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.]


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


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


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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

  • 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
  • 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.