I Ran My First 5k and Won!

Yesterday I ran my first 5k, and won! Well, at least in my eyes. There were 149 runners that showed up, and I placed 87th with a time of 31 minutes (31:39:88, to be exact, with an average pace of 9:52 a mile). But the fact that I went and finished gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

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There were some crazy fast people there! The first place winner clocked in at a mere 17:08! I can’t imagine running so fast!

There was a murderous, steep mountain hill (aptly named “Falls Hill”) that almost everyone walked up, including me. Most of the course was flat or small hills after that. This race also gave me a new record for my 1 mile time: 5:37 (I’m in disbelief).

There are a few things I’d wish I’d known before going in that would have really calmed my nerves.

1. You pin your bib to the front of your shirt, anywhere. This may seem like common sense to most, but I’d never run nor watched a race before and I thought maybe there was a specific spot on your shirt you had to pin it. Turns out, as long as it is visible you can pin it on your face for all they care.

2. You don’t start being timed until you cross the start line. So even though thirty people got a “head start” on you, you could actually run the same amount of time as them on the course. I found this out because a girl who was way ahead of me crossing the starting line ran just a few seconds shorter than me. If I had known this beforehand, I would have had a lot less stress during the race.

3. Bring your own post race snacks! I had been told there would be snacks and drinks provided. Turns out that was half a banana, a quarter of a half of a bagel (they broke the two sides apart and then cut them into quarters, making 8 pieces), and cheap, off brand bottled water (which gives me major headaches, and was also very warm). I was shocked by how little they provided! I understand that it is hard for them to provide for so many people, but even a whole banana would have been nice. But for the future, I know to bring my post-race food.

4. Crossing the finish line is addicting. After we got home, I immediately got online and began searching for more races.

Overall, it was an amazing experience, and one that I highly wish to repeat. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to convince someone to run one with me (nudge, nudge sister-in-Florida).

Happy Racing!

Have you ever run a race? Answer in the comments below!

I Made A Huge Running Mistake (And How You Can Avoid It)

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I made a huge mistake when I started running, and I am still paying for it.

Can anyone guess what it was? (Brace yourself, avid runners)

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I bought cheap shoes (the exact ones you see in the picture. Danskin Now running shoe, $15 at good ol’ Wal-Mart) .

I can see your look of horror and hear your shocked “Why?!”

I skimped on shoes because I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep running; up until last year, I absolutely hated running. Explaining why I started is a whole separate post, but the point is, I didn’t want to invest the money in running shoes if I wasn’t going to use them for more than a month. They’re just fancy tennis shoes anyway, right?

WRONG. Within two days of running, I had horribly painful shin splints, and runner’s knee on both sides. I couldn’t walk without excruciating pain shooting through my knees and legs. I sat on the couch, realizing that all the things I’d read about buying the right shoes was important stuff! You can’t start running unless you invest in the right shoe, or you will pay the price (a lesson I learned the hard way).

It was another month before I decided to try again. I scoured the internet trying to find the right shoe for me. I know that you are supposed to go in and get fitted, but honestly, I am just not a people person. Luckily, I came across Runner’s World’s shoe finder, which has you take a short quiz about your running style and then lists shoes that offer what you need. My top recommended shoe was Asics Cumulus Gel 13, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Next in line was the Gel 14, and then some Brooks shoes and a Nike shoe. All of them at least $90, but most well over $100, a long stretch for my single-income family.

Then, like an angel descended from above, Black Friday graced me with its presence. Almost every store had running shoes discounted, but Amazon offered almost all of their shoes at 50-60% off. Can’t beat that!

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I ended up buying the Asics Cumulus Gel 14 for $54.96 (now $80 on sale).

The next week, they arrived on my doorstep. I was so excited to try them out that I set everything out the night before to have a morning run. I laced up immediately after waking up, took a deep breath, and went running. The difference was instantly clear. I felt like I was on air, it was easier to keep a better pace, and I didn’t feel like running was a struggle. And afterwards, though my knees were a bit sore, they didn’t hurt like a million knives were jabbing into them. I decided to run again. And again. And again.

Actually, I’ve decided to never stop running.

I can still feel the effects of those painful first days of running though,. My knees still ache a bit,  especially on days I run. I can’t help feeling that if I’d just started out buying the right shoes I could have avoided that.

Shoes are such an important aspect in running. Really, they are they only aspect. You don’t need special running pants, or jacket, or headphones. Just shoes. They make such a huge difference in the sport, changing a firm running hater into someone who runs so much they run in their dreams.

If you ever tried running and didn’t like it, I beg you to try a different shoe. Or if you are considering running, get a good shoe to begin with! Running stores offer fittings to help you find the right shoe, or if you prefer you can do what I did and research different shoes on your own. But whatever you do, save yourself some trouble and don’t skimp. Make the investment. It is completely, 100% worth it (plus, it might encourage you to get your money’s worth by running more! win-win).

Happy running!

What is your favorite running shoe? Answer in the comments below!

5k’s and Heart Attacks

I’ve been running since last November. I have pushed myself, ran when it’s 10º outside, and cross trained like nobody’s business.

I decided that it was time to move forward.

Sooo….

I entered my first race. (So I wouldn’t have to sell my left arm, some dear family members chipped in on the entry fee. Thank you!)

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It’s just a 5k, a distance I can now run easily (at the moderate pace of a 10 minute mile), but I am nervous out the wazoo. I don’t expect to place, and I will be thankful just for crossing the finish line (not to say I don’t hope I get a 30 minute or less time anyway!).

It’s on  Sunday, February 23rd,  and the weather is supposed to be in the mid-thirties with wind and possibly freezing rain, conditions my sister-in-law that lives in Florida would have a heart attack at the thought of running in.

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Here’s to hoping I don’t have a heart attack myself.

Happy running!

Have you raced before? What was your first race like? Answer in the comments below!

My Frenemy, the Foam Roller.

As a runner, I often read and hear about the amazing wonders of the foam roller. I have heard that it cures aches, soreness, and pain. That it prevents injury and feels like a deep tissue massage. That it possesses magical powers which, when activated, can make you able to fly.

Okay maybe not that last one.

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There are so many people who swear by the use of foam rollers, especially runners. My left knee has been hurting so, last week, I broke down and bought one in hopes that it might help.

(With a sale, Christmas gift card and coupon code, I paid $6.26 instead of the retail $40! Yay!)

It just arrived today, and is a 36″ High Density j/fit foam roller.

Browsing through Pinterest, there are a ton of different ways to use this hunk of medical-grade foam. Since I had no idea how to use this thing, I decided to try this guide I found. It covers hip flexors, IT band, hamstrings, glutes, calves, upper back, lats, and chest.

Most people look up how to use things; not many people look up how NOT to use things. I think that this is a very important step that is skipped often, especially when it comes to health! The only warning I really found was not to use it on your lower back. Putting pressure on your lower spine could cause injury* (which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid by foam rolling in the first place.) If you have come across any other warnings, please leave it in the comments below!

So I’ve got a few exercises to do, and know how not to use it. Time to get down and dirty.

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OH. MY. WORD.

Whatever this thing is, it is NOT relaxing. I had read other people mentioning that it hurt, but seriously! Pain flared through me with every roll. I sounded like a dying elephant. I kid you not. So for those of you who are wanting to start foam rolling, be warned! It HURTS.

However, it’s been a little while since I’ve rolled now, and my whole body feels so much better. I didn’t even realize how tense I was before. So maybe the 10 minutes or so of pain was worth it.

I have a five mile run this afternoon. Here’s to hoping that my knee hurts less.

Happy rolling!

Do you foam roll? Answer in the comments below!

 

(You can find more resources here and here.)

*I am not a doctor or anything medically related. This is based on research that I’ve done, and should not be consider a Professional’s opinion.

In the Beginning…

Hello there!
If you haven’t already done so, go to my About Me! page to learn who I am.

Now, down to business. I have a passion for being a housewife. I want to do the best I can in taking care of my family and myself while spending the least amount of money possible. I believe that you can have a healthy lifestyle, money in your pocket, and family bliss. Some people may see this as a far stretch, but with a little creativity and drive it is easily within your grasp.

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Over the past few years being married and having children, I have learned so many ways to save money. I coupon. I cook at home. I don’t buy things we don’t need. I have found ways to cut back our electricity bill, our internet bill, and our grocery bill. I want to share this knowledge with you!

While saving money, I’m still able to feed my family healthy, nutritious dinners. My oldest is 3 and I am doing preschool here at home with her. I plan to continue to home school her all the way to graduation. I do my best to keep my house clean and organized so it is a relaxing place for my husband to come home to. I run. I stay healthy and fit. I teach my children to move their bodies and be active. I can help you do all these too (if you want (: ).

I want you to be involved too! If you have any questions, comments, critiques, suggestions, or compliments head on over to my Contact Me page! I’ll do my best to respond to every message I see. You can also post comments on posts. Feel free to share anything from my blog, but please give credit and link it back to me!

Happy reading!