Thursday, July 30, 2009

Note to drivers in my neighborhood:

The three-way stops along the main road out of the neighborhood are STOP signs, not slow-down-a-bit-and-see-if-there-is-car-coming signs! Even though it is a three-way stop, it is always good to be aware of the the fourth direction and, especially, the crosswalk. Please get off the phone, put out your cigarette and be aware of what is around you! Had my kids been with me when I had to stop short in the crosswalk, I would have chased you down.

Thank you.

The runner on your RIGHT as you only looked to the left.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Last week's update-- a good week of running

I am a little late posting about last week's runs. It was another big week, at least for me. I ran another 37 miles. It was probably my toughest week as I added speed and hills to the mix.

Monday-- rest
Tuesday--5 miles easy
Wednesday-- 6 mile hill workout
Thursday-- 6 miles easy
Friday-- 5 mile track workout
Saturday-- rest
Sunday-- 15 miles

I did three runs in a row in my neighborhood. I didn't mean to, but I got lazy. I couldn't pull myself out of bed early enough. I had every intention of driving to Lake Murray on one or two days, but I dilly dallied around until it was getting too late. I need to be home by 7:30 or so in order to get the kids ready for their days. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to the lake, so I need to factor in an extra half an hour if I want to run there. The only problem with running so much in my neighborhood is the fact that there are so many hills. To leave my immediate neighborhood, I would have to run down a very steep hill (which means running or walking back up it at the end). Hills aren't a bad thing, but they are tough every day.

My hill workout was brutal. I didn't have much of a plan, so I just ran a hill, went back down and ran it again and then found another one. We have a hill in our neighborhood that isn't quite as steep as the others. It is a little less than a half mile long and is not quite as steep as 6th street, the main hill at the end of the AFC Half Marathon. I ran up our hill at race pace. At the top, I thought I was going to pass out or throw up. It was tough. It made me realize that I might need to count on running that mile or so during AFC a bit slower than my race pace. It also means that if I am going to PR, I might have to run the early miles faster. I think I like the early hills of La Jolla better. Once you have the big hill out of the way, you can push yourself till the end. My legs were jello by the end of that hill workout. So a question about hills-- should I focus on running up them at an easy pace where I can breath regularly, getting used to the incline or power up them at an anaerobic level? What do you do?

I did have a plan for the track workout. I used a combination of some calculations from my certification training and McMillan. McMillan was a bit faster than the paces I figured on my own. It gave me a nice range to shoot for. I decided to try to aim toward the fast side of things, just to see if my legs could still move quickly. It is funny how much you can dread a track workout. It is a lot of work. But it ended up being fun. Here is what my plan was:
1 mile warm up
4 X 100 @ :24-:28 with 100m walk
4 X 200 @ :45-:57 with 200m jog
4 X 800 @ 3:40- 4:00 with 200m jog
1 mile cool down

Here's what I did:
4 X 100 @ :20*, :22, :23, :25 w/ 100m walk/jog
4 X 200 @ :48, :49, :47, :49 w/ 200m walk/jog
4 X 800 @ 3:44, 3:49, 3:46, 3:49 with a short water break getting my heart rate down-- no distance between sets
3/4 mile cool down (it was getting late, so I skipped the last lap)

Obviously, I got a bit slower as I went on, but I am happy with it. I still kept well below my original paces (the higher end of the ranges). I am going to add a few miles at race pace this week in order to train my legs to run at that speed. I am hoping for a race pace of around 8:25 per mile. I know that is a pretty aggressive goal. As we get closer to the race, I may reevaluate that goal.

I thought of Terri during the sprinting portion of the workout. She often wrote about how much she loves the sprints. During the 100's, I felt free. I just ran fast, without really worrying about the time. The longer intervals were harder. I had to really push myself on one or two of the 800's. I considered skipping the last one, but am glad I completed all the intervals.

I have mentioned the track where I like to do these workouts. It is part of the Cuyamaca College campus, a junior college near my house. The track feels like a true community track. I always see other runners and walkers there. They have visitor parking spaces (where the rest of the campus is permit only). It has a drinking fountain and a porta potty. The other college nearby has a gate and I have encountered it locked on several occasions. There are ways in, but I then feel like I am trespassing. Well, the other night, it again felt like a community spot. There was a young sprinter, some walkers, a couple running laps and then going into the adjacent hills, and one special member of the community. This guy was booking across the track into the grassy infield. He's definitely not my favorite, but I would rather see him than the other pesky desert-dweller, the rattle snake. It was getting dark and I only had my phone with me, but I had to get a picture of this guy. It is a bit grainy, but I think you can get the picture. He was HUGE. I mean... almost as big as my hand! I would have put my hand down to give a point of reference, but I am not that crazy!

My last run of the week was my long run. Once again, it was a group run. This was one of those mornings I was thankful to be meeting the girls. I really didn't feel like running, but I was excited to keep up the momentum of these group runs. It was a smaller group this week (only five of us), but it was another success. I am particularly proud that all five runners completed five different distances, yet everyone felt like they were part of the group run. We had runners running eight, ten, eleven, and thirteen miles based on their individual plans and fitness. I had fifteen to do. Everyone ran at least four miles with someone else and two of the runners were able to run their entire distance with a friend.

The only bad part of the run was the return of my potty issues (warning: possible TMI ahead). I read AKA Alice's post last week that stated that the bathrooms at Balboa Park aren't open until 8 a.m. Uh Oh. That was NOT good news, since I was starting at 5:30 at Balboa Park and not running by any businesses until about mile seven! I tried to use the bathroom several times before leaving home. I started running with my friend, Anne, and all was well. I thought I could make it until I ran by the McDonald's later on. Unfortunately, around mile four, I was searching for a leftover porta potty from a park function or a race (I have found them in the past). I left Anne so she could finish her run (she had to be home earlier than the rest of us) and searched desperately for an open potty.

By the time I got back to the car, I was at a point where I couldn't run anymore. I needed a bathroom. I was meeting Alicia and Jenna and had ten more miles to complete with them. So I searched through the trunk of the car, grabbed a plastic bag, some baby wipes (always good to have!) and headed behind a bush**. AKA Alice, at this point, I thought of you and your bush. However, I didn't take a picture of my bush. It was not my finest hour.

The rest of the run went well. We ran up around the zoo parking lot and then down to the convention center. Comic Con was going on, but I didn't see any celebrities or cool costumes. It was probably too early. We did get some strange looks. Running in the sunshine is a foreign concept to some of the Comic Con attendees. LOL. We then ran up the route of the half marathon. Once again, I ran the hill twice, going back and checking on my runners. Running between the different pace groups helped give me an extra mile bringing my total to fifteen miles.

All in all, I'd say it was a successful weeek. Looking at the length of this post, I'd say I should have posted about each of the runs separately. If you read through the entire week... I thank you!

*I'm not 100% sure of this one. I think I started on the wrong line and ran a shorter distance for the first interval. When I stopped my watch, it said :14. I knew I didn't run 100 that quickly, so I estimated based upon my perceived speed in relation to the other four intervals.
**Hey... sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Take It and Run Thursday: Slaying the Long Run Dragon

It has been a while since I have participated in the Runner's Lounge TIART. This week's topic is Slaying the Long Run Dragon.

I don't think I have slayed all my running dragons, but the thought of a long run no longer brings me dread. In my book, that is a success. In fact, I have progressed to a point where I often look forward to my long runs. Even when I am not training for anything in particular, I try to run at least eight miles on the weekend. It is amazing, actually. Just two years ago, I was completing my first 10K. Now, that is an easy run for me. There are a few things that make my long runs pleasant.

My iPod is a key component to my transition to a lover of long runs. I know that there are plenty of running purists out there who eschew music while running. They state that you can't focus on your breathing, can't hear traffic, don't get in touch with your inner Chi... yada, yada, yada. I rarely want to hear my breathing and when I do, I pull my earphones off or turn it down or just pay attention. I never have it loud enough not to hear the environment around me. And sometimes, I like to just escape and not think about anything... especially my Chi or lack thereof.

I have recently been just hitting shuffle on my iPod and getting surprised at the songs that come on. I save my playlists for races or specific workouts. The only problem with the shuffle method is that I often have to fast forward through a kids' song (there is nothing very motivating about "Zippedy Do Dah" during a long run) or a chapter of a book on tape that I have from the library.* For the most part, however, I enjoy hearing a song I haven't heard in a while.

I also use my iPod to listen to books on tape. I only listen to these during long slow runs or recovery runs, for the most part. I don't listen to books often, but they are nice for a day when I really want to take it easy. I find it very difficult to pick up the pace or focus on laps if I am listening to a book. I listened to Confessions of a Shopaholic and was very annoyed by the end of it. I think if I were reading it, I could have skimmed through the annoying parts and enjoyed the book more. Stephanie Meyer's The Host, on the other hand, was an incredibly enjoyable read. It is hit and miss, but I do like having choices to keep me company on those long runs.

Speaking of company, the best long runs are with other people. I ran several of my marathon long runs with my friend Laura. It is nice to chat with someone and it keeps us going at a nice easy pace. Even when we are wanting to run at different paces, it is nice to know that there is someone waiting for you around the next bend or at the car. Recently, I have put together some group runs. I never knew how much fun these runs could be. My friends call me a little rabbit, bouncing from one mini-group to the next, touching base with everyone. I think these group runs are fun for them, as well. We have had two and it seems like everyone has fallen into an easy pace group with one or more people. Running in a group like this not only makes it fun, but it keeps you going when it gets tough. I think you are more likely to quit or take the shortcut back to the car if you are by yourself without anyone (but yourself) to hold you accountable.

Finally, what has really helped me slay my long run dragon is my sanity. If someone is looking for motivation to go out on a two-hour run, he/she should go out and get a couple of small children, unemployment, and a shrinking bank account. Sometimes my long runs are my only time to myself and the time when I forget about my stress and just run. I often feel guilty taking time to myself. Most things that I would want to do (a massage, a pedicure, shopping) take money we don't have right now, but even taking a bath or watching a movie makes me feel guilty. But I never feel guilty going for my run. The longer the better sometimes, so I can clear my head and be a better mother, wife etc. My husband and kids encourage me to go out on my runs.

Nothing I do to slay that dragon is new. It works for me. What works for you?

*Books on tape that come on CD and are not in MP3 format don't go into the Audiobook portion of my iPod (at least I haven't figured out how to do it). I have to put them into their own "playlist."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Product Review: Zipfizz

I don't think I have done a review on this blog. I constantly give my opinion on various products to my friends (I have often been accused of being a walking commercial for some product or another), so why wouldn't I do it here? So here goes...

I am not a big coffee drinker. When I drink it, it has to have a ton of milk/cream, sugar and/or flavored creamer. Coffee, to me, is a social drink. I will drink a latte out with my friends or on a lazy morning on vacation. I don't make it. In fact, when we have company and Kenny isn't here, I stress a bit making a pot of coffee. That is his thing.

So when I started getting up at the crack of dawn for running, I needed something to wake me up and get me... um... moving. In the past, I have been a morning soda drinker (I know...I know). I knew that a Pepsi before a run wouldn't be the best idea. But what could I drink that would wake up my mind and body and get me ready for my run?

My friend, Jen, suggested I try Zipfizz. I did and I'm sold. Here is what the website says about Zipfizz:
Zipfizz is an all-natural, great tasting energy drink-mix powder
that delivers a powerful charge of micronutrients to the body's fuel
system. It contains no ephedra or other artificial stimulants. Most
people experience an immediate, revitalizing burst of energy after
taking Zipfizz.

Zipfizz is healthy energy in a tube! Give your body a rush of
vitamins, minerals and key amino acids to protect the immune
system. Zipfizz has created an advanced formula that provides a significant amount of vitamins, fewer calories, lower carbohydrates,
superior taste, variety and unique packaging! Simply put, it's
different because it's good for you!

Use Zipfizz as a morning or afternoon pick-me-up, or enhance
your training by taking it before, during, or after a hard workout.
Because Zipfizz contains no sugar, users will experience an
increased energy level for up to 4 - 6 hours with out the sudden
"crash" associated with other energy drinks.

I buy my Zipfizz at Costco in a package of thirty containing three flavors. The flavors used to be citrus, pink lemonade and orange soda. My favorite is the citrus and I am bummed that the Costco pack now has eliminated the citrus and replaced it with grape. The grape tastes OK, but not as good as the citrus, in my opinion. The grape and orange taste a bit like Crush soda, while the citrus and pink lemonade are more on the Crystal Light side.

What I like about Zipfizz:
  • It is a little like soda, but it has a bunch of vitamins, including a ton of B12.
  • It contains electrolytes. It has almost as much sodium as Vitalyte and eighteen times the potassium as Nuun. It also has all the other minerals, as well.
  • It agrees with my tummy in the morning.
  • I like the taste, for the most part.
  • It comes in really convenient little tubes. They are so easy to pack and I can take them anywhere (purse, running bag, pocket). Unlike coffee, all I need is a bottle of water. It will be perfect for Ragnar!
  • It really does what it says and gives me energy. I never get the jitters like coffee can give me and I have never experienced a crash like I do with a traditional energy drink like Red Bull.
What I dislike about Zipfizz:
  • It is a bit expensive. It is cheaper than most energy drinks. But at just under a dollar per serving, it is much more expensive than coffee (unless you buy your coffee at Starbucks).
  • Sometimes the flavors seem a bit sweet. Now that the citrus isn't in my Costco pack, I don't have much option when I am in the mood for something a little more tart.
  • Some people say that there is a "vitamin" smell to it, especially when it gets warm. I have never noticed.
So if you aren't a coffee drinker but still need something to get you going in the morning, I would definitely recommend Zipfizz. It is tasty, convenient and it gives me great energy to start my day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Peak week

I ran 37 miles last week. It would have been 40, but I cut one run short in anticipation of a bike ride and the other because of tummy issues. I am pretty sure that this week is my highest or close to highest mileage week ever. I need to go check my marathon training, but I was only running three or four days a week during those cycles and I am now running five days a week. It is funny that my peak week comes while training for a half marathon.

This week I start my "sharpening" phase of the training cycle. I am adding in a day of speed work and maybe some hill repeats. I have built my endurance and now it is time to see if I am ready to go for that PR.

Here is a breakdown of my week:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: run 3 miles easy [scheduled for five]; ride 14 miles on a bike
Wednesday: run 5.5 miles with one mile at race pace [scheduled for eight, but needed to head back home due to tummy issues]
Thursday: run 7 miles easy [scheduled for five-- I wanted to make up some miles]
Friday: run 7 miles with four minute intervals*
Saturday: rest
Sunday: run approximately 14.75 miles [my Garmin refused to turn on, so I am estimating**]

This week is scheduled to be 37 miles as well.

*I listened to Lance Armstrong's Run Longer mix. It coaches you through several alternating four minute intervals of fast and slow running. The music is good and Lance Armstrong comes on and gives tidbits of coaching. I hadn't listened to it in a while. Since I am cheering for Lance in the Tour de France, I thought it would be fun to listen to. It was great. The intervals were as follows:
  • warm up--.91 miles @ 9:51 pace
  • interval 1--.47 miles @ 8:21 pace
  • recovery--.45 miles @ 9:17 pace
  • interval 2-- .48 miles @ 8:22 pace
  • recovery-- .42 miles @ 9:10 pace
  • interval 3-- .51 miles @ 7:57 pace
  • recovery-- .41 @ 9:32 pace
  • interval 4-- .53 @ 7:43 pace
  • recovery/cool down-- 2.83 miles @ 9:18 pace
**I had mapped fourteen miles, but since it was a group run, I ran more than that by running back and forth between runners. I was super bummed that my Garmin didn't do anything. No beeps... just nothing. It was completely dead. It works now. It just suddenly came back to life. The same thing happened to Kenny for his triathlon. Has that happened to anyone?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some random thoughts that I had while riding with my husband

Yesterday, Kenny and I decided to take advantage of both kids being in preschool and ride along the bay. I cut my run from five to three miles so that I wouldn't be too tired. This was Kenny's "recovery ride" since he completed his first triathlon on Sunday!! (**stay tuned for a guest blog entry with his race report and post-race thoughts... I can't wait to read it**). We did 14 miles at a relatively easy pace. I think my highest speed was 17 mph and our average was 10-11 mph (unfortunately, I paused the Garmin when we stopped to fix a chain and forgot to turn it back on. d'oh!)

Here is a snapshot of the inside of my head during the ride:
  • What a GORGEOUS day in San Diego.
  • I hope one of us finds a good job here so we don't have to move.
  • Crap. I don't want to move.
  • Hmmm...I guess 10 a.m. isn't the best time to ride along the beach on the boardwalk. "On your left!"
  • Where in the world can you say to your husband, "hey, it's a bit crowded along the beach, do you want to go bay side?"
  • Ah.. it is nice along the bay.
  • Tourists don't seem to realize that we have a beautiful bay just a block away from the ocean. Thank goodness.
  • I love checking out other runners' form, gear and outfits!
  • Check out that chick... I bet she is doing the 'walk of shame.' She was wearing black capris, an extra large navy blue t-shirt and carrying black high-heeled wedge shoes. Oh... that made me grin, I don't know why.
  • Hmmm... I wonder how fast I can go on this bike path?
  • Wow, this bike doesn't go very fast. It is a large, downhill mountain bike with fat, knobby tires (my husband has several bikes, mostly mountain bikes and he raided my mountain bike for parts WTF?).
  • Someday, I want a road bike.
  • Or at least a girl's bike.
  • My husband is 44 going on 17-- he just rode past me doing a wheelie.
  • We are such polite bikers. We passed two older gentlemen on a narrow path. I said, "excuse me, on your left.... thank you." Behind me, I heard Kenny say, "thanks, fellas... have a great day."
  • I really love being fit and active so we can spend time like this together.
  • Check out that group of senior citizens biking past us. We definitely need to stay fit so that can be us in twenty years.
  • Good thing Kenny knows how to repair his broken chain. I'd better learn how to repair things like tires and chains if I am ever going to ride with anyone other than him or *gasp* by myself. I imagine myself having as difficult a time as Alice did.
  • Mission Bay park is really quite lovely.
  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! Kenny just tried to jump up on a curb and misjudged. He flew forward and ran off the bike nearly careening down the bank into the bay. Oh! That would have been FUNNY.
  • Wait... he has my camera in his fanny pack. Bay water and cameras don't mix. Damn his juvenile bunny hops!
  • What is up with this headwind!
  • Is Kenny drafting off me???
  • Ok, let me try this. How do you find the slipstream?
  • My legs are really tired.
  • I'm hungry.
We ended the morning by going through the drive-thru at a nearby taco shop. I had envisioned a light sandwich or salad at Panera, but ended up with greasy, fried rolled tacos and several large bites of Kenny's carne asada burrito. Unfortunately, that lunch may have contributed to my horrible run this morning in my neighborhood. Let's just say that one of my neighbors came close to having me squat behind their bushes or ringing their doorbell for an emergency pit stop. Thankfully, I made it home. Man! That is no fun. But that is a story for another post.

Our ride was good. With the stress going on in our lives right now, it was good to get away. We didn't chat that much, except to point out various things etc., but it was nice spending relaxing time together nonetheless. It is interesting when both of us are home due to circumstances beyond our control, we don't seem to make a lot of quality time. Yesterday was nice.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I finally feel like a coach :-)

Yesterday, I organized my first group run with my "Rockin' Mama" running group.* It was very humid (I was a sweaty mess before I even felt hot). It did get pretty darn hot by the end. However, it was a fabulous run. It was beautiful (I wish I had brought my camera) and a ton of fun. I am going to try using some bullets to describe how the morning unfolded.

*Four of us** met at Balboa Park (our end point) at 6 a.m. and headed to Shelter Island in one car. We started our run and naturally fell into a two and two running combo. Perfect.

*Around mile 2, I decided to make sure that Heather and Jenna, behind us, knew which turns to take, so I ran back to check on them. I ran with them for a minute or two and then wanted to try to catch Sally again.

*I ran fast to try to catch her. My third mile was an 8:26. Hmmm... a bit faster than race pace at the beginning of a long (hot) run? I was worried that it would spell trouble later, but I was fine. I didn't catch her, by the way, until the meeting point where we met up with the other half of the group.

*All of us met at Spanish Landing (at the three mile mark). We made sure everyone had water, Gu etc. and we were off for the last nine miles. Once again, everyone found others to run with. Alicia, Jenna and Heather ran together (they were all going to try a run/walk strategy for the day); Pam, Lisa F and Christina ran together; and Sally led the way. I kept my "floater" status. Sally, who is a speedster, turned up her iPod and got into a zone. I felt bad that she was the only one running alone, but she didn't seem to mind.

*At one point I was running and chatting with Pam and realized that the Harbor Island turn was coming up and I wondered if Sally would remember. She was a couple hundred yards ahead of us, so I sped up to catch her. Note: it is NOT easy to catch someone running nine(ish)-minute-miles when you have been running ten(ish)-minute-miles. I yelled to her, but her iPod must have been too loud. Note: When running with a group, turn your iPod down (it is actually always a good practice to be able to hear someone yelling for you). I saw her cross the street, completely missing Harbor Island (a three mile loop of the run). So I sprinted to catch her (throwing out "Sally!" between gasps). By the time I caught her, I could barely breathe. She felt bad for making me do "unexpected speedwork." After downloading my Garmin info, it looks like I ran at sub 7:00 for .15 mile. That, my friends, is an interval. The difference is... when I do speed intervals on the track, I stop and walk or jog for a bit. Yesterday, I ran back onto Harbor Island with Sally at her speedy pace. When we caught up to one of the slower groups, I let Sally go on while I took it a bit easier.

*Harbor Island was a pleasant little loop. It was SUCH a change from the last time I ran around that manmade spit of land*** It wasn't the beginning of the end of my run (as it was in AFC 2008). I checked in with each of the runners and everyone seemed to be doing ok.

Picture of San Diego skyline from Harbor Island courtesy of Marques Haven on Flickr

*Sometime during our time out on Harbor Island (7:34 a.m.) there was a 4.0 earthquake about twenty miles off the coast! None of us felt it! You'd think we would have heard something, at least.**** Kenny thinks that since Harbor Island is mostly on top of sand, it might not have shaken as much as our house did twenty miles east of where I was running. He told me it woke him up and gave him quite an adrenaline rush. I hate missing a good earthquake!

*I ran for the next several miles with the middle group. The were running at a very comfortable pace for me. As we ran away from the bay into the city, the shade was a welcome relief. We were mirroring the AFC course exactly.

*The hills started at A Street (around mile 10). Since that street goes pretty much due east, it had full sun. Nice. A hill in the sun. Bring it.

*The thing about AFC is the fact that it is a) in August, so it is usually HOT and humid and b) has a long, gradual hill beginning around mile 11.5 and flattening out around right around mile 12.5. It isn't a particularly big hill (about 300 feet over a mile or so), however, there is something about that hill that kicks people's butts.

*I ran up 6th street with the group. Lisa F looked at me and said, "get me up this hill, Lisa. Don't leave me." I started to start a pep talk and she put on her headphones and proceeded to get into her "zone." Lisa and I have logged hundreds of miles together. She got me through my first marathon when I was struggling. We don't really need to pep talk each other. I just ran next to her until we were at the top.

*When we got to the top, I congratulated them, and sent them to the end. I then turned around and ran back down the hill. About a half mile back, I came across the other group. They were looking pretty hot and sweaty. Heather looked like she was limping a bit. I asked if she was ok and she replied that she wasn't. She told me she was "done." I walked with her a bit and said, "Heather, you ran up Torrey Pines without walking, you are NOT walking up 6th street." I got her running and helped her open her jelly beans.***** We only took one or two more short walk breaks and'in.hill! She found her second wind and she, Alicia and I ran it in to the finish. I was very proud.

*We sat in the grass to stretch and eat the Otter Pops I had brought. Note: Otter Pops are quite possibly the yummiest thing EVER after a hot, long run.

*I was quite impressed with Heather and Jenna. Heather looked at her Garmin and realized that she had only run 11.5 miles (my original map calls for running around the parking lot to even out the mileage and when we ran in, we were ready to join the others). She and Jenna ran around the parking lot to get the additional half mile.

*I ended up with a little over 13 miles total. The extra running between my group helped give me an additional mile and a half.

*Several of my friends posted to me on Facebook later that they appreciated my organizing the group run and the support I gave. And.... they called me "Coach." ****big grin****

*We all met through Stroller Strides. After my coaching certification, I offered to coach any of my Stroller Strides clients (and my friends) for free.
**Half the group is up to twelve miles in their training and the other half only nine. We are all training for the America's Finest City (AFC) Half Marathon next month.
***"[Harbor Island was] formed by the dredging of San Diego Bay in order to deepen the berths for military ships, the U.S. Navy built this recreational island in 1961. More than 12 million cubic yards of sand and mud created this mile-and-a-half long tropical island, now home to upscale hotels, restaurants and marinas. Along the bay side, you can see the view from the tip of Point Loma, across to the island of Coronado and southward to the U.S - Mexican border. This is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset, and a breath-taking skyline vantage point at night." courtesy of
****Earthquakes often sound like freight trains as they approach. I suppose that under the ocean, there wouldn't be a sound.
*****We've all been there... she couldn't get the package open and it was frustrating her to tears. It was adding insult to injury. Oh, for the times to have someone open up jelly beans for me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

And the giveaways keep on coming!!

My Google Reader is going to get FULL with all these great blogs I have found. Erica is another SAHM runner with a blog and she has a FANTASTIC giveaway that expires tonight-- so hurry! She is giving away a seriously SWEET duffle bag. I can't help but think about how handy it will come for Ragnar in February.

Check it out!

What? ANOTHER giveaway?

There are some generous bloggers right now. I am ready to win something! So go check out Nikes and Ponytails at

Oh... if you are in a generous mood, mention my name in your post. :-)

A nice giveaway...

I blogger I just discovered is giving away a goodie pack to celebrate her 500th post and change in her life. Her transformation is amazing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Seven miles from Mexico

Sound hot? It was. I ran near our friend's house in Chula Vista, which is seven miles (as the crow flies*) from the Mexican border,** which was the distance of my run***. I ran at 1:30 in the afternoon. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it wasn't.

I was thrilled to get out and run. My chest is not hurting nearly as much and I discovered that chasing around a three- and a five-year-old bothers it as much as running does. I have found that running is my "me" time; my solace. It is time alone when I don't feel guilty for not doing something. If I take some time for myself at home by reading a book or watching a movie, I end up feeling like I should be doing something more productive. When I am running, I don't feel that way. If I tell my kids or my husband that I am going out for a run, they say, "have a nice run." If I were to say I was going to go shopping or go for a walk or hang by myself for a while, someone would want something or want to come along. Three-year-olds don't really understand the concept of "mommy time," but they do understand "going for a run."

I was prepared for a warm run. I brought my hydration belt (or "tool" belt as marathonman calls it). I think I am definitely going to get the twenty ounce handheld bottle because I went through two ten ounce bottles on my run today. Not only did I have plenty of fluids, but there was a little bit of a breeze that helped cool me off. I think I am acclimating to the heat pretty well. I sweat way more than I used to. By the end of the summer, I should be able to give Terri a run for her money. I had a bit of my own puddle in my wake today.

I didn't feel super speedy or strong, but I felt fine. I did a couple short fartleks just to see if my feet could move faster. They can. I am looking forward to my sharpening phase of this training coming up in a few weeks, when I can do a few miles at race pace or faster. I think for a seven mile run after taking an entire week off, I didn't do half bad.

After my run, I joined my family at our friend's house to swim. I feel a little bad for not showering before getting in the pool. Sweat isn't bad for pools is it? I figure that my husband and his buddies use that hot tub every week after basketball, so one little runner girl isn't going to make a difference.

Happy Running, everyone!

*according to Google Earth.
** actually, I write this for dramatic effect. Where I live is right around eleven miles from the border and I can see Mexico from my house. However, even those few miles further south seem to make a difference of a few degrees.
***no, I didn't run to Mexico. I ran around a nice little lake and some neighborhoods.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


After a brief visit with my doctor who did an EKG to rule out any cardiac issues, I have been cleared for running. **insert happy dancing Lisa here** That is the good news. I have what the doctor referred to as chondrochondritis. It is not an easy thing to find on Google, but it is basically the inflammation of the tissue between the ribs. The bad news is that it takes four to six weeks to heal.

Running won't exacerbate the injury*, but if the movement hurts, I should just slow down or walk. The only treatment for this is rest, anti-inflammatories, heating pad etc. It hurts as much as a broken rib and is treated nearly the same way-- with time. She did tell me to hug myself before coughing or sneezing to minimize pain.

I'm glad I went in and ruled out anything serious. I was pretty sure what it was, but I am happy with myself that I played it smart. So I am back to running tomorrow. I think I'll wait a week or two before I start adding in my hill repeats and speed work. Nice and easy is the motto of the week.

Thanks for all your support and well-wishes.

*For those of you who missed it, I went water skiing last week and through either a fall or twisting or overexerting, I injured my chest.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Being smart SUCKS

Today is the Coronado 15K. It wasn't going to be a key race for me, but I was looking forward to it. It is a great distance, it is a fun Independence Day event, and several of my friends are running it (their longest race yet for some of them).

I woke up at 4 a.m. (yuck) in order to get there early for good parking and registration. The first thing I noticed was my chest was STILL hurting. It isn't enough to keep me from my daily activities, but it is definitely there. The last few days I have taken some Ibuprofen and it has really helped- the pain goes almost completely away. I know I could have popped 600mg of Ibuprofen and run with no problem.

But then I heard my son's voice from last night, "Mom, I hope your heart is ok for your race."* He is so sweet. I suddenly realized that I needed to stay healthy... not just for me, but even more for those amazing kids. What if running a race made my pain get worse (like it did on Tuesday)? What if, God forbid, running causes something really bad to happen-- I still don't even know what is wrong (I know that I am being a bit dramatic here). I remembered my training and articles I have read, that said how dangerous it is to run after taking Ibuprofen.**

Then I tried to think about what I would say to someone who I was coaching. If a friend called, described these symptoms and asked if she should run this race, what would I say. I know that I would say,
"It just isn't worth it. You have taken three days off running and it hasn't improved much. If you run, it is likely you will lose another week. Running after taking 2 or 3 Ibuprofen is just not worth the risk of kidney damage or even failure. Plus, masking pain is not what you want to do... you won't know if your injury is getting worse."
So I e-mailed and texted my friends and wished them good luck. Since I was up, I thought about going with them and cheering them on. But I know myself. I was SO close to running ("just take it easy"*** I told myself) that I knew that if I got down there, I would do it. I would justify, like I was all day yesterday. It wasn't worth testing my weak resolve.

So I am sad. I didn't think I would be. But I am. It is just a silly 15K. My big race in in six weeks. Right now, my chest feels a bit better, so it makes it that much more difficult. I'm sure I'll feel fine as I celebrate the holiday with my kids.

My whine fest is now over.

*My pain is not my heart, but it is in that part of my body.
***I am not sure how well I would do "taking it easy" during a race. Heck I couldn't hold back in a marathon, why would I think I would hold back in a 15k?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A very nice giveaway...

I really want to win this one. I'm torn... linking to the giveaway might get more people to enter her contest (lowering my odds). However, linking to the giveaway gives me more entries. Honestly, it is a great blog and everyone should check it out anyway.

Tall Mom on the Run
is giving away a great necklace from a wonderful Etsy store (that I have already bookmarked).

Ragnar Del Sol Relay here I come!!

I have officially committed to being part of a relay team running from Prescott to Mesa, Arizona in February. I have heard only good things from people who have run a relay like this. This is something I have wanted to do for years, ever since my dad told me about the Hood to Coast ("the Mother of all relays") many years ago.

For those of you unfamiliar with these kinds of relay races, let me explain exactly what we'll be doing. Our team of twelve runners will be running 202 miles through the Arizona mountains and desert. Each runner will run three legs varying between three and eight miles. Our team will have two vans to get runners from one hand-off point to the next. We will run continuously until we reach the finish line! Yep...that means running through the night. This is going to be a new kind of "marathon." Some of us will be running close to (over even over for one person) twenty miles during the entire race.

Our team is going to consist of runners from all over the country-- from New York City to San Diego. Most of the team have never met in real life, only online through blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. I know that there is a great team name somewhere in there... any suggestions? I'm pretty sure there are prizes (not to mention bragging rights) for great team names and theme-decorated vans.

I am really excited. I have become friends with these people by reading their blogs and now I get to bond with them in a once-in-a-lifetime sort of way. I am sure that there is nothing quite like spending hours with a group in a van-- sharing energy bars, sponge bathing with baby wipes and getting punchy from lack of sleep. I can't wait.

I have to give credit to Chris for getting this going. It is one of those things that people talk about. Chris not only talked about it, he followed up and closed the deal. I bet he is a really good salesman.


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