Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Nobody needs me until I have something that I need to complete, and then everyone under the sun needs my attention. (grumble, grumble)"

A few of you have asked after Caryn, wondering how her running is going. You have to love the running community - we're excellent cheerleaders and brainwashers. "Oh," we think, "a new runner! Let's make sure they stick to it long enough for the addiction to really get its claws in!"

Anyway, here's her latest email, complete with my responses. There are a few things I'm sure you all could help her with better than I could!


I swear, nothing happens at work for weeks at a time, but as soon as I sit down to write an email to you, EVERYBODY NEEDS ME and whatever they have has a swiftly approaching deadline because they procrastinated. I now have two signs hung up in my office that read: "RUSH! You mean you want me to rush your rush job ahead of the rush job that I'm rushing to rush?" and " Lack of planning (on your part) does not justify an emergency (on my part)." 

Ugh these people.

That said, here is my update.

So far, the running bug has most definitely bitten me! I have reached the point where once I get out there I am so happy that I did. To be perfectly honest, getting out there sometimes requires a large amount of personal goading and motivation, but once the music is bumping in my ears and I can see the shadow of my pony tail bouncing, I just feel everything come together. Why didn't I start doing this sooner?! (I ask myself this same question ALL THE TIME.) 

My progress to date is running about two miles consistently with about a mile walk warm-up. The dogs are loving this and I swear Boomer, my oldest dog and the greyhound/lab mix, is starting to develop her greyhound muscles. She is such a good pacer! Maulie, my gifted child as I love to call her, is coming along. She is much more of a sprinter and heaven help me if there is a squirrel or small bird, because she immediately flips into stalk mode and either slams on her brakes or goes bolting toward the offending creature. We are gathering that she is definitely part hound and 100% special friend. 

I still have yet to sign up for a race. As I had mentioned in previous emails, I was considering doing the color run as my first 5k, but due to a hospital visit, I missed the deadline to register. Boo. I am still training for one though, I just need to research one to ease myself into, because I am too scared to commit to a serious one. (Not to say 5k races aren’t “serious”, but there are so many people that run them for fun and without real training that you shouldn’t feel intimidated. Find one that’s for a good cause – that automatically means there will be plenty of participants there just to fundraise!)
Caryn after completing her first 3-miler!
Here are some questions for you though that have come to mind during this part of my running journey.

1. When is the best time to hydrate before a run? I feel like if I drink water right before a run, I get the worst side stitches. Hydrate way ahead…as in, days ahead. If you’re running in the morning, drink lots the night before. If you’re running in the evening, make sure you’re drinking all morning. You shouldn’t feel like you want to chug water right before you head out. Especially in the summer (and in the south, no less) it’s important to think “prevention” when it comes to hydration.

2. How on earth does one get rid of side stitches. Those assholes appear and then NOTHING I do will get rid of them and my run is a loss. Thankfully, this has only happened three times. I’ve heard all kinds of theories, like exhaling when your left foot hits the ground, or breathing by counts of 4…but honestly, all I’ve found that helps is to slow down a bit and breathe regularly/deeply. There are lots of articles out there on conquering stitches. Here’s a slew from Runner’s World.

3. What is a good price for running gear, not necessarily shoes, because I know those cost an arm and a leg?  I found these running tights I love, but they are $70. On the opposing side, I found some at Target for $12. But they already have a hole at the waist line. I really do not know what a good baseline is for buying workout clothes, or for that matter what I should be looking for in them (materials, stitching, etc.) I love TJ MAXX for running gear. They have good brands for super cheap. Once in awhile I’ll splurge, and it’ll mean $50-$70 dollars for bottoms and at least $25 for a top. My favorite running tops are all from TJM, but my favorite shorts are expensive Nikes. The bottom line is that brand name stuff at box stores and running stores will cost the appendage you bought said item for…A splurge here and there is nice, but I prefer to try to keep it economically savvy, because I spend too much on races to drop Benjamins on clothes. (I’m so hard, yo.)

4. Can you recommend good running ear buds and a method/product to hold my phone/ipod? The shorts pocket is not deep enough and I can't hold it while holding a leash with two dogs. I freaking love my Yurbuds. They stay in perfectly and never hurt, allow for ambient noise so you’re not deaf to the world, AND if the buds don’t fit your ears (each box comes with two sizes), they’ll make you a specialized pair for FREE. They’re about $20-$30 and worth every penny. As for holders, I use a LifeProof case so my armband is LifeProof as well…I know there are a few different belts you could try, but I've never experimented with them myself. I’ll ask my readers to offer some suggestions in the comments for you!

5. Running app vs. Garmin type watch. I use runtastic right now and it is just getting me by, do you know of a good running app or is it better to go ahead and fork out the money for like a fitbit or a garmin or something along those lines? I am loyal to Nike+. I started using it when I first began running and it has all my data going back to 2009. It’s intuitive to use, plus their support team is amazing if you ever run into a problem with the app. I do like the Garmin I’ve been using, but since I run with my phone anyway, it seems like overkill to wear a GPS watch unless I need to be watching my splits really carefully. FitBit is a pedometer, not a GPS, so it’s not going to be as helpful for tracking your pace or miles.

Look forward to hearing back from you! Also your classroom looks awesome, I saw the pics on Facebook! Hope you have a wonderful school year!"

Caryn also tagged me in that "share five pictures in which you feel beautiful" meme, so here are mine:
I feel beautiful when...I'm dressed up with friends, being ridiculously goofy for my students, hanging with Matt, finished with a hard run, and being active and social with people I love.
So, readers, help a new runner out!

How do you banish side stitches?
How do you carry your phone/iPod? 
I challenge you to post five pictures that make you feel beautiful...because damn it, I think you're ALL beautiful and it's about time you basked in it! 



  1. I love hearing about the beginnings of a relationship with running. :) It's always exciting to get a perspective from someone who is experiencing similar things that you once went through with the sport. I'm certainly not a pro or miracle worker when it comes to side stitches, but I've had my fair share. They have brought me to a screeching halt mid-race more often than I'd like to admit. There are probably 2000 reasons put out there as to what causes them exactly...which is obviously great, lol. For me, I've tried the switch dominant stride step and even grunting out loud, walking it out and/or slowing down. I ALWAYS get one in a race after I've ingested too much water, or if I change to a speedier pace suddenly. It's like clockwork really. :S Slowing down and grunting out loud has been the most successful remedy for

    In terms of carrying gear, I LOVE my SPI belt! It fits my phone, key, Gu and debit card if necessary. :D I'm also a Garmin girl all the way! :)

    Happy Running :)

    1. I sometimes miss being a new runner...the excitement and energy of the beginning of a love affair can't be beat!

  2. I'm so glad the running bug has officially bitten Caryn! Whoo! Side stitches are the worst. I usually just slow down and take a few REALLY deep breaths. Super big, like the kind you used to take as a little kid before seeing how long you could hold your breath under water. That usually does the trick for me.

    When it comes to carrying my stuff I switch back-and-forth between a Flip Belt and Armpocket armband. I can fit more things in the Flipbelt which makes it more ideal for long runs (you can stuff so many snacks .. err so much fuel in there since it's stretchy).

    I'm a Garmin girl but before I got my Garmin I used the Runkeeper app and really liked it!

  3. I'm a huge Garmin person - if Caryn is interested, I have a review on my blog :)
    I eat bananas before I run sometimes, but if I get a side stitch, I just breathe and hope it goes away ;) I honestly don't carry anything when I run, but I've heard awesome things about the SPI belt.

    1. It seems "breathing" is the top recommended way to get rid of a side stitch hehe

  4. So awesome about your friend!!! Glad she is getting into running and enjoying it! :)
    Another blogger I love did the 5 beautiful pictures! I think I need to participate in that :)

    1. Definitely do...It's kind of silly but a nice exercise to make yourself feel good!

  5. I like your "feel beautiful" pictures. :) For running clothes, the only thing I dropped major cash for was cold weather gear. Since I run sometimes in near zero temperatures, it is key to have tights, long sleeve, and jacket that are REALLY warm. The jacket I actually got at Marshall's extremely discounted so that is good. For all of my other stuff, sales, sales, sales and discount places like you said. I find no need to pay even more than $15 for a pair of shorts or a shirt. Preferably less. As far as side stitches, my HS gym teacher told me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, so that is what I do. I don't know if this is "the way" but that's my way!

    1. You're proof that you don't need pricey gear to be a great runner!