Monday, November 29, 2010

November 25th, 2010 - Turkey Day Dash (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.”

The only thing that can make Thanksgiving better is starting it out with a nice race where you get to PR! WOO-HOO!!!!

It was a very crisp and clear day. We started in the Oaks Mall and huddled in the atrium to keep warm before the start. The course was relatively flat and it was an easy run. I remembered to breathe deeply so I never felt tired or winded. I kept it steady and took advantage of every decline, no matter how slight. When I came up to one, I increased my speed and let gravity carry me as long as it lasted.

It was a great run and I was able to shave 1:45 off my best 5k time. I was able to get through it without injuring myself or aggravating any past injuries, so I’m calling it a win. This was the first run I’ve ever done, where I took the time to buzz around the Results Table so I could see what my official time was but they were taking so long, I had to leave. I figured I could find them online later. Bad choice. I still haven’t been able to find it!

As usual, I ran into some wonderful strangers and spoke to many people. I was very envious of all the Garmins I saw. I have one on my Amazon Wish List but I seriously doubt that I’ll get one. I couldn’t spend that much money on myself right now. With birthday parties, property taxes, Christmas, home owners insurance and our anniversary all coming up in a manner of weeks, I couldn’t ask for such a thing. Maybe if we do well enough during tax season, I'll consider it. For now, I'll just be saving my pennies!

In the meantime I will be praying for the motivation I'll need to get out in this cold (or "cold" for Southern California) weather to get the miles in. I have another 5k next weekend. The "Say No to Drugs" run in Los Angeles. That should be a *lot* of fun. I'll be going with my mother-in-law. She's been training for months so it will be nice to be with her when she PRs.

Gotta love the Fall!!!! If I had the means, I would do a race every weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 22nd, 2010 – 0.75 Walk & 2.40 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 workout was good in a couple of ways. Chris came with me to do a warm up walk. That was really nice. It was about three quarters of a mile and we took Jayda and Sarah. It was very pleasant. I love hangin’ with Chris. Doesn’t matter what we’re doing.

After we were done, I dressed out and did a quick 2.40 Mile sprint in my neighborhood. I would have done an even 3 Miles, but my RunKeeper crapped out on me for some reason so I didn’t know how far I’d gone. I knew it wasn’t 3 Miles, but I was ready to stop.

It was great to run the neighborhood. Soon it will be very pretty. My neighbors go all out with the Christmas lights. Maybe then, I’ll be able to get both kids out there.

Running in the winter is awesome out here. So many things to love about it!

(1) No sunscreen! Only when I run at night, of course. Yep, Sistas need sunscreen too! And I am always fighting against breakouts in the summer because sunscreen is so oily. Even the ones that claim to be oil free!

(2) The Temperature! In SoCal, it is never too cold to run. Arm warmers and running gloves are the most you’ll ever need in winter (maybe a hat, but you’re always wearing one of those anyway, right?). However, in summer, if you don’t get out there before 10am or after 7pm, you ain’t goin’! Not if you don't wanna risk heat stroke. Although it is cool that sunset is well after 8:30pm.

(3) Early sunrise! On that rare occasion when I go to sleep on time and wake up early, the sun is up! So I can get my run in before I start my day! Gotta love the 5:30am sunrise! In the summer, it is decidedly dark until 6:45am. What’s up with that!

And (4) No Brush Fires!!!!! (usually). I can’t tell you how many runs I had to cancel last year because the air quality was so bad. The air quality is never going to be as good as Big Bear, Hume Lake or Arrowhead. I’m sure the fireplace blazes aren’t all that great for you and the smog in L.A. is legendary. But none of that puts the brakes on open air exercise like a 4500 acre brush fire and they happen every year!!!

We *rarely* hit freezing temperatures and below zero just never happens. Our “Rainy Season” is 5 days. On the whole, I definitely prefer the warmer weather, but you couldn’t ask for better running weather than fall and winter in Southern California.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20th, 2010 – 3.64 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 interesting. I feel like I have been really pulling off the running and I really need to keep it up because even though I have a serious lack of desire these days, it makes me happier than any other type of exercise. Really…. It actually makes me happy. Causes temporary bouts of happiness and when I am being short with my kids or dear sweet Chris, a run gets me right back on track and I’m back to my normal, pleasant, upbeat, amorous self.

It took about a half mile for my body to remember what it was supposed to do. After that, everything evened out and it started to feel good. Then it started to rain!!!

Do you turn around and head back home when it starts to rain?! HEAVENS no!!!! Running in the rain ROCKS!!! You start to feel like a hard-core bad-ass when you run in the rain! It was great! After a short time, the water starts to weigh down the running pants and the arm warmers, but it’s all good.

I didn’t get the 10 mile run I wanted to do, but I knew I wouldn’t. I would have certainly hurt myself if I had. Even 6 would have been too much. I have been having some trouble getting back to where I was since I injured myself. But I am working my way back to it. The change in the weather might be an issue. Can’t wait to get back to my old self.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15th, 2010 – 3.03 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.”

Another morning run! This is becoming a habit! I‘ve always wanted to be “That Lady”. You know, the one who is so committed to her workout that she is out there early in the morning, running like a maniac? Yeah, her! She looks great, her form is impeccable and nothing gives her greater joy than getting out there and pounding out 3 miles before the day gets started.

Well, now that I have been “That Lady” for a few mornings, I’ve discovered that she would rather be just about anywhere else. She would much rather be in bed right now. Getting that run in in the morning is a necessity if she wants to get it in at all. However, I gotta say, I am *so* glad I did it…. and not just cuz it’s over now.

I didn’t run at all over the weekend. I was having a dull pain in my right ankle and lower back and it didn’t let up all weekend! Chris borrowed an electric saw from a friend so we used it to cut down some trees that had taken root in our backyard. We tried to cultivate them and see if they would grow into some nice shade trees, but they were more fern than tree and seemed to just be giving the ants direct access to our attic so we decided to chop ‘em down. Doing all that work didn’t help my knees, ankles and back. So I took both days off.

By Sunday night, I knew I had to get a run in no matter what. It had been two days and I was starting to go through withdrawals. So I got up this morning, strapped on the Asics, grabbed the dog and hit the road. The moment I started my stride, there was no pain. None at all. I’ve had this experience before, where not running is more painful than running. It seems to be happening more often than not lately.

The weather was beautiful. I decided to take Sarah to the creek. I wanted to see if I could get her to run without her leash like Sean always does with Girl. I took her off for about 20 seconds. Once I saw a man with his dog, I knew the experiment was over. She was *so* bummed. I was bummed too. I was hoping to be able to get a good run in and let her do her thing. I guess I need to get up a little earlier if I want to avoid all the dog walkers.

Running the creek is a good run because it’s an out-and-back run as opposed to a loop. So if I get to a point where I need to get back so I can make it to work on time, I can just turn around when half my allotted time is up.

It was a great run. I got home and woke up the house so we could get our day started. It’s always nice to get it in before work.

Some more happy news: I was able to add more beads to my charm bracelet! You may recall that I was working on filling up a charm bracelet with beads to commemorate the races I’ve done. So here it is!

End bead: L.A. Cancer Challenge – 5k
Clover: Run Thru the Orchard, benefitting Open Air – 5k
Green: Gator Run, benefitting the Troops – 5k
Shoe: Wounded Warrior Half Marathon
Pink Daisy: Strides for SIDS – 5k
Red Hearts: Love Run, benefitting Sr. Concerns – 10k
Cloudy W: WipeOut! – I just thought that craziness deserved a charm.
Wooden Bead: Lions Club Run – 5k
Blue Flower: The Great Race of Agoura – 5k
Sunglasses: The Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon
Red w/Crystals: Say No to Drugs Run – 10k
End Bead: Love Run, benefitting Meals on Wheels – 5k

I have several more to buy to fill in the rest, but it just warms my heart to see all these beads and baubles dangling on my wrist. They remind me of something I’m really proud of and I hope when my little girl is older and I pass it on to her, she will appreciate it as much as I do and be proud of her ole Mom.

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12th, 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 morning’s run (Yes, another morning run!) was also just OK. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do. The weather was great! Fall in California is a beautiful thing. We don’t get all the colors, but the hills are beautiful and usually recovering from whatever brush fire ravaged the area in the summer.

I did a little hill work today and it would have been nice to just run a flat course and enjoy it. Having to work for it is kind of a drag. But I was determined not to log any junk miles this time.

Mile one was pretty good. It was flat and easy. I happened to take the morning off because the lady who looks after Jayda took the day off so Chris and I split the day. So I wanted to get a run in before he and Jordan were off to school and work. It was nice to see all the poor schmucks who were stressed out about getting to work on time. Knowing that I was a schmuck just yesterday and would be again on Monday did not diminish my joy of being off this morning one jot!

At the beginning of mile 2, the climbing started. I wanted to take it with as much speed as I could muster but the hill bested me almost immediately. I need to get more hill work under my belt for sure.

I got to the half way mark, turned around and ran the rest of the way. It was refreshing and I was able to handle it without aggravating any old injuries. It was a good honest workout and I'm glad I got it done. I'm calling it a win.

In other news, a friend of mine asked me to join her at the Thousand Oaks Turkey Day Dash on Thanksgiving morning. Well, you just can't beat that, so I'll be running a quick race before I pop my bread pudding in the oven!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10, 2010 – 3.75 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 (Yes! I dragged my bones outta bed in the morning) run was just OK. I didn’t enjoy it very much at all. I took Sarah and she made it a tempo run, which is something I really need to start doing. Unfortunately, I am at a point in my fitness where it’s no longer OK for me to “Just Finish”. I’ve done 2 half marathons and countless 5 and 10ks, so now, I really need to be working on a PR every time I race. This means I need to work on speed now that endurance is reasonably in hand.

This was the first run I’ve done in quite a while (about 6 days) and I really wasn’t looking forward to it. But God had given me a poke this morning and as usual, if He brought me to it, I knew He’d bring me through it. The entire time was miserable and I just kept thinking of how glad I would be when it was over and how thrilled I’d be that I had done it! I could consider myself a success today, even if I didn't do a single useful thing for the rest of the day!

I had a Bazi Energy Shot this morning. I’d never taken one of those before a run and I was interested to see if it would give me the boost I needed. I’m not sure that it did. I’ll run without it tomorrow and see how it goes.

Mile 1 was not too bad, which was good for me. Usually I really don’t like mile one. It was at a pretty decent pace for me so after I got to that point, I walked for a bit because I knew I wanted to recover enough to be able to sprint once I got to the turn around point.

Mile 2 and 3 were good. I was feeling fine and most of it was a pretty good pace for me. However, I just really don’t think it helped my time all that much. It still took about 40 minutes to complete the run, which is how long it takes me when I’m at my normal steady pace.

I know I should be working on speed and striving to do better and beat my last race time, but it really does seem that working on speed robs me of the joy I get from running. I find myself wondering if it’s worth it.

Should I stick to a snail’s pace and be a happy little runner, but feel that tiny sting of regret at the end of every race when I know that I could have done better? I keep hearing the famous Steve Prefontaine quote. Go ahead, you know it! Say it with me: “To Give Anything Less Than Your Best is to Sacrifice the Gift.”

Or should I strive for perfection on every run and berate myself when I don’t quite meet my standards but swell with enormous pride every time I do?

Oh, it’s so hard! If you’re a runner, you know the ecstasy of blasting through a plateau or setting a new PR. Also, if you’re a runner, you know the bliss of just ...... going. Just losing yourself in the act and loving God’s creation and being grateful for a healthy body and a good run.

I really don’t want my ambition to ruin the joy of running for me. Yet I don’t know if I can stand to remain mediocre.


Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5th, 2010 – 3.75 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 really great. I know I say that a lot and they are great in general, but this one was great in particular. Last night Chris and I decided that Jordan needed more activity and less television. You can’t argue with that…. but I did anyway. I really didn’t want to sacrifice my run to parenthood! Running is how I get away from all the things that bind me. It’s not that I don’t love my family. I love them madly, but my run is what makes it easier for them to live with me.

Despite my whining and complaining about it, I was forced to take the boy with me on my run. This was not the first time Jordan had joined me on a run. There have been several times when he was misbehaving in school and I have taken him on runs as a form of discipline. I thought it was a fine idea, but I was concerned that I was setting him up to hate running and really, when he is old enough, I would love to have him as a steady running partner.

For now, when we run together, I play the role of Drill Sergeant and he whines and complains the whole time. This time was no exception really, but I expected it so it didn’t frustrate me like it normally would. However, overall he was really great.

I was feeling a little sting in my right heel and ankle, but it wasn’t too bad. I was determined to get a decent workout tonight. I knew we were going to run about 3.65 miles and that’s a lot for Jordan, so we did it in 4 and 1 intervals. He did GREAT!!!! He ran every interval and when we got to the last half of the run, where there is a slight decline, I had him pace me. It’s much easier to get a decent workout if I‘m not constantly turning around to make sure he’s still running.

I went into Drill Sergeant mode and pushed him whenever he was slowing down and on the last 60 seconds of each interval, I really had him kick it up! He hung in there and there was a time or two when he was really making me work for it. I was really proud of him!

I had been thinking that I really need to focus on speed work and if he can do again what he did tonight, he would be a huge help to me.

At about the last 100 yards of the run, we were headed toward home. I told him, we would walk to a certain corner and then sprint as fast as we could back to the house. When I said “Go!” , he was off like a shot and I could tell that he was considering this a race and he had no intention of being beaten by his Mommy.

Well, he did get beaten by his mommy but I had to kick it up to a 6:37 mile pace to do it. He was really moving! For him to do that after having already run over 3.50 miles, I thought that was pretty good!!!!

I was so proud of my little dude and we had a great time. I hope we can do it again soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4th, 2010 – 3.50 Mile 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.”

I have been (semi) good about resting and not getting much running in while I am supposed to be submitting to this doctor-ordered rest. But tonight Sean offered to do a hike instead of our normal run. I had to take him up on it because I’m starting to go a little stir crazy. I mean really, you wouldn’t like me if I didn’t run. Also, I am starting to get really annoyed with myself and the limitations that my flesh puts on me.

Well, until the next life, where I’ll get my perfect body, I’ll just have to make do with the one I’ve got now. Don’t get me wrong, as bodies go, it’s pretty fantastic and I’m grateful for the temple God’s blessed me to walk this world in, but at the moment, it’s letting me down big time!

We started this hike with the understanding that I was at about 80% and may not be able to do very much. Sean was *really* cool about it and offered to do a trail that he often does with his dog, Girl. It has some elevation but was relatively flat. The entire loop was about one mile which sounded perfect to me. No matter what went down, I was positive I could do at least one mile, so we set out.

Before we started I strapped on my ankle and knee support, thinking that would do just fine. The knees were great but the ankles and heels were in excruciating pain by the time we were done.

But it felt *so* incredibly good to be out there. We were at a brisk enough walk the entire time. I have to thank Sean for hangin’ with me because I know there were times when he wanted to just break and run and just leave me there. I wouldn’t have blamed him. There were times when I could barely stand it, I wanted to run so badly. But it became obvious almost immediately that I was not in good enough condition to run and what I thought was 80% turned out to be more like 40%.

We did the circuit 3 times for a grand total of about 3.5 miles. It wasn’t a total waste. Even a bad workout is better than none at all. It felt so great to be out there. Did I mention that already? The weather was awesome and the temperature was perfect.

At the moment, I’m unreasonable enough to think I may never get to do another half marathon again, but we’ll just keep praying about it and working toward getting better.

November 2nd, 2010 – 1.30 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 very short run. Tonight is election night! My polling place is about a half mile away from my house so I decided to lace up the Asics, strap on the reflective gear and do a short tempo run out there and back. I am still recovering from my last major run and doing my best to follow the doctor’s orders, but I am finding it very difficult to be ordered to rest. I think I am actually more tired than I would be if I had been getting more exercise.

Anyway, My AT and heels are still very tender and this short run let me know that I am not yet recovered but it felt *so* good to get out and run for even a little while.

I suppose I could be addicted to worse things, but I am at a point where I am willing to suffer through a little pain just to get a decent run in.

I think this is very unfair. When I was younger and taking my fitness for granted, I never had these problems. Now that I am making an effort to build a better machine, it’s breaking down on me. What?!

Ah well, I will continue to recover and take as long as I need to to do it. I knew that I should not have been out running and I did it anyway, so I have very little sympathy for myself. So I won’t complain about the pain. However, I am proud of myself for getting out there to do it and I’m proud of myself getting out there and rockin’ the vote.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1st, 2010 – Tried It. Loved It!

I still have about 5 days of rest if I want to follow the doctor’s orders. So I have been keeping myself busy with some homemaking projects. Yesterday I ironed all the laundry so my son doesn’t go to school looking like he’s covered in wrapping paper the day after Christmas. Tonight, I tried a recipe that I heard about on TV. If you know anything about me, you know that I *love* dessert, I love to bake and I have absolutely no use for a boxed cake mix. However, this recipe intrigued me, so I gave it a try. For the record, I still believe that baking from scratch is the superior method, but this one rocks pretty hard.

Apparently, the Hungry Girl has a new cookbook coming out called something like “Hot Couples”. It’s a book of recipes that are super easy and only have 2 ingredients. There is a recipe where you take a boxed cake mix and add a can of diet soda.That's it. Nothing else. I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake and Diet Cream Soda. I just mixed it up, poured it in a Pyrex dish and baked it for 33 minutes. That was it! The kids licked the bowl and were none the wiser.

It didn’t rise the way it normally would, but it was nice and golden.

I let it cool and put a store-bought icing over it. It was light and moist and yum yum good. It cuts the the fat and calories by a ton and really, no one will know the difference. It works out to be 171 calories per serving. That’s only one mile! You can enjoy treats at Christmas time and not even worry about it.

I thought this was great, so I wanted to share. You can experiment with the flavors and come up with something that you and your family will love. Here is the video that was on TV.