Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 28th & 29th, 2011 – 3.37 and 5.51 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.”

This was a really great Memorial Day weekend. I got to train with both Lloyd and Kathy. Super stars, in my opinion. They are both accomplished runners so I was excited to learn all I could while I was with them: about running and about myself.

It was an early rise.

The first thing I learned was that I will never be an elite runner. Who gets up at 5am on a Saturday to train?! Elite athletes do. When Tiger Woods agrees to meet you to work on your swing, you don’t gripe about the time of day. So when Lloyd said “6am”, I said, “See ya there”.

So I threw back a quick breakfast. I wasn’t hungry, but I knew I had to eat something. Starting out improperly fueled can mean a really rough workout.

I knew this was going to be a short run. Otherwise I would never have milk and certainly not Raisin Bran. Milk and high fiber before a long run can be a DISASTER, but it was OK this time.

So off we go!!!

May 28th, 2011 - 3.37 Mile Run – I met Lloyd at the trail head and we started out walking and talking about my habits. I told him where I feel pain and/or tightness during or after a run. So after about a quarter of a mile, we started an easy trot. He assessed my form and offered advice.

I have to remember to relax my shoulders and well, just relax. I find myself clinching my teeth at times and that’s gotta stop. It causes mild headaches that will only get worse.

When I watched his form, I noticed that his back stays completely straight, his chest stays up and his heels don’t touch the ground at all. I’ll have to work on that. Hills don’t phase him in the least. He powers right through those with no deviation from proper form. Impressive.

The first mile was kinda rough. Not only was it a trail run, for which I have zero tolerance, but it was a slight incline. We took several walk breaks, which is new for me. I can typically do this distance without stopping with no trouble at all.

We were on an incline when we reached the halfway mark and decided to turn around. This was glorious. A much better run for me. The decline meant I needed to be careful and spare my ankles and 40-year-old knees but, there were no stops and we picked up a little bit of speed. I enjoyed this part immensely. I listened as Lloyd talked about some of his races and running habits. That was great!!!

At the end of the run, we reached the trail head again, did a quick session of stretches and talked about running. I was exhausted, but Lloyd waved good-bye and headed back up the trail.

I gotta come out here and run this trail again. I really want to get better at trail running. This was great! Thanks Lloyd!!!

May 29th, 2011 – 5.51 Mile Run – This was a great run. I nice relaxing run with Miss Kathy! It started out as a typical Sunday morning, where I get dressed and go to church.

Only this time, I wore my running skirt and cap. Kathy and I had chatted about it before hand and I knew that she had planned to change after the service but I just thought it would be a lot more convenient to just dress for the run.

The guilt from my Southern Baptist upbringing was overwhelming. Never had I *ever* shown up for church so improperly clad. I know that anything goes in Southern California, but I thought this was ridiculous, even by SoCal standards.

But then, as the LORD would have it, Kathy was decked out in her running gear too!!! We both sat in the last row and enjoyed a wonderful service!

This run was all bliss. I was still a little fatigued from yesterday’s run but it was all good. We warmed up with a little walk, then did the entire run 4 and 1.

We talked about life, marriage, running and racing. You just can’t beat that. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We will definitely do this again.

We ran all the way to Kathy’s house. It felt GREAT. She was generous with her licorice, cuz you know every great runner has licorice on hand for a post run snack. Then we went into her garage and she strapped me to her Inversion Therapy Table and turned me upside down to stretch out my back. Ahhhh…..

That was awesome!! Thanks, Miss Kathy!!!

A weekend of Super Stars! One thing I noticed about these super stars is that they both wear proper runner's sunglasses. I don't know why I never picked up on that before. I'm constantly wiping my glasses because they get foggy when I'm running. So I ordered a pair. Can't wait to get 'em.

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 23rd & 26th, 2011 – 4.86 & 2.49 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.”

I am EXTREMELY stressed out right now! A very dear friend of mine is an elite runner (I didn’t get his permission so I won’t give his name) and I asked him to consult me during a short run this weekend. This run is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Needless to say, this gentleman is *’way* out of my league. Clearly, he lost some sort of bet. Otherwise, there is no way he would waste his time and considerable talent correcting my form and offering me advice.

I can’t imagine how this session will go but I will absorb all I can while I’m with him. He is a master at his craft. We have run a few races together… and I use the word “together” rather loosely. A more accurate statement is: We have run a few races in the same area, on the same day.

He runs a 5k in about 17 minutes and he could have run the Wounded Warrior half marathon twice in the time it took me to run it once…. And he still would have beat me to the finish line! He could qualify for Boston easily but that wouldn’t be a challenge for him. This guy is a machine!

Why is he meeting me tomorrow? I really have no idea.

May 23rd – 4.86 Mile Run
This run was just OK. I’m not exactly sure what the trouble is, but lately I have been having pain in my Achilles Tendon after my runs. It may be my news shoes.

For Mother’s Day Chris took me to specialty store just for runners to have my gait assessed and shoes recommended. I bought the shoes they recommended and have been having trouble ever since. Great.

May 26th – 2.49 Mile Run
This had to be a really short run because We all had to be dressed and ready to go to Open House to see all the projects Jordan had been doing at school by 7pm. So after work, I changed my clothes, downed a quick meal and took Jordan on his bike for a quick run.

It was a pretty decent workout but there were quite a few stops. There always are when I run with Jordan but he’s getting much better and I really like running with him when I’m not using it as a form of discipline.

Even though this run was quick and short, I still had AT issues. I’ll try my Asics tomorrow and see what happens.

PHOTO NOTE: I am registered to do the Love Run 10k in Westlake Village on June 5th but my father has retired and is having his celebration dinner on that weekend so I’ll be out of town and won’t be able to do it. Chris knew I was bummed about it and told me he would have the kids make me a bib because he knows I like to collect them. How sweet is that?

This is the one Jayda made for me. It’s my new favorite bib!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 16th, 2011 – 3.30 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 run was more of a quest. Somewhere along the way I have lost my love for running and I have to find it again because I can’t seem to make myself stop doing it.

My last run was just a mess. I couldn’t find my groove and settling into it was very difficult. I suppose I could be addicted to worse things. And I call it an addiction because, like I said, I can’t seem to make myself stop.

I don’t do it because I want to. I don’t do it because I’m being forced to. And at this point, I don’t do it because I enjoy it.

I could stop now, never run again and no one in my world would blame me. My family and friends think I’m completely bonkers, to put it mildly.

I don’t do it because it makes me special, for everyone and their grandmother runs. I don’t do it because I have a gift for it. I am woefully mediocre at it. I don’t do it because it’s my only option. We are certainly not people of means, but if we had to, we could manage a gym membership, dance class or rider’s club tuition.

I don’t do it to stay healthy, fit or lose weight. I banished my scale long ago, but I do know that I haven’t really lost any weight with running. This is just the size I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I could lose weight, but….. Nah. I’m at a healthy weight. I’m good with it.

I don’t do it to keep my husband interested. He’s crazy about me and would be if I weighed 200 lbs. I know this because he was crazy me about when I did weight 200 lbs right after the children were born.

I don’t do it so my children will admire me. I keep Rice Krispy Treats stocked in the house. I make Kettle Korn from scratch. I make up fairytales and nursery rhymes with them as the heroes at the the drop of a dime. I’ve never met a knot I couldn’t unravel. Prayer is forever and always my first line of defense. My hugs and kisses have magical healing powers and I can spot mischief behind closed doors. They think I’m a super hero.

Do I do it to feel good about myself? Have you met me?! Well, probably not, but trust me when I tell you that I’m fabulous!!!! Largely because I think so.

So why?

Why, why, why can’t I just give it up? Why not stop because I’m not enjoying it anymore? Why run out the door looking for the joy of the run when joy greets me around every corner at home?

Why keep running?

Because I have to….. I just do.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14th, 2011 – 3.15 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 rough run. My legs were heavy and stayed heavy for almost the entire run.

It was the regular route. The weather was perfect. And I was only playing the best of my iPod play list. Everything was set for a perfect run but I just wasn’t feeling it.

I seemed to tire very quickly and oxygen deprivation came after the slightest bit of effort. It was weird and frustrating.

I donated blood on Thursday so I skipped the workout that day. I had plans yesterday so I had to skip it then too. Two days of rest should have been enough, so I haven’t any idea why this run was so rough.

I pushed through it because I thought I might feel the same at about mile 10 when I do the Half next month. I had to get in at least 3 miles. It wasn't great but I was glad to get it done, so I’m still calling it a win. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 9th & 10th 2011 – 4.83 & 6.70 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.”

4.83 Mile Run - This was never meant to be a training run. This was merely a maintenance run, to get the miles in. I usually give myself a couple days’ rest after a race but I didn’t run for a week before the Mud Run so I didn’t think the usual rest period was warranted.

My original intention was to run a full 6 miles. Now that the Mud Run is over, I need to start training for the Love Run, a 10k. I would really like to PR.

According to my calculations, if I want to finish in 60 mins, I need to maintain a 9:40.8 min/mi pace. I’ve never maintained that pace for a race. Ever…. Not even for a 5k.

Nevertheless, that is the goal. *sigh* That would be a 9 minute reduction from my best 10k. I know people who can do that with no trouble at all, but for me it is a daunting prospect. I hate to set goals that I honestly don’t think I can do, but here we go!

This run was far far far from that pace. But that’s OK because again, I was just trying to get the miles in.

I started out with the greatest of intentions and I was excited to start putting some miles on my new shoes.

I had never gone to a specialized running shop to get my gait assessed and then actually purchase the shoes that were professionally recommended for me. The good folks at Tri Running in Old Towne Camarillo were patient and wonderful and got me set up with some shoes that were supposed to change my life. I was excited to get started.

So I changed into my running shorts and tank top at the office and laced up my news shoes.

< insert chorus of angels singing here >

This was going to be awesome! Nothing can stop me now. I’m a running goddess and I am going to take over the world!

So it’s time to head home and I am ready to leave the office. I clock out and burst through the door. Happy to be released from my 8 hours of incarceration and embrace the freedom that comes with a good run. But then…..

< insert record scratch here >

It’s friggin’ FREEZING out here! It’s 68 degrees and windy! I am *waaay* under dressed. I can’t run like this! I must be the goddess of some warm and tropical place because this is too much for me!!

So instead of getting dropped off at the BGC and running home, I decide to go home, change into running pants and a long-sleeved top and take Sarah. It’s been a while since I’ve taken her for a run and she was so excited.

I always get a little more banged up when I run with Sarah because she’s getting so strong, it’s more difficult for me to run with proper form when I’m trying to keep her from running after other dogs. It’s a good thing I had on my super cool new shoes then, right? Well worth the money.

I cut this run short because I was losing daylight and didn’t wear any high visibility gear. That’s the only regret I have about this run. Otherwise, I’m calling it a win.

I was sure to take the time to get a good stretch afterward because after a race, it’s not the day after that’s the problem, it’s the day after the day after that kills you and this was that day. I knew if I wanted to be able to walk or get out of bed the next day, I’d better take the time to do it.

Jayda did it with me and made it much more pleasant than usual.

So here’s to impossible goals, good dogs and cute little baby girls who seem to make everything worth it. Happy Monday!

6.70 Mile Run - This run was about distance, form and stretching. I wanted to get the full race distance in without hurting myself and I really wanted to work on my form which I have to relearn since I'd been running in my 5-fingers so much. I had to reacquaint myself with running in proper shoes. So I did it 4 minutes on 1 minute off.

At around mile 4, my back tightened up and I couldn't relax into the run. As I was closing in on mile 6, I stopped at a traffic light that takes about 30 seconds to change. I spent the time stretching, so the last .70 mile was much better.

I was trying to maintain my half marathon goal pace, which is 12:??. Just anywhere under 13 mins was fine with me. I *just* reached my goal, which may be an indicator that I should rethink my goal.

Also, I am realizing that I am passed that age where I can run and run and never stretch. So now, stretching has to be just as important as my warm down. So I have to work on learning to love it.

It's gotta be easier than learning to love hills, right?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 7th, 2011 – NCTC/NBVC Mud Run 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 run was a victory in many ways (1) Because it was over Mother’s Day weekend, I got Chris and the kids to come with me. Score! (2) It was my first official Mud Run. It was insanely challenging and I finished! And (3) I was recovering from a sprained ankle and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to belly up to the Start Line until I ….. Bellied up to the Start Line. I’d rested all week. It was brutal but my ankle felt fine for this race.

This is me with the kids before the start of the race. This is bliss for me. I do one organized race a month and I rarely have people with me.

After check-in, we were all branded like cattle. They corralled us at the start (1) Competitive Males (2) Males (3) Competitive Females and (4) Females, children, walkers, those with recent hip and/or knee replacements and what not.

I was convinced that I should be in the 4th corral because I had never done this or any other Mud Run before, but I was told at the start that if I fit enough to run the whole course, as opposed to those who chose to walk it, I could consider myself a Competitive Female. Fair enough. So we were off!

I was thrilled to find that I was equal to the classification of "Competitive Female". While I was hardly the first to cross the Finish Line, I remained with my pace group! I spent a lot of time climbing dirt hills and trudging through muddy water. This is a notoriously challenging course and I was honored to finish it.

Here I am taking a moment to wave to the camera. As you can see, there were several able-bodied individuals who were bested by the mud. We were all just trudging through it. There were times when I got passed by people, but never at a sprint. The mud was heavy and cumbersome.

This is Jayda watching me climb out of one of the many tubes.

By the time I reached the canal, my shoes were so full of mud I could barely lift my feet, but my kids were running along ‘side m me cheering me on. See Jordan on the left, running along the canal? You gotta love kids!

Jordan wanted to cross the Finish Line with me. This has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

Kids are great, really. Here they are at the end asking, “Did you win, Mommy?!” I told ‘em I’d won before I started.

Can I get a “HELL YEAH!!!”

Then Chris took me over to Tri-Running and bought me a new pair of running shoes. Brooks GTS 11. Perfect for my flat feet and overpronation. Can’t wait to start putting miles on these!

This is another pic of me and the kiddos after church on Sunday.

This was a great weekend and I can't think of a better way to celebrate motherhood. Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April 28th, May 1st & 2nd – 3.70 Mile Run, Sprain & 1.5 Mile Swim

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.”

April was a rough month for fitness. I did just over 30 miles for the entire month and I can’t remember the last time my mileage was that low.

Nothing I can do about that except keep moving forward.

April 28th – 3.70 Mile Run
This was a great run. It was a new route…. partially. I didn’t want to do too much distance because the race that I am training for is only 3 miles. I am more interested in strength training. But I noticed that if I took a left turn on a route that I do frequently, I could find a new route that was partially trail and had more challenging terrain and elevation. So I wanted to give it try.

That’s what this run was about.

This was the first run I’ve done in a while that was in proper running shoes. Seemed like it should have been good, but I was actually in quite a bit of pain when I was done.

May 1st – SPRAIN!!!!
Chris and I spent the weekend doing yard work. Chris did most of the work and I am crazy proud of him! We replaced the sod on the front half of our rather large front yard.

Replacing your own sod will remind you why it was a good idea to stay in school. I am in awe of people who do that kind of thing well and I am *SO* grateful that I don’t do that kind of work to make my living. It is *hard* work!!!

After we were done with everything, I was watering some spare sod in the backyard, stepped in a hole that Sarah had dug and rolled my ankle. Argh!!!

So frustrating. I was supposed to run that day but that was put on hold. Being middle aged is really getting on my nerves!

May 2nd – 1.5 Mile Swim
I didn’t work out on Saturday because we spent the day laying sod. I skipped my workout yesterday because I hurt myself doing something lame. I absolutely had to do something today. My only option was to swim.

The community pool is down the street about a mile away and I am not healthy enough to run even that far so I had to drive. It is frustrating when my body betrays me but if I want to compete well at the race this weekend, I have to be realistic about my limitations.

So I put on the two-piece, which is new for me. I usually only wear a two-piece in my back yard. Not that I’m shy. I like what I have to work with and I’m very objective about myself. I’m not one of those super skinny chicks who thinks she’s fat. Neither am I one of those who’s circus fat and thinks she’s Kelly Ripa. I’m a woman-sized woman. Curvy and OK with it.

So I dragged my curves out to the public pool, paid the entry fee, limped across the deck and dropped in. I was totally indifferent toward the aqua aerobics class that was in session and the super hot, young life guards who are there for my protection.

This swim was great. I was able to swim a mile in 30 minutes. That’s really good for me. It used to take me nearly an hour to swim a mile. I thought I would still have a little trouble with my ankle, but it was great! Absolutely wonderful the entire time. No pain. No cramping in my feet like I thought I would. I was able to forget I was injured for a few minutes.

So I swam another half mile and went home. I should sleep well. Looking forward to a good race this weekend. Fingers crossed!