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Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 miles plus...

Today is one of our "adults only" days, since all of the kids are in school.  I decided to do a semi-long run of 10 or so miles, but I didn't feel like doing an out and back run because I'm getting a little bit bored with my usual routes.  I asked my husband if he wouldn't mind coming to pick me up if I ran out 10 or more miles from the house, and he was fine with that.  So, after a 20 minute warm up of Pilates and as soon as I dropped the kids off at school, I headed out and decided to go towards the mountain area of Mink Creek.  A little (lot) of uphill, but what the heck.  It was a beautiful run.  The weather is perfect right now.  My husband came and picked me up just as I was about to reach a recreational nature trail hiking area, so we parked for a minute and took some pictures.

As we headed back down the hill, we decided to take a little drive a few ridges over to an area called City Creek, where there are hiking/biking trails.  We had heard rumors there have been moose spotted in that area recently.  We parked at the trail head then got out and started walking, equipped only with a camera and a pair of binoculars.

After hiking the trail for about a mile, we saw this:

But, we saw some other people on the trail, including a guy on a bike, so we decided to keep going on the main trail.  At some point we decided to turn around and head back to the car.  I was just enjoying the sun and the scenery and breathing in the fresh air as we walked, when suddenly Chris yells: "Stop! Stop! Stop!"  I look off to the side of the trail into the trees where he is pointing and there is the bull moose coming right towards us.

My heart was in my throat because for a moment he was literally yards away from us.  Chris called to me to follow him off the trail on the opposite side from the moose into some thick brush and up a little hill.  Once we got to a place we felt sort of safe, we just paused and took some pictures of him as he wandered on down the trail and eventually out of sight.  I love these animals, and I love this time of year when they are out and about in the beauty of autumn and it's coolness and colors.

In this photo, you can see the moose over in the trees (center screen) across the trail from us.  Crazy!

After the excitement of seeing the moose so up close and personal, we decided it was time to head back before he decided to come after us!  By the time we got back to the car, my Garmin said I had run/walked/hiked a total of 12 miles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mixed bag workout, thank you Biggest Loser!

It's impossible to watch the Biggest Loser and not get your sweat on, seriously.  After a long, weird day yesterday, it felt great to do a hard workout this morning.  I've been on jury duty this week and yesterday I had to sit in a courtroom for over 6 hours only to end up not getting picked for yesterday's trial.  I still have to go back on Friday morning for another similar day, since there are four jury trials scheduled for Friday, I may end up having to serve on the jury for one of those.   I hope not, though.  That would really put a kink in my life for next week.

Anyway, after I got home from sitting for so many hours yesterday, I immediately changed into my workout clothes and got on the elliptical for 40 minutes.  I at least had to do something.  Today I knew I wanted to get some running in, but I also wanted to watch the Biggest Loser, so I decided to use the treadmill.  First I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, then I did a 30 minute sprint interval run on the treadmill.  It felt really good to go a little faster than I have been on my runs lately.  Then I got back on the elliptical for another 15 minutes and followed that with strength training using hand weights and the stability ball.

Monday, September 26, 2011

14.75 miles.

After a couple of days off from running, I decided to head out for a long run this morning.  I did about 20 minutes of Pilates before taking the kids to school, then started out on my run.  I did a long loop that equaled a total of 14.75 miles.  It was cool when I left the house, but didn't take long to warm up as the sun came up over the mountains.  I should have taken some water with me, but I didn't think of it.  The last couple of miles I was dying of thirst.  I felt pretty good today on my run.  I'm hoping to get the other book I ordered soon.  It's been over two weeks since I ordered it.  I think it will have a schedule for a marathon training plan that I can work with.  When I told my husband last night that I would be going for a long run in the morning, he said, "You sure are doing a lot of long runs lately."  I told him it's because that's what I enjoy.  I'm not a fast runner, so the "runner's high" doesn't come for me until I've gone more than 9 or 10 miles, and the longer I can go, the better. But, I'm sure it would benefit me quite a bit to start throwing some speed training sessions or some hills in there or something, so soon I should be getting into a new schedule.  For now, I'm just having fun and enjoying doing whatever physical activity I choose to do each day! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

11 mile long run.

My dad is flying in from Michigan today to visit and he will be here for the next few days.  I wanted to get my long run in this morning before he gets here, since I don't know when will be my next chance to run.  I set out for my 11 miler after dropping the kids off at school.  It was FREEZING cold and very windy, but once the sun came out it was tolerable.  I just enjoy so much being out there, taking my time, no pressure to go too fast or too hard.  I finished my 11 miles in a little over 2 hours and I feel great to move on with the rest of my day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mid-week XT!

Last night was the first episode of the new season of The Biggest Loser, so I was excited to get to watch it on Hulu.com this morning while I worked out.  I started out with 20 minutes of Pilates, then I did an hour on the elliptical, then 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill.  I was a little surprised at how sore my hips and hamstrings were yesterday after my run.  Even as I went to bed last night I was experiencing some weird "spasms" in my left hamstring area.  I got my husband to massage my legs, which helped a little bit, but this morning they're still feeling a little tight.  I'm hoping to spend lots of time walking and on my feet today to help keep them loose because I plan to go running again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9 mile run.

Today is a day I don't have any kids at home, so after I took them all to school, I headed out for my run.  I did the 9 mile loop again.  It's a beautiful, sunny morning, although fall is definitely in the air as the temperature hovered around 40 degrees.  My hamstrings were feeling tight throughout my run, but I just tried to focus on enjoying my time alone.  In a way it's kind of nice that I don't have any races scheduled in the near future because I can just relax and enjoy being out on a run without any pressure.  I can go as slow, fast or long as I want and it doesn't really matter.  It's all helping with my overall fitness in the end, so it's a good thing no matter what.  It's a nice feeling.

Monday...a day late.

Yesterday's workout was pretty simple.  I did an hour on the elliptical in the morning, and about a half an hour of walking on the treadmill in the afternoon.  I haven't been feeling 100% lately, so I forgot to post about it. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

12.5 mile long run.

I don't know what it is about going for a nice, slow, long run that is so satisfying, but this morning I really enjoyed my 12.5 miles.  I've been battling a head/earache for a few days and I wasn't even sure I'd feel up to doing much in terms of a workout, but when I woke up this morning I just knew I needed to get out and run.   My head was pounding a little, but I just convinced myself that I would feel better when I was done.  When I first set out, I wasn't even sure how far I was going to go, but I knew I wanted to do at least 9 or 10 miles.  Once I was past 5 miles, I felt good enough to take the "longer" loop that would get me back to the house in about 12.5 miles.  I lowered my usual run/walk ratio from 3:1 to 2:1, which really helped save my knees.  I felt pretty good basically the whole time, even when I had to run up some very steep hills.  Now my headache is actually feeling much better, it's a gorgeous fall day and I plan on enjoying it with my family!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Evening post.

It just occurred to me that I had not yet done a blog post for the day...whoa!  Weird.  For me, anyway.  I did do a workout this morning, I even did a little running, but I've also had sick kids lately, one of them being sick enough to stay home from school today so my day got a little busy after that.  I started out with 20 minutes of Pilates, followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical, then I got on the treadmill and did a 20 minute run.  Then, since my husband had the day off, I got the grocery shopping done then came home and cut up fruits and veggies to have in the fridge for the next few days, did a bit of juicing, made dinner and then did a couple of loads of laundry while listening to a Dave Ramsey broadcast.  By the time I sat down at the computer this evening and checked my pedometer, I had gone almost 14000 steps today.  I guess I did pretty well, and can feel it with an annoying muscle cramp in my calf that doesn't want to go away.  Maybe I should go to bed now. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

4 mile walk and stuff.

This morning I had intended to go for a run, but I woke up a couple of times in the night with knee pain in the knee that has been bothering me on my last few long runs.  So, I decided to "chill" and just go walking.  I went to the park and walked just over 4 miles, then came home and did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

I received one of the two Jeff Galloway books I ordered yesterday.  It's called "Running: A Year Round Plan!" I'm already more than half-way through and have already found it very interesting and quite helpful.  Basically it outlines a 52 week program, for three different levels of runners, that you can start at any time during the year and base it around your goal races or whatever.  The tidbit I'll share with you today from my reading so far is that Galloway is a big proponent of getting as much time on your feet during the day as possible, even during training.  He would have you do 2 (short) runs during the week, usually a set of hill repeats then another run practicing cadence drills or accelerated glides, then the third run of the week is a weekend long, slow run.  All of the runs incorporate walking, minimizing chances for injury or burnout.  Those speed-work words may sound fancy and indicative of intense training for hard-core athletes, but really the feeling I get from Jeff Galloway's writing is that he has developed this method so that anyone at any fitness level can accomplish their running goals.  All of the tips, schedules, paces and ratios for run/walking are laid out for varied levels of runners, from the fast 6 minute milers, all the way up to 18+ minute milers - really, that's anyone.

So, his reason for having you get as much "feet time" in during the day is to burn fat, which helps you stay lean and also teaches your body to burn fat as fuel.  It is much better to burn fat as fuel during the long, slow runs than glycogen, because if you're burning glycogen first, you'll hit the wall that much sooner.  Today I am wearing one of my kids pedometers to gauge how many steps I take on an average day.  I may find I'm spending too much time sitting in front of the computer! ;)  By the way, does anyone even read this blog (besides Becca) or find it helpful at all?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

XT Workout

I still haven't developed a schedule, per se, but I figured since I ran yesterday that I would do a little cross training today.  I started out with a brisk 3.75 mile walk at the park after the kids were at school, and followed that with 30 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes of weight training exercises.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9 miles ~ Bang...out of the gates!

I made a bold move and busted out a 9 mile run this morning.  I figured that at 9 days post-race, it was time for a little running.  I felt a bit stiff, especially my knee and hip joints, but once I was past 3 or 4 miles, I found my groove.  I came home after my run and did 30 minutes of Pilates.  A great start to a new week. ☺

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thoughts on the marathon.

I have been thinking a lot this week about this whole marathon thing.  I'm a slow runner, it's a fact.  I know that speed is all relative, but generally speaking, for a race of average to small size, such as the Pocatello Marathon is, I fall into the bottom third of the pack.  I would say that the "average" runner falls into the sub-four category, and ooohhhh...I am ever so close to being able to say that I run a "four - (something) - hour" marathon.  Despite the fact that I had a PR at 5:12, I was feeling pretty discouraged the couple of days following the race.  As I perused the race results, which were also published in our local newspaper, thank you so much, and I recognized several other women who are acquaintances and I saw how they fared, I felt like a snail.  Granted, all three of the women I'm thinking of ran the half marathon, not the full, but they did it a lot faster than I probably could have, and they are women of similar circumstance - mothers, similar age group, etc.

I assuaged my ego by going to a quote by Frank Shorter: "You can actually suffer a little bit more by going slowly than when you're going really fast.  A faster marathon might even be easier than a slow one, in terms of what it takes out of you mentally."  If you think about, it's probably a lot harder on the body to be on your feet, pounding the pavement, regardless of speed, for 5 hours versus 3 hours, right?  Besides physically, just think about the mental fatigue differences a slower runner experiences during the additional hour or two they're out on the road, working hard to get to the finish line.  I mean, I have to believe some people are just genetically and physiologically predisposed to be faster runners.  I spend so many flippin' hours each week during training running my butt off, though ironically my butt does not seem to be getting any smaller, and my speed has improved only minimally.
I'm also discovering that my motivation to run is largely inspired by other people.  During the last few weeks of my training I did a lot of research on runner Jeff Galloway.  I've written of him in other posts.  He has said, "The more you frame the marathon as a stressful experience, the more negative messages you'll receive.  It's just as easy to frame it as a positively challenging journey."  I like this idea and attitude so much.  I have always said that the whole purpose of training for and running a marathon is to feel good, to feel the sense of accomplishment after hard work and consistency.  If you're not having fun, even when it's painful or tiring, why do it?  There are other ways to exercise that are far less trying.  There are other ways to lose or maintain weight.  I have found that I am drawn to this unique niche by the intrigue of the unknown.  You never know how your body will react.  You never know exactly what the long run will feel like that training day, or on race day.  You never know what the weather will be like, or the landscape, or the people you'll meet.  It's all so alluring to me.
With all of these thoughts floating around in my mind, I also feel drawn to Jeff Galloway's train of thought, so I've ordered a couple of his books, which should be arriving this week.  His training method using a run/walk/run ratio for the long runs, which also, by the way, includes training runs up to and beyond the race distance, is supposed to minimize or eliminate injury and post-run recovery time.  You will be hearing more from me on his training method after I've read the books and as I start to implement his suggestions for training.
I will always strive for improvement, but I have come to terms with the idea that I may never be as fast as I'd like to be.  I will just keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One week later...

It's been a week since the marathon, and despite the crazy soreness I experienced the first couple of days, I'm feeling pretty good today.  Yesterday morning I continued with my routine of a walk at the park in the morning,  3.75 miles.  Today I did the same thing, only I went about 6 miles.  Then I came home and did 10 minutes of Pilates to stretch my legs, then I did 35 minutes on the elliptical.  Who knows what next week will hold.  Right now I'm kind of winging it. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I feel like I'm on vacation.

I'm really liking my method for marathon recovery this time around.  I have eased up on the pressure I usually put on myself to hurry and start running again, which usually ends up in injury or burnout.  Instead, I started with going on long walks right away (2 days post-race), and have walked for 3.5 miles or more every day this week, gradually adding in additional exercises like the elliptical and weight training.  I'm feeling pretty good and looking forward to figuring out a new training schedule at some point in the not too distant future, but for now I'm enjoying my "vacation"!

This morning I went for my walk right after dropping the kids off at school.  I went 2.6 miles then came home and did 30 minutes on the elliptical while I waited for my husband to wake up.  When he was up and ready, he wanted me to go walking with him, so we went out and did another 2.1 miles.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another day, another nickel...

This morning I continued with my "walking recovery" theme.  After taking the kids to school, I put Nick in the jogger and went to the park for a 3.75 mile walk.  After that, I came home and did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes of strength training exercises.  Although my legs are feeling tons better, I can tell I'm still not fully recovered because the 30 minutes on the elliptical about did me in.  I was tired and hungry, and even took a break half way to have a piece of peanut butter toast.  Oh, well.  It's all progress, I guess. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Keeps getting better.

Today, a little less pain than yesterday. :)  After I took the kids to school, I went to the park and walked for 4.25 miles.  When I came home, my husband and I decided to go to the therapeutic hot springs for a soak...best idea ever!  After that we even went grocery shopping and I'm feeling so much better.  I still have some lingering soreness, but I (almost) feel like lacing up and going for a run...maybe not quite, but soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The road to recovery continues...

So this has been, by far, the most sore I've been after a race.  Or maybe I just don't remember well how I felt after the other races.  Either way, I spent the day yesterday limping around, wincing and gasping a lot.  After we went to church in the morning, both my husband and I took a nap for about an hour in the afternoon, which felt good, but I woke up feeling just as sore.  Pretty much every muscle in my body is aching and stiff.  I could easily take an unforeseeable amount of days off from all physical activity...;)  Of course, that's not really how I am.

This morning the kids are home from school, since it's Labor Day.  I decided to go to the park and do a little walking just to get my muscles moving and warmed up.  I put Nicolas in the jogger and Sophie rode her bike along side me as we walked for almost 4 miles, about an hour and 10 minutes.  I actually do feel better now.  I just need to keep moving because as I sit or lay down, even just to stretch, I start to feel the soreness more intensely.

I really don't like this post-race period.  I always feel in a rush to get a new training schedule and get a new goal.  I have a hard time just relaxing and basking in the light of the accomplishments I've made so far.  For right now, my husband and I have a tentative plan to do a half-marathon together in November.  It's a local race called the "Just Cuz Half Marathon", which is sort of a fun-run type of race and involves dressing up in costumes and things like that.  This year the theme is super heroes, so if any of you out there have a suggestion for a cool female super hero costume that would be conducive to running 13.1 miles, I'd love to hear it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pocatello Marathon 2011, Race Recap! ♥

Okay, folks.  Here goes the latest race recap!  Let's start with how things went last night...pretty smoothly, actually.  The kids all went to bed well for me, and Chris and I were able to take some Tylenol PM and were in bed by 8.  We planned to watch a show or two to help us relax before going to sleep.  Right after I had settled into bed, I heard a knock on the front door.  It was a delivery of flowers for me from my beloved friends, my running (and life) mentor and his wife, wishing me luck on my race.  So thoughtful and sweet ~ thank you!!
After that the house was quiet and I fell asleep pretty quickly, probably by 9 or so.  Unfortunately, I'm not used to getting a lot of sleep.  I'm usually functioning on about 6 hours on average, so throw in the pre-race jitters and I was awake at 1:45am.  And I could not go back to sleep.  I had set the alarm for 4, but I just laid in bed until around 3 when my 5 year old came to get in bed with us, then I just went ahead and got up and started getting ready.  After getting dressed, I used the foam roller for a bit, ate a Clif Bar, drank some water, got all my stuff ready, then woke up my husband.  He drove me to the shuttle at 4:45.  I was on the first bus to go to the starting line area.  It was freezing cold (in the 30's) and pitch dark.  We waited around until the start, a little late, at 6:25.

We were off!  I had my Garmin set to do my 3:1 minute run/walk intervals.  Of course, things started out great.  I felt good, I was happy, the scenery was breathtaking as the sun rose over the mountains.  I started to sip on water at aid stations starting around mile 6, I think, and then from there I started to fuel with some Shot Bloks and Energy Beans.  I was hoping to preempt the fatigue by fueling early and often, without overdoing things.  I actually felt really decent up until about mile 10 or so.  Then, even with the walking breaks, my feet were killing me.  I think I may have tied my shoes a little too tight or something, because I was having pain that I hadn't experienced before.  I just kept on pushing, though.  I made it to the half-way point without too much hurrah, and just kept at it, keeping with my 3:1 intervals.  After mile 15 or 16, even though I was continuing the intervals, I also walked through all the aid stations and just had a few sips of water at each one.  I was really hurting at that point.  By the time mile 18 arrived, I seriously wanted to quit.  My legs were aching like never before.  Unfortunately for them (my legs), my heart and head don't quit, so on I went, focusing on one mile at a time.
At some point after 20 miles, I had resigned myself to the idea that it was highly unlikely I would break 5 hours as I had hoped, but I just changed my goal to finish and told myself it was okay to take extra walking breaks whenever I needed, but just walk fast!  I was thinking to myself, "Oh, crap.  I'm probably going to be like 6 hours!"  This is the point when I realized it would have been nice to have been running with a friend or something.  I was all up in my own head for mile after painful mile, with no one to talk to!  As I was getting near the last turn before the road to the finish, my Garmin beeped at me, and when I looked down at it I saw that I had  just barely hit the 5 hour mark and I only had about 1.2 miles to go ~ WHAT?!!  I kicked it into high gear (sort of) at that point and ran (almost) all the way in to the finish, and after seeing and hugging my husband (who had finished his 1/2 marathon in 2:18), I stopped my Garmin:
Okay, so I didn't break 5 hours, but that's still a PR for me and by more than 10 minutes, so I'm pretty stoked.

 The medals are beautiful this year.  The full marathon medal (top) lists the names of the roads we run on the route along the outer edge of the ribbon, which means it has the name of the road we live on, because it's part of the route.  How cool is that?

So far my recovery seems like a tough one.  In other words, right now I feel like crap. :)  My legs are still aching bad, I have a headache, and I have a mess of black, throbbing toenails and blisters in very weird places on my feet.  At least the weather was perfect and though it was sunny, it never got too hot and I didn't get sunburned this time.  I'm really looking forward to some much needed rest tonight, and maybe for the next few days...then to start planning the next race...☺

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pre-race activity!

 This afternoon, after hitting up Subway for a great lunch, Chris and I headed over to pick up our race packets.  This year, for the first time, the Pocatello Marathon actually had a handful of vendors set up in the great room of the hotel where the packet pick-up was being held.  I wouldn't exactly call it an "expo", but it's a start!  It will be nice to see that part of this race grow as the marathon gets more exposure - it's a such a wonderful race, well run, beautiful course, awesome "schwag-bag" - it deserves to have a bigger expo to bring more people in.  

Here's a picture of me and Chris wearing this year's shirts - another plus for this race.  The shirts are performance-wear, short sleeved for the half-marathoners and long sleeved for the full-marathoners.  I am sure I will be getting A LOT of use out of this shirt in the fall and winter.

Well, here's to hoping for another good night's sleep tonight and waking up at 4am to start getting ready.  Chris will be driving me up to the shuttle loading area (10 minute drive) at 4:45am for a race that starts at 6:15am, and I think it's going to be a cold wait.  This morning it was about 45 degrees and it's supposed to be about the same tomorrow, but it will warm up to around 75 as the day goes on.  Then Chris will catch his shuttle to the start of the half at 7am and his race begins at 8.  I feel a little bad he has to wake so early to help me out, but the friend of mine I was supposed to catch a ride with isn't going to be able to run this race due to her son needing to have a platelet transfusion and some other stuff.  Thankfully, I have the best husband and he is more than willing to wake up early to get me where I need to be.  I am excited to see him waiting for me at the finish line, already with his medal!  We promised the kids a trip to the local Pizza Pie Cafe tomorrow after the race.  It's going to be a long day, but I'm sure it'll be great! :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The taper continues...

I made good on my word and slept very well last night.  This morning I did more of the same stuff I've been doing all week, including 45 minutes on the elliptical and then 45 minutes of walking on the treadmill.  I have been having some of those "phantom" pains in my body, particularly my legs, that you read about people having during their taper for a big race.  It's like your mind starts to focus in on all that could, should or will go sour since you're not burning the same furious amount of energy that you have been used to for the past how-ever-many months during the marathon training and you feel every twinge in every muscle and joint.  I'm working on taking time each day to just visualize what the morning of the race will be like, trying to feel how I want to feel during the experience.  I said to my husband yesterday that I'm feeling really good and I think I could potentially have my best race experience yet, but even if I don't break 5 hours or whatever other goals I have, I just plan to enjoy myself and have fun.  That's all that matters for a middle-of-the packer (sometimes back-of-the-packer) like me. :)