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Monday, February 28, 2011

8.4 miles!

Over the weekend, my husband and I watched the movie "Without Limits", again.  It is, in my opinion, the best movie about Steve Prefontaine.  If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest it, even if you're not a runner.  One of my favorite parts of the movie comes when Bill Bowerman (Nike co-founder) says the following while speaking at Pre's funeral: "In running, it isn't about winning the race.  It's about testing the limits of the human heart."

Today I put that to the test.  I have come to a turning point with my running - in my mind I've been hearing myself saying, "Do it or don't do it, but quit whining about it."  Today I decided to do it.  It's my husband's day off, so after I took the kids to school, I geared up and headed out for a run.  I wore my IT band/knee brace and my Zensah calf sleeves to help with the issues I've been having, and right from the start of my run, I used positive mantras and repeated words of affirmation in my mind.  I used words and phrases like: I believe, I am strong, my legs are fast, I've got this, I am fit, I feel good, this is fun, RUN, RUN, RUN!  Over, and over and over I repeated these things in my mind, sometimes even out loud...for a total of 8.4 miles, and I didn't walk even once!  When I got home and downloaded my Garmin info, I had averaged a pace of 11:21 min/mile for the whole run.  I am very pleased.  I even got a cat-call from some guy at a factory I ran by, and I was also offered a ride by some other weird guy - okay, maybe those aren't exactly good things, but hey, I'm being positive!  It may sound cheesy to some of you, but I have come to the conclusion that "winning" at something, in this example, running, is 90% mental, 10% effort.

After my run I did 30 minutes of Yoga for cool down and stretching.  I'm looking forward to a great week.  :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Energy flows where your attention goes...

Well, I'm just going to start out saying that I did not get in my 20 miles this morning.  Going back and reading through my blog posts for the past week or so, I have to also say that I'm not surprised.  I didn't finish the 20 due to several external factors that are out of my control, and my initial reaction is to feel depressed and guilty about it, like I somehow failed because I didn't do exactly as my training schedule says.  But I realized this morning that I have been focusing way too much energy on the negative things going on lately, especially involving my running.  Yes, we had a huge snow storm yesterday that dropped several new inches of snow, and yes the temperatures then plummeted to around 10 degrees, with the wind blowing fiercely, and yes, I have been sick for over a week with a very annoying head and chest cold, and yes, my hip feels like it's going to crack and break at any moment, but I laced up my shoes, put on my YakTrax and headed out at around 7:30 this morning.  By about 8:30, my hip was just throbbing, and with every step I felt a jolt of pain shoot through my leg, and to exacerbate this fun, the wind was literally biting my face as I ran.  So I grabbed my cell phone, called my husband and he came and picked me up just as I reached mile 5.07.  I came in the house, fixed a big, icy cup full of hydration drink, then headed upstairs to the treadmill, where I walked for another hour, then I did 30 minutes on the elliptical.  All the while, though my hip was still hurting, I tried not to focus on it.  Instead I worked at focusing on the fact that I still have plenty of time to get in a legitimate number of long runs before the marathon, and I refuse to beat myself up over how things have been going.  On this blog, I have always felt it is important to be totally honest, for good or for bad, about how things go for each run or workout, but I'm starting to see that it has been somewhat to my detriment.  Always talking about how the weather holds me back, how I can't run the same on the treadmill, how much pain I have in my legs, how slow I am compared with all the other runners...it's got me focusing on all the wrong things.  Just a fair warning to my loyal readers, there may be a change coming.....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Another snow day.

The snow is coming down like crazy out there, luckily it is not  a run day for me.  I don't have time to do a lot on Friday mornings, because I have to take the kids to Cub Scouts.  But I was able to fit in 10 minutes of Yoga, then 30 minutes on the elliptical.  I had my daughter take a picture of me working out this morning because I wanted to show you all a new favorite find: these running shorts from Old Navy, http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=53935&vid=1&pid=810776&scid=810776002

You see, normally I am not a fan of shorts, especially not running shorts, which always seem to be so unforgiving.  These shorts have a 4 1/2" inseam, which gives a little more coverage in what I hate most about my body - my thighs - and they also have a wider than normal elastic waist band, which is actually very flattering for those of us with a short torso.  They are made of moisture wicking fabric and they even have a decent sized pocket on the inside of the waist.  Anyway, for $15, they are awesome.  I may have to order the pink pair, too.  Now, if only the weather would warm up so I could actually wear them on an outdoor run...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

5 mile run ~ OUTSIDE!!

It literally feels like ages since I've gone on a decent run out on the road, but today I got lucky.  Well, sort of, I guess.  Yesterday my poor hubby tweaked his back while playing basketball and it was hurting so bad this morning he decided to stay home from work.  So, I feel bad that he's in pain, buy hey - him at home meant I got to go running!  I had to wear my YakTrax because we had a new skiff of snow on the ground, but I didn't care.  I just wanted to get out there.  I've also been nursing a (mild, but annoying) head cold for a few days, and this morning I woke up with a headache and neck/shoulder soreness which I think is partly due to being sick and not getting a good night's sleep.  These things made my run a little more unpleasant than it needed to be, but I did the 5 miles, and my leg didn't start to bother me until about half way.  When I got home, I stretched with about 10 minutes of Yoga, then used the foam roller on my hamstrings.

When I was on my run this morning, I saw a friend of mine and she pulled her car over to talk to me for a minute.  She is also a runner, and she and a group of people she runs with are all also training for the Ogden Marathon.  She and her group are doing an 18 miler on Saturday and she has been asking me to do it with them, since I am also scheduled for a long run on Saturday.  My schedule has me doing a 20 miler, but I could easily switch it to an 18, since I still have a couple more 20+ runs in my schedule before the marathon.  I have a dilemma, though.  Every time this friend asks me to run with her or her running group, I go through a process of mental and emotional anguish trying to make the decision whether to do it or not.  I have run with her once - a 22 miler during my training for Rim Rock last year, and we had a great time, but she is a lot faster than me and I felt like I was holding her back the whole time.  My dilemma is one of low confidence and self-doubt.  The runners in her group range in age from a 65+ year old guy who has been running marathons for lots of years, to other men and women in their late 20's and 30's, but all of whom are marathon veterans and all run sub 8 min/mile (I'm more like average 10-12 min/mile on long runs) - strong, fast, experienced.  Every time she (my friend) assures me that they all run their own paces, and that I shouldn't feel intimidated, but I do.  And beside that, I have become so accustomed to doing my runs solo, that it has become sort of cathartic for me.  It's a time I look forward to conquering my inner running demons without anyone else having to witness it.  So my mind is telling me that it would be good for me to run with the group, even if I tail the whole time, because it would motivate me to push harder and do my best, but my heart is fighting it and telling me to keep with my plan to run a 20 miler by myself this weekend.

So all of my runner friends out there: please weigh in on this topic.  Do you prefer running alone, with a friend or a group and why?  Any suggestions on how I can overcome my fear and feelings of inadequacy?  Sometimes I think it's just something that will have to come with time.  The reality is, I've only been a "runner" for a little over a year, so I don't yet consider myself one of "them".  I'm just out there to challenge my mind and body, and for someone like me, a former non-athletic mom of four small kids, it doesn't take much to present that challenge or hurdle.  One step at a time....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank you.

I guess I'm pretty lucky, because Mother Nature has made my decision-making easy so far this week.  After more snowfall yesterday, I knew I couldn't do my run pushing the jogger, so I stayed indoors for today's workout.  Just for fun, I even sported some shorts instead of my usual running pants, you know, to feel a little "Springy".  I started out doing 30 minutes on the elliptical, then I did a 30 minute interval run on the treadmill, then back on the elliptical for another 15 minutes, and lastly 30 minutes of Pilates.  My dang hamstring/hip/IT band/sciatic nerve issue is still flared, but I've been working on doing additional stretches throughout the day to help keep it loose.  I read an article on Active.com yesterday about a great stretch for hamstrings, etc., a stretch that I actually do almost everyday before working out or running.  After reading the article I realized it might be more beneficial if I held the stretch longer and did it more often, so that's what I'll try.  I'm a little worried that I haven't been getting in the mileage, as per my training schedule, but I am also aware that the most important aspect of marathon training is the long run.  With my long run of this week scheduled for Saturday morning, when my husband will be home to watch the kids, I am determined to keep that part of my schedule as a constant.  In other words, come Hell or high water (as my mother always used to say), I will be doing a 20 miler this weekend!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The road to where is paved with good intentions?

Today is the first day of my new schedule, that is, the first day I'm having to work around my husband's work schedule since he's switched to day shift.  I woke with the best of intentions in my heart.  My training schedule had me doing a 7 mile run today, and even though my leg is still hurting me a little, I had decided before even going to bed last night that I was going to try to run.  I took the kids to school, then drove by the park on my way home to make sure the path around the park was cleared off and that I could push the jogger without problems.  From where I was, all I could see was asphalt, so I figured it'd be fine.  I went back home, bundled Nick up in warm clothes and a couple of blankets, got all my gear on and headed out.  I walked to the park as a warm-up, then as soon as I got there I started my run.  My leg was feeling a pinch (I'm starting to wonder if it isn't a sciatic nerve issue, because it starts up at the backside of my hip and runs down the back of my leg), but I kept running anyway and had hopes that as I warmed up, it was loosen and feel better.  At the point that the path makes a turn to go along the far side of the park, I was (not so) happy to see that the path was completely covered with a layer of iced over snow.  Even worse, it looked like lots of people had walked on the path when the snow was melting, and now being frozen it made a bumpy, treacherous surface for me to try and push the jogging stroller on.  I was very disappointed, but I knew I couldn't run the 12 or 13 laps it would've taken me to get my 7 miles in with half of each lap on that ice.  I finished one lap and came back home, which basically got me one mile in.  Then I jumped on the treadmill and did 45 minutes, followed by another 30 minutes on the elliptical.  The really frustrating part is that the actual roads are clear, which means that if my husband had been home to watch Nicolas, I could have just done my 7 miles on the road.  Oh, well.  Right now I'm needing to nurse my pain, anyway.  I think I might do some Yoga now.

Monday, February 21, 2011


This morning when I woke up and realized my hip was still not feeling too great, I decided to give things another day or two to heal.  Instead of doing the 5 mile run I had on my schedule, I did 10 minutes of Yoga, followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical and then a 10 minute walking cool-down on the treadmill.  This ought to be an interesting week.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday workout.

This morning I started my day with a nice, brisk 35 minute walk at the park.  After that I did the 30 minute Yoga Meltdown DVD, and then I spent some time using the foam roller trying to work the tightness out of my hamstrings and glutes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekends are kind of blah.

Though I wasn't completely slothful today, for some reason I felt like I was.  This morning I did 45 minutes of Yoga, but the rest of the day I spent cleaning the house, doing laundry, taking care of ill kids, or laying on the bed feeling listless.  Now as I sit here at the computer contemplating an early bedtime, I feel bloated and sluggish.  It's only been two days of no running, but I honestly hope my aches and pains leave me soon so I can get back to a regular running schedule; I don't like taking time off, even when I know it's the best thing to do at the time.  At least the next couple of days we have "stuff" going on and hopefully it will be a good enough distraction.  Also weighing on my mind is the fact that next week my husband's work schedule is changing and he will be working weekday day shift.  Basically what that means for me is that I will only have the options of running at the park with Nicolas in the jogger, which will obviously depend on full cooperation of Mother Nature, or using the treadmill on the days I have runs scheduled when he is working.  I suppose another option would be to do my runs in the evenings on those days, but I much prefer running first thing in the morning, so I don't know how that would go.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Yesterday I had a good talk with my friend and running mentor (who is also a physician, incidentally) with regards to my current training schedule and how things have been going for me this time around.  He and I will be running the Ogden Marathon together, which gives me an additional motivation to do my best.  I've come to the realization that my body is trying to tell me to let up a little.  If I'm going to be able to run the remainder of my training long runs and make an improvement to my marathon time, I have to let my hip/ leg issues heal.  This week is a recovery week, so I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity to "rest" from running without feeling guilty about it.  My friend reminded me that I have plenty of training time left before the marathon, so I really need to let my body fully recover and heal.  I will still be doing some cross training workouts, and I also (finally) picked up a  foam roller so I can do some self-massage on my hamstrings and IT bands,etc.  Now I will keep my fingers crossed that taking this short break from the repetitiveness of running will be enough to give me a fresh start come next week.

So, with that said, this morning I did 35 minutes of Pilates, followed by 40 minutes on the elliptical.  I'll probably be using the elliptical a lot, because it is a good low-impact cardio workout.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

5 miles.

To warm up this morning I did 10 minutes on the elliptical, then 10 minutes of Yoga.  The pain and tightness in my leg is really starting to get on my nerves.  I could feel my hamstring pulling tight as I started my run, but I just keep pushing through it.  I feel like a snail as I run, with limited mobility because of the pain.  Yesterday on her blog, a friend of mine wrote about how the first 3 miles of her runs always suck,until she's loosened up, and today as I ran I was thinking about that because it's exactly the same for me.  The last mile of my run today was the best, but I've got to get something done about the pain in my leg.  At least the sun was shining, and it was a balmy 40+ degrees - I was sweating so bad that I had to remove my gloves and head warmer at the end of my run!  That actually makes me pretty happy.  When I got home, I did another 10 minutes of Yoga stretches.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's a beautiful day.

Today is one of the most gorgeous days we've had in a long time.  It's sunny and a warm 50 degrees.  Unfortunately, today is not a run day for me, so I was resigned to doing an indoors cross training workout.  I warmed up with 10 minutes of Yoga stretches, then I did a sweaty 90 minutes on the elliptical.  After that I did the 30 minute Yoga Meltdown DVD - I haven't done that one in a while and it felt great.  Now, I can't let this great weather go to waste, especially since I'm no fool and realize that it may be very short lived, so after I eat some breakfast, I think a walk at the park with my boy is in order.  :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ad-lib workout.

This morning my leg strength seems to have digressed.  Since I was feeling a little less than motivated to run outside, instead of doing the 5 mile run I had slated on my schedule out on the road, I decided to do a 45 minute interval run on the treadmill.  That way I could control the speed a little better, and stop if my leg/hip was bothering me too much.  Now that it's done and I'm looking out the window at the gorgeous blue sky, I'm a little regretful I didn't get up the gumption to get outside for my run.  Oh, well. There's always tomorrow.  After my treadmill run, I did a 40 minute Yoga/Pilates Crunch DVD.  I am actually excited about this week of short runs, cross-training and rest.  Gotta get geared up for my 20 miler next week! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011


This morning I did a 45 minute Yoga session because I was feeling a bit tense and sore.  I think my hamstrings are just now realizing they are mad at me for Thursday's run.  On the bright side, the weather is taking a positive turn, at least for the upcoming week.  With mild temperatures (30-40's) and no snow predicted, it should be a good week for running!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

4 miles and some other stuff.

Yesterday was a rest day, and all I did workout-wise was about 15 minutes of Yoga in the morning.  My recovery from Thursday's long run has actually gone pretty well.  I have had some muscles soreness in my upper back and of course, my legs, but not too bad.  And the best thing is that my hip hasn't been bothering me as much as I had expected it to be after the 18 miles.

I had a short run scheduled for today, and had planned to do it this afternoon when I would have come home from my son's basketball game.  Unfortunately for him, he woke up sick this morning with a bad stomach ache, so we had to pass on his game.  So, I left him lying on the couch watching TV while I headed out for an early morning run.  I only ended up doing a little over 4 miles, but it was a good "recovery" run.

I did an out and back run, and while I was on my way "out", I passed these two guys running in the opposite direction.  They were obviously runners, I could tell by their outfits and gear and the way they ran.  We exchanged 'hellos' and continued on with our runs, but it seemed like they wanted to say something to me and didn't, which was fine because with my headphones on and music blaring, I wouldn't have heard them anyway.  After I had turned around to head back home a bit later, I saw them coming towards me again.  This time they did talk to me, so I had to pull out my earphones to hear them.  They asked me how long my run was.  After I told them, I felt I needed to justify the shortness of my run by telling them I had run 18 miles on Thursday and that today's was just a recovery run, and they gave me thumbs up and a couple of "good jobs!" and we all continued on our way.  Our brief interaction got me thinking, though.  When I'm out running and see someone else running too, particularly someone who has the look of just being out for a recreational "jog", it would never occur to me to ask them how long their run is.  It's not that I'm one of those runner-snobs that I always complain to my husband about, because believe me, I'm not at all.  My theory is, if you're out there doing it, you're out there doing it.  Who cares what you wear, or what gear you have or how fast or slow you are, it's all good!  But the fact that these two guys saw me and apparently to them, I looked the part of a "serious" runner, for them to care enough how long my run was.  At any rate, it gave me a bit of a confidence boost...so "Thank You!", random runner-guys, for your fellow road warrior camaraderie!

When I got home, the kids were all being a bit lethargic and resting on the couch (I think they all have some sort of flu bug), so I did 30 minutes on the elliptical after my run.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

18 miles!

All things aligned today for me to have a smooth 18 mile run!  The weather was perfect for running - about 25 degrees and little to no wind.  I got a good night's rest last night, and woke up this morning feeling pretty good.  I was even most pleasantly surprised by the fact that I ran the first 6-7 miles pain free!  That meant no walking breaks, which was very good for me mentally.  I took my first "break" about mile 7 so I could fuel, and honestly, catch my breath a little because without the pain in my hip and leg, I felt free to push myself a bit harder than I usually do.  Those first 7 miles are part of one of my regular routes, but then for the additional 2 miles to get half-way and to my turn around point, I went up a road I don't run on often.  It leads up into the mountains and so is a little up-hilly, but then at the 9 mile mark I was able to turn around and fly back towards home - it was a fun run!  At around miles 12 - 13 I was starting to feel my legs getting very tired.  I still wasn't having my usual hip pain, but I was having more difficulty keeping up a decent pace for very long, so I started to take more regular walking breaks.  I tried to limit them to 30 seconds or less, but they gave me just enough recovery time to feel a new burst of energy every time I would resume my running pace.  The end of my run wasn't quite as strong as the beginning - I did end up walking for the last 1/2 mile, but I was walking with a grin on my face because I had enjoyed my run and felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do: successfully finish 18 miles.  Up next week....RECOVERY!!  Yep, I've had three tough weeks, now I get to have some "rest", with no runs longer than 6 miles.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cross Training Day.

Today when I took the kids to school and saw on the car thermometer that the temperature was 6 degrees, I was glad I didn't have to make the decision whether or not to run in it!  I warmed up with 10 minutes of Yoga, then like last week, I did an hour on the elliptical - half an hour going forward, half an hour going backward.  Then I did 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill while holding 5 pound hand weights.

I don't want to over do it and also need to spend some time resting my legs today, because tomorrow is my long run day and I will be going 18 miles.  I'm a little nervous, and really, really praying for decent weather.  I have to say that training for a Spring marathon is a lot different than training for a Fall one, but I'm trying to make the best of it and I am committed to doing all I can to be successful on May 21st.  And by successful I mean finishing, with a better time than my first marathon, which I don't think is too much to ask! :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And so it goes...

This morning I was scheduled to do an eight mile run.  I started out my run outdoors, even though it was around 19 degrees - that should be tolerable, right?  It had snowed again last night, but the sun was out and I figured with my YakTrax, I should be fine.  Unfortunately, after about 2.5 miles, I realized that the wind was going to be the end of me, so I turned around and headed home.  The wind made it so cold, I was honestly worried my face was going to get frostbite.  I ended up doing an additional hour on the treadmill, though at a slower pace than I would have run outside, so I didn't quite reach the 8 miles I was going for.  Tomorrow is a new day...a cross-training day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

6 mile Monday.

It snowed last night, but no worries!  I just strapped on my YakTrax and headed out for my 6 miles this morning.  I felt a little bit better on my run today than I did on Saturday.  My hip still hurts a little bit and my leg muscles are still in a bit of a rebellion, but I was able to push through all six miles, and even a little faster than my last run.  When I came home I also did 35 minutes of Pilates.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

4 miles.

This morning I barely forced myself out a good four mile run.  My legs are soooo tired.  I felt like I was dragging them the whole time.  It's mostly my hamstrings and quads that hurt...perpetually, it seems.  Tomorrow is a rest day.  I'm looking forward to it.  Today we have basketball games for the boys all afternoon, but I'm hoping this evening I can get in a nice, long Yoga session.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

16 miles.

I had to break up my long run this morning because when I took the kids to school, it was 4 degrees with a wind chill bringing the temps below zero.  I did about 10 minutes of Yoga stretches, then I got on the treadmill and did 6 miles.  By that time, the sun was out and shining brightly, so I bundled up and got on all my running gear and headed out to do 10 more miles on the road.  It was still very cold - probably in the upper single digits to low teens - but the sun felt SO good.  I got a little sunburned and windburned on my face.  I was able to run the whole time, minus a couple of very short walking breaks, like around 30 seconds or less.  My legs were feeling so tired and achy when I was done.  This really doesn't ever get any easier. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cross-training day.

This morning's workout was a mixed bag.  I started out doing 1 hour on the elliptical, with a 30 minute fat-burning program going forward, then I did the same 30 minute workout again, only this time going backwards.  Then I jumped over to the treadmill and did 30 minutes of walking, but for the first 15 minutes I held 5 pound hand weights for a little extra strength training.  Finally, I did a 35 minute Pilates workout.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

8 miles.

Unfortunately, my YakTrax can't do anything to help with temperatures and wind chills below zero, so today I did my 8 miles on the treadmill.  I warmed up with 10 minutes of Yoga, followed by 10 minutes on the elliptical before starting my run.  After I finished on the treadmill, I did another 10 minutes of Yoga to stretch.  Tomorrow I will do some sort of cross-training workout in preparation for my long run on Thursday.  I am slotted to do 16 miles, and the weather is looking somewhat promising, with temps in the upper teens and 20's on Thursday...I'll be keeping my fingers crossed...