Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Enjoying the Season

Last week I had kind of a freak out moment when I stepped on the scale and realized that I had gained 5 lbs in the last 5 weeks. I know that might not sound like that big of a deal but when you're 5 ft 1, believe me, 5 lbs makes a difference. I guess I really didn't need the scale to tell me I've been gaining weight. I mean, it's pretty obvious when I put on my jeans and my "Christmas rolls" are spilling out over the sides. Still, seeing that number really got to me. I started getting down on myself and feeling like all my hard work was quickly going to waste. It's been busy lately with traveling, moving preparations, and getting things ready for the holidays. We have family coming into town this week and next week. With everything that's been going on I've barely been able to fit in two runs a week. (Down quite a bit from the 5 I was doing during the summer) Add to that the decadent plates of goodies we've been getting on our doorstep and well, it's been an uphill battle.

So like I said, I was moping around and beating myself up and ended up venting to a friend about my holiday weight gain. Later that night she sent me an email with this line, "by the way, I don't think you need to worry about 5 lbs...you look amazing, seriously! You are truly my inspiriation as far as exercising and being healthy. Just enjoy the holidays!"

I don't think she realizes how much that little email has helped me. I felt like reading that email somehow gave me permission to do what it said, ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS! It's a busy time but a wonderful time. I might not get a work out in everyday but I'm still working out. I might be eating an unusually large quantity of sugary baked goods but it's not like I eat this way all year round. It's the holiday season and I'm enjoying it, Chritmas rolls and all : ) And the good news is, Taber and I are getting a treadmill this year as our gift to each other. So when all the holiday celebrations are said and done, we'll have a great motivator to get us back on track.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Trot Success!!!

On turkey trot morning I had my strategy all planned out on how I was going to set a PR and finish a 5K under 27 minutes. I wanted to go out at around a 9 minute pace for half a mile, then 8:30 for a half a mile, 8 for a mile and half and then push hard for anything under 8 till I finished. Only problem was, I forgot to bring a watch so I had no way of knowing what my pace was. So much for strategy! : ) Still, I've run the 5k distance so many times in training that I thought I'd have a pretty good idea of how fast I was going.

Taber and I did an easy 15 minute jog to warm up. It was actually the first time I've ever warmed up before a race. I should probably do that more often. We stretched for a bit and then headed toward the starting line and waited with nervous anticipation.

The horn blew and we took off. I meant to start out slower but with all the race day adrenaline I kicked it up and when we passed the first mile I hadn't even finished two songs on my iPod. most songs are around 4 minutes long so I figured I must be doing around an 8 minute mile. The second mile was tough because we went from being on the road to this little forest trail that was lose, rocky, twisty, and thin. We had to run in single file and Taber pulled ahead but I got stuck behind this slow guy. Finally we came out of the forest trail and I sprinted ahead of the guy and passed Taber in the process. I exerted way too much energy doing that though and at the higher altitude my lungs were burning. Taber easily caught up to me and passed me.

With one mile to go I was getting tired and depressed as I realized I wasn't going to be able to catch up to Taber. He was probably about 50 yards ahead of me when the temptation came to just stop running and catch my breath. That's when I noticed a girl who looked about my age about 10 yards ahead of me. I knew I couldn't catch Taber but I vowed I would catch her. I kicked it up and steadily started closing the gap between us. I could see the finish line and gave it everything I had left. I passed her about 20 feet before we crossed the finish line and finished just 2 people (and 9 seconds) behind Taber.

There wasn't a clock at the finish line and I was dying to find out my time. I knew I ran hard so I felt good about that, but I wanted to know if I had met my goal. Finally the results came out. I grabbed my card and a huge smile broke across my face as I read: Becca Rigg, female, age 29, finish time 25:46, average pace, 8:17 min/mile.

It was such an awesome feeling to set a PR! That's one of the things I love about running. I know I'll never be the fastest girl out there but it's fun to race against myself and improve. Last year when I started running I was doing 11 minute miles on the treadmill and that was tough. Kind of cool to see what a difference a year makes.

The next day when the official results came up online I found out that I also placed 10th out of 77 in my age division of 20-29 year old women. I wouldn't have made it into the top 10 if I hadn't passed that girl. Glad I didn't give into the urge to walk and finished strong instead!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'll take what I can get

So, my last post was about combating the holiday bulge...hmmmm....Can't say I've done too fabulously with that one. As I predicted, my birthday and trip to Boston were both delicious and a little high on calories if you know what I mean. Also, with the travel and busyness of getting ready to travel again tomorrow I haven't done much working out. Ooops!

Still, I signed up for a Turkey Trot in Grand Junction, CO, where we're staying for Thanksgiving, And I made a goal to get a PR. My best 5K time in an actual race is 29:41. Shouldn't be too hard to beat that. My best 5K in training is 25 flat. Odds of me getting that are slim to none. Still, I'll take what I can get. Any improvement will be great. I think I'm shooting for around 27 minutes, right between my best and my previous. I ran on the track yesterday and finished in just over 26, but I only ran 3 miles, didn't do the .1 that is part of the 5K.

I hope I can run again tomorrow night or Monday morning while I'm in Utah so I can at least have few training runs at altitude. Even though it's just a 5K I'm still a little nervous because I actually want to do it kind of fast. So yeah, here are my main worries:
1) running at altitude could slow me down
2) I haven't run outside in a long time so not sure if my treadmill and track training will help or hinder.
3) I haven't exactly been sticking to a great nutrition plan. Not sure if all the cake and desserts I've eaten lately will affect my speed.

On a positive note, here are the things I've got going for me:
1) The few times I have run lately I've been trying to go for speed and I'm getting pretty comfortable in the 8:15-8:30 minute mile range, which is definitely fast enough to beat my last time.
2) I totally get serious adrenaline on race day so I think that will help.
3) Taber gave me a gift certificate to iTunes for my birthday so I'm going to have a sweet new playlist to push me.
4) I've done a little cross training lately so I'm hoping that will help too!

Anyway, wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on how it goes next week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keeping the holiday bulge in check

Halloween kicked off the beginning of the holiday gluttony season for me. It's tough because my kids don't like chocolate! They go out and collect all this awesome candy and then all they want to eat are starbursts and smarties. What I SHOULD do is throw the other stuff out, but I was always taught, "waste not, want not," so unfortunately, none of their chocolate has been "wasted" this year.

Combine that predicament with the fact that my birthday is tomorrow and we've been celebrating it it for the past week and will continue to do so through the weekend. It's a funny tradition we have, but anyway, I already had two cakes last week, I'm probably gonna have cake tomorrow, and then we're going on a weekend getaway that promises many fine desserts and dining experiences.

Long story short, I'm starting to get the holiday bulge. Similar to the baby bump, just with more sugar and no baby. This is not good considering that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and all the calorie laden goodness that comes with those holidays will not be passed over by these taste buds.

So, to keep this unwelcome expansion in check, I'm trying to step it up at the gym. I'm spinning every Wednesday, swimming twice a week, and running 3 times a week. Sounds like a lot but it's either that or give up my holiday food and I just don't think I'm strong enough to do that. Anyway, today was great. I ran on the track instead of the treadmill and was actually able to break the 25 minute barrier on my 3 miler. I also found a Turkey Trot 5K to run on Thanksgiving and am looking forward to seeing if I can PR on this one. It's in two weeks, I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I think I'm getting hooked!

My alarm went off at 5am this morning. I confess, I hesitated for a minute as a considered the two choices ahead of me, stay in cozy warm bed with cute hubby and cuddly puppy dog, or get up and torture my quads in spinning class. I chose torture quads, and do not regret it.

Spinning is hard, harder than running in my opinion. But somehow it's also really really fun. I mean, I came home hopping around like I'd just drank a red bull or something I was so pumped up after my class. Taber was waiting for me and I was bouncing around telling him how we were simulating this 50 mile race and we were divided into teams and half of us would sprint while they others drafted, then we'd switch, and then we'd climb these crazy hills and at the end of the race people were attacking so we'd stand up and sprint every time someone raised their hand to attack and I mean Wow! I felt like I was really in a race and I was pedaling my guts out so we could get our instructor across the finish line in first place. Burning legs aside, you can't tell me that's not fun!

I have a feeling I'm gonna get hooked on this. There's a couple from my church who were in the class and they are big time bikers. They have the fancy clip on shoes and the biker shorts and they don't mess around in the class. We were chatting afterward and I think they might've convinced me to ask for my own fancy clip on shoes and biker shorts for Christmas! It's funny because last year I asked for some nice running gear for Christmas. I had never run more than 2 miles and I think Taber was a little hesitant to spend the big bucks on shoes and performance gear. One marathon and a handful of other good races later and I think he's glad he bought me that stuff. I'm totally gonna work that angle to convince him about this biking gear. I think this could be the beginning of something totally awesome : )

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sometimes I surprise myself

In an effort to spice up the routine today I decided to hit the lap pool and try my hand at swimming. I was dang nervous since my last attempt at swimming 2 years ago was a dismal failure. I could barely make it to one side and back without dying. It was so hard and horrible that I haven't tried it again till today.

Nervous as I was I must say that I did have some extra confidence knowing that at least this time around I've been running, so my heart and lungs are much stronger than last time. Still, I was nervous and called my sister, who has done a triathlon, to get some swimming tips. She talked to me about form and told me to try to swim without stopping for at least 15 minutes. Remembering my last experience I thought there was no way I could swim continuously that long. She assured me that my current state of fitness would help me along and that I could do it. The main thing was to focus on my breathing, 3 strokes then breathe left, 3 strokes then breathe right. Got it, on to the pool!

When I got to the pool I had a great realization as I confidently walked out to the water in nothing but my bathing suit. I remember being in high school and even college and being MORTIFIED of wearing a bathing suit in front of people! If I ever did it was with a t-shirt and board shorts. Sometimes I'd ditch the t-shirt but NEVER swam without board shorts as I felt my legs and thighs were too hideous to be shown to the public. Ha ha!! Guess the whole birthing process, where I had a room full of total strangers not even blink an eye as they stared at me in all my glory, kind of helped me get over that fear. That and just realizing that this is my body and imperfect as it is, it works hard and I'm blessed to have it!

So I found an empty lane, pulled on my goggles, took a deep breath, jumped in and started counting my strokes, "one, two, three, breathe left!, one two three breathe right!" Before I knew it I was at the other side of the pool! Feeling so pleased with myself for making it to the other side without dying, I thought I'd be fancy and try to do that neat little Michael Phelps flippy thing where he turns around. Um, yeah, that was awkward. After doing a few uncontrolled flips in the water that never led to actually turning around, I realized I would need some experienced tutelage before I tried that again. Back to swimming, "1,2,3, breathe left! 1,2,3, breathe right!" Back and forth I went without stopping. My heart was pumping and my arms were burning but I was moving across the water and feeling strong! 15 minutes went by and I knew I had more in me. I pushed hard for 5 more minutes and stopped to catch my breath at the 20 minute mark. "Wow" I thought, "this is kind of fun!" I pushed off the wall again and went at it for 10 more minutes. After half an hour I stopped and started backfloating to cool down. As I floated down my lane, staring up at the ceiling I thought back on how doubtful I was of my ability to swim for 15 minutes. I smiled as I happily realized that sometimes I surprise myself with what I can really do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where did October go?

Today I had to sign and date a paper and when I wrote in "10/27/09" I literally dropped my jaw in disbelief! This month has flown by for me with a trip to Utah, Taber's marathon, my sister flying in for a week and other crazy events. Somehow in the midst of the insanity, running has taken a back seat. I usually run 3-4 times a week. Before yesterday I had only run 4 times the whole month! Being busy isn't really a good excuse though. I've been busy before and fit running in. I think it comes down 2 different reasons:
1) It's getting cold (it snowed last week) and it's much harder to be motivated to run in 30 degree weather.
2) I don't have a race I'm training for. When I'm training for something I MAKE myself run, even if I'm busy, on vacation, or it's cold. I really need to find a race, but with winter approaching the pickings are getting slim!

Excuses aside, I really do love running and I've missed it. Taber knew I needed a boost and a few weeks ago he got me a gym pass where they have a great childcare so that I can run during the day, even though it's cold outside. I went yesterday and today and it feels awesome to be moving again. I started out easy, 3 miles on Monday. And even that didn't feel as easy as I thought it should. Guess slacking off has some backlash. Today was better though. I did four miles and even kicked it up and did "speed" intervals. My slow miles were 9:13 pace and my fast miles were 8 min pace. I tried doing a 7:30 min/mile sprint and that only lasted for a 1oth of a mile! So much for being fast ; ) I miss running outside but I think this gym pass will be a lifesaver this winter. Now I just need to find a race. Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's been awhile...

Um yeah, it's been awhile since I blogged on here. Last week I was in Utah visiting my family and the running thing kind of took a back seat. I did manage to get in 5 miles early Monday morning before our flight, and then on Wednesday my sister watched the kids so I could run. I did 4 miles on the track and finished in 33 minutes. I felt like I was super fast. It was fun. But then I spent the rest of the week eating A LOT of great food and pretty much doing nothing in the realms of exercise until today when I forced myself to hit the gym for a 4 miler. It was harder than normal (not working out and eating excessively does that to you) but I'm back and looking forward to Taber's marathon this weekend! The weather forecast says he's facing a 40 degree high and rain and snow showers that day. Can we say TROOPER!! I'll be there with bags of warm dry clothing on the trail, just in case... Despite the weather though I think he's excited ( I know I am!) He's ready and I know he'll do great!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Gym Buddy

Now that fall is upon us it's getting too dark to run outside in the morning. So the last couple workouts I've done have been at my little gym (an Anytime Fitness place). It's not like a full on gym with aerobics classes and a pool. Just basic stuff, treadmills, elliptical, bikes, weights, etc... It's really not your typical gym crowd either. No hard bodied super athletes, just your average people trying to make time to work out. My gym seems especially popular with the retired age crowd. It's awesome to see some of these older people coming in and getting their exercise. One fellow is there every morning at the same time I go. I'm guessing he's in his late 70's, but man he's still going strong! He comes in there and power walks on the treadmill for 20 minutes or so, then he does a little weight routine, then comes back to the treadmill, and back to the weights.

Anyway, I've ended up running by him a couple times and the other day I came in and before I could get my headphones on he turned to me and said, "So, ya come to run another 10 miles again?" I just smiled and laughed (since I've obviously never run 10 miles on a treadmill) but then he kept talking. "What are you, like a marathon runner or something?" Well I'm not gonna lie, that felt really good to hear that! Someone saw me running and thought I was a marathoner? He can definitely be my friend! I mean, yeah, I did run 1 marathon but sometimes I still don't feel like people would see me running and think, "wow, she must be a runner." It was definitely one of those "look how far I've come" moments. I totally remember running next to people at the gym and seeing them crank out high speeds or lots of miles and being like, "Wow! Now that person is a runner!!" Guess now people (well, at least my little gym buddy) think that of me.

Anyway, this morning I was back at the gym and of course he was there. He said, "So what's the work out gonna be today?" I told him 5 miles and he smiled and said, "well get to it!" So there you have it. Darker mornings and colder weather force me to run indoors, but at least I have my gym buddy there to make the experience a little bit brighter. : )

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's happening...

I think it's happening, it's still early yet to tell, but I think I'm becoming a morning person!! I'm trying not to get too excited yet because I haven't sustained the early morning habit for 21 days, which apparently is the magic number to make habits stick. Still, last week I was doing early morning workouts all week, and this week I'm 2 out of 3 days for getting up at 6am. Holy cow! If I become a morning person can you just imagine all the possibilities? On Monday I got a taste of the awesomeness of starting my day early. I got up at 6am and did 5 miles at the gym. I listened to conference talks while I ran so I felt like I was getting a double whammy of strengthening body and spirit at the same time. I finished around 7am and then went grocery shopping! I did a HUGE shop, got everything I needed for the whole week. It went so fast without the girls and then I got home at 8am and 3 of the biggest to do's on my list were already DONE before the kids were even awake! So what did I do with the rest of my day? Ran errands, took Teya to the dentist, super cleaned my house (closets and everything!) mopped floors, scrubbed bathrooms, the works. I also made a fabulous dinner (courtesy of the crock pot) and when Taber came home he was blown away! Yes, I think getting up early has some serious perks, now if I can just teach myself to get to BED early, then I think this is really gonna stick!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Told ya I'd use it!

3 years ago I was still trying to lose baby weight after having Teya and I told Taber I really really wanted a jogging stroller. He'd never seen me run more than a mile, maybe 2, and certainly not on any kind of consistent basis, so he was pretty hesitant. His sweet Mom knew I wanted one though so she bought me one as a gift. I think Taber was pretty glad HE hadn't paid for it because during those first 3 years it was sadly only used a handful of times. Well things have changed and that little stroller has been logging some serious miles lately!! Now that Teya is in preschool twice a week I'm taking advantage of that time to do a little running with the Brinster. On Tuesday I pushed her for 6 miles in that thing and today I ran 4 with her. You see Taber? I told you I would use it!!

Bonus: Every time we get going that bumpy ride puts her right to sleep. It's a great way to give her a morning nap without having her sleep so long that she won't go down in the afternoon. Yay for stroller naps! (and cute sleeping babies : )


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One last hoorah!

After a long and frustrating ordeal with his knee injury Taber is back and running strong again. He had a great race in the Ragnar and felt so good coming out of it that he decided to work towards a full marathon again. He's shooting for the Whistlestop Marathon in Ashland, Wisconsin, coming up next month on Oct 1oth. The last couple of Saturdays he's been doing long runs and did a nice 15 miler last week. His knee still isn't 100%, so he's taking things nice and slow and doing a lot of stretching and icing. He's looking good though and if worse comes to worse, they allow you to switch to the half marathon if you get injured and can't complete the full. So yeah, either way I think we're heading to Whistlestop next month for one last hoorah before the running season ends!

With Taber digging into marathon training we've had to do some juggling so we can both get our runs in. Not that I need to do 3 hour training runs but I still want to keep up my distance running because I'm shooting for one more half marathon at the end of Oct. So I've had to improvise a bit and do more early morning runs and running with the kiddos. We have a single jogging stroller that I use with Brinely while Teya is at preschool twice a week. Last Sat though Taber was out running and I wanted to get out there before the whole morning was gone. So I squeezed them both into the single jogger and we set out. I did around 5 miles and it was very slow with the 60lbs of extra weight to push!! The girls did so good though and by the end they were both fast asleep on top of each other. Taber met us and took some pics. Aren't they sweet?



So yeah, I'm excited for Taber and happy that running is really becoming a part of our lifestyle now. The trick will be making it through the Minnesota winter...We'll let you know how that goes : )

Monday, September 14, 2009

Split Personality

How is it that I can have such drastically different personalities residing in the same body? On one hand there's the part of me that got up at 5:30 this morning and ran 5 miles pushing myself hard. On the other hand there's the part of me that ate 2 brownies after a huge lunch and is having a hard time keeping the other 2 that are left away from my black hole of a mouth. If I can ever get my athletic side to overcome my gluttonous food addict side I will be soooo buff!!! Until then, I think of all the calories I consume everyday and am thankful that at least part of me DOES like to run : )

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This is how my brain works at night

I'd like to post a coherent stream of my thoughts on running tonight, but I don't know if that's how they will come out since it's 11pm, I've been up since 6, and other than that one crazy weekend of the Ragnar, my brain simply doesn't work well at night. But, I'm staying up to keep Taber company while he works on a project so I figured I might as well blog right? So here we go, I'll just start letting my thoughts pop out and if I have time I'll connect them.

My abs are sore. My bum is sore. My inner thighs, quads, calves, triceps, and shoulders are all sore. I did an exercise DVD yesterday and today called Slim in 6 by Debbie Siebers (found on the beachbody website) I've done it before and didn't think it would be that bad, but since I've been neglecting all my other muscle groups my body now feels like I got hit by a train. This is good for me though. Good to remember that running, while great for your heart, lungs, and legs, is not a full body workout. I'm going to start trying to mix it up a little more and on the days I don't run do more toning exercises to work the rest of my body.

I got up at 6am to workout this morning. Remember how I said maybe I could be a morning person? Well today marks 3 days in a row of getting up at 6am to workout. If I do it tomorrow after staying up late I will REALLY start thinking this could happen. I could really turn into a morning person!! Oh man that would be AWESOME! I'll keep you posted....

I did two workouts today. Slim in 6 in the wee hours of the morn and then I did a 3 mile run during my babysitting swap with Darci. Remember how I said I want to be fast? I wasn't too fast today. I think my insanely sore muscles were slowing me down. It felt like I was running in water, seriously! It's weird how running works. Some days it's almost effortless and you just fly through it, other days it's like cutting through molasses the whole time! (that was a weird analogy, but like I said, it's late)

Fiber One vs. Fiber plus. Any thoughts here? I'm a Fiber One girl, but then I heard about Fiber plus and how written right on the box it brags "Tastes better than Fiber One!" Well I tried it, and I'll tell you what it tastes like, a hybrid between a chocolate chip cookie and a rice crispie treat. Is that what I want in a health food? No thank you. When I eat a Fiber One bar I'm good for hours. After eating a Fiber plus I was not satiated, and ended up eating two in a row. So now when I was hoping for a 120 calorie snack I end up eating twice that and feeling like I spoiled my dinner! So yeah, I'll be sticking with Fiber one.

That's about all I got right now. Hoping to do another 3 miler tomorrow with the jogging stroller. I wonder if pushing that thing makes my arms buffer? Maybe...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Morning run

This morning, on Labor Day holiday, I, Becca Rigg, woke up at 6am, to dutifully do my run so that Taber could go play football at 8am. I would like to mention that I am NOT a morning person, and that holidays (or days when Taber doesn't have to work) are usually days that I try to sleep in. But because I love my husband, and because I love to run, I made the effort to drag my reluctant tooshie out of bed for a morning sweat session. Hats off to all you people who work out this early every day. It really was beautiful, and the cool weather was nice to run in. I ran 7.5 miles, looped around Rice Lake and came back and circled Wal-mart. I would love to have the discipline to get up early and do that everyday. Who knows, I willed myself to run a marathon, maybe I can will myself out of bed before dawn on a regular basis. We shall see...

My favorite new running songs

Recently I've been running to some new songs that are rocking my workouts. I know everybody gets pumped by different types of music, (like I know a gal who loves to run to opera, and Taber loves to listen to audio books) but I thought I'd share this for anyone who possibly gets pumped to the same stuff I do.

Halo-Beyonce
Let the Drummer Kick-Citizen Cope
Angel (clean version from my best 10K album)-flipsyde
Battlefield-Jordin Sparks
Promontory-From the last of the Mohicans soundtrack. Seriously LOVE running to this song!
The Distance-Cake

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A new kind of endurance

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I would love to be fast. Training for the marathon I was focusing mostly on endurance and teaching my body to reserve energy and pace conservatively so I could make it to finish line upright. Since then I have still remained cautious in my pacing, even on shorter runs, just because in the back of my mind I feel like I need to have extra gas in the tank. But now that all my long distance races are over I want to get fast! (oh yeah, and remember, fast is relative for me, I'm shooting for anything under an 8 minute mile, including a 7:59 mile)

I was talking to a girl who is on the cross country team at her junior high and asking her what they do in training to work on speed. She told me about mile repeats. I'd heard the term before but never really read up on what they are. Well on the Jr High level you basically just jog easy for a half a mile then run hard (8:15 min/mile for the jr high kids) for a mile, then jog easy for a half, then run hard again for a mile. Jr. high kids only do 2 hard miles in their repeats. Now the varsity high school kids do 4 mile repeats at a 6:15 pace. HAHA! Yeah, I'm definitely not ready for varsity, but I figured I could do a jr high workout well enough so last night I gave it a try.

I had to do it on the treadmill since once again my workout got put off until night time. Still, it was nice because I could track the distance and pace very easily. So here's how it went:
-jogged 1/2 mile at a 10 min pace (6mph on the treadmill)
-ran 1 mile at an 8 min pace (7.5 mph)
-jogged 1/2 mile at a 9:13 pace (6.5 mph)
-ran 1/2 mile at a 7:30 pace, cuz I was feeling cocky(8.0 mph on the treadmill) but then I almost died so I went back down to a 8 min pace (7.5) and finished the other half of that mile.
-jogged at 9:13 pace for half a mile
-ran at 8 min pace for half a mile

Total miles: 4 miles
Total time: 33:57 minutes

When I was running my hard miles I felt like I was teaching my body a new kind of endurance. Not enduring distance, but pain. I just kept thinking, this hurts, but I know I can do this for a mile. I'm just not used to sustaining the burn, I usually work out at a pace that I can still carry on a conversation at. Even if I there had been someone to talk to I wouldn't have been able to say a word. Maybe I could've grunted out "help!" or "save me!" but that's about it.

Uncomfortable as those fast miles were, I really liked working out like that! It definitely made me work up a sweat and I just felt really good after. So yeah, my goal for the next two months is to work on mile repeats, speed intervals, and tempo runs. Then I'll sign up for a 5K and see if I can't get a PR. This should be fun! (well, in a sick and kind of masochistic way at least : )

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

He was right, I was wrong...

Yesterday was a crazy day and I knew I wasn't going to be able to get a run in until the evening. By the time we got the girls to bed it was past 8, and already dark outside. I wasn't too worried. I mean, I ran at night during the Ragnar, I really didn't think it was a big deal. Taber however was very concerned. He reminded me that at the Ragnar I was wearing a reflective vest, flashing LED lights, and being shadowed by a biker and a van. This was different. The path I was going to run isn't well lit, in fact, it gets pitch black in places. Taber knew this very well since he's run it at night several times. I had only run it in the day though I just couldn't' imagine it being as dark as he was telling me. He urged me to run a different route that would involve 4 laps around Wal-mart. I knew that route was much better lit but the thought of running in circles just sounded blah to me. So I told him I wasn' t afraid of the dark and that I was going the other way. When he saw I had my stubborn mind set, he asked me to at least carry a small flashlight and my phone. "Deal" I said. And headed out the door.

DUMB DUMB DUMB! Less than 5 minutes into my run I knew I should've listened to Taber. It was soooo dark and creepy out there. I coudn't even see the trail at some points, and my flashlight (aka laser pointer with a teeny tiny light bulb) didn't help much. After I reached 1 mile I was running past some dark woods and I just got the sickest bone chilling feeling that I was not safe. I pulled out my phone and put my finger on the botton to speed dial Taber should anything happen to me. Sick feeling didn't go away and I started letting my mind get carried away imagining all the scary things that could be hiding in the woods waiting to attack me. I was thoroughly freaked out so I ditched my original plan, turned around and starting high tailing it back home. I ran sooo fast! I wish I had my watch on to check my pace because I'm positive it was the fastest I've ever run. I ran up the hills at full speed, letting the adrenaline push past the burning in my lungs as I ran for my "life." I finally made it back to our well lit neighborhood and started off towards Wal-mart to run the trail I should've started with in the first place.

I don't know if anything would've happend had I kept going in the dark, but I'm glad I didn't stay to find out. The sad truth is, we live in a world where people (especially women) are not always safe to go out alone at night. I know I won't be doing it again, ever! If I have to run at night I'll call a friend or go to the gym. I am thankful that the spirit warned me to turn around. I'm also thankful for Taber's warnings and next time I will just listen to him and avoid scary lung burning workouts that cause my life to flash before my eyes. : )

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ragnar: The Extended Edition

So I posted all the details and such on my family website here: Ragnar Post

But I always like to do a few more of the "running" details on this blog. So here we go.

Best Parts of the Ragnar:

1) Number one would have to be running with Taber. If you've been following this blog you know about the ups and downs he has had with knee injury this year. It's been a rough road to recovery but I am so happy to say that he is BACK!! and He totally rocked it at the Ragnar. He was taking it really easy in his training because he didn't want to re-injure himself before the race. Once he got out there though he really let loose and not only ran his 18.1 miles but he also biked 12 more so he could shadow me and another runner on our team. The man is a machine!! So yes, VERY happy to be running with my man again and also just pumped to see him tearing it up out there again!

2) Bonding with friends in the van. Yes, it got a little stinky in there. (okay, A LOT stinky!) But there is just something really bonding about sweating together.

3) Gorgeous trails and scenery

4) Being part of the "running club" with all the other crazies on the course.

5) Running in the middle of the night. That was seriously awesome

Tough Parts of the Ragnar:

1) Sleep deprivation. Due to some delayed flights (my parents flew in to watch the girls and my sister and her hubby flew in to run) and some cranky babies we literally only got 2 1/2 hours of sleep before the race. That wouldn't have been so bad if we were only running one leg, but pushing through 30 hours without sleep was TOUGH. Have you ever been so tired you thought you were gonna puke? Well that's pretty much how I felt several times through out the race. Luckily the adrenaline before my legs got me pumped up but in between I was kind of a zombie.

2) Nerves: I get really nervous before a race. Don't know why but my nerves wrecked havoc on my digestive system and I ended up in the bathroom before EVERY leg!

3) Nutrition: We naively thought that we'd be able to eat on the road in between our legs. Um yeah, that didn't really happen. We were running in some pretty remote areas and at some really crazy hours of the night so we were only able to grab some junk from a few gas stations. That combined with my nerves made for a very unhappy tummy and a rough last leg due to lack of fuel. Next time we'll bring our own food!

Other than those minor details though the whole experience rocked. I was really happy with the way I ran. I was strong and steady the whole time, (even on the last leg when I thought I was moving like a turtle I actually ended up being faster than I thought)

Here is the breakdown of my running times. Time doesn't matter, I know that. But, it's always fun just for my own personal improvement to see how fast I run.

Leg 1: 8.3 miles, finished in 1:16 min. Average pace: 9:39 min/mile
Leg 2: 7.5 miles, finished in 1:04 min. Average pace: 8:40 min/mile
Leg 3: 3.9 miles,finished in 38 min. Average pace: 9:44 min/mile

(If you want to figure out your pace when you run here is a cool website with a pace calculator. You just enter your mileage and time and it figures out your pace.)

So there you go, the inside scoop from our latest running adventure. Not sure what we'll do next. I imagine we'll take a little break but knowing us, I'm sure it won't last for long!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pumped!

I love the week leading up to a race! Especially a big one like the Ragnar, which will be more of an experience really. I had a nice week of training last week, here's what it looked like:

Mon: cleaned my house and worked on some long neglected projects. Didn't run but what can you do?

Wed: 4 solid miles on a blazing hot day. The heat was like kryptonite sucking my energy but I finished and gave myself a high five when I was done.

Thurs: 3 miles pushing the baby in the jogging stroller. Couldn't get under a 9 minute mile but wasn't trying too hard either.

Sat: Beautiful 6 mile loop that included the trails around Rice Lake. 9 minutes miles with a sprint at the end, even powered up the giant hill at the end. Thought my legs looked a little bit buffer after that. ; )

And today I ran a fast 5K (finished in 25 minutes, one of my best times!) With hills and everything. Dude! This is the week of self high fives. One more (smack!) Aw yeah!

Tomorrow is just strength training, Wednesday will be an easy 2 miles and then it's rest and RACE!!! Woo hoo!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Well that was a new experience!

This morning as I was getting ready for my run I noticed it was a little overcast. I thought it might rain a little but I wasn't too worried since I've run in the rain before and it was quite refreshing. By the time I got out the door though the clouds were so dark it looked more like night than morning. I put a wind breaker on just in case it rained and headed out. About 5 minutes into the run the rain started falling. I guess I was in a goofy mood because I went all "singing in the rain" and was just laughing at the sky and jumping over puddles and having a jolly old time.

But then it started to POUR! We're talking buckets of water being dumped from the sky! Add the wind to that and things started getting intense! My windbreaker was soaked all the way through in a matter of seconds. The rain stung as it pelted my face and I literally wished I had worn goggles because I COULD NOT SEE! There was so much water on my face and eyes that my contacts kept folding over. I finally just started running with my eyes closed and opening them every few feet to get a handle on where I was going. 2 miles into it my iPod shorted out. I tried to keep it dry in my coat pocket but since my coat was drenched the iPod didn't have much hope. There weren't many people on the trails (obviously) But I did see a girl running in a full on swim suit! That was funny!

Luckily after 4 miles the rain let up and by the time I finished my 6 miles the sun was shining again. Running in the rain I've done before, running in the POURING crazy torrential rain, well that was a new experience! I'm glad I made it through and have to say it definitely shook things up from the normal routine! Oh yeah, and on a happy note, my iPod survived and after drying it out and giving it a little TLC it is fully functioning once more : )

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fast!

Today I was fast! Maybe not compared to other runners but for me, I was booking! I haven't had a run like that in a while. I knew from the minute my feet hit the pavement that it was going to be a good run. Normally it takes me at least 5 minutes to warm up, then I need to stop and stretch because my legs have been so tight in the past. Not today though. I stepped out of my friend's house (who was watching my kids) and it was on! I starting at a 9:30 pace to warm up but when I got to my normal stretching spot I didn't stop to stretch, I just kept going. Half a mile into it my pace was 9 minutes, I hit a mile and my watch started beeping to tell me I was going faster than an 8:30 pace. I normally slow down when I hear it beep but today I wanted it to keep on beeping. I pushed a little harder and ran miles 2 and 3 between an 8:10-8:15 pace. I was sweating hard and it felt awesome. When I'd get to a hill I would sprint up it. My legs and lungs were burning but it felt so good! I know I pushed under an 8 minute mile several times during the run. My total distance was 4.3 miles, my average pace was about 8:30 (given my slower start and cool down)

Running fast is fun! My friend recently got 2nd place (and a medal) in a 5K she did. She was REALLY booking, I think her average pace was around a 7:30 minute mile. I'm definitely not even close to that right now but going "fast" today made me think that maybe someday I could be...

Monday, August 3, 2009

6 together 6 alone

My last two runs were both 6 milers. On Sat Taber and I did our run together. Our friends from our Ragnar team swapped with us so they watched our kids while we ran and then we watched theirs while they ran. It was really cool to do a longer training run together and just be able to chat and hang out on our little "running date." We went nice and slow (about 10:30-11 minute pace) and stretched half way through since Taber's knee still isn't 100%. We were on some really nice trails and even went into a pretty nature preserve for a little bit. It's sounds funny, since we were both all sweaty and stinky, but there's something kind of romantic about running together. Maybe it's just being outside on the beautiful trails together, being able to talk about anything and everything, and of course seeing my husband in his athletic gear, I don't know, I just like it : )

Anyway, today I ran 6 miles again. This time by myself and staying between a 9-9:30 minute pace. I did the same lake trails I did last Monday and felt like I got a really good workout with the hills and everything. My energy got a little low towards the end but I think that's just because your body starts needing fuel every hour or so and I ran for 55 minutes. So yeah, good work out today but not nearly as fun by myself! I'm glad we'll be running together for the Ragnar in a few weeks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hot and Cold

I like running. I mean really, I really truly enjoy it. It's fun, it feels good, it makes me happy and I look forward to it. However, I do NOT like running in the heat! (And heat to me, since I live in Minnesota, is anything above 78 degrees. I know, I'm a wimp!) When it's hot I just lose everything I love about running and it turns into a chore instead of a retreat. That's exactly what happened on Monday. My friend was watching the kids so I thought, I should take advantage of this and go on a 6 mile run. Unfortunately I didn't leave until noon, when it was 85 degrees outside. I started out slow, thinking I'd speed up, but I never could. The first 3 miles were all about 9:30 miles. The last three were even slower. I had to stop a couple times to drink and pour water on myself to cool down. I ended up finishing in exactly 1 hour, blah! The whole run just felt like so much work. How the heck to people who live in Arizona or other hot places do it?

Anyway, today was the total opposite. It was a cool 65 degrees when I went on my run at 10am this morning. Teya was at preschool so I just had Brinley and was able to push her in our single jogging stroller. She did awesome, fell asleep before the first mile and slept the whole time. I felt awesome too. I ran 4 miles in 36 minutes, not bad for pushing a stroller! The best part was it was fun! On Monday I thought I was losing my love for running, but now I know it was just the heat! : )

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pioneer Day 5K

On Saturday our church put together a little 5K run to celebrate Pioneer Day. It was very low key, no official clock or anything. But we had a really good turn out and it was fun running with so many great people I know. Taber was able to run it with me which is the first time we've run together in over a month. We kept around a 9 minute pace for the most part but on the final 1/4 mile Taber really started to kick it in! There was a huge hill too and he just owned it! I looked down at my watch and he was running around a 7:20 pace. I could barely keep up with him and he ended up beating me to the finish. He's knee was bugging him after but man was it good to see him running hard again!

I ended the week with a total of 12.5 miles. Not as much as I hoped but better than last week's 7. I DID cross train twice though so that counts for something right? Next week will be even better. I'm shooting for at least 15 miles. 4 tomorrow, 4 Wed, 2 Thurs, and at least 5 (but preferable 7 or 8) on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Much Better

This week I am back on track, as promised! On Monday I even did something that is completely outside of my nature, I woke up early! We're talking 5:30 am so I could go running before the kids got up. I gave myself a big fat pat on the back for that one. ; )

The run was GREAT! Taber's friend is letting us borrow his Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch and I got the treat of running with it. Taber has the Garmin forerunner 50 which measures your pace and distance by a foot pod. But the 305 tracks you by satellite. It's super accurate and it tells you your time, distance, and pace all on the same screen so you don't have to switch back and forth. I LOVE it! I will be so sad when we have to give it back. (I think I'm gonna have to start a fund right now to save up for my own, it's just too awesome!)
Another cool thing about it is that after each mile it pops up your average time for that mile. So On Monday my first mile was 9:22, second mile was 9:03, third mile was 8:28 and 4th mile was 8:16. My fastest pace during the run was 7:11. I loved having the watch to measure my run and it definitley made me want to work harder.

Besides wearing the fun watch I loved Monday's run because it actually felt like a run, not just a jog. My legs are feeling better than ever and the IT band issues have improved almost 100%. Heck, I bounded down the stairs today. BOUNDED! I haven't done that in a long time. With my ITB syndrome I wondered if I'd ever be able to just walk down them normally, let alone bound. It's very exciting to have my legs back, although I'm still being cautious and not pushing up my mileage or pace too fast because I don't want to go backwards when I've come so far.

Today I had another good run. Not as fast as Monday, but I did 4.5 miles at a solid 9 minute pace. It was fun because we had playgroup at a park by a lake with running trails. So I left my kids with one of my friends at playgroup and ran around the lake a couple times. The kids had a great time and I got a work out and social time all in one deal. Gotta love multi-tasking! I'll do one more run tomorrow and then we have a 5K on Saturday. So yes, this week is going much better than last one!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slack attack!

Wow, last week was BAD as far as running goes. I ran a grand total of 7 miles! Yikes! I don't have a good excuse either. My legs are fully recovered and I'm totally back up to speed and everything. I think I was just in a little bit of denial about my next race coming up in just over 30 days. It's a relay race that covers 200 miles and is split up in legs between 12 runners. Each runner does three legs in a 24 hour period (meaning I'll run one of them in the middle of the night) Anyway,I thought, "oh it won't be so bad, I ran a marathon after all, I can just slack off a little and be fine. Well then we had a team meeting yesterday and I was assigned my route. Here's what it looks like (They assign you miles for each leg and then a level of difficulty according to elevation and distance):

Leg 1: 8.3 miles/very hard
Leg 2: 7.5 miles/very hard
Leg 3: 3.9 miles/moderate
Total distance: 19.7 miles!!!

Aye aye aye! For some reason my team thinks I should run the 2nd longest and most difficult route (My brother in law Kevin is running the #1 longest and hardest leg haha!) Guess after you run a marathon people have higher expectations of you. That's a good thing though. I've been needing a boost in motivation lately and this is it! Now that my route is assigned I know exactly what I'm up against and I'm ready to work for it! Yeah!!! So good bye slack attack! I'm ramping up the mileage this week and back into full training mode! WOO!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Slowing down to speed up

3 weeks now since the marathon and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting my legs back. It's been a slow process getting back. I've only been doing 3 mile runs a couple times a week and they've been hard. My IT bands have been really tight and last Wednesday they hurt so bad I limped through the first mile. I went in for a deep tissue massage and have been doing lots of stretching and resting.

On Saturday I ran 6 miles which is the farthest I've gone since the race. I started out really slow, about a 10:30 minute pace. I kept that up for the first three miles and the longer I ran the better I felt. each mile I felt like I could go a little bit faster. The coolest thing is that for the last 1/2 a mile I was running! almost sprinting, and I didn't get tired or feel any pain. I haven't "flown" like that in forever! I was surprised my legs could do it! I credit it mostly to the fact that I slowed down for the first half of my run so my legs and IT bands really had a chance to warm up and get loose. I also did a lot of stretching before and after. Anyway, it was exciting to have a good run and to feel like I'm still in the game.

Also on a happy recovery note, Taber ran 7 miles on Saturday. That's the most he's been able to run since his injury 2 months ago. When he first got hurt he couldn't even run 1 mile. He had to take 3 weeks off running and has done some physical therapy and lots of streching and icing and strengthing. He's really been careful as he's eased back into it. Slowly increasing his miles each week, sticking to his rest days, and not pushing his pace. It's been awesome to see him running again and to know that there's a light at the end of the injury tunnel.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Numbers (for Mel)

My friend Melinda wanted more specific numbers on my weight loss so here you go. I started out at 154 lbs. and on the day of my marathon I weighed 126.2 (I was shocked to see the distance of the race on the scale that day, talk about a crazy coincidence!) So total weight loss was 28.2 lbs.

I also went from barely squeezing into size 12 jeans to comfortably fitting into a size 4. I wish I took measurements to see how many inches I lost but I guess I wasn't thinking ahead. Anyway, so there you go, running does a body good.

I will say though that as I really increased my miles at the end I didn't lose any weight. My skinny clothes started fitting better but the scale didn't move. I think that's mostly because of adding muscle (which weighs more than fat) and because I was so hungry that I ate ALL the time! Now my problem is that I'm only running about 10 miles a week but I still want to eat like I'm running 30! Guess I better make some adjustments there : )

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm back! Sort of...

I went for my first post-marathon run on Monday. I read that for a whole month after the marathon you should run easy, no racing or speed training so that your body can recover fully. To help out with this I left the Garmin at home. I didn't even run with a watch. I just wanted to get my legs moving and see how I felt. I ended up doing 2 miles. It felt really really good just to get sweaty again! The next day however my old friends, the IT bands, were giving me some trouble. I have a feeling I'll be dealing with those guys for awhile. Anyway, I took Tuesday off and went out again last night for a 4 mile run. I had the Garmin this time and kept around a 9:30 pace. The beginning was tough, my legs were definitely hurting, but once I got warmed up I felt awesome(minus some leg pain.) The wind was blowing, the night air was cool. There's just something so therapeutic about running outside. My heart and lungs feel strong as ever, now I guess I just need to get my legs up to par. I'll keep doing easy runs for the rest of July. My Ragnar race isn't until the end of August and our team isn't looking to break any records so I don't feel too much pressure to push my times up. Right now I'm just happy to be running again, even if it is slower miles and shorter distances. I'll take it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Transformation

Here are two pictures that were taken of me 2 months after I had Brinley. These are the pictures that inspired me to start moving my body. I kept telling myself, "Oh well I just had a baby, that's why I look like this." But as the weeks went by, I didn't lose one pound. In fact, I gained. Then I saw these pictures and all I could think was, "Who is that girl? That can't be me." It wasn't me, I had to find myself. That's why I started running.


It's been almost a year now since Brinley was born. Sometimes I still don't recognize that girl in the mirror, probably because she's a lot more fit than I'm used to! It's weird being referred to as a runner or athletic, but I guess that's something I have transformed into. After the race the lady who gave me a massage said, "You're really fit, did you know that?" And the other day we were driving in the car and Teya saw a girl outside running who was tan, toned, and athletic looking. Teya said, "Look Mommy! That girl's just like you!"

I know my body is far from perfect, but it's been really neat to go from huffing and puffing after my kids to being able to run around with them. It's awesome being referred to as "skinny, or fit" and it's great that my 3 year old thinks I look like that buff girl running!
But the greatest transformation of all is just the way I have come to think. I feel like the little Engine that could. When faced with new challenges I don't say I can't, I say, " I think I can!" : )

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Resting and Recovery

It's been 5 days since the marathon and I'm really enjoying my week off of running to rest and recover. I'm not gonna lie, Sunday my legs, back, hips, and feet all hurt like the devil. I couldn't sit down or stand up without a pretty impressive effort. The stairs were a nightmare, and poor Taber ended up having to do a lot of kid and house duty on Father's day because I was useless.

Monday I felt greatly improved in all areas but my quads, which still really hurt. So I splurged and got a massage and asked the lady to mostly just focus on my lower back and legs. I am now a HUGE believer in the healing power of massage because the next day my legs felt 90% better! I only had a little bit of soreness but could actually climb the stairs without using the arm rail to pull myself up.

By Wednesday I was pretty much back to normal. Today all muscle soreness is gone but I'm just dealing with some knee pain and of course some pain in my IT bands which I expected. I did Pilates on Tuesday and today and have been stretching and doing a few strengthening exercises for my glutes because apparently that's supposed to help your IT bands. I have tentatively scheduled my return to running jog for Monday, but if I'm not feeling up to it I'll push it back to Wednesday. The nice thing is that my next race isn't for 2 months so I've got some time. And speaking of time, since I haven't run at all this week I've actually had time to watch a movie, go to playgroup, and mop my floors! (okay, running is no excuse for not mopping my floor, but that's the first movie I've watched in a long time! it was fun!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marathon insider info!

I did it! I finished! For all the overall details and pictures you can visit my family blog here: Marathon Mama.

For my running blog though I just wanted to put up some stats and some of the insider info that only runners probably care about.

My chip time at the finish was 4:37:54. Gun time was 4:41:54. So we started exactly 4 minutes after the gun. My pace was calculated according to the gun time, so it says it was 10:46 but my chip pace was 10:36. I can handle that!

I finished 537/1239 for my age division and 925/2264 for my gender.

My 10K time was 59:10
Half marathon time was 2:09:37
20 mile mark was 3:26:06
Mile 25 was 4:24:11( meaning that last 1.2 miles took me over 13 minutes to finish, it's amazing how much you slow down at the end!)
My last 10K was 1:11:48. 12 minutes slower than my first. Again, the law of diminishing returns hits you hard in the marathon!

Favorite or Funny Moments:
1) not even a mile into the race dozens of men run off to the side of the road to pee. Seriously, they couldn't hold it?
2) Every time a cool breeze came off the lake you could hear a collective sigh of relief from all the runners. It was hot out there!
3) At mile 21 a spectator shouts out, "You're gonna win!"
4) Seeing Taber at mile 24 was more refreshing than all the water, gel, fruit, and power drinks along the way.

Lessons learned:
1) Get there early. The bathroom lines are outrageous and you want to have time to stretch.
2) Don't pour water on your head with your earphones in, they might short out!
3) Take it easy! They say your marathon pace should be 3 minutes slower than your perfect mile. I tried for a 9:30 pace in beginning. I'm pretty sure my perfect mile isn't a 6:30 pace! Once I slowed down to 10:30-11 minute miles I was much happier.
4) Don't hunch over for the last 6 miles, your back will hurt like the very devil the next day if you do!
5) no matter how great your shoes are, your feet will hurt after mile 21.
6) If you wear a sweatband or a bandana on your forehead you're gonna get a funky tan line. (which is fine, just a heads up)
7) Having a running buddy (preferably one who is a better runner than you) is AWESOME! They can help you stay motivated, keep you company, push you when you need it and help you stay sane during that last grueling 6 miles.
8) When your done get your legs in cold water or iced up ASAP!
9) The next day stairs are going to become your nemesis!
10) Girl Scout cookies taste really awesome after you've run 26.2 miles

Friday, June 19, 2009

My bags are packed, I'm READY TO GO!! : )

I'm sitting in a quiet house. My 2 girls and my dog have been farmed out to friends who will be watching them for the weekend. My iPod is loaded up with some new tunes, I've got my running gear in order. Bought a big old cooler to fill with ice so I'll have PLENTY on hand after the race. I'm feeling GOOD. I'm feeling READY!!

After my freak-out moment the other day things have really come together. I had a great PT session on Thursday and my legs feel fresher than they have in 3 weeks. I got some great little blister band aids for my ankles and ibuprofen on hand for any other "needs" that may arise : )Thanks for all the positive words and motivation. I know I can do this, and I know it will be great! I've done everything I can do, I've put in the miles, I've prepared. Now it's time to reap the rewards of my hard work. I've heard that the marathon is a celebration of all your training. Well I'm ready to celebrate!!

Taber and I are leaving for Duluth in the next hour. I'm so happy he'll be there to cheer me on and support me in this. My sister will be there too (her husband is running it) So that will be great to have familiar faces at the finish line. My plan is to go nice and easy, listen to my body, and cross the finish line with enough left in my tank that I can enjoy the rest of the activities this weekend. Thanks again for all the support! Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A few concerns

As the marathon gets closer I'm feeling like a nervous wreck. I think I would be much calmer if my legs were 100 percent but they definitely are not. I'm still working through the ITB syndrome. After Saturday's run my IT bands were shot. Sunday I iced and stretched and on Monday I tried to run 3 miles. I finished it, but it hurt. The first mile and a half was especially painful. I went in for another ART treatment and more physical therapy today. The Dr. even brought out the ultrasound machine and did a treatment with that to loosen up the tissue around the IT bands that's keeping them so tight. I definitely feel an improvement after that intense little session but they still hurt. (the stairs are the worst, I have to go down them backwards)

So yeah, I'm a little concerned about Saturday but the Doctor is confident that I can finish as long as I take it slow and steady. In the mean time I'm taking it EASY. Today I was supposed to do 4 miles but I think I'm just going to do it on the elliptical to give my legs a break. Tomorrow I will run 2 miles and then no more running until the race.

Also on the concerns list, (and sorry if this is TMI) but being a girl I have to deal with the "monthly visitor" which I'm pretty positive will make it's unwelcome appearance sometime within the next three days. awesome. I really don't want to run 26.2 miles with that going on, but what can you do?

And finally, while I'm having my little freak out moment, I noticed today that the back of my heels are looking a little raw and now I'm worried I'm going to get blisters during the race. Hopefully I can prevent them but still, a cause for concern.

So now you know what's keeping me up at night. I'm excited for the race but boy will I be relieved when it's OVER!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Inspiration

Yesterday was our last long run before the marathon. Because of tapering down it was only 8 miles. Taber's physical therapy has been going well and he wanted to try running it with me to see if the marathon was still a possibility. We left our kids with some friends from our Ragnar team and hopped on a trail by their house that went through some marshes and around a lake and conveniently looped back to be exactly 8.5 miles. Perfect!

The Dr. told Taber not to worry about speed but just to try for distance. He also told him no hills which unfortunately we couldn't avoid as there were quite a few on the trail. We took it nice and easy, jogging at a 10:30 pace. After 2.5 miles we stopped and stretched then continued at our easy pace. Taber seemed to be doing great for the first 4 miles but then his knee started hurting. We hit a patch of hills and that didn't help at all. We stopped at mile 5 again and tried to stretch it out. At that point Taber knew he wasn't going to be able to do the marathon. It was a low point for both of us. Still Taber got back up and started jogging again, trying to at least finish our run. We jogged for one more mile and then he had to stop. He told me to ahead because he didn't want to ruin my run. I told him I'd stay with him but he really insisted I go.

I knew he would be out there for awhile just trying to walk back so I decided to run back to our friends house, borrow one of their bikes, bike back to Taber and have him ride back home while I ran. Once I had my mission in mind I kicked it into hard gear and really started to run. I was wearing Taber's new Garmin forerunner watch so I could track my speed and distance. I ran that last 2.5 miles back to the house at an 8:30 pace. I turned around quickly and biked hard to go back and find Taber. He was still about a mile and half out so he was glad to see me and happy I had the bike.

We were both a little bummed after the run but that evening we watched an AWESOME documentary called Spirit of the Marathon that chronicles 6 different runners as they train for the Chicago marathon. 2 are first timers, 2 are elite runners, 1 is a guy trying to qualify for Boston and one is a 70 year old running his 4th marathon. The movie was SO inspiring and amazing to watch. It was especially cool because the guy trying to qualify for Boston hurts his knee in a half marathon 2 months before the race (just like Taber) and has to drop out of the marathon. He still goes to support his wife who was running it, and a year later they both run Boston together. It was great for us to see that because we could relate so much. I know we'll still be able to run a marathon together, just not this one.

Taber has been amazingly supportive and upbeat through all of this. Even though I know he's very dissapointed, he hasn't wallowed in it. Instead he's switched gears to coach/support role and has really been pumping me up and trying to make sure I do everything right to have a good race. I hope if our roles are ever reversed I will be as positive as he is.

So less than a week to go now! If you are reading this and are thinking of or training to run a marathon I HIGHLY recommend watching Spirit of the Marathon for some inspiration. Here's a clip of the trailer to give you a little taste of it's awesomeness!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tapering down

This week I've been tapering down and thank goodness for that!!! My legs have been begging for a break and I'm happy to give it to them. On Monday I actually went into the Spine and Sports institute where Taber's been having his knee worked on and had them evaluate my legs. The Doctor said I had ITB friction syndrome, which long story short is that my IT bands are agitated because my glutes and quads aren't as strong as they should be to support the miles I've been putting on them. Yeah, guess I should've started cross training in the beginning like I was supposed to!

Anyway, the Dr. did a wonderful/horrible deep tissue massage on both of my legs and gave me some stretches to work on. He wants me to rub ice on my outer knee for 10 minutes a day (or take ice baths) and come in for 3 more massages before the race. He said right now he has 5 different people who are running Grandma's that are coming in for the same kind of thing. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

So far I've done two ice baths and I'm not gonna lie, they're pretty sucky. Once your legs go numb though they get better. And I will say that I feel a huge difference afterwards in reducing the pain in my legs, so that's good. Since my appt. on Monday I've gone for two runs and felt pretty good. I did 4 miles on Tuesday and 5 Miles today. My average pace on the 4 miler was 8:47 and my average today was 9:03. So nothing too fast but not too slow either. I'm aiming for around a 10 minute pace on the actual marathon so my short run pacing is still close to where it should be.

Anyway, here's a great article I found about Running Injury Free with a lot of great tips to prevent injury. I really like what they say about slowing down and taking walking breaks. I had my doubts about breaks but after taking them on our 20 miler and still finishing with a great time I'm a believer! I'll definitely be incorporating them into the actual marathon on race day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Not so Long Run

In training for a marathon you have some long runs and some not so long runs. Saturday was a not so long run. I was planning on getting up at 6 and doing 12 miles. A couple of things got in my way though. One, my IT bands have really been bothering me. They are tight and painful every time I walk down the stairs and especially for about the first mile when I run. Two: when I woke up it was raining. Normally I don't think that would've stopped me but with my leg issues added to the rain I just couldn't do it.

Taber suggested we go to the gym and put the kids in childcare and run on the treadmills together. I knew I wasn't up for 12 miles on the treadmill but I figured I could at least do 10. Well being the chronically late person that I am we didn't end up getting to the gym till almost 12. Since Brinley is under 12 months she has to have a reservation for childcare and our reservation was from 11-1. The lady was like, um yeah, you're going to have to pick her up at 1. Doh! That only gave us 1 hour. So by the time I warmed up and got going I was only able to squeeze in 6 miles. I tried to run hard to compensate for not running long and after warming up I kicked it up to 7 miles per hour (8:34 minute pace) and then went to 7.5 (8 minute pace) I worked up a nice little sweat but was still bummed that I couldn't do more.

When I got home and was feeling all down on myself I picked up my marathon training book and read this great quote, " Don't be a slave to the program. I can't stress this enough when I speak to groups. You have your own personal rhythms and you also have to factor in what's going on in your life. Looking back I should have been more flexible. That's why I tell people that if they have a long run planned and they're overly tired, wait until they feel more rested. I should have listened to my body more that my guilt. If you need to take off, do it. Don't risk burning out. "

I was really glad I read that. The program is an outline, not a mandate. I can't beat myself up over a short run. I have to be flexible and remember that life happens. Kids need naps and sometimes you're late. Legs need rest and sometimes you have to scale back. In the end what matters is that I do my best and enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy National Running Day!

It's national running day so I hope you laced up your shoes and got out there and ran! I did 4 miles this morning. I was supposed to do twice that but due to IT band issues and a time crunch that's all I got. At this point though I'm okay with that. I feel like I have a strong running base and my heart and lungs are great. I've asked a lot of these legs over the past few months and they've given me much more than I could've imagined. Still, I don't want to push it. Our Marathon is in 16 days and according to Grete Waitz, 9 time New York Marathon winner, "In the last two weeks, the training won't make you a better runner. In fact, too much running at that stage can undermine the effort." The miles are in the bank and that's what I'm going to draw from on race day. Right now it's just about maintenace really, so that's what I'm focusing on.

So yeah, 4 miles today and yesterday was my spin class. Man! That class is still kicking my trash! I'm amazed at how much I sweat and how bad my quads burn from doing that. I wish it was twice a week though instead of once so I could get used to it more. Oh well, still a fun way to cross train.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Intervals

Today I veered from the schedule a little and decided to do a shorter run and my strength training routine. I got on the treadmill and did a warm up mile at a 10 minute pace and then did speed intervals every 1/4 of a mile. So I'd run one lap (0.25 miles)at 6.5 miles per hour (9:34 min pace) and then one lap at 7.5 (8:00 min pace) and kept rotating like that for 2 miles. On the last mile I kicked it up and ran my speed laps at 8.0 miles per hour (7:30 min pace) and that was fast for me! Thought I'd get shot off the back of the treadmill at one point. Anyway, I stopped after four miles but still felt like I got a great workout. Intervals really make you sweat!

Then I did my little strength training routine with squats, lunges, wall sits, planks, push ups sit ups, stuff like that. It was a good work out.

Also, on a random side note, I downloaded some new power songs for my iPod and they totally fueled my work out! So if you're looking for some good songs here are two I recommend:

Move Along: All American Rejects (thanks for the suggestion Darci!)
Umbrella (Travis Barker Re-mix) Rihanna (this remix is awesome!)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

20 miles in good company

Thanks to facebook and blogs I was able to connect with an awesome gal who lives about 40 minutes from me who is also running Grandma's in a few weeks. When she read about Taber's injury she invited me to join her and another friend on their last 20 miler so I wouldn't have to run alone. This was a huge blessing because I have never run more than 8 miles by myself and I was really dreading doing 20 miles solo!!

My running buddies wanted to meet Saturday morning at 6:00am at a park about 30 minutes away from where I live. That meant I'd have to be ready and out the door at 5:30 a.m. Which meant I needed to be in bed by 9pm the night before. Getting to bed early was going to be tricky because on Friday night we were babysitting 3 extra kids (one who was actually sleeping over) So it was all business making sure everyone was fed bathed and in bed in time for me to get my running gear together and get myself to bed at a decent hour. Taber was awesome, making sure I carbo loaded amidst the chaos and taking over kictchen duty so I could get to bed. He continued his awesomeness the next morning by watching not only our two girls but two of their friends (ages 3 and 11 months) while I ran. Yeah, that's basically like watching two sets of twins under the age of 3, alone!!! He totally earned the husband of the year award for that stint!!

So anyway, I got a great night of sleep and was out the door at 5:30 to meet with my friends, Jessica, a 6 ft 2 former college basketball player and Rebecca, a 44 year old marathoner who doesn't look a day over 30! It's funny because even though I log a lot of miles these days and can even keep a decent pace it's still hard for me to think of myself as a runner. So I was pretty intimated by these ladies when I first got there and was praying I could keep up with them for 20 miles! As we clipped along at a 9 minute mile pace I actually felt really good and my confidence started building. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie What About Bob when Bill Murray is tied to the mast of a sailboat and he's shouting, "I'm sailing!!! I'm a sailor! I sail!!!" Well anyway, that's how I felt while my feet pounded the pavement between these two ladies, "I'm a runner!! I'm running!!! I RUN!!!" It was kind of a cool moment.


The trail was beautiful with some good little hills and plenty of shade and nice scenery. In the beginning we were all really chatty and took several short stops for stretching and water. As the miles tallied up though the conversation slowed down and our concentration shifted towards putting one foot in front of the other. By mile 16 we were all feeling it. We took one last quick stop and then Jessica said if she stopped again she wouldn't be able to start up again. I knew the same was true for me so I strapped on the fuel belt, turned up the iPod and put my body into auto pilot. I was so glad I wasn't by myself for those last 4 miles. There's something about running in a group that bouys you up and pulls you along. On our last two miles Rebecca got a cramp and fell back. Still I just kept an imaginary rope tethering me to Jessica knowing that I could keep going as long as she was. There was a really steep hill on the course and when we got to the top of it for the last time with just a mile to go I started to smile! Jessica let out a celebratory "Wooo!" and said, "just one mile to go, we've got this!" I knew she was right, and I was celebrating too.

When we finished the loop we actually ended up with 21 miles in 3:15 minutes. That's including all our stops for potty, stretching and drinks. I'm pretty sure we were doing close to a 9 minute mile pace while we ran so if you take 9 minutes off of that then I'm guessing we did our 20 miles in about 3:06 minutes (including stops.) As soon as we stopped running my muslces tightenend up and I had to limp to my car to get my water bottle. It's weird how I can feel really good while I'm running but right when I stop my body freaks out. My lower back and quads hurt the worst (as usual) but my calves were putting up some good complaints and my knees were begging for ice. We stretched out a little then I got back in the car for the 30 minute drive home. I ended up stopping half way there to stretch out and get a smoothie because after your burn 2700 calories in a workout you've gotta replenish right?

When I got home, more stretching, more ice, Aleve, and a big fat Culver's oreo milkshake (what? I earned it!) I wore my knee braces for the rest of the day and took it easy on the stairs but overall I actually feel pretty good. I'm still just kind of in shock that I ran 20 miles! Could I go 6.2 more? Guess I'll have to in three weeks. I think I can though. Every time I do one of these long runs I'm always amazed at what my body can actually do. It's like my quote says at the top of my blog, you can go a lot farther than you think you can't! I'm living proof of that!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Slacker

It's 5 in the morning and I'm getting ready to go on my longest run of my training schedule, 20 miles. I just ate a PB&J to fuel me up so while it's digesting I thought I should catch up on what I've been doing this week. I've kind of been a slacker when it comes to posting (and running! oops!)

Sunday and Monday I took off because of our Chicago trip and because I've been trying to give my legs extra time to recover to avoid injury. On Tuesday I did a 45 minute Spin class. Probably should've run too but man it was hard this week!

Wednesday I ran 6 miles thanks to my swap with Darci, otherwise don't know if I would've gotten that in. It was a cool day so I was really booking. Finished in 52 minutes.

Thursday my legs were hurting (IT band issues) So I just did an easy 3 miles and then I did an hour of strength training. Friday I took off and today it's 20 miles. yikes.

I hope my slacker week of running doesn't kill me today. I'm going to listen to my body and if I need to stop I'll stop. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Adjusting to Injury

After taking a week off from running Taber tried to go out again on Monday and came back extremely discouraged. His knee still bothered him so much that he couldn't even run a mile. He said I should run the marathon by myself because he didn't think he could do it. Well that just wasn't going to work for me. Call me sentimental but in my mother's day card this year he drew a picture of two stick people crossing the Grandma's marathon finish line holding hands and that just did it for me. We started this together and I'm determined we're going to finish this together.

The only way that knee is going to heal is for him to stop running on it. So, I did a little research, talked to a few of my running friends and came up with a new training schedule that will build strength is his legs and give him plenty of cardio without actually having to run on his knee. He already had a personal trainer design a strength training program for him that would specifically target strengthening his legs and body for the marathon. So now he'll be doing 20 minutes on the elliptical plus his hour strength training program 3 times a week and and hour of cardio on the elliptical and stationary bike 3 times a week. On Saturdays in place of a long run he'll do an hour on the elliptical, 30 minutes on the bike, and 30 minutes walking on the treadmill with a steep incline. If he does this for two weeks he should be able to jump back into our running schedule on the taper down week before the race and if all goes well, we'll be crossing the finish line together.

He tried it out last night and for the first time since his injury he came home sweaty and smiling. He said it was the best workout he'd had in a while and that his knee felt fine the whole time. It was so good to see him back on his game. He even turned to me and said, "We can do this babe, we're going to do this." I know he's right. We may not have any record breaking times, but I feel confident that we're going to be just fine.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Discipline

This is a picture of me and my brother-in-law Kevin after doing a 17 mile run last Saturday. The fact that I could get up at 6:30 a.m. while on vacation to do a big fat run like that is pretty huge for me! I can think back on countless vacations where I packed my workout clothes and tennis shoes with noble intentions of exercising, only to have them sit and take up space in my suitcase never to be used. Not this time though!

It helped that my brother in law is a runner too and is training for his 2nd marathon in October. Since I knew we'd be visiting them over a weekend where I needed to do at least a 16 miler I called in advance and told him to prepare! I didn't give him a lot of time to get ready but even though his most recent long run was 8 miles, he's in such good shape that 17 was no problem. I'm sure it helped that we were doing a nice easy pace of 9:30 minute miles. (He ran his first marathon in 3:40, which is just over an 8:20 minute mile)

Anyway, the run was great! We ran around a nature preserve near their house in the suburbs of Chicago. We did about a 10 mile loop and then ran back in for 3.5 miles and back out to give us 17 miles. There were a lot of people on the trails and it was fun seeing everything from serious runners to joggers, bikers, hikers and walkers. I ran with the fuel belt and we also stashed some water bottles so we had no problem staying hydrated. We faithfully took our gels every hour and even stopped for a potty break after mile 6. The first 10 miles really flew by. The second half of our run had a lot of hills and by the time we were coming back I was feeling it in my quads and calves. At the very end of the course was a pretty decent hill. Nothing too crazy but after running for over 2 hours it looked like Everest to me. Kevin started doing this little "aye aye aye aye!" yelling chant to pump us up. He took the fuel belt to lighten my load and I used my mind to will my tired legs to the top! At first I was mad at him for picking a course with so many hills at the end. But when we finished I have to say it felt so awesome to push so hard and feel like we conquered it!

I can also tell that I'm getting stronger because my legs didn't hurt as bad and my lower back didn't kill (which it usually does after a long run.) Kevin has this neat-o massage stick that we rolled on our quads and I think that helped too. That afternoon we did A LOT of walking in downtown Chicago and by the end of the day I was a lot more sore than I was after the run. Still, I feel like I'm improving and hopefully if I can stay on course and keep doing what I'm doing I'll be ready when it's go time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Setbacks

Taber suffered a frustrating setback this week when he injured his knee at last week's half marathon. I think it was a combination of running too soon and too hard after our 18 miler and not warming up before the half. He said around mile 6 he was starting to feel pain in his knee but he didn't realize how bad it was until he crossed the finish line. Immediately he started limping and went to get some ice. He went to the Doctor on Monday and was told to stay off of it for a week and only do light training. As you can imagine this was a huge blow since right now is the climax of our training when we're supposed to be doing our longest runs.

We are trying to stay positive though this and just really working on getting him better. He's been wearing a knee brace, icing it every few hours and taking Aleve. Next week he'll probably ease into some cross training. Thankfully he has a great base with all the miles he's already put in so I feel like he'll be able to bounce back just fine. Right now the goal is to take care of his body and not worry about anything else.

Back in the Saddle

Today I went for my first run since our race last Saturday. I kind of wanted to take it easy on my knees so I took Monday off and just did a spin class on Tuesday (which by the way totally kicked my butt! Spin is hard!) It was hot and windy and I was just trying to ease back into things so I took it slow. I did about 5.75 miles in 52 minutes and came back very sweaty but feeling good. I'm headed to Chicago for the weekend. I plan to continue my training while on vacation but I know it's going to take some serious discipline! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Half Marathon Lessons Learned

1) Get there EARLY!! We arrived just before 7. The race started at 7:30. I definitely felt rushed and like we didn't have enough time to warm up. This made the first two miles a lot harder and left Taber with an injured knee.

2) I really like running without headphones! I was devastated when I realized I'd left my iPod at home and almost made Taber turn back. He convinced me I'd be better off without them and he was right! It was so awesome to be in tune with everything around me and it was easier to keep a steady pace because I wasn't driven by the different beats of different songs. I still like running with music for training runs but in a race it's awesome to go sans music and just connect with everything happening on the course.

3) Water stops are tricky and take practice. I didn't actually swallow any of the water until the 3rd stop when I realized I needed to slow down.

4) Have ice and ibuprofen on hand for the finish. We definitely needed ours!

And now I leave you with some footage from the race. Please excuse my cheesy faces and commentary. I never really know what to do or say on camera ; ) (Also, you'll see the lovely yellow balloons of our pace leaders that carried me through the race. Pace groups are awesome! I'm now a huge fan!)

Half Marathon!

If you don't count the cold weather and 20 mph winds, Saturday's half marathon was everything I hoped it would be. We ran with a pace group that was shooting for a 2 hour finishing time. Running with a pace group was SO awesome! It was just nice to be able to follow the little balloons held by our leaders and know that if I kept them in sight I'd finish right around my goal.

In this picture you can see the little yellow balloon that was my guiding light throughout the race. When we first kicked off the pace leaders got a little excited and started running too fast. We were doing around an 8:40 minute mile and I'll admit, I got nervous. I hadn't warmed up very well and I started to wonder if I should've ran with the 2:15 group. After our leader realized his error we pulled back a little and kept to a pretty solid 9 minute mile pace. It was perfect and I really felt good! The race really seemed to fly by and I felt strong the whole time.



The course was pretty diverse. We ran on main roads, neighborhood streets and on trails. Here's Taber heading into one of the prettier sections on the trails. Those were definitely my favorite.
Here's another favorite trail. It wraps around Rice Lake and has such a pretty view. I wish we could've stayed on it longer but with so many people running I'm sure the streets were easier to avoid congestion.
And here we are back in the neighborhoods coming up on mile 11. At this point my legs were getting tired but I felt good! I knew I had more left in me and as we ran through the last water station with just over a mile to go our pace leaders said, "If you feel like you've got more in you then go for it! Push it in hard!" So Taber and I left the pace group and starting pushing it in. It felt good to pass people as we made our last effort to cross the finish line. Taber was 7 seconds ahead of me but I still finished under my time goal in 1:59:10!!!! WOO!

Here are the official results:
Becca:
1:59:10 time/9:06 minutes per mile/28th out of 80 for my age division/76th out of 315 women/
202nd out of 569 runners total.

Taber: 1:59:03 time/ 9:06 minutes per mile/50th out of 104 for his age division/124th out of 255 Men/ 197th out of 569 runners total.

Fueling up!

One of the most beautiful parts of prepping for race day is carbo loading! How can you not love a hobby that gives you an excuse to consume massive amounts of carbs?

On Friday night Taber and I got some friends to watch our kids so we could go on a pre-race date. We picked up our packets, hit the Running Room for some last minute gear, bought a new camera that was small enough to carry during the race and fueled up on carbs at Noodles and Company.
Not only did we both order large bowls of the oh so delcious Penne Rosa with Parmesean chicken, but we decided to have them throw in a bowl of mac and cheese just for good measure.



YUMMY YUMMY YUM YUM!!
And just in case that wasn't enough, on the morning of the race we woke up at 5:30 a.m. to pack in one last "power meal." My favorite for long runs, peanut butter, jelly and banana on wheat bread. Anyone else have any favorite power foods for their long runs? Please feel free to share!