Thursday, September 13, 2012

In case you hadn't heard: my blog has MOVED

Since launching my new blog, I have received four new followers HERE.  Sigh. Please follow me at my new site at Mom2marathon.com.  I love that you follow me here, but it is going to be very lonely and boring over here.  Good things are happening at Mom2marathon.com.  You'll see!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Even more changes!! **BLOG RELAUNCH**

Yippee!!
We changed states, the kids changed schools.  Heck...we changed our life. I suppose it makes sense that my blog and website would change as well.

We are settled in Fort Collins, Colorado and it is time for me to start thinking about starting my business again. This website will be a key part of building that business. My business website has been sitting idle for a year. I paid for a domain name and used the free drag-and-drop software to create a boring website. Then I met Jaime from Fit With Flair, who specializes in creating websites for fitness professionals.

She did a great job!  I trust her recommendations as she has helped many women build their businesses. I am now on track to help women change their fitness!  One of her biggest recommendations was to move my blog from Blogger to my site as an integral part of my business. That means making the move to Wordpress.

I am not as scared of this move as I used to be. I write on a Wordpress platform for The RUNiverse, so I am used to the interface. My blog has been pretty stagnant this summer with sporadic posts, very few comments and no new followers. It needed some new life anyway.

So...[drum roll, please] Mom to Marathon is now at Mom2marathon.com.   The blog is at Mom2marathon.com/blog/  Come check it out!  Please sign up for the RSS feed HERE so you don't miss anything!

And...of course, Happy Running!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reebok Crossfit: my first WOD

After the Warrior Dash, I was able to participate in a Crossfit WOD (workout of the day).  I was there to enjoy that great day thanks to Reebok and their Crossfit Box.

I changed into a dry shirt (my race shirt from the Warrior Dash which is one of the best race shirts ever!), but still had on my muddy shorts. I still had mud on my hat and in my pig tails. The best part of my post-race outfit was my new pair of Reeboks!  I was so thankful for these, since I donated my incredibly muddy shoes (this was their second mud run).
And look how PRETTY they are!! I squealed like a little girl when I opened the box.  Chris, from Reebok, must have thought I was crazy. I don't think he appreciated the pretty pink color as much as I did.

I was really nervous about the WOD. I have seen Crossfit workouts, I know people (strong people) who do Crossfit workouts...and my fitness has suffered a bit this summer.  My legs are fine from running, but I have really ignored my upper body these past few months. I am a fitness professional (albeit on a bit of a leave of absence) and it would be embarrassing if I couldn't complete the workout.

The workout ended up being pretty straight forward. After getting a brief rundown of the exercises [kettlebell swing, air squats, sit ups and push ups], I began.
I felt good with the kettlebell swings. In retrospect, I should have gone with the bigger bell. Being nervous, I accepted the smallest bell for the workout. I have a couple kettlebells...I need to dig them out and start using them again!)



The air squats were no problem. I must have been doing them fast because Elena from Reebok couldn't catch me in the bottom position. ;-) Trust me, I got my booty down below parallel!

I was nervous about the sit ups, since I haven't done much core work lately, but I knocked them out. Check out those feet...they stayed flat on the ground!
It was the push ups that I struggled with. The first set of ten was fine.  By the time I hit the third round, I was struggling.  I felt the after-effects of the push ups the next few days!

It was the perfect workout. After running 3.2 hard Warrior miles, I am not sure how long of a workout I could have done.  This workout lasted 3:54 minutes.  I had hoped for a little better time.  The best of the day was 2:16. The cool thing about this kind of workout is that I can do it at home. I will do it again and improve that time!

It was a great end to a great race experience. And all this before noon!!  I definitely felt like a warrior!!

I spent the rest of the day enjoying the gorgeous Rocky Mountains with my family.


Thanks, Reebok  for the opportunity for such a great weekend.   I felt like I was able to really #getafterit!!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Warrior Dash Race Report

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to run the Warrior Dash as a guest of Reebok last weekend.  I have always wanted to run the Warrior Dash. If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I am a fan of mud and obstacle runs.* The big difference here was that I was going to run the Warrior Dash by myself. I have never run a race like this by myself. I have run every mud run with at least one other person. I was a little nervous about this one.

The race was a couple of hours from our house, so we decided to stay close. We found a campground close to Copper Mountain and experienced more of Colorado. I am glad the race was only three miles.  Between the high altitude (well over 9000 feet) and the hard, lumpy ground, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.Camping in Colorado
Camping in Colorado
The plan was to have my family come up to the race and enjoy the festivities, but getting kids up and at ‘em early was a bit of a challenge.  I left my husband and kids with the bikes and drove to Copper Mountain.
I forgot all my nervousness once I got to the race festivities. I met Chris, from Reebok, and started getting excited. I was not only looking forward to the race, but doing a Crossfit WOD afterward with the Reebok folks (post to come soon).
Ready to go before the Warrior Dash
I was ready to go!
before Warrior Dash
With lots of cheers, we were off!
warrior start
Since I was by myself, I decided to just chat with runners along the way and make friends. These kinds of races are great because everyone is there to have FUN.
running the Warrior Dash!kid in tutu during Warrior Dash Colorado
The start of this race was at 9700 feet in elevation. When I started, I felt pretty good, but as we started to climb, I felt the affects of thinner air. We went up a steep hill early in the race and someone said, as we crested the hill, “that just wiped the city out of us!”  The altitude was being felt by everyone.
We literally run up a ski run. Running uphill is more like power hiking uphill when you are near 10,000 feet in elevation.

Running up the hill, trying to breathe…
steep run during Warrior Dash Colorado

If you have never done a Warrior Dash, what makes it fun is the various obstacles. obstacle ahead, Warrior Dash Colorado
Luckily, the obstacles were pretty tame. I expected the worst, but I was able to do them all. balance obstacle Warrior Dashrope obstacle Warrior Dashrope obstacle looking down
Most mud runs/obstacle races have tubes to crawl through.  However, few of them were as tight as the one in this race. The only way I could get through was to pull myself through with my forearms. I scraped my knee up a bit.  There was no duck walking through this obstacle.
tunnel obstacle Warrior Dash
In fact, I wondered if my brother would have been able to make it through at all. This picture is my brother during the Camp Pendleton Mud Run earlier this summer after squeezing through a full tube.
Mud Run pic
One of the obstacles made some runners nervous.  I wasn’t nervous. I have run/jumped over fire in other races.  Heck, I have done it in a muddy wedding dress!
fire ahead Warror Dash
fire obstacle Warrior Dash
Even though I have done run over fire before, I still let out a squeal.
video

Leaping over fire…

There were signs throughout the race to inspire and/or make us laugh.
cried signgym teacher sign
DSCF1213
That last sign really made me smile.  My husband runs the Accounting department at his company.  His screen name for his work Skype is “Kenny from Accounting.”  LOL.

The last obstacle was the mud. I am a bit of a mud connoisseur and this mud pit was one of the best.  It was like pea soup mud. It was liquid and coated everything.
DSCF1231DSCF1232

I turned on the video camera as I got into the pit [it might make you a little dizzy]. At some point I decided that I needed both hands to make it through the pit. I put the camera in my mouth.  I thought about cutting that part out, but I like the comments made by others.  Just ignore my heavy breathing.
soupy mud at the Warrior Dash
 DSCF1239
My camera was covered in mud. I cleared off the lens a bit, but the rest was covered. I got another runner to take an “after” picture of me, but she couldn’t see if it clicked a picture and *sigh* it didn’t.
I usually skip the showers. The lines are long and the water is cold.  However, I have never been quite this muddy at the end of a race. Luckily, the lines weren’t super long and the water was actually warm!
Warrior Dash showers
After rinsing off, I headed back to the Reebok Crossfit Box, where I had left my bag, to put on some clothes.  I was excited to do a Crossfit WOD.

Stay tuned for my report on my very first Crossfit experience!

Happy Running…

*see my posts on Gladiator Run, Camp Pendleton Mud Run etc.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Marathon Training: 6 weeks to go and clicking off the miles

I am signed up for the inaugural Big Cottonwood Marathon on September 22. Signing up was a big leap of faith as I didn’t really start training until early July, giving me less than three months of training. Add to that the adjustment to the altitude here and scheduling issues and I have really been feeling behind the eight-ball.

I have muddled through my runs. I ran 14 miles twice, feeling tired and slow. I struggled through 16 miles twice. My training pace is SO much slower than any training I have done, including my very first marathon.

My training plan is been all over the place. I was supposed to get 16 miles in and we took a family camping trip where family time outranked my run. I was supposed to do an 18 miler and my husband went out of town for his annual guys trip. It has been all about adjustment, tweaking and getting the runs in when I can.

My eighteen mile run this weekend was the first time I felt somewhat normal. My pace stayed closer to 10 minute miles (although not under like I would like). That run also marked the end of my first 40+ mile week in this cycle. I actually felt like I might be on track for a marathon in six weeks.

I am going to continue to plug away. I will increase my mileage to hopefully peak over 50 miles. I will attend track workouts and I’m considering a monster hill climb that the local trail group does every other week.

I will be able to run a marathon. I know this.  However, the big question mark is how fast can I run it. My sporadic training and acclimatization makes it unlikely that I will see a PR. Hopefully, I can fine tune my goal over the next several weeks.

The good news is that Fort Collins is a wonderful place to run [see previous long run pictures HERE]. So far I have run miles and miles right out my front door. I am dying to try the miles and miles of trails in the front range a short drive away, but haven’t felt confident enough yet to go out on the trails alone.

IMAG1914

And there is something about the clouds here. They seem so much more interesting.

There is plenty of variety in the scenery as well.  As I get off road, it is only going to get better. IMAG1920

IMAG1976

IMAG1872IMAG1875

Happy Running….

Friday, August 3, 2012

Color Me Rad

This race looks like so much fun!

I have thought for a while that a run full of color would be perfect to do with my kids.

Have you ever run a color race?? Are they as fun as they look?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Common Ground

My running friends from my old neighborhood
Running is a nearly universal language. It breaks the ice and brings people together. If two strangers are runners, they can usually find something to talk about. Being a running mother gives us even more in common.

This past weekend I found this to be true. Twice.

We went camping with a group from Fort Collins and spent all day Saturday on a pontoon boat out on a lake. I was the newbie of the group and I spent a lot of time getting to know everyone. One of the women approached me and said, "I hear you are a runner." We got to talking (and talked on and off most of the day) and I found out that she runs half marathons. I did a little happy dance inside. Perhaps a new long run partner?  I practically begged her to invite me along to a long run. I cyber-stalked her and found her on Facebook and I am hopeful that we will run sometime soon.

That morning, I had noticed a woman going off for a run. She was carrying water, so I knew it was going to be a long one. Other than feeling a bit guilty for skipping a long run that day, I was curious where she was going to go. So enamored am I with other running moms that I snapped a picture of this anonymous woman leaving her children for some peaceful time in the mountains.

Later that afternoon, I walked into her campsite and asked her where she ran.  She and I started talking about running and races (she is a marathoner and training for a 50K). We both lamented that we hadn't spoken the day before and we could have run together. Later, she walked into our campsite with a map and showed me some places to run. On Sunday, I set off on my solo run (which was fabulous, by the way). She asked about it afterward and we chatted some more. As both of our families were leaving, we exchanged information. She doesn't live particularly close to me, but we both thought we might run into each other at a Colorado or Utah race sometime.

With women, running opens the door and gives us an opportunity to become friends with people we wouldn't necessarily get to know in any other way. Last weekend reminded me again what a wonderful community I belong to. Runners are great and runners who are moms are awesome.  It gives me hope that I will find common ground with some local running moms in my neighborhood.  It is only a matter of time.

Happy Running...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First track workout in Colorado, in this training cycle and in 2012

photo courtesy of  http://www.trailrunningclub.com
I am proud of myself. I stretched beyond my comfort zone and joined a group of complete strangers for a track workout. I put myself out there with some (hopefully) positive results.

I have had great intentions in the past of joining a formal running group, but have never done it. I joined a Meetup group in Anaheim when I first moved there, but was lucky enough to find friends in the neighborhood soon after moving there, so I never met up with the Meetup group. I am smack in the middle of marathon training right now.  *Did I mention that I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Marathon on September 22?*  That means that I need to find ways to motivate myself to push a little further.

I have met some people through DailyMile who are local Colorado runners. One of them messaged me about a track workout in town. She couldn't make it this week, but told me where and when it was.  She encouraged me to go telling me that the group was warm and welcoming.

I was nervous. Really nervous.

I showed up to the track and there were a couple people there warming up. I set off to do a warm up myself. It struck me odd that the people that were running were running the opposite direction than people normally run around a track. I followed suit. It really did feel odd to run that way on a track. I figured that people wanted to run a different direction since the workouts would go the standard counter-clockwise.  I didn't ask.

After my one mile warm up (which was the best mile I have run since moving here), people were gathering. I stood with the group awkwardly. No one talked to me at first. I introduced myself to someone who seemed like he was in charge. He then introduced me to Jane, the coach. Both of them were super nice and welcomed me.

Coach Jane gave us the evening's workout.  This was cool. I have never had a coach tell me my workout. I have given out workouts, but it was nice to have someone figure it out for me. The workout was to run 1200 meters as a group and then in pairs, we would run twelve intervals of 300 meters. During the group 1200, we were to figure out who our partner would be.

Here is where I realized that the group was fast. Very fast. I ran with the pack and as I looked down at my Garmin, I was running in the low 7's! I averaged that 3/4 mile at around 7:15, which is fast for me, especially lately.  However, I quickly fell toward the back of the pack. I was running even with some women for the first lap or two, but by the third lap I was nearly dead last. There was one older guy who was behind me. I have never really been the fastest runner in a group, but I definitely haven't been the slowest. It was a bit of a blow to my ego.

When it came to teaming up, I felt like the nerdy kid on the playground. No one was approaching me to ask me to be their partner. It seemed like there were a couple younger women who actually teamed in a group of three. Ack...another blow to the ego. The coach paired me with the man who was slower than me. This was actually a relief since the workouts were done in a relay fashion and your rest time is a function of the speed of your partner. I knew I would need as much rest between intervals as possible.

The workout was pretty simple, once I figured out what we were actually supposed to do. We sprinted 300 meters (3/4 of the way around a track) and then jogged/walked back 100 meters where our partner would be finishing his 300 meters).  This would continue twelve times.

I can tell you that I never would have had the motivation to finish twelve intervals without the help of a partner/group. My partner, Brian, and I had been lapped several times over.  But the good news is that with everyone running their own intervals, you couldn't really tell who was ahead and who was behind.  Had Brian suggested that we skip the last two intervals (since we were about two behind the bulk of the pack), I would have easily agreed.  But we did them all and pushed ourselves each time. We finished last to cheers of some of the people who were still milling about (others had set off to run some cool-down laps).

My pace was not as bad as I had thought at the time. Converting 300m to standard interval distances isn't easy, but I am pretty sure I am on target for where I need to be for a 3:40 to 3:45 marathon.  When I knew I would be doing a track workout, not knowing what kind of intervals we would be doing, I set a conservative goal to run 400's under 2 minutes, knowing I should decrease that time to around 1:40 or so. I was not that far off.  Here are my intervals:
1:08
1:10
1:13
1:19
1:15
1:13
1:16
1:19
1:19
1:15
1:19
1:16
My overall running pace for the evening (not including the jog back 100m to meet my partner) was 7:32 (including the 9:00 paced warm up!!).  For me, that was fast, fast, fast.  Even though I was the second slowest person out there, I am happy with my performance. Despite being the turtle, I will be checking my ego at the door and going back. Heck, some of that speed may just rub off on me!

I have eight weeks before my marathon. For the first time since starting my training, I think I am on the right track.

Happy Running...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zooma: where will they go?

I have never run a Zooma race, but I am a big fan of any race that is designed for women. Plus, my friend works with them and loves the race series and she has great taste. Zooma is getting ready to announce a new race location. Where do you think it is? Check out their video and then go to their blog to make a guess and become eligible for some prizes!

 

Have you ever run a race targeted to women? What is your favorite?  Do you think it is fair to have women's only races?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Solo long runs are tough, but doable

I have yet to find running buddies, but I still need to get long runs in. It is definitely more difficult getting out the door to run several hours by myself. On Saturday, armed with a Nathan Hydration Vest, my phone and my iPod loaded with an audiobook, I set off for my third long run since moving here. 


One thing I really enjoy about Fort Collins is that it is set up very simply. It is a grid with several main roads going north/south and east/west. It is very difficult to get lost. You will eventually come upon one of the main thoroughfares and know where you are. There is also a great system of multi-use trails weaving through the city. After a brief look at a map of these trails, I had a good idea of my route.


I started out on Power Trail, a trail that runs along the railroad tracks. There are some cool murals painted on some utility boxes, but other than that, this isn't the most beautiful path I have run since moving here.

From there I ran on the Spring Creek Trail.  I have run on this trail, in some portion or another, on each of my long runs.  It runs about 7 miles east/west. My first long run I ran on the middle portion of that path and last week I ran on the western portion.  Saturday, I ran east from the Power Trail, for just under a mile, to meet up with the Poudre River Trail.


The Poudre River Trail runs along the main river in Fort Collins through the northeast part of town. It is a gorgeous path. I ran on this trail in January when I first visited the town and again in May during my house-hunting trip.



I needed to turn toward home, so when the trail hit Lemay, a major north/south road leading back to my house, I got off the beautiful trail and headed back south on the road. This last chunk of the run wasn't as pretty or pleasant as the first chunk.  It is a nice road with a good sidewalk, but the trail system really spoils me.  Why do I run on sidewalk when there are such great paths that are nowhere near traffic?


There are definitely some pretty parts of the road.  It goes next to a couple lakes, including the one below.  Honestly, I haven't really found an "ugly" part of Fort Collins!
It was a long, HOT sixteen miles. I still haven't fully acclimated to the elevation. I take more walk breaks than I ever have. I am not sure if I would push through those urges to walk if I were running with someone else.  Probably. My pace is SO much slower than it had been. I have two months to get rid of those walk breaks and speed up that pace.


I am happy that I got my long run in as scheduled. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. It can only get better.  


I hope your long runs went well this weekend.   Happy Running!

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