Saturday, October 11, 2014

10 for Texas 2014

Another 10 for Texas in the books and it feels great!  Last year's race was kind of a nightmare.  I totally hit a wall and thought I was going to die by mile 7. I vowed to redeem myself.  I came into the race with a few goals.  My  "Pie in a Sky Goal" of 1:25:00 (8:30 pace), my "definitely could do if I kept my head on straight" A goal 1:32:00, and my most important B goal of finishing with good form and in a good place mentally.

I hardly could sleep last night.  After a fitful night, I woke up at 5:30 for good and ate a bowl of oatmeal and a fruit smoothie.  I brought along a bottle of gatorade which I finished before the race.  Last year, a major problem was I was so dehydrated before mile 4 that I could barely move.  I wasn't going to make that mistake again.  I also brought along a couple of gu's.  Last year I only brought one and it wasn't enough, or I took it too late.  See, I'm learning!

I lined up at the start halfway between the 9 min mile sign and the 10 min mile sign.  Sidenote:  Please line up where you think you will finish not in the place "If I actually trained I might finish at this pace". Seriously.  For long races you need to train.  Here's a hint, If you are breathing hard in mile 1 of a 10 miler you're playing with the wrong crowd.  I must've passed a couple hundred people in this already crowded section AND I was not going faster than I planned on for this mile.

The race was awesome.  The only issue was sometimes the volunteers weren't ready with water at the water stops, they were all holding gatorade.  There were lots of spectators this year. I think in part because it was an out and back so people didn't have to travel the city to cheer on their friends.  So even if there weren't really that many, it felt like a lot because I saw all of them twice!

I took my salted caramel gu's at mile 3.5 and 6.5.  I never felt depleted the whole race.  When I started getting tired, I focused on the mile I was in and getting to the next.  I was most proud at the finish because I never broke form.  I never kicked myself mentally.  Only happy thoughts.  I am notorious for focusing on the bad in any training run/race.  I made it a point to practice happy thoughts this training season and it worked.

Mile nine was my fastest mile at 7:37.  I wasn't even breathing hard!  My legs felt strong at the finish.  Maybe I should've gone faster!  Yes.  I should've kicked my pace up before this point, but I was afraid to hit a wall.

There was a girl finishing about the same time as me and I knew I couldn't let her pass me.  We raced to the line and I finished one second ahead of her! Yeah!  Go me!  I came in 30th pace in my age group with a time of 1:26:29.  Not only did I beat my true A goal by almost 6 minutes, but I almost made my Pie in a Sky goal.  I have no doubt that if my hip hadn't bugged me all 12 weeks of training I would've killed that goal as well.  Oh, well.  That's for next year.

My Splits:

Official time of 1:26:29

Yup.  Nailed it!   :) But as you all know, good is never good enough.  I can't wait to prove myself at The Woodlands Half Marathon this Spring.  Hopefully my hip will heal during my time off this month and I can finish proudly!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beginner Swimmer Tips

I now have a summer of swimming under my belt.  As a beginning swimmer with no experience in a lap lane to now a seasoned beginner, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned.

  • It's ok to be the worst one out there.  You'll get better.  The first day I nearly panicked, but I managed to swim a few laps.  With a bit of instruction and practice I eased my fears.  And p.s. all my instruction was online.
  • Don't be embarrassed by your speed.  You'll probably be surprised at the variety of swim experience in the pool.  There will be the lady swimming only breaststroke quite slowly and fluidly.  There will be the woman swimming 100s in a minute flat.  Then there will be people like me, someone who slowly but surely gets there and back, there and back.  
  • When you arrive at the pool, and find you need to lane share, take time to observe the lanes to see where you fit in.  Don't over or underestimate your abilities.  If you find you got into the wrong lane, then just switch.  No biggie.  
  • Every time I go to a new pool or at a new time, I'm afraid there will be too many people in the lanes.  I've found that most people are happy to lane share.  Even with several people in a lane, if you pay attention, the swim will go quite smoothly.  I shared with a handful of people today and didn't even notice.  It didn't go any differently than if I had my own lane.
  • I'll say it again cause it's so important.  Don't worry about your speed or ability.  Just try.  You will get better and more confident with time, but that's only true if you try.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Final Review: Run Less, Run Faster (long overdue)

OMG.  Run less, Run Faster is frickin' hard!  But it works.

Now for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I actually had to bow out of the plan early.  I pulled my hip flexor muscles and was in quite a bit of pain for a few weeks, so I don't have 10k results to prove the plan.  However, I do know that my easy pace is now quite a bit faster than it was at the beginning of the plan.  Easy pace was closer to 10 min/mile and now easy is 9 min/mile.  I can chat away for miles and miles at that pace now, when that used to be my tempo pace.

I really liked the track workouts.  It was especially nice having the paces written out.  All the guess work was gone.

Now for the bad.  Ugh.  I really hate having all hard workouts.  I really love my easy days.  I really, really loved chatting with friends.  If running is a social thing for you, then this plan will not work.  You will probably have a really difficult time sticking to it.

I do think that I will continue with the speed workouts when my hip is completely healed.  I will remember to do my tempos and my hills.  BUT I will also make plenty of time for the fun, easy stuff.

Running, to me, is as much as about building relationships and maintaining good mental health as it is about working out my body.  If you feel the same as me, then take Run Less, Run Faster with a grain of salt.  If you are just looking to run fewer days and meet your goals.  This might be the right plan for you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

"Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.  What do you do?  You swim, swim, swim."--Dori

I love that line from Finding Nemo.  I say it to myself all the time as I run, but now it applies to a new part of my life--Swimming!

I am really falling in love with the water.  I love finding a bit of rhythm.  I love the contrast of the cool water on a hot day.  I love my new shoulder muscles.  Yes.  I am a bit vain.

Today I swam 1600m.  That is one mile for all you imperial measurement folks.  It is the farthest I have ever swam.  I did mostly freestyle, but also just legs, just arms, and I'm trying to learn breaststroke (with not much luck).

I love meeting new goals.  I love trying new things.  At the beginning of the summer I was afraid to swim 25 m.  I could barely squeak out 400m on my first workout.  Barely over a month later I can swim a mile!  A whole mile! (and 500m without stopping!!!) I would add more explanation points, but I already overdid it.

To add to my euphoria, I have written almost 10,000 words in my new regency romance.  This story kind of breaks my heart. I hope I can express the emotions I feel adequately in my writing.

Sigh.  Life is good.

Try new things. You might like it. And when things get tough, Just keep swimming.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Workout recaps...sort of

I strained my quad muscles due to overtraining a few weeks ago.  I should've slowed down earlier, because I could feel an old injury in my hip flexor flaring up.  I just felt so good that I decided to ignore niggles, push through all out pain, and run multiple days in a row when I know my body starts to get angry when I run more than two days in a row.  Finally, after running three days in a row--again--and coming home in so much pain I thought I would throw up, I decided to take a week off of running.  It was a good call.  I actually took off 9 days.  I felt perfect after 5, but kept resting for good measure.  I found I liked resting...a lot!  So much so it took all I had in me to wake up this week for my runs...

Mon- 5 @9:09 pace, no pain
Wed-5 @9:30 Pace, no pain
Thurs-200m swim, during safety break.  Received the best compliment ever!  "You're getting faster, Mom!"  I really appreciated my kids cheering me on poolside, even if only for a few minutes.
Fri-3.5 @9:18, stopped run early due to tightening in quad.  No pain.  Came home and felt really tight and within a few hours had actual pain.  I re-taped, iced, and all that fun stuff. 
Sat- 1400m swim.  THAT IS ALOST ONE MILE!!!!!!!  I was in the water for about an hour, but actual swimming time was about 35 min.

KT tape is my best friend, if you didn't know that already.  

During my rest week, I traded my running days for swim days.  

Mon-700 m swim, (100m kicks, 5X100m freestyle, 100m kicks)
Wed-900m swim (can't remember the breakdown, but it was similar to Mon, just with more laps)
Fri--700m swim
Sat-800m swim

I am getting so much better at my freestyle.  I can now breathe bilaterally, and am very comfortable breathing from my left side. I also feel much smoother in the water.  I still need to hire someone to help me out on my form, or at least have my husband record me.  

Today I started learning the breaststroke.  I have a long way to go, but after a few drills I was able to swim 100m breaststroke.  By the last 25m I felt like I was getting a bit of rhythm, or at least I was at a point where I could say "I get it!...I think."  Haha!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I can't swim, but I want to Tri

I am not a swimmer.  Before this Summer, I think the last time I swam a lap was in the 6th grade during a swim class.  At that time in my life I really loved to swim.  I remember asking my mom if I could join swim team.  She said swim team was only for the good swimmers. ** Ouch! Alas, I swapped training suits for cute tankinis and goggles for tanning oil and spent the next twenty years poolside.  Much like me in this photo.  

This is the life!
In May, Ironman Texas took place just minutes from my house.  I ran down and watched the swimmers and was bitten by a bug.  I can't do that! I thought. Swim two miles!  That's crazy!  But those kinds of thoughts get me thinking and I thought and thought and realized that I want to do that!

But I can't swim.  My mom told me so when I was in the 6th grade.  I'm probably going to drown.  All these thoughts passed through my brain as I slipped on my goggles for the first time a few weeks later

My heart raced and panic ensued.  I'm gunna die! I'm gunna die!  Then I realized I could still reach...and the side was two feet away if I got in trouble.  I swam 400 m, stopping every 25 m to catch my breath.

I got home and watched about a zillion youtube videos on swim technique and breathing.  Just four lap sessions later, I swam 700 m and only had stop every 50 m.  Improvement.  The most major being that I don't think I'm going to drown anymore.

I've got a long way to go.  But don't say "Can't" in my hearing. I might just respond with one of my favorite childhood poems.

Feeling pretty cool after swimming 700m.   Don't worry. My ego
was tempered by the babies that passed me in the fast lane!
"Listen to the mustn't, child.  Listen to the dont's.  Listen to the shouldn't, the impossibles, the won'ts.  Listen to the never haves then listen close to me...Anything can happen, child.  Anything can be."--Shel Silverstein
**As a sidenote, I must add that my mother is amazing.  She is not a mean person, just human.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Taking on Challenges to beat a Challenge: Post-Partum Depression and Anxiety

Depression.  Anxiety.  Meds.  They all felt like dirty words.  I didn't want to admit that maybe I had it, or maybe I needed them.

The hopeless feelings started shortly after the birth of my fifth child.  I think it was a build up of a few things. Lingering feelings of loss after my miscarriage ten months before Luke's birth, the difficulty with being the primary caregiver for five children, and possibly from  the hemorrhaging that left me weak and tired for the next few weeks after his birth.  I don't know.  Maybe it was just my turn.  Maybe even if none of those things happened, maybe I would've been depressed anyway.

These guys are always my biggest cheerleaders.  I love them so much!

Luke ended up hospitalized at three weeks old.  He had the flu.  I was already exhausted but watching my tiny baby hooked up to tubes and monitors took what little bits of myself that I had managed to pull together and rip it all apart.  Luke came home after a few days perfectly healthy.  I pretended to be. I blamed my exhaustion on the recent birth, my short temper on the trials of taking care of five kids and a household.  As soon as my husband would come home from work, I would hand over the responsibilities and lock myself in my room.  

I knew I wasn't feeling right.  I would lose my temper at the drop of a hat--but I've always been passionate.  It was easy to write off initially.  But then new feelings were also taking over--things that usually would be a breeze for me kept me awake all night.  Planning for Cubscout day camp, something I had done a few times before with minor annoyance, kept me awake for more than three weeks straight.  

I blamed it on my birth control.  I called my doctor, switched meds, and weaned my baby.  All those things helped.  Thinking my hormones were the only issue, I decided everything was fine.  
This is where I didn't want to go.  It's a stressful vacation with babies,
and my anxiety was already crippling me.  I wasn't sure I could handle the added stress.

Only, it wasn't.  Anxiety over an upcoming vacation (that I really didn't want to go on) was crippling me.  My husband and I were fighting constantly about the vacation.  Somehow we made in onto the plane without killing each other, only to come off it with a three month old baby with a fever.  

That week was hell.  I was already on the edge, but then I was stuck in the middle of nowhere (literally more than an hour from the closest hospital) with a feverish baby who couldn't sleep.  The diagnosis of pneumonia pushed me over.  Or maybe it saved me.  A week of people trying to convince me my baby was fine, when I could see he was clearly not, made me think that I might truly be crazy.  I was glad to know that I wasn't, but wondered why I couldn't calm down.  

Now that Luke was on the mend, shouldn't my heart stop racing?  Shouldn't I be able to sit back and enjoy life?  Luke was sleeping again, shouldn't I be able to sleep?  But none of that happened.  Instead I slept less and felt less.  The only thing I did feel was a growing hatred to my children, particularly my two year old girl.  

She looks tired in this picture. All her pictures from this period look tired.
 I think I did that to her.  She was confused. My doctor let me know that I was not alone. That I could be cured.
Can you imagine how horrible it feels to know you brought a life into this world and you wished that life was gone?  I wish I never felt that way, but I did.  Even now, knowing it was the disease and not me, I don't want to admit that I had those feelings. I needed to admit I had them.  It was the only way to get the help I needed.

Back at home, I would call my husband often and begged him to come home from work.  Big deals at work meant he never could. Luckily a friend called out of the blue one day and asked if she could watch my kids the next morning.  I took her up on that offer and many times after.  She always seemed to call when things were at there worst and offer me what I needed most--a few hours child free.

I hated asking for help.  It was like admitting I was a failure at my vocation of choice--motherhood.

I knew I needed to change.  Running had always been my solace.  Emily, a person I had never met before, posted on a Facebook page that she was new in town and in need of running partners.  I'd given up running two years before.  But I needed something and running and always provided that something before.

Within a few weeks, I had worked up from barely being able to finish three miles, to barely being able to finish five.  It felt great.  I felt better.  

Or so I thought.  Running didn't heal me, but it certainly helped me see through the haze.

Driving down the road and imagining running off it doesn't exactly equal better.  Screaming at children for the literal spilled milk doesn't exactly equal better.  It was time to call my doctor.  She offered me medication.  The "M" word.  Reluctantly, I filled the prescription.  

I caught myself singing.  Luke smiled and I was singing.  I smiled.  When was the last time I had sung my baby a song?  I couldn't remember.  I wanted to cry.  Only a week on the medication and I was singing.  And snuggling with my two year old.  And loving it!  I love to snuggle.  Especially with her. I had forgotten that I liked snuggling with my babies...and my big kids!  Suddenly they wanted to be near me, too, now that I didn't yell at them for looking at me funny.
This is the little girl that I know and love.  Whimsical and fun.  Always a treat! (unless it's nap time)
But still I wasn't better.  The medication let me see that.  It made things clear. It separated reality from the dark-fiction my mind created.  I could see I had a long way to go.  But now how to overcome?  

I needed a project.  A big one.  Something that would help me find me again.

Normally, when I need a big project, I choose my writing.  But writing pulls me right where I didn't need to be.  Writing locks me in a room, alone, for hours on end.  Something that normally I'd enjoy.  But now that was exactly what was hurting me.  I couldn't be there fraternizing with my demons.  I needed to be fighting them.  This time, that was not the way to go.

The answer was found at 5 am on a dark street. 

The marathon.

Running a marathon isn't about the last 26.2 miles.  It's about the hundreds before it.  It's about the black toes and sore muscles.  It's about the runs that feel easy and like you could fly.  But especially about the ones.  The ones that should be easy but leave you wanting to cry half a mile in.  It's about doing something hard, just because you can.  It's about making friends.  It's about being lonely with your thoughts and realizing you're not alone.  It's about finding your demons and then not only fighting them but destroying them.  

I love running.  I love finding my demons.  I love finding my "can'ts" and "won'ts" and "shouldn'ts."  I love doing the impossible.  Each step had been a fight against my depression.  Each step has shown me that I'm more than PPD.  I'm more than my anxiety.  

And maybe today I didn't complete that last repeat.  I can go home and cry about it or I can run tomorrow.  

And, fingers crossed that I won't strain my piriformis again, I will be running tomorrow.  Because it is a new day and a new chance to fight.  

I know.  Bad Picture.  About mile 6 of the marathon.
With my running buddy and one of my best friends.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I think I've hit a breakthrough with my postpartum depression and anxiety.

Cub Scout Day Camp was last week.  Last year, I couldn't sleep for weeks before.  This year, I decided to not stress and I didn't.  If you've ever known anyone with depression or anxiety then you'll know that saying "Don't stress about it" is futile.  I promise, I wanted to be able to control my emotions.  I just couldn't.  But this year, I could.  And it felt good.

PPD is something I've been wanting to write about for a while.  I just don't know where to begin.  I will take this issue up soon.  Hopefully my experience will help someone.  Just know, that you if recently had a baby or are pregnant, and you don't feel right.  If you feel sad or helpless or even feel like you don't love your baby--YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  Yes, I did just yell.  You are not.  Get help. Don't be embarrassed.  PPD is treatable.  Don't let it take over your life.  You will get better.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything

"Our Nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."--from the Korean War Memorial

Happy Memorial Day.  A Big Thank You to all the men and women in this world who fight for freedom.

I am so grateful for all the members of the military, but especially my Papa and Grandaddy.

My Papa served in Okinawa.  He was a chaplain during WWII.  He had the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet.
My Granddaddy served as a paratrooper (among other things) during the Korean War.    Bill Bone was a man of honor and integrity.  He was also the best Grandaddy in the whole wide world.
We've been having a blast the past few days.  Hanging at the Pool...

Going to the zoo...

 Falling down the stairs, and breaking our arms, and having emergency surgery...

Oh, wait!  That was not fun.  But it certainly was an adventure.  I did manage to make dinner once or twice this week.  Mac & Cheese or Ramen anyone?

I also cleaned my closet.  This was not fun, nor was it an adventure, but it was certainly rewarding.

And this little Crawdad was running down the street with us for a bit.  We also saw the most beautiful sunrise and a duck chased us for a bit.  At least it wasn't a skunk. (I've come across those before on the run.)

Happy Running!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fighting with my feet.

For the past several months, on and off, I have had hip flexor pain and arch pain.  The pain in my hip flexor is very mild.  It went away for several weeks and then worked its way back in.  So not fun.  The foot pain is like a stabbing pull in my arch.  It goes away if I stretch my foot.  But it's not fun either.

After some field research (meaning I wore a new pair of shoes-my NB 5000 flats-- and, tada! The pain was gone!) I decided it was my shoes.  I really had to try something new for everyday trainers.

Mizuno Wave Riders have been my trusty go to shoe for years.  But I think I've outgrown them.  On long runs my feet start fighting them at the end.  I can't seem to get the lift and push that I want.  On shorter faster runs, the acceleration is not there.  When I wear my flats I feel like I'm flying.  Where as with my Waver Riders, I feel like the driver of a stalled engine at a busy intersection.  Come on!  I just want to go!  But there's no power behind the gas pedal.

I wore my Saucony Mirage 3's for a super short run this morning.  I ordered them months ago, but haven't really worn them for running.  I was too afraid to try something new during marathon training.  But now, since I'm not really training for anything, I thought it was a good time to pull them out.

Today's run was just a slow run with my son, but I felt good.  No sparring going on between my soles and my toes.   I also have Kinvara's arriving in the mail today.  I'm hoping one or both styles will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5k Time Trial #2

Guess I need to revise my training plan yet again cause I nailed my second time trial.

23:17.6 was my time for 3.12 miles. My goal was 23:59, so needless to say that I am pumped.  I dropped 1:20 off my last trial and came in :40 seconds faster than my A goal.  I guess that means I need to work harder and aim for higher goals.

My splits came in at 7:28, 7:39, 7:24, and :46 for the .1 (a 6:54 pace).  Yesterday was a nice day, not cold, but in the low 60s and low humidity. Hopefully that doesn't disqualify my results as I've been training in 80 degree heat for the past few weeks.

Mile two is mostly uphill so the slower pace doesn't surprise me.  I'll need to run some hills to cut off a few seconds from that stretch.  I was so happy to see that my final mile was my fastest.  It was a hard mile, but I pushed and was able to meet that goal as well.  Last trial, my final mile was my slowest.  I really want to work for a strong finish and I think I am getting there.

I wore my New Balance 5000.  Maybe this gave me an edge?  I don't know, but I felt so good out there.  I really watched my breathing and made it match my pace. Especially during the last few tenths when I was really tired.  I forced myself to breath harder, breathing one breath for every step--instead of one for every two (or one for every three) like I had been doing through out the rest of the race.

I've decided to aim for 22:59.  The temperature has been much hotter lately (this week a cool front came in--that's why I decided to run my time trial early), so I don't think it will be as easy as this week's trial.  Time to shave off the seconds!  Slowly but surely, it will be done.  22:59 here I come!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5k Time Trial #1

Every third week or so, I've added 5k time trials to my schedule.  I love a 5k because its an good distance to push yourself.  Recovery time is very, very short, so I can do one without messing up my training schedule.

24:36 was my final time.  7:55 average pace.  I am happy with it.  It is a 36 second improvement  over my last time trial a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately I let myself slow too much between 2 and 2.5 miles. I was aiming for negative splits, but that didn't happen.  7:51, 7:52. 8:00, and :52 (7:33 pace) for the .1.

I like the first two numbers, I kept a pretty even pace, but I let myself go that third mile.  At least I managed to kick it in to the finish.  I expected to be fighting burning in my legs, but actually it was burning in my lungs that made mile 3 a killer.  I rarely start breathing hard--even during my track workouts.  I guess that means I need to push it harder more often.  I don't know.  How does one make their breathing more efficient?

My next goal is a 23:59 5k.  It will be extra hard to make with the rising temps, but I think I can do it.

Run Less, Run Faster Week 3

Monday was a 6 miler, 4 miles at mid tempo pace, sandwiched between easy 1 milers.  Paces fell at 8:37, 8:44, 8:36, 8:25.  I found it hard to go slower.  It was a very nice day and I think that helped.

Speed workout.  2x1600 and 1x800 with 400m recovery intervals.  Finished strong.  I met all my times.     My final 1600 was at 7:36.  It was supposed to be at 7:55.  Nice weather helps.  I don't know if I should slow myself down, but I think if I can give it more and complete the workout with room to do more, then I should.

Friday was 8 miles at Long Tempo pace (8:56).  It was a HOT morning.  80 degrees and 100 percent humidity at 5 am.  We took it a little easy on the pace, though we felt like we were pushing it.  My average pace was 9:12.  I think the pace was alright considering the extreme early morning temps.  Gotta get used to it though!  Soon this heat will not go away!

For cross-training, I rode my bike and did a little yoga.  I have also done a few easy miles with my son.

Still liking this program.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Run Less Run Faster, week 1-2 Review

First off, I always want to say Run Less, Run Longer.  It makes no sense.  Except it does, because the weekly milage is about the same as other plans 10k plans, just you do it in fewer days.

Week One--
Tempo--4 m at 8:26, Right on.  RPE of 6
Speed--8X400m at 1:52, plus mile warm-up and cool-down.  I was right on or just under most intervals.  It was a hard workout, but felt good.
Tempo 2--6@8:53, plus hills.  We did this workout up the only hills that exist in my neighborhood.  This made it a lot harder than it should've been.  Splits were like, 940, 930, 850, 828, 813, 830.  So kind of all over the place.

Week Two--

Tempo--1 wu, 2 fast, 1 easy, 2 fast, 1 easy  This week was kind of crazy.  My husband was out of town, so I had to get creative with my running buddy.  We did a child swap for this run.  When I went it was 75 and 100 percent humidity.  Not cool.  I managed to make all my paces (tempo miles at 8:26) but it was hard and I was hot.  I peed my pants.  No lie.  I guess now I won't have to worry about peeing during a marathon.  Been there.  Done that.  Practiced in training.

Tempo 2--7 @856, finished with 7 @848.  This run felt easy.  I was so relaxed.  Maybe that had something to do with the 55 degree temperature and nice cool breeze.

Speed--5x800 at 3:49.  I was a bit off.  I couldn't get my splits right.  I wanted to either go a few seconds slower or faster.  Last split was 339 and I still had more in the tank.  Could've kicked out few more.  Maybe it was my new NB WRC5000?  Ran a total of 5 miles, plus my daily strength activities.

I'm starting to be able to feel my paces better.  I really have to learn how to relax when things get hard.  This plan certainly makes things feel hard on every run.  That's good.  I like pushing myself to the limit.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lunch: Flautas and guacamole

This is one of my go to favorites when I have a bit of leftover chicken.   Warm corn tortillas.  Shred leftover chicken for filling.  Roll tortillas and paint with a little vegetable oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Serve with guacamole...mines homemade...and shredded lettuce.  Enjoy!

For the record, I did offer some to my three year old.  However, she "Hates them" and instead is eating Cheetos dipped in yogurt.

Review New Balance 5000

A few weeks ago I picked up these babies for $50 on Amazon (regularly about $100).   It seemed like a good deal so I went for it.

These shoes are spike-less flats.  The New Balance website says these shoes are great for track and road racing up to 10K.

I wore them to the track for the first time today.  They seemed a little narrow, and I already have average to narrow width feet, but I figured that was because I wasn't used to tighter fitting shoes.  My second thought was these were nothing like the flats I wore in high school.  Two decades does change things a bit.

I could really feel the traction and I liked it.  I ran a total of 5 miles, including 800m repeats.  The ride was smooth and comfortable.  My last 800 felt just as good on my feet as my first.  I did have a bit of a hotspot on the bottom of my big toe that I noticed when I got home, but no blister.

Overall, I found these to be great shoes.  The uppers are thin and the laces seem thin, but I suppose that all saves on weight.  The soles are quite comfortable and felt surprisingly soft for how thing and light they are.  Good shoes for their purpose.  While I don't intend to buy new racing flats, I'm tempted to now so I can have something to compare these to.  Don't tell my husband.  He won't like that I've found a new thing to spend our money on! :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

10K training begins

I ran my first official 10k ever on Saturday.  I intended for it to be a starting point on my new training journey.  I know what I can give without 10k specific training, and now I'll see what I can do with.  Exact goals have yet to be determined.

I am basically doing the Run Less, Run Faster program.  The title is deceiving because you don't really run much less, just fewer days per week.  This is great for a runner like me.  No matter what my speed, I start to get injured when I run more than two days in a row.

Today was Day One.  I ran 1 mile warm up followed by 2 miles at 8:26, and ended with one mile cool down.  Then I did lunges, strides, sit-ups, pushups, and planks.  After I finish the laundry, I'm going to do some barre work.

My legs are still a little sore from the race so I expected to really have to dig deep.  That was not the case.  I wouldn't have called it easy, maybe medium?  I think a 5 or 6 on the RPE chart (rate of perceived exertion).

My first track workout of the season will be this week.  I'm a little scared.  More scared of that, then the work that needs to go into my new book.  That's pretty scared.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Muddy Trails Bash: 10k race recap

Saturday afternoon I ran the Muddy Trails Bash 10k at the Nature Preserve in The Woodlands, TX.  I finished in 53:45, that's an 8:39 average pace.  I was a little slower than I wanted to be, though I met my B goal, but also the race route was a little harder than I had anticipated.

The day started out pretty normal: breakfast, chores, kid stuff.  Every once in a while I would start shaking as I realized it was race day.  I didn't like that.  I needed to calm down.  Chill lady.  It's just a race!

My husband had taken the older kids camping, so I needed a babysitter.  She came right on time.  By 2:45 I was off to the races.

The temperature had been fairly warm in the days leading up to the race--think high 70s and 100% humidity.  However, the temperature dropped to the low 60's and 50% humidity.  The race weather was perfect, if not a little chilly for us Texans.

Parking was at a nearby church.  Shuttles were provided.  I had no trouble getting on one.  I arrived at the shuttle area and was immediately ushered onto a bus and within minutes we were at the race site.

The kids 1 mile was first.  I ran a little warm up and positioned myself at the last turn so I could cheer on the kids.  It was fun to see how my cheers helped them pick up their pace.

My race started at 4:20.  I lined up in the appropriate pace position (I was aiming to run 8:30 min miles).  The other races all seemed to line themselves up appropriately, too.  There wasn't too much passing going on in the early miles, or throughout the race for that matter.

My first mile clocked in at 8:06.  Way to fast. I was aiming to run a 9 minute mile for the first mile and then picking up the pace--aiming for negative splits.  Spoiler alert.  Didn't happen.   I forced myself to slow down.  I knew I would pay for it later and I probably did.

The course was so sandy.  I felt like I was running on the beach, and there were lots of tree roots.  I didn't trip, but I others around me did.  I don't think anyone was injured.  They got right up and continued on.  Water stops were nicely positioned every mile.  I didn't need water, but my mouth was so dusty from all the kicked up dirt that I did swish water in my mouth to subdue that gritty feeling.

Mile two came in right at 8:29.  That was right on with my goal.  I felt good.  Mile 3 was a little slower at 8:39.  This mile, and the next, were mostly uphill and the sand was thick. I was ok with that knowing that what goes up must come down.  I tried to keep to the edges of the trail, where the sand wasn't as bad, but I knew this was adding on mileage (not running the tangents).  I didn't know what was worse on my time though, the sand or ignoring the tangents.  I decided the sand.

Mile 4 was an awful 8:45. I was able to bring it down a little for mile 5 (8:35).  Still a little slower than I wanted to be.  Mile 6 was the worst.  I just wanted to stop.  I kept wishing I had just done the 5k so this all would be over!  I finished that mile in 8:58.  Not good.  Finally we were back on paved roads with a little over .2 to go.  I managed to find a bit of a kick and finished my last .2 (Garmin tracks me at .29, not running the tangents hurt me distance wise) at a 7:40 pace.  I really wanted to run mile 6 at an 8:19 or better. I guess I swapped mile one's time for mile six's.  Oops. I really need to work on my mental state in these later miles for sure.  I get really down on myself.

The route was harder than I had anticipated.  I knew it was a trail run.  I had planned for dirt and tree roots--not heavy sand.  But overall I was happy with my performance.  I managed to find a kick at the end and finished feeling like I had nothing else to give.  I definitely will work on my start.  I think it hurt me in the later miles. Also, the spectators at the finish were few and didn't cheer.  I would've liked a little more support from that area.  Oh, well, what can you do?

This was a great race and I will most definitely do it again next year!

Finish time: 53:45
Place: 7/60ish gender, 22/? women, 77/284 overall

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Run Less, Run Faster and Muddy Trials Bash 10K

Now that marathon recovery is complete, I am ready to get back into the trenches full force.  For the past few weeks I have been analyzing my past training and researching new training plans.  During marathon training I had to sacrifice speed training to build my endurance.  I missed track workouts so much.

Because of that, I decided to train to increase my 10k pace.  I don't know if I will actually sign up to run a 10k at the end of my training schedule--I hate paying run on my own streets--but I do plan on doing a formal time trial.

The plan that looked the best to me was Run Less, Run Faster.  It incorporates a lot of key workouts I missed doing while I was building endurance.  I do think it might lead to a bit of burnout, and since I don't have a key race in mind, I plan on doing a fall back week every third week similar to what I did during marathon training.  During the fall back week, I will not focus on times for most of the runs, but instead focus on hills (a component that's lacking in RLRF) and just having fun, easy runs.  At the end of the week, I am going to do a 5k time trial. 

In RLRF, pace times for workouts are determined by your current 5k pace.  So the time trial and fallback week will serve two purposes.  First it will give me a rest and let me just enjoy my runs and talking with my run buddies, and, two, it will help me reevaluate my training goals.  If I've improved, I know to focus on new paces in my workouts.

This week is my first 10k time trial.  I haven't run a real 10k since, well, ever.  I am kind of nervous because it takes place in the afternoon, and I generally run in the morning.  I don't know how my body will react.  Also, it is supposed to be hot this weekend.  I am no stranger to running in the heat, but I prefer not to for obvious reasons.  Hopefully I will be able to race my best! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I love my toes!

Yesterday, as I was clipping my toenails, my sweet Rose came to me.  Just as I thought to myself, "Huh, my toes don't look nearly as bad as I expected them to!" She said, "Oh, Mommy!  Let me kiss your feet!"  I know she meant because they were so broken looking.  But I chose to think of it in a different way.

I am a goddess.

I ran 26.2 miles in one  I trained for 18 weeks, pushing through niggling pains, pulled muscles, dead legs, and early, early mornings.  Sure, there was the occasional crazy fast run that made me feel like I was flying, but those mornings were far and few between.  But still, I persevered.

Thank you, toes.  Thank you for letting me do this to you. Thank you, Rosie, for recognizing the divine power in my toes.  Go ahead, kiss them, bow to them.

My toes are awesome!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Woodlands Marathon 2014--Race Recap

I watched the weather closely.  At the start of the week, Saturday was projected to have a low of 40 and a high of 60.  Perfect!  Unfortunately life doesn't always go perfectly.  By Thursday the forecast had changed and instead we were looking at a low of 65 and a high of 79.  To top it off humidity was at 100 percent.  Ouch.

My six year old believes she is a nature fairy.  I told her if she was going to make it hot to please add a light misty rain to the schedule.  What do you know?  When I woke Saturday at 4 AM, there was a misty rain, though no rain was promised in the forecast.

Before the Race!

I ate a breakfast of toast and nutella and about twelve ounces of my favorite juice--Bare Naked Blue Machine smoothie.  It was perfect.

My friend picked me up and we all drove down the the race site.  We met our friends at Town Green where we used the bathroom for the first of many times.

The race started at 7 am.  The misty rain was still going strong.  Thank goodness.  The heat would've been unbearable without it.

My running buddies at the start.
The race started right on time.  I was a bottle of nervous energy.  The race started off feeling so easy, despite the heat.  Emily and I kept our splits just under ten minutes for the first six miles.  It hardly felt like we were working at all.  We talked to each other and those around us.  I wanted to speed up, but knew it was only going to get hotter and also every racing plan reminds you not to start out too fast.  The beginning miles shouldn't feel hard.  So they didn't and thank goodness!

Jon brought the kids to the 10k mark.  It gave me a boost of energy (Mario Star!).  Rosie was wandering in the grass and Hayden was cheering all us runners on.  She told me later that a lady thanked her.  I told her that it is a service to cheer people on, and it really helped me feel loved.  She said she must also be a Love Fairy as well.  Ha!

The poster my little Nature Fairy made for me.

Mile seven was the start of the hills.  Flintridge is not like the crazy hills I had growing up in Utah, but for Houston area, which is crazy flat, it is definitely a hill.  The hills last from about mile seven to mile thirteen.  None of these are hard hills, but my legs felt it.  Emily and I were sweating like mad due to the heat and humidity.  Around mile ten we took a salt packet.  I will never race without a salt packet again.  It was an instant pick me up.  I thought it would be gross to dump salt on my tongue, but my body wanted it.  I could've used more.  Next time!

We hit the halfway point at around 2:13.  Not bad.  It was right on pace.  The mist was still coming and it was still overcast, but we knew that was going to end.  Around mile 15 I had to use the bathroom.  Emily was nice enough to wait for me.  That added a bit of time, but not much.  There was no line, so I was in and out.  It was hard to get back into the groove though, especially because now the sun was coming out.  We saw our friend Ashley a few hundred yards ahead of us.  We had started the race together but had lost her in the first mile or two.  She must've been running the same pace as us because we couldn't catch her then.  A water stop or so later, we caught up to her and we all ran together for a bit.  

Mile seventeen I turned on my music.  I really needed a break from thinking about my legs which were now starting to hurt (this was also when it started to feel really hard).  Around here, I saw my friend Lara.  She had made a poster for me and I was so grateful to see her.  Another Mario Star moment!

The miles kind of blurred from here.  I walked the water stops, refilling my handheld water bottle and drinking Nuun instead of water or the provided drinks.  My miles slowed considerably as the sun pounded me.  I got to mile twenty and was overjoyed.  Emily and I had broken the race into short five mile segments.  We were now at our last five mile segment (well 10k)!   I told myself that I only had a little over an hour of running left.  That didn't help.  I had to change my thought process. Instead of five miles, I switched to one mile increments.  I just needed to run one mile.  This mile.  Elevenish minutes later, I hit the next mile and then the next.  I had to stop for another pit stop at this point.  I also remember some people standing in the road to cheer for us.  That was nice, except one couple was cheering right in my path.  They wouldn't move.  I kept thinking they would step out of the way!  But they didn't!  At the last moment I finally moved over so I wouldn't run into them.  That was annoying.  I really didn't have strength to move any more than I needed to.  It was already a chore to put one foot in front of the other, I really didn't want to have to move sideways!  

I got a second wind as I ran over the lake.  It didn't last long, but it felt good.  I would've liked to keep up the pace, but I started getting dizzy--though my legs were moving nicely.  I really didn't want to pass out, so I slowed down again.  At mile 24.5 a group of half marathon finishers were taking a walk right on the course.  Not a bad thing except they were blocking the WHOLE path.  They walked shoulder to shoulder.  A few yards behind them I yelled for them to move over.  I think I said, "coming through."  One girl moved over, thankfully, but another didn't.  I squeezed between them.  I wasn't very nice about it.  First off, several of them were pushing strollers which aren't allowed on the course AND they weren't being respectful to the actual runners in the race.  I was a little annoyed.  Okay, maybe more than a little.  I got over it and filled my water bottle one last time.  I was all out of Nuun so I had plain water.

At this point, I knew I would finish if I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I wanted to walk so bad, but it was just as painful to walk as it was to run, so I ran.  

Jon waited for me about a half mile from the finish.  It was so good to see him.  He gave me a quick kiss and then I was off again.  

The finish is beautiful.  It goes along the waterway and was right at the Pavilion.  The only bad part is I couldn't see the finish until I was right there.  I only knew I was .1 from the finish because of the 3 mile marker from the 5k.  I pushed it as hard as I could--which wasn't very fast, haha, and crossed the line.  My official time was 4:42:26.  

All I wanted to do was sit.  I got my medal and Jon supported me until I found a spot under a tree.  I took off my shoes and socks.  No blisters!  Jon brought chocolate milk for me and I downed it.  Chocolate milk is the nectar of the Gods.  After changing my socks and resting for a bit I was able to move again.  

Emily had crossed the finish and Ashley shortly after.  We met and took some pictures.  Emily's dad and brother had also ran the race.  We split up, I went for food and she waited for her family.

The finisher shirt is nice.  The food was ok.  Breakfast sandwiches from Chick-fil-A.  I really didn't feel like eating.  I didn't eat much besides nuts and a piece of toast until dinner (a burger and fries from Jerry Built).

I fell asleep at 7:30.  My baby woke at about midnight, Jon went to take care of him, but he was still crying.  I was hungry, so I went to get my little guy.  I fed him stew and I ate a bit of oatmeal and drank some Blue Machine.   After he ate, he went straight to bed and so did I.  

The race was awesome, I was exhausted but never it the wall.  I think I kept a good pace in the beginning, drank a lot, and ate tons of honey stinger chews and shot blocks throughout the race.  I consumed about 500 calories total, mostly in the first 13 miles.  I will most definitely be racing a marathon again.  I'm a little scared though.  This time I was scared because I didn't know what I was getting into, next time because I do know what I'm getting into.

After the race. Finally starting to feel a little more like me.
I really didn't want to move from this spot.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finding my kick

53:25.  It's not an official 10K PR.  I didn't sign up for a race, nor did I start the run aiming to race it.  It just sort of evolved into that.  Let me explain.

Neither I nor my running partner felt like waking up at 5 am to run in the freezing cold.  We decided to swap kids and run a little later in the day.  Perfect!

Mile 1, 9:20-
I dropped my babies off at Em's house and started my run.  I did my first mile at an easy 9:20.  I had decided to run the middle miles at a comfortably hard pace, so I moved my arms a little faster and my legs seemed to follow.

Miles 2-5 8:32, 8:22, 8:29, 8:42 (I had to stop at a light)--
 My legs just started to go.  It felt hard.  Not exactly a race pace, but definitely not easy either.  I told myself I could ease up at mile 5 and bring it home easy.  But then I changed my mind.  I haven't ever raced a 10k.  My normal runs settle somewhere around 5 or 8 miles, or are super long.  My watch chooses my records from those miles.  So they aren't exactly my fastest miles, and my previous garmin PR was around 59 minutes--taken from an 8 miler I believe.  If I kept moving, I could really see what I could do.

Mile 6 and .2, 8:19, and 1:40 (7:35 pace)--
I'll admit, mile 6 was not easy.  I wanted to slow down, but I also knew I only had eight more minutes of running to go.  I could do it.  I knew I could.  I kept my arms going and brought it home.  I wanted to jump for joy when I saw the 53:25 final time.

I can go faster.  I can see lots of room for improvement.  I always have a hard time two miles before the finish of a run.  I mean, I'm not almost there.  I'm just closer to the finish than I was in the beginning.  I need to change my thought process when I get to that point.  It will serve me well in the long run.  Running is a mental game as much as it is physical, if not more so.

Overall, I'm happy to get my running legs back.  Since Christmas my times have been steadily falling and I am so happy about that.  I don't want to push it to hard during these taper weeks, but after this marathon I can't wait to hit the track and start some hill work and see what these legs and lungs really can do.

Friday, February 7, 2014

You smell like a monkey, and you look like one, too.

My two year old is about to turn three!  Hurray!  Dutifully, I've been asking her what she wants for her birthday.  We don't want any tears on the big day.  So far her answers have been quite doable.  She wants a cake and jello.  Done and Done!  Whoo-hoo, no crazy expensive, impossible to buy presents for this little chica. (Just try to find an Elsa nightgown, it's nearly impossible.)

 Just yesterday, after I asked what she wanted for her birthday (again), she said, "I want to go to the zoo and see the animals.  I like the zoo with Daddy and the kids."  As I recited our conversation to my husband he pointed out that I was not invited to this party.  Seriously, kid?  You don't want me, your own mother, the one who gave you life, to go to the zoo with you?  Well, kid, we are done.

Happy Birthday, Rosie!  You are loved!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

20 miles and more to go

A few months ago I thought I would never make it to a 20-miler.  I am so glad I was wrong.

I did have to adjust my goals coming into the training season.  I cut out a run a week after I realized five days of running was too hard on my newly healed body.  I've been able to keep the rest of the schedule, occasionally throwing in a few extra miles here and there.  Overall I've been really happy with my training.  I've powered through the hard days reminding myself that days like that are what prepares me for the final 6.2.

This training season, I've gone a little crazy preparing for the race.  I mean, there are so many socks out there.  Who knew?  I thought I'd share a sampling of my favorite gear.

Zensah Calf Sleeves.

As an injury prone runner these have saved my life.  I now have several pairs.  They have alleviated calf pain, shin splints, and tendinitis in my ankles.  I don't know if I will ever  be able to run without them.

I can't go on a run without my trusty shoes-- Mizuno Wave Riders.  I love the cushion in the forefoot.  The bright colors are bonus.

This Saucony Transcendence Jacket has been a lifesaver during the Texas winter.  Winter in Texas is not always very cold, but it is often windy and a bit rainy.  Today I ran a 5-miler in sleet.  This jacket kept me at the perfect temperature.  The windproof front blocks wind and rain, but the sleeves are thin enough to let my body breathe. The zipper front pockets are also waterproof. After a run in an unexpected storm, I took my phone out of the pocket and was pleasantly surprised to see that my valuables were safe and sound.   I bought this jacket from Amazon for $15--a steal!  I'd buy another one full price without question, it is that essential to my running wardrobe.

Spending money of running gear is arguably the best way to get out a running slump.  If you feel a little down about your performance, do as I do at hit the racks!  There is bound to be something that will make you excited to hit the streets again.

Happy Running!