Friday, June 28, 2013

5 Things for Friday

1. Summer is here! Finally summer running = sports bra and shorts! Who cares about my abs that need work, I need tan! Time to hydrate, stay cool and play outside. We’re working on our Summer list: playground, swimming, bike rides, relaxing on the deck. I even pushed out of my comfort zone and went barefoot in the grass to run through the sprinkler with O after coming back from a hot, sticky run! (Yep, I am one of those strange people who hates being barefoot, wearing socks right now!).    

2. July 1st will be my comeback day! I have been slacking in not only running, thanks to the leg, but also how I eat. I am making changes already; gave up diet Mt. Dew a couple weeks ago, watching the boredom eating and starting to focus on a lot more core work. I miss my abs! Seriously it is wrong what pregnancy does to one’s tummy, the extra skin in really bugging me lately and that isn’t anything with an easy fix.
After weeks of rehab, ART, strength and whatever other fun therapy my sports chiro decides to try I am feeling much better, I am running pain free even on easy hills, but have yet to try the speed work and am getting antsy! I am hoping my weeks (almost months) of decreased training/rest will be the answer to a strong race season.
There I said it, it is out there for everyone to see! No more soda, dairy, junk eating starting July 1st and I will stick to training plans and make it count while listening to my body!

3. My life is consumed by studying! This is even more intense than the actual school part! You think school is done, but then comes the “real” part and passing boards in order to be able to practice. Yes, I have a job lined up but without board certification that isn’t happening! So forgive me if I seem to disappear at times.
My new friend!
4. Tomorrow is date night! With everything else it is much needed. I am taking Matt out to experience fondue for the first time J Got to love the ease of finding a place that serves gluten free, vegetarian! Of course I waited until late to make a reservation so guess what, we are eating at 4:30! I can’t remember the last time we ate that early, but plenty of time to walk around downtown or along the river post dinner or maybe even an extra glass of wine and still be home in time for my 9pm bedtime! Then in line with July 1st this will be my final big dairy filled meal in a while, time to get that culprit out of my diet again!

5. I feel like I have a newborn again! Bedtime is filled with tears and protest and our only answer has been to sit with her.
I am open to any solutions (okay maybe not true), this has been a few weeks now with a couple good days than a ate dance recital brought it all back L We have tried ignoring it, walking her back every time, letting her lay on the couch with us, locking her door (not a fan of this one, short lived and bad idea). She has even lost TV privileges since Sunday! I am even resorting to bribes and there is ice cream waiting when she can stay in bed. Nap time isn’t much better so I decided this was a losing battle and changed it to “quiet time” in her room with a puzzle, books, etc. and no talk of sleep but still no go, ugh!

Tired, happy girl after a fun dance recital, complete with 30 minute delay as we took  shelter from storms! She even danced, I wasn't sure what to expect but she did great!
Happy Friday! What are your weekend plans? I can’t believe that July is almost here, where has summer gone?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Injured Running: My AlterG Experience

Yesterday I had another session with my sports chiro and after had the opportunity to try out the AlterG treadmill. It was a fun and interesting experience and something that would be a great addition to any runner’s training.

What is the AlterG?
The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® creates a powerful lifting force using Advanced Differential Air Pressure Technology (ADAPT) that allows for ultra-low impact ambulation. It allows decrease body weight by as much as 80%. Running can be done without impedance from water or belts.” (Source) 

How was the run?
The first step is the cute and super tight fitting neoprene shorts…
Then the strange feeling of being lifted as the treadmill calibrates and fills with air!

Time to run…
I started out slow, playing around with weight bearing as the machine allows for 0-80% weight decrease. I found my happy medium at 60% of my body weight, allowing for a god focus on form but minimal impact on my leg. It was a great way to focus on foot strike, stride and body lean.

Then came speed play! The treadmill goes up to 18 mph! With my lack of speed work lately I was excited to run some intervals at 6-6:30 pace again pain free and easily could have run faster. The decreased impact allows for improved speed training and intervals. The treadmill also goes in reverse for backwards run training and lateral training. Incline also goes from 0-15% allowing hill work.

I ran about 3 miles, thinking little of the workout I just completed until I started walking. After a short cool down and being back to 100% body weight I stepped off and wow, my legs were heavy! The only downfall is the decreased arm swing due to the bubble of air around your waist. It is less affected as you run but still slightly changed from normal.

The AlterG is a great tool for injured runners to continue to train with less weight bearing as you heal, still allowing for speed intervals and hill work which are frequently the last workouts to return after an injury. It also helps with focus on form. Living in a place where winter can mean a lot of treadmill running, this would be a great tool to ad in to break up training session in winter.  

In the past I have run on the underwater treadmill an done pool running during injury but I think this was the better option. No water involved and much easier to simulate “normal” running conditions. Have you even tried the AlterG? What is your go to running workout when injured?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Although I’m not one to always listen to my mom’s words and know my daughter is the same, I look back and realize she has taught me much. She is the reason behind my healthy eating and love of growing my own food; as a young child we lived on fresh fruits and veggies but then life got crazy and her dislike of cooking meant years of food from boxes and cans. It is this reason that I know O is soaking up my healthy example in eating.

 My mom has always been a big support of my running and has traveled to multiple races including my first one. It was before this race that she told me: If I thought positive that I could win. Well, not even close or any chance of that but great advice and something to remember. This is what I keep thinking about now as I mentally defeat myself during a race: Get rid of the negative and visualize the positive outcomes. What words encourage you during a run/race/tough workout? How do you work through mental defeat?
My mom and my baby in Costa Rica this winter
What wisdom have you received from your mom, grandmother or mother figure in your life? I would love to hear from you. We can all learn so much from one another.

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*This post is a Sponsored by Nestlé® Pure Life® and I have been compensated.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Back at it: Marathon Training

Coffee & macarons
Last week was technically Week 1 of marathon training but I was still in the middle of hamstring recovery and didn’t do what I think of as training. I guess easy days and rest are all part of successful training too, but I have a tough time getting this into my brain! So how did I do? Well I felt lacking but I know this is what I need...

Monday: 3 mile morning walk & 3.5 mile afternoon run
Tuesday: Morning strength & Easy evening Run 5.5 miles
Wednesday: 5 mile run (with stops at playground and grocery store) and planks
Thursday: Morning 3.5 mile run/walk with puppy and O, Evening 4.7 mile run with MRTT group
Friday:  Morning spin and Core/planks, Dance Recital night! 
Saturday: 10.5 Miles with group- hilly!
Sunday: 3.5 mile easy run with puppy and O in BOB then 18 mile bike in afternoon
After days of storms, what a great Sunday afternoon view!

Week 2 and hopefully my final appointment and work on leg (Tuesday), I am feeling better but not 100% yet so another easy week ahead. I am running a half marathon soon and hope to be back full force by then. This week I will also get back to 5am workouts!

Monday: Rest Day! Can you believe it? Morning walk with puppy and day at zoo with O.
Tuesday: Morning spin and strength with trainer, Easy evening Run with group
Wednesday: Morning walk with MRTT & swim (yes I will!)
Thursday: Morning strength and Evening run with MRTT group
Friday:  Morning spin (probably run to/from gym for 3.5 miles)
Saturday: 12-14 mile run (I hope)

Sunday: 20-25 mile bike & strength 

How was your week in training? What are you training for?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Staying safe on the run

Over the past few weeks there have been multiple attacks on women runners locally, I am pissed! I mean seriously can’t we even enjoy the summer weather and get outside without wondering who is lurking around the next corner or chasing behind us? I wonder if I am being stupid or naïve as I often run alone, I enjoy the time to think and lose myself in the world around me to de-stress as I soak in nature. But this should not be taking away from me or anyone! What can we do to stay safe out there?

Run with a dog
My large, black, furry running buddy is enough to cause others to cross the street and while I know he is gentle I have no doubt he would protect me and O if needed. I feel secure with him and don’t mind that others don’t. I also think dogs have the 6th sense and know who is good or bad, he has randomly growled at people (once or twice) and I wonder if he knew they weren’t great people.
A photo shoot with my Morgan a few years back to increase awareness of black dogs!

Run with others
Many running stores and gyms offer running groups for a cost but there are free options as well. I am involved in Moms Run This Town a free group open to moms, but heck we include anyone moms to humans or animals, future moms, someone who has a mom, etc! Groups are also a great way to meet running buddies and meet outside group runs.

Moms & Puppies!
No music
I see so many women running with music blaring! I admit I do run with music at times when I need that extra kick but I keep it low, I want to hear others around me and be aware. Not only are the other runners/walkers where I run, but also bikes passing and animals. I cross roads and need to know if cars are coming. If you are listening to music keep it low, but know that ear buds make you a better target (any distraction: texting, looking at your phone, etc).

Let someone know your route or connect through GPS
Go out with a plan and let someone know where you are headed and about how long to expect you gone. There are many phone apps that now allow for others to follow you, even run apps like Runtastic alow for sharing of your run, these are a great way to allow only specific people like a spouse to have access to your route.

Carry “protection”
I know many women run with pepper spray but another option is your keys in your hand. I have done this due to lack of pockets on short runs but pretty sure I couldn’t do more than 6 or 7 miles with stuff in my hands. Your protection may be a simple as your own arms and legs, use them and your voice! Show confidence; don’t walk or run looking timid or weak (may not be possible as you near mile 20 of a tough long run).
Also carry a phone and have an easily accessible emergency dial button. Many phones allow this to be on the main screen and you can push it without even unlocking or entering your passcode. Quick, easy call to “911” from a device that will tell the dispatchers your local thanks to GPS.

Stay in well lit, well traveled areas
I frequently run early morning but stay on main roads with street lights. During day hours I run paved park trails that can get rather secluded but I don’t think I have even gone more than 1 mile without seeing multiple people when the weather is nice. Make a point of acknowledging people, saying “hello” will make others remember you and it is just a nice way to support others out running, walking, biking.

Most important Follow your gut!
If something or someone doesn’t seem right than don’t go there. I have been out before and you just see someone and get that “yuck” feeling and who knows maybe it is completely wrong but why risk it. Discretely turn or go another direction, even step into a business if something is open.

Stay safe out there and enjoy the summer! Any other safety tips to add?

Happy Friday and Happy Summer J Any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fluff Running

Fluff running…What is that? Well I guess I am in the process of finding out after yesterday’s appointment. Late last week after realizing that I didn’t feel as great as I had originally thought after the marathon I emailed my sports chiro to see what she thought and of course I was on my way back there. This was only reinforced on Sunday when I decided to be smart and cut my run short very short due to pain and quit after 1 ½ miles.

Yesterday I had that appointment and wow, I thought things were bad before! I got both good and bad news…
  • Good News: The hamstring is only mildly achy and she couldn’t find any spots of “knots” or inflammation around the hamstring. And the area on the piriformis was also improved.
  • Bad News: The pain in now centered on the glute muscle and yikes! Anyone who’s done ART knows that you wonder what you have gotten yourself into! This time I was lying there clenched fists, trying to continue to breath and not scream. Today I still feel like someone repeatedly kicked my left side/butt L

We also made a plan to get me back…
  • Core/Glute Strengthening: Plenty of planks, eccentric strength work and focus on “whole” core work.
  • Fluff Running: Yep, I am back to square 1 but at least I am running when I can. I need to follow the easy plan with no speed or hill work and be okay with walking. Guess what this means…Naked Running (don’t get excited, it is summer and you’ll likely see me in a sports bra but no less!): Garmin and iPod at home.
  • Continue ART: I return next week for what we hope is a final session. I will continue to roll on my own. The best part, when I go back next week I get to run on the Alter-G Treadmill J
  • Cross Train: Bike, swimming and pool running with make up the bulk of my early marathon training. I am also focusing on strength still.

I am hoping with these few weeks of easy running, no race tonight and listening to my body I will be able to race on July 4th. I guess this injury has been going on since Spring 2012 so I can’t expect immediate response. I just got my new “MJ” ProCompression Socks and want to be a speedy runner in these soon!

Aren't these great?
Now is where I need to help: Hold me accountable to get in the pool! I will swim and I will enjoy it (or at least try!).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Answers in the Midst of a Crazy Week

I know you have all been on the edge of your seats all weekend waiting on my decision...First thank you to everyone who commented, I think I already knew my answer but it really helps to know how others survived and made the choice. In September I will be going back to work full-time! Yikes, I am excited but nervous at the same time. When I was called with the offer I just felt a sense of calm and happiness, it just seemed right and where I needed to go. This was also the first time in my career life that I've negotiated and it was successful! Like I said I get the rest of the summer off as I go through the credentialing process before I can begin work, so I working down our summer fun list and enjoying the time with O.

  • Beach & Playground 
  • Races/Running with Friends
  • Picnic Lunches
  • Family Bike Rides (of course with ice cream stops)
  • BBQs
  • Drinking Wine on the Deck
  • Making Popsicles & Ice Cream
  • and of course Marathon Training

Nothing too exciting but the things I love about summer. What's on you summer list?

This week is the craziest week of the summer (all year for that matter). Last night was a 4 1/2 hour dance rehearsal where O had all the energy in the world between dances but was that kid on stage doing her own thing (not surprised!). But what was she! There she was in the middle of her tap dance ironically with her stuffed puppy doing down dog. She loves to dance but like everything else it has to be on her time so I'm a little worried about what will occur on Friday! Oh well at least she is 3 and still at the age where this is cute.

I am also considering a 5K trail race tomorrow for fun. But this answer will wait until after my appointment this afternoon with my sports chiro. While the hamstring/piriformis is improving I had to cut my first run short in a long time. On Sunday I quit after just 1 1/2 miles thanks to pain, I finished my workout with 18 Miles on the bike reminding me how sore I get the first time out on the bike. I was able to run yesterday and did an easy run/walk to and from the playground about 7 Miles followed by another 2 Mile walk to retrieve a lost shoe. I'm hoping this was just one bad run thanks to a hilly run Saturday. I will get another ART treatment and we're making a plan for the rest of summer training to get me back. This week marks the start of Marathon Training: 16 weeks until Milwaukee! So I need to get back plus summer has finally arrived and I need to get out to enjoy it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Decisions: Motherhood, Working & Life

The age old question that every mom asks and one that truly has no right or wrong answer: To work or stay at home. In the past 3 years I’ve had the opportunity to do both: work part-time while home part-time, work full-time and stay at home full-time. Over the past few months of being home I realized it truly isn’t for me! While I love my little girl and her independence and spunk I think I am too set in my ways and career focused to give that part of me away. I think I have come to the point of making this tough decision (and well thought out this time) once again. I knew it would come once I finished grad school. With a couple job offers I need to think…

Do I Continue to be a SAHM?
Like I said I don’t know that I have the patience for this. I have learned that this is the toughest job ever! I look up to women who can do this. But then I sit here thinking about the fun, spontaneous activities we do like jump in puddles the other day or riding bikes to the park. Will I miss these? Or will I cherish our time together more if I am gone? While financially we could do this like to travel and spent money!

Do I Become a Working Mom Again?
I always said I would never go back to full time work but it is starting to look that way. I haven’t worked full-time since my first year out of college 13 years ago! But these were crazy hours and I never knew what was night or day and the stress made me miserable, guess I can thank this for making me a runner (I needed stress relief and running was the answer!). From then on I have only worked 3-4 days per week and 6 years ago I was able to start working “normal” hours turning me into a morning person again. I’ve now reached another level of my career that I have been working towards and will soon sit for another board certification enabling me to expand my career, how can I not utilize what I worked for?

I am sitting here with just a few more hours to make a decision on a wonderful job offer in 99% of the aspects. Back in the area I truly loved and feel comfortable, back at the place where I began my career and working with a great, cohesive team (at least from what I can tell). While the hours are somewhat set there is flexibility J but the downside; full-time and 2 weekend days per month (guess that means a few less races a year! Will O be negatively affected by me working full-time? She is entering the phase of missing mommy or daddy again, last night was full out melt down as I left at bedtime to run with my mom running group.  

I sit here this morning cuddling on the couch with O, drinking my coffee and planning our day. Will I miss these days? I’m sure I will but is this job the right thing? I hope so. Or do I wait around for something else that might be not as great of a fit but with my perfect hours? Do I take the job close to home just because or take the better fit with the longer drive? Is it wrong that I also think of how working full-time will affect my workouts and marathon training? I guess it would mean more early morning and late night workouts.

While I know there is no right or wrong answer and it is truly about what is better for each mom, child, family I would love to hear how others have made this decision and how you felt. Did you regret working full-time? Or Did you enjoy kid time even more? 8 hours and my decision will be made…

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My 26.2 Mile Mud Run: Miserable Marathon Experience but Back for More...

A few weeks ago I was given a free entry to Swan Lake Marathon (or half marathon) in South Dakota which was only 4 weeks after my last marathon. I debated but after working with a great sports chiro I decided my hamstring was back to the point of handling another race that was flat. And this would help me reach my goal of eventually running a marathon in all 50 states (10 down only 40 more to go!). I knew it would be a crazy weekend with having to work at the gym for a short time Saturday, then driving 5 hours, getting up early Sunday to run a 6am marathon before driving 5 hours home! I’m tired just reading this again.

I stalked the forecast the week before and it was quite erratic, going from nice, cool and sunny to storms and back. Well after 24 hours of rain on Saturday I was hoping things were over for race day. Boy was I wrong! Here is my short race recap: Cold, Wet, Windy, Muddy, Miserable!

We got up at 3:30am to drive the 45 minutes from my friend’s house where we were staying, a fun drive on dark roads in an unfamiliar area with detours, yikes! The rain continued as we drove but was one when we got to the race, meaning we got to walk through mud to get to the building, ugh! We grabbed out numbers and decided the final races clothes, left my bag inside the building (no bag check at this small race, just leave bags wherever) and headed out to the start.

Pre-ace and the last time we were dry and warm!
The race was small (90 in marathon 150 in half), we began out of the camp up a muddy hill, yikes this will be tough! I ran next to a man pushing his baby in a BOB, that will be a muddy mess! Mile 1: 8:04 (Nice, I didn’t go out too fast for once!). Now we turn out of the wind and onto flats this will be easier and I continue to run splits between 7:44-7:52 (this isn’t bad). I decided to go back to my old fueling method and began to take a little of my Huma Gel at Mile 4 and every water stop thereafter until it was finished around Mile 12.

By Mile 6 we are out of the mud and running through “town” I use that loosely as we continued to pass farms and minimal buildings but we were running on Main Street. Mile 8 and I was still on my goal (1:03:02) and then it all changed….

I began to question if I felt rain, then as I made the turn onto the next stretch of dirt mud roads, my suspicions were confirmed. Not only was it raining but the 30+ mph headwind meant the rain was sideways into my face! I felt like I wasn’t even moving as my feet stuck in the mud and I worked against the wind. This stretch continued until Mile 13 and I seriously considered turning and only running the half (which I would have won!). I battled in my mind going between how miserable I was and how I wanted my goal of 50 states and not finishing the full meant I’d have to be back and I came to run a marathon. So I continued…

The shoes...
We turned and soon were back on paved roads, the rain was letting up and we turned out of the wind for a short time, this is better I can do this (I even considered dropping my jacket). We were back on the section along the lake, and on and out and back stretch encouraging each other through the tough day. I began to feel cold again and we were soon back on mud, I was slowing as I didn’t want to risk an injury as I slipped and nearly fell a couple times. By Mile 16 I was started to shiver and could barely open a gel my hands were blue and numb (and it was 50s). I started taking a gel (I had to go back to my old gels since Huma gels were gone L) this was a bad idea by Mile 18 I was attempting to not lose my breakfast on the road….8 Miles to go and I was no happy! The rain was back, I was freezing, drenched and a mudy mess as we turned again into the wind which was even stronger this time. By Mile 20 I found a port-a-potty and attempted to open my race belt to get my phone out, Siri had a tough time dialing Matt with my shaking voice, finally after 3 attempts at calling random people she called Matt and he was on his way to find me with a dry jacket!

Just keep moving and you will stay warmer, right? Around Mile 21 I saw my car coming down the muddy road, what a beautiful sight J I jumped it, warmed my legs on the heated seat and soaked in the heat as I dropped piles of mud on the floor. It felt great; I was nearly in tears (I do not do well when I am cold as I don’t warm up easily). I threw my Garmin in the backseat (2:55 @ Mile 21) sat there trying to convince Matt to just drive! I finally decided to put on my warm jacket and was thrilled to find gloves in the pockets. After sitting there 15 minutes I got out, slammed the door and ran; I still wasn’t happy but I was NOT letting this course (or the weather) beat me!

I soon remembered how bad my stomach felt as I continued to move and soon knew the 1 ½ gels was not enough for a marathon (duh!) but my stomach could not handle anything else. I was doing all I could to keep moving as I pretty much gave up and started walking to stay upright. At least I was finally feeling warmer again (one positive, right?). I soon passed a water stop where an older couple had a table with water, bananas and oranges set up in the driveway. I ate a couple bites of banana hoping it would settle things a bit to get the final 1 ½ miles. Soon I could see the finish and realized I needed to now go down the even muddier hill that we ran up at the start of the race (this is fun!). But I was done, I have never been happier to see a finish line I never even looked at the clock, just crossed and headed inside. I wanted potato chips…3 Miles ago! No such luck, while they had a great meal (bagels, fruit chocolate milk, pork sandwiches) I couldn’t eat much of it, I grabbed banana and water and debated changing but honestly didn’t care, just wanted to get to my food in the car!

Matt headed over from the results table to inform me I had taken 3rd! Seriously I had to be at least 30+ minutes off my goal and typical marathon time. He also told me that a lot of runners quit at the half (~ 20). We started our drive home in the rain and finally stopped to change and remove the mud from every inch of my body! This honestly had to be the toughest, most miserable marathon race I have ever run. It was hours before I finally warmed up! While I am disappointed with my race finish and all the time I wasted I am happy I stuck it out and finished. My 22nd marathon will always be remembered for the day I fought through everything against me. The only good news from the day: My hamstring felt fine J

The winners of the How Far and How Fast giveaway are Laurie at Laurie Walks Fast and Courtney at Third Time’s A Charm Runner! Congratulations! Please contact Jill at to claim your prize!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Marathon Recovery

The thing I need to remind myself!

As I wake up this morning 2 days after the toughest marathon I have ever run I am feeling great! Yes, I have a little muscle soreness but nothing more than a feeling of a mildly tough workout. Any marathoner knows that feeling of waking up the next morning (or 2 days later) and taking those first steps out of bed to be immediately reminded of the many miles those legs endured or the tough act of walking down stairs, but none of that here. Yay! I feel great, which in itself may be a different problem, I am ready to go but am trying to take it easy and fully recover so I can race in full strength next month.

Marathon Recovery
  • Ice Bath- This is the one I do not follow! I can not handle being cold, so I skip it but know many who swear by ice baths. Yes I do ice areas (hamstring, piriformis) post marathon.
  • Compression Socks/Sleeves- I love these for reducing calf fatigue and improving blood flow leading in less pain and tightness in my calves. I will usually wear them for 1-2 days post long run/race depending on how tired my legs feel.
  • No Ibuprofen- This is huge and I know most of us don’t follow this. Ibuprofen does take away pain but also the good inflammation that is helping with recovery.
  • Move- Make sure to do something: walk, bike, swim, etc the day after to help loosen the legs. I usually go for an easy run starting 2-3 days post marathon.
  • Fish Oil/ Omega 3s- I honestly think this is one of the things that helped me this time. These help remove the bad inflammation but keep the good allowing for healing and soft tissue recovery.
  • Eat healthy & Hydrate- Drink plenty of water, carry a bottle with all day. Eat lots of fresh, whole foods including fruits, vegetables (beets are great), whole grain carbs and protein (beans, lentils, nuts, quinoa are mine).
  • Sleep- Take advantage of not needing to fit in early morning workouts and sleep in! I got to sleep in until 6:30 on Monday, the latest I have slept in probably years J
  • Massage or Roll- Continue to work on the sore muscles and work out the tightness.

Post-race compression for the drive with a little mud!

Mental Recovery
  • Reevaluate the Race- Look at the goals you met or didn’t meet and learn from this. What went right? What could have been better? Make changes for future races, training cycles but understand that there are things like weather, illness that are out of our control on race day.
  • Register for a Race- As you think about the race, look forward to the next race and look for a new goal.
  • Focus on Fun- Run with friends for the social side of things, catch up on non-running hobbies or take up a new project.


I am not a huge fan of recovery weeks since I want to be more active but am trying very hard to listen and not over do anything. What are your marathon recovery tips? 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekly Menu and Training Plans

Marathon Monday will be short this week and I am going to focus on my entire week ahead including meals since I was a little preoccupied running a marathon Sunday morning to think about meals but a 5 hour car ride made for plenty of time!
My smart girl loves Target! Summer parades begin...
Last week was race week and taper where I actually took it easy; no lifting, little running and plenty of walking.

Monday: 3 mile morning walk & 3.5 mile afternoon run
Tuesday: Morning core/planks & Easy evening Run 4.5 miles
Wednesday: 4.5 mile run for National Running Day and planks
Thursday: Morning 2 mile walk and Evening 4.5 mile run with MRTT group
Friday:  3 mile walk and Core/planks Evening 2 mile walk to parade
Saturday: 5 Miles with group (3.5 mile run + 1.5 mile walk)
Sunday: Marathon #5 of 2013 (Wet, cold, muddy run completed with GI issues L) More on Wednesday!
Check out that muddy course! This isn't even the worst!

This week will focus on recovery, eating right and making new plans. Guess what, I think I can actually talk about nice weather too!

Monday: Walk and core/weights, thinking about a swim
Tuesday: Morning spin & weights with trainer and Easy evening Run
Wednesday: Easy morning run and planks
Thursday: Morning weights and evening run
Friday:  Spin and core/planks
Saturday: Easy run with group
Sunday: Bike and weights

Meals are another thing that will be crazy this week with 2 dance classes for O, going to see Spirit of the Marathon II with friends and Matt, Friday dinner out to celebrate a friend’s wedding and of course Father’s Day. Check out Laura and Jill's Link up for other weekly menu ideas.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Race Prep and Staying Out of My Head

Deep Breath...2 days until my new goal race, let's try this again. Not sure if everything is going to be in my favor to reach the ultimate goal, but I am trying. Heck I think I may even be taking this taper a little too far!

Running has been minimal the past few weeks thanks to the hamstring/piriformis rehab, I've actually taken days off to strictly walk puppy and do core work. The downfall of this is I have too much free time so what do I do? Bake! This week was my mom's birthday so the baking trend began with Pumpkin Spice Cake, then since I had to use the pumpkin I made granola bars and thanks to brown bananas we made berry banana bread yesterday. Carb loading, right?!

As usual I have been stalking the Weather since the 10 Day Forecast came out, it has been back and forth between dry and rain. But then this morning I see this...

Let's hope that isolated means none! But seriously wind, ugh! Well I guess weather is the one thing a runner can't control on race day (or any day) and is the reason not to skip training runs in less than ideal weather.

My extreme Taper has meant lots of rest for the legs and hamstring that is feeling nearly pain free, piriformis only gets angry on hills and this is a flat course so I am hopeful. I haven't even lifted in almost 2 weeks thanks to back pain last week. I am trying to eat right and hydrate and not over think the day but ugh, how can't I?
Today I am heading to get my leg ready with KTape and need to clean out my car in prep for our 4 hour drive. Then time to pack my massive amount of race gear:
  • Clothes: Nike Tempo shorts, ProCompression socks (thinking orange with my team singlet), hat, LS shirt, pants (just in case), Shoes
  • Huma Gel
  • Post race food for drive home
  • Race morning bagel, SunButter, banana
  • Directions to race!!
  • Roller
  • BodyGlide
  • Race Belt
  • iPod: Any new songs you are loving? I just grabbed an iTunes GC thanks to a Target sale, time to buy music
  • Study books: what else is there do to during 8 hours in the car?
  • + all the "normal" travel necessities

I seriously feel like I am forgetting things. Does this happen to anyone else? Every time I travel I think I forget something even when I don't.

It is all about which part wins the argument!
Guess what else I am feeling good about? Enter race # is 80. Ever since O was born I love the #8, maybe a little OCD here but will use locker 8, grab 8 pieces of something, etc. Adding to my craziness or a good vibe, who knows...we will find out Sunday!

Don't forget to make your guess on How Fast I will run the marathon. And RaceKred winner is posted...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Picky Bars, Sun and A Little Monkey

Last night I had big ideas and wanted to write then all of a sudden we head home from dance and no electricity! I forget how much we rely on this. I had polenta lasagna all ready to throw in the oven: Nope (guess we grill instead), minimal internet since my phone and iPad both had very little charge, I tried to study but that was short lived as the sun started setting; reading about headaches in minimal light would have surely resulted in my own headache! But it also meant getting rid of O's nightlight (something suggested to combat her sleep issues). Enough of my power outage complaints, instead here are 3 things I am loving for this sunny Thursday...

Picky Bars
A few weeks ago I was sent each flavor of Picky Bars to try, yay! New snacks, what is better? They are designed by athletes and are Dairy and Gluten free and made with natural, organic ingredients with a 4:1 (carb:protein) mix. As a gluten free runner this is huge. But what about taste?

The four flavors were amazing, plus a new flavor: Runner's High is in the works. I can't wait to try this mix of blueberries and vanilla. My favorite was Smooth Caffeinator since I am a coffee junkie: a mix of hazelnuts, coffee and slight cocoa flavor was amazing and best part the caffeine of 1/2 cup of coffee, a great afternoon pick me up! The other flavors weren't far behind: Mega Nuts (Peanut Butter goodness), All in Almond (almond butter and agave, a vegan treat) and The Need for Seed (Honey roasted Sun Butter is amazing as I know you have all heard my obsession with SunButter!).

Being gluten free, vegetarian I am always looking for new snack bars and hate filling my body with processed junk! These are natural, taste great. I am not big on chocolate but these were not overly chocolate, so I guess if you are a chocoholic this isn't good but the rest of us, perfect! I loved that there is a little sweetness, they are sweeter than many of the other nut/seed based bars which is a great change and cured my sweet tooth without anything unhealthy. Have you tried Picky Bars? What flavor was your favorite?

Perfect Running Weather
Check out the scene from last Saturday's run...

It was short lived as we ran in rain yesterday and temps have been back in the low 50s, where is summer?! But I have high hopes it is on the way back soon with sun and 70s on the way. As a runner I am conflicted: I love running in 50s/60s and cloudy but the rest of me would rather live in 80s and sunny! 

My Little Gymnast
Saturday was the end of the year gymnastics show. O began gymnastics when she was 17 months old to wear off some energy and give her a safe place to climb! This winter O moved up to the child only class and has been progressing independent girl does not want help but is getting frustrated because she can't "flip and flip and flip like the big girls!" Watch out! She is doing her own beam, forward rolls, trampoline jumps and bars. 
My little monkey

What are you loving this Thursday? Don't forget to make your guess on my Marathon Time to win Plus this is the final day to enter to win Race-Kred!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

13.1 Mile Game of Chase: Minneapolis Half 2013

The past few weeks been very tough both physically and mentally due to my lack of great running, heck I was ready to hang up my running shoes last month and be done racing! Saturday night I had truly decided not to race but just try to enjoy the run. I was finally feeling like I could run pain free and wanted to be smart and save any speed for next weekend's marathon. When I woke up (too early) on Sunday morning my head was not in for a run, it took a lot to convince myself not to roll over and go back to sleep! I managed and we got an early start for the 6:30 start only to arrive with just a few minutes to spare thanks to a messy drop off/parking area.

We rushed to the massive lines at the port-a-potties and I listened to everyone around us worry about getting through in time. I knew I had a chip and would not make it far without needing to stop so I stayed. We then walked the 1/2 mile to the start and saw it had started 9 minutes earlier! Oh well, let the fun many people can I pass as I run?

The start was slightly crowded since the race combined both full and half marathoners until those of us running the half split off at the end. I just ran, got a good playlist going on my iPod and focused on me, not those around me (don't worry I still knew what was going on around me), not the spectators and surely not the pace groups. I just ran what felt good. I tried not to look at my Garmin and frequently missed my splits (have yet to look).
Photo from Team Ortho
The course was new this year and I loved it! I have only previously run the full marathon complete with the brutal hill that was impossible to run positioned in an awful spot at Mile 19, yuck! But I did mange a 2nd place finish in 2011. The course wove through old neighborhoods, through downtown and finally along the river.

I fell into a pace that felt good (okay I peaked at times and was consistently 7:40s-7:50s), my goal was first to run pain free and second marathon pace. I began with small amounts of Huma Gel at each water stop: 4, 6 & 8 finishing one gel by that point. I continued to run past people searching for friends who were running as I went along, I passed pacer after pacer and it felt good not to worry about what their signs said knowing I was running my own race and they did not matter. Mile 6 was back to back hills which brought a little leg pain and cause me to slow for a short time to shake it off and feel better. Before I knew it we were crossing the Stone Arch Bridge and there was Mile 12
Photo from Team Ortho
Time to push, but not too much...No Injury! I run faster and can start to hear the finish line, as we run downhill before a turn to the finish, there it is done! I did it! I had fun, I ran pain free and this is what I needed mentally, no one to mess with my head. My time (while still 10 minutes off where I want to be back to was where I needed to be) 1:43:46 average 7:56 pace, exactly where I want to be on Sunday. In the end I passed 1805 people and was passed by 0! Kind of fun and new perspective.

I grabbed ice for my leg, just to be good, and walked back to watch for Matt who was running the half thanks to a friend's bib transfer (a perk of this race is they allow bib transfers). I wasn't sure how his race would be considering he had just done his first sprint tri of the year the day prior after 3 weeks off running due to a knee injury. He managed a decent race too (6 minutes faster than his half 3 weeks ago).

We finished and he went to grab beers at the post race party only to find out they weren't opening until 10a and it wasn't even 9am, what?! I guess the half marathoners are out since we all started at 6:30. Instead we walked back through campus to get the car and head home, it was chilly out anyways (notice the blanket in the picture?).

After the race I summed up my feelings in a running group I am part of and thought I would share parts here too since I know I am not alone in my frustrations...
"... Today I ran for me, no one else, without focus on the end I stayed in the moment and remembered why I love this so much, why I run and how much crossing the finish line and seeing the excitement on O's face when she gets to cheer me on......I needed to get back to that place and away from the negative. Sometimes the only answer is to focus on the world around you, get out of your head and just enjoy the run. A run brings clarity and answers and is often the only thing we need. Remember why you run, who inspires you and bring back the joy when it gets tough" :) ♥
Now that you know my pace and goals, make sure to go enter a guess for my marathon time on Sunday. Happy National Running Day! How are you celebrating?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June-My comeback month?


I am writing this on day 4 of pre-5am wake ups (only one was on purpose) thank you O for the early starts! May brought continued winter and continued hamstring/piriformis issues along with a less than great month of running. So what did I do this month…

  • Started intense rehab on this leg with ART, cold laser and strength. I am not taking fish oil and finally seeing results.
  • 2 days a week spin class (starting cutting one out for elliptical instead)
  • Guess what…I swam!
  • 3 days a week strength (except marathon week)
  • Completed my 5th & 6th races of the year (missing goals on both), Half and Full Marathon #3 & 4 of 13 in 2013
  • 190.0 running miles (Not close to my 245 mile goal)

  • Organize the house, Better but still needs work!
  • I graduated in May! I now hold 2 Master’s degrees and soon will be double certified
  • Weigh job opportunities and figure out best fit, Working on it but getting closer
  • Schedule board certification exam and set study plan, Studying but waiting on final okay to schedule
  • Decide if I want to finish my doctoral project, I am 99% sure I will

  • After marathon I slacked on good eating and added back a little too much desserts and wine

  • Gymnastics and summer dance scheduled
  • Lunch and coffee with friends and a few runs
  • Still working on kid behavior/parenting

June means summer, I hope! Racing season will be in full force and so will studying and job decisions. I am also hoping this is the start of some good running again!

Fitness Goals
  • 225+ running miles
  • 3nd Half Marathon of 2013 (done already on June 2nd)
  • 2nd Marathon of 2013 (goal = 3:30)
  • Start speed work late in June
  • Bike 2x week, Strength 3x week and Swim 2x in June

  • Organize the house: For Real!
  • Weigh job opportunities and figure out best fit
  • Schedule board certification exam and study
  • Decide on a topic for doctoral project

  • Stop mindless eating!
  • Continue to add 1 new recipe per week and stick with meal planning
  • Incorporate more fruit/veggies now that our CSA begins soon
  • Get back out of drinking diet soda!

  • Survive dance recital and gymnastics show
  • Dinner planned with friends
  • Plan Fall activities
  • Enjoy time outside: beach, parades, bike rides
  • Work on O sleeping in (need to find a “wake up” clock)

Someone is ready for summer!

How was your May? What are your June Goals? Don't forget to enter my RaceKred Giveaway and The How Far/How Fast Contest