Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Foodie Penpals Reveal!

FPP post Foodie Penpals

It's the end of the month and you know what that means, Foodie Pen Pals reveal!  What is Foodie Pen Pals, well just read below!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

My box came to me from Aileen who blogs over at 300 Threads.  Her site is a feast for the senses!  Go check it out if you get a chance!  Aileen is in New England and I asked her to share a bit of her area with me and send me things that were from her area.

So I opened up the box almost immediately when it showed up!

And I found these gems in the box!

OMG....SO GOOD!  I think I ate the whole bag...don't tell my hubby!

This is such a magnificent spread!  It tastes AMAZING on brie!!!

Thank you Aileen for sending me some foodie worthy treats from New England!  Now I just need to figure out how to get more!!  :)

Did someone forget the iron?

My runs have been unpredictable lately.  I'll have some really dynamic runs, where everything is clicking and I'm firing on all cylinders.  Then I'll have runs where I just can't get things started and I sputter the whole time, never getting into a groove.  Then I have runs that run the gamut inbetween both extremes. 

I couldn't figure it out either.  My pre-run fuels would be the same, I would hydrate appropriately, I would fuel during the runs, and yet I would get so many different outcomes.

Then I was reading an article about nutrition that runners need to properly fuel their body.  Read through the article and thought nothing of it, it was the same basic list everyone writes.  Rest, hydration, lean proteins, etc, etc.  I never gave it a second thought...well that is until my run this past Saturday.

One of the things on the list was iron.  

Iron?  No, not that type of iron.  Why is that an issue though?  Well here is an excerpt from an article from Runners World:

Like other athletes, runners are more likely to experience low iron levels than the general population because the mineral is lost through sweat. Runners, however, seem to be more susceptible than other endurance athletes, possibly due to the sport's impact. "GI upset when running can lead to increased blood loss and increased iron needs," says Gidus. Runners may also lose trace amounts of the mineral through footstrike, which damages red blood cells in the feet, leading to iron loss. (Improved cushioning in running shoes has helped mitigate this, says Gidus.) 

A lightbulb went on and was beaming right in my face.  How could I have missed that?  And why is that hitting me so hard?

I'm anemic.  

Even before I began working out, I knew I had an iron deficiency.  My iron count is so low that they won't even let me donate blood because it is worthless to them.  When I found that out, I began taking iron supplements (under the direction of my physician).  I would notice a definite change in my energy when I took it regularly and I would feel a lot better.  Then I would start to forget to take it (you have to take it at the same time every day for it to be effective and you can't take it with any other supplements because calcium actually prohibits the absorption of the iron) and I would be right back to square one.  Fatigued all the time. 

Now that I'm training and running more, I notice that I'm increasingly fatigued now.  I'm getting more sleep, which is a good start, but with my new consistent training I'm still ridiculously tired.  I'd thought it was stress, nope, it's because I'm not taking care of myself in the way I should always be.  I need to take my supplements and I need to be more consistent with it.  

So I made a pledge to myself to start being consistent and I started taking them again on Saturday night (10/27).  I'll blog about how I'm feeling in two weeks to see if taking my supplements helps my runs become more consistent and if I feel less fatigued overall.

Questions for you:  Have you read about something that you maybe lacking in your diet and realized that might be a factor of you not improving?  What was it?  How did you overcome it?  Did you improve? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Momentum Monday: Strong or Wimpy?

This week for us, along with much of the country, is quite rainy.  It began really on Friday and hasn't stopped since.  Now I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a steady amount for many months of the year, mostly through the fall, winter and some of the spring.  So I'm pretty used to the rain.

That is until I decided to start training for a half marathon during this time of year.

Another caveat is...I don't have a gym membership, so I can't go and run my scheduled mileage on a treadmill when it is raining and storming outside.

Le sigh...

That means my mileage will be come rain or shine, but mostly in the rain.  Which was exhibited this past Saturday.  My long run is scheduled for Saturday mornings and this past morning was quite rainy as shown in this post. Even though it was raining, I still needed to get my mileage in and I can't wait for the rain to stop, otherwise I'd be waiting for spring to come!

So I did it, I ran in the rain and it really wasn't that bad.  It was uncomfortable and my shoes got soaked, but once I was out there, it wasn't that bad.  When I came back from the run I felt amazing and the hot shower afterward was SO nice!

This morning when I was thinking about the momentum mantra for this week, this one stuck out to me as it really rang true this weekend and will for the rest of my training:

I could have wimped out this weekend and let the weather dictate when and how I was going to run.  Instead I decided to be strong, mentally and physically, and get out into the elements to get my mileage.  It wasn't the best of conditions and I really put my new running gear to the test.  But I also felt amazing afterwards and knew I'd accomplished more than my mileage for the day.  I had broken through that mental barrier of "I can't" and changed it to "I will".

The change of mindset is the most critical for the duration of my training as we tend to create excuses for why we "can't" instead of letting ourselves be strong and face the opposition by saying we "will".

So for this week, I know there are lots of people who can't get out and run because of their weather issues (East Coast, I'm talking about you and pray for all of your safety), but those of us who can get out, will you be strong (I will) or will you be wimpy (I can't) when it comes to training in the elements?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

End of Week 4 Half Marathon Training

It is the end of week 4 of my half marathon training schedule and I don't know how to feel.  I realized last week I hadn't done a recap of my training, I was so caught up with the Dawg Dash race that that all went by the wayside.

So this week was my fourth week of the training and it came off the heels of a race, like I mentioned above.  The training schedule has my "long runs" at fairly short distances so far, so today's long run really wasn't all that long because I did taper back to meet up with the distances on my schedule.  My schedule for this week was as follows:

Tuesday - run 30 minutes (run/walk/run)
Thursday - run 30 minutes (run/walk/run)
Saturday - run 2 miles (huh? how is that a long run?)

So this week was again super crazy busy at work, so I ended up missing my Tuesday run.  Bad me, bad, bad, bad!!  No excuses, just exhaustion.

Thursday I stayed late at work to finish some things up, then I threw my running clothes on and headed out to Myrtle Edwards park to run.  This time though, I was taking the new overpass to the park instead of running half a mile to one of the two entrances to the park.  This entrance is super convenient because it's in the neighborhood of my work, brilliant.

I'll get more pictures of this overpass, I just didn't have my camera with me when I went.  So I crossed the overpass and ran along Myrtle Edwards.  Beautiful day, crisp cool breeze and cloudy but not raining.  I got to listen to the water lap onto the shore as I ran and that was the best music to my ears, so peaceful.  I got my 30 minutes down and pushed my pace a bit for my first mile, I was totally out of breath, but it felt good!

So today, Saturday, for my long run the schedule said 2 miles.  I kinda laughed at that, considering I'd just ran (mostly) 6 miles the weekend before.  So I decided I would go with the intention of 2 but gave myself the option for 3 if it felt good.  I should also say that last weeks mileage called for 4 miles, so I think I outdid myself a bit last Sunday.  Today also was solidly raining.

That's the construction going on across the way from me, and you can almost see the rain if you look at the lower level.  Rain is tough to capture on camera.  Regardless, I knew I had to dress appropriately for this run so I wasn't miserable the whole way.  So I donned my new wicking thermal layer, Brooks capris and Brooks waterproof vest.  I felt pretty snazzy in black and white today!

I had talked about my lack of appropriate running clothes for the fall and winter in this post.  So luckily that weekend I stumbled on some great sale finds on the Brooks website and bought a couple of cold/wet weather essentials.  Today was my first test.

It was also a HUGE non-scale victory for me today.  I actually fit (not like sausage casing tight, but comfortable fit) in a Brooks XL size.  I don't think I've been able to fit into a female size piece of workout clothing, well...ever.  So this also made me really excited for my run!

I got out there and in the rain, I logged my miles.  My legs felt so heavy when I started running, so I took it slow as prescribed today, but my route is mostly uphill for the first mile, so it was a struggle.  I got to the two mile mark of my out and back and was starting to feel really good, so I continued on for another half mile to get the three miles.  When I came back home I felt awesome!  I always forget how amazing I feel after a run and try to remember to tell myself that on those days I just don't want to run!

Here's a soggy picture of me.  I'm wet but happy!  The vest worked like a CHARM!  My whole core was dry (save for sweat) from the rain, so I may have been wet on my arms and legs, but I was warm!

You probably can't see it, but both my shoes and socks are COMPLETELY soaked.  I'm thinking about getting waterproof running shoes, have any of you used them?  What did you think? 

Then I grabbed my favorite fuel of choice right when I got home.  This chocolate milk is A-MAZ-ING!!!  If you haven't tried it, you really should go out and get some.  Chocolate Peanut Butter milk!?!?!  It also has 20g of protein and I know we all need some protein after a good run.  :)

So today during my run I did realize that I had made the right decision by not signing up to race both the Dawg Dash 10K and the Snohomish River Run 10K on back-to-back weekends.  I may have had a great three mile run today, but I know that I would have been miserable if I tried to add three more miles to my run, my legs would have protested in the most astonishing fashion.

Overall, this has been a good week.  Not as much mileage as I should have had and I'm sure if I had those miles I might have felt a bit more "prepared" for my longer run today.  I always feel a bit off when I run after  having a long break in between runs, so I'm going to work REALLY hard at getting all my runs in REGARDLESS of other stressors in my life.  The run will do my body good!

Questions for you:  Have you owned or used waterproof running shoes?  Did they work well for you?  Or were they not all that helpful?  Would you recommend people to use them? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ever have race remorse?

I am having race remorse and envy right now.  Ever have that?  I'll read race recaps on people's blogs and dream about possibly running that race in the future.  But that's different from what I'm experiencing right now.

I ran the Dawg Dash 10K this past Sunday and had a decent experience.  I had wanted to run this race because it was located around the campus of my alma mater (GO HUSKIES!) and had been a fairly touted race.  It also took the spot of my race quota for October.

However there were rumblings through local running bloggers about a brand new race that was having its inaugural race on October 28th.  The Snohomish River Run has both 10K and half marathon distances.  There were even some discount codes that were floating around for $10 off the entry fee. 

However when I looked at the dates and realized that it was the week after the Dawg Dash, I decided that I couldn't do two 10K's in one week.  I didn't want to put too much stress on my body if I wasn't physically prepared for it at that time.  So I made the decision to run the Dawg Dash instead of the Snohomish River Run, mostly because I'd had the Dawg Dash on my "to run" list for this year and I really was excited about it.

Well I guess it really does seem like the grass is greener on the other side.  With my disappointments about this weekend and my increasing admiration for race bling, I am really wishing that I had signed up for the Snohomish River Run instead.  Not only do they have a better website for their race (trite I know, but I'm a visual person), seemingly better offerings to their runners (including fuel being provided on course), but they are also giving their runners tech tees (better than cotton for running later) AND finisher medals. 

Le sigh...

Dawg Dash = no medal, Snohomish River Run = finisher medal.  The race entries were also the same price to boot!  So it's not as if one was a screaming better deal than the other (though with the discount code that was available, the SRR was cheaper than the DD).

I guess if things had been the other way around and I had signed up for the SRR instead of the DD, I might have wondered if I was missing out on something by not running the DD.  Or maybe still have that want to run the DD because it was on my list of races "to run".

Regardless, I am sitting here thinking about a race that I can't run in (it's at capacity) and am jealous of all the people that get to run in this inaugural race.  Funny how things have changed, even over the course of one year, I'm sad that I can't race this weekend and actually jealous of other people that are in that race. 

Huh?  Who am I?

Apparently...I'm a runner.  Who would have thought?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"The Jam" Thursday - What is blowing up my iPod

Music has its time and place for me, especially when it comes to running.  When I do my runs during the week I normally don't listen to music because I'm usually by myself and it's just safer for me to not have that distraction.  When I race though, that is a totally different situation.  I want something bumping in my ears and motivating me to keep moving and churning the legs.

This past weekend was no exception when I had my tunes going during my Dawg Dash 10K race.  There were some great songs on my list, but one stood out that I had to feature for today's edition of "The Jam" Thursday.  This is where I introduce you to a "jam" that gets my booty bumping and my legs pumping.

As I mentioned, this song was on my playlist during the race this past weekend and it helped me push through a pretty tough time at the end when all I wanted to do was quit.  This song got my spirits up and kept me going through the fatigue.  So today I present to you:

Everybody needs a little Rihanna in their life, right?  This was a fairly big hit on the Top 40 charts last year and I loved it when I heard it on the radio, so naturally it had to be on my iPod for when I ran.  This has a great beat to it and really helped me out when my energy was lagging.  Not to mention that it's kinda fun to run with the words playing in your ear "who's that chick?", yeah, running awesomeness at it's best.  Well not really, but it's a fun little ego boost. :)

It's almost the weekend, still time to get this on your playlist for your long run this weekend!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Race Recap: Dawg Dash

On Sunday October 21st was the Dawg Dash 5/10K held at the campus of the University of Washington.  I'd seen the Dawg Dash for years as I'd played in the pep band for it while I was in the Husky Marching Band. So I knew it existed, but it was WAY before I started running.

In my plan to work on my longer distances, I signed up for the 10K and have been working on getting to that 6 mile mark in my running.  Now mind you, I haven't actually ran 6 miles since my last 10K race, which was the only time I've attempted to run 6 miles.  So, I wasn't sure how I was going to fair.  

I like routine, so the night before I got everything laid out, bib pinned and I was ready to go in the morning.  What you don't see here is the under armour layer I put on that morning when my hubby advised me it was hovering around freezing outside.  Yeah, a singlet wasn't going to cut it keeping me warm on my run.  Hells yeah, rocking the Team Sparkle skirt!!!

My hubby drove me to the campus where the race started and ended and we proceeded to get some swag as we waited for the race to begin.

Got my face painted and everything!  Here's my waiting in the porta potty line.  BTW- no sanitizer in any of the porta-potties, bad bad!

Hubby decided to dress up a bit at the race, brought his Frankenstein hat.  Kept him warm, it was really freaking cold!!

There was quite a few people, but not as big as I thought it would be, just under 5000 participants.  

Don't know why, but hubby loves getting stretching shots...I don't get it.

Then it was off to racing!  This is where the pictures end for a bit.  Hubby had the camera while I was running.  I didn't realize it, but when we were standing around waiting for the race to start my feet were freezing, so when I started to run they were actually pretty numb!  D'oh!!  They hurt/got feeling in them for the first 1/3 - 1/2 mile of the race, really uncomfortable way to start!

The first 1.5 miles was a bit of a hilly course going through the Greek system then through the Ravenna neighborhood and park.  It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day and I wish I had the camera with me because the fall foliage and sunshine was AMAZING!  The first two miles were good for me surprisingly and I was cruising along.  The first water stop was around 2 miles, I grabbed a cup, downed it and kept running.  I had a GU with me that I was going to take at the next stop which should be in about 2 miles, right?

Got to about mile 3 and the wall started getting really close and I was approaching it fast.  I needed to take my GU and I didn't have water.  I learned the hard way not to take a GU without water and I wasn't going to do it again.  I guess I had burned up more of my energy than I thought I had at the beginning.  I slowed down considerably and I was taking shorter running blocks and more walk breaks.  I was looking desperately for the next water station, or a water fountain of any kind! 

Finally the water station mile 4.75!  The race was practically over and now we get the second water station.  At that point I didn't care, I tore open the GU took it down with a cup of water and kept running.  The last mile and a half felt like eternity...and the course had two flights of stairs in different locations.  Really?  Stairs?  Whose dumb idea was that!!!  Then I finally made the turn into the Quad where the finish line was.

I saw hubby with the camera at the ready, he was running after me taking pictures!

Almost posture was so bad, I just wanted it to be over with!

The final stretch to the finish line and I'm flashing the "dubs" (GO HUSKIES!) At this point I was sprinting to the finish, head down and legs churning.

I was done with my second ever 10K race!  WOOHOO!!  As I crossed the finish line I saw the time reader board and it said 1:10:45, I couldn't believe it, I'd beaten my last race time by 4 minutes!  I'd PR'd!!  I was SO excited!!

Who kicked butt on the race course?  That's right, I kicked butt!!  I threw on my sweats as I was starting to get cold, guzzled my coconut water and went to grab some water and a banana they were handing out.  Not much in the way of fueling for the runners afterwards, just a bottle of water and bananas, kinda lame.  Then we hung out and cheered on my band peeps playing for the crowd, they actually happened to be playing "Tequila" when we went over to listen.


All in all, I knew it was a tough course for me and really only the second time I'd run that distance ever.  So I was half expecting not to get a good time and half hoping I would do better than my last race.  Later that night I took a look at the "official" race time to find out my official time and my heart sank.  My timing chip recorded my time as 1:14:33 seconds, beating my previous 10K time by a mere 17 seconds and not the 4 minutes I'd thought it was.  I was heartbroken and still a bit am actually.  I have no idea where that clock time came from, but it wasn't when the 10K racers started as I was only 30-60 seconds behind the sound of the horn and crossing the timing mat.

Needless to say the race became tainted for me a bit with the timing snafu.  Overall, it was a learning experience for me in the way of really watching my pace when I first start out.  I was having too much fun with the course and I was passing people with ease (that should have been my first inclination that I was going too fast), and to take a small bottle of water with me that I can toss after taking my fuel when I want to, not when the water stations are.  OH...and a little bottle of hand sanitizer, not going to have that issue with the porta-potties being out of it again.  YUCK!

Each experience we have gives us lessons to build on and shape the future.  I hope that I can take these lessons to heart and have a smarter race the next time.  Maybe I can last longer and finally get a better time!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Momentum Monday: Feeling like you failed

Yesterday was my second 10K race I'd ever raced and only the second time I've ever run that distance.  As I crossed the finish line I looked at the time and saw that it said 1:10:something seconds.  I was happy!  I'd beat my time from my previous race (time 1:14:50) by at least 4 minutes!  I felt elated and even though I'd had a tough race towards the end (which I'll cover in my recap tomorrow) I felt good knowing I'd improved that much.

Then I came home and checked the "official results" and my timing chip had a different time for me.  My official time for this race was 1:14:33.  I was crushed, I'd only "improved" my time by a few seconds.  I still am crushed, I thought I'd done SO MUCH better than that, but I also see where I need much improvement.  I guess the fact that I'd run longer distances before this race than I had my previous race made me believe I could possibly have a better time.  I feel like I failed myself and my training.  So when it came to picking out the Momentum Monday Mantra this one really jumped out at me:

I need to remember that I didn't fail at this race, I still ran it and it was a GORGEOUS sunny day with all the fall foliage out and made for a beautiful run.  I didn't quit and I pushed myself to do what I could in all the circumstances I faced.  I didn't fail and I need to get that out of my head.  Even though I didn't improve my time as much as I thought I had, I still ran the race, I still finished the race and I ended the race with a smile on my face.  I wouldn't call that a failure, I would call that success!

Questions for you:  Have you been let down by the results of a race? How did you get over it, or have you gotten over it?  Did it fuel you to get better or was it a crutch?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"The Jam" Thursday - What is blowing up my iPod

It's Thursday already!  Wow, this week has flown by and at the very same time gone by at snails pace!  Regardless, it is Thursday and my Friday so I have lots to celebrate, especially the ability to sleep in tomorrow.  Let that marinate a little bit, then you can hate me later. :)  

Today is "The Jam" Thursday where I share a song that gets my booty bumping and my legs pumping!  This is a fun, angsty little song that definitely gets me singing along.  This girl has got some pipes and can rock out too!  I love it when girls (women) can be themselves and still be "cool".  They may not be mainstream or popular, but their confidence is so contagious; I just LOVE it!

So today's jam is: 

Not as fast paced of a song that I usually have on here, but it's a good one still.  I'm a fan of this whole album by Paramore, I could listen to the whole thing during my run and have a good time.  Like I said, this lady has a set of pipes! 

Enjoy your Thursday and get out there while the weather is still nice!  Who else is running today?  I know I am!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Running Tip Jar

I had seen this idea on another bloggers site, I thought it was Amalia, but I couldn't find the post I'd read with it.  So I'm giving her props to giving me the idea anyway.  (Thanks Amalia!!!)

I'm running the Princess Half Marathon in Disney World in February and I'm really excited and totally petrified about it.  I'm worried that I won't physically be able to handle the long run and therefore I'm really focusing on my training.  So I've been trying to figure out ways to encourage myself to stick to my training schedule and somehow get a reward from it.  (As if going to Disney World for the race isn't a reward enough, right?)

So I decided that I will give myself a "tip" everytime I complete a scheduled run.  So I created this bright tip jar that sits out very prominently to remind me of my run schedule!

Isn't it just fun?!?  The more I run, the more money I have for fun!  That way when I go to WDW for the race weekend, I have money I've already accumulated to use to buy goodies at the race expo and other fun stuff while I'm there!  The "tips" range anywhere from $1 to $5.  Right now I've been giving myself $5, I've had some difficult runs and I need the encouragement! So that means if I can keep up my scheduled runs for the rest of my schedule until the race, I'll be able to have fun and get goodies without breaking the bank!  Something I'm sure the hubs is liking! 

Question for you:  Is there something that you do to help encourage you to keep up with a training routine/schedule?  Do you reward yourself?  What is your reward?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Haven't you heard of Shark Week?

Sorry men, but this post isn't what you think it is.  You can turn away if you'd like, otherwise, keep reading.  But I did warn you!

What is Shark Week, you ask?  No, I'm not talking about the Discovery Channel specials here.  It's a code phrase my sister came up with that we use to talk about the week we're on our period.  Why use "Shark Week" and what does that have to do with it?  Um, blood in the water, sharks are present?  Crude, I know, but it helps to disguise our conversation a bit when we're out in public.  Unless you have a guy who overhears your conversation and thinks you're talking about the Discovery Channel Shark week and you have to tell him that's not really what you're talking about.  Awkward.

This is the time of the month that I hate and it's here, a whole week early.  Guess it's good because I will be mostly done by the time my race is here on Sunday.  I hate racing during this time of the month.  It's just not pretty.  I have absolutely TERRIBLE cramps and am a slave to the ibuprofen for three whole days.  Not to mention my flow is absolutely ridiculous for the first three days.  It's especially tough to run for me during these first few days because I'm one of those lucky people in the world that actually got TSS.

You know TSS - Toxic Shock Syndrome.  You know what I'm talking about, it's explained on the little insert in the box telling you what symptoms to look for and to contact a doctor if you have them.  I know you're like me and read those inserts from the tampon box when you're having to stay in the bathroom for a bit longer than you anticipated and you don't have reading material.  Or is that just me?

Anyway, I actually got TSS about 12 years ago and once you have it you are highly susceptible to getting it again.  Meaning no more tampons me for the rest of my life.  Boo hiss.  I'm doomed to pad city forever.  Which makes running just down right uncomfortable especially when you feel like you've got a mattress in between your legs.  Sheesh!

Because of this, my training schedule for this week will be augmented accordingly to save myself for the couple of days that I'm totally useless.  Then I'll be back on the road.  I'm not a training flake, I promise!  I just know that there are some limitations that I can't break, well that is until I find a way to run during those first few days of Shark Week and not make a total mess.  But at this juncture in time, I don't see that happening for me.

Question for you: Do you have issues that keep you from running/exercising during Shark Week?  Or am I being a sissy?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Momentum Monday: Not can you, but will you

This past weekend was my second long run of my training schedule.  The schedule only called for three miles, but I have a 10K race this weekend, so I wanted to get more mileage in to prepare for that.  So on Saturday my friend Danielle and I set out for 5 miles.

We decided to run around Lake Union, it's literally half a block from where she lives so it is very convenient and an easy way to track your mileage.  It is 6 miles around the whole lake, so we can run 5 then walk the last mile as a cool down.

It had been raining the night and morning before we ran so we were a bit concerned that we would be drenched during our run, but that didn't deter us.  We were going to run regardless.  So we set out into the cold, oh and did I mention it was windy?  Oh yes it sure was, burr!!!

The first mile in and I was struggling.  Breathing was out of sync and I just wasn't feeling this run.  By the time we were two miles in my legs were feeling like lead.  I knew that I was going to be pushing myself the whole way to make this run count.  This was not going to be easy.

By the time we were 2.5 miles in, we were hitting hills on the trail, so digging in we got up the hills running.  Then something really wonderful happened around mile 3.  I'd hit the sweet spot.

What's the sweet spot?  It's when everything falls into place and the run becomes natural.  I don't want to say easy because it's not necessarily easy, but it's easier.  The breathing was natural, the strides were comfortable and my body just seemed to go on its own.  I didn't have to push or force myself to move forward, my legs were doing that for me.

The rest of the miles just seemed to fly by and when I got to the end of my mileage, I just wanted to keep going.  But I didn't because that wasn't what I was scheduled for.  It felt great to have that naturalness to my running, getting into that groove and just letting my body go.  It was so freeing and I felt so good the rest of the day!  I'm constantly surprised at what the body will do once you get out of your own way and let it go.

So my Momentume Monday seemed pretty obvious to me when I saw it.  I had fought my way through the beginning of my run, then when I just let go I felt like I could run forever.  So my mantra for this week is:

With how my run had started out, I could have easily thrown in the towel and chalked it up to my body just not wanting to run.  But that would have been the can in me, can I do it?  Since I didn't throw in the towel and I kept going, the will in me came through and let my legs to their thing.

I find that I want to have a reason as to why I'm feeling a certain way and theorize on the can's and can'ts.  However if I let myself go, more times than not my body will do it and be thankful for it later!

Question for you:  Do you let "can't" stop you? What do you do when you're not "feeling" your run, do you stop or keep going?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

End of Week Two training

It is the end of Week Two of my half marathon training.  Really?  This is going by quicker than I thought!  I guess we'll have to wait and see if I have the same reaction around week 12 or 17, HA!

My training calls for Tuesday and Thursday timed runs and a Saturday long run for mileage.  My Tuesday run got scrapped because I was moving it a day back to do speed work and hills with my friend Danielle.  So I ran on Wednesday instead and had a great time!  

We went to Greenlake and ran sprinting intervals around the lake, sprint 1 minute and jog 4 minutes, repeat.  When we got to the South end of the lake, there is a hill by the tennis courts that we ran up and jogged down a couple of times, then continued the intervals around the lake.  It was tough, especially towards the end where it felt like the trail was regenerating and that this run was never going to end!  Regardless of that tidbit, the run was good and I felt great afterward.  We stopped at Greenlake Bar and Grill afterward to grab dinner, it was $5 Steak and Fries night.  I subbed the fries with veggies for a dollar extra and ordered a medium steak.  This was by far the smallest plate of food I've ever received in my life.  The steak was a perfect serving size, 5oz, but the veggies that came with it was a smaller portion than the steak!  That was totally bonk!  I'm not going to spend my money on that deal again, I'd rather go home and make a large plate of roasted veggies any night!  But I digress.

Then on Thursday I was going to do my run as scheduled, but work got in the way this week and I ended up staying late and then the hubby was coming home early (7pm as opposed to 10pm) so I wanted to spend time with him.  Needless to say, the run didn't happen.  Life got in the way and I'm bummed that I allowed that to happen so early into my training, but it did and I have to let it go.  That just means no money will go into the tip jar for that day.  Tip jar?  What am I talking about?  Well, that's for another post. :)

Saturday came and I was raring to go on a run, but the weather certainly was not.  Gloomy, rainy and wet all over.  Today would be my first test in mind over weather to get my run done.  I geared up in a long sleeve wicking shirt, capri's and compression socks so that I was warm enough (the wind was biting! SO COLD!).  Then wore my hat to keep the rain out of my face.  Let's see how this goes!  Well, luckily for my running buddy and me, the rain stopped long enough for our five mile run and one mile cool down walk around Lake Union.

Can I just say what a GREAT run that is!!  Some really great views and areas to run through, it was really pleasant!  We stopped to get a picture at Gasworks, the trees were AMAZINGLY beautiful!!!

I LOVE this time of year when the leaves change color and hearing the crunch of the leaves under your feet when you run.  Regardless of the cold and wind, this was a really enjoyable run.  I felt so strong at the end that I could have finished out the last mile of the trail, but my training doesn't call for that.  My schedule actually only calls for three miles, but I have a 10K race next week that I want to be prepared for, so 5 miles for this run it was!

Overall, the training is going well and I'm enjoying running more.  I'm going to try and get a speedwork day in every week along with my regularly scheduled runs, I really enjoyed that change of pace.  No pun intended, HA!  I know lots of people are in the middle, coming close to the end or just like me, starting their training schedule for some half or full marathon, so it's nice to know all of us are on some sort of journey together.  Helps to remind me that I'm not alone in my struggle to train!

Question for you:  How do you keep motivated to stick to your training schedule when life gets in the way?  Do you beat yourself up about it or chalk it up as a loss and let it go?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seasonal Struggles

It's October in the Pacific Northwest and we've been experiencing some really gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather.  Until today.

Today is the first day us PNWers have seen rain in 82 straight days.  I wasn't joking.  It's been 82 days since we've seen rain.  I'm not complaining by any means, I grew up in the Bay Area and love my sunshine for sure.  It's just this rain unceremoniously brings in the change of the season around here and the storm this weekend will pack a punch apparently.

So as the seasons change, so do the training habits of runners.  It is definitely Fall now (lets be honest, it's looking like we might be diving head first into winter here) and we have to be more aware of what the temperature and precipitation expectation is for that day.  Gone are the days where we can throw what ever is light and airy in our running bags for our runs later that day.  Now we have to make sure that ear warmers, gloves and water resistent clothing is packed to avoid not being prepared for the elements.  We also need to be mindful of the road conditions, if it's icy, if it's snowing, driving rain, what have you; last thing you want is to slip and fall far from where people can reach you.

I was going through my inventory of running gear and realized that despite me living in the PNW and have been running for almost a year now, I don't have "proper" cold weather running gear.  UGH!  I'd made a promise to myself to buy some gear when it went on sale at the end of last winter, but I'd gotten so caught up in all the cute Spring and Summer stuff that I'd neglected to get Fall/Winter cold essentials.  So now I'm looking at 20 more weeks of training and having nothing really but cotton sweatshirts to wear to keep me warm during the cold rainy, snowy season.  Not ideal, since I know how heavy cotton sweatshirts get when they are soaked from rain showers.

Another side effect to the seasons changing is motivation.  The weather gets colder and the days are darker longer, leaving you wanting to hibernate under piles of blankets watching movies and drinking hot chocolate with Baileys. 

Or that might just be me, I don't know. 

It just gets easier to find excuses when there is incliment weather to not get out and run. A common thread I followed last winter.  Yes, I was a fair weather runner.  I would run during my lunch breaks (when there was daylight), but if it was raining I wouldn't run because I would be soaking wet coming back into work.  Looking like a drown rat for the rest of the afternoon didn't sound appealing.  However now that I've found the shower at work (woo hoo!) I can go for a run in the rain and then come back and take a hot shower to warm me up and clean up.  Sounds confusing, right? I'm going to take a shower after running in the rain and I'm happy about it. I know, I can boggle my own mind. It still doesn't change the drown rat look my hair might have, but at least I can warm up and de-sweat.

With my first half marathon coming up in a just over 4 months and I can't afford to be a fair weather runner this season.  That worries and excites me all at the same time.  Looks like I'm going to have to figure out what to do about my lack of cold weather gear.  Ideas anyone?

Question for you: Does your training suffer when the seasons change? What do you do to help prevent that?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"The Jam" Thursday - What is blowing up my iPod

Today is the second run of my scheduled training for Week Two of my half marathon training schedule.  I'll have a recap about my training this week tomorrow, but today is "The Jam" Thursday where I feature another song that is blowin' up my iPod.

This one kinda took me by surprise.  I just started listening to this album and this song just stuck out to me.  It's got a great beat and a catchy chorus.  This song motivates me when I run especially because there are issues she "discusses" that are true for anyone that has a goal or passion and have those around you that don't/won't support you.  I've never been a huge fan of rap, but this chick has got it going on!  She can rap and sing, as I have featured another one of her songs on an earlier TJT post.

So today's featured jam is:

Like I said above, I'm not a huge fan of rap, but when I run I listen to anything that motivates me.  The lyrics talk about not listening to nay-sayers and doing what you want to do because you have that drive and focus.  That there are friends that say they support you, but in the same breath will tear down your goals.  This song motivates me when I run especially because there are always more people that will try to make you doubt yourself and your goals, than try to help build you up and support you.  That's why I love this song, it's about a strong female doing what she wants the way she wants to do it and still being true to herself.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Momentum Monday: What is your Inspiration?

Today's Momentum Monday is about inspiration.

Inspiration can come from many different places or people.  There isn't always just one person or one thing that inspired you to do something.  Mostly it has to do with a combination of persons or events that inspire or encourage you in a cause or goal.

During my training run on Thursday I became overwhelmed and for a very good reason.  I was running on the Myrtle Edwards trail in Seattle, for those of you that don't know that trail it goes along the waterfront between the piers and is quite picturesque to run along.  While I was running I came upon my turnaround point for this run and it also happened to be at the rose garden location.  I immediately started to tear up and paused in my run to talk to someone that I lost there.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was working on getting into better shape.  He was in his late forties and a man that had worked on the waterfront and in boats most of his life.  To say he drank would be like saying Mt. Everest is tall.  He loved food, drink and good friends.  So when I heard that he was eating better, cutting back in his drinking and taking up running again, I was surprised and inspired.  Here is a man that would normally belly-up to the bar for IPA's and shots of Jack after a tough day at work, now lacing up his sneakers and going for a run.  It was working too, because he was looking great!  He had trimmed down a lot and he seemed to have more spunk and energy than he normally did.

I had gone by the pier on a Tuesday to drop something off for work (this was when I worked as a port agent) and it was a particularly difficult day during this ship call and everyone was in a tizzy.  My friend, Mike, was under some particularly heavy pressure and I got to hang out with him a bit, have a few laughs and see what was going on that day.  A bit later as I was getting into my car to leave, I saw him again and was going to say goodbye and flip him some shit about something, but he hurried off and didn't see me as I was waving at him.  No worries, I would do it tomorrow when I saw him in the morning.

That night I got a tearful call from my friend Danielle, "Mike's dead".  The words hung in the air like a plastic bag floating on the breeze.  "What? I just saw him today! What happened?" I asked.  She said, "He collapsed during his run after the ship left, he was running with his friend along Myrtle Edwards and collapsed."  The medics had come and took him to the hospital, he'd had a massive heart attack and they weren't able to save him.  The shock was almost too much to bear and this loss would follow me everywhere I went while I worked at the piers.  I was reminded everyday coming to work that Mike would never be coming back and I still fight back tears even now thinking about that.

What I found out later is that he was running and collapsed in the area of the rose garden, almost the center point between the two piers he managed, in an area he loved so dearly.  I'd only been to the rose garden a couple of times since his passing and I would be running with someone, so I never had a moment to reflect there.  But I knew that he was there and that he had passed away while doing something that he had enjoyed in his youth and revisited that joy as an adult; running.  

His passing encouraged and inspired me to better myself health-wise like he had done, he inspired me to run.  I checked with my doctor first, to make sure this type of workout and strain on my body was acceptable, as I knew he didn't heed the warning signs that something wasn't right when he began running.

So on Thursday during my run I paused and talked to Mike.  I told him that I missed him, that we all missed him and thanked him for inspiring me to run. I told him, "I wouldn't have done this if it wasn't for you; this is for you."  And I kept on running.

He'll be with me when I run; in my heart and on my mind, knowing that he would be encouraging me to keep running if he were alive today.  So my running Momentum and Inspiration is my dear friend.  This run's for you Mike!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"The Jam" Thursday - What is blowing up my iPod

It's Thursday and this day could not get here quick enough!  It is technically my Friday today.  I work a 9/80 work schedule where during a two week period I work 9 - nine hour days and that 10th day (Friday) I get a day off.  So essentially it allows me to have a three day weekend every other week, pretty nice and helps give my brain a little extra rest!

Today is "The Jam" Thursday where I feature songs that get my booty bumping and my legs pumping.  So with today being my "Friday" and also being "The Jam" Thursday, I figured I would put something on that is a bit of fun.  This song was a bit of a club hit for those of you that love to dance and is a good song to have about mid/late-run when you feel your energy starting to wain.  This is a good beat to get you going and moving along.  So today's "Jam" is:

It's a song that I can run to and dance to, so it's always funny watching me when this song comes on my iPod.  I'm running and moving my shoulders and pumping my arms to the song, sometimes singing along!  It's just fun and gets me re-energized!  Take a listen and groove along with me!