Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday 9th, 2011 – 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 was an interesting run. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. I also didn’t expect to run 3 miles.

Because I was with the kids, I could only run in my neighborhood. This meant that I had to run laps… back and forth from cul-de-sac to cul-de-sac and yes, it’s typically as boring as it sounds.

But I had to get this run in. Not because I particularly wanted to but because in my last post, I got a reprimand from Coach Dion.

Don’t get me wrong, Coach Dion is super cool, but he keeps me grounded and he calls me on it when I’m settling for mediocrity.

In my last post, I mentioned that I hadn’t run in several days because it had been so cold. Coach, in his wonderfully diplomatic way, told me I needed to get myself some winter running gear, something I would be excited to wear so I would be motivated to get out in inclement weather to see how well it works.

Reading between the lines, what I read was: You’re in Southern California!!! Get off of your ass, Girl and get it MOVING!!!!

Well, he’s not just “Dion”, he’s COACH Dion! And when Coach tells me to get off my ass, I usually do. Even though he is literally half a world away, he still kinda scares me a little bit.

So I put a leash on the dog and decided to run some speed intervals. Because one thing I’ve learned after 2 years of running is that a boring route becomes an awesome route with two things: hills or speed intervals.

So I power-walked Sarah from my house at the tip of one cul-de-sac, all the way to the tip of the other cul-de-sac (approximately a .35 mile distance) and ran back home (same distance) at my 5k pace. Sarah’s pretty fast, so I was essentially racing her back home.

It was really awesome. I was only going to do one lap but it was such a great run, I did it four times. I pushed pretty hard and it felt good. Another reason why I always listen to Coach Dion, He’s always right.

When I got home Sarah was exhausted. Poor little lady. But she hung in there and I’m sure she’d be up for going again with very little persuasion.

I got out the door a little later than I’d like and when I run so close to bedtime, I usually have a hard time sleeping. I will frequently allow a late run on a Friday because I don’t usually have an early rise on Saturdays so a restless night is a far less serious thing.

Usually when I have a hard time sleeping, I just deal with it. I spend the entire night staring at the ceiling and trying to get as much rest as I can even if I don’t get much actual sleep.

On the rarest of occasions, I’ll have a tiny glass of sherry before I go to bed. Now, I’m not a drinker by any means so a tiny glass of sherry is enough to make me drowsy. And when I say, “tiny”, I mean TINY. I have it in a proper sherry glass, which is essentially a tiny wine glass that only holds 2oz of liquid. It’s cute, isn’t it?

I really enjoy a good California Cream Sherry. Mmmmm……
It’s smooth and nutty. Goes down very nicely. But it does make me thirsty hours later so I typically have restless sleep, even when I do have sherry.

A friend introduced me to Melatonin. It’s a hormone that your body produces naturally to induce sleep. Melatonin increases naturally when the sun goes down and teaches your body to feel sleepy when it’s dark and decreases when the sun rises so your body knows to be awake during the day.

This is an artificial hormone and it is used to treat insomnia. The blind are often prescribed Melatonin to train their bodies to recognize regular sleep cycles.

Melatonin can be had OTC and is safe to take over short periods, although I know people who take it everyday. It really helps bring on a good night’s sleep when I run too late and I wake up feeling refreshed.

After my run, I had some pasta for energy, 2 prunes for… you know, and Naked Juice brand Coconut water. Coconut water promotes rapid hydration and has high levels of potassium which guards against the cramps that I sometimes get in my feet after a run.

This one also contains Lychee juice. I have no idea what a Lychee is but I wanted to try it because the Naked Juice brand is considerably cheaper than the Zico brand. This one was fine but it wasn’t great. Largely because coconut water is kinda hard to take if you’re not ready for it. I drink it gladly and it keeps my cramps at bay.

I still have a mango-peach flavor to try, so I’ll do that one with my next run.

All in all, a good day and a GREAT run. Thanks again, Coach!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 7th, 2011 – 2.31 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 have to admit, this run was not the greatest. I hadn’t been out since the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The truth is I just didn’t want to get out there. I allowed my schedule and the Arctic temperatures to get to me.

Now, I am very aware that there are people across the country who think nothing of going out for a run in sub-zero weather but I live in Southern California! And in Southern California, anything below 50 degrees is cause for MAJOR concern.

Granted, I’d think nothing of running during an earthquake and would only cut my run short if a major brush fire broke out but temperatures below 50 degrees give me pause. If you add winds over 10 mph, I’m done!

I was not built for cold weather. I am a Weather Wimp and I admit it without shame.

I say that to say, we have been having some pretty severe weather lately. By that, I mean, after dark, you can sometimes see your breath when you talk…. And for that, I hung up my running shoes for a bit.

However, after it had been 10 days since my last run, I couldn’t stand it any longer. My body was starting to rebel against this lack of activity.

Still, my schedule was working against me. My baby girl was turning 4 and this was a very BIG deal. I did the Mommy thing. I baked the cupcakes for her class, bought her a new outfit to wear to school and got her exactly what she asked for. When she told me she wanted “a baby” for her birthday, I immediately ran to the American Girl Doll website and ordered one, for nothing is too good for Lady Jay!

She got to decide what we’d have for dinner and of course any pre-schooler with impeccable taste wants the best McDonald’s has to offer, so it was Happy Meals all around!

It was still cold, but after dinner, I made sure everyone was settled with their favorite pre-bedtime vice, strapped on my high visibility gear, gloves and performance vest and hit the road. I knew it was going to be a short run, just in my neighborhood.

This is my least favorite route because I am literally running laps from one cul-de-sac to the other. I really do hate running laps but again, it had been too long and I was afraid that if I let this opportunity slip, I would never get back out there. I am so proud to be a RUNNER that I can’t imagine going back to being a regular citizen.

When Jayda, in her cute little footed PJs, pretty face and fluffy afro-puffs caught me at the door holding her new baby doll and said, “Mommy, please stay with me…”, it almost completely wrecked my resolve. But I kissed her sweet mouth and said, “I’ll be right back, Baby” and hit the road.

Was it worth it? Probably not….. But I’m glad I got it in. And I was back in time for prayers. So I’m calling it a win.

Happy Birthday, Pretty Girl!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Running on Empty: An Ultamarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss and a Record-Setting Run Across America (REVIEW)

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 bought this book because I love reading about other runners’ experiences. It got rave reviews, was reasonably priced and readily available in Kindle format. All pluses in my book.

This story is mostly about Marshall Ulrich’s run across America. He runs from City Hall in San Francisco to City Hall in Manhattan.

I liked this book for several reasons. First of all, getting the first-hand account of how a person could push himself to that extent just boggles my mind. Secondly, he was very “human” about it. The story about how Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days and gets to the end of that without even the slightest soft tissue damage is not inspiring to me. He’s Superman, for sure. But I can’t relate to Superman. I can relate to everyday Human Man.

Sure, Mr. Ulrich is an amazing character but he was very open about the fact that the joint pain started on Day 1. Heat exhaustion met him on Day 2. Muscle cramps and Tendonitis came on Day 3 and so on. He was seriously uncomfortable by Day 5… But he kept moving forward. He moved forward through some serious medical issues and mind-numbing pain.

He was open about the days the he woke up in tears because he didn’t want to keep going. There were days when he was very tempted to throw in the towel as his partner in this venture did. Their friendship was ruined forever over this run.

He was also very open about the fact that all running does is make you a runner. It doesn’t make you a better person. He confesses that his life is littered with broken relationships and he is largely at fault for it. To come to terms with those kinds of shortcomings and put it out there for the whole world to see is a ballsy thing to do.

Finally, he ends the book with several Appendices with information of his route and running schedule, what he ate, his sponsorship, what he wore, who he visited, what the RV crew were doing, medications, injuries and treatments and his recovery. He also told of injuries that, as of this writing, were still unresolved.

This run aged him in ways that cannot be reversed. It injured him in ways in which he may never recover. Still he’s a hero to many. Having done the quadruple Badwater Ultra and many 24-hour and 100-mile runs, he is definitely not your average Joe but his book made him seem very accessible to me.

I can’t say that this book made me want to get out and run like ”Born to Run” by Chris McDougall did, but it did inspire me and reminded me that everyday people can do extraordinary things. It also showed me that there is a limit. There is the proverbial “Line” where I can and should say “Enough!” And I respect him for admitting that while he was proud to have finished this amazing feat, he’d overdone it and would likely not do anymore like it.

Still, his “taking it easy” running schedule is amazing me. I think he said something like 100 miles a week. AMAZING!!!!

That’s all I can say.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 16th thru 26th – 19.42 Miles Total

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.”

It has been pretty crazy lately and I am still working with a new schedule. I need to be more focused about it, really. It seems that my attitude of “Just make sure you keep running” is not settling well in my anal retentive mind, which needs rules and order.

There is no rhyme or reason to my schedule lately, it’s just: Get it in where ever you can and don’t hurt yourself!

Within all of that, there was Thanksgiving. The whole fam rented a large house on the coast and that’s where we spent the weekend. Here is a pic of us right before we were headed back home. It was a great time. So nice to have all the little ones together. I love it when we all wake up together in the same house and it’s nice to have so much support, so whenever I wanted to go out for a run, I didn’t have to worry about who would watch the kids.

I was able to get two good runs in while we were away. They were easy runs but quite hilly. The weather was perfect on the coast and the rain that threatened never came. It was great. However, they were short runs. While I was able to get two good runs in, I still had to be sure not to exhaust myself because I couldn’t completely check out.

So much good company and so much good food!

A FaceBook friend suggested I try Zico brand Coconut water when I mentioned I had a pretty bad cramp in my foot after a run. He said it was high in potassium and promoted rapid hydration. It can be had at Target and of course, online.

I tried the pineapple flavor as well as the mango. Neither were great but the mango was better. I used them as a recovery drink and they seemed to be really good for that. Not a cramp in site. Relatively low calorie and I could taste the sodium. I ordered a case of the Passion Fruit on Amazon. It shipped today. Looking forward to getting it.

On the 15th, I received a copy of “Triathlon Training in Four Weeks” in the mail! I was the winner of a drawing on “Sole Sisters”. YIPPEE!!!

Because I honestly believe that the ocean is alive and trying to kill you, “Doing a Triathlon” hasn’t made it on my Bucket List, but I’ve never won an online give-away so I was thrilled to pieces over that!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeding the stereotype that Black (wo)Men Don’t Swim, I’m a fairly strong swimmer. I can swim a mile in 30 minutes, which is reasonably competitive but the ocean is a scary place, Man! You won’t catch me in there trying to swim a mile away from shore! That’s just crazy talk! If I can find a Tri that’s in a pool, I’ll sign up!

On the 18th, I had the honor and privilege of taking Lloyd out to lunch for his birthday! That was cool. He’s my running mentor. He’s amazing and one of the very few people with whom I can geek out about running for an hour and be eager for more. Good guy. Great guy!

That is pretty much all that’s been going on lately. Busy busy busy but extremely satisfying.

Now, on to the run!
November 16th – 3.04 Mile Run
November 19th – 5.82 Mile Run
November 21st - 3.93 Mile Run
November 24th – 3.29 Mile Run – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
November 26th – 3.34 Mile Run

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Long Run (Review)

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 combines two of my favorite pastimes: Reading and Running.... Not necessarily in that order.

This book popped up as a Kindle owners Deal-of-the-Day a few days ago. However, as of this entry, it is still listed on Amazon at $1.99. I figured, at that price, even if it sucked, at least I may learn something.

First of all, it’s hard to mess up books on running for me. I am always interested in how people “interact” with their running:

1) Are they one of those freaks of nature who run because they love it?
2) Are they running to lose or maintain their weight?
3) Are they running because they have a drive to compete?
4) Are they running to replace one addiction for another?
5) Are they running to relieve stress?
6) Are they running to cope with a failure or a loss?
7) Are they running to combat insomnia?
8) Are they running to stave off health issues?
9) Why? Why, why why?

I am always curious to know why people run. I have read many books on the subject. Often these books are frustrating to me, but still I devour them every chance I get. I’ll explain my frustration in a minute. First, I’ll give a brief review of the book.

First of all, I recommend it. It is a really quick read and I think you’ll be morbidly fascinated by it like when you pass an accident on the freeway.

This is the story of Mishka Shubaly’s headlong descent into a destructive pit of his own creation. Long story short, he is a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser who pulls himself up by his own boot straps and finds his salvation in running.

He starts running, by accident really, and discovers that without any coaching or previous training, that he is a natural at it.

The book is quick and irreverent and really a pleasure to read. So if you have a Kindle or an iPhone (or iPad) with a Kindle App, check it out. You’ll likely finish it in one sitting.

The reason these stories frustrate me is because, here you have a man who goes out of his way to make a pretty aggressive effort to destroy himself with drugs, alcohol and promiscuity.

When he finally decides to pull his life together and gets checked out by a doctor, not only have his heart, liver and kidneys escaped unscathed, but there is nary an STD in site! Not even a cold sore! Then he stumbles into running and totally rocks at it!!!!

Then you have myself: The tea-toting, Conservative Christian, pastor’s daughter, wife & Mom, who eats right (for the most part), takes my supplements regularly, goes to work every day and home every night, pays my bills on time, prays everyday, and rarely sets a toe out of line. I go out of my way to become a student of the history, anatomy and chemistry of running .... And I *struggle* to be merely mediocre at it!!!

It wouldn’t be nearly as frustrating if these types of books were rare, but I find them all over the place!!! “Sole Sisters” is an entire collection of stories about women who are passionate about running. Many of them just woke up one day, decided they were going to run, trained for a marathon and then just won it! Or at least placed high in their age group!!! What?!

I know envy is one of the Seven Deadliest but I am *so* jealous of runners with natural talent! My brother is another one. He does a 7-minute mile with no training at all. Same with my brother-in-law. I know many people who can run until their legs fall off…. Then keep crawling at a faster pace than me.

Yes, it’s frustrating! But here’s to all of you naturally talented runners < salute! >

You are my heroes! And rest assured that I can’t be the only one out there who wishes she were like you!

Monday, November 14, 2011

October 31st thru November 12th – 13.27 Miles Total

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.”

It’s been a rough couple weeks for fitness. I am still trying to get myself acclimated to the new schedule. I am training a friend who wants to work running into her workouts and we tend to meet at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. The weather has not been cooperating, either. It has been rainy and rather windy lately.

A rainy run is not a bad run. In fact running in the rain kinda makes me feel like a hardcore badass. However, I am stumped by 30 mph winds. That much wind is enough to ruin the run for me.

When you’re dealing with inclement weather in SoCal, there really is no reason to push yourself to get out in it because the reality is, we get 360 sunny days a year. It’s not like Denver or Seattle where if you can’t operate in the rain, you’d better relocate.

With our literal SEVEN DAYS of winter, it really is OK if you opt not to run on cold, rainy, windy days.

So that’s what’s been going on for me lately: Trying to adjust to a new schedule and allowing life and bad weather… or just weather… to get in the way.

There were a few days when I couldn’t take it and I just *had* to get out there, so I did get rained on one day, but again, running in the rain makes me feel like a hardcore bad ass, so it was awesome.

Also, I have managed to introduce weight training into my schedule. Well, this is just the worst. I really don’t like weight training but Lorenza came over after my run last weekend and her voice was completely gone.

I felt so badly for her, sounding like a Mexican Macy Gray, I told her we could skip the hill work and I dragged out the kettle bells and showed her how to use them. We had a brief 30-minute weight training session in my garage with the kettle bells, hand weights and medicine ball.

Of course, Lorenza thought it was great and wants to do it regularly now. Jeez! It was certainly NOT my desire to start weight training again but I must admit that I had been thinking about it and this seemed a fine opportunity.

Besides, I have figured out what I’m going to wear to the company Christmas party. It is an evening event and the only requirement that I have for myself is that I be fabulous. I can do fabulous in my sleep but having rock-solid, Michelle Obama arms won’t hurt. So the weight training may not be so bad.

Now.... On to the run...

October 31st – 3.21 Miles
November 6th – 3.87 Miles
November 7th – 2.08 Miles
November 12th – 4.11 Miles
November 12th – 30 Mins Weight Training

The 6th and the 12th were actually runs. The others were power-walks with Lorenza where we worked in a few speed intervals.

The pic is just me and my Jayda at the BGC Annual Family Dinner. Another beautiful part of life that gets in the way of the run.

Here I am on Halloween, very happy that my Official 2012 Michael Jackson Wall Calendar has arrived. There’s nothing like racking up miles with Michael Jackson blaring on my iPod. I can almost hear him say “Chum On!” when I mark it on my calendar.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 20th thru Oct 28th – 17.25 Miles Total

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.”

These last workouts have been very different from my usual workouts. For one thing, I’ve had a partner! For another, they have been at ungodly, early morning hours. Argh!

For a while I had been half-heartedly praying for the discipline to wake up early and get my run in before I go to work. It’s amazing to me really. I have no problem getting up at the crack of dawn to make it to a Start Line but waking up early everyday has never been my thing. Really, I’d rather have a pap-smear or do my taxes or fall-in in an outhouse and drown. I am *not* a morning person!!!

However, Jordan met a friend at the BGC and wanted to do a play date. I did the normal exchange of business cards with the little boy’s mom and waited for the call. When Jordan requests a play date, I always offer the parent my card and let them make the first move.

I love Jordan to pieces, but he can be a bit of a handful and I never assume that other parents are all that excited about having the crazy kid over. So I don’t push it.

However, Lorenza, the mother of Jordan’s friend, did contact me right away….. But not to set up a play date with the boys.

When we spoke briefly, we immediately started talking about health and fitness. I guess it’s just a normal part of my walk and conversation now and I just bring it up to complete strangers whether they want to hear it or not!

Apparently, she did want to hear it because she was all for getting together to run. She’d started a pretty aggressive diet and exercise program to drop weight and was eager to work running into her workout….. But she gets up at 5am every morning to work out.

Here is the conundrum: How do you turn down a gift from God, even if you don’t really want it?!

The fact is, you don’t . It’s that age old adage that your mom always told you, “Be careful what you pray for!”

So for last 5 workouts, I’ve been up at 5am or earlier to strap on my high-visibility gear and power walk her toward a 5k.

We’ve covered the distance every time and she’s getting more and more comfortable with it. Soon…. Very soon, we will start working on a little more speed.

I’ve already charged her with the Stinky Feet 5k in December. She’s ready. She’ll do great.

The Run
October 20th, 2011 – 3.26 Miles
October 22nd, 2011 – 3.76 Miles
October 24th, 2011 – 3.64 Miles
October 26th, 2011 – 3.22 Miles
October 28th, 2011 – 3.37 Miles

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17th, 2011 – 3.58 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 a good run. Just a maintenance run to get the miles in. It had been over a week since my last run. I kept letting life get in the way.

I added a little distance to my regular route. Just took a slightly different way and it really showed. I had gotten so used to my regular route that the first mile didn’t even faze me. With this slightly different route, the first mile was HORRIBLE!!!! Like it was when I first started running.

However, I did notice that I was able to transition in Zen running a *lot* sooner. You know that glorious phase, where your body …. Goes? It’s almost thoughtless because your brain leaves everything else behind and there is just the here and and the now and the run and nothing exists after your last footstep until you take another one. It's just breathing and heartbeats and breathing and heartbeats...

You would think that the regular route would do that because it’s so similar that you should be able to disengage from outside distractions because you know what’s coming but this was a great reminder that it is always good to mix it up a bit.

I thoroughly enjoyed this run.

When I got back home, Jayda immediately told me that she had fallen down. I asked her if she was OK. She said she was. So I asked her if she wanted a frozen sponge. She said she did, so we iced down together on the dog’s filthy rug.

Running’s awesome. Family is awesome.


Monday, October 10, 2011

October 1st Thru 9th – 12.39 Miles Total

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.”

October 1st, 2011 – RAD 10k in Agoura Hills
This was an amazing race for me. I’m not even sure why. I didn’t get to PR, but I felt so great during the entire course! It was advertized as being a downhill race, but I didn’t find it to be so. I felt like I was climbing a lot of the time.

After I had a look at my elevation map on RunKeeper, it really did seem to be relatively downhill.

Ah well, I worked hard and I am very happy with this one! Here I am at the finish with a snack and a smile. Great race!

October 6th, 2011 – 3.09 Mile Run

This was just an easy run on my normal route. I wanted to get the miles in and work on my form. Trying to imagine that I’m leading the race and the cameras are on me.


October 9th, 2011 – SOAR 5k – Run Through the Orchard

This was a great race but only because Chris and the kids were there with me. Chris and Jayda did the 3k. Jordan and I did the 5k.

This race series is extra special to me because it is the very first organized race I ever did. I ran it 4 years ago. It’s a 5k trail run through (and around) a working farm. It’s a smaller event and not very competitive.

The first time I ran it, it took me 45 minutes to finish and I was determined to finish it in under 35.

But then Chris hinted that he would do it too because there was a shorter 3k option. Well, I jumped right on toppa that! Jordan said he would run the 5k with me so all aspirations of clocking a better time were out the window.

I would just be happy if we all finished! But this was how it starts!!!

Visions of family outings danced (or ran) around my head. We would be that awesome family who trained together, took home first place medals, planned vacations around racing events and crewed for each other during Badwater Ultras!

I was *so* excited!!!

But alas…

Turned out I had to drag Jordan through the entire course. We finished in 49 mins. Jayda got tired almost immediately and Chris had to carry her so he dropped out before he finished the course. And Chris only agreed to do it to get out of going to church!

So I made my entire family miserable for no reason.


Ah, well….. Guess I’ll be belly up to the Start Lines all by myself for quite a while. Still it was nice to have them there.

Friday, September 30, 2011

September 27th & 29th – 2.15 & 3.19 Mile Runs

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.”

Both these runs were GREAT!!! Extremely challenging for me.

September 27th – 2.15 Trail Run
This was an unexpected joy. I know I shouldn’t get pleasure out of this, but Jordan got in trouble at the BGC so he got to choose between corporal punishment and a trail run with me.

He chose the trail run. He usually chooses the run, which is interesting to me because he whines the whole time like I’m dousing him with battery acid. Seems to me that he should rather take the 15-second spanking rather than the 45 minute run with me. But whatevs! I was happy to have a running partner!

He lucked out this time because we only did 2 miles. Usually, I run him for at least 3. Lately I have been running almost five! But we were losing daylight and the terrain on this trail was really loose. I didn’t want to risk a sprain for Jordan or myself.

I only got to push it a few times because I spent most of my time trying to get Jordan to keep up. But the times I got to open up and tear up the trail felt really good. Toward the end, I started doing a Marine Corp cadence with him. These are *so* much fun!!! This is the one we did:

It may not seem like it, but they really help and Jordan was able keep in step and maintain speed with me when we did a cadence. Once he learned the words, he wanted to issue while I responded. It took his mind off of what he was doing just enough so he could enjoy the run. It was great. There’s nothing like shouting cadence on a dirt trail with your son. Fun!

September 29th – NEW SHOES!!!!!
Time to break in some new shoes!!!! Every runner knows that there is nothing quite like the first time you tie on a new pair of running shoes!!!

Good stuff!!!
Now! Back to the run!

September 29th – 3.19 Mile Run
This run was great!!! In my previous blog entry, I got some advice from Coach Dion about how to gain speed. He seemed to indicate that I could cover my normal training distance in 35 minutes without hurting myself.

I laughed out loud when I read this because I have *never* been able to cover this distance in 35 minutes. Now, my 5k PR on race day is about 31 minutes, but that’s different as we all know. Race Days are amazing and you always put out more when you’re racing. But I was on the street and had to contend with traffic lights and I would be using the Fartlek method, according to his advice. There was just no way I’d be able to make it home in 35 minutes!!!

Even though I didn’t really think it would work, I was determined to follow his advice as much as I could. He is used to working with gifted runners and I wasn't sure how much experience he had with 30-something, mothers of two, who run recreationally. But he *is* an accomplished coach so I thought I’d give it a shot.

So I set out. He told me to do 5-10 second fartleks and imagine that I’m leading the race and the cameras are on me. I did this and it really helped!!!!

The first thing I noticed is that when I am running at 90%, my form gets *really* sloppy (which he also said would happen)! But I remembered those cameras and adjusted my frame. At my first audio cue, I learned that my average pace was 7:15!! I'd never heard *that* before!

I was able to finish the route in 35:31. The last 31 secs were on the clock because I didn’t stop my RunKeeper immediately when I ran up my drive way. I was too concerned with gulping down oxygen. Even Jordan said, "Why are you sweating so much? And why are you back so soon?!"

I couldn't give him a coherent answer. All I could say between gasping breaths was, "Coach.... Dion....!!!"

It wasn’t always pretty, but I kept to his plan and it worked. Go figure! Good coaching translates even across cyber-space. Thanks Coach!!!!

He kicked my ass, but he got results! I’ll have to be sure to drop him a note and say THANKS!!!! And also take back everything I said about him at mile two, when I thought I was gonna die!

Not only did I not die, I felt GREAT afterward! And no pain the next day. Amazing!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 15th thru 22nd – 13.09 Miles Total

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.”

My last four runs were for maintenance, just to get the miles in and enjoy the last few weeks of Daylight Savings. Soon the sun will be setting when I get off work and I’ll either be running in the dark or before work.

I would love to be one of those disciplined creatures who are so addicted to the endorphins that my body can’t rest when it needs a fix. As it is, I do find myself craving the rush of the run and the feel of lungs that are expanded to full capacity but I can’t say that I am addicted to the run. At least not enough to drag my bones outta bed at O dark thirty.

Speaking of addiction: I have a few questions regarding pain relief.

My running focus is basically “Just Do it Regularly” and "Try to beat Last Month's Mileage". As long as I am getting regular exercise, I’m pretty happy. I don’t have to break records, place in my age group or take home any cash prizes. While I do enjoy collecting racing bibs and the occasional finisher’s medal, for me racing is just a competition with myself and a motivation to train.

I usually take it easy and work more on endurance and less on speed because it has been my experience that when I focus on speed, I end up hurting myself and I often get robbed of the joy that running gives me.

Because of my Easy-Does-It attitude, I typically don’t suffer with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, sciatic pain, tendonitis, bone fractures or any of the typical ailments that runners tend to be afflicted with.

However, as with any exercise regimen, I do feel stiffness, soreness and at times, pain. Most frequently, I have AT issues, which are most prevalent in the morning and usually work themselves out with a bit of stretching. I also feel tightness in my lower back at times, the occasional ache in my knees and stiffness in my neck and shoulders.

Typically, I try to relax and stretch. It often does the trick but sometimes it doesn’t.

With that in mind, I’m just curious about what other runners do when they feel pain and what their psych rotation is when they do something about it.

When I’m having any kind of discomfort the first thing I try to do is assess the pain and isolate the problem. If it’s the result of a run, I usually just stretch it out and try to massage it away. If that doesn’t work, I usually just work through it and keep going on with my day. If it’s stress, prayer almost always works.

If I am running after work, I try not to run too much more than 3.5 miles because I’ve found that I have trouble sleeping when I run longer distances and then have to go to bed for the night 2 hours later.

However, there are times when I do get 4 or 5 miles in at the end of the day and I find that if I take one Advil before bed, I sleep much sounder.

Curious…. Very curious.

I am *so* hyper-sensitive about becoming addicted to pain relievers. Not the substance itself, but the idea that I should pop a pill anytime I’m the least bit uncomfortable or when I want to get a good night’s sleep. So much so, that I tend to allow myself to be in pain when a single dose of Advil would set it right.

So my question is: When you have muscle aches and pains, do you work through it and tough it out? Do you take a warm bath? Do you talk your spouse into doing the back rub in exchange for “favors”? Or do you just go ahead and pop the pills? Have you ever taken Advil or even NyQuil just to get to sleep after a run?

Running Log:
September 15th – 3.01 Mile Run
September 18th – 3.55 Mile Run
September 19th – 3.06 Mile Run
September 22nd – 3.47 Mile Run

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 12th, 2011 – 3.05 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 merely a maintenance run. Had to get the miles in. To be honest, I was not in the mood but I was determined to not only get it in, but to work on speed.

It was my usual end-of-day route. Chris drops me off about 3 miles from home and I run it in.

When I’m feeling this way, I can usually rely on my vibrantly colored, super cute running garb to at least make me feel fabulous outwardly.

But alas, before I left the house for work, I had packed my navy blue, ill-fitting, running-mommy capris. I bought ‘em on clearance at TJ Maxx last winter. I love them because they are comfortable: warm enough in cool weather but moisture-wicking so I don’t burst into flame in warm weather…. and the full coverage means I never have to worry about rubbing my girlie bits raw during long runs. However, they are not figure-flattering.

They don’t make me look *bigger* than I am, they make me look *exactly* as I am. Don’t get me wrong, I have no body image problems. I am grateful for the vessel GOD gave me. But it is well that my husband is an ass man because I’ve got a lot going on back there and these capris show it.

So, with a sigh and still feeling the little sting in my left AT that cropped up after my last long run, I took the last 5 minutes of the workday to change from business casual to Running Super Mom.

After we picked up both kids and got to the drop off point, Jordan says, “Mommy, do you *have* to run? Cuz I wanna come too, but I wanna walk.”

Working out with Jordan is always an exercise in frustration because he never pushes as hard as I know he can, but with this? There is no way he could push as hard as I want to go because he’s in his school clothes.

Well, this is quite the conundrum. Usually when I’m debating about a run, I do the same psych rotation everyone does: When I am 80 years old, will I be glad I ran tonight? The next time I have cheesecake, will be I glad I ran tonight? When I go to bed tonight, will I be glad I ran tonight? When I stand before the LORD, will I be glad I ran tonight?

Typically the answer would be an unequivocal “YES!” on all counts, but not this time. This time the question is changed. Children change everything.

So I said, “Come on… Let’s go.” My little man took my hand, and we walked home.

Some might call it a wasted workout, but the psych rotation continues:
When I am 80 years old, will I be glad I spent an hour walking 3 miles with my son? The next time I have cheesecake, will it be as sweet as walking hand-in-hand with my best little dude? When I go to bed tonight, will I know better how to pray because I walked with my son? And if I had to stand before the LORD tomorrow, would I be glad I chose my son over myself?

The run can wait….. These times are fleeting.

NOTE: What’s up with the snake?! My neighbors lose the weirdest animals. Remember the goats? Yes, plural… goatS!

Monday, September 12, 2011

August 25th – September 10th – 30.10 Miles Total

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.”

August 25th – 5.87 Mile Run – This one was decent. I added about 2 miles to a regular route. It was great. Nice and hilly toward the end. I did my best to fight the hills. No matter how you do, you always feel like a bad ass when you run hills.

August 27th – 1.14 & 1.14 Mile Runs – This was the “Big” Nelson Memorial Jog/Ride. This was a *perfect* outing. It was great to see so many of his friends and students out for a morning jog to remember him. Later that day, I went with my friend Tanya to the Memorial Service. A rough day made bearable by good friends. The distance was perfect, I thought because it didn’t exclude non-runners. It was a point to point course, but ended up being out and back for me and Tanya because we had to get back to her car.

It was interesting because this jog was organized without permits so we were supposed to run on the sidewalks, but 7am on a Saturday morning in Visalia is so quiet, we were able to run the streets. There were about 200 people, I think. It was amazing.

August 31st – 3 Mile Run – This was just my regular maintenance run. Very pleasant. Got dropped off on the way home from work. Ran it in. Text book. Felt good.

September 4th – 11.96 Mile Run – This run was a birthday gift to myself. Very hilly. Very slow. I think I ran it too slowly. I was hurting more afterward than I should have been. But it was a great run. A route that I had been meaning to do for quite some time. Great neighborhood. Perfect SoCal weather.

September 6th – 2.99 Mile Run – I wasn’t completely recovered from my last run so I was really feeling it in my ATs. I should have taken the time to stretched better and ice my ATs. But of course I didn’t. Now I am praying against injury because I’ll be running again soon!

September 10th – 4 Mile Hike – This one was great! Jordan had scheduled a play date with this little girl that he likes. I was trippin’ for real over this! Of course, he is not allowed to have a girlfriend until he is 16. He knows this, but in case he was thinking about it, I felt like he needed to see this girl at her best…. And worst! What better way to bring out the worst in a little lady who is trying to steal your son, than a brisk 4 mile hike with his mom?! I know very well that it is illegal and unethical to beat someone else’s child, but a 4 mile hike does the trick just fine.

Will she stay away from my son? I doubt it. But at least she knows not to piss me off. When I dropped her off at home, I told her mom that she’d be needing a pain reliever.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 17th & 21st, 2011– 5.00 & 3.74 Mile Runs

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.”

Both of these runs were bittersweet for me.

August 17th, 2011 – 5.00 Mile Run

This was a run where Chris dropped me off 5 miles away from home and I just ran it in. Jordan had gotten in trouble at the BGC, so I made him run it with me. In my opinion running is *way* better than spanking. Not that I’m terribly opposed to spanking on the rarest of occasions, but if you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather just run him for 5 miles? Sure you would!

He took it like a man for most of the run. When we were about a mile from home, he started to break down. Four miles is the longest I’d ever run him so it made sense that he would hit the wall at this point. I gotta hand it to him though, he did pretty well. We were running very slowly but he was in bad shoes and wasn’t wearing proper running gear. I would have been uncomfortable too. Good job, Little Man!!

Unfortunately, during the same time Jordan and I were getting this run in, a very old and very dear friend of mine was about to Cross Over. Scott Nelson was a friend from high school. He graduated two years ahead of me and we sang in the award-winning Mt. Whitney High School Pioneer Choir together.

We were partnered together for one of our annual shows and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world! He was the best of good guys. Super hot, very talented, super fit and just good at everything he did. He was a shining star in Choir. Choir members were not the band & chess club geeks you might imagine. Not that I have a thing to say against band nerds or Chess Club geeks. I think they rock! I love geeks!!

But when I was in high school, Pioneer Choir was definitely the destination of the Big Men/Women on Campus. Half the football team was in Choir and just about the entire cheerleading squad. Not that it matters really, I only mention it because for generations football players and cheerleaders seem to always be the barometer for which “coolness” is measured. And I say it to say that all the cool kids were in Choir and Scott was the coolest of cool kids.

“The Lord Bless You and Keep You” was a song that Pioneer Choir sang every year at the annual Christmas Show. We sang it when I was in high school, twenty years ago and they sang it up until the director transferred to Point Loma University. They may still sing it now. I hope so. It was a great tradition.

This is for you, Scott. Rest well, my friend:
(Mt. Whitney Pioneer Choir – 2000)

Throughout the years Scott stayed connected with the school, being a beloved football coach and math teacher. He remained an avid Tri-athlete and all-around fitness guru. He was a member of the city Tri-Club.

During a regular training session, he was biking with a friend down Rocky Hill Drive in my hometown. He struck a teenaged runner. The runner survived with minor injuries, but my dear friend spilled and couldn’t recover from his injuries. He perished at the scene.

August 21st, 2011 – 3.74 Mile Run

This was another run where we were on our way home from running another errand and I asked Chris to drop me off so I could run it home. This was a very pleasant run in a GREAT neighborhood. Scott was still very heavily on my mind so it was kinda rough in patches but I was glad to be out there again.

It had been awhile since I was able to face another workout. But we must keep moving….

Bye, Scott.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 2011 Week One – 10.2 Miles Total

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.”

Although, August is working out to be as busy as July was, it’s starting out to be a better month for fitness. I hope I can have a pretty strong month, as I can’t seem to find a race to participate in.

There is a half marathon I’d like to register for in September. Maybe Chris will register me for my birthday. If so, I’ll use August to prepare myself for it.

I’ve been excited to try my new Stinger Waffles, but I haven’t done a long enough run to warrant it. I’ll letcha know how it goes when I do.

August has been pretty crazy already. My Uncle Leon passed away and that was unexpected. So I had to shift some plans to make it out to Bakersfield to attend the funeral. He was one of the coolest. Rest well, Uncle Leon.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Southern Baptist funeral. If you have, you know that they are very formal. My mother (far right) is the last of 13 siblings. This is only a fraction of them, but all the siblings wore white with red roses. I’m just a grandchild, so a fabulous gold suit would do for me.

Another thing you would notice about Southern Baptist funerals is that while they are very somber, we believe we will see Uncle Leon again so they also tend to be very happy occasions. Here’s a fraction of my very large, happy and well dressed family. It’s over 100 degrees In Bakersfield and we are still so cool!

Then, as you may know, I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan! So I took a day out in the month of his birth (b. August 29th, 1958) to remember The King and visit his grave. I went with my friend Sherri to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. This is me posing with his clothes, I’m *so* excited!

And here I am at his grave with my offering of sunflowers and a nice note. Many other fans were there too. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who mourns the loss of the greatest entertainer who ever lived. I love Michael!!!

Now on to the run:

August 1, 2011 – 3.05 Walk
I have been meaning to add walking to my workout so that I might learn a little patience. I am still reading “A Few Degrees From Hell: The 2003 Badwater Ultra Marathon” and I am learning the value of training passed exhaustion and to just keep moving.

Jordan got in trouble at the BGC so I told him he had to walk the 3 miles home. We talked about why he’s always in trouble and tried to come up with means and ways to help him. It was a nice walk but took way too long.

Turns out I don’t have the patience for walking or my son when he’s not behaving. It’s not that I won’t try it again, but running is just better. We all know this.

August 2, 2011 – 3.82 Mile Run
This run was very therapeutic for me. Right before this run, I’d learned that my Uncle Leon had passed away. I ran it without music which is unusual for me and just took the time to pray for my family and think about my uncle. Just listening to the rhythm of my breathing and grateful for every breath.

When I got back from the run, I called my mother…. That’s almost always frustrating. This time wasn’t any different. More prayer and grateful for the run.

August 9, 2011 – 3.03 Mile Run
The funeral is finished and the late days at the office have ceased for the moment so I can get back to my regularly scheduled program. I asked Chris to drop me off at the BGC so I could run home.

It had been a week since my last run so I was very ready for this one. I knew it was going to be short, so I felt like I could push myself a little bit. So I sprinted the city blocks and recovered at the traffic lights.

The weather was just perfect. I know the rest of the world thinks we’re fruits and nuts, but I l just love living in Southern California!

August 10th, 2011 – 3.40 Mile Run
This was just a maintenance run. I won’t be able to run tomorrow because scheduling won’t permit it so I wanted to be sure to get this run in. This was a nice easy run. When we picked Jordan up from the BGC, I asked Chris to drive an extra block up the road so I could get just a little bit more distance with this run.

It is on these runs where I am looking for the joy. I often find it. Running is the silver bullet of health and fitness and the Green Tea of exercise. The more I read and research about it, the more I think “Why doesn’t everybody do this?” It seems to fix everything and make everything better. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and it’s something everyone can do, at least a little bit. So have a cup of green tea then strap on the Asics and hit the road.

QUERY: While I do love the running, I need a solution to this!

These specialized, long distance, moisture wicking running socks cost $13 a pair. For me, that’s a lot of money, especially considering I could get a 6-pack of socks for $10 at Target! I went to a specialized running store and bought these after a consultation with one of their “fitness experts” after telling him that I needed socks that would stand up to long distance running. He positively assured me that these were the socks of my dreams (Yeah... I dream about running socks!). They would keep my feet dry, blister free and would last for months.

If you follow my blog, you know that I am a recreational runner, intermediate at best. I get about 3 miles in at every workout and I do the occasional half marathon. These socks are practically brand new and they already have holes!!!

I don’t use my running socks for anything but running, I wash them very gently and I keep my toenails trimmed. Does anyone else have this problem? How long should quality running socks last and do you think it would be OK to darn these socks or would the extra seam cause blisters?

Monday, August 1, 2011

July 19th thru 31st, 2011 – 19.17 Miles Total

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.”

July 2011 was a rough month for fitness for me. The kids had swim lessons, which they enjoyed thoroughly and I enjoyed watching them go. Also, there was a lot of activity at the office as we were making ready to ship a new release. WOO-HOO!!!

Needless to say, I let life get in the way of my workout a lot this month. So I will be covering 7 activities with this entry.

July 19th, 2011 – 1.5 Swim & 1.17 Mile Walk
This was a swim after the kids’ lessons. Afterward, I walked home, looking ghetto fabulous in my Egyptian cotton wrap, my Crocs, Marc Jacobs sunglasses and my hair all over the place. I asked Chris to go ahead and take the children home after class and I would walk back but I kept my running bag with me, so I looked like a pampered homeless person, carrying 40 lbs of gear.

Wouldn’t trade it, though, because it was either that, or no workout at all. So I’m calling it a win.

July 24th, 2011 – 4.1 Mile Hike
The Wildwood Trails! I’d heard that there was a waterfall somewhere on this trail and I was determined to find it. This was a hilly trail and the terrain was rocky at times. But it was firmly packed and very well populated.

I had a great time with this one. I didn’t realize until afterward that I had taken the long way to the waterfall, but that was A-OK with me! I enjoyed every minute of this run/walk.

July 26th, 2011 – 3.07 Mile Run
As you may know, I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan. I went out with a friend this week and she recommended that I read "Moonwalk". This is the one and only autobiography of the King of Pop. It was certainly not brilliant, but it was a nice look into the brain of a musical genious. It may seem like a bit of a stretch to say that reading it made me a better runner, but I really believe it did.

Whether you're a fan or not, it can't be denied that he was great at what he did. Therefore, if you are seeking greatness in any aspect of life, it may behoove you to at least consider his advice. One thing that was prevalent in the book was that he was always studying: watching James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Fred Astaire. And he was always reading about his craft and working toward bettering himself and learning from people who had done it before him. I loved that about him. And he was so committed to everything he undertook. He either cared not at all or one hundred and crazy percent!

So I’ve started reading “A Few Degrees From Hell: The 2003 Badwater Ultra Marathon” and discovered that I am a GIANT wimp!!! These folks are no joke! Crossing Death Valley in a 135 mile foot race in record heat is nothing short of amazing! It is a book full of people who care one hundred and crazy percent.

I highly recommend the book. It is a compilation of the accounts of 25 Badwater finishers. Their stories are more than remarkable. I was a quarter of the way through the book when I had to stop and find the YouTube videos of “Running on the Sun”. You gotta check it out. It adds pictures and faces to the stories, which is always inspiring.

The book and the video encouraged and inspired me because while these folks were certainly fantastically fit, most of them weren’t professional runners. They weren’t all “young” either. Many of them were older than me…. some, *much* older. But what inspired me more than anything is that just about all of them walked. They walked large portions of the race.

Now, I know it was 135 miles and that is, Ummm….. WOW! But at the core of it, it was a race. A race that they trained for, planned and prepared for. And they weren’t shocked to find that they had to walk. For many of them, walking (particularly the hills) was always a part of their training.

The point is: These are the best of the best in the running world and they felt no shame in walking. I always thought walking was a sign of defeat and failure. But no. I have heard it before from better runners and now I *finally* believe….. There is no shame in walking!!!

Well, I didn’t walk for this run. It was only 3 miles. But I ran it easy, with the Badwater finishers on my mind the whole time, encouraging me along the way. Great run.

July 28th, 2011 – 3.92 Mile Run
This run was extra nice. We were visiting the In-Laws because they needed some technical support. While Chris was working on their issues, I took the opportunity to run the beautiful hills of Camarillo.
It was nice and easy.

July 30th, 2011 – 3.26 Mile Run
This was just a maintenance run. Just a little something to get the miles in. I’m not sure what’s going on with the weather, but it has been so mild and wonderful here lately. There hasn’t been a day when I had to cancel my run because of the heat.

Now that I am reading “A Few Degrees from Hell”, I thought, as long as it wasn’t over 95, there was no reason for me to stay home. So I was mentally ready for some heat training. However, when I got ready to hit the pavement, it was almost chilly!

We went to a Saturday night service at church, so I asked Chris if he would drop me off on the highway. Once the soft shoulder gave’ way to an actual paved sidewalk, he pulled over and let me out so I could run the rest of the way home. The traffic was pretty sparse for a Saturday night so I guess I lucked out. Another great run.

July 31st, 2011 – 2.15 Mile Hike
This was the same Wildwood Trail. But this time I took the short way to the waterfall. Jordan wanted to see it. I was supposed to get a long run in, but when your son wants to hang out with you, you change your plans.

The month was already shot for booking any record breaking mileage reports, so I was OK with letting it ride. School starts next month and things should get back to normal.

At this time last year, I made a commitment to run one organized race every month for 12 months. August 2011 would have been the 12th month, but I can’t find a race in my area in August. It’s weird. It’s as if the whole running and fundraising community is on a hiatus. I will keep looking to see what I can find, but if I can’t find anything soon, I will change my goal and make August 2011 the month where I clock my first 13+ mile run. I’d be calling that a win too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 15th & 17th, 2011 - Swim & Hike

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 truly a “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em” situation.

My workout schedule has taken a beating lately because the kids have swim lessons right in the middle of my running time allotment.

I would love to be one of those disciplined creatures who get up at the crack of dawn to get a workout in but I’m just not that girl. Never have been.

I’ll bounce outta bed at 4am to make it to a Start Line with no trouble at all, but in my everyday living, the morning just comes way too early.

I believe in the power of prayer and I believe that if GOD can raise the dead, He can raise my bones outta bed in the wee hours of the morn. I’ve prayed about it (half-heartedly), but so far, it doesn’t seem to be His will that I be one of your early risers.

July 15th, 2011 – 1 Hour Swim
So I decided to dress out and do some laps at the pool after the kids’ swim lesson. Jordan stayed with me and we got to swim for an hour before the life guard put on his soccer flops (clearly the “Get Out!” sign).

I was hoping to swim a mile and a half and possibly get private lessons from my boy on how to do a proper breast stroke, which I never learned how to do. Turned out he was more interested in doing aquatic hand-stands and riding on my back like I was the main attraction at Sea World.

Ah, well….. at least I got a pretty decent workout and some quality time with my boy.

Moving on....

July 17th, 2011 – 2 Hour Trail Walk
This may not seem like a great workout but it was a win in so many ways.

After church, Chris asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to take the whole family for a hike. I offered to go to a trail that was closer to our home, but he wanted to see some water, so we actually got to take a drive out to Malibu Canyon.

We didn’t have luck with the first site we went to because we had Sarah and they didn’t allow dogs. That was a bummer because they had a cool pond that we could swim in. So we loaded up the SUV (Beverly Hillbillies-style) and headed to another trail that did allow dogs.

It had some very cool old movie sets and trails that were smooth and flat so the kids had an easy time.

After a short time, we found a pond and there were no signs that said not to, so I told Jordan he could kick off his sox and shoes and jump in!

Turned out Jordan was not as adventurous as I thought he was. He was a little unsure about the bugs and the goop. Scared to death would be a more accurate term.

I knew that he would regret it if we left without at least giving it a try, so I did what any good Mom would do: I thought, “White, Banana Republic weekend shorts and leather Brighton belt be damned! My boy needs someone at his side for this epic rite of passage into young manhood!” So I kicked off my sox and shoes and walked right in… because I think every boy should know what it’s like to swim in a creek!

Once we got in and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of, we splashed around and had a great time!

Sure, I could have said, “Get a long run in” when my hubby asked me what I wanted to do today, but this is what memories are made of. Bonding with my boy and showing him that he can face anything with someone who loves him by his side is worth a million 10-mile runs.

Well, maybe not a *million*... If I don’t get a long run in this week, I may have to hurt someone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 5th – 14th, 2011 – 11 Miles Total

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 a rather strange hodgepodge of running activity. It’s been a little crazy scheduling-wise.

The kids have started swim lessons and I must say, they are fantastic little tadpoles. I love watching them do something that they enjoy so much. I always let them know that it’s important to stay active and maintain a healthy weight.

They know that I would love to have them as running partners but I support whatever they want to do. We have exposed Jordan to Soccer, T-ball, gymnastics and Tae Kwon Do. They were all disasters! We struck gold when we brought him to the pool. He loves swimming.

So far, he’s just done lessons. I’m concerned that once he’s on a team that requires more discipline, he may resist. In other words, once it turns into “work”, he’ll decide he hates it. He begged for TKD lessons for MONTHS. When we finally got him set up at a dojo and bought his gi and his white belt, three weeks in, he was whining and complaining to the point of tears whenever he had to go. Guh! We fought over it for a year. Finally, we put the whole family out of our misery and dropped the class and started swim lessons.

These are great lessons and both kids are doing very well. Here they are with their certificates after the first course. Cute!

Sunday, after church, we decided to take the kids to a local farm so we could pick our own strawberries. So much fun! The farm is about 5 miles from our house. I was supposed to go, hangout with the family, pick some strawberries then send the kids back home with Daddy while I ran home.

Well, that didn’t work out. I was bested by the idea of a strawberry shake, so I went home with the family and stopped by the grocery store for some vanilla bean ice cream to go with my strawberries. Yum!

Here we all are at the farm. Fun stuff!

On Saturday, Jayda and I got to hang out and have some girl time at the mall while Jordan went to go see a musical with his grandmother. I told her I would buy her a new purse with some things to go in it.

She decided she wanted a lunchbox and would use it as a purse. I am not one to stifle a budding fashionista's sense of style, so I bought her a lunch box in her favorite shade of purple and a pair of sunglasses, lip balm, facial tissue, a pencil and note paper (also in purple) to put in it.

Then we went to The Cheesecake Factory for a snack. A wonderfully busy and highly caloric weekend.

Now, about the running…

July 5th, 2011 – 3.54 Mile Run
This was an OK run. It was the day after the Independence Day 5k. I was feeling a little down about that race, so felt like I needed a win. I figured I could get a win if I ran it in my 5-fingers.

What ended up happening was I injured myself. I should have taken a few days off, but….

July 6th, 2011 – 2.38 Mile Run
This run was mind-numbingly boring. I just ran laps around my cul-de-sac because I was home alone with the children and couldn’t be too far away from them.

.75 miles in, I got this excruciating pain in my right AT and knee. This was new because I never have knees issues. I ran through it, thinking I could work it out. By the 2 mile mark, I was in some serious pain, so I wrapped it up and went home. FAIL!

July 12th, 2011 – 3.00 Mile Run
It had been about a week since my last run. I had allowed the time off because my right AT and knee were killing me and the kids’ swim lessons were right there in my running slot.

I asked Chris to drop me off at the BGC so I could run home. The goal was the get home in time to make it to their lesson. I ran up the driveway as they were loading into the car. I was sweaty and a little gross, but Mission Accomplished!

Felt good.

July 14th, 2011 – 1.00 & 1.08 Mile Runs
These runs were great. We still had to get the kids to swim lessons. I decided that even though it was only a mile away, I should go ahead and run over there. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get a run in at all. Jordan decided he wanted to go with me so it became a walk. But that’s OK. Spending time with my boy is always a win even if the pace is slow slow slow.

I also wanted to run back home after class. By then, Jordan was wet, cold and exhausted, so I was able to sprint it. I maintained my 5k pace, even including the traffic stops. SCORE! It was the exact same route, so I don’t know where the extra .08 came from, but I’ll take it.

Swim lessons go on for another week, so it’s likely that my training will be a little spotty for the next couple days but I’ll get it in where ever I can.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th, 2011 – Independence Day 5k

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 disappointing race. I have been experimenting with several energy drinks trying to find one that can boost my run without giving me night terrors or anxiety attacks.

These are a few I have tried.

I bought a 6 pack of the BAZI online because I got a sample at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in Los Angeles. I figured if they were present at a major event, they must be fantastic. Well, not so much. Or not for me anyway.

I tried it and got the worst stomach cramps and some pretty weird dreams. Also it caused me to have heart palpitations while I was sleeping which was very scary.

Today, I wanted to try the 5-Hour Energy shot. The grape flavor. First of all, I don’t know how they came up with “grape” but it was nothing of the sort. I can’t even describe what it tasted like but it was awful.

I’m not opposed to drinking yucky things if they will enhance my run, so I chugged it and made my way to the Start Line.

I started out pretty strong but I immediately started to feel my heart rate increase. My muscles weren’t tired but regulating my breathing was becoming an issue so I slowed my pace a bit. When my heart rate still didn’t come down I had to stop.

STOP!!! During a 5k?!?!?!?

WHO WALKS A 5K?!?!?!?

Well... Lots of people actually. This was a fun run and there lots of families and pets and friends and it was a really great event. But for me to have to stop and walk the rather gentle inclines of this race was a major defeat for me.

When I couldn’t regulate my heart rate, I started to panic. And if I couldn’t pull it together, I was going to hyperventilate. Passing out at a Family Fun Run would be the height of humiliation.

So I shelved my pride and started walking up the inclines. Whenever I felt like my heart rate was back to normal, I tried to make up some time but in the end, I finished in 36:16, which 5 minutes off my best time.


So the moral of my story is that energy drinks are not for me.

This was the first race I've ever done that I thought was a flat failure. I knew there'd have to be one. The best thing to do is not obsess about it and move on.


Here we go. See ya the next race.

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 24th & 26th, 2011 - 3.42 & 6.10 Mile Runs

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.”

Both of these runs were nice and relaxing. I was feeling pretty good but I wanted to just clock some maintenance runs because I know how important it is to fully recover after a race. Especially a Half. My goal is to get to a point where I am doing 10-mile runs every weekend. Once that becomes the norm, maybe I’ll be able to do a Half with no down time. As it is, I gave myself 5 full days of rest before I attempted another run.

June 24th, 2011 – 3.42 Mile Run
I’d been feeling pretty good. The only issues I seemed to have were the toes on my right foot. Just my right foot… Which I thought was strange. I had clipped my toenails but I bought new, high- endurance running socks for the race.

Now, I know that you are not supposed to use new gear on a major race but I figured socks couldn’t really be classified as “gear”.

I know! I can hear myself saying it and it sounds stupid to me too! Of *course* socks are gear!!!! Pretty important gear at that! Anything touching your feel, legs, head or arms is pretty important gear on a major run!

Well, lesson learned and I had the blisters to prove it. For a while I thought I might lose my big toenail, but I think that danger has passed.

One of the reasons I took so long in getting back on the pavement was because I could not comfortably wear closed-toed shoes (or even socks) for 5 days.

As soon as I could take any pressure on them, I was lacing up my Brooks just to get a few miles in.

I wasn’t expecting much from this run. I just wanted to see if I could run comfortably for any distance.

Turned out, my legs didn’t feel nearly as heavy as I thought they would and my muscles weren’t as tight.

Almost a mile into the run, I saw this sign. I scribbled out the phone numbers because I thought it prudent and I thought the sign was funny.

Many thoughts ran through my mind: How does one go about getting goats in the city and once you have them, what could transpire to make one lose them? Not only that, what would one do, if on a run, he or she came across said goats? Why, call the number of course! I think it’s funny that they describe the goats, as if they might be confused with any other goats.

Anyway, I hope they find their goats.

June 25th, 2011 – No Running Today
In Loving Memory of The King of Pop. RIP, King Michael.

June 26th, 2011 – 6.10 Mile Run
Interestingly, I didn’t want to do this run but I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do. When I explained this to Chris, he said, ‘Why don’t you just relax”….. Well, that didn’t sound like something I would do.

So I laced up the Brooks again and headed out for an easy run up the hill to check out a trail I’d been meaning to explore for quite awhile.

This trail is in a *really* nice neighborhood at the top of a hill where the lawns are well manicured and the streets and sidewalks are wide and arranged with open-air exercise in mind and they have trails all throughout the development.

Fortunately, they are all owned and maintained by the City so the public have access to them too. I can’t afford to live up there but I can afford to live near enough to run up and take advantage for the beautiful scenery.

I knew this was going to be a rough run because (1) it was hilly. Everything after mile 1 was hilly; and (2) I am not at all confident about running trails. There were times when I could open up and put on a little more speed, but I didn’t because I can sprain my ankle on a shadow. So precarious footing makes me *really* cautious.

Also, not knowing exactly where I was going puts me on edge a little too.

But I had plenty of daylight and I began to see immediately that at no point was the neighborhood out of sight. If anything happened, I probably could make enough noise to attract the attention of a resident. So I cranked up the gospel music and moved as quickly as I dared.

It was a nice run and a pretty decent workout. I was going pretty slowly but I sprinted up every incline and took as much time as I wanted to recover.

It was great to stop and just look around this beautiful area on this glorious day! And wonder what it might be like to live up here in one of these grandiose mansions.

At about the 3 mile mark, I came across this sign.

Ah, well….. How many times have we longed for something, only to find that it’s contaminated with sewage?