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Friday, August 31, 2012


I think that next to the actual run itself, my favorite thing about doing races is picking up my bib and packet.  It's so exciting.  I love seeing what kind of fun schwag is in the bag, what the shirts look like and going to the expo and feeling the buzz and nervous energy of all the runners around me.  Granted, this marathon is kind of a small one, comparatively speaking.  There are only about 450 people doing the full marathon, another 400 doing the half marathon and 300 or so doing either the 10K or the 5K.  So that means the race expo is actually just a few vendor booths, but it's still fun.  One of these days I'm going to do a big race - like Los Angeles or something.

Anyway, after picking up my packet, complete with a sack of Idaho potatoes, we took Sophia to get her cast put on.  While we were driving to and from our different locations this afternoon, the clouds were swirling overhead and by the time we got home it had started to thunder storm.

We didn't get a ton of rain, but looking at the weather forecast for tomorrow, there's still a 40% chance for more storms tomorrow.  It figures.  We've had one of the driest summers ever, and the one day it's finally supposed to rain - yep, race day.  Oh, well.  I can run in rain.  The tricky thing might be if it's too warm to wear a rain jacket, then I'm just going to have to deal with my clothes being wet.  Yuck.

I've got all my stuff laid out and ready to go for the morning.

I really have a good feeling about this race.  I have had a great week of low-impact workouts and rest, getting to bed at a decent hour every night, healthy eating and I'm feeling good.  My plan is to fuel during the race starting out earlier and more often than I usually do.  I'm kind of notoriously good at under-fueling while on long runs.  I feel like I have to force myself to take something because I don't have an appetite while I run, even sometimes a mild stomach ache. But I know that I would feel better towards the middle and end of the run if I fueled better.  I'll be putting that to the test tomorrow.

Tonight is another early night; my husband will be driving me up to catch a shuttle to the starting line at 4:30-5am!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Taper, continued...

It's been another successful couple of days.  Yesterday morning I did a little Yoga with Jillian Michaels in the morning, followed by a 4.8 mile run/walk at the park.  Actually, I should probably call it a walk/run, because I mostly walked, but ran a handful of short bursts for about 1/5 mile each, just to really feel loosened up.

Today I went to the gym with Chris and while he did "our usual" classes (spinning, weights, Muscle Fusion X), I walked for a little over an hour on a treadmill, did 20 minutes on a recumbent bike and then hit the pool for a little over a 1/4 mile swim and a soak in the hot tub.  I won't say I wasn't jealous of my husband doing the higher intensity stuff, but I am grateful to be feeling good and ready for Saturday's race.

Tonight Chris and I spent an evening together eating a pre-race meal at one of our favorite restaurants.  I can't really argue that it was for purposes of carbo-loading, because I've been eating lots of good carbs for the past couple of days and especially yesterday, which is supposed to be the most important day (3 days prior).  But it's kind of a tradition, I guess, for us to go out to eat sometime within the couple of days before a race, and since Chris has to work tomorrow night, we went out tonight.

After our dinner, my only other request was that we "splurge" on some fro-yo.  I love this stuff but haven't had any for quite a while, since I've been "cleaning up" my diet.  So I kept my splurge about as clean as it can get: sugar-free vanilla with strawberries, nuts and a drizzle of honey.  It was SO good!

After that, we decided to drive part of the marathon route because it's on the way home.  We got lucky again and spotted our friends, momma moose with her young one.  We just sat and watched them for a few minutes before finishing the drive home.

And here are a couple more pictures of the view on the route.  Don't these images make you want to come and run this marathon with me?!

I mean, seriously?

Winner, winner - pasta dinner!!

(That's my runner-friendly version of the old saying!)

The time has come to announce the winner of the signed copy of the new, revised edition of Running the Edge, by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano:

After loading all the entries into a random number generator, the winner is ... BILL FINE!! Bill, message me with your shipping info and I will get that book sent off to you ASAP! Congratulations, Bill! Happy reading and running! :)

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Stay tuned for my review of the book to come (hopefully sometime next week, after I get this marathon done on Saturday)!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time to check in.

Hey, guys.  I just thought it was time for me to give an update as to how things have been going so far this week.  I have mostly been doing well as far as keeping my high-intensity workouts to a minimum.  Yesterday morning when I woke up I did 30 minutes of Pilates before getting the kids ready and off to school.  Once they were gone, I went to the park and walked for a little over 4 miles.

Later in the day we received a call from the elementary school that our daughter (9 years old) had taken a bad fall while running out at recess and that her arm looked "distorted".  Yes, that's actually the word the teacher used.  Chris and I took her to the doctor where an x-ray confirmed a break in the radius bone.  It was too swollen for a cast, so they will see her again on Friday to put the cast on.  In the meantime, she has a splint and a couple of pretty cut up knees. :*(

She looks way too smiley in this picture for a girl with a broken arm, but that's totally Sophie.

Once we had her home, settled and resting, I left Chris with the kids and a couple of homemade pizzas while I went to the gym for an evening spin class.  Before going to the class, I had it in my mind that I would go to 3 spin classes this week: Monday evening, Tuesday morning and Thursday morning.  After last night's class, I have changed my mind.  I felt pretty wiped out, and I realized that if I want to do well on Saturday, I need to be smart about this.  I don't think it would serve me well to use up as much of my energy stores as is necessary for spinning.  Spinning is off the table for the rest of the week.  I'm also not going to do any additional weight training this week.  I read somewhere that the amino acids and glycogen stores in muscle tissue that are depleted when you do an especially hard workout take 4-5 days to replenish.

So this morning while my husband attended a spinning class, I hopped on a treadmill at the gym and walked at a nice 3.0mph pace while reading "Running the Edge".  I got in a little over an hour of walking.  Tomorrow my plan is to do some Yoga or Pilates and also do some more walking outside.  I knew this week was going to be tough for me, especially mentally.  I have a hard time taking things easy.  But since I am doing this with hopes that it will all be worth it come Saturday when I feel great on my run, I think I can get through a week of laid-back workouts.  But next week, watch out! ;)

As far as my nutrition goes, with only a couple of exceptions, I've been keeping things "clean"!  My friend Holly brought over some cookies and muffins for Sophie yesterday and I splurged on a cranberry orange muffin, which although she said were "fat free", I'm sure they contained some sugar.  I've also been steering clear of carbonated drinks and instead drinking tons of water.  Just got stocked up on some more fresh produce today and the fridge is now full of fresh carrot, spinach and pear juice, and little containers with lots of wise and easy choices: steel cut oats, already cooked and ready to be warmed up and topped with honey, berries and nuts, cut up veggies, homemade potato soup with red and sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, onions, carrots and garlic, and of course my sweet, little peanut butter and oat energy balls.  Now if only I could get my kids to eat all of that stuff, too.   (Not much trouble getting them to eat the peanut butter balls, but the soup with broccoli and kale, eh...not so much.)  Tonight my husband rolled his eyes at me as he watched me cook myself some white fish to go with my potato soup, as opposed to the turkey burgers and fresh corn I made for the rest of the family. :)

And hey, don't forget to enter my giveaway, if you haven't already!  I can't wait to see who wins this awesome book on Thursday!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Hey, it's me! ;)

Truth be told, I was negligent this week and failed to line up a post from a guest blogger.  So, today you're stuck with some of my thoughts - get ready for lots of them. :)

I have been going through some crazy swings in emotions the past few days.  Race week is always like this for me.  I wouldn't be surprised if this is a common thread among runners and triathletes.  One minute I feel confident in my training, I have in mind a goal to just finish the race having done my best and feel content knowing I may not be that fast, but I'm fine with that as long as I can still walk when I'm done.  The next minute I find myself with thoughts circulating around ways I can be sure I'll PR - by a lot - why I'm not okay with being slower than all the other women I know who are also running this race and what I could have done differently in my training.

Seriously, I sit and think about what I will do better for the next marathon after this one, before I've even run it!  What the heck?  Then I get down on myself for getting down on myself.  And over and over the cycle repeats.  Oh, and throw into the mix all the turmoil I feel regarding what the appropriate training (or lack of) would be for this pre-race week.  My husband suggests I do nothing - like, literally no workouts, other than maybe 1 or 2 spin classes and some walking - for the whole week!  I honestly don't know if I can do that, but I know that I would probably feel full of energy stores by Saturday morning if I could force myself to follow that advice.

The fact is, and I'm being totally honest here, ever since I lost the majority of my (post-pregnancies weight, 60+ pounds), I've become just a tad obsessive about exercise, in case you haven't picked up on that. ;)

My daily workouts and all of my runs are fueled not only by my love of the sport and how good it makes me feel, but also by my determination to never gain that weight back again.  On the outside I am a completely different person than I was 5 years ago, and I am grateful for my progress.  But inside there is still a dorky, shy, wall-flower of a girl who just wants to please everyone around her.

When I first started running and training for marathons, I was pleased with any and all progress I made because I was starting from scratch.  I was new to running and new to training, at least training like you have to train in order to be successful at the marathon.  I was just happy to finish and proud to tell anyone that I had "finished a marathon".  The details didn't matter to me so much.  My speed didn't matter because I wasn't comparing myself to anyone then - I had only been a runner for a year and a half when I completed my 3rd marathon and that's awesome, right??   Things are different now.  As we have been spending a lot of time at the gym with other fitness enthusiasts and hard bodies (there are some, trust me) and as I have become more "social" on the internet through this blog, Facebook, DailyMile.com and other venues, and as I have been more involved in local races, I have met and become friends/acquaintances with so many other runners and athletes.  Now I can't escape the talk that inevitably ensues whenever anyone finds out I run marathons.  It seems there is an automatic assumption that I must be fast, or else why would I bother "killing" myself with distance running.  I frequently come away from these conversations and come home from the gym feeling pretty inadequate.  I know it's all in my head, and I am the only one who can change my way of thinking, but it's that little girl rearing her nerdy head!  Go away, nerdy girl!

Of course, I really don't know what other people are actually thinking about me and all my endeavors, but I let my insecurities take over more often than not.  The other day when I was going through one of these "moods", I was talking to my husband about how I felt, and I made a reference to feeling like Liz Lemon from 30 Rock.  I can totally relate to Tina Fey's character on this show:

I guess all I can do for now is try to relax this week and plan to have a great race day, no matter what my time is or who finishes faster (or slower) than me.  But just a little warning, you may be getting an ear/eye-ful this week from me on this blog.  I was told recently by someone who shall remain nameless, ahem...that my blog would be much more interesting if I wrote more personal stuff and got down to the nitty-gritty of things. Apparently people don't just want to read about other people being totally amazing and tough all of the time, who knew?! ;)

Anyone willing to send me some pre-race tips, I am all ears.  It never hurts to hear what works (or doesn't work) for other people gearing up for a race.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The time has arrived - Giveaway Time!!

I am beyond excited to do this giveaway!  I was somehow lucky enough to get copy from the authors of the new revised edition of Running the Edge Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano!  Besides the fact that you now have the chance to get your hands on a copy before the September 1st official release date, it is also an exclusive signed copy!  Yes, someone is going to totally score!

For those of you who may be less familiar with this book and it's authors, here's a little info:

Olympian Adam Goucher's running career has it's roots in Colorado, where he was a national high school cross country champion and winner of several NCAA track titles.  In 2000, he was on the US Olympic team, for the 5000m distance.  He is married to Olympic runner Kara Goucher and together they live with their son, Colton in Portland, Oregon.

Tim Catalano was teammates with Goucher in college while running with the University of Colorado Buffaloes.  For over 15 years he has worked as a Psychology teacher and coach and has an avid love of running.

They brought together their love of the sport and their combined 40 years of running experience to produce this book.  Running the Edge is not merely a how-to of running, but more a guide to finding greater meaning and depth of daily life through the spirit of running and fitness.

Okay, so here's the scoop, folks:  To enter this giveaway, become a follower of this blog and leave a comment telling me that you did and why you'd love to have this book.  Or head over to my Facebook page and 'like' it and leave a comment letting me know that you did, with your reasons for wanting to win the book.  (You can do both, if you want to!)  Oh, and if you are already a follower of my blog and Facebook page, just leave me a comment telling me and you will be entered into the contest!

And don't forget to make a stop at the guys' Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/RunTheEdge!  Like them and you will receive daily inspiration, motivation and fun running stuff straight to your FB news feed, even if you don't win the book! :)

The giveaway will be open until Thursday, August 30 at which time I will use an online generator to randomly choose the winner from all of the entries.  Enter now - your chances are excellent ~ seriously!

Also for those of you not fortunate enough to win the giveaway, watch my blog for my review of the book.  Then you will surely be motivated to go out and grab a copy for yourself!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I just may be insane. :)

I was supposed to run with a new running friend today, but she had to cancel due to some family stuff.  When I went to bed, I knew I would be going alone on my run, so I was feeling at ease.  I had a little flexibility so I told myself that if I woke up and was really tired or sore, I would just sleep a little more and just go run whenever I woke up.  The alarm went off at 5am and I woke up feeling pretty okay, despite my arduous workouts yesterday, so I just got up and started getting ready to go.  I was out the door at a little after 6 and it was actually pretty chilly out there!  I kept thinking it would warm up as soon as the sun came up higher, but it never really did.  I did a 12.4 mile loop leaving from my house and the route goes through a rural area I lovingly refer to as "the wind tunnel" because it's a place where there is a valley, or gap, between two big mountainous areas and it is ALWAYS windy.  (It's the area you can see behind me in the above photo.)

Anyway, my run went well.  I did a 4:1 run/walk ratio and I was surprised at how minimal my soreness was from that insane class I did yesterday afternoon.   That is, until I got home from my run and all of a sudden my legs pretty much stiffened up and I could feel every single muscle in them.  After I took a warm shower, I felt a little better, so Chris and I decided to take the kids to the gym so they could swim and I could, ahem...take a spinning class.  I had the same instructor that I had for both spinning and Muscle Fusion X yesterday, and said she was surprised I was there for another spinning class after such hard workouts yesterday and running 12 miles this morning.  The first few minutes I was on my bike, I was beginning to see why.  My legs were SO tired!  But it's kind of funny how after you just get going again, that tiredness lessens and you're able to just push through.  In my mind I kept saying to myself, "Pain means change!"  Change is my goal, so I'm well on my way!

After the class, I went swimming with the family for a bit, which felt very relaxing.  My biggest challenge is now coming up this week.  I have a plan to take it easy the next two days, by just doing some walking tomorrow and then taking a full rest day on Sunday.  But after that, I will be taking things day by day.  Obviously I don't want to deplete all my energy stores during the week before the marathon, but it is SO hard for me to not do anything!  I just read recently that it takes a certain level of maturity to know when to pull back, take it slow or easy, or take extra rest days, especially when you feel like you can do more.  For a successful run next Saturday, I know I should do less than usual this week, but it's so hard to find a balance - at least for me.  My husband says I'm over-zealous, obsessed and that I don't know the meaning of happy medium.  I like to call it being committed to something.  At any rate, I am still loving these beauties:

Just looking at that picture makes me want to go for a run! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh, my muscles.

Aahhh...the life of a stay-at-home mom who's children are in school all day Monday through Thursday...

I may be enjoying the freedom just little bit too much.  But before I go out and do something rash, like get a part-time job or something, I might just let myself enjoy this time in my life a while longer. :)

Chris had the day off from work, so we went to our second home - the gym, of course. ;)  Before we left, I was looking at the class schedule and saw that there was a muscle fusion class at noon that I've been wanting to try out.  I asked Chris if he would be up to it, even after doing our strength training and the 8:30 spin class.  He denied me, but I went with it and didn't argue my case for more exercise too fiercely.  Soon enough his work schedule will be changing and his days off will be different and I will be (even more) free to take whatever fitness classes I want.  Haha!

So, we spent 30 or 40 minutes lifting weights before heading into spin class.  When class was over, the instructor invited us to her noon muscle fusion class.  I told her I wanted to but that Chris wasn't too sure, and it took all of about a minute for her to convince him it was a good idea.  We went home so we could eat and change into some non-sweat-soaked workout clothes and then headed back to the gym.

Here's the description of the class:

Muscle Fusion - 60 min. barbell class designed to work all muscle groups by incorporating isolated exercises such as squats, lunges, dead lifts and more. Guaranteed to burn calories, tone muscle and shred fat!

Muscle Fusion”X” - Just like Muscle Fusion, this 60 min barbel class is designed to work all muscle groups; however Muscle Fusion X adds bouts of tabata style intervals and bonus sets aimed at strength!

Yeah, we did the "X" version! ;)  I am not kidding you, it was no joke!  I actually think I may have sweated more and burned more calories than I do during spin class, and I didn't think that was possible.  It was non-stop cardio using a step, barbell and free-weights, ending with several minutes of core work.  There was no standing still in this class.  We were either skipping, stepping, sliding, shuffling, kicking, lifting, punching, lunging, squatting or jumping.  We even had to run laps around the track in between a couple of weight intervals, and that felt like the easiest part to me. :)  (I was actually worried about tripping on the step at some points because my legs were shaking!  Thankfully I made it through the class without embarrassing myself...too much.)
Yes, this is exactly what I looked like. :)

Anyway, it was an awesome (hard) class.  It's only offered once a week, but I think I'm going to add it to my workout routine.  I want quick feet!!  By the time we got home I totally could have laid down and taken a nap.  Of course, that never happened and now it's 11pm and I'm still up.  What's wrong with me?  I'm running 12 miles in the morning.  I should totally go to bed now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This morning I was feeling the need to "work out" some of my sore muscles.  So after the kids left for school, I put on a new Yoga video and did an hour of stretching, toning and deep breathing.  It felt great.  I don't do Yoga often enough.  Then I packed a bag and headed to the gym.

I started out by doing 10 minutes on an elliptical, just to get my heart pumping.  Then I did 30 minutes of weights (shoulders and traps) before going to a spin class.

I chose not to run today because I am trying to be more kind to my body during this time for tapering.  If I felt perfectly great, then maybe I would be logging more miles on the road right now.  But since I still have soreness and pain in my hamstrings, I am using my favorite cross-training activities (spinning, weights, etc.) to maintain a higher fitness level without putting additional stress on my legs.  I do have a 12 miler slated for Friday, and then next week I plan to do very minimal running.  We'll see if this plan benefits me on race day...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A (sort of ) new schedule and peanut butter balls. :)

Today the kids were all back in school, so instead of leaving for the gym at 7 like I typically do on Tuesdays, I didn't leave until about 7:45.  That meant I only had about 20 minutes to fit in some strength training before it was time to go to spin class.  I still got in a decent amount of weights, especially since today's focus was on biceps and chest.  It's easy to do a bunch of dumbbell curls, chest flies and bench presses in sets of reps, right?

Not a whole lot else to report today.  After the gym, I made (another) stop at Wal-Mart, then came home and tried to maximize my time left before the kids came home.  I roasted and pureed a bunch of summer squash to put in the freezer, I made a homemade chicken and vegetable soup, filled with tons of clean and healthy carbs - broccoli, kale, corn fresh from the cob, red and green lentils, brown rice, sweet potato cut into cubes, carrots and garlic, and ground some wheat to make pizza crust for dinner.  I also made some of my new favorite thing: these yummy, easy and healthy little balls of goodness!

I basically made the recipe up by starting with the dry ingredients and then adding the honey and peanut butter until I got the right consistency.  I put one cup of the oats, 1 scoop of the protein powder and about 1/4 cup of the milled flax seed in a mixing bowl.  Combine them together then add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 - 1/2 cup honey, starting with the lesser amount and gradually adding more until it starts to form into a dough-like consistency.  Scoop it out by the spoonful and press into bite-size balls, then refrigerate.  Makes approximately 12 balls.  Perfect little balls of energy! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Busy Day!

It's been kind of a crazy, busy day for me.  After being out of town for a couple of days, I had plenty of laundry to catch up on, and a few housekeeping things to take care of, and since my kids all go back to school tomorrow, I also had some last minute school shopping to finish.

Of course I had to get my day off on the right foot, so I started out with a 6am run with my friend, Holly.  We did our usual 5 mile loop and at a quick (for me) pace of 9:38 min/mile,  I was good and tired at the end.  After that I came home and did about 100 sit-ups and 4 reps of 12 each, squats, lunges and leg lifts using 5 pound ankle weights.  When I was finished with my workout, I showered and then my husband and I went to Wal-Mart to get the rest of the things the kids need for school tomorrow.

A few hours later, we were back home where I continued to work on the laundry, made some yummy kale chips for a snack, organized the kids' bags and supplies for their first day, fixed their dinner, did more laundry, then headed off to an evening spin class.

After spinning, I came home and fixed dinner for my husband and myself - steamed salmon with red potatoes and sweet peas - then more laundry, a bath for the dog, kids to bed...and now I finally have a moment to blog. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Meet Lindsay!

My name is Lindsay. Growing up, I was naturally thin and naturally un-athletic, so sports, exercising and physical activity were not really parts of my life. I could get away with eating pretty much whatever I wanted and I still looked good. Fast forward a few years to age 27 when 2 years after I had my first son, I gave birth to identical twins. I suddenly found myself very overweight and trying to mother three children under the age of 2. Three children in diapers. Three children that had to be buckled in and out of carseats, that had to be fed and bathed and taken care of in every way. It was exhausting--physically and emotionally. And carrying a bunch of extra weight did not help the situation. I was depressed.

I slowly started to try to change the situation. A healthy diet had always been very important to me, so that didn't need much changing, but trying to make working out a priority with three young children was a challenge. I bought a triple jogger and started walking. My next step was going to the gym and lifting weights. Soon I hired a personal trainer and that is when I really noticed serious results. By the time my twins were 3, I wore a smaller size than I had in high school!

And then I got pregnant.

Since having my fourth the weight has been more difficult to get off, although I am even more active than I have ever been in my life. I have tried to be content with where I am at and focus instead on the fact that I am healthy and active and my metabolism has slowed due to age. In the last year I have tried to challenge myself even more by attempting different races. Some friends introduced me to the idea of triathlons last year and this year I made it my New Year's resolution to do two triathlons. Just last Saturday I finished my first--an Olympic distance triathlon! I was slow, but I did it! Eight years ago, when my girls were born, if someone had told me that I would do a full triathlon at the age of 36, I would have laughed them out of the room. And yet I did it!

The funny thing is, when I was done, I still didn't feel like it was enough. I immediately thought, "Maybe I should try for a half iron-man next year." I don't know exactly what it is I am searching for--but I still haven't found it. I want to prove to myself that I can do hard things. I want to set that example for my kids as well. I will keep working toward that sense of satisfaction. I have another tri in mid September that I am currently training for. So, as I continue to do things that do not come easily or naturally to me, I will continue to attempt to show myself that I am more than I think I am, and show my kids that you can truly do most anything you put your mind to!!

Really, me?? A TRIATHLETE?! I'm a real-life miracle!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

We almost made it to 20...

This morning's long run was fun, but warm.  I ran with a friend I was introduced to through my friend Holly.  He is a 70-something year old great-grandfather who has been running marathons for over 30 years.  If that's not motivation for healthy living, I don't know what is!  He will also be running the Pocatello Marathon in two weeks, with his granddaughter who, once an elite college soccer player, had a baby about a year ago and has used training for this marathon as a way to take off the baby-weight.

Anyway, I had a great time running with him for 19.5 miles.  We talked about family, faith, societal issues and shared funny running stories.  We had planned to leave around 6am and go 18-20 miles, depending on how we felt.  Due to an alarm mishap, he didn't come pick me up until almost 7, so by the time we got going it was already starting to get a little warm.  When we reached the 19 mile mark, we were both feeling pretty well cooked, so I gave Chris a call to come get us.  When he arrived at our location, we had made it to 19.5 miles overall.  I was feeling a little schooled by the older guy, when I felt my pace start to slow during the last few miles and he seemed to still have pep in his step!  He's awesome!  My legs were feeling fatigued, for sure, but I felt better when I realized that we had gone that (almost) 20 miles maintaining an average pace right around 11 min/mile with walking breaks.  I'm okay with that.

I wish I had a picture to share with you showing us running somewhere on our route, especially since we ran the first 20 of the Pocatello Marathon course.  Instead I'll just share this picture of a mama moose with twin calves that Chris and I spotted on that same road just a couple of nights ago.  Maybe we'll get to see them again on marathon morning...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An MJ tribute.

This morning my husband and I headed over to Fitness, Inc. to start our day the right way.  We spent almost an hour together in the weight room, where he did his leg and core work while I focused on my triceps and back.  After that, we went to a spinning class.  Today our instructor, Misty, switched things up a bit by playing all Michael Jackson songs for the entire hour.  While I had a lot of fun with it, Chris wasn't quite as enthused!  Apparently he didn't spend the better part of the late 80's staring at posters on the wall of MJ in all his Jheri-curl glory, while singing along with a Sony Walkman playing the album "Bad" on cassette tape...what the what?

Anyway, I've had another great couple of "clean" eating days, and the rest from running has seemed to have done me well because my hamstrings are feeling pretty dang good, too.  Now hopefully I'm not jinxing myself by saying that because I am scheduled to do a 20 miler with someone new in the morning bright and early.  Should be a good time; I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In action: Video workouts.

Yesterday, Chris and I went to the gym in the morning.  We started out by spending 45 minutes in the weight room before going to spinning class.  My muscle focus groups yesterday were chest and biceps.  Today we are planning to go to the gym again, this time for a midday spin class and more weights.  I need to do a little work on shoulders and triceps.  I probably should have done some running today, but my quads and hamstrings are feeling tight and sore, so I decided to take a running rest for a couple of days.  On Friday I have another long run planned and I would like to be able to do it feeling strong and be able to head into my taper for the marathon without any issues cropping up.

So, in the meantime, I did a couple of workout videos this morning and I thought it might be fun and different for you all to catch a glimpse of what it looks like when I do my workout DVD's at home.  This is my first video post, so don't be too critical.  I know my form isn't perfect, by any means.  Wouldn't it be great to just have Jillian right here in my house with me?!  Today: Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown.  Don't you all just love a good pep talk from Jillian? "Don't phone it in!"  Haha!

Monday, August 13, 2012

12 miles, Jillian and spin.

Yep, that about sums up my exercise for today:  I ran 12 miles this morning with Holly in a great (for me) pace @ 9:41 - came home and did Jillian's 30 Day Shred DVD plus another 15 minutes of leg strength training exercises using ankle weights - and ended my day with an evening spin class.  My legs are feeling fatigued and ready to be propped up on some pillows or something! :)

I am also happy to report that things are going very well with my "clean" eating.  It's been 4 days so far of NO PROCESSED SUGAR and no white flour or processed foods.  The no sugar thing is the biggest deal for me because I have a huge sweet tooth.  But honestly, I have found that by making the substitutions suggested on a couple of clean eating blogs/websites, I haven't felt deprived or like I'm missing anything.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I have felt really good.  I like feeling in control of my health.  Some of the substitutions/changes I have made include switching my usual light vanilla soy milk for unsweetened almond milk, which has half the calories and no added sugars.  I also switched from a brand name low fat peanut butter (with added sugars and preservatives), to an organic all-natural peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts - that's a novel idea. ;)  I have been using honey or all natural molasses to sweeten things, where needed.  I have NOT eaten any cold cereal, but when I feel the need for a quick carb-boost, I go for a bowl of oatmeal with raw almonds and blueberries or bananas.  I've also stopped using all of the condiments that I used to use regularly, if they have added sugar, like the Kraft Fat-free Ranch dressing, ketchup and bbq sauce.

So now my food choices include lots of fruit and vegetables, fresh and frozen (without added sugars, of course), fresh juice, lean meats like chicken breast and fish, whole grains like quinoa and barley, and beans and lentils, eggs, 100% whole wheat bread with all-fruit spread and lots of water and green herbal tea.

Oh, and on another note, as of today I have surpassed 1000 miles run so far for 2012, and as I promised earlier, I will be doing a fun giveaway very soon to celebrate, so stay tuned...!! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Meet Erin!

Hi! I'm Erin. Mother of 2, vegetarian, rower, quilter, and more recently, runner. My foray into running started after my first son was born. For the first time in my life I found myself in a funk. A killer combination of hormones and life circumstance got me thinking about how I saw my position in life. We all have titles and roles and I was suddenly unsure of mine. So, in a feeble attempt to shake things up, I signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon.

I have always exercised and am lucky enough to never really have a struggle with my weight. I was on the rowing team in high school and found a love for yoga in college and after. But I had never really thought about running until I actually signed up for the half. I trained as best I could with a newborn, but never went over 8 miles before race day. Race day was a cold and rainy fall day and it could not have been more perfect. I finished the race and finally felt something that I didn't even know I was looking for. Complete and total personal satisfaction. Satisfaction in something that I did just for me and no one else. It was my effort and my conditioning that got me through the 13.1 miles, not my external roles. And then I couldn't stop. I subsequently signed up for more and more half marathons and knew the marathon was eventual. But, the 26.2 eluded me. I attempted one and got to mile 18 before injury prevented me from finishing. I saw it as a completely unattainable goal that just wasn't for me. Prodding from my husband led me to try again, this time at the Chicago Marathon. I knew I needed a big race with a big crowd to help me through. Training again wasn't as great as I wanted it to be (but when is it) and when race day came the mental battle began. I finished, not fast mind you, but I finished. Take the feeling I got at the first half I ran and multiply it by 100 and that is how I felt finishing the Chicago Marathon. I still count it as one of the best days of my life. Finishing the Chicago Marathon truly has been one of the most definitive events in my life. Again, it comes back to the feeling that it was all me, my feet, my legs, my brain that got me through the 26.2.

Of course I couldn't have done any of it without my fantastically supportive husband who watched the boys for long runs and cheered me on the whole way through the streets of Chicago. I categorically could not have done it without him.

So this brings me to now, 2 sons, 1 marathon and another one on the way (St. George 2012). And even though I still sometimes struggle with my many roles, running has given me space in my head for the new title of runner.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Climb every mountain...

Put your head down and dig in.  Then turn around and see how far you've come...

Well, technically speaking, I guess I'm not "climbing mountains" here, but I am running up the roads that travel them.  It's great to have hill workouts built right into my own backyard.  Today's 11 mile run involved a 2000' elevation gain, or climb, within the first 7 miles.  Read: steep and hard.  After that, the last 4 miles were quad and knee killers, but a heck of a lot faster! :)

I also really enjoyed the blessing of a cooler run, as some huge storm clouds developed above me as I ran.  I haven't felt rain and cool wind like that on a run in a long time, so it was quite refreshing.  As the sun came up over the mountains, the light made the clouds turn pink and purple where they hovered just above the mountain tops, and as the rain moved away from me, I saw two spectacular rainbows.  If only I'd had a decent camera with me...And it was as if the scene had played out just for me, because within a few minutes of being home and finished with my run, the clouds completely disappeared, the sun came out fully and the temperature shot up into the upper 80's.

I did stop briefly on my way down the last big hill to take the above self-portrait, to show you all the wind blowing my ponytail sideways and the cheesy smile on my face.  :)  (Then I went back this afternoon and took some additional photos to show you where I ran, in the summertime haze.)

Going up.  The incline doesn't look as steep in the picture as it is in real life.

Still going up.

Looking back down the road from where I came.

Basically where I topped out, our house is way down there and the ski hill is behind me, another 1000+ feet up.

Going back down.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Oops...how could I forget?

What the flip?  How could I forget to blog yesterday?  That's so weird.  So sorry to all of you faithful readers who were probably up late worrying and wondering what had happened to me!  Hahaha, just kidding...

No blog post does not mean no workout, thankfully.  (Did that sentence just have an explosion of double negatives?)  Anyway, I went to the gym early yesterday and did 2 spin classes, a mile on a treadmill and 45 minutes of strength training.  My muscle groups for the day included primarily triceps and back, but I also threw some ab work in there.  Today my triceps are super sore, which makes me quite happy.  Usually after doing triceps, I find myself wondering if I'm doing the exercises right because rarely am I sore there.

This morning I slept in until 7.  It felt really good. Once I was up and at 'em, I spent some time on the internet researching "clean" eating.  Of course I had previously heard of it and read some articles on what it means exactly, but I finally decided that my diet still needs some tweaking so that I can fully reap the benefits of all the working out and running that I do.  One of our spin instructors (who is also a competing fitness model, certified trainer, well-educated mother of 3 with one rock-solid body), touts following a clean diet, and if it works that well for her, well who am I to argue?

So from what I understand (and it goes in varying degrees for different people), eating clean means keeping the food you consume as close to it's natural form as possible.  In other words, if it's man-made, overly processed, full of sugar, white flour and a mile long list of ingredients that you can't pronounce - don't eat it.  As I read more about it and thought through my normal daily eating habits, I realized I actually do a lot of things right.  That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.  One of my downfalls is cold cereal.  It has been my stand-by, go-to snack/meal/therapist/comfort food for quite some time now.  My absolute favorites are Cinnamon Life and Special K Vanilla Almond.  Generally speaking, I don't necessarily think these foods are that bad, but they do have a lot of sugar and other "extra" ingredients.  It will also probably be somewhat of a challenge when it comes to eating out.  We don't particularly eat out often, but when Chris and I go out on a date - usually every 1-2 weeks - we always eat at one of our favorite restaurants.  I haven't felt that guilty about it, because I know how hard I work out.  But I'm starting to realize that if I want to make real changes to my physique, I'm going to have to get serious about cutting out whatever processed, sugary stuff I have been keeping around.

After looking at some recipe ideas and ingredient substitution lists online, I made my grocery list then Chris and I headed into town.   After we did an awesome midday spin class, we went grocery shopping together.  Then I spent pretty much the rest of the day cleaning, slicing, dicing, storing, juicing and generally preparing fresh produce, fish, chicken, whole grains and nuts for the next week.  I will keep you posted on how things go over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, 3 weeks and counting until marathon day.  Tomorrow I have a fun 11 miler planned that involves an uphill climb on the first half.  I think those are becoming my favorite types of runs.  I love being rewarded for working hard on some hills with an amazing view at the top followed by a downhill cruise back home. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

10 miles and a reality check.

Last night my husband decided to take the kids outside to sleep in the camp trailer.  He also said he wanted to run long in the morning, so he asked if I wouldn't mind setting my alarm for 5am and going outside to wake him up so he could get ready to go.  My plan was to run the 9 mile loop, nice and easy like.  He wanted to do 17 or 18, so we were just going to do our runs separately.  I set the alarm, got up at 5 (even though I wanted to sleep longer), oh, wait...I did go back to bed.  At 5:30, Chris woke me up to tell me that because it was still a little too dark outside, he was going to wait until I woke up for the day and start his run with me.  I rolled over, and the next thing I knew, I was startling myself awake at 6:20.  I got dressed in my running stuff and went downstairs, but Chris was already gone.  Just as I was about to walk out the door, the phone rang.  He was calling to tell me where he was on his run, about 4.5 miles out, but that he was on his way back through our town.  He wanted me to alter my route slightly so that I would meet up with him and then we could run the rest of the loop together.  I went ahead and met up with him, even though it meant an additional mile or so added to my run.

As we started out together, I actually felt okay.  We weren't going too fast - about 11 min./miles, but we were both feeling comfortable.  Within a couple of miles, my hamstring was on fire and my stomach was cramping.  I'm not sure what the deal is with all the GI issues I've been having while running lately.  The first year I started running longer distances, I had lots of problems with cramping, but it resolved on it's own over time.  Maybe my body is just going through some "growing pains", but at any rate, it's kind of putting a damper on the run-fun-factor.  We took several extra walking breaks and slowed our pace a bit so I could run more comfortably.  Though Chris was doing well and feeling decent, he stayed with me up until there were just a couple of miles to go for me on the loop I was doing.  He then told me he was going to go ahead and take off to finish up his run, since he was going to do an additional 4 miles.  I said that was fine, then I watched him pick up his pace and pull away.  At that point, I was pretty much over the run.  I put my head down a bit, turned up my music (Let's Go, by Calvin Harris) and just dug in to finish the last couple of miles.  I actually dropped about 20 seconds off my average pace, which was kind of surprising.  I finally ended my run, 10 miles in an hour and 58 minutes.

Later in the afternoon, Chris and I took the kids to swim in the pool at the gym.  Before I joined them, though, I spent about 20 minutes in the weight room working on shoulders and traps.  Then I swam for a while and soaked in the hot tub.  My hamstring is feeling much better now....now that I'm not running, that is. If I can just figure out how to make the pain stop while I run, that would be something.

All of this talk about my hamstring pain reminds me of something someone asked me recently.  A man in our town who knows my (short) history with running and who is also trying to start running more (he currently is running up to 2-3 miles at a time), asked me at what point was I able to just go out and run "Say, 10 miles, just like that - no pain, no fuss, just run and it feels natural..."  After I chuckled to myself for a minute, I answered him honestly: It has never become that, at least not for me.  I never have a run that is totally pain-free.  I never have a run that feels like it comes naturally.  I just run, and though it's a challenge every time, I just keep doing it."

I know some people don't understand this mindset, but I know that many of you who read my blog get it.  If running was easy, everyone would do it, because the benefits are so many.  Yes, it's hard.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it's challenging.  But who can argue with stronger legs, stronger lungs, stronger heart, stronger mental capacity, stronger understanding of commitment and reward, stronger relationship with the roads and people where you live?  That's why I keep running.  That's why I like to run far.  I wish I could say, that's why I run fast, but eh...maybe someday... :)

Why do you run?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Status check.

My workout report for the day comes as my typical Tuesday:  I went to the gym early this morning, got on a treadmill first thing for a mile warm-up, then spent 45 minutes doing strength training, focusing on biceps and chest, and ended with a spin class.

I feel like my Tuesday and Thursday workouts are starting to get a little stale.  I might have to start throwing something new or different in there to mix things up a bit.  I'm not sure what.  Any suggestions?? :)

Also, this heat is making me grumpy.  We are definitely not used to so many 90-100+ degree days in a row here in southeastern Idaho.  I do love having warm weather, but two months (plus) of this heat and I find myself really looking forward to fall-like temperatures again...

This was last October, while hiking in the mountains...where the temperature was just perfect. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Active recovery.

Last week I didn't get to run with my friend Holly, as she was recovering from a cold.  Today we were back together again for an "easy" 4.4 miles.  She had done a 20 miler over the weekend, and I of course, am still recovering from Saturday's epic run. :)

It seems strange that after a run that long (the 27 miler) I would just jump right back at it with more running 2 days later.  In the past after running the marathon distance, I would have been likely to take a few days off from running.  I am happy to see the improvement in my physical fitness that shows through a shorter recovery with less soreness and less mental fatigue.   I am very pleased to report that I actually feel pretty good.  My biggest complaint post-long run is that I've been tired, but that's also partly due to the fact that I got up at 4am yesterday to watch the women's Olympic marathon, after only getting about 5 hours of sleep on Saturday night.  My calves and hamstrings were kind of tight and sore yesterday, but this morning even that is better.

So Holly and I ran our 4.4 miles with an average pace of 9:45, then came back to my house where we did level 2 of the Jillian Michaels 6-pack Ab DVD (35 minutes) followed by about 15 minutes of additional leg and core exercises.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Feature: Sunday Spotlight

Since Sunday is my weekly rest day and I don't have much to blog about, I had this crazy idea to dedicate one blog post a week to  highlighting other true-life athletes.  Moms (and sometimes dads) who are devoted to their family and other responsibilities, but still manage to schedule time for regular exercise and sometimes even races and other events.  I thought it would be fun and helpful to get some fresh perspectives.  Though we all have unique lives and circumstances, we can still find common threads with others and maybe learn from and feel inspired by them.

So I hope you enjoy the first installment of Sunday Spotlight!  Today, I would like to introduce you all to my friend Heidi:

Here's Heidi's perspective:

I’ll start with introducing myself. My name is Heidi Graham. I am married and a full-time mother of three beautiful children. Their ages are 10, 8, and 5. My eight-year old is disabled and I will talk about her more later. When I am not at home being a mom, I am also a Health and Physical Education teacher at a middle school in the town we live in. I also hold a position in the children’s group in our church and right now I am currently in grad school working toward my master’s degree in educational leadership. I am not telling you all of this to prove to you that I am busy, because one thing that I have learned is that most of us are busy. Very few of us have that ideal down time in our lives that allows for us to work out on a regular basis without it interfering with anything else. But I do want to make the point that even though we may have full lives, exercise can and should be a priority.

This summer, along with all the items listed above, I participated in two triathlons. One sprint (.5 mile swim/12.4 mi bike/5k run) and one olympic (1 mi swim/25 mile bike/10k run) distance. It was not easy to train for these events, but it definitely was fun. Unlike other people, my motivation for training is not to lose weight. (As a matter of fact, I haven’t lost all that much weight this summer.) For me, the motivation comes from other places. First, my daughter Sarah is a huge motivation. She has cerebral palsy and struggles daily to do everyday stuff that so many of us take for granted. I want to set the example that we can do hard things. I want her to know that we don’t have to be perfect in order to try. And I want her to know that taking care of our bodies and being healthy are important traits and something worth working hard for.

Another motivation is my students. I firmly believe in leading by example. I remember in elementary school having a P.E. teacher that would talk to us about being active, but she was overweight and was not able to demonstrate or do most of the activities she taught us. When I got into high school I had a coach and P.E. teacher that lived a healthy lifestyle. She didn’t just teach what it meant to take care of your body, but she actually did it. She was very humble and never bragged or boasted, but we knew that everything she taught us was important to her. I remember as a student, wanting to impress her, wanting her to be proud of my accomplishments, wanting to be a better athlete or student because she was my leader. I want to be that kind of P.E. teacher.

My final motivation is for myself. I want to be active and healthy. I have a mother that at age 55 is wheelchair bound. She has krohn’s disease and has almost died from it more than once. I have never seen her exercise in my lifetime. I also have a mother-in-law that at age 65 walks and cycles almost every day. She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis but you would never know. My mother-in-law has never been sedentary. I think you have to plan now for where you want to be in the future. Being able to run, play and enjoy my life to the fullest is very important. It’s an investment. I am putting in the sweat, time and tears now so that I can cash them in later.

I honestly can’t think of any race that has stuck out to me more than others. Each race is a blast, maybe not during the event but definitely after. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love the feeling of setting a goal and following it through to the end. I also love racing with family. My husband has joined my addiction and raced a few triathlons with me. We were going to race a marathon together this summer, but he has had medical issues that will prevent him from racing. I’ve also raced with friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. Those races are always the most fun. The celebration at the end is exhilarating.

My #1 tip for those of you that are busy but really want to exercise is to find someone or something to be accountable to. Either find a racing buddy that is going to make you show up for that run, bike or swim; or sign up for a race that you have to be ready for. That accountability may give you the push you need to follow through. I always register for my races way ahead of time. I do much better on my workouts when I know I have to be ready for something. This year, I had a training buddy that kept me going. On the days that I just didn’t want to run, she was waiting for me. That really helped.

Most important, find something you like to do and make exercise a priority. You will make time for your priorities. But if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep doing it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hardest run of my life!

As I was talking with my husband last night, complaining that I'm starting to get bored with my current running routes, since I've done them all so much, we started to brainstorm about my different options.  I knew I wanted to do more than 26 miles and that this would be my last really long run before the marathon.  I finally decided I would run from our house into Pocatello on the main highway (about 10 miles), then take the road that comes back to our town through the mountains.  That meant making a very long climb (another 10 miles), then come down the other side and back home (10 miles).  Yep.  30 miles.  With a total elevation gain of over 3500'!  My husband said, "Uh, you're going to run 30 miles??"  Sure, why not. :)

I got my start around 5:45 this morning.  I used the Galloway method and did a 4:1 minute run/walk ratio starting from the very beginning, which I maintained for the entire run. The air was cool and there was a decent wind.  The first 12 miles flew by.  At least it felt like it.  My average pace for those first 12 miles, including the walking breaks, was around 11:15 min./mile.  After I started the climbing portion of the run, my pace slowed considerably.  I kept with the 4 minutes of running, 1 minute walking, but my legs were getting very tired so the running felt like trotting.  I tried to take some pictures with my phone to show the massive hills I had to go up, but the pics just didn't do them justice.  Sometime soon I am going to go drive the route and try to get some pictures with our regular camera to show you all how crazy this run actually was.  It felt like I was going uphill f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  I couldn't wait to get to the top, thinking that I could make up some time cruising down the last 10 miles.  Unfortunately, my legs were so torn up from going up, that going down was almost just as painful.
See that group of buildings way off in the valley directly above my head?  Yeah, I was down there at some point.  I'm not even anywhere near the top yet, either.

At around 20 miles, I called my husband who was at home on support stand-by.  I needed more water.  I carried all four of my hydration belt bottles, but that's only 32 ounces of water.  When he finally met up with me, I was parched and exhausted.  He had also brought me a little bit of Coke Zero - that hit the spot!  Then he left me to forge ahead, though his parting words were: "Call me if you get too tired and are ready to call it good."  I said, "I've only gone 20 miles."  "Yeah," he said "but it was a super hard 20 miles!"  I love him. :)

I just kept going, the downhill did help carry me a little bit, but not much.  I was hot, thirsty and my legs were throbbing.  By the time I reached 26 miles, I was just glad I made it that far, having kept consistent with my run/walk intervals.  So with just about 4 miles to go until I reached my house, I called my husband again and asked him to go to the gas station and get me a fountain drink - Diet Coke - then come find me.  By the time he got to me I had gone a total of 27.21 miles with an average pace of 12:38 and I felt pretty happy with that.  I was wiped out.  I don't know how ultra-marathoners do it!  Lots and lots of training, I suppose.

I spent the afternoon with the kids at the pool.  It felt good to just float around a bit, but my legs are still aching pretty badly.  Hopefully my recovery goes alright.  Anyway, it was a fun run.  I like adventures.

Tomorrow...the women's Olympic marathon!!  I can't wait to watch it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's our anniversary...let's celebrate with spin! :)

Today my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.  We got lucky with Chris' work schedule, as today was his scheduled day off.  So we pretty much spent the entire day just doing things together.  We began by going to the gym.  While Chris lifted weights, I spent 20 minutes on an elliptical, then did a few weights of my own for another 20 minutes.  Then we both were spinning our hearts out at a midday class with our favorite instructor - a great way to spend a couple of hours, and also burn the calories we knew we would be consuming later.  :)

After our time at the gym, we came home, showered and got ready to spend an evening out.  I fixed the kids dinner and got a few things done around the house, then we went to Texas Roadhouse for some delicious ribs and the softest, sweetest, whitest dinner rolls ever, mmmmmm....carb loading for my long run tomorrow?!  Hahaha!

Okay, well maybe it's too late to carb load for a run tomorrow morning, but it was still really good and worth the splurge.  After dinner, we went to an arcade and played all the games that we always watch our kids play when we take them there!  It was pretty fun, actually.  (As you can tell, there really isn't a lot to do in Pocatello.) On our way home we stopped to get some ice cream to take home to the little monkeys, and Chris wanted me to pick out some flowers.  He was leaning in the direction of some simple, classic red or pink roses.  I, on the other hand, was drawn to these wildly, artificially colored daisies!  They remind me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book and I LOVE them! :)

Now we're going to end our day-long date by watching a DVD from Netflix about a guy who ran the equivalent of a marathon a day all the way across Canada with an artificial leg (Into the Wind) before passing away from cancer.  Hopefully it will inspire me to forge ahead tomorrow morning with another loonnngggg run.  I'm excited to try out some new fuel items...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh, sweet cherries.

Today has been more or less a repeat of Tuesday; I started out early with a 6am spinning class, followed with 20 minutes on a treadmill, 45 minutes of strength training in the weight room and finally a second spin class.  Muscle group focus for today: triceps, shoulders and back.

Then, since I needed to do our main grocery shopping trip for the week, I did shower and change my clothes before going to Wal-Mart...hehehe!

One of my favorite finds for the day were these beautiful sweet cherries.  Having grown up mostly in Michigan where cherries abound, I have lots of memories of cherry picking and eating.  I don't remember loving them as much as I do now, though.  Did you know that cherries are full of antioxidants, reduce inflammation in the body, act as a natural painkiller and can even help you sleep because they contain natural melatonin?  Sounds like a perfect post-workout snack to me!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Trail run.

Taking another cue from Kara Goucher, I decided to run on a trail near our house today.  In her book, she suggests running on three surfaces each week: road, trail and track.  She says, "Running on these three surfaces ensures your running scenery will vary, and your feet and legs will get a better workout on the different terrain."

I began by running up and out on this dirt road for 1.5 miles.  I didn't realize how "up" it was until I turned around to run back and felt the downhill slope.

It was an interesting run because I didn't get out there until after 8 this morning, so it was already starting to get really warm.  As I slowly and heavily put one foot in front of the other on the first half, I felt quite tired, like bricks were in my shoes weighing me down.  Because of that, my average pace for the first half was around 12 min./mile.  Blah.  But...as I quickly picked up my pace and basically just "rolled" down the trail for the second half, my average pace lowered to just over 9 min./mile.  Talk about negative splits!  And even though I only ran 3 miles, when I finished I was dripping with sweat and my skin felt like it was starting to burn.  Good training for the last part of the marathon, I guess!  I won't be surprised to find myself running in the sun and heat on that day, too.

Oh, and another great thing about this run?  I didn't encounter any rattlesnakes!  Although I did have a couple of mule deer bucks bounce across the road in front of me from out of the shrubs.  I sure wish I could go as fast as they do... :)