Half Marathon Training Update

Yesterday was my long run day. I debated back and forth about running 7 or 8 miles, and I ended up running 8. It was glorious! First, the weather is amazing for February. Blue skies, sun, mild temperatures. Second, I maintained a 10 minute mile for the entire distance. Finally, I was still very energized when I came back home, which is always a good sign. I am getting very excited about the half marathon in less than two months!

This coming weekend, I would like to repeat the 8 mile distance and start building a good base for increasing during the month of March. Here is my tentative plan for long runs:

2/28 – 8 miles

3/8 – 9 miles

3/14 – 9 miles

3/22 – 10 miles

3/28 – 12 miles

4/4 – 4 miles

4/11 – 8 miles

4/19 – 13.1 miles (RACE DAY)

I will keep up my cross-training and midweek runs to balance myself out. I also intend to attend a yoga class at least one day per week through training, in order to maintain adequate flexibility. Power Vinyasa builds a lot of core strength, but Yin helps me to “let go” of tight muscles and work on alignment. I suppose I can gauge how my body is feeling each week in order to pick a class.

Not every run is wonderful, but my run yesterday was indulgent from start to finish. Each time I return to my house from a run like that, I realize how much I love distance running, and how grateful I am to have a running practice in my life. Today I feel accomplished and also relaxed.

In other news… less than two weeks until Daylight Savings begins. I am so ready to pack away the headlamp and start running in the daylight again after work.

Is anybody else training for a spring race?

A long weekend of running

I am writing after a lovely long weekend of consecutive days of running. On Saturday, I ran a 5K that was very hilly, but quite beautiful. Sunday was my typical trail run, with two laps around the lake. Yesterday, I did a 3 mile tempo run around the neighborhood. As much as I love and prefer trails, I am trying to do at least one or two runs a week on roads, so that my joints are acclimated to both surfaces as I train for the half. Weather in northwestern Washington this month has been unseasonably mild and sunny. A silver lining of climate change, I suppose.

Currently mulling over whether or not to run a trail 10K race on a nearby mountain this Saturday. I have until Thursday to register. The spontaneous part of me wants the experience, but I am also a bit cautious of damaging my knees. We will see!

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The best day to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to run with people you love!

Privilege

Generally speaking, I think the running community is pretty welcoming to new participants. There are programs, like C25K for the novice, blogs written by amateurs (example: me), community running clubs, and plenty of fun runs throughout the year for which to register. That being said, there are a few areas that I feel we, the running community, could do a better job examining and addressing privilege. Privilege is a group of unearned, advantageous rights bestowed upon individuals based on their membership to distinct social communities or classes. Some privilege is not easily named or recognized by those who hold it (Black & Stone, 2005). Just a few thoughts that are in my brain as I explore the inclusivity of running, specifically regarding thin privilege, ableism, and class privilege:

Thin Privilege. Is running body positive? In some cases, there are wonderful role models. However, do we see accurate portrayals of diverse bodies, particularly female bodies, in the mainstream running media, such as Runner’s World? Not so much. Do advertisements for running products or races show the cellulite, stretch marks, and cosmetic-free faces of so many women runners? Not particularly. Do we see different ages, races, and body types in promotional material that is not related to weight loss from running? Do running stores carry sports bras and tops that can support a full bust line, or armband MP3 holsters that span a “larger than average” bicep? Can women with a larger or wider foot hope to encounter options when they shop for shoes? I wonder how many potential runners disconnect from the practice because they do not see themselves in the community.

Ableism. We’ve got an inspiration porn problem in the running community, and the best way to tackle that is to start welcoming people with disabilities to meaningfully participate in our events. This means thinking about the routes of races and the accessibility or group meet-ups. It means featuring runners with a diverse range of abilities, including wheelchair racers, in popular running media. It means challenging our local marathon organizers to add a wheelchair category (something I am currently doing in my hometown). While it is popular to publish stories about people running marathons and pushing their relatives with disabilities along, we need to stop and think about whether or not we have an equivalent or greater number of newsworthy and noteworthy stories about strong, determined, and independent athletes with disabilities accomplishing feats of greatness. [Absolutely no disrespect to Team Hoyt… I am just challenging how some stories end up on morning news magazines and why… is it a conversation about disability culture and empowerment, or is it perpetuating the dominant narrative that people with disabilities need to be helped and assisted in an able-bodied culture?]

Class privilege. “Running is low investment—you just tie up your shoes and go out the front door!” How many times have I been guilty of saying a version of this? Let’s be honest… between race fees, special shoes, and appropriate clothing, running costs money. But that’s not all. Running takes time, which could be much more challenging in families with a single parent or two working adults who are over scheduled with work to make ends meet. Running in the neighborhood might not be convenient or a good idea, particularly if you live in a high crime area and you regularly feel unsafe. Running requires good fuel—and eating healthy organic foods is not cheap. Are you at home with one kid? Two kids? Need a stroller for them? Well, that is another chunk of change.

This is just the beginning of my own explorations on how I can challenge some of the privileges in the running community. I am just starting to delve into this topic, so if you can think of more examples of privilege in the running community, please comment below. I look forward to reading, and revisiting this topic.

Black, L., & Stone, D. (2005). Expanding the definition of privilege: The concept of social privilege. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 33, 243-255.

Sunday Runday

Today is Sunday–usually a long run day for me, but because I was awake until almost 1 AM (too late for me) last night, I treated myself to a 5K tempo run on the trails instead. We returned home from Texas last night, and while it was a very fun trip, I sure was overjoyed by the smell of fresh Pacific Northwest woodsy air this morning. Though I did not run in San Antonio, I got a lot of exercise walking several miles each day, most of them with my 3.5 year old on my back. We traveled south mainly because I was presenting a paper I authored on my research-in-progress at an education conference. I was a bit nervous about the presentation, but it went really well. I received some encouraging feedback from other folks who are experts on the social dimensions of math preparedness. I ate some really good Tex Mex, but I was happy that I stayed active on the trip, did not eat junky food, and returned home feeling healthy and well.

This week, I plunge back into the routine of training for the upcoming half. My goal this weekend is to run 7 miles on my long run. I will keep increasing the mileage by one mile each weekend, with a few weeks of repeated mileage, until I hit my tapering time (around the first week of April). Training for a half marathon is my absolute favorite. I just love the process and, ultimately, the distance of the race. Now that I have my trip out of the way, I can make the most out of the next two months.

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Vacation Fitness