LIFE | On the run

I've recently recommitted to running.  Well, I say that just about every week, but this time I mean it (and I'm sharing this here to help hold myself accountable)!  My running journey started about 6 years ago.  I had a deployed husband, a little weight to lose, and time on my hands.  A girlfriend and I decided to sign up for a 5k and I started the Couch to 5K program.  That first 5k wore me out.  It didn't feel good and it wasn't fast, but I finished it.  I kept signing up for more 5ks and kept running, despite not really enjoying it.  After a few months, the running got easier and I enjoyed it more.  I had made myself a runner.  I ran regularly and it kept me in shape.  

I don't know that I have ever LOVED running.  I've never experienced the "runners high" or anything like that.  But I loved what it did for me and how I felt afterwards.  In fact, I ran through the first 2 trimesters of my pregnancy (with doctor supervision; always check with your doctor about an appropriate exercise program for your pregnancy) and largely credit running and staying active during pregnancy for my quick and easy labor and delivery).  

Fast forward to last summer, we moved to Albuquerque and literally went from running at sea level to running at 5500+ feet.  Holy elevation!  I went from being in some of the best running shape I had been in (running a few 10ks prior to our move) to not being able to catch my breath.  Around that time my husband and I joined a Crossfit gym and loved it.  I still ran, but it wasn't my primary form of exercise anymore.  I've struggled with Crossfit since we've moved to Tucson due to childcare and scheduling issues and quit my membership there recently.  I'd love to go back to Crossfit again when time allows, but for now, running it is.  And this is my accountability!  

Now, let me just say, I've never been fast, I don't go very far, and I always take walk breaks.  You can go slow and walk a little and just squeeze in those 3 mile runs when you can and still be a runner!  And you're lapping everyone on their sofa!  

Want to know what makes running a little easier for me???  Aside from the obvious essentials like good shoes (go get fitted!), comfy clothes (I admit it, I'm addicted to Lululemon!), here a few things that I won't run without!

1. My BOB jogger: This was a baby shower gift from some very sweet friends of ours and is at the top of my list!  Runs just wouldn't happen without it!  I love hitting the road sans stroller because lets face it, between the dog and the stroller and Gabe, I'm negotiating 100+ lbs while I'm running, but running Gabe-free isn't always an option.  When it starts feeling heavy, I just remind myself of the extra calories that I'm burning by pushing it.  Plus, it's nice to have a place to put my phone, water, and the inevitable doggy bag that I have to pick up along the way.

2. Nathan Handheld Water Bottle: I use this when I'm able to go on a stroller free run.  We live in AZ where it's dry and only getting hotter.  This fits nicely in my hand and doesn't bother me at all when I'm running.  When it's really hot, I fill it with water and put it in the freezer.  Then it defrosts on my run.

3. Lululemon Swiftly Headband: I have bangs and running with bangs is not fun.  This headband stays put, is comfy enough to wear all day (and I often do), and is easy to toss in the machine and wash.  Bonus points for coming in fun colors.  And shipping is free if there's not a store near you!

4.  Garmin Forerunner: Ok, let me just say, this thing looks ridiculous on my tiny wrist.  I think there are smaller models available now that probably don't look like a cell phone, but I wear this for every run, even the short ones.  It's kind of like having a treadmill on your outdoor run.  I love knowing how fast I'm going, how far I've gone, how many calories I've burned, etc.  I know that there are a lot of apps now that can do this for you, but I don't always take my phone on runs (especially without the stroller) and those apps didn't exist when I bought this, oh, 5 years ago.  I have used the Jeff Galloway apps when training for longer races, but I love this for everyday runs.  I'm also one of those people who likes things to end on a pretty number, like 3.0 miles, 350 calories, or exactly 30 minutes.  In fact, I often find myself going a little further just so I can end on a nice, round number.  

What are your fitness must haves???