Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another question ... Galloway, anyone?

Since I skipped intervals on Saturday in order to simply survive the hills on our route, I knew I needed to get them in this morning during my 5 miles on the 'mill.  I was feeling pretty sluggish this morning, likely due in part to having woken up at 4 instead of the planned 5:15.  

I started out doing the intervals after 10 minutes of walking and jogging.  The training program called for 10 x 4 minute intervals at 10-Miler pace, with 30 second recovery (jog) breaks.  During the 5th interval I was really running out of steam--in fact, I wasn't sure that I would be able to finish the intervals--so I decided to switch to 30 second WALK breaks instead of trying to stick to slow running.  [An aside:  I am reading Jeff Galloway's Half Marathon book right now, not in preparation for the 10-Miler but for a possible half later this year.  I get the feeling that our 10-Miler coach wants us to jog/slow run through rest breaks rather than walking, although I have not discussed this with him directly.]

Anyway, after that 5th interval I walked for 30 seconds during each rest break between intervals, and I not only finished all 10 intervals, I even picked up my speed a little during the final interval.  This makes me wonder if the Galloway walking break theory might be a better idea than I had originally thought.  Was it just a mental trick, or was I really more rested after those brief 30 seconds of walking?  And can I get over the feeling that walk breaks are somehow "cheating"??

What about you?  I would LOVE to hear from anyone out there who has read and/or tried Galloway's run/walk method.  Do you like it?  Do you think it gives you a better overall pace?  A better recovery?  Or do you feel like this is cheating?


Monday, February 27, 2012

Hoping for a good week

Looks like GrazMan may have to work out of town later this week.  He has had to do this more often lately, leaving me to juggle three children, their activities, a full time job, and the usual household tasks.  So this time I thought some positive visualization of the week might help me.  Maybe. 

The ideal week:
  • I stay on track with my running and actually DO all the cross-training I should be doing, or at a bare minimum the sit-ups and push-ups Coach wants us to be doing each day.
  • Our mornings go smoothly, no sibling squabbles, everything packed the night before, and we arrive at each child's school on time.
  • Our evenings are equally smooth.  When faced with a challenging parenting moment, I search for and find the appropriate Scripture, the daughter in question reads it, understands it, and immediately applies it to the situation.  Said daughter hugs me and thanks me for helping her be the best person she can be.
  • Dinner is served before anyone reaches starvation point.  Each meal is nutritionally balanced and delicious.
  • GrazMan returns home, weary from his hard work and travels, and finds the house immaculate, children scrubbed and quietly waiting to greet him, a warm meal on the table, and a calm wife standing by ready to attack his laundry.  We're a scene right out of Leave it to Beaver.

Wasn't June the absolute BOMB??

Worst case scenario:
  • I will get in my runs, because that is the only thing standing between me and total insanity.  Cross-training??  Who are you kidding??  Just breathing is cross-training enough this week!
  • We will make it to school.  Barely.  Each child will have forgotten something important, requiring me to return home to fetch the forgotten items, only to realize they were in the back of the van.  Or non-existent.  I'll arrive to work an hour late with a run in my hose, mascara smeared from crying over all the fussing between the kids, and will have forgotten my lunch.
  • The girls will fight all the way home each evening, giving me a massive headache requiring immediate ingestion of copious amounts of Advil and chocolate.  When pushed to the brink, I will send the older two to their rooms, and will lock youngest in the laundry room, where she will proceed to dismantle the washing machine with the tools she finds while emptying everything out of the storage closet.
  • Dinner will be from whichever fast food drive-thru we can get to the fastest, because I was running late and everyone is starving. 
  • GrazMan will return to find the children swinging from the light fixtures, having pulled all of the stuffing out of the sofa.   Social services will be there doing an emergency inspection after finding McFries entwined in middle daughter's hair.  I will be curled in fetal position in a corner with an almost empty bag of Fritos (dip size), an almost empty can of nacho cheese dip (you know, the gross kind they sell at 7-11 that somehow goes perfectly with the Fritos), and a completely empty bottle of cheap merlot with an extra long straw sticking out of it.  He takes one look at the scene before him, including the cannibalized washing machine, takes his dirty laundry and heads immediately out the door in search of any possible out of town work he can find.
Hopefully we'll find a happy medium between the two extremes.  But just in case, let me know if you have any super-long straws you can send me.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Intervals, hills, and a toenail ...

Today's training program called for 7 miles with 10x4 intervals (at 10-Miler pace).  As a self-proclaimed turtle, let me state for the record that I DETEST intervals.  They make me realize that I actually have only two speeds in my repertoire at this point:  stop and go.  So I was not looking forward to the run, and add to that the fact that RBR (Running buddy Robin) is soaking up some rays in a sunny, warm locale, and I was not mentally prepared for the run.  GrazMan did his best to pump me up about it, but I wasn't there yet.

I arrived at the group meeting spot and was happy to learn that another running buddy, Dave, would be our team captain.  Then I heard him describe our 7 mile loop--a LOT of uphills.  And the winds this morning were gusting at 20-30 miles an hour.  OK, tell me again why I'm doing this?

One of the other captains, an incredibly sweet and encouraging woman named Betsy who has run with us over the course of the past 4 months was kind enough to run with me, but I know from past experience that she is faster than I am (who am I kidding?  EVERYONE in Group 4 is faster than I am!)  I assured her she didn't need to stick with me, but when I saw that she was going to stay by me anyway, I decided I better pick up the pace.  We did our first interval and I had a feeling I was pushing past my safe zone, but I really didn't want to let her down.  However, by the time we hit mile 3 and the Really Big Hill (the first of three!), I was slowing down quite a bit.  Somehow we slogged through the next two hills and made it back to the starting point.  While I felt incredibly slow for the last half of the run, it turned out to be my fastest long run time yet.  Wow!  I'm happy now that it is over, but since we gave up on any real interval training, I know I'll have to do that this week.  I figure I can work that into Wednesday's 5 miles on the 'mill.

Oh, yeah, the toenail.  I'm officially a REAL runner now, since I killed one of my toenails and had to have most of it removed yesterday by the podiatrist.  It feels SO MUCH BETTER, but it is not going to win any toenail beauty contests.  In fact, GrazMan made quite a face when I unwrapped it this morning after my run, so I won't be posting any photos of it.  Too bad, as I'm kinda proud of it!

Happy running!! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Glad I got to run with GrazMan!

With 3 miles scheduled on the program for today, I figured I would hit the 'mill for a fast 3, then get dinner thrown together--oh, wait, I'm Super Mom--I meant to say that I would create a culinary masterpiece to present in a creative and enticing style for the gastronomical pleasure of my family.  (Yeah, right, not in this lifetime, baby!)  Before I left work GrazMan sent me a message asking if he could join me for part of my run.  That was a first, and I wasn't about to miss an opportunity to spend a little quality time with him, so I quickly changed into my running duds and headed out the door with him, leaving eldest daughter in charge of the younger two (and praying about that the whole time!).

He made it almost a mile with me before I needed to put the pedal down a bit, so he circled around the local high school parking lot while I got in the next 1.5 miles, then I came back and found him waiting for me, so we cruised back home together.  Quite nice, and since it was getting fairly dark by the time we finished, I was glad he was along.  

Made it back, the girls hadn't strung each other up, managed to finish dinner prep and get it on the table before 7 p.m.  Whew!  Successful evening!

Happy running!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pleased with today's run!

If you read Monday's post, you know that Monday's run was really bad.  I made up for it today, thankfully!  The temperature at the end of my work day was 60 degrees with some mild wind gusts.  Thanks to dear hubby (Grazman), I had my Nathan hand-held water bottle and a pre-run energy bar (which I had inadvertently left at home this morning), so I donned my running duds and headed out.  Because of where my office is, I was able to run almost entirely on the 10-Miler route, covering just about half of it, including some of the tougher hills.  Getting those hill workouts in is really important, since so much of my training is on the treadmill.

My gear for today's run included my Bondi Band (this particular one says "Slow ... It's the new fast!"), my brand spankin' new AWESOME wicking top from weTRIsports (thanks for all your help with my selection, Sharon--the fit is PERFECT!), and of course my OESH shoes!

Here I am, just home from my run ...

Posted by Picasa

So I guess if you take the Bondi Band saying and my weTRIsports saying, I'm a slow wino!  Could be worse, huh?

Middle daughter really liked the tag on the back of my new shirt, which says ... 

Not a bad philosophy ... just one more mile.  I can do it.  Just keep running, just keep running (can anyone else hear Dori the fish?).

Anyone else just LOVE the sayings on their running gear?  Want to share?

Happy running!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Today's training program called for 4 miles, as it usually does on Mondays.  I thought I would be okay--I slept that wonderful deep sleep that comes from a certain nighttime-sniffling-sneezing-stuffy-head-fever-so-I-can-rest medicine.  But when I hit the 'mill, I hit a wall.  Don't know if it came from running later in the morning than I am used to (8 a.m. as opposed to 5:30), or maybe I still had some medicine in  my system, but I only made it through three slow, painful miles.  I felt it in my lungs this morning too so, being the rational person I am (okay, this ONCE I was rational), I decided to chop the run a mile short.  I'll either make it up later in the week or I just won't--either way I've done the smart thing.

As an aside, Old Man Winter finally showed himself yesterday.  It snowed non-stop from 3 p.m. until late in the evening (it was still coming down at 10 when I conked out).  The girls had a blast in it, and now the sun is shining down bright and warm, so the roads have not been greatly affected.  Now that's my idea of a good snow!

Happy running!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recapping today's run

Thanks to all the great blogger advice I got on Thursday, after taking stock of my overall health this morning I decided to dose up on decongestant and advil and head out for the group run this morning.  This was an important day for us--10 miles PLUS we ran the actual course for the race (41 days away).  Having a close group of running pals really helped--especially RBR (Running Buddy Robin), who is always there with an encouraging word for me when I'm flagging a bit.  I felt increasingly good as we made it through the first half of the run, but then peaked and by 8.5 miles I was wondering how I would finish.  The last 3/4 mile has a few steep hills and I started focusing on that instead of just concentrating on getting through it.  RBR's constant support made me keep going, though, and I was glad I did.  I KNOW without a doubt that we can run this race and finish at least 5-10 minutes faster than we did today, and while that won't impress anyone other than us and our very patient, supportive families, it's enough. 

Post-run I came home and thoroughly enjoyed 2 scrambled eggs and a bagel, then got ready for a 2-hour stint with middle daughter at a Girl Scout cookie booth at our local Lowe's.  It was too hot where we were set up, and the combination of getting overheated and the decongestant wearing off gave me a whopper of a headache.  By 3:30 my head was completely stuffed up again, so my dear mother is keeping all three girls for a second night in a row (a virtually unheard of situation, since 5-year old Anna is quite a handful!), so that I can get my pj's on and get some much-needed rest, maybe catch a movie with GrazMan and doze on the couch. 

Anyway, thanks again for the advice, ladies--I made it and felt really proud of myself!  Hope you all have great runs this weekend! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Taking a quick poll ...

Do you run when you have a cold?  Does it depend on what stage of the cold you are in, or the severity?  Do you put on your game face and run no matter what?  Or do you pull the covers over your head and figure you can make it up later?  PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

I'm suffering from a cold and trying to figure out just how hard to push myself.  The timing is pretty bad, as this Saturday will be my VERY FIRST TEN MILE RUN!!!  AND it will be on the exact course as next month's race.  Obviously, this is one run I really don't want to miss, so I'm telling myself that a little cold never hurt anyone.  However, that careful part of me says I'm no spring chicken and that I need to be careful not to turn this head cold into something worse.  Temps should be in the mid to upper 30s Saturday morning and they aren't calling for any precipitation, so the conditions will be good for running.

Would love to hear from all you runners out there!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Running without your head

See the caption under the picture above?  "Hard to run without a head."

Youngest daughter, age 5, was playing a game on her sister's iPod.  I could tell from her groan that she had not done well, and she said to me, "It's hard to run without a head."  The next day I asked her sister about this, and she confirmed that yes, indeed, it is hard to run in that game once you no longer have a head.  So that got me thinking about running (and you know, if you run, that your thoughts are never very far from running), and how virtually IMPOSSIBLE it is to "run without a head".  Or more accurately, run without having your head in the run.  I saw a great post on someone's FB page this week that said, "When your legs can't run any longer, run with your heart", and I definitely think that's true.  But for me, anyway, a very large portion of the battle is mental.  I can talk myself into or out of a good or bad run, at least most of the time.  If I am rushed and Life (you know, the capital "L" stuff that we all have to juggle) crowds the precious time I have set aside for my run, I tend to get anxious and as often as not, the run will come out the loser.  However, even on those not-so-great days, if I can jump the sometimes Everest-like hurdle in my head about my run, I'll enjoy it, feel better during and after it, and Life will become ... life again.

So my goal for the next [insert reasonable time period here, if that can ever be determined--week? month? year?] is to stay on top of my mental game, regardless of Life--or life, for that matter.  I need to make sure that I approach every run with an attitude of  "Oh, yeah, this is MY TIME and I'm going to run like the wind!".  NOT, "Oh, great, I've only got x minutes of time, there is no way I can get a decent run in, why am I even bothering with this, I should just go polish off a box of Thin Mints."  I'm going to try REALLY hard to run WITH my head (and screwed on properly, too, perhaps!).

Happy running!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ranting a bit today.

I apologize in advance for the length of today's post!!

Since I started blogging this past December, I have tried to keep my posts primarily about running and upbeat (ok, except for this week's blog about my stomach bug).  After all, there is enough negativity in the world.  However, I have been getting really angry lately about something, and I know that this probably has a similar impact on others of you out there, too.

So many of us began running to lose weight (and hopefully to maintain it once we reach our goals).  I am always inspired by the blogs of those amazing women who have lost a considerable amount of weight this way and are now running through life.  As only a couple of examples out of many, read about Erin at See Mom Run Far, Jen at From From FAT to FINISH LINE, and Katie at Runs for Cookies.  These women have made incredible changes in their bodies and their lives by running and they serve as a great source of inspiration to the rest of us!

Speaking of the rest of us, I am right there in the mix.  I have struggled since my adolescence with my weight, gaining and losing the same 35 (ish) pounds over and over.  My fifth (yes, fifth!) attempt at Weight Watchers back in 2005 finally "took" and I reached my goal weight and have managed (mostly) to maintain it even while having dear daughter #3 in late 2006.  However, it is still a struggle--three years ago I hit a number that, while nowhere near my highest, was definitely not one I had ever wanted to see again.  I finally started running about 18 months ago, not very seriously until this past fall, and I manage to stay at an acceptable weight, although I would love to get rid of another 5-8 pounds (AND KEEP THEM OFF!).

It is always helpful to read of other people struggling, and a couple of posts in the past couple of weeks have helped me feel less alone.  Jess at Run with Jess had a great post about weight loss, and Jennifer's post at runner ... maybe was incredibly moving to me.  So many of us struggle, which is what is leading (at long last, I know) to my rant.

HEY, DIET INDUSTRY PEOPLE, STOP PREYING ON US!!!!  I am SICK of hearing about products that make crazy, unsubstantiated claims, directed right at those of us who might, in a moment of weakness and self-loathing, buy anything at any price that might help us finally see the "right" number on the scale, or lose that unwanted belly fat, or get us down two dress sizes.  Now, I am not talking about all weight loss companies out there--after all, I have tried many of them, with varying degrees of success (WW, Jenny Craig, Diet Center, Beverly Hills Weight Loss, Atkins, etc.).  This particular complaint is directed at those companies selling some great new ***product*** that will, if taken as directed, help your body burn unwanted fat without any need for diet or exercise.  Really?!?  You mean all I have to do is take a tablespoon of your magic protein formula and I'll lose weight while I sleep?  And I can still eat all the junk food I want and I don't have to exercise?  Or I just have to take your herbal supplements and suddenly my body will just ignore the fat grams I'm stuffing into it?  There are two companies in particular advertising on our local radio stations, and they say that I don't have to do anything other than consume their product to lose weight.  One of the ads throws in these great phrases like "carbo block" and "fat absorber".  I am saddened to think of all the desperate, overweight people out there who are going to throw away their hard-earned money on products that can't possibly deliver the promises made on these ads.  If you really do lose the weight, how long is it going to stay off once you stop taking this stuff??  And what about the side effects?  If you read some of the information out there on these products, you'll see that at least one of them is little more than a laxative.  Well, yeah, I'm going to lose weight if I get up every morning with diarrhea!  Please, leave us fat thin-challenged folks alone, unless and until you really DO come up with a formula that will turn me into Gwyneth Paltrow overnight.  (Yeah, I'd pay $40/month for that kind of thin!)

Burn Fat While You Sleep!

As Heard On Your Local Radio Station!

And fellow fluffy people, yes, I realize that there is blame on our side, too.  After all, if we wouldn't buy it, they wouldn't make it.  In addition to all of the various weight-loss systems that I listed in the previous paragraph, I've ordered my share of shady ones, too.  The weight loss patch (okay, that was REALLY a moment of weakness on my part).  The metabolism booster from a nationally known nutrition retailer that cost a fortune and made me feel like I was crawling out of my own skin (yes, I lost weight, but I could not sleep a wink!).  The liquid-meal replacement diet that did, in fact, help me lose 6 pounds in a week--which I gained back in 3 days.  So I know the mental state of anyone who buys into this concept of a lose-weight-quick-and-easy scheme, I know the heartache, desperation, and irrational hope that goes into calling that toll free number for this wonder product.  What I also know from years and years of experience is that weight loss requires changes in diet and some form of exercise.  Plain and simple.  (And I'm 7 chapters into writing a book on this very subject, but gaining 10-ish pounds made me put down my self-righteous pen!)

Thanks for listening.  Maybe someday they will come up with exactly this type of wondrous elixir and I can start eating my weight in cheese and chocolate.  But give up running?  Probably not.

Happy running (healthy eating!).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feeling lucky!

As a relative newbie to both the running and blogging worlds, I was happy to stumble across a number of terrific giveaways, and of course I HAD to enter to win some of these marvelous prizes.  How lucky I was, then, to win TWO of the first few that I entered!!  Many thanks to all of the bloggers out there who take the time and energy to review products, conduct the drawings and mail out the goodies!  When my blog grows up, it wants to do this, too!!

So check out my first win, these awesome running socks from WrightSocks, thanks to a great drawing from Jen at Running With The Girls:

And then I won these cool notebooks from Jamie, a/k/a Running Diva Mom!  My three daughters were fighting over them--I finally convinced them (I think) that maybe Mom deserves them for all my hard work training for the 10-Miler!  

Seriously, while winning stuff like this is incredible, what is even better about all the blogs I've been following is the advice, support, and fellowship that experienced runners share.  For a beginner runner, this is so, so helpful.  Thanks to all!!!!

Happy running!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I had a great run yesterday--9 miles, the longest I've ever run--and I know beyond any doubt that I can complete the 10-Miler.  Robin and I both feel that our race time will be decent (for us, of course, not for speedy runners!), and it was a good feeling to run the actual race course.  We cut off a one-mile loop yesterday to keep it to nine miles, but since we have also run that loop before, we have a new-found confidence since we have now run the course we'll be running on March 31.

Unfortunately, within 30 minutes of getting home I started cramping up.  I thought this might be some sort of "runner's trots" that I'd heard about (but had never experienced).  In a few more minutes, it moved from an abdominal cramping to full-out nausea.  I was trying to get tacos ready for the family, but that had to stop--and FAST!  After spending some face-to-face time with the porcelain god, I crawled into bed and stayed there for over 10 hours.  Feeling some better today, but still not 100%.  I'm guessing that the fast-moving tummy bug that sent my 5 year old home from school Friday morning must have hit me.  Otherwise, I can't imagine how yesterday's run would have had that kind of effect on me. 

Hope you all had wonderful long runs!  Happy running!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In the spotlight ...

This week it is my turn to be "in the spotlight" in the weekly newsletter from our wonderful 10-Miler Training Program coach, Mark Lorenzoni.  Definitely makes the whole experience more real--it's set in stone now that I'm a runner.  Interesting.

In the Spotlight


How many years have you been in the C10TP? 
This is my first year in the C10TP.  I have run the 4-Miler 4 times (last in 2008), but have never kept up the running--it was never part of my lifestyle.  I actually ENJOY it this time around! partly due to the group.  

What do you do when you're not running?  I am a staff attorney at a local title insurance company, wife to Tony (15.5 years), mother to 3 girls (13, 10 & 5).  Reading and crocheting fill the few minutes of spare time I manage to find.   

What's your favorite music? I have the most bizarre playlist EVER.  Lots of DISCO (gotta have that beat), Steppenwolf ("Born to be Wild" is a great foot-mover!), Tempations ("Get Ready"), some U2 and other miscellaneous rock tunes. Here's my craziest song:  "Born to be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez.  If I'm feeling sluggish, that one does the trick!  

What I would like people to know about me:   
 I grew up here in Hooville, went to UVa for undergrad, W & L for law school.  I definitely work to live, not the other way around--my family is my life!  By incorporating fitness as an integral part of my life, rather than as an option, I hope to instill this into my daughters so that they can be healthy, fit women who do not struggle as I have.   

The best running advice I could give would be:  FIND A GROUP!!  During the week I have to run on the treadmill due to time and safety constraints, but having a wonderful group of folks with whom to run on Saturday mornings during the C10TP has been amazing!  Many thanks to Trish, Janet, Maggie, Betsy, Robin, Lisa, et al. for doling out advice and keeping my spirits up on those hills!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Psyched about this weather!

68 degrees at 5 p.m. on February 1.  Oh yeah!  Even my children are getting spring fever now, despite the complete lack of any snow this winter.  Amazing run tonight, faster than anticipated pace, lots of folks out enjoying the balmy temps.  OK, there were a couple of clueless UVa students who didn't understand why the two of us old ladies wanted them to take their intense conversation out of the middle of the sidewalk.  HELLO!  But in all other respects, it was perfect.  So very glad to have an outdoor run during the week with some actual hills for a change.

Happy running!