Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December Tally & Year in Review

But First

Resting my freshly pedicured toesies on Bandit. :-)

December Tally

The Digits
Ran 35.7 miles
Cycled 14.0 miles
Went to the gym 14 times (breakdown: 12 core, 12 lower body/PT, 10 upper body)
One race, Jingle Bell 5K with 3rd place AG award

Eased back into running after finishing up PT with a fresh perspective. I'm not going to measure success by mileage or speed - it's all about being healthy, staying injury-free, and having fun.

Plans for Jan
New month, new year, new handy-dandy notebook!
Fun local 5K next weekend.
Start back up with Coach and running group at the end of January.
Meet with Trainer Guy a few times and take my gym sessions up a notch.

Year in Review (50 words or less)

From a fitness perspective, 2008 was the year of

Thirteen events, Joining a Running Group, Finding a Trainer, three AG Placings, one DNF, three PRs (HM, 10K, sprint tri), one First (metric century), Finding a Coach, one Injured Knee, Becoming the Gym Queen, & Gaining a Fresh Perspective. Always Interesting, Never Boring, Life is Good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Training

I had an extra long appt with Trainer Guy at the gym this morning. He spent 90mins with me instead of the usual 50mins because he had no clients in the time slot after mine. I always appreciate the time spent working with him. He's good at correcting form and explaining what we're trying to accomplish with each exercise or stretch.

One interesting new thing being added into my routine - one legged squats. Have you ever done those? Aye-yi-yi! I'm definately going to be feeling those tomorrow. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment because I set up a follow-on appt with him for next Friday (the 9th) to work with him again.

Came home to find an email from Coach that started off like this:

"I hope you all enjoyed your holidays, but now it's time to get to work..."

Holy smokes, he sounds serious! Good thing I'm not slacking off *too* much.

With today's workout behind me, Daughter, her friend, and I are going to get pedicures this afternoon. Girl time! Besides, I think I deserve some pampering after the gym torture this morning.

Wow. It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the year. Time sure flies, doesn't it?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Establishing a rhythm

I know everyone is anxiously awaiting the reveal of my 2009 tentative schedule, but that's going to have to wait a few more days because I'm still working on it. Don't hold your breath if you are looking for news of going long. I won't be racking up excessive mileage, but I do plan to have an injury-free year and loads of fun.

Anyway, I feel like I'm in a training rhythm again. I did a 4 miles easy solo run on Saturday. Husband and I ran 3.5 miles easy together on Sunday. The first two were with Bandit. That was fun. Knee is still holding out, so that's good news.

This morning I did upper body, core, and stretching at the gym. Unlike last week, it was basically empty. Maybe everyone is back to work? Whatever the reason, it gave me opportunity to snap another Gym Queen photo.

This is my last week of knee rehab. I'm ready to move on to some new exercises. I was able to establish an appt with Trainer Guy tomorrow morning with focus on lower body. Exciting stuff.

On the way home, I tossed a registration in the mail for Husband & I to do a local 5K on the 11th. That one is definately just going to be for fun. It is also aimed at keeping my running legs "tuned up" during the winter months.

For the record, I'm planning to return to the pool as well as cycle commuting in February. Probably won't do much of either of those in Jan, nor have I done much of it in December. But it was a conscious choice, not an oversight.

I'm feeling good about all of this. 2009 is going to be a good year. :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Looking Forward

I sincerely hope everyone had a blessed Christmas, celebrating in a way that gave them joy and peace. Ours was laid back and quite pleasant.

Never made it out for my Christmas run, but that's okay, I was spending time with my family making memories instead.

Husband & I did go to the gym in the morning on the 26th which was busier than I expected once again. For the record, let me just say that lunges are the gift that keeps on giving. Owie.

Anyway, with Christmas behind us and the New Year just around the corner, it seems fitting to look back at the year that was and look forward to the year that comes.

But before I get to ahead of myself, let me back up to Christmas Eve Eve (or Dec 23rd as it is commonly known). For it was on this day that I decided to stop in to see Coach and wish him a Merry Christmas. I left him with some gingerbread pancake/muffin mix, and he left me with some food for thought.

First we discussed the state of my knee and what I've been doing these last few months to rehab it. Then he handed me a race calendar and asked me to take my goals to the next level. What races to I want to do and why? Which are my A races? Which can we train through? Which ones are just for fun? Which ones do I want to really want to test myself at?

So much to think about.

He said that I don't need to lay out my whole schedule right now, and it's even okay to add some at the last minute, but I really need to think about this so I don't sabotage myself.

I never thought of it that way.

So that's what I'm going to do over the next few days. Lay out a tentative calendar and send it to him before the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Not exactly the kind of weather that puts a little jingle in your jolly, especially here in the high desert. My fear is that it will rain all day, and we'll end up with icy roads again in the morning. Ick.

I made it into the gym this morning for some treadmill running, knee rehab exercises, core work, & stretching. I was surprised at how many people were there compared to a normal workday morning. Apparently folks were taking advantage of some time off work by getting to the gym. I guess that's a good thing, but it reminds me to expect the new year resolutionists to take over for a little while.

Merry almost-Christmas everyone. Try to stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy time with friends and family. :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

NB 1062 Shoe Review

Almost a full two months ago, the good people at New Balance Harrisburg sent me a pair of 1062s to try out - this is a neutal cushion shoe, for someone (like me!) who does not pronate.

The shoe is good looking, in my opinion, and I was particularly thrilled to get a pair with orange trim.

I haven't put too many miles on them yet since I'm building up slowly after knee injury, but I definately appreciate the cushion in these shoes. It's quite noticable when running on the road (less pounding) and good for someone like me who is coming off of an injury.

Not sure if you can tell from the photo, but the laces are made in a way that keeps them secure when tied. I hate having to stop and tie my shoes during a run, so I found that to be a neat feature.

I've found these to be stiffer than my Nikes. Not sure if I like that or not.

Although I haven't weighed them, they also feel heavier.

The biggest issue for me is a narrower toe box that doesn't fit my foot quite right, but we're all made differently so it might not be a problem for you.

As with most shoes, I'm planning to replace the insoles with something with better arch support.

All-in-all, I'd rate this as a well made neutral cushion training shoe, definately worth giving a try if you don't pronate and could use the extra cushioning.

On an separate note, found this Elmo hat in the closet. I think it was from when my daughter was in early elemetary school. Surprisingly, it fit me, so I wore it on my run today. It made me smile. :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008


The Good
- I'm officially off work for two weeks beginning Monday.
- I beat all the boys from my work team at Wii Boxing at a holiday party and thusly earned the title of "Wii Boxing Queen" for an afternoon.
- Appliance repair guy is coming to look at our non-functional oven this afternoon

The Bad
- Appliance repair guy needs to come look at our non-functional oven this afternoon.
- Still not done with Christmas shopping.

The Ugly
- Bandit was up until 1am in crazed-dog-mode. Very uncharacteristic behavior; could NOT get him to settle down and sleep. Concerned that he got into some candy or something. Hope he's okay.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Blahs

Yesterday I managed to salvage a whopping 1.8 HBBC points for my pathetic lazy self. It's not much, but better than scoring another big fat goose egg. This was accomplished by 10mins of stretching and strategically parking 0.75 miles from the office so I had 1.5 miles of unavoidable walking round trip.

Sadly, I opted once again to skip the gym this morning which really isn't like me. I generally look forward to starting my day with a workout. I think maybe I have a case of the dreaded Winter Blahs. I'm guessing it has something to do with grey cloudy skies and icy sidewalks. I'm ready for the sun to come back any day now.

On a brighter note, behold the most excellent Gym Queen handy-dandy notebook for recording my workouts in 2009.

Isn't it perfect?!?

I'm so ready for 2009. Bring it on!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lazy Bones

Yesterday's exercise? Nothing. I can't even claim cross-training from snowman building or driveway shovelling b/c the kids took care of that. I had a lot of work to do, and was able to do it from home, but my work involves sitting on my rear staring at a computer screen. And that's what I did. All.Freaking.Day.

This morning? Looked outside and decided that I didn't want to find out if the roads were icy on the way to and early trip to the gym. I'm perfectly happy to hang out at home waiting for the sun to come up so I can clean up some icy spots in the driveway before someone hurts themself. Lame excuse? Maybe.

Perhaps I'll get up off my rear and do something later this evening. Or not.

There's always tomorrow, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The children were nestled

all snug in their beds
as visions of a snow day
danced in their heads


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Thoughts

* Car problems happened yesterday *after* my run, when the weather was nice, and I wasn't in a hurry to get anywhere.

* Spent a lazy morning with Husband before he left for a business trip (yes, played hooky from church).

* Had lovely shopping afternoon with Daughter before weather turned icky. Winter is heading our way.

* Discovered a 5K on Jan 11 with a starting line within 6 miles of my house *and* a new spring time sprint triathlon within 12 miles of my house. Excellent options!

* Cats doing better after dentals with extractions on Friday. Cats with dental issues = hissed off. Cats on pain meds = floppy. Cats today = playful.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday turn of events

Got up early this morning
Met running group at trail head.
Nice slow run with friends.
Fun stuff.
Got in the car to head home
Car won't start.
Oh crud.
Called Husband.
He came to look at it, it's not the battery.
Called AAA for a tow.
Got towed to pep boys
Walked to a local eating establishment for some food.
Walked back.
Waited some more
Car needs new fuel pump & fuel filter
Due for an oil change so do that too.
Called Husband for a ride home
Rescued and brought home.
Maybe car will be ready later.
Or not
Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fun facts

Jingle Bell race results finally posted. Looks like I was 3 of 15 women 40-49. Some of them were walking, but whatever. Also finished 43rd overall of 122 total. I found that to be particularly cool because I happen to be 43 yrs old. Yeah. I'm a dork like that.

You know how sometimes you pick someone out to try to beat? Well, I happened to be chasing after a couple of kids (ages 7 and 10). Sad, huh? I finally caught them right around the 3 mile marker. For the record, I did shout out to them "Good job, girls!" as I trudged on by. Looking at the final results, it seems I beat them by a whopping 3 seconds. LOL.

This morning I did weights and other strength work. I included lunges and wall squats, things that aren't normally on my schedule. Wow. I'm feeling it now. But it's all good. I'm happy that I was able to do strength work three times this week.

Not sure about the rest of you, but I keep track of my workouts in a handy dandy notebook. Since the year is almost over, I will be needing a new one soon. To my delight, I found something today for 2009. It's pink *and* it has a crown on it. OH.MY.GOSH. I can't believe how perfect that is!! It's the little things that make me happy.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

I pretty much suck at wordless Wednesday. It's been less than 12 hrs and I can't stand having a post with almost no words. LOL.

I enjoyed looking at the photos side by side. The expressings are genuine. I like it. They both look more mature this year. I find it amusing that the kids chose basically the same color shirts for the photo year to year. Funny!

Yesterday was rough due to lack of sleep, but I slept well last night and feel energized this mornings.

Great comments about the Christmas stress situation. It has a lot to do with trying to meet the expectations of others. I have decided not to do cookies. I'm skipping an exchange party that had me stressed out. I'm cutting way down on cards. I put up only the decorations that I wanted and put the rest back into the closet. We did gift boxes for four orphans in Mexico several weeks ago and that felt meaninful. A lot of this other stuff is just stuff. I feel better now.

I've done fairly well with my workouts so far this week. Monday - strength. Tuesday - run. Wednesday - strength. And as soon as I get up off my rear, I'm heading off for a run.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Almost Wordless" Wednesday

2008 Christmas Card Photo:

2007 Christmas Card Photo:

Tis the Season to be Stressed

Preface: I'm writing this post at 2:30am Wednesday. I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Ugh! I'm going to try to go back to bed at 3:00am. I'm not sure how I'm going to feel at 5:30am when it's time to get up, but I'm fairly certain it won't be pretty.

The few weeks before Christmas are always stressful for me. There's something fundamentally wrong with that, but I haven't figured out how to avoid it. It's actually the reason why I found myself unable to sleep.

As of last night, Christmas gifts to the out-of-state relatives have been ordered. Hopefully the gifts will arrive to their destinations on time. Yay for internet shopping.

"Take 1" at a Christmas card photo occured yesterday. "Take 2" will be today. Then we pick one and. I still need to get stamps. Maybe tomorrow I can sign and address the cards and get them ready for photo insertion on Friday so they can get in the mail on Saturday.

Shopping for Husband is going okay. Shopping for the kids, not so much.

I'm seriously thinking about *not* baking Christmas cookies this year. I'm also unmotivated to get the rest of the decorations up.

Maybe I'm turning into the Grinch, but it just seems like we make this time of year way more complicated than it needs to be.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Looking Forward.

Thanks everyone for the comments on my last post. I'm thrilled beyond words to have been able to run the whole 5K without knee pain. That was just huge for me. The AG award was like icing on the cake. I still take the award with pride, but also with the understanding that it was a small field and many faster runners were doing a local Jingle Bell Triathlon this weekend instead.

Knowing that my knee is truly improving, I'm ready to plan for 2009. As I mentioned in a previous post, before I choose which races to do, I wanted to go through a process to figure out why I am doing this and what I wanted to achieve. After that, it will be easier to figure out which races (the when and how).

□ A: Be healthy
□ A: Have fun
□ A: Injury free
□ B: Be faster
□ C: Go farther (or farthest to date)

□ A: Min training: Strength* 2x per week, swim 1x per week, run 2x week, cycle 1x week, rest 1x week
□ A: tbd-Something about strategic eating
□ B: Target training: Strength 3x per week, swim 2x per week, run 3x per week, cycle 2x per week, rest 1x week
□ B: Average 1 event per month
□ B: Decent Race photos (yes, I’m vain like that!)
□ C: Get weight back under 120lbs and maintain

* Strength sessions include quad work to prevent PFS flare-up, core, & upper body. I may add in circuit training like we did in class last week.

□ A: Good running form – not sure how to measure this, but relates to injury-free.
□ A: Finish at least two 10Ks
□ A: Finish at least two 5Ks
□ B: 10K PR and break an hour. Personal Best is 1:02:19 at Run for Zoo May 2008
□ B: 5K PR and break 28:30. Personal Best is 28:48 at Chips-n-Salsa 2006
□ C: only if knee permits - half-marathon PR and break 02:15:00. Personal Best is 2:21:36 at Unser 2008
□ C: Trail race – any finish time, any distance. I really want to try this out. J

□ A: Finish one cycling event such as Albuquerque Century (metric)

□ C: tbd-something about stroke count reduction

□ A: Finish 2 sprint triathlons
□ B: Sprint distance PR at least one of the following : Jay Benson, Socorro, and/or Patriot
□ C: Finish 1 Oly triathlon

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jingle Bell 5K Race Report

Husand & I headed off to Balloon Fiesta Park this morning for the Jingle Bell 5K. This is the 3rd year that we've done this race, so we knew what to expect with regard to the course. It starts off with a run up a hill, then down the hill, then a track around the park.

I was looking forward to the run, but really wasn't sure what to expect from myself. I have been building up slowly trying to protect my knee. I've done a few 8R-2W intervals, but no continuous running since Duke City back in early October.

The plan for the morning: Don't push it too hard, but put in good effort. Try to find a pace that could be maintained for a 10K (even thought it's a 5K). If any knee pain occurs, walk.

And off we went.

Here's a breakdown of my split paces (and the elevation chart):
1: 10:33, up the hill +143ft
2: 9:14, down the hill -153ft
3: 10:01, mostly flat
0.1: 8:00, mostly flat & booking it to the finish

I am happy to report that my knee didn't hurt the entire time. YAY!

I was pleased with my finish time - 30:38 (9:52 min/mi). This was much better than I expected given the circumstances.

We hung around for a while waiting for awards. Husband was antsy to leave, but since it was a relatively small field, I thought his finish time (26-something) might have been good enough for an AG award.

I wasn't quite right.

We were both surprised when *I* was the one called to the podium - 3rd place F40-49.

What a way to end the season.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Knowledge is Power


The second day of our Corporate Athlete class started with a module on nutrition. It was presented in a way that explained what happens as food is digested (mostly from a blood sugar/insulin perspective).

For the first time, I think I finally UNDERSTAND why eating several small meals is important. Why pairing protein with carbs is important. And why skipping meals or going to long without food can cause you to gain weight.

I know that none of this is new news to anyone, but it's one thing just to be told something and something all together different to understand.

With this new understanding, I came to the realization that I have destructive eating patterns. I need to eat strategically.

The worst for me has been in the afternoon. I don't eat a nutrtious snack within 3-4 hrs of lunch, my blood sugar drops, my body thinks I'm starving, and I end up binging before/during/after dinner.

I don't always eat a balanced breakfast either. Sometimes I exercise early without breakfast, send my blood sugar plummeting, and end up binging afterwards.

I made a commitment to myself to fix my nutrition effective immediately. And yesterday afternoon went fairly well even with a holiday concert/dinner.

I'll be focussing on this for a while as I try to develop new habits. I'll be taking some snacks to work to keep in my desk. And setting time based reminders to nudge me to eat. Wish me well!

Random Thoughts

We did yoga yesterday, I didn't care for it.

I did my PT quad sets and core this morning and feel good about that.

Husband & I are running Jingle Bell 5K tomorrow. Yikes. I feel totally unprepared, this is definately just going to be a fun run for me.

I stopped back at Marshalls. To my delight, I found a jacket in my size just like the light blue one, but in more of turquoise color. Score!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thoughts on Corporate Athlete

So far, this Corporate Athlete class has been interesting.

We've talked about maximizing performance by being fully engaged on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. We've talked about the benefits of interval training. We've talked about aerobic training. We've talked about the stories we tell ourselves about why we can't do something. We've talked about barriers to success and breakthroughs.

I think anyone that reads my blog would get something out of the class if they had the opportunity to take it.

Tomorrow we talk about action plans and nutrition and something else that I can't remember

The class also includes some physical activity. Today we were given those stretchy bands and were led through a series of 8 or so exercises. The idea is that we could take these with us on vacation, to the office, to a soccer game, or whatever and be able to do some resistance training - no excuses. Definately gave me something to think about. Maybe I'll take my band into my office and do some of those exercises when I'm stuck in phone meetings.

Next up was a circuit workout. One minute each - as many as you can - pushups, crunches, lunges, tricep dips, & wall squats. I think I was the only lady in the class to attempt "real" pushups. That was a confidence boost.

Then we were given the opportunity to go through the circuit a second time. This was optional. I'd guess that half the class opted out. And out of maybe 10 ladies, only 2 of us continued onto the second set. All those negative self-images from earlier in the week? I squelched them (at least temporarily) by sticking through the entire workout. It was tough, but satisfying.

Tomorrow we're doing yoga during class. Ick. Yoga is not my favorite.

Take care everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Commuter Chronicles

The plan this morning was cycle comute to work, do upper body strength at the fitness center.

Packed my pannier bags the night before. Planned my strategy for cycling clothes - it's a little tricky, 30s for the ride in, upper 50s for the ride home. Figured out how much time I needed, when I should leave, and set the alarm.

Got up. Geared up. Pumped up the tires.

Meanwhile, son is out in the driveway fiddling with the car. Will not start. Stopped to talk with him about it a bit, then decided no worries, take my car, I'm cycling in.

Got off a little later than planned. Things are good. Then I think. Hmmmm. I don't think I have my toiletries. Better stop to check. Nope . Definately don't have those. Okay, turn around.

Back home. Laid my bike down at the end of the driveway (it's gravel and it was faster than walking it back up to the house) grabbed my toiletries bag out of my gym bag, bungeed it to the rack. Pick up the bike...walk it back up the street.


What the font?

When I laid it down, my rear light rotated inward and was hitting the tire. But I had trouble muscling it back out. Had to get the multi-use tool out of the bag to loosen it up, adjust, tighten.

Time check. Oh wow. I'm WAY behind schedule now.

Plan B. I'll head to the other fitness center at work. It will cut 2 miles off my commute. No time for upper body now.

Arrive, stretch, head in for a shower, change clothes. Walk to the hair dryer area. No dryer anywhere to be found. I presume someone stole it.

Crud. Arrive at office a few minutes late with wet hair. Just lovely.

[Edited to add: Rest of the day went okay. Got a few comments on my hair - it dries wavy and I normally blow dry it straight. after work, we got the the car jump started and took it in to PepBoys. It's back with a new battery and Son should have no problems tomorrow. Cycle commuting is always interesting, sometimes it goes well, sometimes you have to improvise]

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Miscellany

Today started off with a decent workout:
* 2W-8R-2W-8R-2W for a total of 1.9 miles in 22 mins.
* Stretches (hamstrings, calves, quads, arms, IT band, etc)
* 30 reps each of my PT quad sets (30x12=360 reps total - lotsa quad stuff)
* 3x25 bicycle crunches (ouch - those really hurt)

Tomorrow I am planning to cycle commute plus do my upper body strength routine.

Wed & Thu I'm in full day class called "The Corporate Athlete - Training for Maximum Performance." The idea is that we can learn from athletic training to perform well in all areas of our lives. The company is paying for the class *and* paying me to take it. Sweet deal, huh?

Also, Daughter starts driving school classes Wednesday evening. Yikes.

Our Christmas tree goes up this evening. Not sure if I posted about it last year, but the tree fell over in the middle of December causing my favorite glass ornaments to be smashed to bits. Very sad. I bought some new ones after Christmas when they were on sale. Anyway, I have a weird feeling about the tree this year. I keep thinking - "these are not my ornaments". We'll see how I feel this year when the tree goes up.

You folks had a lot to say about my whining yesterday. Wow. Thanks for all the feedback. You've given me a lot to think about. Here's where my head is at after digesting all your comments:

1) I probably need to look at weight *and* body fat. I know for certain that I have gained muscle in the past year. I'm fairly sure I've also gained fat in the midsection. But my target weight is probably not correc because muscle weighs more than fat.

2) I like the idea of writing down what I eat, but I don't actually want to do that. Today I did think about everything that's gone in my mouth and asked myself - "If I had to write it down, how would I feel about it later?" It affected my choices. Good stuff.

3) I'm a middle-aged multi-sport athlete that also does weight training. I shouldn't expect to be super-skinny like my stick-figure teens or the super-tiny runner-women. I need to embrace my body for what it is, "rock what I got", and (like a fine wine) just keep getting better with age. Sound more reasonable?

With that, this Gym Queen signs out!