Friday, September 13, 2013


I'm not sure running this late was the best idea for sleep but I got it done anyways. In other news, it finally looks like it's going to start cooling off a little! #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining 22/#50milesinseptember

The further I get into this running thing, the more I realize the need for celebrating the smaller events as a part of the bigger journey.  Of course at the culmination of all my training I want to celebrate the completion of a half marathon and a full marathon but where's the fun in waiting until then?

So some of the smaller positives...
  • I'm running faster.  I'm still slow but I've cut almost 3 minutes off my pace from my beginning point.
  • My food choices are getting better everyday.  I want to eat healthy so I can run better.
  • I like how my body is changing... more on that in a minute. ;)
  • I look forward to my workouts and I'm motivated by these little things to get my workouts in no matter what.
A few of the bigger positives...

Steve has been traveling a lot this month.  That's typically not the norm but it looks like it will be for the forseeable future.  When he's gone I'm a little more stressed... the dogs don't behave, Chaney is more challenging, and of course there are the inevitable disasters that seem to wait for when he's not home.  That's just the way it works.

This salad makes me look forward to lunch! #cleaneating

So when he travels, I'm typically a little more stressed than usual and when I'm stressed, it's easy to slip into old disordered eating habits.  Add in the fact that I'm alone and I face my biggest moments of temptation to binge.  These are certainly shameful moments and I always regret it because it doesn't even make me feel less stressed for very long at all.  I got a little anxious when he told me what his travel schedule was but I'm proud to report that I haven't binged once.  I don't know for sure what's changed but the desire just isn't there.  My theory is that the little things I've listed above have changed my perspective; or at least that's what I'm going to go with. :)

I've kept up with my workouts even when he's been traveling and I'm proud of that.  It's not easy after a long day of work, coming home to chores, dinner, and helping with homework, violin practice, etc.  I completed one of my treadmill runs after 10 PM and in case you're wondering, that's really not setting yourself up for a good night's sleep.  I was WIRED.

And lastly, the changes in my body.  Probably TMI but I was shaving my legs in the shower the other morning and I found a strange and hard lump on the side of my leg close to the side of my calf, above my ankle... there was even an indention below the lump because it was protruding so much.  I got all panicked so I did what a "normal" person does and I compared it to my other leg.  Guess what?  There was an identical lump!  But after more poking and prodding, I realized what these lumps were...

New muscle definition.  I'm not a hypochondriac at all. ;)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hot & Hotter

It's gonna be a hot run!

So now that it's September, I start looking forward to "cooler" temperatures.  I'll even consider 80 or 85 as a high temperature as cooler at this point...

How is it still this hot?? Treadmill for me today... I'm going to have to start extra early to get 8 miles in tomorrow morning before it's scorching.  #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

But instead we are having some of our hottest days and consecutively as well.  Yay.  Steve was traveling last week so it was the treadmill for me.  Chaney wouldn't even entertain riding her bike with me in the evening while I ran... that means it's really hot if a kid won't ride their bike!  BTW, I started watching Homeland to pass the time on the treadmill and I am now officially addicted to that show.

It was a really tough run. I'm pretty much over this summer thing. At least the sunrise was pretty...  #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

I had great workouts running on the treadmill during the week/Saturday which made Sunday's long run outside an even ruder awakening.  I woke up early and started my 8 miles as soon as it was light out.  It was one of my more miserable runs since I started running again.  The humidity was awful, the sun was hot once it came up and I just felt sluggish.  But in letting go of my perfectionism little by little, I wasn't going to freak about a bad run; instead I decided to focus on the other runs during the week that were good.  This is progress for me. :)

When I got home I hopped in an almost cold shower so we could go see a 10am movie.  I sat in the theater still sweating and told Steve that it was hot in there.  Turns out that it wasn't hot, it was just me. ;)  This continued the rest of the day.  Everywhere we went I was hot.  It was the weirdest thing... or maybe not since it was 109 on Sunday. 

I got a massage on Monday and she worked on my legs {my calves in particular} and I felt tons better afterwards.  It's amazing how tight my calves are and that I don't even notice anymore until someone else works the tension out of them.  As I continue to increase my mileage I'm going to get massages more often.  She specializes in medical and sports massage and wow, she really knows her stuff.  She even understood why I don't want to get rid of my callouses despite Steve's complaints. ;) 

Hey, at least I keep my toenails polished!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Improving as a runner

I feel so much better now!  I'm pretty sure the rest of the people in my home do too.  30/#55milesinaugust #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

As a beginning runner, I think I've paid more attention to what not to do because I have wanted to avoid injury and run consistently.  And while that's fine and good I fell into the trap of not improving much either... at least past being able to run consecutive minutes and miles.

One of the most common pieces of advice given to beginning runners is: if you're out breath, you're running too fast.  Now I get why that makes sense, especially early on, but at some point if you don't push yourself you aren't going to see gains in fitness and performance. 

I took that rule of thumb to heart and outside of some hills and the occasional strides, I've run at a "conversational pace".  I know that doing this has kept me healthy but after talking to a running friend and expressing my frustration; I realized that it's OK to push myself and breathe hard in some of my workouts.

In that same conversation we were talking about breathing and how your warm up can impact your breathing throughout the workout.  Now, I'm not the most patient person so I consider walking for 5 minutes before I run to be close to overkill.  I know.

My friends suggestion was something similar to what she does.  She's not only a great runner, but she is also a smart runner so I was happy to listen.  Here's what her warmup looks like: walking, a light jog, a "break a sweat" jog and THEN beginning the running workout.  She said that this keeps her from warming up too fast or not enough which can lead to labored breathing throughout her workout.  Interesting.

Steve is traveling so I'm stuck on the treadmill. Today was my easy day so I tried warming up how @soultrain21 suggested. What a difference! She's a super smart runner.

Yesterday was my easy day so I tried this strategy.  I walked 5 minutes, jogged 4 minutes, jogged a little faster for 3 minutes and then began running.  Not only was my easy pace faster but my breathing was great the entire time.  I didn't have that "first mile is the toughest" feeling and I finished the workout feeling great.  I'm a believer!

Did it take a little longer to warm up?  Yes.  But did I have a better run?  Yep.  So I've come to realize that reasonably pushing myself after a good warm up is OK and a good thing when I have a tempo run or speedwork assigned for that day's workout.

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest differences.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Not for the faint of heart

It's a beautiful morning for a trail ride!  It's almost "cold".

It all started out nice enough.  Trail biking with Steve on a new trail that was supposed to be fairly easy, a beautiful morning, a good night's sleep the night before... what could possibly go wrong?

If you're grossed out by road rash, scraped up legs and a little blood... look away.  The trail we rode was not easy but rather it was super technical.  I'm a decent bike rider but nothing to write home about.  I tend to think I do better on two feet than I do on two wheels.

As I sit here pouring hydrogen peroxide over my leg, I think now would be a good time to discuss why I do better with two feet compared to two wheels.  #notacyclist #doesthiscountascrosstraining #motherrunner

This confirms my theory.  Not gonna lie, it hurt.  But pouring hydrogen peroxide on my legs hurt even worse.  I didn't cry but I came very close.  I spent the rest of Saturday nursing my wounds and eating sushi.

Sunday was long run day with 8 miles on the schedule.  I was definitely sore but I did fine.  I got home, showered and Steve decided I needed to get back on the bike after wiping out so bad the day before.

Got back on the proverbial bike after yesterday's wipeout. Today was great and yes, I'm super tired after running 8 miles this am. Happy Sunday! #motherrunner #imightbe abikepersonafterall

We went to a different trail that was confirmed by a real person to be beginner friendly and thankfully that's exactly what it was!  It was still a blast too.  I'm glad he convinced me to give it another go.

My totals for the day:
8 mile long run
7.35 mile trail ride
Approx 1300 calories burned

This is happening. Stuffed hatch chiles wrapped in bacon!

We celebrated by making chicken stuffed hatch chiles wrapped in bacon.  Amazing and totally worth the calories burned earlier in the day.

I normally hate rest days but today I think it's a pretty good idea. #motherrunner #ouch #sorelegs #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

Monday was a rest day and while I usually dislike rest days, this one was quite welcome. :)

All in all, it was a good experience.  I still love trail riding mostly because I get to spend quality time with Steve but also for the challenge.  The key is just to stay upright so you don't have to explain your road rash a million times. ;)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Won!

Stress test take 2. I'm going to win!  #motherrunner #winning
Before the test and slightly nervous...

No, not a race.  But I did "win" my stress test.  I'm super competitive so even though you can't technically win a stress test, I'm telling myself that I did.  Because I can. :)

I arrived in my running shoes and clothes.  They took my vitals and my resting heart rate got an audible sigh from the nurse.  It was 45.  I couldn't believe it!  I was not in good shape when I started running last November and while I'm not anywhere near fast, I'm healthier and that makes me happy.

The technician's response: I'm glad you wore running shoes because you are going to have to run.

For my age my max HR is 180.  45 to 180?  That could be a problem.  After 25 minutes running on an increasing incline the tech settled for 80% of my max.  I'm glad he made me run though because he explained that they used to let athletes slide knowing their HR wasn't going to max out but that also missed identifying heart conditions in otherwise healthy athletes.

They also did a resting EKG, an ultrasound and something else that showed the blood flow.  Pretty cool!  They repeated the same tests right after the stress test to see what things looked like when my heart was working hard.

Me: 1 Stress test: 0. The only thing that showed up was a murmur but nothing to be concerned with. I am officially free to run all the marathons I would like although my Dr. suggested getting my head checked for wanting to run so far LOL.  #motherrunner
After and much more relaxed...

The good news: my heart murmur behaves exactly the same at rest as it does when my heart is taxed.  There were no blood flow issues, leaky valves, etc.  My cardiologist (who I love, BTW) told me I was free to run all the marathons I wanted to although I might want to get my head checked for wanting to run that far for fun.  Funny guy!

My chest pain was anxiety related so his "prescription": watch my caffeine intake, limit my stress, and manage my anxiety.  He doesn't realize that those three things fuel my work days so thank goodness for running!

New laces, new socks and my favorite route... all were great.  The weather was perfect and it made me so ready for fall! #motherrunner #mizunorunning #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

So I'm definitely out of my running funk and back to running without anxiety.   I also went trail biking with Steve this past weekend and have the war wounds to prove it... more on that later.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Slept in this morning so it was the treadmill for today's run. I didn't want to run but as always, I'm glad I did. 9/#55milesinjuly #motherrunner #mizunorunning

I've been in a little bit of a running funk lately.  I've gotten some miles in here and there but we've had other things going on... like painting and redecorating Chaney's entire room.  We have also been trying to squeeze the best out of that last little bit of summer left before school starts.  So not only am I in a running funk but I'm also a little sad that summer is nearly over.

OK, IKEA... I take back everything bad that I said about you.

Yes, I love the routine of the school year but along with that comes endless to-do lists, school drama to talk through after school, violin lessons and everything else that comes with being a 4th grader.  All of this also means that I have to really structure my mornings to fit my workouts and runs in.

The last little bit of my funk has to do with my anxiety attack/ER trip several weeks back.  I followed up with a cardiologist last week and he found a heart murmur.  Weird.  I'm new to all this terminology but hopefully I'll learn a lot more today when I go for my stress test. 

Goal #1 today: win the test.  Competitive much?? ;)

But really, my biggest priority is getting some peace of mind and some assurance that I'm healthy.  Because honestly that has put a bit of a damper on my running enthusiasm lately.  I certainly don't feel unhealthy but I don't like words like "hear murmur"... "irregular rhythm"... "missing EKG peaks" either.

So that's where I'll be this afternoon.  Thankfully the cardiologist reviews the results with me today so there is no more waiting.  From there I hope to proceed directly out of my funk.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Training Tuesday

I've had a hard time settling on a training plan.  So many of them are similar but at the same time many of them are very one-size-fits-all.  The 10K Runner app that I started with was great because it had no focus on miles or pace; just time spent running vs. walking.

But ever since I completed that program, I've been following a mash-up of plans which was beginning to drive me crazy.  I read Run Less, Run Faster and I really like the philosophy behind the training plan.  It even went as far as to tell you pace/time/miles to train at based on your last race.

That part I liked... what I didn't like was how cumbersome managing the actual plan was.  I was constantly looking up my next workout, then forgetting it, looking it up again at 5 am.  And then as my times improved, I had to find the new corresponding workouts based on my improvements.  I know... first world runner problems.

Did I mention that I signed up for the Cowtown Marathon for this coming February?  I did and I'm so excited!  When I paid I was offered a customized training plan through Run Coach for a flat $20 which is a steal.

All I did was log in, create a profile, enter my recent race times and it put together a plan specifically for me.  The cool part... as I record my times and miles and they improve, the rest of the training plan automatically adjusts to my new training levels.  I get a weekly email and then I get an email the night before my next running workout telling me exactly what I'm supposed to do.  Worst case, I can just look on my phone while I'm out if I forget how many 400's, etc to run.

This all might seem a little lazy but oh well.  I'm busy and it's one less hurdle I have to jump to get out the door and actually run.  It also syncs with Nike+ which is the watch I use.

Training up for the week:
Monday - long run of 6 miles {I missed it on Sunday}
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - tempo run {.50 warm up, 7 drills, 3 strides, 5:00 at tempo pace then jog 3:00 x 3, .50 cool down.
Thursday - cross train
Friday - tempo run {same warm up & drills, 1:00 hard/1:00 jog x 6, .50 cool down}
Saturday - cross train

I missed my long run on Sunday and the schedule automatically updated, dropped a cross training day in favor of keeping the long run which is more important.  Pretty cool. :)