Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31st, 2010 – 6.62 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 is it! The final run of 2010. It was the longest run I’ve done since the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. It took me a little while longer to recover from that race because I really hurt myself the next day. I had the day off so I wanted to get a longer run in.

The weather was great! This is how winter is supposed to be. Crisp and clear, palm trees swaying in the breeze and 63 degrees. You really can’t beat winter in Southern California.

The idea was to do the typical 4 minutes on and 1 minute off workout but I decided I would run half the route, then do the 4 and 1 thing. Once I got to the half way point I decided to just keep running. I tried to keep my heart rate between 145 and 160 so I didn't hit The Wall before I finished. That didn't always work out.

It felt really good for most of the run. Once I got to the 5.75 mile mark, I started to feel tightness in my back. I think my posture had been off, so I dropped my shoulders and straightened my spine but I think it was too little too late. This is going to hurt tomorrow.

For now, it feels good and I was happy to get home to see these lovely faces.

The interesting thing is that my time wasn’t much better than my 4 and 1 time. I’ve always heard that but I didn’t quite believe it. This was the first time I’ve ever run the full course. I’ll be tired tonight but it was early enough in the day so I should sleep like a rock. I expect to be completely knocked out when the clock strikes mid-night, so I’ll say it now: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 28th, 2010 – 2.14 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 run was rather disjointed and much more rigorous than the RunKeeper implies. It was another mid-day run from the office. The office goes dark between Christmas and New Years and only employs a “skeleton crew” of which I am a part.

The dress code is beyond casual for this week. Really, if I wanted to show up in my pajamas, no one would care. As it was, I showed up in my running clothes, with no make-up and brought only another shirt to change into. So the plan was to eat at my desk, use my lunch hour to run a quick 5k and then just wallow in my own filth for the rest of the day. Who cares, right? I’ll be the only one there?

Well, nothing ever goes the way we plan! When I got to the office, we were fully staffed. Several people had decided to come in for a few hours just to take care of the few things. Ah, hell!

Well, what’re you gonna do? Nothing to do except say “Screw It!” and strut your stuff like you’re dressed for the Queen. So that’s what I did.

It was interesting actually, no one batted an eye. I’ve shown up for work on a random day wearing a tiara and no one said a word. I showed up yesterday in what equated to gym clothes and no make-up and not a second glance. I guess people expect all levels of crazy when it comes to me so very little surprises them. This is well with my soul because I tend to do whatever feels right at the time and rarely spare a thought for what others might think.

As for the run, it really was nice. The day was beautiful. There was a trail I noticed while I was driving and I wanted to explore it. As it often happens, the trail didn’t lead where I thought it would and it was going well off from the direction I expected, so I got about .75 mile in and turned around. It was a hilly run and I expected it to empty out into a park that I knew what at the top of the hill. When I corrected and got back to the paved sidewalk, I started climbing again. After about 150 ft, I came up to another trail head and took that one.

This one did lead up to the park that I knew was just over the crest. It was a *lot* steeper than I thought it would be so it was quite a workout getting up there.

It nearly bested me, but finally, wearily, I slayed the dragon and found myself on the green belt at the park. Whew!

It was rough… but it was so much fun, I turned around and went back the way I came instead of taking the easier route back through the park. The ground was still quite saturated from the previous day’s rain so I had to be extra careful around the slippery parts, but what a great run!!!

This is me at the top of the hill waving at the gully. I’ll do this again very soon!

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27th, 2010 – 3.79 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. It was chilly but dry so it was perfect for a run. It was another out-and-back route so it was easy. Even the first mile wasn’t bad.

It’s the end of the year!!!! I wanted to post this as my end-of-the year run, just in case it’s the last one of the year. I have a 3 mile sprint scheduled for tomorrow but you never know.

My goal at the end of last year was to make myself a runner. I’m not the best or the fastest but I’m the best I can be right now. Now that I know I can go the distant (for the full marathon is NOT on my bucket list. I am thrilled to pieces with the half), I need to work on the speed. My next race isn’t until March and I am focused on a PR. Not so much that I’m willing to injure myself, but I am ready to do the research and make the effort.

This is the picture of a sweaty, tired, happy middle-aged woman. She is determined. She is strong. She is healthy. She is focused. She is forward thinking. She is a RUNNER!

And she is SUPER Hot!

2010 was GREAT!!!! For many reasons, but at this moment, it was the Year of the Runner.

Be well, my friends and Happy New Year!!!

Christmas Eve 2010 – 5.11 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.”

We were supposed to get rain on Christmas so I wanted to be sure to get a decent run in on Christmas Eve. It was really nice. Such a beautiful day! The rain is a bit of a drag, but we can’t complain. The rest of the country seems to be getting pummeled by snow and wind. Travelers are stranded all over the globe it seems.

However, for the folks living in SoCal, the day was glorious and perfect for running. I didn’t have any distance goals today, but a timing goal. I was going to do an out and back route for 40 minutes total. It was all the time I had before I had to get home, make holiday wreaths and clean the house before my In-laws started showing up for the Christmas Eve hoopla which we were hosting this year.

There wasn’t anything remarkable about this run except that I had been having some muscle pain and sciatic issues for several days and it wasn’t going away. As soon as I laced up the Asics and took that first step, all the pain was gone! I’d waited 5 days for the pain to subside before I decided to just run through it. Turned out, my body was reacting to the inactivity much more negatively than it did the activity.

The first mile was as usual. Just terrible. I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the full 40 minutes, but once I worked the kinks out, it was a nice smooth, easy, relaxing run. The first half was a bit of hill work, so the coming back was excellent.

A great gift. Speaking of great gifts, on Christmas, I got a copy of “Runners World – Complete Book of Women’s Running” by Dagny Scott Barrios from my Father-in-Law.

What a good guy! I have been reading bits of it every chance it get, which is not really as often as I’d like with the husband, kids, work, church, home, skin & hair care, the reading of other great books and of course workouts. But I’ve enjoyed every word of it so far and I can’t wait to share anything that is particularly helpful.

One thing I was really interested in learning is whether or not I’m in the right shoes. I learned that I overpronate so my foot collapses inward too much upon landing. I knew that, just didn’t know what it was called and it seems that I am actually already in the correct shoes and use the proper heel cups to alleviate the pressure on my arches.

Guess my father was right when he said common sense was one of those helpful tools. I was a little disappointed because I still have aches and pains when I run. I was hoping I would learn some mystic secret of the running gods and would find the Shangri La of footwear and be able to run like the wind with zero discomfort if I could only find the right shoes.

Turns out running hurts sometimes. Deal with it. Even the pros get stiff and achy. Blast!

Ah, well…. My father also told me that anything worth having is worth working for. And being awesome is *so* worth working for.

Friday, December 17, 2010

November 16th, 2010 - 3.12 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 run was interesting for me. It was the first time I ever attempted a run during the work day. This had the potential to go really well or be a complete disaster. I wanted to try it for several reasons (1) to see if I could get a decent workout with all my work stuff so heavily on my mind (2) to see if I would rest well that night because my previous run had me tossing and turning all night. That was a drag (3) to see if I would be able to swing the whole thing without smelling like a high school locker room for the rest of the day and (4) to see if I would be able to get that immense clarity of thought for the rest of the workday that people are always talking about when they exercise in the middle of the day.

(1) My first goal was to get in a full 5k distance and do it slowly. I wanted to take 40 minutes to do it. I’ve read that for weight management, anything less than 40 minutes is kind of a waste of time. I’d already decided that I was going into maintenance mode and I would work on speed in February. I know I can do this distance in about 30 minutes, but I really just wanted to take it slow. It was insanely boring and it was much harder to focus on my form for some reason so I chose to get into the music pumping in my ears. Not a bad workout. Mission accomplished. B+!

(2) I slept like a rock!!! So in that respect is was a huge success. I think it was far enough away from bedtime that the “high” didn’t keep me awake. I finished work, put dinner on and set it to cook while I ran to the grocery store, baked 3 loaves of Amish Friendship Bread and crashed with perfect timing. A+!

(3) A friend at the office gave me little bottles of Candy Cane scented shower gel and body lotion for Christmas and I have large bowl that I keep in the warehouse, so I used it as a basin and gave myself a pretty decent douche (calm down freak! Douche means shower!) in the handi-cap stall of the ladies room so I left the whole experience smelling like a rose (or a candy cane). A+!

(4) I don’t know if I got any real clarity, but I was very glad I did it and had a really nice day. After I was done, I went into the warehouse and took a few minutes to do a really thorough stretching session. I think that helped with the clarity of thought because right after a workout, my mind is going a mile a minute and I really need to take the time to come down. The stretch really helped with that and I woke up the next morning feeling *much* better than I did after my last run. So I guess I’ll have to stretch for the rest of my days. I can’t just tear down my body without any damage control like I used to. Getting old sucks.

All in all, it was a pretty good run but the best part about it was being done with it.

So after my stretch, I sat at my desk for a few minutes to check a few more items off my To-Do list before I rinsed myself off. I figured there was no use in trying to get myself cleaned up until my heart rate had regulated itself and I stopped sweating like a horse. It’s a good thing I work in a casual office…. And I look fabulous in my running skirt.

November 15th, 2010 - About 1 Mile Walk

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 a very nice outing. Chris and I took the kids and Sarah out to see all the pretty Christmas lights. It was a stroll with a lot of oohing and Ahhing. Super cute.

Strangely, it was more painful for me than my last run. I don’t know if my body was protesting my severe aversion to post workout stretching. I really hate to stretch. I never do it. Or if I need to phase in my new shoes. They have almost 350 miles on them now. My heels and right ankle were killing me. I was pushing Jayda’s stroller and Chris had Sarah’s leash. Jordan was happily running around on his own.

It was a pleasantly cool evening. No moisture in the air. Very typical of a late fall evening in SoCal. I didn’t record this mile because it wasn’t a workout. Just a pleasant outing with the kids and my best guy. But I wanted to blog about it cuz I love my life and my kids are cute.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 12th, 2010 – 2.87 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 nice. The whole family went to the dog park to let Sarah run around with some of her doggy friends. When we were ready to leave, I put on my reflective gear and told them I’d see them in about 3 miles.

It was a nice run. Very nice neighborhood. It was a nice easy run. It was mostly downhill so I was just getting the miles in. The temperature was perfect and the night was beautiful. Many of the houses had elaborate light designs. The kids would have loved this run, but it would have been a stroll for me. Maybe we’ll walk it together later on in the week.

Christmas in Southern California is just as magical as it is in the coldest and snowiest of places. The twinkling lights and the smell of harth fires make a chilly night run very pleasant. We don’t often get snow, but it certainly gets cold enough. Going forward, I will be donning my running cap, arm warmers and gloves and wearing my thick socks.

It's far from miserable to live here but I do prefer the warmer weather. Running at night makes me miss the spring weather. The long days and warm nights are great. The smell of jasmine in bloom and the sound of the crickets chirping. All good stuff.

A friend of mine told me about the Wee Mee app, so made myself a Wee Mee. I couldn’t find any running clothes, but this is my Wee Mee on a running trail. I just thought she was cute. Reminds me of my little girl.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 10th, 2010 – 3.51 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 good. It was the first run I’ve done in 5 days. I really didn’t want to go, but it had been so long, I really had to get it under my belt to kick start myself.

It seems like December isn’t going to be any better than November. Since the time change, I haven’t been very motivated. I have to admit that it felt really good to be out there. The temperature was very comfortable but it was late, so it was almost completely dark.

The night before, I went to the Girl’s Potluck at the office that we do every Christmas. There was a gift exchange and the lady who drew my name outdid herself. She only had $20 to spend and she did a FANTASTIC job. Personally, I think she went over the limit. I won’t mention her name but she is just the sweetest little thing. She gave me a Fila runner’s tanktop with the media pocket, a tube of Performance pain gel and this cool little flashlight. This wasn’t even on my list but about 2 days earlier, I saw a lady running in my neighborhood with a little flashlight and I thought, “What a good idea”. I was able to keep it steadier than I would if it were on my chest or head and it was nice to have it in my hand so I could turn it off whenever I didn’t need it. It makes it difficult to take Sarah because with a flashlight, pepper spray AND Sarah’s leash, my hands are pretty full.

I believe December and maybe even January will be all about just getting the miles in. Just maintenance runs to stay conditioned. I’ll start trying to really add speed in February. My next run isn’t until the end of March and I need to be able to just get the run in without worrying about increasing my speed. I am discovering that I am better than I thought I was. When I compare my finish times to when I first started running and it took me 45 minutes to run a 5k. I am far from the best, but I’m glad to be showing improvement.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 5th, 2010 – Say No To Drugs 5k Race

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 run was not about a PR or form or performance of any kind. It was just a great way to start the day and an awesome time with my mother-in-law. It was a 5k on the Universal Studios Backlot in Hollywood!!!

We did this run last year and mom paid my registration fee for me both times. Now that is just the greatest gift ever! We ran it together and had a great time.

The energy of the crowd was great and there was a wide range of skill levels. This is me running with a group and looking around enjoying all the famous movie sets…

This me chillin' at a saloon...

I just had to get a pic of this kid. A CamelBak for a 5k? Really?

I saw a guy taking Cliff Shots right before the gun went off…. for a 5k?! You’d be done with the race well before they kicked in! Especially the guy I saw! He was super fit and looked like he could have finished in 10 minutes!

This run could have been a touch more organized because all the runners from elite to walkers all started at the same time so we spent a lot of time and energy dodging and being dodged. I’m sure that’s a major faux pas but I’m not so elite or snobby that it diminished the run for me at all. Although many of the runners who reviewed it afterward had a lot of negative comments about it. To them, I say “Lighten Up!” It’s clearly a family oriented event with many enticing sets where people want to stop and take pix..

Here is me with Mr. Potato Head (around Mile 1)…

This is me in Whoville...

… and it’s quite hilly. Here is the Psycho house on the hill….

Norman Bates was there taking pix with fans. That was cool!!!

I thought Mother might be lonely so I went to visit. I knocked but she didn't answer...

And you can’t beat a 5k where you get a T-Shirt, a fairly decent goody bag AND a medal!

I can't say enough about this run. It was great! Next year I wanna take Jordan. He is always so envious when I come home with a medal. He always wants to wear my medals……

…but he wants one of his own.