Welcome To The Streaking Runner!

Judy Mick, The Streaking RunnerHi!  My name is Judy Mick, also known as The Streaking Runner.  More about my name later!  I am passionate about running and helping runners to stay runners for life.  So many runners start a running program and quit for some reason or another – I want to help them get started correctly and keep running for life!

Throughout the years I’ve run numerous races at all distances.  As I’ve grown older, though, I find myself running the longer distances – marathons and half-marathons.  And, I always plan a race in Florida during January or February to get out of the cold!

I started running in college (around 1978) to basically try to stay in shape (you know, beer and pizza at all hours).  There was also a secondary reason.  My best friend and roommate was trying to catch the eye of a member of the cross country team.  Well, it worked on all counts, she married the runner and I’m still running!

My main claim to fame is that I have not missed a day of running since November 20 1985!   Thus the name:  The Streaking Runner.  I absolutely love running and I know that it has kept me healthy all these years – and probably more sane!

In this blog, we’ll be talking about many different aspects of running – from staying overall fit, proper clothes, shoes, fun races, continuing to run as you get older, etc.  In addition to tips, many of the things that you will find here are stories from my running life. Feel free to comment to let me know anything you’d like to see.

I’m also a firm believer in positive attitude and motivation.  Positive attitude can make all the difference in all area of life – including running!

If you’re a Facebook or Twitter user, I’d love for you to connect with me there!  Just click on the link to get to my Facebook Fan Page (and please “like” me while you’re there) and to follow me on Twitter!  I’d love to keep in touch!

I also am a published author on Amazon.  You can view my author page at: http://judyruns.com/authorpage

Another thing that I’m extremely excited about is that I’m an RRCA Certified Running Coach.  I want to help new runners get started correctly and help them to achieve their goals.

You can also email me at:  judy@thestreakingrunner.com

Run Happy!

 

Do You Have Running Dreams?

Running dreamsLast night I had one of my running dreams.  I have a couple of different dreams that I have regarding running – but, this one was different.

As usual, I was at a road race.  I had picked up my race packet earlier and had my race number.  But, then at the race start – they said that everyone would have to get the newly printed bibs or be disqualified.

Needless to day, there was a long line.  Start time was getting close and I had just picked up my new number.  I had on running shoes and decided that I could just wear what I had on. What I kept fixating on in the dream was that I had on a regular bra and white footies with my shoes.

The gun went off while I was deciding whether or not to change socks – so, I took off after the runners.  However, I was still carrying my purse and a book that I was reading.  I know, weird! Luckily, that’s when I woke up!

This dream was a new one for me.  The other dreams I have recurring happen every month or so.  In one of the dreams, I’m buck naked running a race.  I don’t know why.  I just am.

The other dream is that I’m running up a hill so steep that I have to use my hands to help propel me up the hill.  It’s like I’m crawling up the hill on all fours.  This is the one that I seem to have the most.

I’m not sure what these dreams mean – nor do I really want to know.

How about you?  Do you ever have running dreams?

Running Does Help Your Brain

running and brain powerI’ve been conducting a little experiment over the last couple of weeks.  It’s been a study on myself – involving brain power and running.

Now, you always hear runners (myself included) when they talk about the benefits of running about how running helps your brain. There are many studies that support this.  All you have to do is google “running helps brain” and you’ll find over 70 million results.  Feel free to read them all!  :-)

As I am getting on toward the end of my 50’s – overall health is big on my mind.  By running every day, doing weights and core work, etc. – I know that I have the physical part pretty well covered.  Keeping my brain sharp (well, still functioning at least) is important.

I downloaded an app for my phone that gives me 3 daily tests. It’s a free version and if I wanted I could have more tests daily I could get the paid version – but, this works for me so far.

Anyway, the tests range from math, remembering what you heard, speed reading and comprehending, words, etc.  After each little test, they tell you what your score was and how it compares with your previous tests of the same section from high score to 5th best, 6th best, etc.

I do these tests in the morning – but been mixing it up.  Sometimes before I run, sometimes after. Here is what I’ve found.  My tests before I run are decent.  Tests after a run are better. But, my best scores are after I’ve run for a longer period of time.

I know that there is really nothing scientific about my testing – but, I found it interesting that the results were definitely higher after a long run.

It’s nice to know that my running is actually helping my brain in addition to my physical health!

You CAN Learn To Love The Treadmill!

Treadmill RunningYes, I know – there are so many people who hate the treadmill.  I know from a few groups that I’m on in Facebook that most people call it the “dreadmill”.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  You can learn to love it!

I will admit – I felt like that the first time I got a treadmill.  Before the mid-90’s – every run that I did was done outside.  A few days one year – I even ran when the temperature was 20 below zero.  Not with the wind chill – that was the actual temperature.  Of course, I was much younger then!

For several months, my hubby had to travel out of town for work.  He would leave on Monday and be back home on Friday.  He was afraid for me running during the winter months.  Not necessarily the darkness – but, the icy roads.  I thought he was crazy (we runners think we invincible, don’t we), but, I broke down and bought one.

It was NOT a happy place for me at first.  In fact (and don’t tell hubby), many icy days I still ran outside.  I just couldn’t bring myself to come inside.  But, one day I broke down and did my run for the day on the treadmill.

OK, that wasn’t too bad.  It was icy and dark and cold and I was running in a tank top and shorts.  Maybe this could work!

It was still many years before I came to love it, though.  And, I do have to admit – it came after I got into my 50’s!

I learned to be creative in my treadmill running when I had to bring my running indoors.  I wouldn’t just hop on and monotonously run – I always had a plan.  And, I still do.

I would do interval workouts on the treadmill.  These are great to do.  You have to keep at the speed that you want to do.  Or you could fall off!  Seriously, though. speed work is a great thing to do on the treadmill.

Another thing that I’ll do on the treadmill are hill repeats.  It’s hard to find the “perfect” hill at the “perfect” incline for repeats.  No problem on a treadmill.  Just know how much of an incline that you want and for how long you want to run it.  Easy peasy!

I’ve also learned to use a treadmill for a longer run or 2 when I’m training for a January/February Marathon or Half Marathon in Florida.  It’s a great way to get acclimated.  It’s difficult to do all of your long runs in 20 and 30 degrees and then head off to do a race at 70 degrees.

Doing this can also help you mentally be tough.  If you don’t think so – jump on a treadmill on run 15 miles on it and tell me that it doesn’t help mentally.  It sure does.

Treadmills are also your friend if you are nursing some little “glitch”.  Running on a softer surface (like that on a treadmill) will help. You don’t have the hard pounding like you do on the roads.  In fact, some treadmills now come so that you can make the running belt softer or harder.

They are also great if you are out of town on business.  You may not be familiar with the area you are staying in.  Or, it may be an area that you don’t want to run in – especially if you have to run early in the morning in the dark before meeting.  A hotel treadmill is great to have.

So, yes, I’ve learned to love the treadmill.  And, yes, I’ve worn out a couple of them.  But, even if I don’t run on it for months – I love knowing that it’s in my basement waiting for me.  In fact, I travel to my Mom’s every week for 2 or 3 days to take care of things for her.  I bought a treadmill to keep there, also.

If you’re one of those who hate the thoughts of running on the “dreadmill”.- learn to love it.  It can become on of your best friends!  I know that mine has!

Should I Run An Ultra?

Ultra MarathonThis is a question that I’ve been asking myself for the last 6 months or so.  For years now, I’ve had the idea that I want to run a 50 mile race. I’m not fast anymore – but, most days I feel that I can run farther.

I hadn’t done a full marathon for several years until I finished my last one in November.  It was my slowest time ever for a marathon.  I really didn’t care – I was happy to have that under my belt and actually felt pretty good afterwards.

I’ve even found the 50 miler that I want to do.  Y’all know if you follow me on Facebook that I am SO a warm weather runner.  My ultimate goal is to live in Florida.  I always make sure that I do a half-marathon or marathon in Florida during the winter.  Luckily, my hubby humors me!  :-)

Sometime during last year – I read about the Keys 100.  Now, I know that I really don’t want to do 100 miles – but, they also have a 50 mile race at the same time.  The 100 miler starts at Key Largo and the 50 miler starts on Marathon Key (how cool is that!).  Both races finish in Key West – one of my absolute favorite places!  So, I figured that this would be the perfect 50 mile race for me!

(This year, they even plan on adding a 50K race)

Anyway, I told everyone that I was going to do this in 2016.  Ya know – tell everyone to hold you accountable!

I’d love to do a 50K race sometime in 2015 – but, I’m having a hard one fitting my criteria.  I’d like to find one during April through August somewhere in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina or Tennessee.  And, not a trail run.  I am definitely not a trail runner.  In case you missed my post on my trail run – get a laugh and read about it here – http://www.thestreakingrunner.com/thinking/

I’m still looking.  By the way – if you know of any – please let me know in the comment section.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago – Hubby and I were coming back from our annual Florida trip.  I casually mentioned the 50 miler as we were coming up through Marathon Key.  He said that he is really not that excited for me to do an ultra.  I asked him why he felt that way – he is usually SO supportive of anything that I do or want to do.

Most spouses would have answered that they didn’t want me to spend the time away that training for an ultra would entail.  Not mine.  His answer was, “I’m just afraid that something will happen and I don’t want you to mess up your streak!”.

Ya gotta love it!

So, now I am rethinking it.  Do I want to do a 50 miler?  I think I still do.  Should I do a 50K and be content with that?  I think that I could be.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Why You Should Plan A Destination Race!

Destination racingI’ll admit it – I am a destination race junkie!  I would much rather run a race out of town and make a little mini vacation out of it.  These little mini vacations are planned several times during the year. Luckily, my hubby supports my little habit and is happy to go to support me.  Of course, it’s a little time away from work for him, also.  (And, he knows that I would probably go anyway – it’s the only child independence in me!)

Destination races are a great way to stay motivated with your running.  If you have problems wanting to go out and train in the winter – plan a marathon or half marathon in January or February in a warmer climate.  This keeps you running through the winter – and also helps keep you in shape during the holidays.  (You can justify that extra helping of mashed potatoes at Christmas dinner if you just ran a 15 miler!)

I always plan a race in Florida in January or February.  I hate the cold weather – and this assures me that I’ll get out of town during the winter.  At least for a week or so!

Taking little mini vacation destination races are also a great way to keep your family involved with your running.  I know that I am extremely lucky that my hubby is a super supporter of my running. But, I know that there are some runners whose spouses and families are not.  Planning a little vacation with the family around your running event can help.  They’re excited to be getting out of town – and will support your time away for training since they know that they are getting something out of it, too!

Now there are major destination races that you hear people running.  These can be races in places such as Europe, Australia, etc.  And, some will travel across the country.  But, you don’t have to travel that far to do a destination race.

You can plan something a few hours away from where you live.  Do a little investigating.  You may be surprised with what you find.  Personally, I’m a beach lover.  Last year I planned long week-end getaways in Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks.  4 or 5 hours away is just perfect!

Do something fun this year.  Plan a little long week-end race getaway for you and your family. You may even become addicted like I am!

A Yummy And Easy Running Recovery Drink

Running Recovery DrinkRunners know that they need to replenish after their runs – and especially after their longer runs. You need to get your carbs, protein and potassium in your body.  You can do all kinds of expensive and complicated concoctions to accomplish this – but, I believe in simple.

I found a smoothie in a book and wrote it down and thought that I may try it sometime.  You know how that goes………the magic “sometime”.   But, as I was training for my marathon last fall – I decided to try it after my long runs.  And, I loved it!  I don’t know if it really helped with recovery or not – but, in my mind I was doing a good thing.  So, of course, we’ll say that it works!

Now, I have it most every day after my runs.  I don’t eat anything before I head out in the mornings since I run so early – except on the long runs days when I’ll have my PowerBar.  So, this is a nice breakfast when I get in.

I wanted to share it with you.  It’s pretty simple and easy to do.  And, it tastes good.  So, if you are a smoothie drinker or not – I’d like for you to try it and let me know what you think!

 

Running Recovery Shake

1 cup chocolate milk

1 cup whey protein powder

1 banana

Crushed ice

Blend on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

 

That’s it!  And, it has ingredients in it good for runners.  Chocolate milk has been touted as a good recovery drink.  A study was conducted with athletes drinking chocolate milk, Gatorade and Endurox.  Results of this study suggested that chocolate milk out-performed the Endurox in measures of time to exhaustion and total work.  It was thus concluded that chocolate milk is just as effective, if not more effective, of a recovery drink than specialty sports beverages with an identical nutrition profile.

And, bananas – we all know that they are good for runners.  Bananas are a great source of potassium. This is the main reason for runners to eat them. You lose potassium by sweating during your runs. This potassium loss can cause an imbalance in the minerals of your body – which in turn can cause muscle cramping. Eating bananas after your runs can help restore your potassium and combat the possible cramping.

Bananas are also full of carbohydrates. And, we know that runners need carbohydrates for energy to keep fueled for their runs. This is especially important for those longer runs.

So, why go expensive and complicated with your recovery drink.  You can find bananas, whey protein powder and chocolate milk right in your grocery store.  Simple works for me!

 

 

 

2014 – My Running Year In Review

27979357_sAs far as I’m concerned every year that I’m still running (36 years total and 29 years straight days) is a great year!  But, as I look back on this year – it was an extremely good year.  And, I’m really looking forward to an even better year in 2015!

January started out great with a trip to Florida to run the Key West Half Marathon.  I’m so lucky that my hubby indulges me on these little mini vacations that I plan around races.  (Of course, I think that he’s just as happy to be out of the cold for the winter like I am!).

The race went fairly well – not my fastest time by a long shot.  However, it was a pretty cold and icy winter and I did the majority of my long runs on the treadmill.  In a way, though, it does help.  If you run all of your runs in the cold – you are SO not acclimated for a warm weather race.  (Link to my post about this race and our mini vacay – http://www.thestreakingrunner.com/key-west-half-marathon-fun-race/ )

May brought about another Half Marathon in Greensboro, North Carolina.  It was a first time race (Race 13.1) and was nicely done.  The course was a little hilly – but, it was a nice race.

Also, in May I decided that I was not a trail runner.  My hubby and I had taken my Mom on a road trip to a new casino in the town where she grew up.  She also got to visit relatives and it was a nice trip. The resort is beautiful and has a lake with a trail that goes around it.  I figured, Why Not?  Well, please read this post to see how that went!  http://www.thestreakingrunner.com/thinking/

In June, I decided to do a 5K that was close to my home town in West Virginia.  It was at The Greenbrier and ran along the grounds.  Not a very organized race – but, the scenery was nice. I really hadn’t done a 5K in a few years.  As I’m getting older – I like to run longer distances more.  5K’s can make you hurt!  :-)

I also decided this year that I was going to get back to marathon running.  For the last several years, I was not able to put in the time needed to train.  I was helping to take care of my Dad before he passed away – and then, taking care of my Mom.  But, we got Mom’s medical issues under control – and, even though I travel to her house for a couple of days a week – I was able to get back to some of my old training ways.

And, I feel so good to be back!  It’s so hard when you’ve been running so many miles a week for years to drastically have to cut back.  Especially when it’s not due to injury.

Some days due to having to go into our restaurant – I started my long runs about 4:30 – 5:00. Luckily, we live in a neighborhood when I can get about 5 miles in before I have to go out on the main roads. I’m a morning runner, anyway, so an hour or so earlier really didn’t matter.

Of course, I planned a little mini vacation to the Outer Banks for the marathon in November.  The weather was perfect – and I was so happy to have a marathon under my belt again.  This was a really nice race – and I plan on being back next year.  (Here’s the link to the post about this race http://www.thestreakingrunner.com/outer-banks-marathon-race-recap/ )

In December, I ran the Surf-n-Santa 5 miler in Virginia Beach.  (Do you see a running theme with most of the races that run?).  This race was previously a 10 miler run during the day – but, this year was changed to a 5 miler and a portion of the race came down the boardwalk under their Christmas lights.  This race was a lot of fun – and I had a fairly decent time.  Another nice week-end!  (Here’s the link http://www.thestreakingrunner.com/surf-n-santa-always-fun-festive-race/ )

I’m going to finish up 2014 with more mileage than I’ve done in the past 4 or 5 years – and I couldn’t be happier.  Next year, I plan on getting back up to my usual yearly mileage.  It’s funny, but even with being older, my body feels better running the higher weekly miles.

Also, in 2015, I’m hoping to find a 50K to run.  Don’t worry – I’m trying to find one that is mostly roads. Just can’t handle some of the trails that I hear about!  I’m a klutz – and I don’t need tree roots popping up everywhere!  :-)

In 2015, I plan on also running several half marathons and at least the Outer Banks Marathon again.

Then, in 2016, my plan is to run my first 50 miler.  And, of course, it’s in Florida – from Marathon to Key West.  I think it will be fun!

How about you?  How was your year?  Do you have your goals set for the New Year?

Surf-n-Santa – Always A Fun and Festive Race

Surf n SantaLast Saturday evening I ran a race in Virginia Beach that I’ve participated in for several years now. The Surf-n-Santa 5 miler.  In the past, it was a 10 miler and held earlier in the month of December.  This year, it was cut back to a 5 miler and also moved to 4:30 in the afternoon.  I wasn’t sure how it would go – being the morning runner that I am.

The reason for the change of time was to allow the runners to run under the lights on the boardwalk. The Christmas lights at Virginia Beach are great!  They have them across the boardwalk and at different areas on the beach.  It really is fun to look at.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m also not a fan of shorter races.  These days – I usually run 10-milers up. But, I love running at Virginia Beach, I love the lights on the boardwalk and J&A Racing (who puts on this race) puts on great events.

Lights at Virginia Beach

 

Saturday was also my hubby’s birthday – so, we decided to take a long week-end (Thursday through Sunday) for the race and to celebrate.

I will admit – it was kind of weird not getting up and running Saturday morning.  I always run in the mornings – not matter what.  But, stayed in bed a little, had a nice breakfast and then just took it easy until packet pick up.

Packet pick up was at noon – so, we decided to go there and then to lunch afterward.  I had already decided that I wanted pizza for lunch.  Ya know – carbo loading.  Went to a nice pizza place and ordered.  Bob and I love pizza with pepperoni and jalapenos.  He asked if I was sure that I wanted the jalapenos since I was running in a few hours.  Sure – I said!  And, boy, was that pizza good!

Finished eating and then back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the race.  I had been watching the weather for the last 2 weeks and laughed at how it changed.  It was 80% chance of rain, then 60%, then 50% and then the day before the race – it was down to 0%.

But, it was 39 degrees – and not being in the morning – wasn’t sure what to go with.  But, the wind was pretty non-existent (especially for the beach), so I went wit a light weight pair of tights and a base layer with a short sleeve (my Christmas racing reindeer) shirt over it.

10492402_10205134110173549_2762593035008479339_n

Ended up being perfect!  Felt comfortable the whole way.  Well, I did have my gloves on – if it’s below 50, you’ll find me in gloves!  :-)

The race started on time and we were away.  I ran at a comfortable pace pretty much the whole way and actually surprised myself when we got to the first mile marker.  I hadn’t run that fast for quite a while.  Not as fast as I used to be – but, still happy!

We did see a funny thing as we were going down the boardwalk.  Looked over and there were 2 horses being ridden on the beach.  Of all the times that I’ve been to Virginia Beach – I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyone riding horses before.

The run was pretty neat under the lights – even though it was just beginning to get dark.  Also, so many people were dressed in costumes that it really made for a festive affair.

The race finishes up at the Convention Center.  You run around the back and then up a ramp to the inside and the finish line.  It really is a nice finish.

The finisher’s medal was pretty cool.  Lighter weight than most medals and they tied an extra ribbon on it so that you can hang it as an ornament on your tree.  I think it’s a pretty good idea.

medal

They do have a fun party afterward – but, since it was Bob’s birthday, I hurried to change clothes so we could go get something to eat.  He’s great support – and a super “stuff holder” ; but, I did want to celebrate him on his birthday!

We went to a nice Mexican restaurant (Cactus Jack’s).  I highly recommend it if you are ever in Virginia Beach.  Oh, yeah…….get the Queso.  It’s excellent!  They make it with Pablanos and Tequila!

When I got back to the room, I took a look at my splits.  My last mile was the fastest that I’ve run in ……….well, we won’t go into that.  But, I was definitely pleased!  I told Bob that I guess I was going to have to start getting up at 2 in the morning from now on to eat pizza with jalapenos before a race!

 

 

The One Time I Like Evening Runs

Christmas LightsI am a morning running – plain and simple.  I love getting out early in the mornings for my run.  It makes for a great start to my day.  I ran for years in the evening – but, once I turned myself on to morning running about 10 years ago……………

However, there is one time of the year that I will run once or twice in the evenings – Christmas!

I love getting my Christmas songs queued up on my ipod and head out the door as it starts getting dark.  And, do you know what gets me out the door – Christmas lights!  I’ve always loved looking at Christmas lights.  When I was little, my parents and I would drive around different neighborhoods looking at the decorations.  We’d listen to carols on the radio and my Mom and I would sing as we drove around.  It’s such a great memory.

And, as I got older and married – I make my poor hubby take me around at least one night, also.  I still love to look at the lights.  And, I’ll admit – the more lights and the tackier, the better!

But, a few nights, I like to lace up and run to see the lights.  I can run several miles around the surrounding neighborhoods and never have to get on the main road.  I love these runs!  I can take my time looking at the lights.

On those crisp, clear nights – there is nothing better than running around looking at lights while listening to the sounds of the holidays!

If you’ve never tried this – I highly recommend it.  Just be sure to run safely – wear your reflective gear and keep your music low so that you can hear traffic.  Be safe – run smart – and enjoy the run!

Beating The Post Marathon Depression Blues

Post Marathon BluesRunning and finishing a marathon is a great accomplishment!  You’ve trained for months, you had a goal and made it happen!  What a feeling!

But, then…..after the initial euphoria – you start to feel really down.  Many marathon finishers feel this way.  After their marathon is over – they get depressed.  This is normal.  Your training and the big day took up a large part of your life for several months.  And, now you feel a little lost.  This is know as post marathon depression.

However, you can get out of this funk!  Here are some tips to help.

First of all, if the reason you are feeling down is because you feel that you didn’t do as well as you thought – take a little time to go over the race again in your head.  Try to think Continue reading