Running makes me look crazy

…let me count the ways.

I’ve realized that in living with two people who aren’t fellow runners that the things I do look certifiably insane to them. I knew this existed when living alone, but it was easier to ignore. My students, along with others, point things out too.

Student: “What is that on your desk?”

Me: “A foam roller, of course.”

Roommate: “Kerry, are you hiding a small dog in your room?”

Me: “No, my petco balls are for massaging my muscles.”

Roommate: “Aren’t those socks for older people who have bad circulation?”

Me: “Yes, and for runners.”

Roommate: “Kerry, why are you taking a picture at the gym?”

Me: “For the blog.”

Me: “Let me show you how to use the dog toys.”

Roommate #1: “Why did you bring ice home?” [10 minutes later…]

Roommate #2: “Kerry, you are sitting in ice.”

Roommate: “Kerry, that looked like it hurts.”

Me: “A little, but it feels better after the sports med massage.”

Roommate: “Why are you running in the relay?”

Me: “For donuts”

[Disclaimer: will run for donuts. and ramen. and pretty much any type of sweet or salty food. ]

Roommate: “Where did you get the waterbottle?”

Me: “At lululemon. I got it for running 50 miles with them.”

Roommate: “I would have just bought it.”

Me: “I get a shirt at 100 miles.”

Roommate: “Who did you run with today? Lululemon? Running group? Maddy?”

Me: “Friends from the blog, internet, and twitter…” [ i ❤ them all]

My roommates are great for putting up with me. There are many more. I will post more in a series.

Tell me: What do you do that makes you look a little “off” to others, but is acceptable to the running community?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Week 11: San Francisco Half Marathon

Monday – Strength Training

Last week I wrote a post about trying to incorporate more balance into my routine. I realized the current routine I found myself in was just building each week on either weights or repetitions – and for some that is where they are at – but for me, there are a couple key muscle imbalances in which trying to lift heavier weights might prove more harmful then good.

So I scaled back and am breaking up my strength training to be about half core/stability/flexibility and the other half resistance training. Monday was my first go at it! I am going to save the details of that workout for the future post I have in mind.

Tuesday – 7.0 tempo run, 9:17 min/mile

I had planned a 1 easy, 2 tempo, 1 easy, 2 tempo, 1 easy workout. I went to the gym after work and executed it on the treadmill! I dialed in and just punched in numbers, and for after a day of work this was the best way for me to get the workout in. I increased the pace for the tempo to a slightly faster pace than I would aim for on the road since we know the treadmill is easier. My easy was 10 min/mile and the tempo was at a 8:57 min/mile. I am pretty proud of the workout.

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Strength Training

Friday – 1 mile warm up, 3 x 2000 m, 400 RI, 1 mile cool down, ~ 6 mile 9:50 min/mile pace

I also went to the treadmill for this interval workout. This one was tough! My intervals were at 8:30 min/mile and although I tried my best to space out my key workouts, I could feel a little bit of Tuesday in my legs. Either way, I got it done and revealed in the fact that 2 of the 3 key workouts for the week went pretty well.

Saturday – Strength Training

Sunday – 10 mile, Point Isabel, 10:12 min/mile

I met up with my running group and it was the first Sunday in a while where I was free to meet with them! I was accompanied by another woman  for the first 5 miles and we finished those at 10 min/mile, then heading back we hit the wind and my pace slowed a bit. The plan called for 20 sec slower than anticipated half marathon pace.

In an ideal world, I would have that calculated. But since I haven’t raced in over a year, I am using an older race time so I am unsure as to what my body will end up doing come San Francisco Half. So far, I feel healthy and ready for the race and there are still a few weeks left!!

Total miles: 23

Strength training : 3x

Week 12 Preview

  • Q1: 5 miles @ mid-tempo
  • Q2: 2 x 3200, 400 RI
  • Q3: 12 miles @ HMP + 20 seconds
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Moving in the right direction

“Apprenticeship Personal Trainer”.

It consists of 8 Saturdays of hands-on learning of personal training techniques, the ability to work under a master trainer and train clients, and at the end of the 8 weeks take your NASM – National Academy of Sports Medicine – certified personal training exam. The gym holding the training hires a small amount of their trainees, but will offer a letter of recommendation if you successfully complete the program.

That is how I have been spending a fraction of my Saturdays since the beginning of June.

My mind is overloaded with all things training in the past month. And it’s been awesome.

Simply, it reaffirms all that I was wondering when I was in the process of making decisions a few months ago up until I began taking the class [and working my job]. And that affirmation is that I am moving in the right direction.

Do I expect to become a personal trainer as a lifelong profession? Well, I hope to use it as a component of what I want to do. The reality is that there is a large fraction of people who need the advice that a physical therapist delivers, but for a ton of reasons do not have access to that advice or do not know how to (1) interpret or (2) apply that information.

It is a dream (but a slow shift to reality) to be a dispenser of that advice in whatever capacity I feel I can do so.

The dream: To keep others healthy, pain-free, and limit preventable disease. 

So, mid to late August I should be taking my NASM certification exam and with all the information I am gathering from my Physical Therapy Aide position,  *might* be able to start making that dream a reality sooner than I thought.

In other news, I officially activated my account to begin my physical therapy graduate school application! Yeah!!

In other other news, I nailed both key workouts this week and three strength training. I’ll recap on Sunday!

  • 7 mile tempo – 1 easy, 2 tempo, 1 easy, 2 tempo, 1 easy
  • 3 x 2000 intervals

I have two weeks to the GREs. Any advice would be appreciated for those who took it.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Something has to change

Last summer I didn’t run at all. As a new runner, I thought that’s what I was supposed to do when I was hurt. When I resumed training, the pain was still there. Imagine my dismay when I realized I didn’t maximize all that time off just to have that nagging pain follow me from June to September.

The phrase “Oh, I’ll just stay off of it for a few days” is all too familiar having been said by me and by fellow runners.

We’ve seen this cycle before.

  • Step 1: Runner feels an oncoming injury.
  • Step 2: Runner doubts oncoming injury. Continues running.
  • Step 3: Runner is stopped in their tracks mid-run, in pain. Runner stops running.
  • Step 4: Runner takes a few days off. Runner begins running two days later. Injury is still there.
  • Step 5: Runner takes a week or two off. Runner begins running again thinking injury is gone.
  • Step 6: Runner resumes training.

I’d hate to break it, but the reality is that if a pain stopped you mid-run, the chances are after a week of no running, the injury is hiding.

In an ideal world, rest is what the injury needed. Time for inflammation to settle, perhaps?

However, I am completely guilty of the next statement I will make.

We continue to do the same thing expecting different results.

Deciding to stretch and foam roll after a workout is only part of the solution.

I am going to take a stab at it here and say that most running injuries stem from muscular imbalances or form. Our muscles work harder and gain strength faster than their relative tendons, causing that tightness we all know and experience. Or the way we hold our bodies while running distributes impact unevenly, leading to these muscular imbalances.

It takes a lot out of me to write this post – because I made the SAME mistakes training cycle after training cycle, thinking that I was clever and on to something about how to prevent injuries.

My mind is continually taking in information about this as I am half way through my personal training certification class and am bombarded on a daily basis with physical therapy exercises.

We (I) have a difficult time admitting that our bodies aren’t perfect. 

The secret – Core strength, stability/balance and resistance training

Although it is not the same as our heart pumping cardio workout, we need to start with the inside out. Greaaaat. That’s exactly what runners like to do, right?

But, no foam rolling or stretching is going to make your muscles more stable. Yes, it signals relaxation and breaks up some knots, but it does little to help balance nor keep you stable.

Ever have an injury that “shifts”? We all know of the compensations that exist when we get hurt and sooner or later we have it relocating. Our bodies are connected and aligned so that action of one muscle influences the other.

So where to start? Time permitting, I want to make another video of exercises I’ve learned in my classes and at work to do wherever you can. I’ve been incorporating more balance (verdict: balance stinks. who knew?) exercises into my training and working on my form of seemingly simple exercises (verdict: form stinks.).

Keeps eyes peeled for a future post about what I’ve added to my routine.

Until then, balance on one leg. If that’s too easy, swing the mobile leg in front and to to the side. If that’s too easy, close your eyes. If that’s too easy, stand on a BOSU.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I’m still running!

I didn’t mean to skip my training reports for the past three weeks. Things have been busy, but that doesn’t mean that I let me training slip!

In fact, I’ve taken care of myself even better over the past three weeks of training. Here is proof!

I used an ultrasound to my calf during my lunch break. Rolling wasn’t working so the PT at work suggested this method. Worked like a charm 🙂

Three ice baths over the three weeks. I squish the bag of ice against my left hip on the ride home to get the process started.

I’ve also been able to meet up with some AMAZING runners in the area for a few meet-ups followed by coffee and food.

Iron Horse Trail in Danville. Such a pretty group!

Peet’s for some coffee and chitchat

Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park for a (hot) morning run throughout the park. 

Ran up Strawberry Hill for an amazing view of the city!

Ran by nonexistent Bison. I think this was the picture where I attempted to look speedy.Followed by RAMEN.

The past three weeks have brought 14 mile, 10 mile, and 15 (!!) mile long runs! The confidence for the distance is there and I am appreciative of running past the distance for more time on my feet!

I am still adjusting to my new work schedule so I can get back to somewhat of a routine. In that new routine will be some time for blogging 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments


If it isn’t obvious, my life is consumed by to-do lists. And yes, I am the type of person that writes something down just to cross it off. (What? Admit it.)

My planner has been my haven, especially over the past few months. I find that things calm down once I reassure that I’ve planned for it and use my time wisely.

However, I’ve never created a to-don’t list. Unlike a to-do list, this one will stay static and will be something that I want to work on for a continual basis.

Without further adieu, here is my to-don’t list. These are things that I know I struggle with and want to challenge.

  • Don’t doubt your potential.
  • Don’t check your phone when you are out with other people.
  • Don’t make plans you know you cannot keep.
  • Don’t forget to make your lunch.
  • Don’t walk into a grocery store with out a list.
  • Don’t slouch or hunch your shoulders.
  • Don’t check your phone while driving.
  • Don’t give up after the first two miles of a run.
  • Don’t worry about what others think.
  • Don’t forget that He has it under control.
  • Don’t feel pressured to always be doing something.
  • Don’t forget to stretch.
  • Don’t check your phone while in bed (C’mon. I know I’m not alone.)

This is only a start, but they are all things I know I need to work on. What are some of your to-don’ts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Keeping the end in mind

I admit that I like to see results right away. Who doesn’t? I work hard and the next day I want to see that change. Sometimes that’s what fuels me to move to continue that hard work.

However, recently, I’ve been exposed to more instances of delayed gratification and keeping the end result in mind than seeing the benefits right away. It can be overwhelming.

I can attribute this mentality to many things, but I cannot help but see this as a result of what my lifestyle looked like as being a teacher. With a consistent time crunch, it became habit to go for the route that was less time consuming rather than the one that would give lasting benefit. Yes, I got the job done, but I rarely took the time to invest in something longer whose benefits would appear months down the road.

I can think of a few current instances where I’ve been forced to really plan out what I TRULY want and how to get there. Instead, of seeking some quick fix, I’ve had to dig deep to identify what it is that I want. And that is hard!! Who wants to spend so much time working towards something, only to realize at the end that it really wasn’t what you wanted OR that what you were doing was inefficient??

This can be applied to so many circumstances in your life. For me, I’ve been hit hard with it in my career.

Since January, I’ve executed a long to-do list for applying to graduate school. I admit that I was so overwhelmed by the laundry list of things that needed to be accomplished in order to get where I needed to go. It was like setting up a training plan that lasted a year!

It is July.

So much has changed. I think about the hesitant person in December plugging away at the daily routine I had found myself in and how upset I was.

I have THREE more weeks to this madness before things settle down (slightly). I can do it. I’ve kept the end result at the forefront of my mind and I just need to stick with it.

Working at my new job has REFOCUSED me tremendously and everyone has been incredibly supportive.

I apologize for the disruption of posting until my GREs are done 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new chapter

You know the occasions and happenings in your life that you anticipate with so much excitement that you do not even know where to start to write about???

I am at that point.

Friday the 17th ended my time as a classroom teacher.

I started my new job the following Monday.

In an ideal world, I would have had a little break thrown in the middle, but due to how difficult it is to find a full-time benefitted job these days, I took what I could.

I am sure in the next few weeks I will write a very sentimental, Kerry-like post about teaching and how it has impacted me yadayadayada, but for now all I have to say is

“Holy crap. I’m free.”

It has not hit me yet that I no longer have crazy Sundays, dreams about forgetting things, or have to worry as much about getting to bed at a specific time.

[Side note: I appreciate all teachers. I respect them highly because they have a drive and are wired in a way for education that I admit am not.]

I feel like I came out of a tunnel that lasted three years and suddenly see life differently. There is no comparison.

In fact, I spent a few hours today meeting some amazing other runner/bloggers in the area. I am pretty sure I could not stop talking about my job. I took a breathe from talking about my job when we talked about running, of course.

Although my business is at an extreme between work, studying, and classes, there is a difference between being busy and being stressed out. Combine the two and I give you what was teaching for me.

For example, I will spend the rest of my afternoon studying for the GRE. While we all grimace at the thought of that, I shrug my shoulders and do what I have to do. At least it isn’t grading or planning.

I will have a summary post of my last two weeks of training for SF Half, but I wanted to check in and say that I LOVE MY NEW JOB!

I am a Physical Therapy Aide at a Sport and Spine Physical Therapy office in Marin (reverse commute for those whose eyes lit up). What that entails is performing some treatments authorized by the physical therapist such as Electric Stimulation, Ultrasounds, and Traction. As I learn the ropes more, I will be able to assist with the exercise programs that the patients are prescribed. For each patient, I am learning their situation and the treatment the physical therapist is following. For someone who is enthralled by all of this information, I am picking up new information and making connections all day. Plus, I get to wear sneakers all day and am surrounded by all these devices to stretch and relax muscles 🙂

I foresee more posts surrounding my job and information that everyone, not only runners/athletes, can use to relieve pain! I am so excited to write about this new chapter of my life and all the things I can share with you.

Apologies for rambling – I am just so happy and have lots to say! How is everyone doing? Hope all’s well.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

14 miles

Each week I enter a long run as if I am going into battle.

Usually the long run wins the battle and I feel like crap.

But from my little knowledge of history, I’ve been told it is all about the outcome of the war.

Although the figurative war will not be for a couple weeks for San Francisco Half Marathon, I feel that I finally won a battle and have gathered some momentum.

I set off on Sunday for my longest run in about 2 years. 14 miles. I finished them at my target pace for a long run – 10:15 min/mile (dailymile typo before) which is about 30 seconds slower than what I am aiming to do.

During previous half marathon training, I never pushed this distance. This time I am experimenting with having a 14 and 15 miler in my training, along with a few 13s – all from Run Less, Run Faster’s Half Marathon training plan.

I chose a relatively flat course and decided to change it up. Instead of going along my normal stretch of the Iron Horse Trail, I chose the southern route and heading in the direction of Dublin. Although I knew I was probably in for a less than exciting route, it was all new to me. At first I was only going to do a few miles out and back, then finish in my usual direction, but I was feeling great so I kept with it. What started as only going out 2 miles, turned to 4, then 5, and then I thought “might as well go to 7.”

My only gripe was that there wasn’t a water fountain that I saw along the route, but I saw a park and used it as a fueling break as I searched and succeeded in finding a fountain. I brought my pack of cytomax and refueled my drink at around 9 miles. I took two gu’s and chomps throughout the run and was really proud of my constant reminder to fuel.

My point of detailing out my run is to say that not until mile 11-12 did I actually start feeling fatigued, like I wanted it to end.

I finally enjoyed a long run.

I was having SUCH a good time, that I turned off my garmin at the turn around and just went by feel. I did not want to get frantic about where I should be at, but just revel in the fact that my body was working with me.

When I got home, I decided to thank my body’s hard work by taking an ice bath – my FIRST ever ice bath.

My roommate helped me. I couldn’t muster the strength.

A couple of observations from my week:

1. Before and after every run I rolled out my legs, taking a good 10 minutes each time.

2. I’ve been trying to push the pace on hard runs and laying off the pace on the other runs. 

3. I chose a new route. 

4. I was not stressing about getting back to finish grading/planning. School is done.

5. I am giving myself more running rest days. 

Granted, today’s run later could suck incredibly and I am okay with that.

Funny thing that one good run can cancel out 10 bad runs. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Week 7: San Francisco Half Marathon

Monday – Rest

I came off a full workout week and was planning on using Monday as my rest day. If I could have foreseen such a busy week ahead, I would have not made this a rest day. Sigh.

Tuesday – 6.0 mile tempo, Lululemon/Iron Horse, 9:30 min/mile

I realized how difficult it is for me to do a tempo run outside. And it didn’t help that this was a long time to keep a pace around 9:20. I, instead, used the first 0.5 as a warm up and the last 0.5 as a cool down.

I ran the 0.5 before the meet-up happened which equaled a nice loop around the block. Then I headed out with the group and did the 5.0 on my own before cooling down for the 0.5. Overall I give this run a meehhh.

Wednesday – Workout A  Rest 

I don’t know what happened here. Oh, I had my test and stayed up studying. Boo.

Thursday – Intervals  Workout A and Core

Only a few more workouts in stage 1 of my lifting plan. Today I upped weight and lowered reps which felt awesome.  It was nice to be at the gym early, since I knew I would not be able to get there in the evening because of a Cell Biology exam.

I got back super late from my students’ graduation and decided to sleep in. As a result, Friday was a wash.

 Friday – Rest

Saturday – 4.0 miles, Lafayette Moraga Trail, 10:00 min/mile

I wanted to redeem the scratched intervals from Thursday, but then realized that doing that with my long run the next day probably wasn’t the best idea. Instead, I decided to do an easy out and back along the trail.

Sunday – 10.0 miles, Lafayette Moraga Trail, 10:24 min/mile

I am having the opposite effect that I usually have for long runs. In the past, I used to feel great on the first few miles and then fade out for the middle few, then gather a bit of momentum for the last few miles. Now, I have SUCH a hard time starting things off and loosening up. Around mile 3-4 is where I actually start to feel good, but the price I pay for my beginning pace can mentally get to me for the rest of the run. (::help!::) The benefit of knowing this is applying it to the actual half with a more extensive warm-up so that those first few miles aren’t a loss.

Total Miles: 20

Strength Training: 1x (eeek!)

I don’t have much to say about this week. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with my lack of commitment to my schedule this week and the shuffling around. I’ll view this as a cut-back week and using the next few weeks to bring up the intensity before a short taper for race week.

Week 8 Preview:

  • Q1: 3 x [2 x 1200]
  • Q2: 5 miles @ mid-tempo
  • Q3: 14 miles @ HMP + 30 sec/mile


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment