Running 101: Beginner’s Guide to the 1st Month – Part 2

Running is about the journey

Running is about the journey

Many people who take on a new exercise programs do not stay with them for very long. They get discouraged or they get bored. This can happen with running really easily. That’s why I never ran before. It was not for lack of trying, but it was lack of mental preparation that really hindered my previous attempts. So here are some tips to prepare your mind and your spirit to help you be successful.

  • It is your run, no one else’s. You own it. Nothing else matters, but how YOU feel running it. Every beginner, including myself, excitedly tells their friends they are running. And then they proceed to tell everyone how slow they are, how bad they are at it, etc., etc. Everyone starts in the same place: Walking out to the road and putting one foot in front of the other. That’s were we all begin. What happens during that time on the road – speed, distance, walking breaks – is uniquely yours. Don’t be ashamed of it or make excuses for it. The win in all of this is that you are doing it. YOU are doing it. No one else. It certainly beats the alternative, which is doing nothing. If you take away one thing from this post, please let it be this: every run, every run/walk, every walk/run is a win. Be proud of it, regardless of the outcome. 
  • There are no bad runs, only training runs. This little bit of wisdom was shared with me by an Ironman triathlete. It was given in a little pep talk after I had a particularly rough race. It was a 5k with heat and humidity raging in July, there was no water on the course and I had not hydrated like I should have. There were 20 other things I also did wrong and you can read about them here. But here is the beauty of it. I made a ton of mistakes all in one race, not spread out across 5 different races. So although was completely miserable, I learned a lot from that experience. And it helped me grow as a runner. Yes, the results were disappointing, but I did it. I know people who backed out at the last minute because of the heat. And that may have been the right decision for them. But I did it. I had an experience I will never forget and I became a better runner because of it. So always remember, whatever the results are, good or bad, there is something to learn from them to help you prepare for the next run. 
  • You can’t lose. Running is an individual sport and everyone who is doing it is a winner. Maybe you don’t take home a medal for 1st place, but if you are going for it, you are winning. Even in 5k races, the runner crossing the finish line last still gets cheers and congratulations. Because it is an individual accomplishment, whether you’re in first place or last. I walked quite a bit of the last half of my Half Marathon in November. It was not the plan but that’s what happened and I still finished. I still crossed the line and got my picture taken with a medal. It didn’t matter how much I walked during the race. What mattered was registering, training and running (walking) across that finish line. Taking charge of your health and fitness is an accomplishment. Doing something like running a race is an accomplishment. There are no failures here. 
  • Make running a lifestyle. Let’s face it, many of us will not run the Boston Marathon. What I think is more important is integrating running as a part of your lifestyle that works for you. Maybe you have no desire to run a marathon or half marathon. Maybe you don’t even want to run a 5k, ever. And if those things are not on your bucket list, so be it. Remember, you own it. You can make running mean whatever you want it to mean, no more, no less. If you choose to run/walk 2 to 3 miles and that is all you ever do, good for you! Congratulations! You are a runner. A successful runner who has incorporated a healthy activity in to your life. Make it work to your advantage however you can.

In my last post I recommended physical things you should do to start a running program.  But just as equally important is how you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. I encourage you to approach running as you would any hobby that takes practice and time to get better. Yes, indeed distance running does take time and practice. It is not something that happens overnight for most people. If you started painting, you would not expect to be painting like Monet within a month. If you took up golf, you wouldn’t expect to be playing like Lefty within a year. So go easy on yourself. You’ll get there. Happy running!


Running 101: Beginner’s Guide to the 1st Month


Running Is About The Journey

Running Is About The Journey

I hated running the first 30 days. At first, I was excited to go to the gym to see how far I could run on the treadmill. But each time I experienced the same, within moments of starting I felt the 10 pound weight on my chest, my lungs burning, and the fear of imminent cardiac arrest. Gasping for air just trying to get through those first few miles was certainly not pleasurable. They did not bring the endorphin rush or runners’ high, as it is sometimes called, that everyone else seemed to be experiencing. No, instead I felt like the clock had slowed down for me personally to draw out the excruciating pain while it taunted me relentlessly. Tick, tick, tick… How much longer?  Tick….. Tick….. Tick….. 

Some people are born runners. They’re blessed with a ridiculous ability for endurance and amazingly efficient cardio-pulmonary systems. I am not one of those people. Many runners are not either. But we all run. And we are able to do it because the human body is an amazing piece of bio-mechanical engineering that adapts and learns for as long as we will train it.

I’ve been talking to a friend recently about how he is fairing with this sport called running. He just started a month ago. It’s not been easy. Right now, he’s experiencing the same things that I did when I started. I was lucky to have a few good influences who supported me. The rest came from an internal need to prove myself wrong. Prove that I could be a runner. And now as I sit here today having several 5k’s and 1 half marathon under my belt, I did it. I became a runner because I trained my body to run. But just as importantly I trained my mind. 

I started training with no knowledge of what to do or how to do it, just get on a treadmill and run. I learned a lot that first 30 days. So I will share with you the checklist of things to do to start a running program, so you don’t have to learn them the hard way like I did.  Legalese Type Disclaimer: Always seek the approval of a trained medical professional before starting an exercise program. 

  1. Go to Endurance Sports and Rec or similar specialized athletic store to get a gait analysis and buy running shoes. Running shoes are typically 1/2 to 1 full size larger than your regular tennis shoes. This is true even if you have shoes for cross-training or walking. The impact on your feet, knees, hips and back is completely different from these sports to running. Trust me, the way you run and the shoes you run in will make or break your run. This can save your toes and your lower body. It’s that important!
  2. Women: If you are well endowed please take the time to get fit for a sports bra at a store that fits for runners. This does not mean go into Target and grab the Large off the shelf or Dick’s and just grab the 36D. Because your real bra size is not your running sports bra size. They fit differently and you get sized for them differently. Getting the right sports bra for running, is a lot like the fairly tale: You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince. In other words, try a lot of them on to find the one for your body.
  3. Get a watch with a timer. I would recommend getting a heart rate monitor for ease of use, but they can be pricey and are not a requirement. But I stand firm in the belief that you have to get a timer to help understand pace and intervals of your runs. 
  4. Training methodology is up for grabs. I use for the ease of his program and the best results I had with my knees. Starting a running program at 39 with a sedentary decade preceding it, coupled with 2 MCL injuries on the right knee was not the best athletic base. But it can be overcome. Galloway’s methods are the most injury free. 

These are the basics for starting and being successful in your first 30 days of running when it comes to the physical side of the run. But there is a mental element that is just as important in my opinion. That will be in part 2. Posting it tomorrow!

Why I’ll Never Run with Team In Training Again


My 1st Half Marathon! Rock N Roll San Antonio 11/16/08

My 1st Half Marathon! Rock N Roll San Antonio 11/16/08

Before I receive a lot of heckling for posting please know that I think The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is an incredibly worthy charity that is doing amazing things to help find a cure for cancer. But this post doesn’t have anything to do with LLS. It’s strictly based on my personal experience with Team In Training (TNT).

For those that may not know, when you agree to train and run a race with TNT, you commit to raising x amount of money. I had to raise $4000. A month before the race you provide a credit card # stating that if you fail to raise the total figure, you agree to personally pay the balance. But you don’t have to recommit. You can opt to not participate in the race. 

When I signed up in June, I was told that I would have a ton of support and one-on-one meetings with our captain and we would have group events to help raise funds. So I started by sending out almost 200 letters which included SASE’s to make it convenient for their return.  I received about 5 of them  back. Ouch! No fear, quite a few of my blog readers and practical strangers donated quite generously.  I was shocked and awed by their generosity. And it all came close to about $1000.

I was feeling pretty good at the end of July, but oddly there were no meetings about fundraising or group events to participate in. Some folks were having things, but it was mainly friends who knew each other and signed up together to participate. But I was flying solo. So I would do it alone. 

When I finally met with someone from TNT office, the story I got was “Yeah, it sucks to not have really big donations from your letter writing campaign. Well, you can send out more letters, postcards, emails and blog posts.”  OK, but I’ve already done that. I mean I began to feel bad even discussing it with anyone. So I told her about my other ideas and she thought they sounded good. OK got a plan. 

1) Hold a silent auction at POSH’s fashion show. That was a great idea. People joined in and donated very generous items to that event. But when I tried to call TNT to get some publicity, which is supposed to happen, I couldnt get anyone to return phone calls or emails for over 2 weeks. Nothing. I had to have my running coach call in and try to get me support. Apparently the girl who was dealing with our team quit and someone else was taking over, but she wasn’t responding to any one’s request (so I found out at the race) Now I’m not sure of the impact of that, but I did an ok amount of business. I raised almost $900. Not real great considering I had over $2200 in products & services. But it was almost a fourth of my required total. 

2) I had a yardsale. Once again, no publicity from TNT. Really a poor turnout. Made $150. But I had to pay a sitter to keep the kids and watch over the sale while I went for my long run with the team so that cost me another $60. And yes, I could’ve skipped the long run, but it was stressed that it was the most important run of the training. So I went a little late to help get the sale started, only to find there was no trail map. They are supposed to be provided at the beginning of every run so people will know where to go.  After 2 hours of driving and looking I finally ran in to some of them. Got set on the right direction and then ran in to the coach who huffed at me when I said there were no maps, “Well we’ve ran this course 5 times”. OK maybe some have, but I haven’t. And that’s not really the point. They’re supposed to be there as a resource and they were not.  Just another little snafu.

3) I applied for the Walmart community grant of $1000. It was recommended by TNT. I figured if I raised about $3500 I could put in the rest of the money. I applied for the grant in early July but there were 2 administrative errors in processing it. So as re-commitment approached, I spoke with the manager in charge and explained to her the situation and why I needed a definite answer on whether or not I would be approved.  She said it would go through, it was approved they just had the wrong address on it and it was corrected.  

GREAT!  I can recommit and I’ll eat about $1000. I’m ok with that it’s for a good cause. When I checked on the grant the following week, like I did every week all summer long, I was told that the manager I had dealt with was no longer there. The new manager told me I was not going to get approved.  In fact, I was told that multiple people had applied for the grant and only one person was supposed to and they had been telling TNT not to send multiple people to the store for the same charity. Really?  But every time I spoke with someone from TNT they told me that was not true.  Then I was told by Walmart that in fact I had been approved for the grant, but unfortunately when the check came in they called the top application instead of the bottom one, which was the first one that had applied for it – me. But Walmart insisted there was nothing they could do and they told me is was a TNT issue. When I called TNT and explained the situation and asked for help. I was met with blank stares, different stories, etc. And when I began to get frustrated with the different stories I began to get shuffled around hearing, “Well, I really don’t deal with that issue. Just have fun at the race.”  And that’s what the next person would tell me as well. Seriously have fun when I’m out $2000. I’m sorry but that’s going to be a real stretch.

But I did have fun at the race. As you can see by the picture, which I though was pretty darn good for having just ran 13.1 Miles!! Woo Hoo!! I enjoyed the race and the events. It was really an amazing experience going to the Expo and doing the dinners, etc. It was a good time. Which is why I feel horrible about how things ended up. I came back and made a few phone calls to the TNT office asking about the check and how to get the issue resolved and I couldn’t get a phone call returned. 

That’s really the issue I have and why I’m posting on it. Yes, LLS is a great charity or I wouldn’t have committed to do it. Yes, TNT does a lot of great work. Yes, the folks working there are probably underpaid and they are understaffed. Yes, I recommitted of my own free will.  But puhhlease! If you are a non-profit and you have people working to raise money for you, can you simply return a phone call!  This is customer service. I am a customer. I am the person who is going to blog and tell all my friends about this experience. And you can’t return a phone call? Not then and certainly not now.  That’s just not right – profit or non-profit. 

PS – I finished in under my goal of 3 hrs even with a lot of walking the second half. I just couldn’t find a grove. I usually run alone and I was a bit overwhelmed. But in a good way. I’ll post on running & training a bit later.

Team In Training Update!


I wanted to give everyone an update on my adventure with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training.

  • My Grandfather –  Carl MarlowHe is my inspiration for joining Team In Training (TNT) to raise money to battle leukemia & lymphoma. He is in his 2nd year of battling lymphoma and it has not been an easy battle as of late.  Two weeks ago he lost his bride. My grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep.  Unfortunately, my grandfather could not bring himself to attend the funeral, stating he had already said his goodbyes. This week he is back in the hospital again because of fluid building in his lungs. After some medical intervention, we hope he will be able to go home by the weekend.
  • My Training Progress:  I have had great success training with my teammates. My longest run to date is 7 miles with a strong desire to go further. Unfortunately, my training was derailed this past week by a broken arm & surgery. Ouch! But, never fear I will be back to training within 3 weeks according to my doctor. Next week I will be able to start long walks and the week after burn up the pavement again.  I’m really anxious to get back to it!  
  • My Fundraising Progress:  1st – I want to say THANK YOU to all those who have already contributed to this very worthy cause. Your generosity is commendable! You are saving lives! 2nd – If you have not been able to contribute yet, I implore you to do so. There is still time! I have mailed over 100 letters with SASE’s included to make the donation process as easy as possible. However, I am saddened to say that I am quite significantly short of the required funds to participate in the race.  As of today I have raised $815 of the $4000that is needed for me to participate.  With the end of August being the deadline for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, I have changed races to the Rock n Roll Marathon in San Antonio, TX. This will allow more time for fundraising.  I will be holding a bake sale and a yard sale and who knows what else to help raise money. I know times are tough and budgets are tight, but before you buy that next Starbucks or new pair of shoes, please consider saving that money for a donation. Whether it is $5 or $50, it all adds up and it helps. Well, this should bring everyone up to date.  Remember, each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 823,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.

To make a donation to my fundraising campaign, you can mail a check to:  Amy Halleran, 102 Battlefield Drive, Franklin, TN, 37064. 


Or simply use the link in this email to donate online quickly and securely. You will receive a confirmation of your donation by email and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support. I greatly appreciate your generosity.


Amy Halleran

Jacob & Emma’s Mommy





Running 101: Running Clubs

As a beginner to running, or of any sport, one typically has questions and concerns regarding equipment, training methods, and general information.  If you don’t, you should. Why? Because one of the most common reasons people quit pursuing athletics is the feeling of failure, or in some cases, actual failure. When you lack good solid information or you receive misinformation, there is a huge probability that you will experience problems. This can push you closer and closer to quitting.

For example, the first time I accomplished 3 miles on the treadmill, I was thrilled. However, I ended it with a substantial list of woes: toes were numb, toenails very sore, right knee twitched with pain and my chest was sore (too much bouncing). Here’s the surprising news… I had received advise on running from a friend, a female, who was an avid runner. So what went wrong? She was giving me advice that worked for her. And as I have mentioned repeatedly in Running 101 posts, everyone is unique and you must find what works for you.

So where do you turn for great information that provides you with a broad spectrum of options to explore? The Internet.  Some may also subscribe to a sport specific magazine, such as Runner’s World. These sources are great and will typically lead you to seek out physical sources like your local athletic shop. Specialty stores such as Fleet Feet where the employees are typically athletes experienced in their field. Not mass chain stores where the employees are just that, employees who may or may not have any experience in your sport.

So you have the information, or the data. But what happens when the information is confusing or there are just too many options to decipher which is the best for you? Where do you turn for support? Where do you go for clarity and encouragement? Your local running club. 

Running clubs exist for this very reason: as a support network for like minded individuals. It doesn’t matter if you are just staring to run or an accomplished marathoner. A running club will provide you with tools you need to successfully engage in running. This goes beyond the cumulative knowledge and experience base a running club will provide. Two other key elements that exist within the club are encouragement and motivation.  It is much easier to charge that hill when you have a friend at your side cheering you on.  Likewise it is more than motivating to finish that last mile on a long run when group accomplishment is hanging over your head.

As many of you know, I am training for my first half marathon with Team In Training (TNT). They are a tremendous support network of genuine athletes who are focused on helping each other succeed. I could not have accomplished as much in such a short period if it were not for the guidance and ever present support network.  I’m also a member of Rockstar Runners, which is a national group led by 2 musicians, Glenn Lavendar & Jeremy Thiessen. While Jeremy is local and their are several team events, much of the information and support primarily comes from the blog.  

So where do you find a running club in your area? Hit the Internet for a search. Stop by the local specialty shop. Pay attention to the local races and see who is helping to sponsor.  And what do you do if you dont have one in your area? Check out one of my favorite sites: Runner’s Lounge. It has a search feature that connects you to other runners in the area. Drop them a line and see if they are a part of a team or club. If their not consider starting your own. Maybe it’s with other runners in the area. Maybe it’s just a few friends who commit to getting together and learning together. Either way there is one thing that is likely to occur. You will stay with it longer, especially as a beginner, and successfully reach your goals.

Team In Training – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

I’m currently raising money to fight cancer with Team in Training. Team in Training helps the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society raise awareness and funding for these two blood cancers that strike many people of all ages.  Below is my story and reason for running….
 The Early Years

The Early Years

My grandfather is battling lymphoma. He is in the 2nd year of this horrible disease and his health has deteriorate progressively.  Unfortunately, due to his heart and his age there is nothing that can really be done to treat his cancer.  This is both understandable and yet horribly frustrating that he is in a position to just wither away, struggling with symptoms and being shifted in and out of the hospital. 

If anyone knows anything about “The Greatest Generation” then they know that my grandfather is a proud man. A silent man never prone to complain or bring attention to himself. He would not fuss or bother anyone with the details of his illness or the pain he feels or the fact that he can not plant his beloved garden this year or take care of grandma the way he wants to.  There is a silent determination, perseverance and dignity about his character. 

Birthday Gifts (My cousin, Gpa & Me)

Birthday Gifts (My cousin, Gpa & Me)

I have often said that during this time of transition in my life I am praying for grace, dignity and strength. I look to someone like my grandfather who had to leave school in the 8th grade to care for his mom and 8 siblings because his alcoholic father abandoned them. He fought in WWII. He raised 3 children while staying married to the same woman, who he continues to love and care for, for almost 70 years. He has had 2 quadruple bypass surgeries and has black lung due to long hours in the coal mines of Southern Illinois. Now as he battles Lymphoma, he handles it as he has the other transitions in his life.  I hope that I can embody half the grace, dignity and strength as he does.

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2007

He is my inspiration as I join The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training to raise money to battle the disease my grandfather and countless others face everyday.   I will be competing in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco this fall.

My story is one of lofty ambition and gritty determination as up to the beginning of March, I had never ran in my life. But life has a way of helping us get off the couch and moving, which led me to my 1st 5K run with only 4 wks of training.  That’s when I learned about Team In Training and what a wonderful organization it is and how supportive they are to the participants.  And how incredible is it that I can be personally involved in helping fight my grandfather’s disease by running!

This will be my first Half Marathon event, which is over twice the distance of my original goal I set for the Fall, a 10K. But after meeting with my Team In Training Coach and thinking about my grandfather seeing pictures of me cross the finish line, I knew I had to do it this Fall, I could not wait!

 I am humbly asking that you visit My Fundraising Page HERE and make a donation.  I need to raise $4000 by September 1.  What ever the amount may be $5 or $20 or $100. It will all be appreciated and go to such a worthy cause.  There is also a page at the top of my blog to allow My Fundraising Page to be accessed at any time so you can see my progress through out the summer.

Thank you! Thank you for being such a supportive community! I could not do this without you!

Running 101: Heat, Humidity and Heart – Follow Up

This is the 5th installment of my series, Running 101, where I share lessons learned from my Teaming In Training experience.  Sorry for such a delay in posting a new installment, but I wanted to trial a couple of things before I put anything in writing. HERE’s THE BIG NEW:


6 Miles is my personal long run record and it only took 82 minutes (about 15 minutes less than my 5 Mile run).  I’m so excited! I could not believe how well it went and how glorious I felt afterwards.  I was surprised we were done already.  I thought for sure we had another 2 miles to go because I felt so good.  And here’s why I think it went so well….

Our latest topic has been running in heat and humidity and what that can do to a body, specifically mine.  It’s not been very pretty in past runs. But Dan Perkins, Ironman Pastor from CA, has given some very good advice in this series and pointed me in the right direction. 

One of the first things I had to do was ensure that I was getting enough water/hydration.  There is a simple method to calculate how much water your are losing during a run, thus giving you the amount of water you need to consume during a run so as to avoid becoming dehydrated.  Here it is:  Weigh before and after a run completely naked. Weighing with your clothes on will skew results because they will increase in weight with your sweat – Ewww! – A smelly fact, but fact none-the-less.  This number is the amount of weight loss or Delta. Add it to the amount of liquid consumed during the run and that gives the total amount of water weight lost.  This is how much you are losing during your run. If you divide it by the number of miles you ran, the results are equal to the amount you should be consuming during a run so as to avoid dehydration.  There, pretty simple.  

While I can’t believe I’m putting my weight out there for the world to see, I’ve posted my results to show you the calculations.  (Yes, I’m still working on that last 12-15 lbs of baby weight to lose – even though they are 3 yo)  So my goal during a run is to consume approximately 10 oz per mile.  This will can go up or down depending on the heat and running conditions.  I think it’s a good average though because the day I ran it was pretty hot. 

Weight Before 138.50 lbs.  
Weight After 138.25 lbs.  
Delta 0.25 lbs.  
Convert to Ounces 4.00 ounces (Delta *16)
Liquid Consumed 42.00 ounces  
Total Loss During Run 46.00 ounces (Delta + Consumed)
Loss Per Mile 9.20 ounces (Ttl Loss/Miles Ran)

Here’s the second part of the equation… running to train with my HRM (heart rate monitor).  It’s very easy for me to jack up my heart rate in the 190s. Scary – just goes to show that a Size 4 can be a very unfit person.  The high heart rate is exactly what was causing my performance issues and physical symptoms in my earlier runs.

Since running with the HRM I train to exercise my capacity for longer runs.  I read Bill Wainright’s article on this at Here’s the basic concept: Numerous studies have shown that maximizing the development of the Aerobic system is done by exercising at/or below the Aerobic Threshold.  This means that I’m running at a lower threshold in order to increase my threshold and gain speed over time. The results have been great! 

My goal is still on the high side, but much lower than what I was doing.  I run to keep my heart rate in the 160’s, the lower the better.  During my walk periods I focus on relaxing and breathing to reduce my heart rate to the 130’s.  As I deal with hills, humidity, heat, etc. I have to watch my heart rate because it will increase wickedly fast before I even know it.  While it’s ok run run at a higher rate, it does not allow me to stretch my system and improve over time.  So I have actually had to take my intervals down to 3:1 which is perfectly ok.

This is what training is for, it is preparation.  It is to stretch our systems – cardiovascular, muscular and mental – to prepare us for future runs.  There are a lot of methodologies to training and ways to go about preparing your body for a half marathon or marathon or even an ironman triatholon. I guess the most important thing that I have learned thus far is that I have to find what works for me and go forward.  It’s no one else’s race but mine. Only I know how to prepare my body and mind the best. The only wrong decision you can make when it comes to training for a run is to not do it!

So get out there!  KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!!

Where are you in your training?

Here’s the big medical disclaimer (probably should’ve done this before):  Anything posted here is by no means a medical opinion.  It is all based on my own personal experience, trials and tribulations.  Since we are discussing things of a medical nature…  You should seek the advise of a physician before beginning any physical exercise program. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that I discuss, please seek a professional opinion.

Running 101: Heat, Humidity & Hearts

Yes, Dan Perkins, Ironman extraordinaire, nailed it…..  I run way over my max target heart rate leading to over-exhaustion, complicated by heat and humidity exposure, resulting in performance issues during my runs. 

Dan suggested on my last Running 101 post that my issue of chills and running meltdown may be caused to my heart rate.  I had purchased a Nike Imara Women’s Heart Rate Monitor about a month ago and decided it was time to use it. 

The Fourth of July Firecracker 5K was my first opportunity to use the HRM. It wasn’t that hot out that morning and I was grateful. Temp was in the high 70’s / low 80’s, however, the humidity was well above 50%.  I strapped on my new piece of equipment all excited to see how well my heart performed!  WOW! The results were shocking, at least to me.  I was running in the high 190’s.  WOW!  And it climbed as I ran. Who knows how high it would have gone had I not been wearing the monitor and scared myself in to walking. Because at this point, I didn’t feel like quitting or walking and was not having any chills, etc. But as I finished out the race and I walked more and more to keep my heart rate within the MAX limit, I began to feel the slightest shiver.  I’m convinced I would have experienced the same chills and light-headedness had I not been wearing the monitor. So let’s talk about heart rate.

There are multiple ways to calculate your maximum heart rate.  There are simple methods and more complex ones. I used two different ones and averaged the results.  

      Method 1:   226-age = 187    Method 2 Women: 209-(0.7*age) = 182

Thus my maximum heart rate equalled 185.  The High Risk Zone or Redline Zone runs at 90% + of the maximum heart rate.   Meaning, that I am exerting maximum physical effort. I am breathless, my heart is pumping very hard, I can not sustain this level of activity for very long without possible serious side effects.  This is the zone you do not want to be running in for any long period of time.  This is a sprinters zone.  This is where I used to run, mind you for 100 to 400 meters, not for 5ks (at least not for me – some consider a 5k a sprint I’m sure!) The Anaerobic Zone is 80-90% and trains the body to metabolize lactic acid effectively.  I really couldn’t find any definitive answer on whether or not it was acceptable to run long distances in the 80% range of any length of time. But it seemed to be status quo that running in the 70% range was the healthiest. 

What does 75% of my maximum heart rate look like….   139.  Where was I running consistently by Mile 2…. 187+.  Hmmm…..  I didn’t feel bad, I was getting winded but not exhausted.

Now let’s look at the other two wicked elements I mentioned in my title:  heat and humidity.  They both have the same effect on our body and our heart rate.  Many people would probably not suspect humidity alone being such an evil-doer, but oh don’t let it fool you.  It is my nemesis and just may be yours too without you even suspecting it.   Here are the stats:

Heat: Temps between 60-75°F will increase HR by 2-4 beats/min. 75-90°F increase it up to 10 beats/min. 

Humidity: 50-90% humidity levels will increase HR by 10 beats/min.

Heat & Humidity:  Together the effect is magnified.

Why does this happen?  The heart’s oxygen output diverts blood flow to the skin to heat dissipation resulting in early exhaustion. Studies in Japan on ambient humidity result in the same effect because the humidity prevents sweat from evaporating. Sweating is the body’s method of keeping cool. When it is not functioning properly again the blood flow is diverted to the skin.  This study shows that hot, humid environment at sea level is as much incapacitating as is hypoxia at high altitude.*

You can’t control heat or humidity, what do you do to train?  The only thing you can do. The only thing that I should have been doing had I actually paid more attention to Jeff Galloway’s training lessons.  You control your pace and monitor your heart rate. 

This is one of the things that I am having the hardest time doing.  Because I run faster than I should. It actually physically pains me to run slower.  Does that make sense? SIDEBAR OPEN – I just started going to a boot camp ran by Bill Crutchfield, Crutchcamp, this week and he had us power walk.  Are you kidding me?  People do this? Ouch! Can’t I just run? – SIDEBAR CLOSED  What do you do? Practice.

I ran on Wednesday with my Nike HRM, on the treadmill to see if I could get a feel for what the correct pace would be for me. It was a great run! I slowed my pace to 12 min/miles, ran 4:1 intervals and could have kept going. I knocked out 3 miles like it was nothing.  This allowed me to max my HR around 160 or 86% and my walk interval would take it to the low 130s. This felt great!  I think I’m going to have to do this type of training for a while to really begin to understand what pace feels like and get comfortable with it.  

Thanks Dan Perkins for helping me find a solution sooner, rather than later.  This Saturday is my longest run to date – 5 Miles.  Yippy – Skippy!  I’m looking forward to the challenge. I feel prepared, not apprehensive. 

Does anyone else have any success stories they would like to share?  Any other concerns or questions?  I’m not an expert, but just like I did here a few posts back – if we share with each other, someone is bound to offer some great insight.  What’s your story this week? 

* Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 40, Issue 2, 206-210

Summize Leads To Spiritual Blessings

I have found out this year that God has a way of putting people in your path when you least expect it. It is sometimes when you are in your darkest place, in your darkest hour and it is so desparately needed. And even though we may be praying even begging for help, we are surprised when it happens.  But then again it is also a surprise when things seem to be status quo, or at least the quo you know, and a stranger reaches out to you for what seems to be no particular reason and a blessing is bestowed on your life like you could have never imagined.  That is what happened when I talked to Cheryl Smith last week. 

Cheryl found my blog through a summize search on running.  I’m currently doing a series on Running 101, which highlights my lessons learned as I am completeing my team in training for the half marathon in October.  Cheryl is a new runner and enjoyed my post and commented on it. This began a dialogue via email that quickly led to Cheryl suggesting we talk via the phone. So we set a date! 

Wow! All I can say is, wow! Cheryl is an amazingly gifted woman who has been through a unique life journey and very selflessly wants to help others walking difficult paths.  Cheryl reached out to me because she saw some similarities in our stories and wanted to offer her support, encouragement and guidance.  She did not ask for anything in return. She did not want a consulting fee. (She’s a consultant, btw) She simply wanted to share herself and her time with me. How truly amazing is that? 

We had such a great talk and I learned so much from her. I learned there is so much freedom and empowerment when it comes to trusting God in my life right now. As scary as it may seem, it is the only path that will bring me the joy and security that I so want for my family.  God will guide me to it, if I trust in him and lean on him to get me there. Scary, right? But also kind of relieving!

Thank you Cheryl! Thank you for your words of encouragment, your scripture references (so good!), your prayers!  Thank you for being so selfless and giving.  You are a great example for others to follow. 

That is why you are a part of Positive Post Tuesday – brought to you by Brody Harper.

Running 101: Hydration or Lack Thereof

This is the 3rd installment of my series, Running 101, where I share lessons learned from my Teaming In Training experience.  The subject of this weekend is obviously staying hydrated or avoiding dehydration.  I am beginning to think I have a problem in this area.  I haven’t nailed it down quite yet, but I found a lot of good information to share regardless. 

This weekend, I had another 4 Mile run.  It was not my best time 48:08, but not my poorest either.  I faced two obstacles on Saturday.  The first was hills, I personally felt like they were mountains. Krissy, who actually runs mountains would laugh at the speed bumps I called hills, but hey, they were my first pair.  Yes, there were two – The Gateway Bridge from LP Field to 2nd Ave and then the long, lonely climb up Broadway to 12th.  I say lonely because while I was digging in my car for my sunglasses the rest of the team left me. So much for teaminess.  I’m thinking I don’t like hills or mountains or speed bumps. Inclines of any degree just don’t seem to suit me much. Maybe it’s just a beginner thing, like talking & running at the same time. Still not comfortable doing that either.

On to the second obstacle… chills. This is the 4th time I’ve experienced chills somewhere in the middle of the run that progresses to a point that I have to stop running or I start to feel light headed and a bit of numbing, tingling in my hands, lips. Nice, huh?  I even did that last week with my best time (44:47) and it was a decent run. But in general this little problem I’m having is killing my times. Well, and beyond that I don’t want to stroke out or anything serious.  Here’s the history:

  • Westhaven 5K:  1st occurrence – very bad, light headed, very dizzy, walked most of the last mile. Heat was unbearable, very dehydrated, little water on coase (remember my story of drinking from the hose)
  • Fleet Feet 4 Mile: 2nd occurrence – very mild, no dizziness, continued run/walk ratio, was ok. Weather perfect 70s, that’s the day that I ran in the rain, hydrated well day before, morning of & during the run.
  • Centennial 4 Mile: 3rd occurrence – medium chills, no dizziness, reduced run/walk ratio, was ok. Weather hot, heat was getting to me. Missed water stop #1. Hydrated well day before, ok morning of.
  • LP Field/DT 4 Mile: 4th occurrence – bad chills, light headed, light dizziness, reduced to walking middle of 4th mile, hydrated so much i was drowning the day before. Drank 32+ oz pre-run, 8 oz Ml 1, 10 oz Ml 2.  It was hot out, felt very overheated. 

So there it is.  Witheach run I hydrate more & earlier in the week, especially the day before, carry water with me, drink more at the water breaks, etc., etc. And all I can keep thinking about is Hal Higdon and my TNT nutritionist saying that overhydrating is bad, even dangerous.  Apparently it can kill you by throwing off your electrolytes in such a jacked up fashion your electrical system (i.e. heart) stops. So I’ve got that to think about too. 

Asking my TNT coaches & some other running friends I get the same answer over and over again… you have to drink more. But I feel like I’m missing a piece of the puzzle.  Because I’m a drinker in general.  If I’m at home I have a beverage with me. I don’t get in the car without getting a drink out of the frig to come along for the ride. When I go to work I have to have a drink at all times.  We are a genetically thirsty family.  So I’m very aware of increasing my consumption. It’s preoccupied me and yet I’m still getting the chilly-willies.

Here’s some things to think about from some research on the net…

Runner’s World:

  • As little as 2 percent dehydration will have a negative effect on your race performance.
  • Symptoms include thirst, dizziness, weakness and nausea. Serious dehydration can lead to cramps, chills and disorientation
  • To determine how much liquid to take during a run or race, you need to know your sweat rate, and that can vary between 1 and 4 quarts per hour. Weigh yourself nude before a timed training run, and then again after. One pound of weight loss equals 1 pint of water loss. Calculate your sweat rate and use this to determine your fluid needs during a run or race. For example, if you lose 2 pounds during an hour run, that’s 2 pints or 32 ounces. Thus, you need 8 ounces of water or sports beverage every 15 minutes.

For more information, check out this really great article also from Runner’s World:

REVISIONIST DRINKING – Water, water everywhere… but how much do you really need? By Sally Wadyka


And I actually read somewhere, I think Cool Running maybe, that humidity can prevent you from sweating normally and cause issues too?  It seems heat and humidity play a huge roll in to it for me.  If anyone else has any really great advise or ideas, please speak up.  I have more people telling me in person they are reading and I know some of you actually run quite regularly!  Share your voice, please! 

So what’s my next step?  I guess bringing the scales to a run to do the math. I guess there will be more to follow.  Right now, I have to go take a potty break from drinking all this water!  Nighty night!