Friday, October 30, 2009

Not much to report

Today would have been my first appt with the new trainer, but I had to cancel due to the issues with my back - which is better but still not good. I'm going to the chiropractor today and I hope that will help some. I think I may try yoga later today as well.

I guess this is why I haven't posted all week. I'm tired of talking about my back and in a few sentences, I've already run out of things to say.

In other news, "Operation Landscape Renovation" - in which we attempt to transform a poorly maintained back yard into a pleasant outdoor living space - is starting to become real. Yesterday we received initial plans from the landscape designer. Exciting stuff!

Have a great weekend folks!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Five Quick Things

1) Back spasms finally stopped this morning. Now my back is just sore and tight. I can stand up tall and move around better. Yay. I might even go into to the office tomorrow.

2) Lisa laid up + laptop + internet + credit card = dangerous. Four new CDs, some dog toys, jeans for my daughter, and race photos are on their way. Yet another reason it's good that my back is doing better...

3) My main running training parter, the one who got me through the long runs leading to Duke City, finished MCM yesterday at just a bit over 5 hours. I'm really happy for him.

4) Running group agreed that we do need an end of season celebration. We are celebrating on Thursday with PIE!! That's my kind of celebration. Wooot!

5) Biscochitos are quite possibly the best cookie ever invented. Good thing I only have a few left. Or maybe that's a bad thing, because I don't think anyone else in the house has been eating them. Ooops.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Owie. :-{

I am super thrilled to have won Moeben Arm Sleeves from Amanda at Run to the Finish. As strong as the sun is here where I live, I can imagine putting them to good use even in the summer. And of course, it's a great addition for fall running. They arrived in the mail yesterday. Woot!

Sadly, I haven't been able to try them out because...

Yesterday as I was collecting laundry from the kids' bathroom, my back went into spasms. Not sure how many of you have ever experienced back spasms, but they are excruciating. The pain. It took me down. Literally. Took me down to the floor. :-{

I'm guessing it's fallout from the half-marathon last weekend. But whatever caused it, it was a huge ordeal to get up out of bed this morning and into the kitchen. I can barely move without it acting up. Hopefully the muscles will calm down in a few days. And maybe next weekend I'll have a post about the sleeves in action. With photos even.

But for now: no half-century, no running. Instead, I'm wearing a heat pack, shuffling around like an old lady, trying to find a comfortable position to sit, and feeling sorry for myself. Blah.


Several questions on my last post about whether I could follow my Trainer to his new gym. Sure, it's within the realm of possibility, but it's not feasible. It is farther away (significantly) and I'd have to join a 2nd gym (no pool there). I'm going to try to be open minded about the new Trainer for at least a few weeks. If it doesn't seem like it's working out, I'll figure out a new plan at that time.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Husband has been working out weekly with a specific Personal Trainer for well over two years. Last year, he talked me into working with the Trainer 2-3 times per month as well.

It's been a good match. He listened to my goals. He helped me through injury. He was encouraging. He was pleasant to work with. I felt that my customized strength/stretching program was appropriately challenging. We saw progress. You can literally actually see the results in comparing my recent race photos to those from a few years ago. Better posture, more muscle definition, etc.

Imagine my surprise when he announced that today was his last day at the gym. Whoah! Didn't see that coming...

I realize that he decision to leave isn't about me, but I still feel abandoned! Sure, he's giving my paperwork to another trainer and tells me I'll be in good hands. But the reality is that she may or may not be a good fit for me. Then I'm not sure what I'll do.

I hope your Friday is off to a better start than mine was. Enjoy the weekend, folks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Random-ish Thoughts

1) I'm taking this week off for recovery. And by off, I mean off. Nothing more than foam rolling, stretching, and a little ab work. Feeling better day-by-day.

2) Husband & I are seriously considering signing up for a half-century ride that's happening on Sunday. Un-trained. Will probably decide one way or the other on Friday. While it seems spur of the moment, it really isn't. We talked about it before the half-marathon and decided to wait to see how we felt afterwards. It's not a race, just a ride. A challenging ride, but just a ride nonetheless. Stay tuned to see if we do this or not...

3) I was reviewing an annotated graph of my splits with a friend of mine, and he said "you know, based on this graph, I'd have to say that you're neither Slow nor Steady. " Which actually made me laugh. But he's right. So it's now gone from my comment signature.

4) I don't mention my kids too much on my blog because they've asked me not to. Having said that, I still feel the need to mention that this is college application season and I'm experiencing a lot of emotion about Son looking to go away to school next year.

5) Puppy is growing like a weed. He's as tall as Bandit now, but skinnier. And he's not done growing. Having both dogs is a lot of fun, though. Good stuff.

6) I picked up a second pair of those Saucony Triumph 5 shoes from ebay. They arrived yesterday. Wonder whether I should put them in rotation with the other pair or just save them for when the other pair is retired? Thoughts?

7) Had car drama earlier this week with the old Explorer that Son drives. Blah. Got repairs done to get it into a safe driving condition, but there is more work that needs to be done on it in the next few weeks. Unscheduled/unplanned repairs = no fun.

8) The scale and I are not on speaking terms. And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Race Photos

The photos are posted! The photos are posted! WoooHoooo!!

I went straight to the on course photos and already picked out the one I like best. I'll definately be buying one of Husband & I to add to my collection. And yes, I was all kinds of happy at this point in the race.

I was almost afraid to look at the finish photos. I expected a scowl. I clearly remember *not* being a Happy Finisher, yet I look pretty darn happy in my finish photos. This one's not bad actually. What do you make of that??

This post brought to you by the letter W


Several months ago, the kind people at POM Wonderful sent me samples of their 100% pomegranate juice which they describe as "a little bit sweet, a little bit tart and a whole lotta healthy." I rather liked the taste and when my samples were gone, I picked some up at the local Costco. My favorite way to enjoy it has actually been in the evening...somewhat of a replacement to a glass of red wine while I've been training.

A few weeks ago, they sent a few more flavors to try. First up was POM Kiwi which they describe as "slightly sweet, slightly tart". It was interesting and pleasant, and definately gets thumbs up from me. Next was POM Nectarine which quite honestly, I didn't enjoy.

For me, the straight up pomegranate juice is the best of the bunch. Thanks, POM for sending samples!


I've still got a wobble in my walk. The pain in my left side is mostly gone, but I'm having all kinds of trouble on the right side, including my IT Band (I think). Taking the Stick with me to work today. Also doing some serious stretching. May need to visit the chiropractor soon as well.


Got an email from coach today reminding us that practices have come to an end, congratulating everyone on their races, wishing us well, etc. I replied back that I think an end-of-season celebration is in order. It just doesn't feel right to end without one last meet up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Duke City '09 - Longer Version

[Updated with official results]

The Good
1) From strictly a numbers perspective, I'm showing improvement year on year on this course.

2007 - 02:36:58
2008 - 02:29:07
2009 - 02:25:14 (45 of 78 F40-44, 403 of 641 females, 885 of 1199 finishers, age grade 49% which makes me a mid-pack runner. wow. when did that happen?)

2) Husband signed up for the race and ran with me. He finished about 10ft in front of me because I just couldn't kick it at the end, but otherwise he was pretty much right there with me the entire way. Here is one of the pictures that my friend took at about the 7 mile mark. Husband is just a few steps ahead to my left. [You should recognize me from what I'm wearing based on your suggestions before the race.]

3) I have awesome running friends (that includes you all!) and a great coach. Really appreciated all the support.

Coach was running the race as well. This photo was taken by the same person at basically the same spot on the course, just a different angle. Notice how nobody else is really in the picture running in either direction? That's because he's freaking fast! He took 2nd overall at a time of 1:17:15 a 5:54 pace!!.

He passed us well before we got to the 5 mile marker (he was probably 8.5 miles into the race). He spotted me in the crowd coming the other direction, reached out his arm to give me a high five as we crossed paths, and shouted at me "Good job, Lisa, keep going!"

He's running in 2nd position in the race and he takes time to tell *me* that I'm doing a good job?!? How incredible is that!?

4) Couldn't have asked for better weather. It was about 48deg when we arrived at the race venue. Maybe 50deg when the race started. It warmed up when the sun came up and I was out of my long sleeves before the 2mile marker. It never got too hot and it wasn't windy. Just a lovely day for running.

5) Despite a lot of pain all over my body, my knee never bothered me one bit. Considering where I was a year ago, that is incredible!

The Bad

1) Didn't not achieve my primary objective, which was to finish strong and uninjured. Before the race, I was explaining to Husband that I've felt amazing after my recent training runs. I really didn't care too much about how long it took to get to the finish line, I just wanted to be able to run 13.1 miles and feel amazing.

He then asked what pace I expected to run at. I told him that I expected to finish right around an 11min/mi pace because that's been fairly comfortable in training. I thought it was within my grasp to finish at 2:20:00, and I expected to finish closer to 02:25:00 and I was fairly certain that even if I had a bad day it would be under 02:30:00. I also expected to go out too fast and have to slow down a bit in the the race.

I had an amazing race up to about the 8 mile marker. Then my body really started to hurt. Not in a good way and not in a way that I've experienced in training. I'm convinced that the difference is that I mostly run on dirt trails and this race was on pavement. My hips hurt. My ankles hurt. My shins hurt. My low back hurt. Every step was miserable.

2) It's a minor point, but I missed the 02:20:00-02:25:00 window by 22 seconds. I wasn't limited by my cardio-fitness level, I was limited by pain, and I gave up. I stopped having fun and started taking frequent walk breaks somewhere around the 11 mile marker. At that point, I just wanted it to be over.

The Ugly

1) The splits graph says it all. You can see where I started to slow down due to pain at mile 9. You can also see where I gave up on the race at mile 11.

2) It's the morning after, and I still feel like I've been hit by a truck. So my opinion of the experience is mostly unchanged. If I'm going to train for long-ish races on pavement, I'm going to need to do more training on pavement. I'm thinking 80% trails, 20% pavement would be a good mix. Otherwise, I really need to rethink whether or not I should be doing half marathon races on pavement at all.

Final Thoughts

While some of you define success by the numbers, and pour everything you've got out on the course on race day, I am truly seeking something different. Pain-free and joyful running. Feeling good at the end of the race. Knowing that the course didn't beat me (or beat me up).

I know it's out there. And I'm still seeking it...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Duke City '09 - Short Version

I did achieve a personal best for this course, my garmin says 2:25:22. The weather was great. The first half of the race was amazing. Husband ran with me, which was awesome. I saw several friends out on the course. In many ways, it was a great experience.

However, in the end, I was not the Happy Finisher that I wanted to be. I did not finish strong. It was not pain-free. All that pounding on the pavement really got to me. I felt like the course chewed me up and spit me out. That is disappointing, because finishing strong and uninjured was my primary goal.

What went wrong? I think it comes down to one thing. I run mostly on dirt trails because it's easier on my body, but the race is on pavement and I should have trained more on pavement to prepare my body. Lesson learned for next time.

Longer version tomorrow. Right now I think a nap is in order...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

Weather forcast predicts that it will be ~45 deg when the race starts on Sunday. High for the day is expected to be 74deg. It should be sunny and no wind. I expect it to be chilly at the start, but warm up quickly as the sun comes up over the mountains.

With that in mind, my plan is to wear shorts, with a sleeveless shirt under long sleeves. And a hat. And probably cheap gloves for the start. I'll also bring my fuel belt so that I have my own accelerade handy to drink when I need it.

One of the ladies from the run club who isn't running will be near the turn point. I can toss the long sleeves to her at that point.

I need you to help me choose which sleeveless and which shorts! Everything else has been determined. I've got it narrowed down to three choices.

Note: The grey shirt doesn't show up well in the photos, so keep in mind that it's the one I'm wearing in my profile pic.

Option 1 - Grey on top and bottom:

Option 2 - Grey on top, Orange on bottom:

Option 3 - Orange on top, grey on bottom:

What do you think? Which should I wear?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Looking Forward

Ran 3 miles easy with my running group yesterday evening. There will be five of us running on Sunday. One running the marathon, four running the half. The marathon runner has already qualified for Boston; he's shooting for a PR and hoping to finish in the top ten of the race. Coach is one of the half runner; he's aiming to be in the top three (hoping to win, I think). While I may not be anywhere near the fastest of the bunch, I plan on having the most fun. :-)

When this race is over, I'm going to ease off on running for a few months (not quit, just ease off) and re-focus on whole body strength. I've already added in more time on my core with a goal of four times per week this month. Next week, I'm going to start some new lower body exercises. And then next month, I'm getting back to push-ups.

I'm also planning to spend more time with some leash training work with my dogs. At the moment, I can walk one or the other fairly well, but putting them together is a disaster. With less running on my schedule, I'll have more time for walking the dogs. With some consistent training, I think I should be able to walk them together in a month or so.

Packet pick-up in two days! And a some point I should figure out what exactly I'm going to wear on race day...

Monday, October 12, 2009


I can't believe Duke City is almost here. I can honestly say that my main goal is to be a Happy Finisher. The race will be a resounding success if I finish strong and uninjured at whatever ever time it take me to complete the course. And I think my training this time around has set me up for that. I've been feeling good after most of my recent runs. It's a completely different experience for me than same time last year.

Having said that, I do have a few additional time goals for the race so I’ve laid them out in tiered fashion:

* Primary Goal - Be a Happy Finisher and cross the finish line uninjured and feeling strong at the end at whatever time it takes me to complete the course.
* Icing on the Cake - Prove that Third Time’s a Charm and be a Happy Finisher with a time under 2:29:07 for a course PR
* Stretch Goal - Unleash my Inner Rabbit and be a Happy Finisher with anything under 2:21:36 for a half marathon distance PR.

Six days, one hour, and fifteen minutes to go. But who's counting?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feeling Good

Husband & I ran 7 miles in 77 minutes on the trail this morning. What kind of pace is that? It's faster than my prescribed easy pace. It's slower than my tempo pace. Maybe it's steady state?

Whatever it was, I felt good the whole way. I believe that I'm ready for the half next weekend. Speaking of which, here are a few things that I think have helped me get to this point:

* Saucony shoes with SofSole inserts - These are the shoes that I picked out after winning an gift certificate and I already had the sofsoles, they just didn't fit correctly in my other shoes. This combination seems to be a winner for me. I plan to replicate the setup in a second pair of shoes.

* 7-8 lbs less weight to carry around - Sure, I was hoping to be down a full 11 lbs, but 7-8 isn't too bad. It makes a difference in how my clothes fit, it makes a difference in my self-image, and I think it's making a physical difference with my running.

* Stretching and Strengthening - I learned with my knee injury last year how important it is for me to pay attention to this aspect of my training. I've been keeping up with it and I'm running without pain this time around. That's a very good thing.

Next post will include my goals for the race. Meanwhile, good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fiesta Friday

Today is Fall Break for the kids, no school. I thought they might want to go to Balloon Fiesta this morning, but they would rather sleep in. With any luck, the balloons will come our way...

Court went well for Son. He was polite and respectful and the judge gave him a deferral. As long as he doesn't get any further citations in the next 3 month, this one will be dropped.

No sleeping in for me. I'm up early for my 7am appt with the Trainer. And I think I'll try to get into the chiropractor afterwards. I have a bit of minor discomfort in my low back and I'd like to try to work that out before it gets bad.

I was supposed to run 4 easy yesterday. I've mostly been running those types of runs on my own, but I thought I'd meet with the running group for a change. Well, they ended up cancelling. D'oh! I still could have run on my own, but I just wasn't feeling it. I'm planning on 7 easy tomorrow which will be my third run of the week anyway.

I've been thinking about my goals for Duke City. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on that.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


  • I'm taking Thursday off work. I need to attend traffic court with my minor-for-another-three-months son in the afternoon and decided to ask for the morning off to take care of some other personal business. It will be nice not to work, but it's not exactly a vacation day.
  • Got another nice note from Coach. He thinks I'm going to have a good race. I'm cautiously optimistic
  • My sister's birthday is tomorrow. I started making a b'day gift way back in August and never finished it. Now it is going to be late. I hate that about myself.
  • Received the flu shot today. Now my arm hurts. Ouch.
  • It's Balloon Fiesta week in Albuquerque. Yes, it's awesome to see so many hot air balloons up in the sky at once, but being my 19th year of Fiesta I'm kind of getting tired of all the traffic and such...
  • We've had a healthy dose of autumn weather. I love autumn. It is my favorite seaon of them all!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time to Taper

Tonight was the final push. A longish run of 9 miles. I had arranged to run this with a guy from my running group who runs just a little bit faster than I do, but had a similar run on his schedule for today.

Both of us needed to get off work early to meet up so we could finish before it got dark. The weather was perfect. And we chose a running location that's mostly flat.

I had been a bit apprehensive about the run all day, but in the end I couldn't be more pleased with how this turned out. 9 miles at an average pace of 10:44. My fastest long run yet. I felt good at the end and 'sprinted' across my imaginary finish line.

Duke City is 11.5 days away as I write this. With this run in the books, it is officially time to taper.

Bring it on!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Easy Four"

My schedule called for an "Easy Four" and this is how it played out (in half mile increments):

I find the splits by half mile more interesting this morning than the mile splits because it shows that I did a fairly good job keeping an even pace except for the first half mile which was down hill and the half mile after the turn point (no clue why that one was faster).

Despite lack of speed work, my easy runs seems to be naturally speeding up. It feels like I'm putting in the same effort, but somehow my legs are carrying me at a faster pace. Wild, huh?

That's all for now. Enjoy your day, folks!

editted to add - just got this note from Coach, which sums things up nicely - "We just need to stay focussed now, you have two weeks left and you can do this!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009


This morning I completed my twelve mile run in 2:24:00 which is exactly 12:00min/mi. McMillan says my long run pace should be between 11:40 and 12:40. Looking strictly at the summary pace, I was well within the window.

Of course, my real pace is never that consistent. I ran the first six miles with Husband. Garmin says the pace for those 6 was 11:07. That's actually too fast for a long run for me. But I felt good and at the time it really didn't seem too fast. It felt just right.

That begs the question - What happened? Nothing really happened other than Husband only ran 6 with me, and I ran the final 6 solo. Garmin shows that I began slowing down immediately when our paths departed. This seems to be a trend for me. If I'm running with someone and we're doing different distances, as soon as I'm running solo I slow down. I'm not sure why, but I do.

Anyway, the second half must have been closer to 13 min/mile for my average to have been 12. And 13 is too slow. So while on paper, it looks like I was running in the window, in reality, I was too fast at first and then too slow. Never really hitting my pace target at all.

Bigger question - How do I feel? I actually feel pretty good. Sure, I'm experiencing a bit soreness in my legs, but I think it is normal soreness from being on my feet for nearly 2.5 hrs. Nothing hurts in a 'something is wrong' kind of way. And if I had to have run another 1.1 miles today, I'm sure I could have done it.

I'm ready to trust my training. Tomorrow rest. Monday 4. Tuesday 9. That's the final push. Then it will be taper time...

Friday, October 2, 2009

September Tally

* Ran: 55.0 miles
* Cycled: 89.1 miles
* Strength: 3 sessions
* Races: 0 - 1 DNS, 1 cancelled

* It is what it is. My dad's death took a much larger toll on me emotionally and physically than I had expected. I'm feeling better now.

Plans for October
* Enjoy life - "Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present"
* Finish strong and uninjured at Duke City.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Could it be?

This morning I got up a half hour early (which is much more reasonable than stupid o'clock) so that I could do my 5 mile run before work.

The plan was 5 miles easy and I was out there running to dawn's early light. The sun didn't fully pop up over the mountains until I was almost back home

Everything about this morning was perfect. It was a cool 51 degrees, slight breeze. I felt the air on my face, listened to the rustling of the leaves along the ditch bank, and realized just how good it is to be alive.

None of the stresses of daily life were out on the trail with me this morning. No pressure to hit a particular pace. No pain, no worries. It was peaceful.

I chose to wear my fuel belt for a change just to practice with it again. I barely noticed that it was there. And I never felt the need to reach down for the nuun I was carrying. I also never felt compelled to check my Garmin for pace.

This run, on this morning, was about moving and living and breathing and enjoying every bit of the experience. The kind of running that I enjoy most.

What's amazing is that my pace was a full 40sec per mile faster than a similar run last week *and* 10sec/mile faster overall than my run Tuesday (when I powered up the hill at the end).

Could it be that things are finally coming together?