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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More XT...

Apparently the elliptical is my best friend this week.  I suppose it's a good way to get in a decent cardiovascular workout without over using my running muscles.  I did 70 minutes on the elliptical this morning, followed by 20 minutes of strength training.  Nothing too rigorous; 100 ab crunches using the stability ball, then reps of arm exercises using 5 pound hand weights.  Tonight and tomorrow night my focus is going to be on getting a good night's sleep.  We'll see how that goes. :)

I also wanted to direct any of you, my loyal readers, who may be training for (or would like to train for) your first 10K, half marathon or full marathon, to a great new feature on Active.com:
If you go to this page you will find forums, tips and other helpful tidbits on running and training for your races!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2 miles and other things.

Last night I tossed and turned and I kept waking up feeling like my neck and shoulders were getting pinched.  When I finally got up for the day at 6, my head was pounding.  I rubbed some Icy Hot on my shoulders then headed downstairs to hit the Motrin bottle.  After I got the kids' lunches made and all of them off to school, I jumped on the elliptical for 30 minutes while I waited for my husband to wake up.  He had said he wanted to run together this morning, since we both only needed to do a short, easy run.  After he woke up, we walked to the park, then did a little over 2 miles in well under 20 minutes (woo hoo!), then walked home to cool down.  When we got home, I got back on the elliptical and did another 15 minutes.  I felt like I needed to get more exercise in today, but I don't want to do too much running.  Now my headache seems to be gone, so I'm feeling quite a bit better and I can enjoy the peace and quiet of the day...until the kids come home from school. ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let the countdown begin...

Not much to report today; all's quiet on the home front.  My husband is at work and only one child at home with me, so I did a decent XT workout this morning.  I started out by doing 90 minutes on the elliptical, followed by about 15 minutes worth of strengthening exercises using the stability ball.  I'm looking forward to a week of short, easy runs and lots of good food, culminating in an awesome 26.2 mile run on Saturday morning! ;)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

10 miles.

It was another hot and sweaty one today, but I opted to bring my water bottle with some Powerade - good call on my part!  I got up at 6am and was expecting my friend to meet me at our house at 7 so we could run our 10 miles together.  When she still hadn't arrived by 7:45, I started calling her and finally at 8am I just left on my own.  I still haven't heard back from her, and I'm praying everything is okay.  It is very unlike her to do something like that, and since she has a 4 year old boy going through chemo therapy right now I'm really hoping everyone's alright.

I did my 3:1 run/walk ratio and my run went well.  I felt pretty good, actually.  It was very hot, but again, another  "practice" run for the day of the race.  I finished with an average pace of 11:12 min/mile, so not bad.  I'm starting to think that's a pretty realistic prediction of what my pace will be next Saturday.  When I got home from my run I did 10 minutes of Pilates, then I did 30 minutes on the elliptical also.  My legs are feeling tired, but they feel much better than they did after my run on Thursday.  Hopefully the remainder of my "rest" week will go well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rest and XT.

Today is a rest day, theoretically.  I woke up this morning feeling very tired, which I think may partly be due to my run yesterday in the heat.  It seems it was harder on my body than I thought, and I may have gotten a little bit dehydrated.  I did manage to do an hour on the elliptical and about 20 minutes of easy walking on the treadmill and I actually feel better now.  I'm still contemplating what I may do in terms of my long run tomorrow.  My schedule has me doing 10 miles, but as sore and tired as I've been, with only one week until the marathon, I might do less and just take it easy the rest of the week.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow, I guess.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

9 hot miles!

This morning I left for my run after dropping all of the kiddos off at school, which means I didn't get started until around 7:45.  That's a little later than I'm used to doing my runs, especially when I need to do a medium-long run like today's 9 miler.  It's a beautiful day out there, so I'm not going to complain, but I was dripping with sweat and my face and arms were beet red by the time I finished.  I guess it's probably good for me to do some of my training runs in the heat, since on marathon day, the second half of my run will most likely be in the heat of late morning.  I did make the mistake of not taking any water with me, though.  I don't normally take water on runs shorter than 10 miles, but today I probably should have.  After my run I did 20 minutes of Pilates, and now as soon as I finish my chocolate protein smoothie, I'll be taking a cool shower! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Wednesday, you know what that means.

XT day!  I began my workout this morning with an hour on the elliptical.  After that I used the stability ball to do 50 ab crunches, then some arm exercises with the 5 pound weights, for about 15 minutes.  Then I got back on the elliptical and did another 30 minutes, just because I can! ☺

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The 4 miles that felt like 40.

This morning after we took all 4 kids to school, Chris and I headed out together to do an "easy" 4 miles.  He wanted to stick close to town so we could run by the park if he needed to use the bathroom there.  We basically zig-zagged our way around town, which made it seem like a really long run.  When we were at about 2.5 miles, Chris' knees were hurting, so he decided to head towards home while I continued on in an irregular route around side streets until I hit 4 miles.  It took me just under 42 minutes, so that's not too bad, pace-wise, but it was kind of a painful run.  When I got home I did 35 minutes of Pilates to work the kinks out of my legs.  I much prefer doing either a loop or an out and back run.  There's something about having a specific route and destination that propels you forward.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Monday and back to school day!

This morning I sent my three older kids back for their first day of school.  I still can't believe I have 6th grader, let alone that my youngest will be starting Kindergarten tomorrow.  Now that the summer break is over, I'll be having to make some adjustments to my workout and running schedule.  Today wasn't affected too much, since it's just a cross-training day anyway.  After I got the kids off to school, I jumped on the elliptical for an hour, then did 15 minutes of walking at an incline and using hand weights on the treadmill.  After that I sat on the stability ball for 75 ab crunches and a bunch of reps of arm exercises using the 5 pound weights.  I am surprised to find that most of the soreness is gone from my legs.  That's a much better recovery from Saturday's 14 miler than my last long run, which is definitely a good thing.  There's not going to be a lot going on running-wise for me between now and September 3rd.  This week: 4, 8 and 10 milers, next week maybe a couple of 30 minute runs or something, we'll see.  I'm feeling good and I'd really like to keep it that way!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

14 mile run on the day of my 500th blog post!!

Wow...have I really posted 500 times since starting this blog a year and a half ago?  Crazy.  Well, this morning my (literal) trooper of a husband got up with me at 5:30, after he only got home from his shift at 3am.  We were out the door by 5:45 to start our 14 mile run.  It was dark and cloudy when we started out, I even saw a couple of lightning strikes off in the distance, but had hope that the storm was just over the mountains and would miss us.  We used the 3:1 run-walk ratio right from the beginning of the run.  We both have knees that bother us so we wanted to make sure we'd be able to make it the whole way.  Things went along just fine.  At the half-way and turn around point we had been averaging about an 11 min/mile pace, including the walking breaks.  On the way back, we did take one extra walking break when my husband's knee was really hurting him, which slowed our overall pace.  But we were still able to finish it out strong, and actually even ended up doing 14.16 miles total in about 2 hours 44 minutes.  And just as we were about a block from our house, it started to rain - timed it perfectly! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday workout.

This morning I started out with 35 minutes of Pilates and followed that with an hour on the elliptical.  My legs are feeling a lot better today.  A good thing, since tomorrow I'll be doing a long run of 14-15 miles.  Hopefully I'll be running with my husband, since he has a 15 miler on his schedule as his last long run before he begins his taper for the half marathon.  The only problem is that he is on night shift right now which means he gets off work around 2 in the morning and I'm not sure how willingly he will wake up to run with me at 6am!  I know he wants to get his run in during the cool part of the day, though, so I'm hoping that will motivate him to wake up.  Otherwise I'll be on my own...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

9 mile run.

For my run this morning I decided to use the run-walk-run method, even though it was only 9 miles.  My hamstrings are so tight and sore and have been ever since Saturday's long run.  I can't get them to relax at all.  I've been using ice, moist heat, foam roller and stretching, but today they were still screaming at me.  So, right from the start of my run I could feel that pain and tightness, but I had hoped that after getting warmed up they would feel better.  That never really happened, but as I continued my 3:1 run/walk ratio (3 minutes running, 1 minute walking), I was able to complete the run in about the same time it would have taken me if I'd tried to run the whole time. (1 hour 43 minutes for 9.04 miles).  When I got home I also did 35 minutes of Pilates and now I'm icing my leg.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


For this morning's cross-training workout I started out with 30 minutes of Pilates.  After that I did 45 minutes on the elliptical.  Nothing too exciting, I know.  There are things I enjoy about the taper period before the marathon, but mostly it is stressful.  I have anxiety about getting the adequate recovery and rest without sacrificing any of the aerobic and cardiovascular gains I have made.  I always feel like I should be doing more, and I still have over two weeks to get through.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4 miles easy.

This morning's run was an easy 4 miles.  So easy that I didn't even wear my Garmin.  Okay, the truth is my Garmin isn't working, and I am really bummed about it!  It worked fine yesterday, but this morning I can't get it to even turn on.  I have no idea what's wrong with it.  Anyway, I just ran a route that I know to be about 4 miles then came home and did 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by 15 minutes of strength training, including ab crunches using the stability ball, bicep curls using 5 pound hand weights and push ups.  Now I need to work on getting my Garmin fixed...I can't imagine training without it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cross-training Monday.

Today I decided to do a cross-training workout.  When went to bed last night I was considering doing an easy 3 mile run in conjunction with a shorter cross workout, but I slept longer than I had wanted and woke up feeling pretty sore in my legs and back.  Yesterday was a rest day, although I did do 30 minutes on the elliptical in the morning to loosen up my legs.  That 22 miler on Saturday worked me over pretty good, and now I want to let my muscles recover.

So today I started out with another elliptical workout for 60 minutes.  Then I got on the treadmill and walked at a moderate pace with the incline as high as it would go and holding 5 pound hand weights.  I did that for 20 minutes.  Before I started I used the foam roller on my hamstrings and IT bands for a few minutes, now I think I'll do it some more.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

22 miles!! Time to taper...

During the past week I fretted somewhat as to how things would go today on my 22 mile long run.  After seeing how my 15 mile long run went last Saturday as I consistently took walking breaks every 2 miles and how much it helped, I decided to do a little research into the Jeff Galloway method of run-walk-run.  I don't have any of his books, but I have read through his website several times and after watching a multitude of YouTube video clips featuring him, I decided to give his method a try on this morning's run.  For those of you unfamiliar with Jeff Galloway, he was on the 1976 Olympic running team in the 10,000m and an alternate on the marathon team, who now, with over 150 marathons under his belt has written numerous books and does seminars and training groups for marathoners and half-marathoners using his run-walk-run method.  The idea is that if you start taking walking breaks right from the first mile of your long runs, you "re-set" your muscles and avoid premature muscle fatigue, leaving you with more energy at the end of the run.  You base your running to walking ratio on your minute per mile pace, so for example, someone like me who does a 10-11 min./mile pace on shorter runs, would run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1 minute and do that the entire time.

So this morning I woke up at 4:45, ate a Clif energy bar and drank a little water, got my gear ready, setting my Garmin to do intervals of 3:1.  (Oh, how I LOVE my Garmin!!)  I was picked up by my friend at around 5:30 and we headed up to the start of the marathon route.  There were 7 of us running, two women running 12 miles in preparation for the half marathon, the other 5 of us running 22+.  I started doing my "new" method, and at first it felt a little weird to be taking a walking break after only running for 3 minutes, but after doing it a couple of times, I started to embrace the idea that each time I walked for that minute, my legs were resting and I would picture in my mind how I would feel strong at 20 miles, instead of being half-dead like I usually am.  At around mile 3 or 4, I was alone...the rest of the runners had moved ahead since they were not taking any breaks yet.  I heard a noise off in the trees, a huffing, low moan, and as I looked over to my right I saw a moose in a small clearing just off the side of the road and up a little hill.  I started to panic for just a moment as I realized that if that was a mother with a calf, I might be in trouble, but thankfully it just stood there staring at me as I picked up my pace to high-tail it out of there!

Anyway, by mile 6 I had actually caught up with the two (older) guys we were running with and they pretty much stayed with me the rest of the run, even taking on my 3:1 run-walk method.  Having them to talk to made it go by much faster, but even aside from that I noted a noticeable difference in how I felt during the second half of today's run compared with my 20 miler two weeks ago.  Even at typically one of the hardest points for me, at around 18 miles, I was starting to really feel my legs weakening, but mentally using this method made a HUGE difference - I only had to run for 3 minutes at a time before I got to take a 1 minute walking break, and knowing those breaks were coming so soon kept me going steady.  By the time my husband reached us to give us all a ride back home, we had gone just over 22 miles, and get this...it only took us 3 hours and 58 minutes!  For me that is an average pace of 11:12 min/mile.  That is the fastest time I've ever had on a run that long, or even any run over 17 miles for that matter!  So even with all the walking breaks, I still kept a really good pace.  I am definitely going to use this method on marathon day.  My only complaint about today's run is that it was pretty hot, especially during the second half, and I ran out of water around mile 20 so I was really wishing for an aid-station or something! ;)  Luckily I had planned ahead a little bit and stocked a cooler in our car with enough chocolate milks for all of us so when my husband picked us up, we could indulge!  I am very happy that my longest run before the taper went this well.  Keeps me excited for the marathon...3 weeks away, baby - third time's a charm! ☺

P.S.  My knee did bother me a little bit, but I wore my knee brace and the pain was minimal.  I attribute it to the frequent walk breaks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

5 miles.

Today I went out early for a nice 5 mile run.  My dang knee was hurting pretty badly, but I was able to finish in 53 minutes (10:30 min/mile) and as soon as I started to walk my cool down, the pain subsided.  I'm starting to worry that I'm going to have to run my marathon through the pain, but I guess I can work on getting it healed as much as possible during my taper period.  After my run I came home and did 50 minutes on the elliptical.  I just felt like I had more energy to expend, I guess. :)  Coming up on Saturday will be my last (super) long run until the marathon - a 22 miler I will be doing with a group of people, all of whom run faster than me, so it should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mid-week cross-training.

I look forward to cross-training on Wednesdays because when I cross-train I don't have to worry about getting up early to get out and run before it gets too hot.  I can just sleep in a little bit, and get to working out with a fan blowing on me while I enjoy watching a favorite show.  Today I started out my workout doing sets of ab crunches and push-ups.  I did 20 crunches, then 10 push-ups for 3 sets of repeats.  Then I grabbed my 5 pound hand weights and did sets of repeats of bicep and triceps curls, 20 each for 3 repeats.  After that I got on the elliptical and did 80 minutes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

4.5 miles speed work.

This morning I geared up and went to the park for some speed work.  I walked there as a warm up, then I did 1/4 mile repeats with 1/4 mile rest in between for a total of 4.5 miles.  When I got home I did 35 minutes of Pilates.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mixing it up.

This morning would normally be a cross-training day, but I decided to add in a short, easy run as well.  I warmed up with about 10 minutes of Pilates, then walked to the park.  When I got there I ran for about 2.5 miles, then walked a couple of laps and walked home.  When I got home, I did 47 minutes on the elliptical.  I felt really good when I was running this morning, which was surprising considering how sore my knees were yesterday.  I didn't worry about how fast or slow I was going, or how far I was going to go, I just ran.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

15 miles.

Today's long run is now finished!  I started out just before the sun started to come up.  I really hate running in the dark.  It messes up my sense of balance or something, it's weird.  Anyway, for today's run I decided to stick with what I've learned from my (faster) running friends.  I set my Garmin to alert me at every 2 mile interval, at which point I would take a walking break for 1-2 minutes.  Today this method seemed to work pretty well for me.  I finished with an average pace of 11:38 min./mile, and that includes one walking break that lasted almost a half a mile (about 5 minutes) because I had hit that point right as I was ascending a giant hill and I opted to walk the whole thing rather than start running half way up.  I wore my knee brace for the run, and though it helps, my knee was bothering me some at different times during my run.  For the most part I feel like it was a successful long run.  Next week I will be doing a 22 miler with the same group of friends as last week, then I will begin my taper for the marathon.  Only 4 weeks to go!  Oh, I also did about 10 minutes of Pilates to cool down and stretch, although I feel like I should do more right now.  My hamstrings are feeling super tight.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today is slotted for cross-training and rest in preparation for tomorrow's long run.  I started my workout with level 1 of 30 Day Shred, followed with 60 minutes on the elliptical, then 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

5 mile tempo run.

This morning, after a 10 minute Pilates warm up, I went out for a 5 mile tempo run.  I ran whole thing with an average pace of 10:32 min./mile, despite the fact that my knee/IT band was bothering me the entire time.  After my run I did another 35 minutes of Pilates, trying to work out the tension in my IT band.  It helped...a little.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


For this morning's workout I started out doing 75 minutes on the elliptical.  After that I jumped on the treadmill and did 45 minutes of walking at a brisk pace.  I wanted to do my best to preempt my plan to sabotage all healthy eating tonight when I go to Texas Roadhouse with my husband for dinner to celebrate our 12 year anniversary! ;)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

6 miles of speed work.

This morning after I warmed up with 10 minutes of Pilates, I headed over to the park to do some speed work.  I set my Garmin to beep every 1/4 mile, then I started with a walk for the first 1/4 mile then ran at approximately 6-7.5 min./mile pace for the next 1/4 mile, then repeated until I had done 12 repeats of the running portion, for a total distance of 6 miles, then I walked home.  When I got home my legs were feeling really sore and tired, so I did another 15 minutes of Pilates to stretch out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rainy Monday...

After talking with my friend while on our long run Saturday and getting her knowledgeable opinion, I've decided to add another day of running to my week.  I've been feeling like the schedule that I'm following of only 3 days of running is leaving me a little weak by the time I get to my long runs on Saturdays, so I'm going to add a short, "easy" run of 3-5 miles on Mondays and see if that helps.  I planned on starting this new schedule today, but low and behold I woke up to pouring rain.

My spirits weren't dampened at all by the rain, though.  Yesterday I was very sore, barely able to walk up and down the stairs without a lot of pain.  In the morning I did about 20 minutes of Pilates just to loosen up enough so that I could get through the 3 hours of church, then I came home and felt like crashing.  I took a nap for about an hour, then walked on the treadmill at an easy pace for about 40 minutes.  So, this morning things were looking up.   I wasn't quite as sore and I was eager to work out.  Today I started out with level 1 of JM's 30 Day Shred, followed with a 30 minute jog on the treadmill.  After that I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, which really felt great on my legs, then I did 30 minutes of Pilates.