forth (hello 30s overnight a couple of nights ago). There’s a lot of rain in the forecast this weekend . . . stay tuned.

More likely to skip the post run stretching than the foam rolling!

I runfess . . .
The debates on foam rolling rages on. Some Doctors swear by it, others say it’s a waste of time. On the few days I run and skip it (yes, it happens), I absolutely feel much tighter the next day. Foam rolling won’t cure everything that ails you, but it helps (and my chiropractor agrees with me).

I runfess . . .
I thought I would be doing a 5k before the 5k in June that I’m mentoring for. I haven’t found one that really calls to me on a weekend that’s good for me. I do kind of want to run the inaugural one mile race in May — hey, it’s a guaranteed PR! — but none of my running friends seem interested and I wouldn’t be able to run the race and mentor that day.

I found another race I thought could be fun this weekend, a nice little road trip, and then the forecast got pretty crappy. I would like to find a race in May . . . somewhere.

Why are they doing this to me?

I runfess . . .
We are trying to teach some old dogs some new tricks. We have repurposed Gizmo’s kennel for the dogs, and put a dog door into our storm door. The hope being that we can be out longer without having to worry about accidents. It also allows the dogs some access to grass while still being somewhat protected.

Bandit, luckily, is not the problem when it comes to accidents. He does have separation anxiety — heavy emphasis on the anxiety. He doesn’t have accidents and he’s not destructive, but you can almost see him heave a sigh of relief after running around like a nut when we come back from being out.

Lola is a different story. She’s 13, and she’s always had those once in a blue moon accidents. As she gets older it’s harder on her when we’re out. Sometimes I’d like to be out for more than just a couple of hours!

Lola is a little familiar with a dog door (although it was a cat door) from our time in TX, and tried to get out that way a time or two when we lived in TX. She’s taken to the new set up fairly quickly, but we still have the flap tied up so they don’t have to push through (as I’m writing this the flap is now down, and she still goes through like a champ). Unfortunately she doesn’t want to actually use the kennel for pottying (although she has a time or two).

Bandit is somewhat balky about going out through the door, even with the flap tied up, but once he’s out there he’ll pee on most anything. Boy dogs.

We have upped the treats we’re using. High value treats are always very important when training a behavior that is hard for a dog. We used them to get Bandit used to the crate initially — he loves it now. A little hamburger is working miracles. If we hold the flap just slightly and entice him with hamburger, we can get him in and out.

Lola will actually go in and out on her own sometimes if it’s a nice day. Will she realize that she can just go out if we’re out and she really needs to go? Stay tuned!

Smiling before the death march of the next two miles

I runfess . . .
On a hot steamy run last week I made every rookie mistake:

  • I waited too long to get out the door. 10:30 on a hot day, anyone? Thank goodness it was cloudy!
  • I way underestimated the way the sudden humidity would make me feel.
  • Because of the point above, I did not have enough water with me, and I sure felt it. I should have had double the amount. Thank goodness the water fountains are now on.
  • Not only did I not have enough water, I should have done half the run, stopped to refill my one very small water bottle, and completed the rest of the run.
  • I should have worn an even lighter top — I have one, but I just didn’t anticipate (again) how much a humid 70F run was going to effect me.
  • I probably could’ve nixed the compression socks — no doubt they contributed to the feeling of overheating.
  • I didn’t bring sandals to change into after the run.

Ever taught a dog to use a pet door? Any tips?

What was the last rookie mistake you made in running?

Do you get out too late and really regret it afterwards?

What do you have to runfess from April? Come join us


I am also linking up with:

Toegate: Runfessions March 2019


I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice at the Runfessional; last month’s Shoegate (read it here) brings you this month’s Toegate — and don’t worry, there are no photos. I’ll explain further down in the post.

I runfess . . .
My massage seat has been laying idle for way too long. The problem is that I have nowhere easy to store it. I finally decided I needed some shelves by my dresser, and Mr. Judy found me some — it’s now stored on its own shelf.

It’s still a little bit of work to get it out and set it up but I’ve already used it once which reminded me how great it feels!

Gone, but never forgotten

I runfess . . .
I was sad when I got home from my parents last Sunday. Gizmo was always waiting for me and very happy for some lap time when we came home from my parents. The last time I went I was by myself, so the dogs eagerly greeted me. This time we took the dogs, so we came home to an empty house.

I runfess . . .
There are still no scheduled runs. It’s time to run for fun — so easy to lose sight that running is fun when we’re training hard. When was the last time you just ran for fun? Maybe it’s time to take a little break if you can’t remember!

Is this what you’d want for your first run back after being sick?

I runfess . . .
The first run for the group I’m mentoring was extremely cold and windy and there was snow and ice on the ground. I really did not want to go. I gave serious consideration to running in my long down coat, knowing that this would be an easy run.

I’m really glad I went, though. The group is so inspiring, you always come back feeling better than when you started.

I runfess . . .
That I have never thought that black toenails are something to be proud of. In fact, I was proud of the opposite — that fact that I have kept all my toenails during 10 years of running. I always assumed that the runners with black toenails were just wearing the wrong shoes. Until I got my own — wearing the same model shoes I’ve run countless races and long runs in with no problems — and no, they still had some miles left in them.

I am still most definitely not proud of it — I don’t view it as a rite of passage, or making me a “real” runner. In fact, I’m still pretty PO’d about it. I mean seriously, after about 22 halfs — in the words of Nancy Kerrigan – why? why? And why didn’t it happen on my 15, 17 milers or my 18 mile race?

Running can be mysterious that way.

Have you donated a toenail to running?

Will you bail on a run when people are waiting for you if the weather is bad? I assume you contact them, of course.

When was the last time you truly ran just for fun?

What do you have to runfess from February? Come join us


I am also linking up with:

Does running really make you hungrier?


In case you hadn’t noticed, I took a week and a half off of running. Seriously, if you’re going to do that, the tail end of winter is the perfect time. I was feeling a little run down initially, plus I have no big running goals at the moment. I kept myself active in other ways, and quite frankly, I didn’t even miss running.

Something strange happened when I started to run again
I got hungrier. Immediately. I was only adding in short, easy, 2 mile runs! Before that I was dabbling just a bit in intermittent fasting, which I’ve done on and off for the last year (can’t really say that I notice much difference when I do it).

Staying active without running I found I wasn’t nearly as hungry. I would wake up and I simply wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t bingeing the night before, either. I just didn’t feel the need to eat immediately so I didn’t.

That very first 2 mile run? I woke up the next morning hungry. Seriously? This is obviously just my observation and decidedly unscientific.

According to this post from Popsugar (read the entire post here):

Studies have shown that the more intensely you exercise, the less ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) your body produces, so a long, low-intensity session could be the reason why you’re ravenous. But other research in women shows that even those who exercise intensely eat more calories after exercise than those who don’t work out, so this isn’t the only appetite-inducing culprit. If you’ve just finished an intense session and still feel like downing an entire pizza, it could be dehydration.

The thing that I find really odd is that I was already exercising. In fact, I was doing PITT28 — a HITT/Pilates hybrid from Blogilates — and I would wake up the next morning not feeling hungry. The minute I started to run, though, I felt hungry on waking — not necessarily after my run, though. I knew I didn’t need to “refuel” for 2 easy miles.

Runner’s World has a slightly different take on the rungries here:

Carbohydrates are essential for re-fueling glycogen stores that become depleted on long runs. Long runs call for supplements, like Gu’s or gels, which are loaded with sugar. They cause a spike in our blood sugar, which we need on the run, but what goes up must come down. As blood sugar levels plummet, we take another supplement and the up, down, up, down creates a blood sugar roller coaster. It gets us through the long miles but it’s important to stabilize blood sugar levels as soon as you can. Eating the proper nutrition helps you gain control over your blood sugar. A long run affects your blood sugar for some time afterwards because your body remains in high gear for several hours post-run, causing blood sugar levels to continue to drop even though you are not exercising. 

And they also talk about one of my favorite fueling strategies and why you might want to try it:

Another strategy for leveling out blood sugar levels is to try taking smaller amounts of your run nutrition at more frequent intervals on your long runs. For example, take a half or one third of a packet at a time rather than the entire packet. This will give you the energy you need but smaller doses may help you avoid big spikes or falls in your blood sugar, making it easier for you to level out when you finish your run. 

None of this explains why I could happily put off breakfast while not running, but suddenly really needed it the day after a short, easy run. Did I really need a snack post run? Did I not drink enough? Or is it just all mental? I truly have no idea.

Sugar in the evening = hard to fall asleep?

Now about that sleep thing
Another interesting thing I noticed was that I was in general sleeping very well in the days prior to starting to run again. I felt more rested than I had in a while. Oddly enough I didn’t sleep as well after I added running back in (despite being active in other ways while not running).

Runner’s World touches on the benefits of an early morning run to your sleep in this post here:

. . . the take-away message from a small study that was conducted at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, in which 20 adults on separate days did a moderate, 30-minute workout at 7 a.m., 1 p.m., or 7 p.m. Researchers then monitored the participants’ sleep on each of the nights following those differently timed workouts.

Compared to when they’d done afternoon or evening workouts, the participants woke significantly fewer times during the night when they’d exercised at 7 a.m. They also spent less time in REM sleep after the morning workout. REM sleep is the phase during which the bulk of vividly recalled dreams occur, and is considered the lightest phase of sleep. Many people wake briefly after a bout of REM sleep.

According to Sleep.org in this post here:

It used to be thought that working out vigorously too close to bedtime was a no-no for everyone, because it may over-stimulate the body. But it turns out that exercising at night doesn’t interfere with everyone’s sleep—it depends on the individual. So if you find that physical activity in the evening revs you up too much, do it earlier in the day. But if you find that the opposite is true—maybe you come home so exhausted that you plop down on the bed and fall asleep quickly—then, by all means, keep on doing what you’re doing!

Was it when I ate? What I ate? This was something else I found just very odd. Yes, my runs were typically in the afternoon. They were nowhere close to my bedtime — I already know that running in the early evening can make it hard for me to fall asleep. There was nothing really new there, though. But here are some more interesting findings from a post at nbcnews.com here:

The data showed that eating less fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar throughout the day was linked with participants getting lighter, less restorative sleep, with more awakenings throughout the night.

While sugar is my drug of choice, I’m careful about it (most days). I typically eat a very high fiber diet. Although I did have an aha moment: I treated myself to a bakery cupcake. I had it after dinner. I have no idea how much fat/sugar was in it, but no doubt lots. I had trouble falling asleep that night (although slept okay once I did fall asleep).

Perhaps when I choose to indulge in something like that again, it won’t be after dinner. Or maybe the next time I have trouble falling asleep I’ll ponder whether or not it was a sugary treat after dinner that was the culprit — normally I don’t have trouble falling asleep, it’s usually waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep.

One night after I started to run again — I woke up around 3 am and wasn’t able to fall asleep again.

It makes sense to me, though — sugar can equal energy (GU, anyone?). I’m not quite sure how it’s taken me this long to put the two together, and the jury is still out, but I’ll be more mindful of this going forward.

I didn’t really come up with any answers here, I was just curious and started to dig further. It’s been a long time since I took off more than a few days from running, and I noticed these changes immediately. I just want to share, and to see if I could figure it out.

Of course there was a day this week I had some trouble falling asleep and there was definitely no high fat, high sugar treat — there are other causes of insomnia, but this is still something I’ll be keeping an eye on now.

Do you ever notice a correlation with poor sleep and certain foods?

How do you sleep if you run too close to your normal bedtime?

Ever noticed a change in hunger levels when not running?

I am linking up with: