Friday, December 31, 2010

Dec Tally and 2010 Summary

December Tally

Numbers:
  • 67.6 miles by feet (48.0 miles running, 19.6 miles walking)
  • 8 trips up the hill
  • 1 5K race
Thoughts:
  • My walking mileage suffered due to inclement weather. My running was right where I wanted it to be though
  • Vitamin D3 experiment was successful. Felt more like myself after starting supplements regularly.
  • Really enjoyed training with my marathon friends.
Plans for January:
  • Keep running outside!
  • Begin half-marathon training for possible April race.
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2010 Summary (Running version, bullet style)
  • Kicked off year with half-marathon training
  • Ran consistently, had fun, felt great
  • Achieved a half marathon PR
  • Experienced sudden recurrence of PFS in left knee
  • Tripped and suffered road rash and fractured radial head in left elbow
  • Quit running for three full months
  • Spent lots of time walking dogs and climbing hills
  • Received Euflexxa injections
  • Started over with running
  • Discovered trails and off-road races
  • Joined marathon friends on long runs

2010 sure didn't unfold the way I anticipated, but I learned to adapt and enjoy each day as it came. I'm not sure what 2011 has in store for me, but I'm ready to do the same.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A few of my favorite things - cold weather edition

I hate the treadmill and love running outside. It's a bit of a challenge with the cold weather, but not impossible. Here are a few things, in no particular order, that have made a big difference for me.

[p.s. It's been a bit busy this week with the in-laws visiting. I should be back to normal posting and commenting soon.]

1) CEP compression socks:
I was lucky enough to win these from a blog giveaway back in November. It took quite a while for them to arrive, but it was worth the wait. It does take a bit of effort to get them on, but that's due to the compression which is where the benefit comes from. They come in different sizes based on calf circumference which makes it easy enough to choose the correct size.

To be honest, I think they were my secret weapon in helping to conquer the hills recently. From the moment I put them on, my legs felt 'fresh.' I noticed an improvement in recovery after my long run as well. As a bonus, it is nice to have an extra layer under my tights in the cold weather

I got them in black which is a 'safe' color, but would love to get a pair in one of the fun colors (pink or neon green) for when the weather warms up.

2) Sugoi Mid-Zero Tights:I bought a pair of these several years ago and they are my "go-to" tights when the weather turns chilly. I picked up an extra pair this year so that I don't have to rush these through the laundry. In my experience, these run small. I recommend sizing up.

3) SportHill Infusion Splice pullover:Got one of these on clearance this year and love it so much that I bought a second one in another color as well as one for Husband. It's rated for weather 0-40deg and winds up to 30mph. I can vouch for it being wind-proof up to ~20mph winds. If you are looking for it, Sierra Trading post is the only place that I've seen it online.

4) Descente Coldout Balaclava:It had gotten to the point where the cold air on my face was the weak link when it came to getting out to run in the cold weather. Problem solved with this balaclava. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer in the back so that it would stay tucked into my collar.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tenacity pays off

Tenacity (n): doggedness: persistent determination

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Ours was quite merry, but to be honest, at this point I'm sick of Christmas music, Christmas decorations, and Christmas treats. How long do most of you leave your trees and other decorations up? I was seriously tempted to take ours down today. But that seemed a bit drastic. Especially since the in-laws are coming on Monday. I'm thinking I really should leave it up until they arrive. But don't be surprised if I take everything down on Tuesday. Just saying...

Anyway, that wasn't what I really wanted to blog about. I wanted to blog about a couple of recent runs. The first of which occurred on none other than Christmas Eve morning. It wasn't a long run, only two miles, but it was a special run. Remember me talking about the hill that I wanted to be able to run up without stopping? Well on that morning, I *owned* the hill, at least by my standards. And boy did that feel good!

Then this afternoon, I met one of my marathon training friends for the back portion of his long run. He was running 15, I met up for the final 7 miles. We took a different route than we usually do. This one had us out on some rolling hills. At first I was a bit nervous about whether or not I could keep up with the hills. But guess what? The hills were no problem. They were very mild compared to "my" hill. I actually felt terrific throughout the run.

All-in-all,I think it's just another reminder that hard work and tenacity pays off. And that's a great lesson as we contemplate all the possibilities that lie ahead in the upcoming new year...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, everyone!

"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles." ~Author Unknown



These are the photos that are going out in our Christmas New Years Cards. The cards may be going out late, but the smiles are genuine. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Off to a good start

Normally, I'm not a fan of Mondays. But I'm off work all week, so today is different. Instead of the start of my workweek, it is the start of a week off. First on the agenda, a morning run.

I chose a loop for my route today. Two sections of it are on trails, and two sections are on asphalt. I figured it would be a nice way to mix things up.Unfortunately, the trail sections were a muddy mess. But it worked out okay.

The total distance was just a little shy of 5.5 miles. I went easy on the pace and planned in a few 90 second walk breaks. I was happy to see that the last two run sections were a bit faster than the first two. I always like it when I feel strong at the end.

This is what the splits graph looks like with the walk sections broken out separately.

That was a nice way to kick off the week. Next I'm going to spend a little time doing some much neglected yard work. Then a shower and off to lunch with the kids!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And then it snowed

When we last left our superhero, she had gone on a nice 3.5 mile test run in new shoes. I was thinking of going out again Friday for a short run before heading out for a long run with my marathon-training friends Saturday morning.

However, Mother Nature had different plans. Thursday evening, it started to snow. Nice heavy slushy snow. It was pretty, but the roads and trails were a mess Friday morning. Most of the schools were cancelled or on a 2 hr delay.

Not so good for running, that's for sure. But it made for a nice backdrop for me to get some really nice photos of Daughter and her Boyfriend. One in particular turned out excellent. Fun times.

By late Friday afternoon, the roads were in pretty good shape. That was good news for us as we needed to get to the airport to pick up Son, who I hadn't seen since late August. I am happy to have him home for a few weeks over the holidays. His first request was to stop for some authentic New Mexican food.

This morning, the marathon-training friends were running 18-20 miles and I planned to join for the final 8-9 miles. When I walked out to the trail to meet up with them at the back of their run, I was happy to see that it was mostly clear of ice. My distance was 8.5 miles running plus another mile walking from the warm-up/cool-down. I think that's my farthest run since March. And the marathon runners really appreciated the company for those final miles, so it worked out well for everyone.

[correction, it's the farthest I've run since April. But still...]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

test run in new shoes

I woke up to find temps of 42 deg at 6:30am this morning. Excellent! Must have been cloudy for a change last night, that's the only reason I can imagine for why it wasn't in the 20s as it has been lately. I did a happy dance, put on my running clothes, and was out the door before 7am. My intention was to get in a nice 3 mile run.

I had cleared up the confusion with Husband about the shoes that I bought over Thanksgiving. It seems he never had any intention of making this into a gift, so I decided that today was as good a day as any to put them on and test them out. They are Saucony Triumph 8s, a neutral cushion shoe. I have been wearing the Triumph for a few seasons now, but didn't care for the update from the 5s to the 6s and never tried the 7s.

First impression is quite positive. The 8s are notably lighter, have good cushion, and fit my feet well. Plus they don't have the wimpy laces that the earlier models did. I'm looking forward to taking them out on a longer run this weekend.

I must have been feeling pretty good this morning because 3 miles easily became 3.5 miles. It was a much appreciated opportunity to run outside in comfortable temperatures. I would have kept going if I wasn't short on time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looking Back to Look Forward

This morning, our sunrise was scheduled for 7:07am. No amount of positive self-talk was enough to motivate me to get outside to run in the dark cold morning at 6:30. I just wasn't feeling it. And I hate treadmills. Hate.Them. I've only run on a treadmill ONCE this entire year and I'm not changing that now.

So I started wondering how I managed last year. So I went back to my log book to find out.

Observation #1) I logged a whopping two days of running in December 2009. On Dec 30 and 31. The rest of the month...nothing. Looks like I was working through the push-up challenge, but not running. Okay, that's not going to work for me. Need to figure out something else.

Observation #2) In Jan 2010, I ran on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday. Did walking during the week. I presume that is due to the dark cold mornings. While this is not ideal, it is certainly something that I can see working well enough for a few months while trying to stay afloat.

Observation #3) In Feb 2010, I picked up once mid week run, but still ran consecutive days on Sat and Sun. It wasn't until March that I returned to my normal Tues/Thu/Sat running schedule. And this must have worked just fine for me, because I PR'd at my spring half-marathon in April and felt terrific at the finish line.

Okay, now I have a plan. Don't worry so much about the mid week runs for the next few months. Run consecutive days over the weekend if necessary. Keep walking. And have faith. Just one more week of the ever increasing darkness; the days will start getting longer soon enough.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Miscellany

1) I've upped my Vitamin D to 4000 IUs for this week, then will drop down to 2000 IU. This is different that the 1000 IU that I reported in my last post. I personally feel safe in doing this because the sun supplies 10,000 IU Vitamin D in 30 mins sun exposure wearing shorts and short sleeves. However, I am not a doctor so I'm certainly not suggesting that anyone else do this without drawing their own conclusions about it first.

I'm going to hold off on any conclusions until I've had at least a week of vitamin D supplements in my system.

2) Saturday I went out for my "long" run. I hadn't been feeling well, so I scaled everything back. The distance ended up being 4.7 miles with a 2 minute walk break every 1.2 miles. I certainly wasn't setting any speed records during the 'run' segments, but I did head out on my favorite dirt path, so it was nice.

Afterwards, I grabbed the leashes and walked the dogs for an additional 1.3 miles. When it was all done, I had 7 miles by feet.

3) Yesterday afternoon I decided to make my most favorite of all Christmas cookies, old fashioned thumb prints just like my Grama used to make. I have fond memories of going to her house to make these treats every year at Christmas. I put in my favorite Frank Sinatra Christmas album and went to work in the kitchen.

I guess I should have spent a little less time being nostalgic and paid closer attention to what I was doing. As it turns out, if one grabs the bisquick instead of the flour, there is pretty much nothing that can be done to save the batch of cookies that are being made. Not only will the texture be all wrong, the taste will be terrible from the extra salt and baking powder. Oops.

4) Daughter and Boyfriend came home after taking the ACT on Saturday and asked if I wanted to play RockBand. Heck yeah! It's been too long since I'd had a chance to throw any remaining dignity out the window and channel my inner rock star.

Despite being the only one playing on easy and routinely getting the lowest accuracy of the three of us, it was a lot of fun.

5) Don't get me started on the whole gifting thing at Christmas. Not only does it detract from the holiday, it just adds undue stress on both sides. Anyway...

I bought a new pair of running shoes online during Thanksgiving weekend and suggested that Husband wrap them up and give them to me for Christmas. It doesn't seem like he wants to go with the plan of turning this into my Christmas gift. Now I'm not sure if I should just lace them up and run or wait to see if they turn up under the tree. Either way, I've got a new pair of Sauconys Triumph 8s waiting to be broken in. Maybe a review before the year ends.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter Blahs

I have really struggled this week. Haven't blogged because I haven't had much to say. In general, I have felt like I'm fighting something all week. I've been tired, with body aches but no fever. And my energy and motivation has been at an all time low. I'd think it was a flu or cold, except for the no fever thing. At times I think maybe it's just the Winter Blahs and all in my head.

Yesterday I read some interesting articles. In summary, it is estimated that up to 60% of adults have insufficient vitamin D during the winter months. As it turns out, the best way to get vitamin D is from ~30 minutes direct sunlight on your skin. However, that's difficult, if not impossible, in winter when days are short, sun is low, and temps are cold.

This is what really caught my attention. Low vitamin D levels can lead to fatigue, depression, aches, and pains. That's pretty much what I'm complaining about. Hmmmmm. Maybe it isn't in my head; I might just be solar powered after all.

I'm sure the best way to find out if there is a relationship between my Winter Blah symptoms and vitamin D levels would be to see a doctor and have my blood tested. But I figured it would be much easier just to add 1000 IU vitamin D in with my daily supplements and see if it helps. I'm pretty sure it won't hurt.

The experiment has begun. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

I wrote a post around this time last year about being solar powered. I think it's becoming true again. These short days are really zapping my motivation and energy. December 21st can't come soon enough. This solar-powered runner needs the days to start getting longer again!

This morning I went out for a 2.2 mile run. I really didn't want to tackle the hill today, so I took another route. That last .2 was tough, I was heading east just as the sun was coming up over the mountains. Ack! Blinded! Note to self, next time do the route in reverse.

I generally only run 3x week and add in another 3 days of walking. This is a strategy for injury prevention because I have a chronic issue with my left knee. However, I also generally run 4 miles on my mid week runs and lately I've only been going out for 2 milers. I don't like running in the dark and by the time it's light enough, I don't have time for more than a couple miles. As a compromise, I think I may add in another day of running in the short term. I feel bad for my dogs though, they do LOVE our morning walks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jingle Bell Run

Background

This was my fifth running of the local Jingle Bell run. The first three years that I ran it, it was at Balloon Fiesta park. Last year they moved to Mariposa Park with an out and back section at the beginning, then a loop around the park. This year they changed it to be a three loops around the park with a little straight section at the beginning and end. It's the kind of terrain where you are either going up or down the whole time, no part of it is actually flat except for a short section right near the finish line. It's worth mentioning that the course also measured short. According to my Garmin, this is a 3 mile route, not a 5K. Here's the elevation chart:

What went well
  • Despite being a very small event, maybe 150-200 runners and walkers combined, collectively everyone involved managed to raise $19K for the Arthritis Foundation.
  • You could sign up as a runner or walker, with or without a dog. I believe this encouraged more people to participate than they would have if it was just a race.
  • Our swag included a pair of running socks from Lady FootLocker. Husband gave me his (I guess he didn't want to keep the women's socks).
  • Husband had a great race. His finish time was 25:17. That's a good couple minutes faster than last year and good enough for him to place 2nd M40-49. Really impressive because he's just coming back from a hip injury.
  • The weather was great. Sunny, 40s, no wind. I wore capris and long sleeves over a tank top and was quite comfortable.
  • Lots of people dressed seasonally. They had a band & music the whole time. The event oozes fun.
What didn't go so well
  • All those runners, walkers, and dogs started at the same time. Since this was a three loop course, I found it to be very frustrating at times. Walkers are notorious for taking up the entire width of the path.
  • I had a very mediocre race, especially compared to the recent events on dirt. Not horribly disappointed in my finish time, but not particularly happy about it either.
  • Perhaps I'm getting spoiled, but I really didn't enjoy running on a hard surface this time (I have really liked those last few races on dirt).
  • I was passed by a poodle. Wearing a sweater. I think that was more humiliating than the time I was passed by a chihuahua a few years ago.
Summary

Husband had a great race; I'm thrilled for him about that. I'll most likely do this one again next year, but perhaps I'll consider entering as a walker with a dog rather than as a runner. Short races on hard surfaces just aren't my thing anymore. I'd rather run on dirt or go longer (or both!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1) I'm pleased to announce that I have successfully started the month without being a weather wimp. I was determined to get out and run no matter what on Wednesday morning. I was thrilled that it was in the low 20s rather than teens, that certainly made it easier. Then I got out again this morning for another chilly run. Go me!

2) Am I the only one counting down the days until Dec 21st? Just need to survive a few more weeks until the days start getting longer again. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

3) The local Jingle Bell 5K run is on Saturday. This is always such a fun event and for a great cause. While I've had good intentions of dressing up seasonally for the run, I've failed to act on that AGAIN. So unless I get motivated to go out tomorrow during lunch to find some fun accessories, I'll just be wearing normal running clothes. Oh well. There's always next year, right?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nov Tally

[Updated totals for the 30th - So much for not being a weather wimp, this morning was "15deg feels like 5" and I chalked up weather wimp day #3 for the month.]

Numbers

89.6 miles by feet ( 48.3 running, 31.1 walking)
12 trips up the hill (3 running, 9 walking)
9 rest days (4 planned, 5 unplanned)
1 race (supposed to be a 5K, ended up more like 6K)
2 long runs with marathon-training-runner-friends

Thoughts

Those are pretty good numbers for me, especially given the bitter cold mornings (low 20s, sometimes with 20mph winds) that we've been experiencing. I'm happy to say that while I don't love cold weather, I've been sucking it up and going outside anyway. Only three of my unplanned rest days were due to me being a weather wimp. Running on a treadmill just isn't an option that I'm willing to entertain at this point.

Plans for December

Jingle Bell run next weekend.
Conquer the hill by running to the top without stopping.
Don't be a weather wimp; keep going outside!
Survive holiday parties without compromise.
Enjoy Son's winter break (he'll be home in 18 days, but who's counting?!).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Smiles

It's been a good day. The kind that makes me sit back and smile. And not just because I have a delicious piece of home made apple pie with my name on it to be served heated up and topped with vanilla ice cream. Less I digress. No, I've got plenty to smile about today.

It all started when I woke up at ~7am and checked the weather. For the last few days it has been quite cold and windy. Today, however, it was expected be around 30deg with no wind in the mid-morning. Great news because I was planning to meet the folks in my running group again that are marathon training.

I opted to wear my sugoi mid-zero tights, a thermal headband, a long sleeve sugoi mid-zero shirt over a long sleeve baselayer, and gloves. Brought along my fuel belt with three bottles of accelerade, one bottle water, and my cell phone. Grabbed the ipod and garmin and was off.

They were running 18 miles today, but I only wanted to run about 8. So I walked about 0.8 from the parking lot near their turn point to the spot along the multi-use trail where I would join them. This portion of the trail is popular with dog-walkers, runners, and cyclists and can be almost crowded on a Saturday, but on this cold morning there was no-one in sight. It was a bit eerie.

I ended up running with them for about 8.3 miles. I really don't think we saw more than a dozen people on the trail the entire time we were out there. Very odd. We did a .3 mile walk as a cool-down to the parking lot where their cars were located and one of them gave me a ride back up to the lot where my car was (9 miles away). I felt pretty good while out there, but my knee did act up right near the end. Not quite sure what that was all about, maybe from running on the hard surface most of the way? This is one of the reasons I prefer dirt.

When I arrived home, Husband texted me asking if I wanted to meet him out for lunch. Unfortunately, he got stuck working today. However, a lunch date sounded great. I quickly showered so I could meet him at Pei Wei. Daughter was happy about that too, because it meant I would be bringing home leftovers for her.

After lunch, I checked the mail. Guess what I found? None other than the first issue of my new subscription to TrailRunner along with a pair of defeet socks. Woot! I can already tell that I'm going to love this magazine. This motivated me to take the dogs for a 2 mile walk up the hill. My knee wasn't bothering me anymore, so I'm hoping it will be okay next time I run.

My totals by the end of the day were 8.3 miles running, 3.1 miles walking, a lunch date, 1 new magazine, and a pair of socks. That's plenty to smile about, don't you think?

Now excuse me while I serve myself that pie...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hill: 3, Lisa: 0

Thought I'd go easy on the Hill today and just walked up it with the dogs. But yesterday, I went out in the cold windy weather in pursuit of my goal to run to the top without stopping.

The Hill must be getting scared of me. Yesterday it joined forces with Mother Nature (20 mph headwinds as I went up) as well as my shoes (the ol' untie the laces trick).

Is that the best you've got, Hill? Really? Go ahead and throw your best punches now. It won't be long before I'll be charging up you so fast you won't know I'm coming 'til I'm already on my way back down...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

"To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven." -- Johannes A. Gaertner

This Thanksgiving is a bit weird for us. For the first time in years, my in-laws opted not to drive down to join us and Son is celebrating with a friend's family in California. Daughter is heading to Boyfriend's house for an early Thanksgiving meal, then the two of them will join us for our Thanksgiving dinner. For most of the day, it will be just Husband & I. So different from the hustle and bustle of Thanksgivings past.

But we have plenty to be thankful for, and I've learned to enjoy each new day as it comes rather than long for what was. Our children are turning into wonderful young people with vibrant lives and new friends. We get to share our holiday with Daughter's boyfriend this year. Son won't be here today, but he's coming home for Christmas break in three short weeks. The in-laws aren't making the drive down this weekend, but we expect to see them sometime while Son is home. Meanwhile, Husband & I will relish our alone time and the low stress nature of our holiday this year.

I opted not to do a Turkey Trot this year. Mostly because my back was bothering me again earlier this week, but also because I just ran a race a week and a half ago and we have another on the calendar for next weekend. It just seemed like too much to add in another race today. If my back settles down and the weather isn't too bad, I'll head out sometime later this morning for a run. Perhaps I'll even be able to talk Husband into joining me.

Have a blessed day, friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What goes up, must come down

I've mentioned "the hill" or "my hill" that I like to walk with the dogs. The one that I tally as part of my monthly stats. I'm sure I've posted it before, but this is the profile starting at my house to the top of the hill and then back down. It's a decent work out for just one mile out and then back for 2 miles total.

There was a time when I ran this hill regularly, but since I walk it so frequently now, I've switched to other run routes to mix things up.

Earlier this month, I decided to run up the hill one morning because I didn't have much time and I figured it would be a good work out for a short run. Holy smokes, it was tough! I had to stop twice to walk. This morning, I was short on time again, so I opted to run up the hill again. Still tough and had to take walk breaks.

As you would expect, my split paces by half mile look something like this. That one slow segment represents the trip up the hill, and the fast segment is the steep part coming back down. The first and last half miles are relatively flat and end up being roughly the same as each other.

I have one main fitness goal for the remainder of the year and involves me and this hill. I want to be able to run to the top without stopping. And I assume that when this happens, that slow half mile up the hill will be faster and my overall time from beginning to end will decrease.

It's a personal challenge, just me against the hill. I hope the hill is ready, because it's on!

Do you have any fitness goals for the remainder of the year? If so, what are they?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Long run success

As I mentioned in my last post, I had planned to meet up with a couple people from my running group for the second half of their long run this morning.

I was very excited to wake up to much warmer morning than earlier in the week. This combined with a later run start for myself, and I was looking at ~40, sunny, and no wind at the start of my run. Perfect! I was comfortable in capris paired with long sleeves over short sleeves and even took off the long sleeves about 2 miles from the end.

They were meeting family members at the turn point to switch our bottles. I didn't want to run the full 9 miles or so that they had plotted for the second half, so I walked about a mile down the trail and waited to join in after they had reached the turn point and were heading back.

As soon as I joined them, they told me that after several weeks of running long together, they had run out of things to talk about. I took the lead asking questions and telling stories of my own to help the pass time. I also tried to remind them to hydrate.

When they reached their scheduled run distance, they walked another mile or so to their cars as a cool down. One of them gave me a ride back to my car. All in all, I logged ~7.5 miles running, ~2 miles walking. They were happy to have company, and I enjoyed helping out. It was pretty much a win-win all the way around! I hope to do it again next weekend.

But this weekend's excitement isn't over yet. I've got some virtual cowbell to ring for Wes as he chases Iron in Arizona. Go, Wes, Go!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday

It has been freaking cold in the mornings out my way. Tuesday & Thursday I was scheduled to run, which I did. Wednesday I went out to walk the dogs. Each time it was 22-24 deg at 6:30am. Luckily, we don't get much precipitation here in the high desert, so no worries about ice. My legs, torso, fingers, toes, and head have been comfortable enough. But the cold air on my face (and into my lungs) is bothersome. I think I need to try running with the balaclava. Up until now, I've only worn that for cold weather cycling.

But I won't be breaking out the balaclava anytime too soon. Saturday morning I plan on joining two of the folks from my running group on the second half of their 17mile run. For me this means a later/warmer start time as they will be about 1:40 into a run that they started at 7am. I'm looking forward to this because it will be much warmer by then - at least mid 30s - and because ~8miles is my favorite distance. Plus I've offered to stay back if one of them hits the wall so the other can run through to the end. It's all upside to me really, and it's nice to be able to help out with their training.

Today I had an eye appointment. I was there for 1.5 hours because my eyes are very complicated. My left eye has extreme nearsightedness with amblyopia but decent close vision. The right has decent far vision except for asitgmatism, along with slight presbyopia and poor close vision. Over the years, I've tried all kinds of solutions from bifocals to reading/driving glasses, and even mono-vision contacts. For the past 6 months, I've been going without any correction during the day and using an old outdated pair of driving glasses at night. It's working fairly well for me except that I really can't see well enough to drive at night. I'm doing an experiment over the next week to help dial in a prescription for new driving glasses. While I was there, I found a cute new frames that are much more modern that what I have been wearing. I'm kind of excited about the prospect of being able to drive again at night sometime soon and do it with style. :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Random thoughts on a Tuesday morning
  • Got to try out my new SportHill pullover rated for 0-40 deg and up to 35mph wind as it was a brisk 22-24 deg while I was out running this morning. Love it! I was very comfortable. Here's a photo from afterwards.
  • I just want to better explain that my frustration with the race going long wasn't so much about the extra distance. 5K, 6.2K whatever. I just couldn't believe that they didn't mark the turn point - a bridge off a dirt path - at all (no sign, no chalk) because they were expecting a volunteer to be there; then didn't make sure the volunteer was actually in place. Unbelievable!
  • My daughter was in Berkeley last weekend visiting her brother. Husband & I rather enjoyed the weekend alone. This whole upcoming empty-nest thing might not be so bad after all.
  • I'd like to share one tip from my changed eating habits. Restaurants notoriously serve way too much food. I've learned to ask for a to-go container at the beginning of the meal and put away the part that I don't plan/need to eat right up front. I'd eat the whole thing otherwise.
  • Local, hilly 5K Thanksgiving run - to do or not to do, that is the next race question.
  • Call me crazy, but I prefer cold weather running over hot summer running. I might feel differently about this in another month or so, but that's my opinion at the moment.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Race Report - good, bad, ugly

Background

This morning Husband & I ran a local race to raise money for a preschool. I chose this race over the Veterans Day 11K because it offered a "5K" option that would have us "running on the dirt trails on the ditch banks in Corrales." The start time was later than the 11K, the venue was closer to home, and I *love* running on dirt trails.

Good
  • Husband decided to run this with me and he ran my pace the whole way.
  • The race venue didn't disappoint with regard to the dirt trails.
  • 10am start time meant a leisurely race morning, no early wake up, no rushing.
  • The beginning of the course (first half mile) was well marked.
  • The t-shirt is a lime green color.
  • I am happy with my performance.
Bad
  • Husband tried to sign up at packet pickup. They wouldn't let him. He had to pay an extra $10 to register at the race site. Ugh.
  • The post race refreshment offerings included lays potato chips. You read that right, potato chips.
  • This was no 5K. More like a 6.2K.
  • I started out too fast. Again.
  • I spent most of the race trying to catch up to and overcome a 10yr old kid wearing a blue shirt. I failed. I'm not sure which is worse, making a 10yr old kid my target or failing to beat him to the finish line.
Ugly
  • The turn point wasn't marked at all. No chalk mark, no sign, no volunteer. Nothing. I think the lead runners just finally decided to cross a random bridge and everyone else followed.
  • The image on the race shirt looks like a man running in his underwear. Kind of disturbing given that a bunch of preschoolers are taking home a shirt adorned with this image.
Thoughts

I was really ticked off about the poor (more accurately non-existent) course marking for the turn point when I realized that this meant that the course would run long. I let that mess with my head for a little bit and slowed way down. Eventually I got over it and decided to run the best darn however-long-this-race-was-going-to-be run that I could.

Here are my splits by half mile. It shows that I ran the first half mile way too fast, then settled into my 5K pace. It also shows the slow down when I realized the race would be long and got frustrated, then a pick up when I got my head back into the race.


Garmin logged my 5K time at 29:47, that's a bit faster than my last 5K and this run was entirely on dirt. I'm pleased with that. I know it would have been even better if the race had actually been a 5K and I had kept my head in the race for the duration.

Garmin says that our final time for the full 3.85 mile course was 37:02, a pace of 9:38. That also makes me happy. If I had known that the course would be closer to four miles than three, I would have guessed a slower pace and finish time. Apparently I can run faster at longer distances than I think.

[updates:
1) Apparently they did time the race, earlier I thought not. My bad. I removed that statement from the Bad list.
2) They have me at 36:55 for 3.83 miles, which is still a 9:38 pace. FYI - they asked those of us with Garmins what we measured for distance and averaged the results. I applaud them for acknowledging the correct course length after the fact.
3) the kid I was trying to beat was 9 years old, not 10. Sigh]

In retrospect, am I glad I ran this today? Absolutely. Would I run this race again? No way.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Success Story

I haven't blogged much about my weight loss over the past year. And I'm not sure why I chose a Saturday to share my story (most of you don't read blogs on the weekend it seems), but I did.

I was very thin in high school. Even as a young adult. But as my age crept up, so did my weight. Given that I'm in my mid-forties, this is not a surprise. But that doesn't mean it's something I needed to accept as fact. I simply needed to change something.

At its simplest, weight loss (or gain) is a matter of calories in vs calories out. I do pretty well on the calories out side of the equation, but was out of control with regard to calories in. As a result, my weight was heading in the wrong direction. I began carrying some extra unnecessary pounds and was best described as chubby.

Here's a photo from Sept 2009, to demonstrate the chubbiness:


This year, I've made some significant changes to reduce calories in, and the weight began to come off. I hit my target weight in September. No small feat given that I was unable to run all summer due to issues with my knee! I didn't mention the weight progress here, because I was afraid somehow that I would jinx it. But my weight has remained steady for 2 months, so I figured it was time to share.

This photo from Sept 2010 (courtesy of my self portrait project) shows off my new, slimmer and more athletic figure. I chose this one for comparison because I'm standing in roughly the same position as the one above:


I feel better than ever. Yesterday I went jean shopping and actually came home with a few pairs of size 4 Levis. Did you get that? Size 4! I haven't worn size 4 since I was in high school!

If anyone out there is struggling with weight, my only advice is to be honest with yourself about what you are consuming. It's not easy to change old habits, but it CAN be done.

Have a great weekend folks!

P.S. I finally made a decision and will be running the 5K tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Keeping it Fun

I figured out a way to take an afternoon break during my work day yesterday and get out for a 5 mile run. Today will be a rest day. Finding a way to get out tomorrow is my next challenge.

The problem with running yesterday was that it was supposed to be my rest day. I really felt it in my legs. But since it was supposed to be an easy run anyway, I just slowed down a bit more and tried to enjoy the afternoon. I was running on a portion of the acequia path that I've never been on before. This particular section wasn't as pretty as my usual route, but it was still interesting and I got to run on dirt, which is my favorite.

Most weeks, I don't have much trouble fitting in my runs. The time change makes it a bit more difficult, but my problem this week is mostly due to an unfortunate work schedule. But my main goal for the next two months is just to get out and run. There is no reason to stress about this. I'm not training for anything big right now, just doing short, fun races here and there to maintain my base over winter. This is something I need to remember. Keeping it fun is most important right now.

Which brings me to my dilemma for this weekend. Had the 11K not been on my radar for months, this decision would be a no brainer. And the more I look into it, the 5K has a lot in its favor. It starts later in the morning, is much closer to home, and is on a dirt path (oh, yeah!). Really, the more I think about it, it's hard to imagine any reason why I would choose the 11K at this point.

Later in the evening, Husband asked how my run had been. I told him that it really wasn't one of my better runs. My legs were feeling it, and it was a bit of a struggle. He replied, "But it was better than not running, right?" He was absolutely right. A mediocre run on a dirt path on a fall afternoon beats no run, every time!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mind Meanderings

I tentatively have a race on Sunday. An 11K for Veteran's Day. I haven't signed up for it yet and I'm not really sure that I want to. Can't explain why, I'm just not excited about it anymore. There is a small local 5K the same day, and I'm leaning a bit toward running that instead. I'll decide one way or another in a few days.

Husband & I took the dogs out on the acequia path for a nice walk yesterday afternoon. It was the first time that we took the dogs out onto that particular path. It must have been like Doggy Disneyland to them, so many exciting sounds and smells. While it was nice to walk them somewhere different, it's actually much easier to control them on our tried and true hill.

Daughter turned 17 last week. Kids just grow up way too fast. I really don't know how this happens. One moment they are little, the next thing you know they have turned into young men and women. Anyway, she and her boyfriend organized a paint fight at a park to celebrate. Very creative. Apparently good times were had by all.

I have a friend that suffers daily due to rheumatoid arthritis. I saw her yesterday at church and it is obvious that she is in a lot of pain. Now I am very excited about my fifth running of the Jingle Bell run for arthritis in about four weeks. This time it's personal.

I bought new silverware last week. It had gotten to the point where too many forks, spoons, etc were missing. Where do they disappear to? Is it a conspiracy related somehow to the socks that go missing in the dryer? We now have service for 12, all matching. This makes me happy.

I need to find a way to run two days this week. As it turns out, this morning would have been a good day to run. But I didn't realize that until I wasted my morning away drinking coffee, reading and posting, and finally got around to perusing my calendar for the week. Tomorrow, my work day starts at 6:30am. Bleh. Wednesday morning looks good. So does Thursday morning. But then I'd be running two days in a row. Maybe I'll aim for Tuesday evening and Thursday morning, that would stretch it out a bit.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Back on my feet

Thanks everyone for the well wishes. After a few days of extra rest, I'm feeling much better. Better enough to head out for my long run today with just a slight modification of the plan.

The original plan was to run something in the 7-8 mile range. I wasn't sure about running that far coming off of some kind of bug, so I chose a route closer to 6.5miles to run, and followed it up with a 2 mile walk up and down the hill with the dogs. I still got the miles on my legs, but didn't push it too much. I think that was a reasonable compromise.

It was a beautiful fall day. Here's a photo I took with my phone at the turn point of my run.


I'm thankful to be feeling well enough to run again and to have this wonderful path so close to home. :-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1- Had a really good 5 mile easy run on Tuesday. Felt terrific. Then on Wednesday, I started to get body aches and chills, like I'm getting the flu or something. Today I'm feeling better, but not good, so I'm skipping my run in favor of rest. I hope to be able to run easy again tomorrow, or at least do my long run on Saturday. Otherwise, I may choose not to do the 11K next weekend and opt for a local 5K instead.

2 - There happens to be a local run on Sunday for the Humane Society. A few years ago I signed up to run with Bandit. We arrived at the venue on time, but never made it to the start line. It was simply a madhouse with all the various dogs going crazy. We ended up turning around, getting back in the car, and going home. I've thought (briefly) about signing up at the last minute if I feel better, but doing the 'humans only' race. There's no way I would try to bring either of my dogs to that after my past experience, though.

3 - This is a photo from the dirt levee road portion of the 10K last weekend, just to give some idea what I was talking about when describing the race. I found this particular surface to be relatively easy to run on (the single track, however, was another story all together). This part was nice and wide and not many obstacles, very similar to the acequia that I run on near my house. See the bright lime green shirt in the upper right back by the cones? That's me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

October Tally

Numbers
  • 100.0 miles by feet (39.9 miles walking, 60.1 miles running)
  • 8 trips up the hill
  • 1 10K off-road/trail race
  • 7 Rest days
  • 1 hula hoop mastered
  • 0 issues with knee pain
Thoughts
  • No, I didn't plan on hitting 100.0 exactly. I had to check my numbers twice after I realized how it added up.
  • Rest days are good.
  • I accomplished *all* my goals for October. Yay!
Plans for November
  • Be flexible with regards to races/goals
  • Figure out how to keep running with the shorter days and cooler weather.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bosque Boogie 10K Race Report

There were two local races being held today. One is a road race promising fast times, the other an off-road adventure promising scenic views. I chose the latter and signed up for the 10K distance. It's worth mentioning that I haven't run an official 10K in over two years. And I've never been good at figuring out how to pace myself for this distance, so I wasn't sure what to expect.


The race started behind a shopping center. We ran on road for a short distance. Then onto twisty single track for roughly 2 miles. The bulk of the remainder was on dirt levee road that was loose and uneven, but straight. It finished on a very short hard surface again.

Highlights: It *was* beautiful. And I had a few fans waiting for me near the turn around point. Husband surprised me by bringing the dogs out! I did stop for a moment to give him my long sleeve shirt so that I didn't have to run with it tied around my waist. That was helpful. And shortly afterwards, I found myself running with a lady who was keeping my same pace at that point. We started talking during the final mile and finished together.

I think this graph from my Garmin tells the pacing story better than simply looking at mile splits.

Three observations:

#1 - I started off too fast. I know better, but I did it anyway. I believe this is mainly due to my inexperience with this distance. I wasn't really sure what my 10K pace felt like.
#2 - The single track section was much more *difficult* than I imagined it would be. I enjoyed it for the first mile, then I was ready for it to be over. I definitely need to practice running on single track if I'm going to do more of these types of races.
#3 - Once we got out on the dirt levee road, I fell into a pace that I was able to (mostly) hold onto for the rest of the race. I'm pleased with that.

The official results have me at 1:03:15, 10:11 average pace. That's less than a minute off (aka slower than) my personal best 10K time which was a road race, so I am thrilled with this finish time given the race surface. I believe that I have a personal best 10K inside me just waiting for the perfect race to make itself known. ;-)

All in all, a great way to spend an autumn morning. I realize that I am truly blessed to be able to run right now. I hope whatever you all did this weekend was equally wonderful.

Edited to add - Official results are posted and I'm happy to see that I finished 11 of 23 F45-49. It is *nice* to be solidly middle of the pack these days. :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Steady Run

My plans to run this morning were thwarted by an early morning work meeting. I ended up meeting two guys from my running group after work for a 4 "steady" run instead. My steady pace is supposed to be 10:30-10:50. Here's what happened:

mile 1 - 10:41
mile 2 - 10:37
mile 3 - 10:31
mile 4 - 9:44

The first three miles were bang on, but that last mile was a tad bit fast. I think we sped up because it was getting dark. That last mile wasn't exactly what was on my schedule, but it served as a nice confidence booster for the 10K on Sunday.

[edited to add...looked more closely at my Garmin data. We didn't really speed up until the last half mile which was actually at a 9:01 pace...that's faster than my 5K pace. Aye carumba! ]

Of course the downside of running tonight was that I didn't get to test my race outfit for Sunday. Which might not have been such a bad thing, since I haven't figured out what I'm wearing anyway. Hahahahaha.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weather

I grew up in Northwest Ohio and moved to central New Mexico as a young adult. One of the things I had to learn when I moved was how to plan for high desert weather. Two important points:

1) The coldest part of the day is actually the half hour just as the sun goes up. This is due to thermal conditions. I observed this today. It was ~31 when I woke up, and dipped down to 29 as the sun started to rise. Brrrrr.

2) The combination of high altitude and sunny skies means more heat loss when then sun sets than what I grew up with. There simply isn't anything to hold the warm air to the earth, and we experience ~30 deg difference between the low and high temp for the day. This is useful for knowing how to dress for the day. Also useful for deciding whether to run morning or evening.

With that in mind, here is the forcast for the week.


I would like to begin by saying that they LIED when saying the low for today would be 35. It was much colder than that when I woke up. I suspect the high won't quite make 60 deg. I wasn't quite ready to don my winter gear and head out in the cold, so I decided to postpone until the evening. At that time it will probably mid 50s and falling. I plan to wear capris and probably a long sleeve over a sleeveless shirt. I wouldn't be surprised if I find that I've over dressed once I start moving.

Thursday I will try to run in the morning. It is supposed to be low forties and rising. To me that is more palatable than low thirties like today. More importantly it is supposed to be same in the morning as race day (trust me on this even though I'm not showing Sunday in the snip above). That means I may get a chance to test my race day outfit (which is still tbd) to see how it works with the weather.

Of course weather predictions are always subject to change, so we'll see what really happens...

---

Note to self: I ended up wearing my Lotta Breeze Capris and teal long sleeve Nike shirt this evening. It was perfect for starting temp ~55, ending temp ~50

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Seven

First off, thanks for all the responses to the questions I asked in my last post. We did end up getting thunderstorms Thursday evening, so I did my miles easy on Friday morning so as not to interfere with my "long" run this morning. I also went ahead and ordered compression sleeves. I'll let you know how I like them once I have some opportunities to try them out.

This morning I planned on joining one of my running partners for a seven mile run. He was scheduled for 12 miles and wanted to start closer to 7am. I was scheduled for seven miles and wanted to start closer to 8am. We found a perfect solution...he ran 5 solo and I joined him for the next 7.

This was a win-win in many ways. One of the benefits for me was that we agreed to meet close to the venue for my 10K next weekend and run a portion on the race course. It's going to be a fun race. I really enjoyed the single track section; it was awesome! The dirt levee road was kind of fun too. It benefited him as well. He seemed to be struggling for the last 4 miles or so, and I think I was able to help keep him motivated to run. It's always easier when you've got someone to pull you along.

Oh, and I've decided not to register for the RnR half-marathon in Phoenix. I just can't justify the expense for something that really doesn't fit well into my plans. Plus, while I'm happy about doing some running during the winter, the thought of following a training plan for a January half-marathon doesn't appeal to me right now.

Enjoy your weekend folks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three Things Thursday - with questions

1) It seems like my back acts up every autumn. Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it has to do with the weather change, who knows. It started bothering me this weekend and I wanted to get ahead of it this time. I decided to call the chiropractor. I know that chiropractor's are controversial and I'm not really sure how I feel about them myself, but I do know that the chiropractor makes me feel better, at least in the short term. I tend to go when I have pain, but then don't go in for regular adjustments when I feel better. Anyway, I called the office, only to discover that my chiropractor passed away unexpectedly about 10 days ago. Wow. Another untimely death. Anyway, one of his friends who is also a chiropractor is seeing his patients temporarily. So I was able to get in for an appointment. I'm already feeling better, and have another appointment on Friday. Do any of you see chiropractors? Do you go for regular adjustments or just when you have pain?

2) I'm still struggling with the morning vs evening weekday running. I ran Tuesday as the sun was setting and really didn't dress appropriately. That was the first time this autumn that it got dark while I was out running. I need to be more diligent about wearing reflective clothing. Today I am scheduled for a tempo run. On the one hand, it would probably have been more comfortable to run this morning. But I had decided to run after work. Now I see that the forcast calls for thunderstorms this afternoon. D'oh! If the weather isn't cooperating, I'm thinking that I will run Friday morning instead. Which means my tempo run will be back-to-back with my long run. That is probably not ideal for someone like me who is prone to injury. I'm not sure what to do, I'd ask my Coach, but he left yesterday for vacation. What should I do if today's tempo doesn't happen? Run it Friday or just run easy Friday so I have fresh legs for the long run on Saturday?

3) I'm thinking about getting some compression leg sleeves. I'm more interested in the sleeves than the socks because I'm afraid to wear anything other than my regular socks. I'm not sure if I run enough to really need the sleeves though. But since I'm a slowish runner, I'm out there a long time even though my mileage isn't that high. Is it based on time on feet instead of miles?! I'm just not sure. Anybody know at what point compression socks/sleeves are useful?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pondering

I really should keep my focus on my upcoming races, yet I'm already thinking about next year.

Two of the folks from my running group are running the full marathon at Rock & Roll in Phoenix next year. I had briefly entertained the notion of joining them and doing the half, but I thought the race was the weekend of the 23rd, which would be a no-go for me due to an important personal conflict. So I wrote it off. Then yesterday, while talking with someone, I realized that the race is on the 16th. Really? I could actually pull that off. And it sure would be nice to get a chance to run a low altitude and see what I can do. Many of you may not realize that I live about a mile above sea level...and the lack of oxygen affects my performance in a negative way. But if I got the chance to run a flat course at sea level, just maybe this high altitude training would result in a surprise finish time...

BUT before you jump on the band wagon and tell me to DO IT, you need to realize that there are pluses and minuses of this race. And the biggest minus is that it really doesn't align to my goals for next year. Allow me to think out loud.

What have I posted about recently? Wanting to do more trail running. That's a very real goal for me. This past year two local races got my attention. One is called Dirty Half Marathon and it was in the Sandia mountains. I've heard good things about it from the folks who ran it. Another is the Sandia Mountain Shadows Trail run. In essentially the same venue, with a 10K or 5K option. Both of these races are close to home, no travel cost, and relatively short drive from my house. Which means I can stretch my race budget to include more events. And they fit the bill nicely to align to my goal of trail running.

Another race that's on my radar is Run the Caldera Trail Run up in Jemez Springs at 8000+ ft above sea level. I'm interested in either the 10K or the HM. It would be challenging, but beautiful. And it's a little farther away, but certainly doable from home with an early wake-up call.

Then there's an event that I've wanted to do for the past 2 years but have always been out of town. It's the Shamrock Shuffle 10 mile race. Historically, this one has been on mixed terrain partly off road and partly on road. I've never done a 10mile race and this year, I actually think we'll be around for it. Another local race with minimal impact to my race budget.

I'd really like to be able to run Mount Diablo out in California with JoLynn next year. From her photos, it looks beautiful, running with JoLynn would totally rock, and it would give me a great excuse to go out and check in on my son at Cal. This one involves travel expenses, but with the opportunity to spend time with both JoLynn and my Son, it would be well worth it.

And while I wasn't very happy about the single wide bridge crossing early on in the Albuquerque Half marathon this past spring, I sure would like another try at that one next year.

And of course, running the half at Duke City instead of being on the sidelines would rock.

Which brings me back to pondering the Rock & Roll in Phoenix. Why is it that this one has appeal for me? Mainly the opportunity to run at low altitude. But it's a road race, not a trail race. It involves travel cost that I'm having a hard time justifying. I'd probably end up running solo (which I don't like) because Husband would likely need to stay home with Daughter. And I'd have to train for a HM during the winter and over the holidays when the weather is going to be cold and unpredictable.

It really isn't a good fit. Yet, for some reason, I'm thinking about it. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting My Cheer on

I've run the Duke City Half-marathon for the past 3 years. I really wanted to run it again this year, but my knee just wasn't cooperating and I got back to running about a month too late to be sufficiently prepared. I certainly didn't want to risk re-injury, so I reluctantly stayed on the sidelines for this one.

My running group had a 6-person co-ed relay team in the full marathon. Two of our runners were doing the half. Two of us were planning to sit this one out.

I wasn't running, but wanted to participate in a meaningful way. I decided the best way to do so was to show up and cheer for our solo runners. I decided to position myself near the half-marathon turn point. Since I didn't want to miss my runners, and I wasn't sure where I find a parking space, I made sure to get out there early.

While I intended to take photos while I was out there, in reality the only photo I took was of the 7 mile marker that I was standing near. Exciting, huh?


Of course, I couldn't just stand there silently and wait for my runners. Soon I fell into a cheering rhythm. CLAP CLAP CLAP "Good job runners" CLAP CLAP CLAP *pause* (repeat)

The first person that I saw that knew me was none other than the hills repeat guy! In our interchange that one day, we hadn't introduced ourselves by name, so he called me by the name of the village that we live in. "Hey, Corrales! " Hahahahahaha.

I almost missed my first runner. To my surprise, one of the other runners that I thought had sat out this race was running with her. He had mentioned the possibility for making a last minute decision to pace her (I think there was time to sign-up at the expo). As he ran by, he stopped for a moment, took off his long sleeve shirt and handed it too me. I was happy to help out, but it was pretty gross...all sweaty...when I got it home, I put it into the wash immediately. LOL

Since I was near the turn point, I was able to cheer for my runner directly after the turn around. She was looking strong and I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up with a half-marathon PR.

Back to my routine of CLAP CLAP CLAP "Good job runners!" CLAP CLAP CLAP *pause* (repeat) while I waited for my other runner.

I want to mention something. When I run, I make it a point to thank the volunteers and folks on the course who are out cheering. I've never been very sure how many other people do that. Based on my experience yesterday morning, I'd say that maybe 5% said thank you as they ran by while I was cheering. That's more than I expected, and it made me happy.

I had no problem finding my next runner. To my surprise, he was running with one of the guys who had run an early leg of the marathon relay who was essentially doing a cool down. When they saw me they said that they had been looking for me and were really happy to see me which warmed my heart. I gave some encouragement and made a few jokes as they ran by (both times). It was good to see them smiling.

I stayed for a little while longer, then decided to head home. I would have preferred to be out on the course running myself, but in lieu of that, cheering was a surprisingly satisfying alternative.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The best laid plans...

Today's schedule called for 7 miles easy. I had decided to run a loop starting on the ditch bank (in the sun), and ended up on the acequia (in the shade) on the way back. This was as the temperature heated up, I'd stay comfortable. A perfect plan.

Here I am all pleased with myself for devising such a good plan for my run. I expected the sleeves would last 2-3 miles, then I would tuck them in the hydration belt. Which is basically what happened.


But it wouldn't be much of a story if the plan was without incident. You see, there was one minor issue. I had failed to map out the course in advance and didn't quite know where to turn. I thought I would figure it out while I was out there. But I was wrong.

When I realized that I had gone a little over 4 miles without hooking into my return route, I decided to turn around and head back the same way that I started. Which meant that I was not running a 7 mile loop with the return route in the shade. Instead, I was running an 8.25 mile out & back in the sun. Uggggh.

It's not all bad. While the run didn't go as planned, I did get to work on mental training. I wasn't happy about messing up my route and running longer, but I decided to make the best of it. And I made darn sure to figure out exactly where to turn for next time.

Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Steady Runs

I love my coach. I feel that he really listens to me about my personal goals and creates training plans and offers encouragement to help me reach those goals. During my last training cycle, for a Half Marathon, he respected my desire to finish strong, pain-free, and happy at whatever pace I found could achieve that. He gave other runners pace targets for the occasional steady or tempo run, but let me run by feel.

Fast forward to this training cycle. When I was talking to him about my upcoming 10K, I explained that it's a distance that I really struggle with. Too short to justify running easy. Too far for me to sustain running hard. I've never felt good about this particular distance, and it shows in my finish times.

One of the things that he brought to my attention is that I've never trained for a 10K before. I've trained for HMs, then run a 10K (too slow). I've trained for 5Ks/sprint triathlons then run a 10K (crash and burn). I've even showed up relatively untrained, then run a 10K (train wreck). It's no wonder my finish times are all over the map.

But this time I'm actually training specifically for a 10K. And with that, I find today scheduled to be the first of several 'steady' runs before the race. Which means I'm supposed to run at a prescribed pace. A pace, I might add, that looks scary fast to me. Gulp.

Of course, my immediate reaction was "I can't do this!" My next thought was that since I ran a virtual 10K as part of my 7 miler last weekend, I'll count THAT run as my steady run, and cop out and run easy today.

But then I came full circle. I'm ready to try this. And since I think my best chance of success for this steady run will be to run with the group, that's my plan for the day. I may not hit the prescribed pace, but I'm going to give it an honest try. Wish me luck!

[Updated to add: I hit the prescribed pace window for 2 of the 4 miles that I ran. Missed it on the other two miles. While certainly not a perfect result, I am satisfied. Gotta' remember that this training cycle is a work in progress; race is still a few weeks away.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Good Bad Ugly of Morning Run

Good

I was all kinds of happy when Mr UPS man came up the driveway yesterday evening and dropped off my package from Zappos. My Lotta Breeze Capris are here! And they fit! They performed well on their debut 5 mile run this morning. YAY!

[Sorry that I don’t have a photo, I was running late (pun intended) and really couldn’t take the time to get a photo this morning. I’ll get one some other time though, I promise.]

Bad

99% of the time, I come across people out on the trail who seem harmless. Most runners and walkers are like-minded in that they are out there for fitness/fun. This morning, however, I came across someone best described as a Crazy Lady. I couldn't understand what she was trying to say to me, perhaps it was a friendly (enthusiastic) warning about loose dogs up ahead, but she made me very uncomfortable. As a result, I made the decision to reroute myself to put as much distance as possible between myself and Crazy Lady and whatever it was that had her all up in arms.

The unintended rerouting messed me up a bit, because I was no longer quite sure where my turnaround point should be. It worked out okay in the end though; I guessed right and managed to get the full distance in. But now I’m a little leery about taking that other path on a weekday morning… :-(

Ugly

There is a reason I don’t generally follow the Galloway method. It’s not that I don’t believe in it, I do. I think it's great. It’s just that I suck at it. The method involves defined intervals. A seasoned Galloway runner would do something that resembles this: RUN walk RUN walk RUN walk RUN

When I try to implement it, it goes more like this: RUN walk RUN walk run WALK run WALK WALK.

And that’s basically what happened on my 5 mile morning. Needless to say, I was not happy about the resulting splits...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting My Shopping On

Today is a dedicated rest day, so I don't have anything much to report. Except for the results of a weekend shopping spree made possible by a few giveaways.

On Friday, I was contacted by Cafe Press to see if I was interested in my own Runner Sigg Bottle. Heck yeah! I could really use that to help keep myself hydrated at home. I knew exactly which one I wanted, because I often browse through their stuff. CafePress offers millions of personalized gifts where you can make your own custom Christmas ornaments and even personalized holiday photo cards!

Next, using a $100 Visa that I won from The Happy Runner, I settled on the Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze Capris. I don't want to retire my skirts for the season just because the weather is turning cooler. Plus I really could use a second pair of capris. I can't wait until they arrive so that I can test them out. Just hope I chose the correct size. I ordered through Zappos, just in case I didn't. Return shipping will be free if needed.

Had some extra leftover after that purchase and dedicated it to a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters. Even though I'm just getting my feet wet (so to speak) with trail running at the moment, I'm beginning to understand how these could be useful. Somehow ever rock, stick, burr seems to find it's way into my shoes at the moment. Again, still awaiting the package arrival.

That's it for my shopping spree. Now I wait for the goods to arrive. Happy Monday! Have a wonderful week everyone!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 10K Virtual Race Report

This weekend, my training scheduled called for the dreaded 7 mile run. You know, the one I was doubting myself about earlier this week. I had also signed up to participate in Running Diva Mom's Virtual 10/10/10 10K so I decided to run the first 6.2 miles faster than my usual slow run pace. Then take it easy on the remainder of the run.


This is the race bib that I designed for myself for the virtual race. I wore my cheetah/pink skirt and a grey with pink stitching sleeveless shirt. Had to color coordinate the bib with the run outfit, hence the color scheme. And I added a roadrunner because I live in New Mexico.

It was a chilly morning, maybe 46 deg when I woke up. But it warmed up to ~51 when the sun came up over the mountains and was expected to get up to ~55 while I was out running. Perfect running weather, if you ask me.

I couldn't have been happier with my run. I felt great at the turn point and was able to maintain a reasonable clip for the 10K portion of my run. My 10K time was 01:03:34, a pace of 10:14 (shoot, if I had run just a little faster, I could have hit a 10:10 pace...how cool would that have been?).

I'm quite pleased with that result. To be honest, if I can hit that time at my 10K race later this month, I will be very happy. Although I expect it to be slower due to the offroad nature of the race, and that is okay with me. :-)

I stopped for a walk/water break when I hit the 10K point. Then I finished up my run at a much easier pace (~11:30). Total mileage for the day was 7.1mi.

Thanks, Running Diva Mom for hosting the virtual race. It turned out to be just the confidence builder that I needed during my current 10K training.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Things Thursday - "This vs. That"

1) Morning vs. Afternoon/Evening Running

I generally think of myself as a morning person. But that doesn't mean that I'm an EARLY morning person. While I do prefer running in the morning over running in the afternoon or evening, I simply don't have the desire to get up stupid early to run. So perhaps I'm more accurately described as a mid-morning person.

Why am I bringing this up? My body seems to be in sync with the sunrise/sunset. And as the sunrise moves later, I find myself getting up later. And that results in insufficient time to run in the morning before work. Which forces me into the option of running in the late afternoon/early evening. Which I'd rather not do. Vicious cycle!

I'm planning to continue running throughout the winter, so I am going to have to work this out somehow. Just not yet sure what the solution is going to be...

2) Run vs. Cross Train vs. Rest

Right now, a lot of my cross training involves walking, which doesn't seem to give my legs enough recovery time, so I feel that it is very important to take at least one rest day per week. With that in mind, I have decided that Mondays are designated as rest days. That leaves Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday as running days and Wednesday/Friday/Sunday for cross training. I can work with that.

3) Road vs. Off Road vs. Trail

In my limited experience, I've observed road running to be faster, higher impact, and more boring than off road vs trail running. Trails tend to be slower, more difficult/technical, most interesting/scenic. Off road (flat wide dirt levee for example) is somewhere in between. Next year, I want to add in some real trail races, but right now I'm taking baby steps and testing out off road running.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, my upcoming 10K is described as "all terrain." A small portion will be on paved road, about a third is on single-track, and the remainder is on a wide dirt levee road. My fastest 10K was on road, my slowest was a hilly all terrain course the day after a metric century . In all likelihood, I'm probably going to finish this next one somewhere in between my best and worst time. There is really nothing to worry about. If I can get past doubting myself, the race should be all kinds of fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A case of self-doubt

Confidence (or lack thereof) is a funny thing. I met up with the running group last night for a four mile run. I was running "easy" pace, but sometimes even that doesn't make the run seem easy. For some reason, that last mile was a real struggle.

With the struggle on that last mile, I started to doubt that I could run the prescribed seven this upcoming weekend. Then I began to seriously doubt that I'd be ready for the 10K at the end of the month.

Huh? Where did that come from?

I ran a 5K not less than two weeks ago. I ran a 10K long run this past weekend. I'm not injured. I'm not sick. I'm following my training plan. Why on earth wouldn't I be able to run seven miles this weekend or be ready for a 10K that's a little over three week away out?!

Looking at it rationally, that logic doesn't even make sense. I'm not sure why the self-doubt was so powerful during that last mile, but it's clear that I have some mental training to do over the next few weeks.

Dream it. Believe it. Then do it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Self portrait project

For three weeks in September, I captured whatever I was wearing to run/walk that day. Some looks are better than others. I took 19 photos over a period of roughly 3 weeks. My photo skills didn't get much better over time, but at least I know how to use the self-timer feature on my camera now. The dogs make an appearance in every photo! How funny is that?!? I'm posting just a sampling here.

Some skirts are good for running, some are only good for walking. This is one that I have deemed a walking skirt.

Generic black on black. See a lot of that at races. Nothing wrong with it, but not a good combo if your cheering squad is trying to find you in a crowd. I learned that as a spectator. Of course, nobody is trying to pick me out in a crowd most mornings, so I wear it too.

Here is one of my favorites. I need to keep this in mind for an upcoming half-marathon. It's comfy and the lime green should make it easy to be spotted.

This next photo is from my recent 5K day. They gave us flags at the finish line and I was still carrying mine around when I got home.

Including this last one because it features one of my pairs of Moeben sleeves. These are a size small, which is too tight. So I took out the elastic. Then they were too loose. Then I added custom elastic back in. Now they are just right!

The complete collection is posted on FB, friend me over there if you want to see it. Although I warn you in advance, it's not all that exciting. Just a bunch of photos of me wearing different athletic clothing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

10K Non-Race Report

This morning I completed my run in honor of Runner's Bug First Annual 10K Non-Race. Which, by the way, you still have time to participate in and can choose 5K, 10K, or 10 mile distances. Hop over to his blog and join in the fun!

The purpose of the non-race is to run for the love of running. So I won't include any splits because that doesn't matter, just photos that I took along the way!

I started from my house and ran about .8 mile to the acequia. What's an acequia? Essentially this is a diversion channel with water from the Rio Grande that is used for irrigation. It's a nice path for running because the surface is dirt and most of it is lined by trees. Here's a photo that I snapped when I got to the acequia. Doesn't it look peaceful?

I stopped after another mile or so to take another photo. Doesn't look too different from the first one, but gives a good idea what it's like running through here.

This photo is not too exciting, it's from my turn point. Shortly after crossing over to the other side for the route back, I saw ducks in the water. That would have made a better photo. Oh well.

One of the yards along the ditch housed a pair of cows.

Another had horses and a goat

Near the end, I had to run in an area that wasn't tree lined. It was getting hot, so I didn't like that sunny part very much. I stopped momentarily to take a photo of my shadow:

When it was all done, I was back at my front door.

Thank you, James, for hosting the virtual non-race. I had a wonderful stress-free 10K run this morning. Hope you enjoyed "coming along with me."