Monthly Archives: July 2015

Half-way done with week 4

One of the purposes of my blog is to write down my thoughts after I’m done with my run, because there’s a whole lot of something going on up there while I’m running.  But when you distance yourself from the run with a day of work in between, the thoughts tend to dissipate. At least until the next run, and then they come back full on, with even more and different thoughts. I’ll have to get better about writing sooner… or get up earlier, ugh.

wpid-20150728_083741.jpgToday I had a nice 4-miler to complete (yesterday I ran 3).  It was a beautiful morning as the sun and the birds woke up (those bird things are actually quite deafening first thing).  I had my usual Breakfast of Champions of black tea and GU, then I hit the trail. Now I don’t need lectures about how I should eat something before I go out on a power run.  It’s hard enough to gag down the GU first thing, let alone a piece of toast, but I know I need something and GU is simply a wonderful packet full of energy once it hits the system.  Love the stuff!  Okay, don’t love the consistency but do love the wonderful things it does for the energy level!

I’m getting really tired of going up and down hills, so like I said, I hit the trail for an out and back, which is not too-too bad with changes in elevation.  But I have to admit, it gets kind of scary out on the trail that early in the morning.  I have a fabulous imagination and sometimes it gets the best of me.  I’m not worried about an actual person trying something (I know my strength when the adrenaline hits, they wouldn’t stand a chance), but it’s all the animals that I could possibly encounter.  Especially as we’ve had a cougar sighting nearby, yes, on the trail.  Now THAT makes me nervous.  So as I’m running along, I’m looking behind and into every bush and tree that I possibly can and trying to make lots of noise so I don’t sneak up on anything hunting for food. Thankfully, no cougar this morning, just a sweet little bunny rabbit who has actually gotten quite big considering where it lives.

I’m also thankful to say I’ve been able to maintain my happy run streak since Sunday, each run getting better and better.  Seconds count as seconds eventually lead up to minutes.  It was a good run.  I even gave up on thinking something was going to attack me from the bushes after mile 2. Yesterday I forgot to wear my compression sleeves and my calves started hurting, but today, I put those babies on and didn’t have an ounce of pain.  Yay.  I even felt strong in mile 3, almost getting to the point where it would be easier to just keep running than to stop (yeah, that lasted for about 0.75 miles).  During my run, I was going over one very important question in mind…

Do I like to run?

Simply put, no, I really don’t.  Running is difficult.  I don’t like the pain, I don’t like breathing hard, I don’t like the amount of sweat my body puts out, I don’t like it when said sweat drips into my eyes, and I sure as hell don’t like the chafing.  However, with that being said, there are a number of things that I do like about running.  I like the challenge of getting better at something that I suck at (I won’t suck forever).  I like the long-term health benefits of being a runner, strong heart, strong lungs, young mind, killer calves.  I like the sense of accomplishment I feel when I cross the finish line of a race because I know I worked my ass off for 3 long months to get to that finish line. And I especially like the bling I earn when I finish a race!  After all, it’s all about the bling, isn’t it!!  I think the pros far outweigh the cons.

Next up, is another 3 miles tomorrow, then on down to Boise on Saturday for a trial 7-mile run on the Fit One race route next to the river.  Considering Boise is about 30 degrees hotter than it is here, it could get interesting.

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I think I have finally found my header.

Week 3 Training… done!!

cropped-wpid-20150712_113352.jpgToday was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest in which to run and finish up my 3rd week of training.  It was overcast, raining, and cool!!  Oh how I’ve missed the rain since April!  When you go without it for so long, you just don’t mind running in it!

I had 6 miles on the schedule for this lovely Sunday.  Was I ready?  Didn’t matter.  It was something that had to be done.  I stuck with my plan of trying to stay as strong at the end of my run as when I started… that’s a good mindset for me.  About 0.3 miles into my run, I happened to land square into a lovely little puddle that I didn’t realize was also deep.  Managed to soak my entire right shoe.  Ahhh, but that didn’t matter.  I was wearing proper running socks with moisture wicking, so that didn’t even phase me.  Besides, the rest of me was drenched from the rain, why should my feet or shoes be excluded.  Did I mention I love the rain?

I like running to the beat of a song, and I had 4 songs in particular that helped me to keep my pace up… Timber (PitBull), Love Runs Out (One Republic), Happy (Pharell Williams), and Shake It Off (Taylor Swift).  I relied on this music once I got past mile 3.  Because that’s when I started getting tired.  I also relied on various mantras I repeat over and over and over again in my head… I can do all things in Christ who strengthens meI’m only getting strongerRun the mile you’re in

I made it strong for about 5-1/2 miles, then I started getting discouraged as I was looking at my time.  I’m wanting to improve my pace, not be the same as I was last year, and I just wasn’t feeling it or seeing it on my watch.  But then someone on a bicycle rode past me and must’ve seen the distress on my face, because he looked at me and gave me the biggest grin, as if to say, “It’s all good,” or “Don’t forget to smile,” which then in turn made me remember to smile for that last 1/2-mile.  The other bonus was my husband was just beginning his run when I was close to done, so he “brought me in” which allowed me to finish super strong.

And at the end of the day, according to Strava, I managed to knock 1 minute 18 seconds off my pace per mile from last year at this time, which tells me, yes, I’m getting better and the goal I’ve set for this year is very realistic and reachable.  That makes me smile.

As for The Motivator, he ran a measly 14 miles today in 2:03:37, averaging 8:48 pace.  He’s going to kick ass in Chicago.

 

Squirrel Talk

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU COME ACROSS A BABY SQUIRREL:

If you can reach the nest, put the baby back in it.

If you don’t know where the nest is, leave him on the ground and gently press on the baby’s foot to make him call for his mom.  Then leave the area.  If the mom knows where her baby is, she’ll come down the tree and carry it back to the nest, but she will never come around if people are nearby.  You are a predator to her.  Check on the baby later to make sure mom found him.

If the above two options don’t work, gently place the baby in a box or container in which it can breathe and take it to your closest wildlife rescue center.  NEVER EVER try to raise or feed squirrels if you’re not a licensed rehabber.  Babies require very specific formula in order to keep them strong and healthy.  If not properly nourished, they will develop metabolic bone disease, a very painful condition that causes their bones to break.  It’s cruel and inhumane (I can’t stress this enough), and there’s nothing that can be done to save them.

To locate your nearest wildlife rescue, visit your state’s Fish and Wildlife website.  They will have resources to help you.  Or you can comment below and I can help you find your nearest rescue.

Wednesday Morning Run

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A beautiful day for a run near the lake… overcast and cool!

I find myself getting caught up and inspired by some of my fellow bloggers, especially Dawn (Chasing Down Healthy).  We’re almost on the same training and race schedule… she’s in week 5 of training for a half (she’s registered for 2 of them), and I’m in week 3.  This morning she blogged about how it’s easier for her to just keep running rather than take a walk break.  I totally get it.  So, I decided to try that out today.  Yeah, well, unfortunately it doesn’t work so great for me.  Yet, that is.  I haven’t broke through the mental challenge of a continuous run non-stop, although I tried this morning.

I had 4 miles to complete,  I didn’t even turn my watch or phone on until I was perfectly warmed up and ready to run.  I felt mentally psyched.  I was ready.  One mile down without stopping, I did it!  Then here’s where the mental challenge came into play… “you can just walk for a tenth of a mile to catch your breath, then you can take off again.”  Alas, it was not to be.  I walked that tenth of a mile then I ran into a hill.  And this is not a nice hill.  This is a hill that challenges every ounce of your being, physically and mentally.  Walking up it can leave people short of breath.  It’s a hill-training hill for at least three-quarters of a mile.  Needless to say, after that first mile, I couldn’t get my groove back once I took a walk break, not even to do my normal run/walk ratio.  But it wasn’t the hill’s fault… it was the mental challenge that I struggle with all the time when I run.  The one that tells me, “Walk now or you’re going to die.”

I can take away a few positives from this run, though:

  • I wasn’t any slower than my last 4-mile run.
  • I realized I have to work on the mental part of my runs.  Recognizing weaknesses is always a good thing so they can be addressed and dealt with.
  • I wasn’t tired or exhausted when I returned home.
  • I got to see the ducks in the lake first thing.  Taking a picture is a great excuse for a walk break!

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Bonus… I love what my phone says:

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Woo hoo! In 4 weeks, its going to say 20,000 steps!

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I love seeing this ratio, it shows me what I need to work on, although it records my warm-up and cool-down which is all walk.

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Weather was perfect!!

 

 

Dress For Success!

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It’s a proven fact… look nice, feel nice, be nice.  Running outfits are no different… look good, feel good, run good.

HAT OR VISOR:  Mandatory.  This keeps the sun out of your eyes, mops up sweat from your forehead, can sometimes keep your head cool, keeps ponytails in their place, hides bed head.

SUNGLASSES:  Mandatory.  Protects eyes from sun, wind, rain, wrinkles, bugs.  Hides eyes from other people when you’re just not in the mood because the run has gone on forever and is never going to end.

TECH SHIRT:  Mandatory.  Cotton weighs thousands of pounds once it gets saturated with sweat.  Tech shirts have moisture-wicking properties that allow you to sweat and sweat and sweat and won’t weigh any more wet than it does when it’s dry.  Must have the brightest, gaudiest color on race day in order to stand out from the other 25,000 bright, gaudy colors.

SHORTS:  Of course mandatory.  Compression shorts are best for sucking all the fat in with less chance of chafing because they don’t ride up.  For added slimming effect, wear black.  Always.

COMPRESSION SLEEVES:  Mandatory.  Get shin splints?  Wear these.  Extra support for the calves, promotes blood flow to the lower legs and feet.  Great on long car and airplane rides too.  Gaudy colors work here too.

RUNNING SOCKS:  Good running socks are above and beyond mandatory.  If you don’t have the right socks to wick away moisture, your feet will blister at mile 5 and you’ll be left to limp across the finish line with nothing to look forward to other than a long, painful healing process and a toenail that has lifted off because the blistering was so severe.

SHOES:  Mandatory.  Everyone knows shoes are the essence to all things happy, don’t they? Running shoes are no different.  Don’t run a race in them if they have more than 300 miles logged.  Instead buy multiple pairs of the same brand, type and version so as not throw off your pace, your form, your training.  Going price:  $150 each.

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GPS WATCH:  Mandatory.  Can’t run well if you don’t know your pace, your elevation, your mileage, your time.  Make sure it has a pause button so you can sneak those walk breaks in and not have it mess up your overall time or pace.

iPOD:  Mandatory.  Lose yourself in your music, tune out the world, run to the beat.  It gives you something else to focus on besides all the pain you’re feeling.

MAKE-UP:  Avoid!!  Or you’ll look like this after the first mile:

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(Many thanks to my model, Jamesy, for posing for the top picture and always looking good before hitting the trail!)

Training for Fit One Boise week 2… done!

Brutal sun trap, not an ounce of shade.

Brutal sun trap, not an ounce of shade.

Usually on my long runs, I peeter out towards the end.  I’m not anywhere near as strong as when I started and I start taking way too many walk breaks.  Today I decided to focus on fixing that little problem.  I changed my run/walk ratio a little bit so that I would be sure to successfully hit it for every mile I was in.  And I’m pleased to say, it worked.  I ended just as strong as I finished.  At one point even, towards the end, it was so hot and sunny I basically said, “oh bugger this, just keep running until you find some shade.”  Yep.  That worked too.

Today was brutally hot in the Pacific Northwest.  Dangerously so.  My brain feels a bit cooked, to be honest, and this week’s happenings are kind of hard to write about.  I know that it gets a lot hotter elsewhere (I was born and raised in Arizona); however, we are not used to this kind of heat here and this summer has been cruel.  It’s from the lovely El Nino weather system.  I used to love El Nino in Arizona.  We’d be cooler than normal and it would rain and rain and rain.  Well, the exact opposite is happening here.  We are unseasonably hot and we’ve not had a decent rain since April.  Our lakes are disappearing and the state has been having one fire after another.  Ooops, I digress.  I’ll get back on topic.

Heat or no heat, I had a great week of training, hit all my workouts which is super important to success (we won’t talk about Friday’s debacle).  The Motivator has also had a great week of training.  He’s just finished up week 4 training for the Chicago Marathon, and he nailed a 12-mile run yesterday with ease (faster than I could finish grocery shopping), not to mention the 5 miles he did today in the brutal heat as well.  He’s aiming for a sub-4 marathon time… I really do think he’s going to over-achieve and actually do much better than that.  He has the mental game, not to mention he’s upping the physical game, I’m proud to say.  He’s an inspiration. Maybe one day when I grow up, I’ll know what an 8-minute mile feels like.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep on keeping on.  And I’ll let you know how the weigh-in goes when the new scale arrives…

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Stoopid Scale

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I made the mistake of getting on the scale this morning. After having a lovely chicken salad last night for dinner, chicken and long-grain brown rice for lunch, and oatmeal with flax seed for breakfast, I just knew that scale was going to go down by an ounce or two. Yowsa! Was I ever wrong! Up 0.5. WTF! Not the best way to start a day, and unfortunately, it set the tone for my next task at hand… a 3-mile run.

Regardless, I was still feeling inspired, not going to let that stoopid scale get me down. A fellow blogger mentioned how well she did with her 3.5-mile run the night before (Chasing Down Healthy), so I was pumped. Yeah! I’m gonna try to just go as far as I can and not stop and run through the pain, because pain is temporary! Yeah! I can do it!  Alas… it was not to be. Little did I know my subconscious took over and I already had a defeatist attitude from my bout with the stooped scale. On my run, I was stiff, my legs ached, I was slow (slower than normal), and it was hard going and painful. Now I’m pissed and in a foul mood.

The Motivator had made a comment to me (over and over and over again), “You’ve got to do some cross training on the days you don’t run. Bike, swim, lift weights, walk, something, or you’re going to get stiff and sluggish.” I hate it when he’s right. And as he’s right, I have to concede. And I hate to concede.

So what am I going to do with all this new-found anger I’ve encountered this morning? I’m going to use that energy and take control. I’m pissed that the stoopid scale hasn’t moved in a month… I’m going to take control and tweak what I eat just a bit. I’m pissed because I was sluggish and sore this morning… I’m going to take control and take The Motivator’s suggestion to heart and actually cross train when my plan says to cross train. I’m pissed because I had to concede that The Motivator was actually right… well, there’s no taking control of that, so I’ll just ask him nicely to pay for my next pedicure, a small price to pay for proving me wrong.

And as for that 5-mile run I have to conquer this Sunday? Bring it on bitch. I got this.