Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The adventures of Brenna: The runner.

I run daily. Sometimes my runs are dull. Sometimes my runs are normal. But sometimes something out of the ordinary happens. This was one of those times. 

I was running in town (as opposed to at home). I was on a trail, and saw some cross the path about 1/4 a mile ahead of me from a parking lot to a neighborhood. When I reached the point they had passed in front of me, I saw them in the driveway of a house near the trail. It was about four guys, the age being younger than 40. Maybe in 30s. Maybe in 20s. Couldn't say for sure, because I didn't want to stare. 

Though, I did see them watch me as I passed. I then turned off of the trail onto the road (or more accurately, the side walk on next to the road). I didn't go 50 yards, when I hear noises behind me. It was the guys. I began to get paranoid, thinking they were following me. And I think they were (though I wasn't at all scared, because there was a constant flow of cars passing). I turned a corner. They did too. But I ran faster. So they never caught me. And then I crossed the road. I lost them. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

The love/hate relationship, and what to wear when.

I am a runner, and so I run. Or do I run so I am a runner? I'm not sure it matters either way.
People ask me why I run. To be honest, that's a difficult question to answer. Running is the biggest love-hate relationship. Because I do not always love running. In fact, I often abhor and dread it. Especially in the winter. Because although the cool, crisp air in my lungs is one of the most refreshing and wonderful feelings I have ever had, it is still winter. Meaning, there is either ice or snow on the ground (or both) which makes it completely difficult to run, and therefor must run slower. And it is cold, so therefor it's uncomfortable, and I must wear, no joke, a whopping 5 pounds more of clothes. Which is uncomfortable, and makes me go slower. Also, choosing what to wear is quite difficult. Especially when I'm already cold before I go out, and so of course I'll want to pile on a lot, but if I do too much I'll get hot. And hate the run. So I pretty much try to follow this rule of thumb when I run:

But yeah, choosing clothes is tricky sometimes. And I'm good at dilly-dallying pre-run. That is, when I'm running at home (as opposed to school), I can take a good 45-minutes to get ready. I just begin to over-analyze what is about to happen. Thoughts begin to cycle through my head: 

"I'm going to run and I'm going to be running for X amount of time. When I begin, that is only minute number one and I still will have X to go."

 "What if I hurt. What if it's a super crappy run."

 "What if I haven't waited long enough since I ate and I will feel like I'm going to explode, but I can't explode because I'm only three miles in and have three to go."

"Ahh, this is going to suck."

"I could be doing so many other things in the time it takes to run"

I then realistically ponder that last question. That is, what would I actually do if I was not running? More often than not, the answer is not much. For when I enter my run, it is after I had been studying all day and so I'm taking a break. I could look for things to do on Pinterest, but chances are that is as far as it would go. Truth be told, surfing the web is what I would end up doing. Or baking cookies. 

And so I run. And it happens. And I never regret it. I end it feeling accomplished. I get a runners high where I'm super happy and everything is awesome. And I feel all "I love running it's so good I should have kept running!" Until I crash and tomorrows tangle begins. 

"I'm going to have to run. Again."

Happy Running!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Because I'm a runner.

Yeah so I totally have become a running critic. That is, when I pass someone while driving, I totally analyze their run, making sure to check their stride, pace, whether they are listening to music, their shoe brand, their apparel, whether they look like they're enjoying it, etc. If they're doing great, I whisper to myself "oh, good job buddy" or some such phrase.

I'm still running. Updates and stuff.

Figured I should go ahead and give this a quick update since it has been months and all.
Though I have not said much on here, that doesn't by any means mean my running too has come to a halt. Still going strong every day.
Weekly: Currently logging 30-40 miles a week. Six has become a regular for me. Which is so funny, because a year ago I never thought I could go that far. I could count on two fingers the number of runs that I did that were greater than five miles. And now, well, I can do 16 (though, the only day that I did that was the day of the Riverbank Run)...
Long Run: For me, a long run is 8+ miles. Usually when I do one, I do 10. Takes a little over an hour. I think that I almost take for granted the fact that I can run. Meaning, apparently not everyone can run that far. Or, more like will run that far (for I am on the Steve Sears belief that anyone can run).
Pace: For short runs, I can manage roughly 6:32s, for long runs I do 7:50-8:00, and for my mid runs (6 miles or so) I do 7:00-7:40 (depending on if it's a press hard sort of day, or a rest day).
Post Race Thoughts: Now that those large races which I did this past spring are run and done, I have come to the conclusion that distance running is primarily mental. I never thought I could go that distance. In fact, I was set on not doing that. But then I decided to do it, and I did. And since then, I feel i've grown a greater respect for myself, and also built a greater confidence. And it's fun to have something to feel good about. Like, I see my race bib from Gazelle Girl Half on my wall, and I can't help but smile.
Coming Soon: Anyway, very soon my distance will be shortened because i'll be running for Davenport. And ohmygosh, i'm so entirely excited for that.
Next Race: Anyway, next race is Saturday. Just a 5k. We'll see how it goes. Honestly, unsure what to expect, for I still have been doing far more long distance than short. But i've also been better at pushing myself. And need to re-learn how to run short and fast so yeah...

Friday, May 2, 2014

I guess it runs in the family.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I want to do a long run on the trails, but can't go alone. So I text some people to see what they're up to.

Me: What are you up to tomorrow morning?
Colin: Long run
Me: What are you up to tomorrow morning?
Dad: Thinking a long run on the trails.


Great minds think alike (or so they say).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

In hindsight.

It's so weird. I was so nervous going into the half marathon. Almost scared. I waited for so long for the race day. And then it came. And it happened. And it's over. And i've already got a new race in sight, one longer than the other. Like the day after my big race, I was like "alright, might as well do the 25k." Which is kind of funny, because I remember immediately following the half, I was like "OH GOSH, I'm for sure only doing the 10k." But nope. All signed up for the 25k (thanks, dad!). 

My reasons for this are the following:
  1. I'm pretty much all trained, and I don't know how trained I will be in the future.
  2. My dad is doing it, and so it's an opportunity to do it the same time as him, and like I said with the other reason, don't know if i'd be able to do it with him in the future.
  3. It's the largest 25k in the United States. I think that it would be awesome to get to be a part of it. 

So yeah, already less than two weeks away and i'm not even nervous. Maybe I will be in a week. But right now i'm all good. I guess I've resigned myself to the distance already. And I know I can do 13.1 (actually, on that race at least 14, because Colin and I jogged to the old bridge to watch Lisa when she crossed it). 

This is what I often felt when running at school (not versus the track team, just the general workout folk). If I passed runners at home too, I would probably feel it then as well. But as it currently stands, I rarely see another runner at home.

But yeah, I'd be running on the track and if a faster person joins while i'm doing a long run and not going full force, then i'd be all like [on the inside] "yeah, i'm in the midst of a nine mile run dude. You're not as cool as you might think."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

School's out.

I think I mentioned before that through the winter, on Monday and Wednesday, and sometimes Friday, i've done my runs on the indoor track at school.
Well, today was my last indoor run until next winter, because school is out! 
When I got home today I took out my log book and added up my track miles. 
Since January, [on the track] I've done roughly 270 miles. 
This is a 1/8th mile track. 
Meaning, roughly 2160 laps. 
That's a lot. 

Until next time, track. Until next time. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Running isn’t a sport for pretty boys…It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. Its the frozen spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut. It’s about throbbing calves and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It’s about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with. It’s about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there’s not a single soul in sight to cheer you on. Running is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fiber in your legs, mind, and heart is turned to steel. And when you’ve finally forged hard enough, you will have become the best runner you can be. And that’s all that you can ask for."-Paul Maurer

Hit the brink.

Today I hit the brink. Meaning, during the final sprint of my run, I felt like I was flying; my surroundings zoomed past me and my legs seemed to have a life of their own.
The phrase "hit the brink" isn't any sort of technical term, or even common running jargon. It's just a phrase that I came up with on my own, for myself. It's just what comes to mind.

This feeling is not one that I get during every run, or more specifically, every sprint. But I know it when it comes. I remember the first time I got this feeling was Turkey Trot 2010. The final sprint at the end there. I felt like I was flying.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 100

Oh hey, apparently I've hit day 100 of my current running streak. That's kind of cool. My last running streak was 145 days, so not there yet. But here's to hoping.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My first half marathon. The story.

October 31, 2013. That is the day I decided I would do it. It was a spur of the moment decision, really. 
For years I said I was NEVER going to run more than a 5k. Okay, sometimes I could be convinced to do a 4-miler (such as Resolution Run), but that was it for me. I had zero intentions on EVER going farther. For me, a long run was 4 miles. No more. I mean, come on, who would WANT to run for any longer? Who would enjoy doing such a thing? 
Well, me it turns out. 
The day I decided to do it, it was a pretty easy decision. I basically work up and was like "oh hey, i'm going to run a half marathon. I don't know when, but i'm going to do it."
And I did.

In the beginning, like December, my older sister was planning on running Gazelle Girl Half Marathon (with a friend of hers). She's not a runner. And so it was like, I knew I was going to run one eventually, so I better get on this bus too because I can't let her beat me to it! Maybe I am a little competitive at times after all. 

I began training for this race at the start of the year. By that I mean I began long runs. That was the only element from the training guide that I decided to follow. I was already I die-hard runner. I only needed to add the weekly distance run to my routine. It was easy at first. But that's only because it basically started from square one, and so I had already been doing the distance that it was instructing. 
I signed up toward the end of January. The day that I did my first 8 mile run. This was like a breakthrough to me. I was like "AHHH! I ran so far! Wow!"At the time I signed up, the race was so far into the future that I tried not to think about it. Though, as the date drew nearer that kind of became hard to do. Considering my long runs were actually becoming long runs. Since the first of the  I signed up for Gazelle Girl toward the end of January 2014. It was at this point that I was committed. I mean, I wasn't going to spend all of that money and have it go to waste. That would be silly. 

February rolls around. As does my first 10 mile run. Up to this point, I had been doing my long runs on Wednesday. I did this for the following reasons:
A. I had a 4 hour break between classes, so it was something to do. 
B. I could run indoors. The throughout of running outside wasn't too appealing. That, and not necessarily safe on some of the days. This winter was crazy.

So yeah, I had been running inside, but on this day I was on spring break. Not at school. And so I had to run outdoors. My first outdoor long run. I hated it.  So cold. So much running. It took forever. 
Also, unfortunately my sister's knee was injured in February and was told my the Dr. not to run on it for a good 6 months. So she was out of the race. March rolls around though and my sister-in-law signs up. So that's cool. 

March was an amazing month for me. I got a new high in miles. And grew a love for long runs. I hit the 13 mile mark and was like "okay, downhill from here."

And then came April. Ahh, April. Really, i'm not sure that there was a time where the race wasn't in the back of my mind just a little bit. The week before the race was the worst. I was so nervous. But as the week before turned into just days before, the nervousness wore off. I resigned myself to the fact that it would happen. And took comfort knowing that a week from then, it would all be over and I would be able to say that I had done it.

The day before the race a did a really easy 3 mile run. It felt fantastic. That night I was able to fall asleep surprisingly easy. 
And then, it was the day.

April 13, 2014, 6:05AM. My alarm goes off. Actually backtrack like five minutes. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm having no idea what time it was; I didn't know if there was minutes before my alarm, or hours. But I didn't want to check around for my phone, because then if it was hours I would be too awake to fall back asleep. So I laid there contemplating what to do. That is, check the time, or not check it. As I said before, I didn't want to check it because I didn't want to stay up. But as you can see, it didn't really do me much good because I was still quite awake in my thoughts. 
A few minutes pass and I hear my dad downstairs. This is good news, because it means that there is only a few minutes until the alarm. And so I continue to lay there, waiting for the alarm to chime.  

Okay, back to 6:05AM. I got out of bed. Did normal waking up stuff (wash face, pee, etc.) and then had breakfast. Afterwhich I brushed my teeth, gathered my belongings and was out the door my 6:30AM. I was dropped off at Colin and Lisa's apartment to ride with them  to the race. On the way Lisa handed my bib to me. Excitement grew. I had no nervousness. I knew it was the day, I knew it was happening, I knew that it would all be done within the next 4 hours. 
Photo Credit Lisa
And then we arrived. After parking, we walked to Rosa Parks. As we crossed the bridge, Colin said "I know, let's play the "who can spot the most runners wearing their race shirts" game."This was in sarcasm, and referring to our being against when people wear their race shirts during the race. In my opinion, you don't wear it until after you run it.

Photo Credit Gazelle Girl Half Marathon Facebook Page
We got to Rosa Parks probably at 7:30AM and stood around. People begin to fill the starting corral, the pacers included. Only, at first there was only the 9min/milers-the 12min/milers in the gate. And so I said to Colin "I guess people don't think that women can run any faster than a 9min/mile in a half." He laughed. In the next drew minutes though, the 8min & 8:30min pacers entered.
7:50AM rolls around and Lisa and I decide to enter the corral. Colin gave me a hug and told me he was proud of me. After Lisa and I entered the starting area, we wished each other luck, and headed our separate ways. I had no idea what pace I would be running. I didn't time myself during training. At all. And so, with Colin's advice, I just went to the front (as my last race I had been doing 6:47min/miles).

8:00AM. National anthem. A guy rambles, burning time because a car is stalled 15ft in front of the starting line. People can't get the car started, and decide to just begin the race.
And GO.
Photo Credit Lauren Petrecca for Mlive.
You can see me in the photo above. The one in the gray and purple tank, smiling at the camera.

It was honestly so exciting, that I ran a good 30 yards before starting my iPod. And then I was like "Oh wait, there's no music going..." And side note, my plan for this race was do mile 1 with music, miles 2-4 with Adventures in Odyssey, mile 5 with music, miles 6-9 with odyssey, and the rest music. 

Mile one was a breeze. I recognized this part of the course. It was the same as the turkey trot. 
Mile two. Again, easy. Colin was at the mile two marker, that was cool:) It was fun to have him encourage me. And he got a few photos too. 

Photo Credit Colin

Miles 3-4 were still easy. And fun. Like, this was still the distance of my no-doubt-every-day run.
Miles 5-8 were tricky. Not as in I was tired, it was just mentally difficult. There was just so far to go yet, and that's really all that I could think about. But once I hit mile 9, it got a lot better. I was past the half way mark, and from here it was only only 4 miles to go. Which, when I run at home, that's a distance I often do. 
Photo credit Rob Meendering for StellaFly
Photo above is around the 9-mile-mark.
Mile 10 was super encouraging. I heard the 8min pacers behind me call out "It's a 5k from here, baby!"
Colin was waiting at mile 11.5ish. That was encouraging and fun to see. His cheers encouraged me a lot. 
Mile 12 was annoying. Because it began with a hill. Hill's aren't something i'm unfamiliar with, for the roads at my house are purely hills. My reaction was more just like "ahh, seriously?"
Finally I came to the blue bridge. And then through the city. And then 1/4th of a mile from the finish was Colin. He snapped a picture of me and then sprinted alongside of the road making me go faster.
Photo Credit: Colin
And then came the finish! That part is kind of a blur. It was just an amazing feeling to sprint down through the corral, which was surrounded with so many people watching, and cross the finish line.
Photo Credit Robert Wilcox for StellaFly
I did it. Half Marathon. 
Time: 1:43:55
Age division place: 3rd!
Overall place: 60th!
I was quite pleased with these stats, it being my first half marathon. Less than 8min/miles. I was also less than a minute behind the person who placed first in my age division.
Photo Credit Colin
I'm totally going to do another in the future. Also leaning towards doing the Riverbank 25k in a few weeks...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why hello there running tights, I thought that we had seen enough of one another?

April 15, 2014. Snow on the ground. 32˚. 23mph wind from NW. Fun.

(PS, working right now on writing my half marathon story. Should be posted within the next day)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

To quote Lisa:
"Personalized racing bib. And that is why I signed up."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's coming.

I used to be dead set on NEVER doing a half marathon. Never, ever EVER.
But here I am. Three days out from my first one. I'm doing it.
It's all mental preparation from here. Excited? Yes:)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Opinion #4: Winter running.

Winter running. Blehh... I do it. But it's... Annoying? Mostly, I don't like the clothes required. Why? Well, it's not that I dislike how they look. Actually, I love my running tights. They make me feel empowered. This is why:

  1. The weight. The comparison of what I wear in the winter and what I wear in the summer is crazy. And that's to be expected, but not enjoyable.ane time, like a year ago, I weighed myself before I had all of my winter running apparel, and after. And well, I was wearing six pounds worth. SIX POUNDS. I guess clothes are heavy? And shoes.
  2. So much more uncomfortable. I mean, I've gotten a pretty good read in regards to what to wear in the winter for best comfort, but in comparison to summer running apparel... So uncomfortable.
  3. It's harder to breathe. I'm not good at breathing with stuff around my neck... Like, it makes me feel claustrophobic.
  4. It takes FOREVER to get them on. Tights are... Tight. And there's just so many layers. It simply takes forever. 
  5. Because it takes forever, then my motivation levels completely tank. And because my motivation levels are lowered, the time to get out the door is so much longer. Like, i'll spend a good half hour getting all of my stuff on. 
So yeah. The clothes. Not fun. But still worth it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Updates.

  • It's April. Fourth month of the year. From January-March, I logged 441.2 miles since the first of the year; over two days worth of running. 
  • To some, I may have ran a lot. But that's nothing compared to Stu Mittleman. Who, in 1986, ran 1,000 miles in under 12 days. ONE THOUSAND. And he did it on a track. A TRACK. He also holds a record for the most miles run in the course of four days: 577.75
  • Less than a week until my big race. So nervous. Kind of scared. I mean, i've done the full 13 in training, but still... Something about it intimidates me. 
  • I've decided that I probably will be running for Davenport this coming fall. Super excited about that. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Today was a blimey 63˚ today. SIXTY-THREE. Sunny, with a nice breeze. The kind where it's strong enough to keep you cool, but not so strong that it hinders running too bad.
Six miles in the marvelous sunshine.
I got to run in shorts and a tank for the first time this year! It was beautiful.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The secret to running faster.

Once I was sixteen-years old.
(Oh really? yes, really.)
At this point in life, I had run a good 6-ish races. Times were going up, too.
So one night when Colin was over for supper, I asked him how to run faster. And this is what he told me:

"The only way to run faster, is to run faster."

My internal reaction was like "oh pish-posh."
This wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for. No, I was hoping for some magic spell that would make me just go fast. Without the work of actually going fast. And needless to say, I ignored what he said for the next two years.

But in the end, he was right.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Opinion #3: I do kind of like running on the track.

For the following reasons, I do at times really enjoy running on the track:

  • I love seeing the people pass by. It's enjoyable. It distracts me. And I run so much faster when there's someone watching. I don't know how, or why, but something just kicks into high gear. I find an energy that I didn't realize was there.
  • I get lost in the time and in laps. It will be "just one more lap..." 5 laps later. Or "just until the end of this song..." (yes, I do still listen to music while running. I haven't quite leveled up to go completely without it. I sometimes do. But lately, most of the time, no. And that's another opinion for another time) but then another song I love comes on. And so I run. 
  • Thoughts will just cycle through my head, in a way that they don't when I'm running outside or on the treadmill... 
  • Distractions are taken away. Which, in one sense, can be a not as great thing. Like, there is less to distract from what is happening. But it can also be a good thing. I push myself harder. I'll be like "Can I go faster? Oh yes, I can" and I do. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opinion #2: Indoor running. Track vs. Treadmill.

Okay, I already said that I prefer to run outside more than inside. 
But what about those situations where I have to run inside?
Or choose to run inside?
I then have another choice to make, which, when it comes down to it, doesn't end up being a choice at all because it's so obvious what to choose.

Track or treadmill?
Go around in endless circles or go nowhere fast?

Track. Hands down.

Honestly, treadmills scare me. I could count on one hand the number of times I have used one.
It's like, I have this image running through my mind of running on one, falling, and having my face shredded to pieces. And so yeah, because of that fear, I run on the track 95% of the time.

There is one thing that I do like about treadmills.
The fact that I can set a speed and force myself to run that. It's good for speed work. Or, it's good for giving an idea of what my body will feel like to run a certain pace. Other than that, track is my best friend when it comes to indoor running.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Opinion #1: Indoors vs. Outdoors

Ever since I began running, I have been a complete, hardcore, outdoor runner. But that's because I had no other option. That is, until this year.
Now that I'm in college, I have the option to run on the indoor track or a treadmill.
And my, have I taken advantage of the option. Honestly, it's been nice to have this available on the crazy freezing/snow days that have taken place this past winter (as in days where it's -30˚ windchill, and it's not even safe to run outside).

Well, now that I have the whole background out of the way, here's my opinion:
I like outdoor running so much more than indoor.

  • I also feel that it's better training. I run mostly at home, and so with that I get a variety of conditions to train through. That is, the roads at home are dirt, it's all hills (always going either up or down), because it's on higher ground there is always strong winds present. Also, running no matter the weather; rain, snow, 90˚+, 45mph winds... And so yeah, if one only runs inside, they're not half as used/their body isn't trained to run in the multitude of conditions that persist outside.
  • It's hot running inside. I mean, in the summer it's hot outside. But at least it doesn't smell.
  • It smells inside.
  • There's not much to look at inside.
  • There's so much beauty outside. I've seen so many amazing things in my outdoor runs; nature and such. One time I caught a snake. Another time a turtle.... Yeah, it's just cool.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pre-race Jitters.

So tomorrow is another race. I think my 21st. It's the Irish Jig, a race I have competed in the past three years or so. It's a rather large race of over 4000 people. At any rate, I get nervous the night before a race, even now. I don't completely understand why, but I do. It's like, I dread it and am completely excited for it both at the same time. I think I may get more nervous than I used to. Scratch that, I know that I get more nervous than I used to. This is due to the fact that I no longer run just to get a t-shirt. I actually run in competition. Not necessarily against others (though it is fun when I place high in my age group), but against myself. I have a drive to make personal records. And so I get nervous and almost hold back as a result. At any rate, we'll see how tomorrow goes.