Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 29th, 2010 - No Turning Back Now!!!

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I registered for the race! I've paid the fee, so there is no way I'm going to turn back now! Now I *have* to do it and I *have* to finish it.

If I'm being honest with myself, I have to admit that June has not been a good month for fitness. I've run only 37 miles this month and that is a marked difference from last month. I know that I want to taper before the race, but this is ridiculous!

My kids are getting to be more active this summer so making time for a workout has become more challenging, but that's no excuse. I've got to make time because I can't let (Who? How do I complete this statement? The only one who cares whether I compete or not is me. Myself, maybe?) down.

I'm at the point of no return. The course time limit is 4 hours and I think I can finish it in under 3. Since this is my first Half Marathon, the goal I have is to cross the Finish Line in a standing position. Anything the clock says at the end of it will be a PR.... And at the end of it, I will be able to call myself "A Runner".

These butterflies in my stomach must mean I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 27th, 2010 – 8 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was kind of a rough workout. It was the first run I’ve done with any distance in a little while and I wasn’t really up for it. I’m not sure why, I just wasn’t motivated. Chris floated the idea of missing church and I didn’t freak out, so he went with it and we stayed home. We had the most pleasantly productive day. Sometimes it’s nice to take a day off the normal schedule.

We did housework and quite a lot of yard work… But that was all after my run.

I was very aware that I was one of those people I see running on the street on Sunday mornings and wonder why they aren’t in church. Ah, well. My Dad didn’t call, so I only had to confess to myself, I guess.

This was the first time I went out with my new iPhone. I have been quite enamored with his little device and I can certainly see why the world is addicted to their smart phones. I inherited it from a friend after he got the 4.0. At first I really wasn’t all that excited about having it. I liked my previous phone just fine and I didn’t think I had much need for one of these new contraptions. However now, I am playing word games online with friends and handling my banking remotely and I really haven’t any idea how I ever got along without it. It’s only been 5 days.

Anyway, Chris loaded all my music onto it, so it replaces my iPod. This was exciting for me, so I was ready to go! And Then….. For some reason it kept skipping songs! I was sure I had it on some sort or search and shuffle mode, but I was having trouble figuring it out while I was trying to get the first mile behind me. Also, I was really huffing it. My heart rate was up, but I didn’t really feel like I was running any faster than normal. I didn’t understand.

Well after I reached the mile mark, shaving 15 seconds off my normal time, I realized, I must be pushing a little harder than I thought. I needed to relax because I was going for distance today.

With the first mile down and the iPhone situation situated, I felt like I should have been catching my stride and really getting into a groove, but no. It was torture and it didn’t look like the torture was going to let up anytime soon.

At the halfway, I decided I would walk about half a mile. Typically, I stick to my 4 and 1 program pretty strictly when I’m doing distance because if I can't run for 4 minutes, then something has got to be wrong.

Well, it didn’t seem like it. I wasn’t feverish. The weather was its normal SoCal perfection. The air quality was good. I didn’t have Sarah with me. I wasn’t hungry or dehydrated. I wasn’t overly fatigued. No serious knee, back or Achilles Tendon issues. It was just a yucky run. It just didn’t feel good….. for no reason that I could detect. Guess that’s what I get for skipping church. LOL!

I decided to walk from mile 3 to mile 3.5 and thought “Oh, my goodness! What if I feel like this on Race Day?!” Well, if I feel like this on Race Day, I’ll just have to walk it. But after so much training, if I can’t maintain my 4 and 1, I may breakdown and weep openly in front of God and 3000 strangers! So I did what I’ve been trained to do since I was a baby when I’m facing an obstacle I can’t see my way around. I start to pray:

“Lord, you don’t have to move my mountains, but give me the strength to climb. And Oh, don’t take away my stumbling blocks, but lead me around them!”

The rest of the run wasn’t fantastic, but it was much better after the brief rest and prayer session. Not to mention the fact that the return trip is often much pleasanter.

The last 2 miles were taken at a sprint and by the time I got home I was pretty pumped. So much so that I grabbed Sarah and took her for a one-mile warm down stroll.

Good times!

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25th, 2010 – 3.86 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This morning’s run (Yes! I woke up early and decided to go for run!) was good in many ways. I took Sarah and I kept her leash locked the entire time. It was a cool and misty morning and was a very comfortable run. Sarah seemed to be on a mission and she was pulling me forward the whole time, so I finished it in record time, which was great. I knew I was running against the clock because I still had to get home, shower, get the family ready and get to work on time.

I really think it would have been better if I hadn’t taken Sarah. It’s getting more and more difficult to focus on form and technique when I’m with her, but she’s good if I just want to beat my body up, pound the pavement and set new PRs.

I finished the whole 4 mile course in 38 minutes. It was a very pleasant run. I’m not sure what moved me to wake up earlier and actually lace up the Asics, but I’m glad I did.

I am fairly certain I will be in pain for the morning because I ran pretty hard. Looks like breakfast will be a homemade blueberry whole wheat muffin with an Ibuprofen chaser.

Feelin’ good!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 22nd, 2010 – 3.86 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight’s run was rough. It was the first time I’ve run in about a week. Last week I was down with a nasty flu. Also, it was the first time I took Sarah in about 2 weeks because she had chewed up her collar when it was left in the backyard after Jordan and Chris bathed her.

She was very unruly the whole time. The good thing about that was that I was so distracted while I was running I covered a lot of area before I realized I should be exhausted. Also, I didn’t want to take the chance of being dehydrated or improperly fueled after being so ill, so I ate a little something and took a 32 oz bottle of Power Ade in my runner’s pack. It was *way* too heavy and clumsy and I felt off balance the entire time. Between the dog and the extra weight, this was working out to be a pretty miserable run indeed.

Before I hit mile one, a pretty ferocious looking Boxer came barreling toward us with no leash or owner in sight. I yelled, “No!” and was ready to fire my pepper spray if it attacked me or Sarah. Turned out he just wanted to sniff and play. I thought it was kinda sweet, but I didn’t have time to set Sarah up with a hook up so, I said “No!” again and pulled her focus back onto the matter at hand. Eventually, the dog went running in the other direction and I think I heard the owner calling after the dog. I figured, they didn’t need my help and kept on running.

I was very much distracted by Sarah and her unruly ways. She bolted after every other living organism she saw, whether it was a dog or a bird or a neighbor. I was frustrated, but trying to be understanding as it had been about 2 weeks since she’d been out on a run. However, I wasn’t so understanding that I was willing to sustain an injury because she didn’t want to act right and I told her so roundly. She kept darting everywhere and stopping right in front of me and running around me.

At about the 2.5 mile mark, I gave her about 3 feet of leash and locked it so she could only run in front of me and any deviation could be set right with a firm tug on her leash. I was sorry to do that. Usually I give her the full length of the leash to do whatever she pleases, but usually she’s more focused. The rest of the run went much better.

Before the run, I felt a little nagging pain in my left knee, so I strapped on a knee band and took 600mg of Ibuprofen. That turned out to be a great idea. And while the 32oz of fluid sloshing around in my runner’s pack was banging the life out of my kidneys by this point, I was glad I brought it. I drank about half of it along the run and had to admit that being so well hydrated during a run felt really good. I just have to figure out a better way. I think a CamelBak would be overkill, besides, they aren’t exactly cheap. Maybe I’ll ask for one for my birthday? Or a runner’s pack that comes with bottles.

At the 3 mile mark, I’m feeling loads better and starting to remember why I like to run, but this run is almost over. Sure, I could turn the corner and add an extra half mile to the course, but I didn’t. I needed to get home and cook dinner.

So, my first run after a sickness is under my belt. *sigh* Even though it was a little frustrating, it felt pretty good. The weather was great. My body seemed to remember what to do and it’s officially Summer Time! I should be able to find a local 5k soon just to get another race in before the big one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 14th, 2010 – 3.86 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I beat myself up pretty well last night. I didn’t realize it at the time, but at about 3:00am this morning, my knees were screaming at me. The messages in my brain were telling me that I was hungry, but I thought I’d have some water because I read somewhere that people often over eat because they mistake thirst for hunger. Turns out, the water was enough to get me back to sleep. It was either the water or the 600mg of Ibuprofen.

An interesting discovery is that I always assumed this route was about 3.65 miles because I had always tracked it with my clip-on pedometer. However, when I mapped the route on, it turns out that the run is almost a quarter of a mile longer. Much closer to 4 miles. So that changes many things. I thought I ran a pretty consistent 12 minute mile. Turns out it’s closer to an 11 minute mile and my 5k time is closer to 31 minutes, as opposed to the previously calculated 34 minutes.

That felt fantastic for about 40 seconds. Then they became the new numbers to beat.

No issues with water to heat last night. That alone made it a more successful workout than Sunday's run. I set out at about 7:30p. There was still plenty of light left in the day and the heat of the day was well passed.

I will enjoy my rest today and get back at it on tomorrow.

I have been thinking about my overall fitness lately. I promised myself earlier this year that I wouldn’t worry about my weight anymore, I would just train for whatever run I’m doing and make healthy eating choices. That was fine until my husband took a pic of my bum.

This has created a whole new number to beat. *sigh*

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13th, 2010 – 7 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Today’s run was a little rough. It was the first decent workout I’ve had in days and the first time I’ve run in the middle of the day in quite a while. I usually run after work. I completely underestimated the afternoon heat and the need for hydration.

I knew I wanted to run at least 6 miles so I was on the 4 and 1 program. I also wanted to commit to doing the first mile in a 4 minute sprint and 1 minute jog. That went well but I really didn’t improve my time by much.

I still wasn’t feeling it by mile 2 and usually I’m good to go by then. It is *really* hot and I didn’t pack any water or cash to stop at the 7-11. I didn’t bring any gels. I’d decided before I started that I was going to run it without gels, but the water thing was an oversight. I meant to bring it.

Mile 3 and 4 were great! I was getting my stride and the run is starting to feel really good. The only thing that could make it better was if I had some water. But I’m half done and I think I’m going to make it!

By mile 5 I’m fighting a cramp in my left calf and I really don’t want to run through a cramp, so at the next stoplight, I stretch it out a bit and keep on running.

By mile 6 my form is bad but I’m still fighting toward home I am more fatigued than I would be normally because of the heat and I really need some water. This is a problem. I have got to do better than this. We’re no where near the summer temperatures. It’s only going to get worse going forward so I can’t skip the water anymore. Lesson learned.

I made it home exhausted and dehydrated. Next workout will be better. That’s the goal!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 9th, 2010 – 2 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight’s was another 2 mile run. It was another Taekwondo night. I intended to run to the studio from the BGC which would have made it a respectable 4 mile run, watch Jordan practice, then run another 2 miles to get home. But Jordan didn’t end up going to the Club today. Instead he went to a neighbor’s house after school and Chris took the day off. So I had to go get Jordan, then go home to get Chris so he could take the kids to class and I ran to the studio from home.

I showed up at class sweaty but very happy because I kept up a 10-minute mile pace for the entire run. I usually stick with a 12-minute mile pace when I’m running my normal 3.65 mile course.

There may be some merit to the shorter workout, just to work on speed.

I should have run back home after class, but Jayda hurt herself at school today and she seemed to want to keep me close.


There will be other days to run, but these days where my kids want me close to comfort them are fleeting and will be over far too soon. So I chose to kiss owies and cuddle my kids while we watched Disney Princess movies.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 7th, 2010 - Two Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I know! Why bother, right? Well, the boy had his first Taekwondo class tonight and it started right after work. We’re down to one car again, so we all got to be there. It was an exercise in frustration, but at least it was not frustrating for me this time. Martial Arts instructors know that more often than not, parents enroll their children because said children are in desperate need of more discipline and my little dude is no different. He had been asking for Taekwondo classes for months and we finally got him set up.

I had changed into my running clothes before Chris and I left the office to go pick up the kids. After class was over, I loaded up the car, kissed Chris and the kids and told them that I’d see ‘em when I got home. They left me there and I ran home. The studio was only 2 miles from home.

So there you are… Hardly worth lacing up my shoes, but as I’ve heard over and over again: A bad workout is better than no workout.

Next time, I’ll have Chris leave me at the BGC. I’ll run to the studio, watch the lesson, then run home.

I hope Jordan enjoys the course…. He was really good!

June 6th – Love Run 10k

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I had registered for this run late, so I was fortunate to get in on it without having to pay an extra fee. I’ve run this one every year since I first heard about it, I just didn’t get around to registering until the very last minute.

I was *very* apprehensive about this run. In previous years, I had only done the 5k. When I registered for this one, I actually did register for the 5k. Usually there is a separate and higher fee for doing the 10k if a race offers both, but with this particular race your paid registration allows participants to run all races. You could even run both races without paying extra, which is very unusual. When I went to RoadRunner for early packet pick up, I asked to be switched to the 10k.

Also, I hadn’t run all week. The last run I did was 10 miles and for some reason, I was completely unmotivated to run for the rest of the week. I allowed all manner of life issues to get in the way. I would be happy with myself if I at least had a clean house to make up for it, but nope! I missed all my workouts and the house is still a wreck!

My goal was to finish in under 1:30. The last time I ran a 10k race, it took me 1:45. It was the Say No To Drugs run at the Universal Studios Backlot and it was *very* hilly, but I’m fairly certain I could walk it in 1:45 now. So I had to do better this time! Usually, trying to cut 15 mins off your previous time is really ambitious, but not this time. I figured if it still took me 1:45, I had no business running at all. I would just call myself a Power-Walker and be done with it.

As it was, 1:30 was not at all remarkable and I knew it, but it was the goal and I was going to do my best to stick with it.

As usual, mile one was miserable and the voices were already in my head telling me I couldn’t finish in time and asking why the heck had I gotten out of my nice warm bed on a Sunday morning to torture myself. That voice is easy to ignore, so I pressed on. In the first mile or so, you figure out who you are going to pace yourself against and usually, that same person (or in this case, pair of persons) is using you to pace themselves too. It goes like this: I can’t let that guy get too far ahead of me. If that guy passes me, I gotta catch him. Then….. Wait! Where is that guy?

It’s a highly complex relationship. In one case, I actually finished a race and after crossing the finish line, I turned around and went back to find the lady I’d been pacing myself with just so she wouldn’t have to cross the finish line alone. And she was grateful that I did! It's strange how a race can make a complete stranger your comrade in battle.

I did this race in my typical 4 and 1 fashion and the guy at the end of mile one was screaming and letting me know that I was on track to finish in time, so I relax and just enjoy the music and the run. Besides, the most pressing issue is to finish in time to get to church before the Worship session is over.

I get to the halfway point and turn around. This route is not hilly, but it’s not as flat as the route I usually train on so I make a mental note to switch up my routine so I can get used to running different routes. I’m still feeling good, even after a gentleman who is every bit of 75 years old passes me at mile 4 and stays ahead of me for the rest of the race.

What concerns me most is that somewhere around mile 5 my iPod craps out on me again! I know that there are people who equate people who listen to music while running with those weirdoes who read on the treadmill. But I contend that running to a beat is the only way to fly. Of course, there is nothing I can do about it but keep running, so I do.

At about mile 5, the two ladies I’ve been pacing myself with have fallen behind me. They have been ahead of me for the entire race and they need to pick it up. I shout some encouragement, cuz you can do that during a race. They laugh and pick up the pace and we’re back on track.

We pass the one-mile-to-go volunteer cheerleaders and they have water. Bless them. I’d taken a Shot Blok after I’d been running for an hour and I needed some water.

At the finish line, I have my timer chip cut off and there are high fives all around to the ladies I’d been pacing myself with and another lady who I struck up a conversation with toward the end. Now it’s time to find some water and maybe some fruit and get to church.

This was a great run. Really relaxing and I kept up a 12 minute mile pace which is how I plan to get through the Half Marathon in October, so this was great practice.
Race Day is always a good day. I finished in 1:16, so I’m good all the way around. I get to the car and text Chris to let him know that I am on my way to church. The Service is only 15 minutes in so I should be fine. He texts me back and tells me that he’s still at home. What?!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May 30th, 2010 - 10 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight’s run was great. There wasn’t a single disappointing thing about it. The weather was perfect. I was feeling good and I had recently treated myself to some new running goodies!!! I went to Dicks and bought 3 pairs of Nike Women’s Dri-Fit socks. I had no idea such things as "moisture wicking socks" existed until I read an article about socks in the May edition of Runner’s World Magazine. Great articles in that magazine. I love it! I’d also bought inserts for my shoes, the half soles that support my heel and relieve pressure on my knees. I’d also resolved the issue I had with my iPod. So I was set up with excellent equipment and great music. I didn’t really want to take Sarah because she had just made a mess in the house so I didn’t want to treat her to a run, but Chris insisted that it was his fault because he hadn’t taken her outside soon enough.

Mile 1 was pretty good. Usually mile one is not fun for me but this time it was OK. I was taking it pretty easy for a couple reasons. I knew it was going to be a long run and I didn’t want to aggravate my Achilles Tendon or my knees. Also, I didn’t want to overdo it at the beginning so that I would hit the wall or burn out too soon. Finally, I knew I was going to have to cook dinner when I got back so I didn’t want to be overly exhausted when I got home. I kept my eye on my heart rate, but I let it creep up higher than I would normally because I had just gotten some advice from a veteran runner friend of mine (thanks Lloyd), who told me that with training, my maximum (and therefore, minimum) heart rate needs to be adjusted. So what used to be my steady, fat-burning, aerobic and cardio heart rates are probably higher now, than they were when I first started training.

I decided to wear my Ace Ankle Brace to stave off any AT issues, so with the new socks, sole inserts and brace, there was a lot going on in my shoes this time. Before I got to the half mile mark, I had to actually sit down and take off the brace, it is *way* too tight and it is painful. Much more painful than running without it was likely to be, so I took it off and put it in my runner’s pack. Ahhh….. Much better. Sometimes you have to know when too much is too much.

By the 2.5 mile mark, I was getting my stride and the runner’s high was starting to kick in. I was almost 30 minutes in and The Wall was nowhere in sight. But I know that it likes to hideout at around mile 7 and then attack me from behind. But this time, I’m ready for it. Another thing I had treated myself to when I went to Dick’s was a couple packs of Shot Bloks! I’d never tried them before, but I’d heard good things about them, so I was looking forward to it.

Mile 3 and 4 came without much trouble. The heel supports really seem to be doing the job and the AT is behaving. Can’t say the same about Sarah. Beautiful days draw people out with their dogs and today, Southern California had pulled out all the stops. Not only was it a gloriously sunshiny day, but there was not a cloud in the sky, there was a pleasant breeze and the smell of freshly cut grass and flowers in bloom were intoxicating. On days like today, you run into hard core, open-air exercise junkies as well as the wanna-be’s who dust off their trainers to walk Fido so they can feel good about the extra fried chicken and potato salad they plan to eat on Memorial Day. So I spent quite a lot of energy keeping Sarah from attacking other dogs. That was kind of a drag. But she’s a good dog and usually a word would set her right.

By mile 5, I am still feeling good. My AT is starting to tighten up just a bit, so I know that I will need to start stretching at every cross walk. At this point I am also very aware that I didn’t pack any water and that was a bad, bad choice! I know I want to start throwing back Shot Bloks at mile 6 to stave off The Wall and you really need to take water with that stuff, I’m sure.

So mile 6 comes and I tear open the shot blocks. I thought it was a one solid, gelatinous block with perforations at each serving, but nope! They’re all separate blocks, so when I opened the pack, the first little block tumbled to the ground. I’m exhausted and I am so far from my neighborhood that I really don’t care, so I blow it off and throw it in my mouth. Black Cherry…. Not too shabby. I do wish I had some water, but it really isn’t bad. All I have to do now is wait for it to kick in so I can break on through when I’m confronted with The Wall at mile 7.

Mile 7 comes and goes. I don’t know what they put in these Shot Bloks, but I’m sure it’s just *barely* legal!! They are doing the job! The Wall is nowhere in sight and I am feeling pretty pumped!!! At my next 1-minute break, I switch from my regular Workout Playlist and turn on the Marine Corps Cadence album. It was great. I was able to keep pace with the cadence and laugh because some of them are hilarious.

At mile 8, I throw back another Shot Blok. Still feeling good. I remember the last time I did 10 miles, I was in tears by the end, but I am hopped up on caffeine and I am doin’ it The Marine Corps way!!!

At mile 9, I throw back another Shot Blok. I am very aware that I may never sleep again, but if this is what it takes to get me through race day, I’m OK with that. I figure it’s better to find out what works for me during training, than to try something new on race day. All the articles I read say not to try new things on race day, so I’m OK with my choices today.

Mile 10 comes with absurd ease. I’m sure they’ll be some backlash to whatever I’ve been putting in my body for the last 2 hours, but I can’t worry about that right now, I need to drink a gallon of water and get dinner on the table….. And I swear I can feel my hair growing!

Seriously! What do they put in those Shot Bloks?! Gotta run!