Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Trail Running...At Night!

I did the unthinkable tonight. Something I swore that I would never do. I ran the trail...wait for it...in the dark! Sure, sure. This may not sound intense, but it was truly an experience that was unlike any other.

I've run at night before. I've run trail before. I've not done both at the same time. I always thought it was dangerous. I assumed the worst would happen. What if I fell and seriously hurt myself? What if some nut tried to attack me? What if there was a bear!? Then I got to thinking. I am going to have to do this eventually. After all, I signed up for the American Odyssey Relay Race in May and there are trails that will have to be run in the dark!

So after a slow day at work and a mix up in running plans, I decided to take a chance. I grabbed two head lamps, a pocket knife, and my iPod, then made my way to the trail. It was deserted, but I wasn't surprised. I can't remember anyone ever saying that they enjoyed taking a stroll on the trail after sunset. I would have rather it be empty anyway. Having someone come up on me or vice versa may have increased my panic (Are they a murderer? Are they going to attack me?).

Once I started running, my fear faded. I thought "This isn't so bad! I've got this!" It wasn't until about a half mile in that my fear slowly returned. I was surrounded by trees on both sides. All the nearby homes were far behind me. The trail suddenly appeared darker than it was before. My head lamp provided decent light, but I was having a difficult time adjusting to only seeing 10 feet in front of me. At times, I had a hard time seeing if I were on the trail or veering off to the right of it. A trail I've run hundreds of times was suddenly a stranger to me.

About a mile and a half in, paranoia settled in. First, my heart began to race because I could hear music that was not coming from my iPod. I soon realized it was coming from my cell phone. By the way, my phone's ring tone is the Ghost House theme from Super Mario Bros. Not exactly the most comforting tune you want to hear on a dark trail by yourself.

The deeper I got into the woods, the more I worried about my own well-being. I ran faster, but kept a sharp eye for any objects I could have tripped over. Eventually, I felt it was in my best interest that I turned around, sacrificing a mile. I didn't see any harm in cutting back since my adrenaline was pumping. But I thankfully made it back alive (obviously) with a strange appreciation for the fear I felt. It was...thrilling.

Though I accepted the challenge and was okay with trail running at night, I will NEVER do it again alone. One, I think my mom would kill me if she found out (I love how much she cares! :o]). Two, I don't think my heart can handle that much adrenaline pumping through it in a 30 minute run. I will make sure Peter joins me next time. As long as he is okay with joining. Otherwise, it's the roads for me!

I thought my experience was worth sharing as many of you may be curious to try trail running at night. I definitely think you should try it if it sparks your interest, but I would highly recommend the following:
  • Bring a headlamp or flashlight...or two. You may think a single flashlight may offer enough light, but I was extremely surprised at how difficult it was to see with just my headlamp alone. Thankfully, I had two.
  • Bring protection. Pepper spray, a pocket knife, etc. You never know who or what may be lurking around a dark corner. Be safe!
  • Have a cell phone. If you injure yourself, having the ability to call for help in a deserted area is important!
  • Tell someone where you are and how long you plan to be! If you aren't back by the time you have indicated, someone knows to come looking for you!
So be safe, have fun and run on!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

JFK 50 Miler 2014

I. Am. So. AMPED!

Yesterday, immediately after my 15 miler (which was sans iPod, by the way...it was dead), I reserved my spot at mile 38 on the JFK 50 route to watch the lead runners.

Mile 38 is the place to be! They have red velvet cake for the participants! How's that for service in an ultra marathon?

Anyway, I stuck around to see the first few runners make their way through and they looked pretty strong considering they had 38 miles behind them!

The young man in the video above, Jim Walmsley, is actually the one who took 1st in the race. He finished in 5:56:31. Epic!

Seeing these strong runners really inspired me. I have had a desire to run the JFK 50, but now, it has become a need! This past year, the reality of running the ultra hit when they changed the women's class C qualifying marathon time to 5:00 or better. Before, it was 4:45 (my best marathon is 4:47). Though they may change it back to 4:45, I will do anything to run it in 2015. That means I may do this for charity. That would not only allow me raise money for a good cause, but it would give me a 5 AM start, giving me 14 hours to finish the entire race (I may need this). If that's the case, who would help me raise the money to get me in!? ;-)

Anyway, after my runner's high just watching the race participants, while also losing sleep thinking about my first ultra, I had a bit of a rough run today. Peter and I went out for an 8 miler in the canal. Which, by the way, Peter ran his first 10 miler just last week! He is now in the double digits and well on his way to half-marathon status!!! But to get back on topic, our 8 miler was pretty quiet. Typically, we I have a lot to say. Today, I was pretty breathless. I think I was just still reeling from my 15 miler, but it wasn't too bad.

I still have the intention of running on both Monday and Tuesday, despite my sour run today. They are calling for snow on Wednesday, which I will try to avoid at all costs. I am not a snow fan, but am still prepping for future storms. I need to buy a few items that will help make it tolerable.

Anyway, as much as I would like to blog more, I will hold back for another update this week! I am prepping some great articles about both fat & snow. It is way better than what it sounds! Trust me! You'll see!

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Back!!!

Good evening and happy Friday!!! I know that more than half of you are out doing bigger and better things than reading my blog, but I thought I would actually post something!!!

I wasn't going to "officially" return until I completely revamped the page, but I have been extremely busy and haven't had the change to utilize my Photoshop skills. That aspect of the site may take a little longer than I thought! So again, BIG changes are coming...but it may be a month (or a few).

So...what has freckles been up to exactly? Well, I started to get a bit crafty! I did inform you before that I started creating those "Save the Date" running bibs. Well, I have had a few of those orders come through, which has been super exciting!

Here are just two examples of those I completed...

I also started dabbling outside of this, and began making wreaths with leftover burlap from my wedding.

I have been quite successful with it and have made several wreaths so far. I have more to start/finish this weekend! I was thinking about making a running themed wreath.Stay tuned! :o)

Aside from the crafting, I HAVE been running. I took a week off earlier this month due to the time change and honestly, I was just exhausted from running! I knew if I kept it up, I would be injured in no time. Once I returned, I have been forced into night running. After work, there is minimal daylight, so it's back to reflective vests and headlamps. This time, I have Peter running in the dark with me! We complain together. It's been pretty dang cold!!!

I've been trying to ramp up my mileage on the weekends just for fun. I don't have any planned marathons or half marathon races until 2015. But I wanted to increase my distances like I were training for a marathon. There just may be a race that would tickle my fancy in the spring.

Tomorrow, I intend on doing a 15 miler while the JFK 50 festivities are going down. I'll be starting at mile 38 on the JFK route and continue down the canal for 7.5 miles. I hope to be back in time to see the first runners come through around 11. It's extremely motivating watching those elite runners! I still intend on participating next year, letting this race be considered my first official ultra.

Anyway, there are more updates to come! I have much to talk about and more adventures to take!!!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Be Prepared!

I'm coming back!!! I cannot wait to resume blogging to tell you all about the changes that are going on in my life! And BIG changes will be coming to the website! Be prepared!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Living the Married Life

Happy Friday, my friends! I am enjoying married life right now and promise to be back soon! But for now, I want to dedicate some time with my husband! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

He Put A Ring On It

So I got married yesterday!

I don't have many pictures yet. But I will leave you with these...for now!


More later!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Targeting the "Gluten-Free Fad" & Bridal Body Slim Down: Day 4

There has been an article circulating via Facebook about gluten sensitivities.

If I could be frank, I am a bit offended. I have never claimed to be gluten intolerant, nor have I diagnosed myself with celiac disease, but I feel that I have been targeted (not personally, obviously) just for participating in this "fad-diet."

In fact, I do not consider my decision to be GF a "fad" or a "diet." It has become much more than that. Though I have seen differences in my body, like reduced bloating, I think it stems from being more aware of what I am eating rather than resorting to a quick-fix. I have been forced to become more creative. I no longer resort to a sandwich every night or go out to pick up a meal from Sheetz. Instead, I have been cooking or baking my meals. I have been taking in more fruits, vegetables, and protein. I haven't been able to just fill up on bread and forget about other valuable nutrients that my body needs. 

There may be many in the world that are claiming to a gluten sensitivity that may not have one, that I will not deny. However, if a person cuts gluten, sees results, and decides to continue being gluten free, why condemn them for claiming a gluten sensitivity? Let them be naive. It's just annoying you than hurting you. 

For those that are "sick and tired" of hearing about people and their GF sensitivities, why not try it yourself? See if it makes a difference in how you eat and how your body feels/looks. You may be surprised!

Now, let me step off my soap box and talk about Day 4!

I have been waiting for a day of bloating. I have been used to the fluctuations for a good bit of my life and had it down to a schedule. I used to believe my bloating was due to my menstruation cycle. I still believe it was due to the boating's timeliness; however, I do think that your cycle can be impacted by how you eat. Since I have cleaned things up, the bloating is not as prominent as it was! Negligible even. Typically, I would be experiencing some massive bloating around this time in my cycle *knock on wood*, but it has yet to make an appearance!

I have cut cheese on top of artificial sugar. I have not had it in 2 days and am not stressing it! Reducing my dairy intake was strictly to make sure I would not become constipated before my wedding. The last thing you want is feeling backed up when walking down the aisle!

Here was today's food intake:

Breakfast: GF Chex with Almond Milk
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Chili with GF bread for dipping. Green beans on the side.
Snack: Banana, Peanut Butter
Dinner: Turkey Sandwich (GF Bread, Onions, Green Peppers, Slice of Avocado, Turkey, Spinach) with GF Roasted Pepper Tomato Soup 

I ALMOST skipped my workouts this evening. I was completely exhausted after work, but after digesting my dinner, I felt great! I did a 5 mile road run and finished in about 43 minutes! I felt so energized when I got home that I did 100 squats, 100 calf raises, and 100 push ups! I am definitely glad that I changed my mind! :)
I am READY! Just one more day of work to go! :)
 Do you think gluten sensitivities are real? Or is it just a fad?
What causes you to bloat?