Monday, December 29, 2008

My short mileage this week had nothing to do with weather

I ran a total of about eight or nine miles. I was supposed to do a measly fifteen. Running while visiting family is HARD. We had obligations and kids to entertain and presents to wrap and meals to prepare. I am sure you all know the deal. I was planning on running this past Sunday after we got home, but after very little sleep and travelling all day with a toddler who had very little sleep, I sat on the couch and read instead. I didn't even unpack.

After a long day of travel last Monday (which included being diverted to Yakima, Washington, of all places, while the Portland airport was closed), I was ready to go for a run on Tuesday. I was actually pretty excited. It was in the low twenties and everything was covered in a soft blanket of snow. I layered myself up and put on my trail shoes. I put my iPod on shuffle and ran through my sister's neighborhood.

It was GREAT. I had a grin on my face the entire time. The footing was a bit tricky at times. And when a car came I had to run in the drift by the side of the road (which was, luckily, pretty rare because the roads were not suitable for driving). Thanks to my great Nike Trail Shoes and the cold, dry snow my feet stayed warm and dry. I was prepared for the cold and the only thing that was exposed was my face and the brisk felt good. I had a scarf in case the wind kicked up, but it didn't and I was very comfortable.

It was one of those perfect snowy days--quiet and white. For a while I turned off my iPod to run in the absolute silence that snow brings (not to mention very little traffic on the roads). When I turned it back on the shuffle brought a couple of Christmas songs which REALLY put me in the holiday spirit. It was probably the most peaceful time of my entire week. The song that came on as I turned onto my sister's street was the PERFECT ending to my snowy run (see below). The lyrics say,"don't stop me now... I'm having such a good time." The ONLY reason I stopped was because I knew that people were waiting for me to go to lunch. We ended up leaving later than planned so I really should have kept running and running. It was a glorious day.


My other run wasn't as glorious. I had to force myself out the door. Oh, what a difference a few days makes. It was raining. The roads were slushy and miserable. The temperatures were in the forties. My trail shoes couldn't protect my feet that day. My iPod locked up on me a couple of times. There were patches of ice on the sidewalks that made my footing even more precarious. I never appreciated people who shovel their sidewalks until that day. I spent a lot of time trying to avoid huge slush puddles. I was glad I went. I don't feel like quite a wimp anymore. My step sister gave me a pair of toasty running tights for Christmas so I was nice and warm.

I am back in San Diego. No excuses. The half marathon is in three weeks. I need to get back in the swing of things. But right now, I am going to go dig out my tail-gatin' stuff. We are off to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl in a few hours to go cheer on our Mighty Oregon Ducks. Woo hoo!!!!!

I did it!!

This is how I felt after running on a cold, snowy day.... I am officially not a running wimp (well, at least not as much of one).

I will post more about my Oregon runs after I crawl out from all the luggage and laundry from our trip. I had one incredible snowy run and another soggy, less incredible one....
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or Hanukkah or whatever)!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tempo runs...

I actually did two this week, but it wasn't by design. On Thursday, I had my scheduled tempo run. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill because I wimped out and didn't want to run in the cold dark morning. After a warmup, I started a tempo run at a pace of around 8:50. After the third mile or so, I was getting really bored. I decided to do some fartleks of around a quarter mile each to break up the monotony. I sped the treadmill up to around 7:45 and then slowed back down to closer to 9. It was great to feel like 8:50 is a recovery pace.

This morning Laura and I met at 7 a.m.. It was around 42 degrees...brrrrrrr. I left my gloves in the car, seeing the sunshine and thinking that I would warm up fast. Well, apparently I started out pretty fast because I was so cold (yes, yes... I am a wimp). Laura, who was fighting off a cold, didn't want to say anything because she thought I wanted to do a fast one. After I started warming up, I realized that we were going faster than normal. I didn't want to say anything, because I didn't want to slow Laura down if she wanted a fast run. I didn't have my Garmin, so I had no idea how fast we were going. I felt like maybe we were going our normal pace and I was just sluggish. Laura had her Garmin and she was checking it regularly. We ended up averaging 9 minutes per mile for eight miles!! Five more miles of that and I will have a sub-two hour half marathon under my belt.

So to keep my fitness up to do that, I need to run this next week. I'll be in Portland, Oregon. It is COLD. It is SNOWY. I am a WIMP. Please send me strength, my cold climate virtual running buddies. My RW schedule has me down for a fall back week (only 15 miles), so it will be that much easier to blow off my runs.

I am not sure how much internet time I will have this week. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Update on my Thanksgiving 5K

I was missing from the official results until last week. They finally added me into the results and my official time was 25:31! (two seconds faster than I had thought) I placed 5th in my age group!! I can't believe I made the top ten. I was 292 overall (out of approximately 4600 people who finished)

yay!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I think I'll get a taste of cold weather running next week...

This was my mother's backyard today in Portland. We don't leave until a week from tomorrow, but I need to mentally prepare. Brrrrrr.... that'll make today's 50 degree run seem balmy. Too bad running tights are on my Christmas list, but I will need to run at least one day there before then. I will be running in sweat pants. Maybe I should bring my trail shoes for better traction.

Today's run was nice. Laura and I ran downtown along the bay for a change of scenery. It was cold (cold for San Diego) and blustery, but luckily the rain isn't here today (yesterday and tomorrow). We chatted about doing the Rock-n-Roll Marathon again in June. I think 3 out of 4 of our little "rockin' mama" running group are going to do it again. I am actually excited. We learned a lot last year. We are going to train so much smarter this time. The first time is all about building up endurance and confidence. This time we are going to focus on skill and strength as well.

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the holiday season.
Happy running...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A much better run...

I woke up at the butt crack of dawn this morning for my tempo run. I can't really do a tempo run in my neighborhood because of steep hills and a gravel trail. I drove to Lake Murray to run on a nice, paved bike path. This was the first time I have run at Lake Murray since before the marathon. During training, I was really tired of that run (it is an out-and-back totalling 10k) and pretty much boycotted that spot. But this morning, I really enjoyed it. It didn't seem quite as boring as it did. I just needed a break from it.

Honestly, I was looking forward to running it with my Garmin. AKA ALice at Hefferblog calls Lake Murray "Lake Boy Part." When I read her blog explaining that nickname, I laughed out loud. Now I have my own GPS drawing of a "boy part." Well, since I turned around a little more than a half mile before the end, it is not a complete drawing, but you get the picture...



When I started, it was dark. I don't have a fancy light yet, so I carried a little LED flashlight. It worked ok, since it was pretty nearly dawn. It was more for peace of mind than for actually lighting the path. I forgot my pepper spray (a fact that my dear husband was quite annoyed about). Luckily, there were no German Shepherds or coyotes. The only wild animals at Lake Murray are Shih Tzus, squirrels and bunnies. It was busier than I expected. Mostly, there were seniors walking their little dogs and women, like me, getting in an early morning run.

I had a good tempo run-- it was the first time I ran for a decent period of time trying to hit a certain pace. My RW training plan said to do one warm-up mile, three at 8:54, and then a cool-down mile. I can't quite hit the pace exactly, but I came pretty close. Here are the splits:
Mile 1- 9:32
Mile 2- 8:47
Mile 3- 8:43
Mile 4- 8:44
Mile 5- 9:42

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just another short easy run...

NOT! Well it was relatively short, but not just another run.

First, I have to take my hat off to all of you who run in cold climates (please imagine me bowing to you saying "I'm not worthy!") I have no idea how you do it! Maybe I am a wimp, but I barely made it out to run today because it was COLD (relatively speaking). Now... please keep in mind that I have lived in Southern California for over seven years before you boo and hiss at me. It was a chilly chilly 47 degrees and windy when I got dressed this morning. Brrrrrr. Seriously. I had to push myself to get out there. It took me about a quarter to a half a mile before I felt like I could unclench and get in a rhythm.

As I was starting to feel comfortable in my run, I saw a guy jogging toward me on the path with his German Shepherd on a leash. I noted how big the dog was and admired how pretty he was. I like dogs, but I also have a healthy respect. I moved over to one side of the path so I wouldn't scare the dog etc. I smiled at the guy and could see that the dog was looking at me as well. Suddenly, as I passed, the dog lunged at me and barked. It was a significantly aggressive bark; I could hear that. I moved away and fell/jumped into the ditch. I screamed some sort of profanity. I haven't been scared like that in a long time. Thank GOD the guy was big. It looked like an effort for him to hold his dog. I think if that dog belonged to a smaller person, I would have been in big trouble. He asked if I was ok and apologized. I said I was fine and ran away. I am glad I did. Had I stuck around to talk to him, I think I would have cried. As I ran, I had tears in my eyes and was very very shaken.

The route I run has me double back on that path and I was nervous about seeing the man and his dog again. I decided if I saw them I would stop and try to "meet" the dog. He must have been threatened because I was running, right? Well, that was what I was thinking then. Now as I sit here writing this I am actually getting a little pissed off about the whole thing. Although I suppose the owner did everything he could and had him on a leash (thank GOD). I just can't understand when people have an aggressive dog as a pet (speaking as a person who owns a passive Beagle). I didn't see them again. I will have my pepper spray next time.**

I finally relaxed and got back into my rhythm. Thank goodness for my iPod. I was trying something new this morning-- listening to a book on tape. It is perfect for a slow easy run. It let me just escape a bit and run relaxed. I decided to start with an easy read, a cheesy best-seller. I am listening Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz.

About 3/4 of a mile from home, I was met with yet another reason to bring pepper spray with me when running in my neighborhood. Suddenly, ten feet in front of me, a coyote emerged from the canyon onto the path. WTF??? I didn't need that! I yelled at him. He trotted down the path toward my house. *sigh* My options were to follow him or to turn around and go back the other way, which would involve a VERY steep hill. It would ruin my easy run. So I followed him, making my footfalls heavy and yelling for him to go away. I also put my arms over my head (looking like a complete idiot) so I might look taller. Finally, he scrambled up the hill into the brush. As I passed the spot where he went up, I picked up my pace for the rest of my run.

I was glad to be done. Surprisingly enough, it was a pretty good run--three miles at 10:00 minutes per mile and I felt good (physically, at least).
Next time I am bringing my pepper spray!!

**I had to add a comment on Jill's blog entry that was asking us to tell her what we carry with us on our runs. In the past, I brought pepper spray when I run alone downtown or out in the actual canyons on the trails. Now I realize that we live close enough to a canyon and threats can come anywhere.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recap of this week's training

I followed my training plan pretty well this past week. I was supposed to do 17 miles and ended up with 16 plus what I did during Stroller Strides. I taught three days last week and had long cardio stretches in all three classes. Plus, I had specific cardio drills. I don't necessarily get the same workout as my clients, since I am leading the class, watching form etc., but I did push a double stroller quite a distance. I am going to start wearing my Garmin during my classes and count the distance toward my training. I am pretty sure that Monday's class at Mission Bay was at least two miles. Granted, I had strength stations breaking it up, but I still ran/jogged the distance.

There are seven weeks left until the half marathon. If yesterday's run was any indication, I am feeling pretty good. Neither Laura nor I were feeling all that spunky yesterday morning. Thank goodness I was meeting her to run or I might have blown it off. We chatted nearly the entire eight miles. Both of us had tummy issues towards the end and picked up the pace the last mile. Without really trying, we ran an average of 9:11. Not bad. My training program tells me to run it at 10:29, but that is hard when your friend is running at the faster pace and it feels comfortable to do so. I will try to run my easy run tomorrow at the slower pace and see how it feels.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A couple of shout outs...

Tomorrow Jill, Kristin and (I think) Laura are running in Las Vegas tomorrow. It makes me a little sad (and jealous) since I thought I would be there too, until life got in the way. However, I am cheering for you all in spirit. Think of me when you are running down the Strip. I was really looking forward to that part!

Good luck to you all!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I know I am finally committed!

I am finally officially training for the half marathon next month.

I needed to do some speedwork today. I can't do it in my neighborhood due to hills, dirt trails etc. I didn't think I could get it all done if I had to drive to the track. I decided to go to the rec center, put the kids in their daycare and run on the dreaded treadmill (now I know why so many people call it the dreadmill). Yes, I have run on treadmills before. The last time was relatively early in my marathon training, before I knew better.

Next time it is VERY important that I DO NOT forget my iPod!! Holy moly. That is a good way to make five miles seem like an eternity! It is very difficult to run at a 8:19-8:27 pace while reading the subtitles on The View. I don't even like The View. It was just the only tv close enough to my chosen treadmill that I could read the words. I actually increased the speed at the end of the intervals just so I could get the misery over sooner. I was bored to tears and more sweaty than normal. I just take for granted the benefit of nice scenery and a slight breeze. I really feel for those of you in terribly cold climates where the treadmill is the only thing between you and freezing your tooshies off!

I was glad I did it. It means I am following my Runnersworld training plan. And to answer a question in my comments (I think it was from Alissa), I did put my most recent 5K time into the Runnersworld SmartCoach to get my plan. I ran one warm up mile at around a 10:30 pace. I did two miles between a 8:19 and 8:27 pace with 1/2 mile recovery in between and after. I am supposed to jog the 800's, but I did walk for a few minutes to drink some water. I ended with a cool down mile for a total of five.

Happy Running!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Finally!

I actually got my butt out of bed and went running during the week. It has been a couple of months since I have done that. It was cold (relatively speaking, in San Diego terms) and foggy and I didn't really feel like going. But, if I am going to break two hours in that half marathon next month, I need to run more than once a week! It was a pretty non-descript, uneventful run in my neighborhood. The only thing noteworthy was the mere fact that I went. I am glad that I did.

Sunday's run was nice. I did a relatively easy eight. It still shocks me that eight miles is an easy run. A year ago, that was unheard of--I'd get nervous at the thought of five or six. I dropped my dad off at the airport to fly back to Portland. I thought, while I was down there, I might as well run along the big bay. It was a nice change of pace. I parked across from the airport at a favorite park of ours and ran down to Seaport Village and back. I enjoyed the San Diego skyline, the tall ships and a beautiful morning.

I had forgotten to charge the Garmin, so I just used my Nike+ to tell me when to turn around. Luckily, it is running pretty accurate lately (it matched the Garmin exactly on Thanksgiving). It was actually freeing not to worry about my pace at all. I decided to take it easy and give myself a relaxing run through a beautiful city. Much to my surprise, when I listened to the results at the end of my run, I had averaged a pace of 9:17. Holy cow. According to my RW training plan, I should be doing my long runs slower than that. Oops. But I didn't feel like I was pushing myself particularly hard.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My new favorite clothing item for running!

When I was getting ready for our trip to Moab, I realized that it might be cold there. All I had was biking shorts and a short sleeved biking jersey. I ordered some biking knickers and a long sleeved jersey from one of Kenny's suppliers, but I wasn't going to get them until the day of the trip. I didn't know if they would fit. I went to a bike store and bought some arm warmers and leg warmers as a backup.




It turned out to be COLD, not chilly. I needed every layer I could get. Those two items were a Godsend (especially when the knickers were way too big and I couldn't use them). Both items are like lycra on the outside and fleecy on the inside (is fleecy a word???). I even wore the arm warmers under the long-sleeve jersey along with a fleece vest. I was perfectly warm! On one day I took off the arm warmers and stuffed them into my backpack very easily.


Fast forward to this past Thursday. It was chilly (not cold) and rainy. I don't have running tights yet. My long pants that I have run in get really sloppy when they are wet. I often have to take off my long sleeve tech shirt when I wear it because I warm up pretty quickly. [note: the temps here have not dipped much lower than 60 degrees, so it is really only brisk] I decided to try the arm and leg warmers for the race. I wore the leg warmers on my eight-mile run last week and they worked pretty well. I wasn't exactly a fashion queen with a running skirt and lycra leg warmers, but hey, I was comfy.


Result:
*The arm warmers ROCK. I was warm and toasty with these things. They were the perfect addition to the morning. I think my arms were my least wet part of my body when all was said and done. These things will be perfect for long runs during the winter when it starts out in the 40's and ends up in the 60's. I can strip them off and tuck them into my waistband or something.

*The leg warmers were a success, but don't receive as high marks as the arm warmers. During the first mile when I was running pretty fast, they seemed to inch down my leg. I kept wanting to hike them up. During the second two miles, however, I didn't think about them much. They must have crept down and found a good spot to stay. They are also not quite as convenient since I would have to stop if I wanted to take them off.

All in all, even though these are biking apparel, I am a fan. They add an extra layer without adding bulk or warmth in areas I don't need it. I would definitely recommend them, especially for the price. The arm warmers were around $20 and the leg warmers were $30. Not a bad investment for an additional layer for the winter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Father Joe's Thanksgiving Run

I set my alarm for 4:50 (Egads!!) so I could wake up, finish dressing the turkey and pick up my friend by 6:30. I promptly fell back asleep (can you tell I am out of the early morning running habit?). I woke with a start at 5:20. I finally got myself going.

My friend, Heather, texted me around 6 a.m., "is the rain going to stop?" I then realized that it was raining. Unlike other runners throughout the country, inclement weather is not something I ever really think about before a run. I looked at the weather report online. It said around a 50% chance of rain (and even showed the "scattered showers" icon). I figured it was a typical San Diego rain, clearing up soon after the sun comes up. I thought that we would be dealing with drizzle at the most. Growing up in Oregon, drizzle was such a normal occurrence. I wasn't too concerned. "Rain, Schmain...it will be fine" I texted back to her. As we drove down to Balboa Park, we could see patches of blue. I was sure that it would clear up. What did I know??

We met up with two other friends. Anne had her two-year-old daughter, Sophie. She was prepared with a rain cover for the stroller. Coleen had left her kids with Daddy like Heather and I. We were good to go. As we were waiting for the start of the run, it started coming down pretty good. We moved under a covered walkway. I started getting excited to run. While part of me wanted to stay back with my friends, the competitive part of me wanted to see about running a PR. I can't help myself. When I told them that I wanted to move up toward the front, since there were no chips and I knew it would take forever to get to the start line, they gave me a hug and told me to have a good race.


Father Joe, himself, was there to send us off. He said he prayed for the rain to go away and for a while it looked like he had a direct line to God. The beginning was very conjested, but I was in a great mood. I just wanted to have a good run and go as hard as I could. The mood around me was great. I was SO impressed at the turnout! Father Joe announced that they had 7000 bibs and they ran out! 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day in the rain and 7000 people decided to run? Wow. Way to go San Diego (especially when there were at least two other races that day in the county).



Just after the first mile, the heavens opened up and it started to rain. It was more than a drizzle. Much more. This was real rain. But I was lovin' it. For most of the race, I could barely draw in enough breath. My chest felt tight. I think it was a good thing that it was raining because I put my Garmin under my arm warmer and I stopped thinking about time and just had fun running in the rain.



When I saw the finish line, I had enough gas to give it an all out sprint. I was soaked to the bone, but feeling GREAT. I was ecstatic when I looked up at the clock as I crossed the finish and saw 25:33!! I stopped my Garmin and it said 25:10. Either way, I had beat my time from earlier this month by at least 20 seconds!!



I waited for my friends for a bit. After a few minutes I wondered if they ran the entire thing. Anne lives pretty close to the park. They could have easily run down 6th street to her condo and stayed warm and dry. Standing by the finish in the rain was starting to get cold. Since I didn't have my cell phone I decided to run to my car to grab it. I changed my shirt into the race long sleeve t-shirt and put on my dry sweatshirt. I called my friends. Hmmm... not answering. I wandered back to the finish line. On my way, I grabbed a couple of sample packets of Endurolytes (SCORE! I've wanted to try those things) and two Clif Mojo bars (YUMMY). Then I saw the beer garden. It was Thanksgiving; I just ran three miles in the rain; it was Stone Brewery (YUMMY)---- what the heck. As I was enjoying a beer in the rain (only in San Diego would they set up a beer garden in November without a tent), my friends called.


I was so happy to see that they were wet and happy (since I talked them into coming down there with me). They all had big grins. Sophie was perfectly dry. We stood under a walkway for a while chatting, trying to wait until the rain dissapated a bit. By this time it was coming down harder than I had ever seen it in San Diego (you couldn't see ten feet). Thank goodness it didn't rain that hard during the race. Finally, we all decided that we needed to get home to get on with our Thanksgiving festivities. We braved the rain. Holy cow. Standing water was everywhere. My feet were complete puddles by the time I reached my car.



It was such a great way to start off my Thanksgiving. I know that it will be something I do every year. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.


Happy running....

Happy Thanksgiving!

A few weeks back, Jill tagged me with a very sweet blog "award." She said the following about my blog, "Lisa gives me hope that you can balance running, fitness and family. She’s got a great outlook on all those items, truly someone that I admire." Thanks, Jill... that really means a lot!

The task is to write about six things that make me happy. What better time to write about that than Thanksgiving (or the day after)?

1) The sound of spontaneous giggling from a certain five-year-old and/or two-year-old.
2) Hugs
3) Walking along the ocean. I enjoy the ocean here in Southern California, but walking along the Oregon coast in jeans and a sweatshirt is the best.
4) A really good musical (or movie or book, for that matter-- anything that helps me escape for an hour or two and let my senses be filled).
5) Cooking something that other people really love to eat.
6) Doing something physical (like running or biking) that really tests my limits and makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

There are a lot more. While that past couple of years haven't been the easiest in my life, they have definitely given me the deepest rewards. I need to focus more on all the things in my life that make me happy and quit sweating the small stuff.



Several of the blogs I like to read have already been tagged. Jill tagged Alissa, Chris, Terri and Jenn- all blogs I look forward to reading. I read a lot of blogs these days. Some of them are written for Runnersworld etc. or by people who are in a completely different world from me. The blogs I am tagging are from "real" people who I might run with if I knew them in real life. I included a couple of non-running blogs as well.

1) Kristin-- a very "real" runner who doesn't skimp on the details so I feel like I am running right there with her. She and I would probably have a good time running together.
2) Laura-- Laura and I are WORLDS apart in terms of our lives. However, we are not so different. I could see myself hanging out with her when I was twenty years younger. Her blog is very down-to-earth and says what is on her mind. I enjoy reading about her quest to be the youngest runner to run a marathon in all fifty states. I know she will do it.
3) Jody (Jodes)-- Not only do I enjoy her sense of humor, but I really admire her committment to charity. She is very active in fighting against poverty and hunger around the world.
4) AKA Alice-- Her descriptions of her exploits in my stomping grounds make me laugh. I love her phallic name for a run that I have done many times (Lake Boy Part). One of these days I am going to run into her and her "heffer" friends and I know they will make me laugh.
5) My good friend Penny-- Her blog is a great way to get a glimpse into her life, so far away from mine. She shares cute stories about her kids, but also supports charity through her crafts and Etsy sales. Penny was actually one of the first people to encourage me to run races. Her experience with her first half marathon really inspired me to do it myself.
6) Super mom, Angela. I "met" Angela on a message board for mommies. Earlier this year, Angela gave birth to a baby boy with Down's Syndrome. Her attitude, faith and love is truly inspiring.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

congratulations to all the 3-Day Walkers over the weekend!

I wanted to shout out to all those women (and men) who walked sixty miles over the weekend here in San Diego. Laura and I saw the group on their final leg on Sunday and everyone looked to be in good spirits. As we ran past them we smiled and said "way to go" and "good job." That is definitely something I want to do someday. The fundraising is the only thing that gives me pause. I see how much some of you TNT runners struggled to raise money. It would have been easier when I was working-- more contacts with disposable money. Hmmm.... we'll see. I am definitely impressed by all those people out there making that kind of commitment to fight breast cancer. Hopefully, my daughter won't have to worry about it...


Laura and I ran eight on Sunday down at Mission Bay. We started right as the 3-Day'ers were getting going for the day and quickly ran ahead of them. At the end of the loop, we had to run on Mission Bay road instead of the path, since there was a sea of pink that would have been difficult to navigate through. Thank goodness I had a running partner yesterday. I felt pretty darn sluggish. My time was pretty good for feeling so heavy and slow. It really helped having Laura there to keep me from slowing down (she offered, but my ego wouldn't let me). Also, it was so nice to chat. The time flew by. Neither of us touched our iPods. Even though I felt like my legs were lead, I looked at our splits and we ran much faster than I thought. The overall pace was around 9:20 (there is some question because I had to switch the Garmin from cycling to running after 1.3 miles *oops*). That is faster than last week's run and I was chatting the entire time. Plus, the very last 3/4 mile was run under a 9-minute mile pace. Woo hoo!


So... I have pretty much decided NOT to go to Las Vegas. :-( It is not good timing. We have a lot going on in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Plus, spending extra money right now is not the wisest decision. We spent a freakin' fortune on plane tickets flying up to Portland for Christmas; not to mention the floors.... It is time to be responsible. If I was in tip-top shape and poised for a big PR, however, I think I would be sure to justify running the half marathon. But alas... I don't think it is in the cards (ha ha).


So... I registered for the Carlsbad Half Marathon here in San Diego in January. I have printed up a training schedule from Runnersworld and am promising myself to actually run more than once a week. I really want to get the Triple Crown medal this year. It means running Carlsbad, La Jolla and AFC.


Question: When a training plan tells you to run at a slower pace than you normally do, how important is it to follow the plan. On my RW plan, the tempo runs are suggested between 8:53 and 8:59, so it looks like it is prepping me for a sub-two-hour half. The suggestion for long runs is a 10:23 pace. If I run faster than that am I risking over-training?? Do you all follow those training plans closely or do you use them as a general guideline??

Thanks! And everyone have a GREAT Thanksgiving! I know there are a lot of us running races (I am running a 5K myself). Good luck and happy running!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some AWESOME cross-training

I mentioned in my last post that I hadn't run in two weeks. Well, two weekends ago I did other cardio that was REALLY fun and inspiring. My husband and I dropped the kids off with my brother and sister-in-law and drove to Moab, Utah for a fabulous mountain biking weekend.

He works for Ellsworth Bicycles and every year they host an "owners' weekend" for everyone who owns an Ellsworth bike. We went on two great rides and had some wonderful food prepared each night by Escape Adventures through the Moab Cyclery.

The first day was a good warmup for me. I am not much of a mountain biker. I rode in Monterey on a pretty tame single track in April for 12 miles. Before that, I had ridden about twelve years ago in and around Reno and Tahoe, but nothing very technical AT ALL. To be honest, I was really nervous. People were giving me all sorts of advice (the best of which was to remove the clips from my shoes and put "flats" on so I wouldn't be hooked to my bike). The first three miles was a climb and between the altitude and the flat pedals, I was WORKED. I was at the back of the pack. More than anything, I was pissed at myself for being such a wimp. I thought I was in good shape and all those bikers shouldn't have schooled me so badly. The turning point of the day came when I rode down a very steep rock face. It was one of those things where I looked at it and my brain said, "that is not supposed to be ridden down; gravity will not be my friend; where are the stairs???" After some coaching from some very experienced and helpful riders (one of Ellsworth's team riders, Pua*, was particularly helpful), I headed down, completely in control. My confidence soared. It was after that I chucked my ego out the window and said, "who cares if I am in the back of the pack as long as I am having fun!" I started really enjoying the scenery (and what scenery there was!!) and having fun on the slickrock**

The second day can best be described as EPIC. It started toward the end of the Kokapelli Trail, down through UPS (upper porcupine singletrack) to Porcupine Rim ending up at the Colorado River. Once again, I was nervous. One or two people actually seemed to discourage me from riding. But I'll be damned if I am driving eleven hours to ride for one day. Even if I had to get off my bike and walk, I was going on that ride. I did have to walk the bike in some spots, but I definitely wasn't the only one. There was one spot where one of the guides said to me, "if you ride down this part, I will give you my bike." He had a very expensive Ellsworth, so I didn't think it was a legitimate offer. I soon saw why he was able to say this. It was called "the notch" and it was literally a 50 foot vertical drop through various trees and roots. Everyone was carrying their bikes. I think only one or two of the local guides rode down that crazy thing. Heck, it was hard getting down with my bike because it was so steep.

It was a VERY difficult ride, but SO so so worth it. I felt such a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished. I know that Kenny's colleagues saw me in a new light after I rode that ride. At one point, one of his colleagues rode by me and said, "you kick ASS, Lisa." I quickly replied, "I DO kick ass!!" My skill level increased 100-fold that day. I was able to ride down six foot drops, navigate some windy single track and pretty much keep up with the group. Don't get me wrong... I had my moments. At one point I actually ran into a tree and drew some blood. It was a little badge of honor ;-)
I spent most of the day with one of Kenny's coworkers, Aimee. She and I were at somewhat similar skill levels. She's a better rider than I, but she wasn't as experienced as the next group up. I was able to keep up with her for the most part. We really encouraged each other. Throughout the day, confidence levels went up and down. A drop over boulders in one section would seem insurmountable when we had done the same kind of drop an hour earlier. Sometimes we both walked and other times we encouraged each other to go for it. I would not have had as much fun if it wasn't for her. My husband, while supportive, tends to want to play with the other boys. He likes to go down crazy drops and jumps and pretend he is twenty years younger. If I had ridden with him the entire time, I would have felt like I was holding him back. Plus... I don't really like to see him do that stuff. It makes me nervous.
The mountain biking was SO MUCH FUN. It involved skill and endurance and really made me work. As a reward I saw some of the best scenery of my life. The pictures do not do it justice. I would really like to do more of it. But the problem is, it isn't that fun all by yourself. For Kenny and I to go for a ride, we would have to get a sitter for the kids. They are much too little for that kind of thing. I am thinking that if I do a triathlon, I would like to do one of the XTerra Series that has a mountain bike race instead of road race. I am hooked.

Here are a few pictures from our weekend.


We stopped at a viewpoint on our drive to Utah... incredible.

Kenny and I around the halfway point of Sunday's ride just before Porcupine Rim.


This is a picture of the Colorado River from Porcupine Rim. I didn't take this picture (hubby had the camera) so I found it online *blush* I wanted to show how incredible the view was. See that tiny little trail winding toward the gorge? Yup. That's the trail. [photo courtesy of an online Picasa web album from a guy named Andrew ;-)]

*Pua Sawicki is a serious stud. She not only wins 12 and 24 hour endurance races, she runs away with them. When you meet her you would never guess she is a hard core athlete. She is sweet and down-to-earth. I was pretty excited when she told me how proud she was of my performance that day. I felt honored to have ridden with her (actually behind her quite a ways).
*"Slickrock" is the term used for ancient, weathered, and sculpted sandstone, of the type found in parts of Utah. But it's not actually slick; your mountain bike tires will stick right to it. Which is why mountain bikers love areas such as Moab, where the most famous ride is named Slickrock.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I've been a bad blogger...

Not only have I neglected my own blog, but I have had a hard time keeping up with my blogging buddies. I am sorry if I haven't commented on your blog in a while... life has been pretty busy lately.

BUT... I did finally find time for a run. I hadn't run in two weeks. So much for the Las Vegas half marathon. I think we may still go (a close friend of mine will be there and I can't wait to see her). If I go, I will probably run in the race, but I don't think my PR is in the cards. That's ok... what better place than Las Vegas to just run and have fun.

My run on Sunday was ok. It wasn't great. It also wasn't particularly bad. I wasn't fast, but I wasn't slow either. My goal was to have a negative split, but that wasn't to be. I thought I would have a great run. My first mile was under 9 minutes, but that was the only one. Even though I pushed hard that last mile, I didn't even come close to 9 minutes (it was 9:32).

The good news is that even after slacking for a couple of weeks, I can run ten miles without any problem. A year ago, that feat would have seemed impossible. Now, eight or ten miles is the norm. That's pretty cool. My overall pace for the ten miles was 9:42. My fastest mile was 8:52 and my slowest was 10:28. Once again, a year ago, one mile at that pace would have been a feat.

Last week Jill tagged me with a pretty cool "award." I am not ignoring it. I still want to take the time and compose a nice post to go with the tag. Thanks, Jill! Oh... and CONGRATS on your marathon PR in San Antonio. I can't wait for your race report!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I hope everyone voted!!

Voting has always been a big deal to me. I remember how excited I was to turn 18 so I could register to vote. My husband is a permanent absentee voter. I don't want to do that. There is something about going to the polls and casting my vote. There is something special, something ceremonial about it. I feel important every time I do it.

I love to bring my children with me to the polls. It is a bit of a hassle, keeping them from bothering others, but it is definitely worth it. They will remember that their mother voted in every single election. I hope it teaches them how important it is. This morning my five-year-old asked me in a clear pre-schooler's voice, "Mom, who are you voting for???" I replied, "I don't need to say... it is private." I heard other voters chuckle at our exchange. As I cast my ballot for the president and for some very important propositions, I actually got tears in my eyes. As we walked out, all three of us with "I Voted" stickers, I again was choked up explaining the importance of what I had just done. I know they don't understand it now, but I am sure they will remember this someday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Race for the Cure Race Report

I wasn't sure what to expect yesterday morning. I have never run a 5K. I didn't even commit to running it until 10 p.m. Saturday night. I tried to tell myself that I shouldn't put any pressure on myself to do well. I didn't get a lot of sleep, I hadn't run in a week and it is a charity event full of walkers, strollers and dogs. This was just a chance to get out there and run for a great cause and see what I could do. I was pretty happy with the result.


My sister-in-law, Kristi, had to work one of the booths at the race expo and needed to be there at 6 a.m. That was two hours before the race, but I thought it would be nice to hang out with her, help her find the park in a strange city (they live up in Orange County) and check out the expo before the race instead of after. As we were getting ready to go, she suddenly says to me, "Lisa, it is only 4:30." "No. It is 5:30." (pointing to my clock and my watch). "Um..." she says, "I think last night was the end of Daylight Savings Time. My phone automatically updated." Oh CRAP. You mean I could have slept an ENTIRE HOUR???? I can't believe that I missed the best side of the silly time change thing-- the extra hour of sleep! Alissa, be glad you don't have to deal with it in Arizona.


We arrived at the park bright and early. It was nice walking to each of the booths before the masses arrived. I went to the Roadrunner booth and used their stick, since mine is somewhere in the chaos that is my house after getting all new floors. I was able to use clean porta-potties to my heart's content (three times--blush) without worrying about a line. I registered for the race and was pleasantly surprised to see a timing chip. They gave options of timed or not timed. The best thing was that everyone with a timing chip had a different colored bib and we started at the front. Although it was a large charity event, I didn't feel like I was weaving a lot in the beginning. It was a big pack of people, but we were all running pretty quickly. So quickly that I recorded my best-ever time for that first mile!!!


The mood was pretty festive, considering the serious nature of the charity (Breast Cancer). Many people were running for friends and relatives. They had signs that you could pin on "in celebration" or "in memory" of a breast cancer victim/survivor. I have been very lucky in my life thus far that I have not been personally touched by breast cancer (save a lump scare this past year). A close friend of mine lost her mom a few years ago. I chose to run in memory of her mom, who was an incredible woman who touched a lot of people positively during her life. It gave me a little extra motivation to be running in honor of someone specific, rather than for the cause in general.


When I reached the first mile marker, I looked down at my Garmin for the first time (I was very proud of my self-control not to obsess on the Garmin the entire race). I was happily surprised to see 7:50* as my pace for that lap! I actually pumped my fist in the air. The second mile was even better (7:38*!). I missed the split time for the third mile. I think I would have come close to my best case scenario of 25 minutes if it weren't for the incredibly steep hill that dominated the last quarter mile of the race. It was as steep as any hill I have run in my neighborhood. At one point, according to Garmin, the grade was almost 11%. THAT is STEEP. As I started up the hill, which is a freeway off ramp, I could see the park (where the finish line was) up above. I told myself that I wouldn't walk. I kept telling myself that until I turned a corner and saw it get even steeper (that is where the 11% grade is) for a 100 feet or so. I had to walk. I think I walked for 30 seconds or so. Toward the top I started going again because I could hear the cheers of the crowds and I refused to walk across a finish line. The course flattened out at the very end and I ran across the finish line, determined to make it under 26 minutes.


Check out the elevation of the race, according to Garmin....




Here are my results:

Time: 25:54
Pace: 8:20
Overall Place: 183/971
Gender Place: 52/589
Division Place: 8/74


These were, by far, the best results I have had. I can't believe I came in the top ten in my age division! If I hadn't walked, I probably would have been even higher. If I can run a sub-25 minute 5K, I could actually place in my age division, something I NEVER thought possible.


I have read 5K results of runners who run around my same pace for longer distances and think, "I can never run that fast." Chris talked about discovering "race pace" last week. I now know what that is. I have tried to run "fast" before, but yesterday I recorded not only my fastest mile, but my average for all three miles is faster than I have ever run a single mile.

*After uploading the data from Garmin my splits are: Mile 1- 7:47, Mile 2- 7:36, Mile 3- 8:28, Last .21 Miles- 2:08 (10:05 pace). Overall pace- 8:06!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is it REALLY almost November?????

You wouldn't know it by the weather around here. I am a HUGE fan of sunshine, sunny weather and summer. I never, in a million years, would ever think that I would long for cool, crisp days. But enough is enough. It was close to 90 degrees today and over 80 down at the bay where I went running today. I didn't finish my run until noon and that sun was beating down. I had a headache all afternoon. I think I might try those Endurolytes that so many of you praise (specifically, Terri and Alissa ). Alissa says that it helped her post-run headaches. Eventually this summer weather will go away and I won't need to worry about it as much....right??

I am trying some training ideas from Brain Training for Runners. Today I was going to do a twelve mile "progression run." After reviewing our to-do list and getting a later start than I had wanted, I adjusted it to eight miles. I just couldn't justify a two hour run. The book said to "start @ recovery pace; gradually increase pace every other mile. Run last mile @ half-marathon pace." I did my own variation of this. My main goal was to run a negative split on the last mile. I did it, but it felt like an all-out sprint when it should have felt a bit better. I still have a lot of work to do.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1- 9:31 (feeling good to start and having a hard time keeping the pace down below 10, which should be my recovery pace)
Mile 2- 9:26
Mile 3- 9:42 (consciously slowed down because I wanted to run the 4th mile at a faster pace. Is it too early to have a Gu?)
Mile 4- 9:07 (I felt pretty good about this mile because I had to run over two pretty steep bridges over the bay. I rewarded myself with a Gu after I was done. Does it make me a running wimp when I need calories during an 8 mile run?)
Mile 5- 9:56 (the fast mile started taking its toll. I was also starting to feel the heat. Why did I think it was a good idea to start running at 10:30???)
Mile 6- 9:50 (when is that Gu going to kick in?)
Mile 7- 9:32 (how many times am I going to look at that silly Garmin? One of these days I am going to trip because of my obsession with the Garmin)
Mile 8- 8:59 (woo hoo! As I began that last mile, I saw two older women walking. I am pretty sure by their attire that they were training for the 3-Day Walk. That is something I want to do someday. I thought to myself, "if two women in their 60's could walk 60 miles, I can certainly push myself this last mile." I ran that last mile for the women (and men) walking in a couple of weeks to raise money to fight breast cancer. I felt glad to be wearing pink :-) I was hoping that I could have done closer to 8:45, but it was my desired half-marathon pace and it was a negative split.)

Total Distance- 8.07 miles
Time- 1:16:44
Pace- 9:31

Lately, I have only been running on the weekend. Life has just been so busy. If I am going to do a half marathon in six weeks or so, I need to run during the week. It is just SO hard when it is dark in the morning. I think I am going to have to break down and get a gym membership so I can run on the treadmill at 5:30. Yikes.

Next week I am going to run my first 5K. Isn't it funny? I have run just about all the other distances-- marathon, half-marathon, 15K, 10K. I am not looking for a stellar time because it is not really a runner's race. It is the Race for the Cure and when I walked it a few years ago, I didn't even know that people ran it. Wow, how things have changed.

Happy running everyone! A special shout to everyone running the Marine Corp tomorrow. That is one race I would love to be part of. Good luck to MCM Mama in her first marathon!!

an interesting online game

Jody is a huge advocate for eliminating poverty. She has a few links on her blog that are pretty interesting. There is a link where you can donate water AND have some fun. Sometimes it is mind boggling how LITTLE I know about world geography!

Give it a try!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tagged

Terri tagged me so of course I'll play along....


Rules: Each player answers the question themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve answered the questions on your blog.


10 Years Ago (1998):
  1. I was living in Topeka, KS
  2. I still enjoyed my job there, working with some GREAT people
  3. I had just discovered working out again and I had time to go to the gym almost every day
  4. I was single with no prospects
  5. My idea of fun was driving to Kansas City for a day of shopping with my friends

5 Things on Today’s “To Do” List (this was Sunday's when I started this post... I am too lazy to write today's *wink*):

  1. Go to Home Depot to get supplies to install new hard wood floor....go to other Home Depot to get said supplies that were out of stock at the first store
  2. Rip out old (disgusting) carpet and pad (my dear hubby did most of this while I was on the 2nd Home Depot trip)
  3. Prep living room/dining room with moisture barrier and sound deadening foam to go under wood
  4. Install half of living room/dining room floor
  5. Make dinner (this one was all me... cedar plank salmon, gorgonzola gnocci and green beans. Yummy!)

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:

  1. Have my husband quit his job so we could start our own business (after a much-deserved break)
  2. Move to a more family-friendly neighborhood in a better school district (preferably on a cul-de-sac with a bunch of kids my kids' ages)
  3. Put aside money so that the kids can go to whatever college they want
  4. Take a fantastic family trip. If I became a multi millionaire, I would take all my friends and family along!
  5. Buy a new car (probably a hybrid SUV. I really love my SUV, but hate the impact it has on the world)

5 Places I have lived:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Reno, Nevada
  3. St. Louis, Missouri
  4. Topeka, Kansas
  5. Palm Springs, California

5 Jobs I have had:

  1. Cocktail Waitress
  2. Blackjack Dealer
  3. Casino Shift Manager
  4. Director of Table Games
  5. Assistant General Manager

Now I’m tagging (I apologize if you've already been tagged...just ignore me in that case):

Penny, Laura, , Kristin, Isshino,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another shout out

AKA Alice is running the half in San Francisco this weekend. I have enjoyed reading about her exploits in San Diego as she and her friends train for the race. I hope they have a FABULOUS time!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good luck, Alissa!!!!

I am sending a shout-out to Alissa who is running the Nike Women's Marathon this weekend. I am jealous, because it sounds like such a great event. Alissa, you have done all the training...now go have fun!

I can't wait to read all about it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I have a lot of work to do...

I think my eight mile run two weeks ago was a fluke. Today's twelve mile run was pretty hard. If I am going to run the Half Marathon in Las Vegas, I need to get serious about my training. Running once a week isn't going to cut it.

My run today wasn't abysmal, but it was harder than my recent runs. I really tried to push myself and was pretty sluggish. My first mile was the only one that seemed to feel right. There are a few reasons, I believe, for this:
  • We went to the SDSU football game and the incredible KGB Sky Show afterwards. A few beers while tailgating and a late night are more than I am used to.
  • Getting to bed late doesn't stop a two-year-old from getting up before 7 a.m. Her tummy is hungry and she wants "bweakfast."
  • Fewer hours of sleep meant a slower start in the morning. We all decided to go down to the bay (making it even slower), so I didn't start my run until after 11. I am so used to running fresh and while it is still cool. It was definitely starting to heat up during my run.
  • Along with the heat was very dry air.
  • I have been too lazy to get up during the week to run.

Distance: 12.22 miles
Time: 1:58
Pace: 9:43

Unlike Laura (from Absolut(ly) Fit), alcohol and running don't mix well for me. Even a few beers at a football game make me feel pretty sluggish and dehydrated the next day. To be fair, I am old enough to be Laura's mother (as much as it pains me to admit). Who knows how I would have done after a late night of revelry when I was in my early twenties.

Today, I was thirsty within the first mile of my run. I brought about 18 ounces of liquid in my hydration belt and it wasn't enough. I had to stop and fill up a bottle around mile 8. The Santa Anas are here and it was super dry today. I think it added to the thirst factor. It also gave me my first taste of chafing in a long while. It seems confusing that I chafe more in dry weather. I think what happens is that I sweat and then it dries and I am not sweating enough to keep it lubricated (sorry if this is TMI) and the salt crystals rub.

Even though the run was sluggish and hard, I really enjoyed it. I ran my favorite Mission Bay loop. My husband rode his bike with the kids in the trailer for a couple of miles with me and then took the kids to a great playground there at the bay. The run starts in the Mission Bay park, which is filled with families, walkers (there are tons of women training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk coming up) and other runners. I continue past Sea World. I cross over to go around another part of the bay, down to the jetty and then up the boardwalk along Mission Beach. The mood on the boardwalk is different than the park. There are fewer little kids and dogs. People are doing a lot of hanging out and there is more of a "vacation" vibe. The last part of the run goes through a residential area. While I do a lot of people watching at the beach, through the neighborhoods of Pacific Beach, I pretty much just zoned out to my music.

So starting this week, I am officially training for a half marathon again. I just need to get my butt in gear to get my mid-week runs in. I definitely need to do some speedwork if I want to break two hours on the flat Vegas course.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Signs and motivation

This week's Take It and Run Thursday topic is signs you love to see while running a race.

During my marathon, there were a two specific places where I remember the signs and how much they helped me. One of them came between miles 18 and 19. I had just hit the porta potty and I had lost all my rhythm. I was hurting and wondering if I would make it to the end. There was a woman on the side of the road holding a sign that said PAIN IS TEMPORARY. That made me remember a quote from Lance Armstrong on my Nike training mix that said "pain is temporary, quitting is forever." I looked at the woman holding the sign and thanked her. It really was all I needed to push through the next couple of miles.

The other sign(s) that stand out from that race were the most important of all. At mile 14, my biggest fans were along the course with a flag with loving words written on both sides. That flag was everything to me. The thoughts behind the flag and the people who made it were one of the biggest reasons I was running the marathon in the first place.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Life lessons learned from running...

I have been running most of my life. However, it has only been in the last six months or so that I have actually considered myself a runner.

As a kid, my dad took us to AAU all-comers track meets. He was a big-time track star growing up and I know he would have loved to have one of his kids follow in his footsteps. In a scrap book in my mom's attic there are a TON of "participant" ribbons, maybe a few second and third place ribbons and one or two blue, first place ones. Those times I placed, it is very possible I was the only one in my event. I was never very good.

In junior high, I did cross country and track. Once again, I was never very good. In fact, I hated it. I never won a race and never felt like I would improve enough to win a race (or come close to placing). I never worked hard enough to win a race. I quit. The high school track coach tried to talk me into joining because I could run hurdles. The state hurdling champ was graduating from our high school that year. I didn't want to run in her shadow because I knew I wouldn't be very good. I joined the speech team instead.

Twenty-seven years later it isn't about winning or losing. It is about getting out there and getting strong. It is about competing against myself. It is about having some "me" time. You know... I don't even know how slow I ran a mile when I ran cross country. I only know that it wasn't any fun- no one talked to me (and if you know me, you KNOW that is torture for me), I hurt by the end and I was often bringing up the rear. Now I often have fun, I talk to whomever I am running with (and sometimes perfect strangers) and it usually doesn't hurt.

Basically, here is what I have learned about running that I wish I knew at 13...

  • It really can be fun
  • Races aren't always about winning (actually, in my case they are never about winning)
  • Slow runs can be some of the most enjoyable
  • It actually takes work and commitment to improve at something

and....

  • I wouldn't always have the metabolism of a hummingbird and exercise is my friend *wink* (had I known that one, I might have avoided some heartache after the "freshman 15" and the "30-something pudge")

This post was inspired by last week's Take It and Run Thursday on Runners Lounge.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Shout Out to Terri!!!!

Terri (Middle-of-the-Pack-Girl) is running her first marathon this weekend. I am so excited for her. I remember that feeling. Nervous. Excited. Terrified. Anxious. Happy the training is over. Sad the training is over.

No matter how the race goes, remember how hard you have worked. You are getting to the starting line healthy. There is no question whether or not you will finish.

Here are a couple things to remember to do:
  • Have fun
  • Say Hi and Thank You to the volunteeers
  • Chat with at least one stranger
  • Pass people in the last mile
  • Smile for the photographers

I'll be holding my breath until you post your race report.
GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm BACK, baby!!!!!!!

After taking four weeks off from running I was excited to get out there and run this morning. I didn't get up particularly early, which was a risk because after the fog and low clouds cleared up around 9, it has become increasingly hotter throughout the day. But when I finally drove down to Mission Bay around 8, it was still overcast and around 65 degrees. Perfect.

I just have to say I ROCKED IT!!!! I am so happy that I didn't lose my running. I lost a little endurance (which is to be expected) and my last two miles were tough. But I was able to run eight miles at a faster pace than I have run without being in a race (in fact, I ran the exact same pace during my 15K in July)! I think you were right, Terri, when you suggested that I might come back even faster. :-)

My hubby returned from an 8 day business trip last night. Instead of longing for quality family time, I was ready for ALONE time. *blush* I could tell I was excited to finally get out there, without kids, and run. My first mile was my fastest mile. In fact, it was one of my fastest miles EVER.

Here are my splits (not including one potty stop around mile 3):
Mile 1- 8:25
Mile 2- 8:33
Mile 3- 8:45
Mile 4- 9:17
Mile 5- 9:29
Mile 6- 9:15
Mile 7- 9:15
Mile 8- 9:16
.26- 2:18 (8:55 pace)

Total- 8.26 miles at 9:02 pace!!!!!

I did have one potty stop (darnit!) and I don't know how to find out that split with the stoppage time added in. I have no idea how long I stopped for. I am really going to have to find a way to figure out this potty thing on my runs. I did figure out one thing and I will pass on this advice: granola and almonds is NOT a good snack at 10 p.m. if you plan on running in the morning. Enough said.

My knees bothered me a bit toward the end. They don't feel injured or anything, just a bit old and creaky. I totally forgot to ice, so we'll see how I feel in the morning.

I am glad to be back. Now, I just need to find a way to stay motivated...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

26 words of advice about running a marathon....

Do not be discouraged if the race does not go the way you think it will. Remember what an accomplishment it is getting to the start!

In my opinion, the biggest accomplishment of a marathon isn't necessarily the end result at the finish line (although that is a HUGE freaking accomplishment). The BIGGEST accomplishment of a marathon is completing the training to get there in the first place. Non-runners are impressed that you ran 26.2 miles (heck, runners are impressed you ran 26.2 miles!). What many don't realize is the sheer volume of training that goes along with just getting to the starting line. It is not necessarily athletic prowess that makes a marathoner..... it is determination, commitment and time (not to mention the ability to stay injury free!).

My marathon didn't go exactly the way I had planned. I had trained for 10-minute-miles and finished with over 11-minute-miles (a pace I had never done in training). My twenty miler was a fantastic success while the marathon brought all sorts of issues long before the twenty mile mark. It was a while after the marathon before I stopped beating myself up over not finishing in 4:30. Even though I had tried to tell myself that my goal for my first marathon was just to finish, it was hard not to have a time in mind when my training had gone so well.

I originally wrote "don't be disappointed..." but changed it to discouraged. It is nearly impossible to stop yourself from being disappointed when things don't go your way. However, discouragement is a much more distructive emotion. Discouragement sometimes leads to giving up. What I have learned in my journey over this past year is not to give up. Running is a process with ups and downs.

Be proud of how far you have come and celebrate it!

***This post is inspired by Runners Lounge Take it and Run Thursday. This week they are asking loungers to write how to conquer the marathon in 26 words or less.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh those beautiful Deltoids

Don't shoulders look good when they are nicely toned and defined? I know it is getting into Fall, but there are a few more weeks of tank top running left. Here is a great way to work out those shoulders without going to the gym and without equipment. Guys, if you want to bulk them up, just add some weights. Ladies, burning out the muscles with only gravity as your resistance is a perfect way to get those defined shoulders.
Did I mention that strong deltoids will help you pump those arms on those killer hills or as you sprint to the finish??

deltoids (anterior, medial/lateral and a just bit of posterior)--

  • stand straight with belly pulled into your spine, your head is an extension of your spine and your shoulders should be back and away from your ears
  • if you would like to add some intensity, stand on one foot to engage your core
  • don't forget to breathe!
  • raise your arms to a 90 degree angle like a goal post (elbows shoulder height)
  • bring your forearms in front of your face so you are looking at your wrists, keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle
  • move your arms back and forth for at least 30 seconds
  • now... hold your arms straight out in front of you
  • palms down, move your hands like a flutter kick, in small up-and-down motions
  • do this for at least 30 seconds
  • without resting, move your arms straight out to the side still shoulder height (like the Christ the Redeemer statue)
  • move each hand as though you are opening a doorknob, both directions, rotating at the wrist
  • again... continue for 30 seconds or so
  • move your arms to the front again with no rest
  • palms down, put one over the other and alternate (sort of a "hand jive" motion)
  • do this for at least 30 seconds
  • hands in a goal post position again, do a military press, bringing your hands over your head and back to the 90 degree position
  • do this for at least 30 seconds
  • if your shoulders aren't burning by now, repeat the exercises :-)

I think this is my favorite set of exercises. And if you ask me my favorite part of my body, it is my shoulders. These exercises work!

*As with any exercise, please consult a physician before starting any workout program.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shout out to a couple bloggers on their half marathon tomorrow!!

Terri and Kristin are running in the Maine Coast Half Marathon in the morning. I am jealous! It looks like a GREAT race. It is all women (save one lucky guy picked in the lottery) and it looks like absolutely breathtaking scenery. I am sure the weather will be fantastic.

Good luck, ladies!!!! I can't wait to read all about it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Since I am not running much right now....

I thought I would share some of my cross training exercises. I will start out with some basic ones (that most of you probably already know) and when I get the hang of writing them out, I'll post more involved ones. The great thing about these are that you don't need to go to the gym to do them.

Today, I did my fourth team teaching for Stroller Strides. It was at Sea World, so it was a treat for the kids (although they love Stroller Strides, too) and me too! We went and hung out with Shamu after class! Did I mention how much I love living in San Diego?? The class and my teaching went well and I have a good start on my new endeavor.



Here are the stations I taught today:
*biceps-- [I use resistance bands, but you can use small dumbells too. Resistance bands are super convenient and you can bring them anywhere. You can buy them for less than $10 a piece]
  • Stand on the band with your feet shoulder distance apart holding each handle. Do a standard bicep curl. Do at least twelve repetitions or until you start to feel it. Keep the contraction going through the entire range of motion (UP and DOWN).
  • Keep your shoulders back and down (away from your ears) and pull your belly button into your spine. Posture is important!
  • If you stand on the band with one foot, lifting the other foot, you engage your core, getting more of a full-body workout.
  • At any time, add the lower half of the body by doing squats. Make sure your knees are over your ankles and you stick your butt out behind you (like you're sitting on a porta-potty, something I am much too familiar with. LOL) Your back should be straight and shoulders back. Do the bicep curl on the way up.
  • Change your grip to a hammer grip (just like you are holding a hammer with your knuckles verticle instead of horizontal). Do a few sets with this grip.
  • To really burn those biceps try a two-step bicep curl, pausing when your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Then continue upward to a full range of motion.
  • Lastly, put your elbows at a 90 degree angle and move your hands holding the band in and out across your body on a level plane. There is no full curl here, just an extended contration of the bicep. You'll feel this burn quickly.
*triceps-- [using a bench or chair] *do not do if you have wrist issues
  • Sit on a bench with your hands next to your hips. Your fingers are over the bench.
  • Scoot forward a bit so your bum is hanging over the edge of the bench.
  • Bend your elbows straight back, lowering your bum (sorry... habit with talking to little kids). Keep your derriere (is that more grown-up?) as close to the bench as possible.
  • Make sure your shoulders are back and away from your ears.
  • The further your feet are from your body, the harder the exercise. To add even more intensity, stack one foot on top of the other with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Do this for several sets.

****Thanks to all your comments regarding my running hiatus. I appreciate the kicks in the behind (yet another euphemism for booty *wink*) as well as those telling me to give myself a break. For the next week or two, running just doesn't fit with my schedule. My husband is leaving for nine days and it will be close to impossible to get out and run anything longer than three or four miles since I'll have a 2-year-old in a stroller.

I have decided not to worry about it. I will get back out there running once he gets back. I will have plenty of time before the Mud Run in November. I am pretty sure that I will be running the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December. I think that Jill and Kristin both talked about being there and it will be fun to meet. I will also be running the Carlsbad Half in January. So there is plenty to train for to keep my motivation back up there.

I am also thinking that my second marathon will be a reprise of the Rock-n-Roll Marathon here in San Diego. With two small children, a husband who works long hours and a new "job," one marathon per year is MORE than enough.

*As with any exercise, please consult a physician before beginning any workout program.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon coming out on DVD!!

http://www.marathonmovie.com/

If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it. We saw it a month or two into our marathon training and it both inspired and terrified me. I love how it doesn't sugar coat anything, yet shows how, with drive and determination you can achieve your goals. It also showed that no matter how smart you train and how much you want it, sometimes injuries will sideline you and keep you from the race.

Unfortunately, it looks like it might be a couple of days too late for those of you running marathons the first weekend in October (Terri and Coffee Betsy come to mind)


*wow... I had over a week of blog drought and now two in one day :-)

Where oh where did my running go??

I have misplaced my running, at least the motivation to actually get out there and do it. Poor running seems to be taking a backseat to the rest of my life.

On one hand, I have started to team teach my Stroller Strides classes, so at least I am getting some decent cross-training in. However, I have been sleeping in until 6:30 and going to bed late, which are bad habits for a runner.

Someone asked me today when my next race is. That's the problem. I don't really have any peak races on the horizon. I think I am going to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon virtually through my Nike +. After the great Human Race experience, I think it will be a lot of fun. I just hope Roadrunner is sponsoring that one as well. I don't have the drive that I did for the AFC, since it isn't a "real" race.

I am running a 10K Mud Run in November, which should be fun, but it is not something that makes me feel like I have to go out and train for it. I am running with a team, so I don't really need to do speed work. I might try some trail runs to help me prepare.

Honestly, this blog is usually a great motivating factor. Every day that I don't run, I feel guilty that I am not keeping up with it and with my virtual running partners in the blogosphere. Granted, many of you are training for a marathon right now. I definitely don't have time for that. But even though I am not officially part of the Virtual Run Club, I feel almost like I am accountable to other runners who read this and I am failing.

So someone please help to kick my butt!! I need to get out there and run, dangit!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Attention Brooks Adrenaline fans...

In my earlier post this week I mentioned that my GTS 8's are being discontinued. I e-mailed Brooks to double check and received this response:

Hello from Brooks-

The Adrenaline shoe is not being discontinued. This is one of our"series" shoes, meaning it gets updated and re-released every year. This shoe will be re-released as the Adrenaline 9 in January of 2009.

It is true the Adrenaline 8 will no longer be produced once the Adrenaline 9 is released, but the Adrenaline 9 is essentially the same shoe with some design and color updates.

Thanks for contacting us-

I know that there are several of you that wear the Adrenalines (Laura, Terri, Jill) and I thought you'd like to know.


Monday, September 1, 2008

A big woo hoo for Nike and Roadrunner Sports!

I had SO much fun yesterday morning. It was quite possibly the best race I have been in.... and it wasn't even a real race! Well, virtually speaking, it was real. I decided to run the Nike Human Race at our local Roadrunner Sports. They mentioned on their website that they would be hosting a group and I thought that I would have better luck at getting a good time running with a group. I honestly expected a dozen or so people there.

There were at least fifty or sixty people there! They had a table set up for signing in, t-shirts, water etc. They even had a sports massage guy giving free massages. It was like a real race. In fact, it was better than some that I have been to! Remember, unless you are running in one of the twenty "real" races, the Nike Human Race is free. So I was a little skeptical walking up to the registration table. I asked if we had to pay. Nope. She then hands me not one, but TWO shirts!!! The red Human Race shirt is an awesome lightweight Nike dri-fit. In fact, I took off the shirt I was wearing and wore it during the race. The other shirt is a nice cotton Nike dri-weave. They also gave us a Nike nylon bag and an iTunes treadmill workout to download. SCORE (have I mentioned that I love free stuff??). EDITED TO ADD: I can't believe I forgot to mention that they had raffle prizes and I WON!! I won a FREE pair of shoes from Roadrunner!!! I just purchased a spare pair of Brooks Adrenalines that are being discontinued, but the free pair doesn't expire, so I am good for a year or so!

There were no clocks. There was no gun. There was a really friendly group of runners and a dozen or so volunteers along the course. We did a 5K loop through the industrial area around Roadrunner twice. At every turn or intersection there was a volunteer. I recognized several of them as Roadrunner employees. I was so thrilled by the unexpected race atmosphere that I turned into "Chipper Kim" (to steal a term from Jenn *wink*). I said "thank you" to each volunteer and "good morning" to a couple of joggers and walkers that we passed.

I wasn't sure how well I would do during my run. Honestly, it was hard to take it seriously as a real race, so I was WAY more relaxed than any other race. In fact, Saturday night I went to the San Diego State football game (tailgating beforehand) and then met an old friend for Mexican food and margaritas. I am now wondering if my pre-race routine should consist of a couple of beers, a Patron margarita and carne asada! I ran really well!

When we started, I took off fast. There was a bit of a hill that I sort of charged up. I did my first mile in 8:35!! When I looked at my Garmin (yes, I had both the Garmin AND the Nike +) I was shocked at the split and tried to slow down a bit. I didn't slow down much. My slowest split was around 9 minutes!

It was not too hot, but the humidity was definitely up there. I was really sweating buckets. In fact, at the end of the run, I think I was the wettest I have ever been after a run. But I have to say that the Human Race shirt dried super quickly. I can't say as much for my sports bra. Ick.

I thought my Nike+ had fixed itself. As I crossed over the finish line the first time, before starting the second loop, the lady said, "half way point." Cool. Unfortunately, as I finished up the second loop, she was telling me I had 400 meters to go as I was approaching the home stretch. Since this was an online race, I decided that my finish line had to be when the Nike lady told me I had completed the 10K. I must have looked pretty funny barrelling through the finish and continuing to sprint another 200 yards or so. Luckily, I am not the only one with goofy calibration and wasn't the only person to pass the finish line. So my Nike + time and the actual time I crossed the finish line are off by a little over a minute. Either way, I am taking it as an official PR!!!

Time (from Nike+): 55:07
Pace: 8:52
Rank: 9549 out of ??? (this is likely to change since people have until tomorrow to upload their run info)
Rank for women: 1840

According to my Garmin, I ran it in 53:53. Like I said, either way, I am THRILLED. Oh, and according to both gadgets, my last mile was my fastest! I am pretty happy about having a negative split!

All in all, a great experience. I hope Nike does more things like this. I am planning on participating "virtually" in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October. I hope that Roadrunner Sports gets involved again. Did I mention they had orange slices, bagels and drinks at the end?

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