I Run For Me

Some days a run is just a run. Other days a run helps you to see something a bit clearer. Whether you are running out of boredom, desire to lose weight, or a goal to stay healthy, you are running for you. This morning’s run helped me remember that fine little detail.

As a woman battling endometriosis, it can be very easy for me to curl up in my bed and stay there all day. Dishes won’t get cleaned, laundry won’t get folded. Homework will not get finished. Those things may still not happen on a day like today, but at least I did my run for me. With every twinge of pain, I pushed myself harder. I ran faster, and in that moment I felt what healthy feels like. I have the power within me to be healthy, I just need the desire on days like today to push myself. The day is still young, and I may suffer in pain for the rest of the day for pushing myself this morning, but at least I can say I did it. I ran. I ran for me.

Determination is a funny thing. I am determined to be healthy. I will not let endometriosis hold me down any longer.

My Love of a Challenge

This time of the year, I am totally happy with hibernating. I definitely am not a fan of being cold, and no matter how many layers I put on, I can never seem to be “warm”.  The thought of stepping outside in 50 degree weather to go run seems absurd (California kid, remember?)

I have on the other hand, known for a while that I have minimized my running so badly that I have seemed to lost my “base”. It’s bound to happen if you only get a 4-5 mile run in once a week. At that point its a never-ending battle against yourself to get better, or at least comfortable with running. Work your butt off painfully for one day, then hang out for six. That doesn’t make sense.

So when Off Road Pursuits announced its 31 in 31 December Challenge, I was definitely intrigued. All I have to do is run for 30 minutes a day. Everyday. Would I be able to go from once a week to every single day of this month? It will definitely be hard, but it needs to happen.

So far I have been successful in getting my runs in, 5 days into the challenge. What I like about it:

  • You hold yourself accountable
  • Jump start into the New Year
  • Great way to feel good during the holidays
  • If you know you may not get a run in one day, you can make it up by running twice another day.

So there you have it. Hopefully next race report you read, the first sentence won’t include something to the tune of, I didn’t really train for this. Man, I hate having to say that.

I’ll periodically drop in updates to let everyone know how I’m doing 🙂

Wish me luck!

Welcome to November

The first day of November, and I’m lucky to be outside running at 4 in the afternoon with my best friend, my pup Rosco, and it’s eighty-five degrees outside. Eighty-five freakin degrees outside! Man am I lucky.

I took today’s run opportunity to wear my new INKnBURN tank and enjoy my time to myself on this glorious fall (eighty-five degree) afternoon 🙂

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Pro Compression Sock Review

I’m sure by now you have seen runners running through your neighborhood or local race with bright and colorful knee-high socks on. If your like some of the people whom I know, you may think that its simply a fashion statement, and not a very good one at that.

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Maybe what you need is a little background information.

Compression socks have been used in the medical field to alleviate symptoms of diabetes and to increase blood flow in to the arms and legs by constricting the muscles and holding everything tight. In the past 5 years or so though, athletes have turned to this type of support to help in training and recovery. There really is no real scientific proof that they do work, but I have noticed a decrease in recovery time whenever I use them.

They work.

With that said I was open to trying out another pair when I came across Pro Compression.

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After receiving the socks, I used them through different aspects of running; training and recovery. Each time I used them my legs felt significantly better than days when I hadn’t used anything in similar scenarios.

Things I liked:

  • The Color – Maybe color shouldn’t be the first thing that I mention that I like, but I already stated that they do work. The second most important factor is style. The website has so many colors and style options. That’s always a plus. I really liked the purplicious pair I received.
  • Ribbing- This is the first pair of compression socks that I have seen with ribbing. It gives them a nice texture and seems to make them tighter.

What I didn’t like:

  • Too Tight – The whole point of the sock is to be tight, but I shouldn’t have elastic indents on the back of my calf after just 30 minutes of wearing them. That doesn’t feel too good. I do have big calf muscles, but as I recall, the sizing depends on the size of your foot, not the width of your legs.
  • Too Hard to Get On – Once again, I know they have to be tight, that is not the problem. It was very hard to get my foot in the socks, and to take them off. In addition to my large calves, I also have big feet. The actual size of the sock was perfect, so that was not as issue.

Aside from that the socks did exactly what they were meant to do. I definitely noticed an improvement in the way my legs felt during and after my runs.imagesCACICGCZ

What to try your own pair?? Pro Compression is giving away a pair of compression socks to one very lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, become a follower of Chronicles of Kate. You can earn more entries by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other site. Leave a comment and let me know how you entered!

Pro Compression is also offering 40% off online with coupon code BLG13 valid until 10/31!!

Happy One Year !

Today marks the one year anniversary of Chronicles of Kate!

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I remember one year ago, sitting down to get this thing started and thinking to myself, “what the heck am I going to write?” I really wanted to document my life in terms of running and different aspects of health, and looking back now, I’m so glad I did!

Thank you to all of my followers, and those who have just stopped by to see what the ramblings were about.

Here are some highlights and some of my favorite posts after one year:

My First Ultra : 50k Dream to Reality

Alpha Earth Runners Review and Giveaway

Practice of Love and Patience

Kate’s Campfire Chili

Lake Hodges Trail Fest 50k – Race Report

Ready, Set, Race: Sidewinder 10k Race Report

Please give me some feedback:

Alpha Earth Runners Review and Giveaway!!

A few months ago, I inquired about a pair of running sandals from Earth Runners, a company that creates minimalist running sandals that are inspired by the Tarahumara Native American Indians of Northwestern Mexico. These custom-built sandals provide comfort and protection while offering the satisfaction of a barefoot experience.

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On the Earth Runners site, you will see the different types of sandals that they offer. I decided on the Alpha Earth Runners because this version of the sandal is great for longer distances, as it provides a little more thickness in the sole of the sandal.

Getting Ready

The first time getting ready to wear these, I admit I was a little hesitant and skeptical. The strap lacing system that my sandals have does not look comfortable at all, and what if I laced them up wrong and kept having to deal with laces that did not fit properly? Well, for people like me, the Earth Runners website provides ‘How To’ links to adjust your laces, resize your laces, and tie your leather laces (if you opted for leather). The videos are so easy to follow, and honestly I think it would be hard to get lost. After wearing the sandals around for a few weeks with the original lacing pattern, I decided to change it up a bit, and go for a different look and approach to how I laced the sandals. What’s really cool about the lacing system is that the buckle attachment slides off completely allowing more freedom in how you choose to wear the sandals. In the ‘How To” section of the website, there is also a video on how to trim you laces if they are too long. I would advise anyone that is choosing to trim the laces to wait until they are sure of the way they choose to lace the sandals.

Let’s Run

I wore these sandals around for weeks before I actually ran in them. My foot had molded the sandal bed, and the straps were snug just where I wanted them. While vacationing in Reno, NV, I decided that my time to run in these bad boys had finally arrived. I found a series of gently rolling connecting trails, and I just started to run. This being my first time running in these sandals, I really took it easy, and with every step, I waited for the laces to pinch the skin on my foot, but they never did. The buckle, which seems like it would irritate or bruise the top of my foot, never bothered me at all. The leather sole of the sandal began to grip my foot. The tread of the sandal held me close to the trail, and I never felt as if I were sliding out of control. These sandals made running so fun! I had the freedom of running barefoot, but the minimal protection that allowed me to cover the trail in a way you might not be able to do being absolutely barefoot. I did still have to watch the trail to see exactly where my foot was going to land, and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, good thing I did because I almost stepped on a baby snake sunning!

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I don’t know if I can say that there is anything that I would really change about the sandals. I did notice that just after a few weeks in them, the tread already started to show wear, so that worried me. I have been notified though, that Earth Runners also caught onto that problem and changed the Birkenstock tread to a higher quality Birkenstock material, so that should not become an issue. I absolutely love the way they feel on my feet, and the ease of wearing them. These have easily become the most used shoes in my collection just over the last couple months. My favorite part about them is how easily they can transition from a sandal to a running sandal. Talk about minimalist!

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Check out the Earth Runners website HERE !

Giveaway!

Are you still skeptical about running in sandals? One lucky winner will win their own pair of Earth Runners!! What better way to try out a product and tell everyone how much you love it, than to win it!

To enter, make your way to the homepage and simply become a follower of this blog 🙂

After becoming a follower, additional entries can be gained by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, on your blog, or any other place online, or liking the chroniclesofkate facebook page.  Leave a comment in the comments section telling me where and how you shared this post, and additional entries can be yours.

Don’t wait! The deadline for entries is July 23, 2013 at midnight!

Good Luck!

Happy Running!

Ready, Set, Race : Sidewinder 10k Race Report

Ahh… racing. It seems that I have found myself toeing the line a lot more frequently than in years past. This can mean either of two things: I have gained enough confidence and enjoyment out of running that I am eager to race, or I have a lot of extra money lying around that I can’t wait to spend on races ( yes, I pay for these things). I’m pretty sure it’s not the latter of the two.

When you sign up for so many races though, the races themselves do not become special. Running becomes monotonous. Races become routine. Training is not race specific, and you don’t focus on race ‘A’ because right after it is race ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, and ‘E’. Even though my theory is logical, for some strange reason this race didn’t fall into the same routine. In the past 6 weeks I have run 3 races. That is one less than all of my races last year.

Just like the last two races, The Cougar Trail Half and The Holcomb Trail Run, my training for the Sidewinder 10k was not really there. I mean I did have time to spend running trails and visiting family in the Reno/ Tahoe area and go camping in Big Bear, CA. I planned and executed three birthday parties, a slumber party, and a Fourth of July shindig.  I know, lots of excuses. In the last week though I did manage a 2.5 miler and a trail 10k with my best running buddy Trisha.

So coming into this race I had very low expectations and I had already seen first hand how lack of training can damage you mentally and completely sabotage a race. I honestly can say at the time I could have cared less about even showing up for the race. Why put myself through such torture? Again? And it showed when I decided that the night before the race I was going out for sushi dinner. This could have ended up as a horrible disaster race day morning. Bad fish = Bad Race. None the less, after dinner I went home and for the very first time actually prepared all my race goods the night before, like a big girl. The next morning I woke up and it was so easy to get everything and go (imagine that), but I was halted by excruciating stomach pain. It wasn’t the sushi, don’t worry. I have been luckily diagnosed with a wonderful little thing called endometriosis, but more on that later. I decided though that it wouldn’t be fair to myself to miss this race, so as I winced in pain, I made my way to the car right on time.

8c716962e8e611e281c522000a9e035f_7I drove out to Tecolote Canyon where the race was scheduled to start. I had never been in the area and was pleased to discover that it was easy to find as well as a beautiful niche off of the freeway. I arrived 30+ minutes early to check in and wait.

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People standing around waiting

Funny thing, I never got pre race jitters, or had to use the port-a-potty. Hmm.  So as the time came for wave 1 to take off and scare all the snakes out of the trail for us slower runners, I stood towards the back of wave 2. I learned my lesson in the Cougar Trail Half when I started too early in my wave. I quickly became stuck on single track as I waited for my legs to warm up. I didn’t want to hold anyone back that was faster, and I also didn’t want to feel too pressured in the beginning.

cd137a82e8e611e2905222000aaa031b_7And GO!!! The first hundred feet or so of the trail was covered in rocks, and not the natural kind of rocks that you may see scattered along a trail. No, these were like landscaping rocks, not the kind that are comfortable to run on, especially if you’re wearing Merrell Pacegloves. So I headed to the edge of the trail where the rocks seemed to be minimal. The trail was mostly flat from the get-go and I held my pace at a steady 9:00 minute mile. Then I saw the hill. It was funny to me that at a point in the beginning I actually considered that this course might just be flat. Ha! It was at that point when I started playing the game. I learned from my last race, the Holcomb Valley Trail Run, that my uphill hiking really sucks, and if I wanted to endure to the end of the race, I was not conditioned to actually run up these hills. So I hiked, FAST. In fact my uphill hiking speed was faster than some of those who were running. That strategic move worked for me, and when I came within 10 feet of the summit, I cranked up the gears and got back onto pace so the momentum coming over the hill would propel me down and FAST! I know that my downhill running is so much stronger than my uphill, and I flew by people like it was nobody’ s business. I knew that once the trail leveled out and went back to single track I would very unlikely be able to pass, so I made sure it happened while running down the hills. There were 3 up hills and 3 down hills as well as 2.5 water crossings (the last one didn’t really have much water). When the runners near me approached the water crossings, it seemed that most of them stepped with caution on the large river rocks, making sure to not completely engulf their feet in the water. I tried to just plow right through, seeing this again as an opportunity to pass people, and it worked.

Photo Credit : Photography by Pat
Photo Credit : Photography by Pat

We were nearing the aid station and turnaround point, and when running an out and back, I tend to run cautiously until this point. I am terrible judge of distance so it’s hard for me to gauge how far I have left to go.

I finally made it to the turn around and was greeted by two smiling and familiar volunteer faces I remember from the Cougar Trail Half. I drank a cup of electrolyte drink, graciously thanked the volunteers and headed back out on the course. This is when it got kind of tricky. Most of the runners in the race were running on single track now, and passing with caution when coming around the many corners of the trial can be a bit scary.

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A really bad picture of me running by. But I was going so fast!

At this point in the race, I was plowing through the trail, and passing people on my left every chance I had. I used my quick downhill legs to run by those who were a bit more cautious on the steep down hills, and once I cleared all the hills on the course I kept a pace of 8:20 until I saw the finish line, and tried my best to remember to extend my legs as I ran, taking advantage of the long legs that I have.

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:02:34, 6th in my Age Group. Not too shabby!

It’s crazy how I was so mentally nonchalant about this race, and mid race an animal instinct overcame me and led me to actually RACE. Somewhere after the turnaround point I started on my mantra, ‘IF YOU WANT IT, GO GET IT!‘ I haven’t felt that urge in a while, and I must admit, it makes racing pretty damn fun.

I headed over to the Bayhill Tavern where the after party as well as where the awards would be handed out, and had a blast! I walked into the place not knowing anyone, and walked out with new friends and happy new memories, all over some after race beers of course 🙂

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You know what was awesome about the after party? Every single one of us at our table won in the raffle! What a bunch of lucky kids!

Photo Credit : Photography by Pat
Photo Credit : Photography by Pat
Photo Credit : Photography by Pat
Photo Credit : Photography by Pat

The race, the raffle, the organizers, the volunteers, and the new friends that I made were all worth it, and to think I wasn’t even going to go.

I can’t wait for the next time I get to run with Dirt Devil Racing. It truly became a memorable and special race, one that will stand out in my mind for a very long time.