Retiring. Or, one last thing: the trials and joys of running in Florida

Hi there!

I disappeared off the reader for a few months, and I’m sorry about that. I just didn’t have a lot to write since the marathon in April, and even if I could have updated about my running, I sort of lost the motivation for this kind of blogging, what with virtual running teams and online running logs/social media sites abounding. There are so many other running blogs out there, far superior to mine, and I’ve decided it’s probably for the best that I retire the blog.

If there’s one of you who will actually miss my rather sweaty navel-gazing, I may post occasionally about running on my main channel.  Also, most likely in a few years when I start another running journey  (like training for an ultramarathon?), I’ll bring the blog out of retirement. Who knows?

At any rate, to take the bitter out of the sweet, I’ve collected a list of observations/tips about running in south Florida that you may appreciate. Some of these may be true for anywhere, but only all of them are true for Florida.

  1. Running outside in the summer (i.e. April to October) is hard. It’s either too humid before the sun comes up or too hot and sunny when the sun comes out. Pick your poison.
  2. Running outside in winter is awesome. However, on the two days it goes sub-40, one still shouldn’t forget the long pants, long sleeves and the gloves. It may not happen a lot, but the body still doesn’t like it.
  3. One can never make a mistake putting on sunscreen during any hour in the day. Even if it’s overcast, it could be sunny a few miles down the road.
  4. If it’s raining, it’s not always pouring. But if it’s pouring, it’s much harder to have a fun run.
  5. In the summer, one can almost set the clock by the afternoon thunder storm.
  6. The break in the humidity after said storms is over far too quickly.
  7. One needs to lower one’s expectations for speed sessions and races in the summer. At the same time, even if it’s not so bad on a particular day, the possible humidity is always a great excuse.
  8. Matching up race seasons to races in the rest of the nation is a curse for the cross country runner. It does make the out-of-state races that much more fun, though.
    I just realized 1-8 are all about the weather. Woops.
  9. There are very few natural hills here. On the other hand, there are an abundance of golf course mounds, overpasses and bridges. No excuses for that hill training!
  10. Run against traffic. Florida has one of the highest fatality rates for pedestrians in any state, with Miami-Dade and Broward having some of the highest in any county. One of the best ways to avoid being road-kill is to run against the traffic to move out of the way of oncoming traffic and stop in-time, if need be.
  11. and as a final note that’s both weather and non-weather related: It’s imperative to have a good water belt or hydration pack and/or know where the public water fountains are. The humidity means one loses a lot of water, and on the main streets, it’s pretty difficult to find water fountains. And parks often don’t open before dawn. I’ve been tempted to knock on random people’s doors before because of this.
  12. There is always the slight possibility that that log floating in the canal is not a log at all.
    alligator-1286215_960_720

And that’s it! Did I miss anything? Am I wrong about this all only being true for Florida? The list ended up being much less entertaining than I intended, but I guess there’s a reason I’m putting this one out to pasture!

Still, may the roads rise up to meet you and the wind be ever at your back.
Run strong and stay healthy,
Dorothea

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Taking a Break- Trying something else

After yesterday’s race, I put my head into gear for thinking about what to do during the rest of this month. A lot of my considerations come from the fact that I don’t know what races I’ll be doing anytime soon (unless it’s a half-marathon in December). Since I am going away to Hamburg and entering a different university system in a different country, I don’t know what to be prepared for in regards to being involved with sports. Do they have a running club that helps fund my races in the city? Will I find some races to do there? Will I find the time to run consistently there? Ah! Kidding about the last one. Unless I’m injured, I’m always a consistent runner. What I can’t be sure about is whether I would rather play soccer every evening and whether I’ll try to weather the unusual (for me) cold and winter rain or just hop on a treadmill. 

These considerations aside, I know that I need to back off a lot on my blogging about running. I’ve been using this as an outlet to feel productive, when in reality I’m procrastinating on preparing for my MA oral comprehensive exam (and packing!). I also lost more time than necessary in preparing for yesterday’s race. While I want to continue running, I don’t need to run to the extent that I was… not that it was terribly much. And I can do less writing about it and move it to the back of the line as far as priorities go. I should be blogging more on my reading blog. So this post is a way to plan what I’ll be doing for the next month so that I don’t have to think about it (or blog about it) anymore. 

Consider this chart of the past weeks:

My home page on my runner's world training calculator. (I know it's not the best online logger... but it's my oldest running log....)

My home page on my runner’s world training calculator. (I know it’s not the best online logger… but it’s my oldest running log….)

I haven’t really been doing high mileage weeks since my last injury (ITBS) a year ago. Then, I was doing 55-60 mpw that, compounded by some foolish timing of certain workouts, led to injury. 

However, now that my 5K ambition has been appeased for now, my ambitious self wants to consider training for a marathon again, and to do that I need to build a super-solid base. Now is a good time for it, because it means I have to do less fancy training and just worry about getting mileage in. The past two marathons I wanted to run were waylaid by injuries brought on by increasing distances too soon and intensity too fast. This time, I want to be patient and smart and just start building up my mileage each week with a drop (15-20% less of mileage) every fourth week. The best way to do this, I think, is to just go out and run 5.something miles each day, have a long run on the weekend and let that run make up the distance I need to be able to complete the mileage for the week. Sunday will be rest day. I’ll do weight-lifting every other day to get my core and arm muscles back into shape for longer distances–and everything that MYABR! 

The schedule will look like this:

September 8-13: 38 miles

September 15-20: 41 miles

September 22-27: 45 miles

September 29-Oct. 4: whatever I accomplish in my crazy week of exams and first days abroad! 

I’m going to return to my old habits of running in the morning and getting the run over with. That way I can use the rest of the day to study, something I desperately need to do. 

So, if you don’t see me for a while, don’t worry. I’ll be back- especially to post about how running around Hamburg will be! 

Have a good month. 

Introduction

If you found this site through my main blog, deutscherwanderwolf, you may be tired of all these introductions. I probably could have introduced myself as a runner in my main blog, since it is a part of my identity. However,  my main blog is for the general public, and most people don’t care whether I’m a runner or not. Readers of this site, however, will likely care and want to read more about me as a runner.

So, yup. I’m a runner. I never really had the pride in that statement that others may have because I didn’t have a mighty transformation; it was more a transition from soccer to jogging to running. I’ve been running for about 13 years now.

I started playing soccer when I was 5 (more or less, can’t remember) and I was pretty good at running after the ball. I also liked to race my brother around the house and race my friends in school to lunch. I don’t know when I ran my first mile, probably in P.E. during middle school, but I know that I actually ran a decent distance in the eighth grade on the treadmills. That year, my classmates and I were given permission (read: required) to use the newly constructed weight room for our school. I wasn’t very interested in the weights that made my skinny arms hurt and counting repetitions seemed stupid. My favorite part was when we were allowed, after doing our daily weight sets, to do cardio for the remaining time. There was a competition with all the machines for who could complete the most distance. The treadmill was my machine of choice, but unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to go above 6 mph (something I found fairly simple) and so I always hoped for more time in order to get a higher distance. Eventually I ran three miles and won the prize (something I took for granted at the time-funny). My P.E. teacher nearly forgot to give me the prize, but she didn’t forget to advise me to run cross  country… which I did. Since then, my longest break from running has only been a few weeks.

I was on varsity right away in cross country, and the top runner by the end of the year. My first official time in a 5K race was 27 min. something. By the end of the year, I was running sub 24  min. (not  fast, but promising) and my coach was asking my parents to send me to running camp in Asheville. That didn’t happen, but my second year of cross country brought me to districts (a race I missed the previous year, since I didn’t realize it was important), regionals, and states. My best time at states was 21:15, and I was pretty proud of that. I figured I had two more years of competition and could cut off two more minutes, at least. I ran track that year too and made it to regionals in the 2 mile with a 12:58 time.

However, puberty, AP and IB classes, little sleep and social life took its toll my junior and senior year of high school. I did enough on the teams to be captain, MVP, and receive various scholar-athlete awards, but my running itself wasn’t really getting better. So after high school, I tried for a while to go longer. My end-goal was the marathon, but I started with a few half-marathons and ran my first full marathon when I was 20 at 4:08. It’s not bad, but disappointing when one considers that my best half-marathon time was 1:40. I could explain that disparity, but that will be another post. At any rate, I ran a second marathon the following year, another one in Hamburg while studying abroad, and a fourth one in Feb. 2016 where I PRed with 3:32. I had my share of difficulties along the way- training injuries, life getting in the way, but I started figuring out the marathon as a race (keep in mind, I never had any formal coaching for this kind of running) and  am looking to keep improving in the marathon distance. Eventually I’ll get the ultra marathon bug.

My two main running dreams are a sub-3 hour marathon and a 100+ mile race through something like the Sahara I’m young (26), so apparently I still have my best running days ahead of me.

Right now, I’m training for the Darß Marathon. I’ve been derailed by a broken toes, stress fractures, and wonky feet  for the past two years, making me miss three of the three marathons I signed up for. I’m hoping this training cycle goes well and that I can maybe PR and BQ again!

I usually run 5 days a week, so readers will likely have something to look at if they check-in! I plan to keep this site updated with my runs, habits, cross training notes and ideas, my weight training practices as related to running, and general news that I keep up with from the running world.

In the meantime, happy running to you,

DT

updated February 2018