Friday, September 13, 2013


I'm not sure running this late was the best idea for sleep but I got it done anyways. In other news, it finally looks like it's going to start cooling off a little! #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining 22/#50milesinseptember

The further I get into this running thing, the more I realize the need for celebrating the smaller events as a part of the bigger journey.  Of course at the culmination of all my training I want to celebrate the completion of a half marathon and a full marathon but where's the fun in waiting until then?

So some of the smaller positives...
  • I'm running faster.  I'm still slow but I've cut almost 3 minutes off my pace from my beginning point.
  • My food choices are getting better everyday.  I want to eat healthy so I can run better.
  • I like how my body is changing... more on that in a minute. ;)
  • I look forward to my workouts and I'm motivated by these little things to get my workouts in no matter what.
A few of the bigger positives...

Steve has been traveling a lot this month.  That's typically not the norm but it looks like it will be for the forseeable future.  When he's gone I'm a little more stressed... the dogs don't behave, Chaney is more challenging, and of course there are the inevitable disasters that seem to wait for when he's not home.  That's just the way it works.

This salad makes me look forward to lunch! #cleaneating

So when he travels, I'm typically a little more stressed than usual and when I'm stressed, it's easy to slip into old disordered eating habits.  Add in the fact that I'm alone and I face my biggest moments of temptation to binge.  These are certainly shameful moments and I always regret it because it doesn't even make me feel less stressed for very long at all.  I got a little anxious when he told me what his travel schedule was but I'm proud to report that I haven't binged once.  I don't know for sure what's changed but the desire just isn't there.  My theory is that the little things I've listed above have changed my perspective; or at least that's what I'm going to go with. :)

I've kept up with my workouts even when he's been traveling and I'm proud of that.  It's not easy after a long day of work, coming home to chores, dinner, and helping with homework, violin practice, etc.  I completed one of my treadmill runs after 10 PM and in case you're wondering, that's really not setting yourself up for a good night's sleep.  I was WIRED.

And lastly, the changes in my body.  Probably TMI but I was shaving my legs in the shower the other morning and I found a strange and hard lump on the side of my leg close to the side of my calf, above my ankle... there was even an indention below the lump because it was protruding so much.  I got all panicked so I did what a "normal" person does and I compared it to my other leg.  Guess what?  There was an identical lump!  But after more poking and prodding, I realized what these lumps were...

New muscle definition.  I'm not a hypochondriac at all. ;)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hot & Hotter

It's gonna be a hot run!

So now that it's September, I start looking forward to "cooler" temperatures.  I'll even consider 80 or 85 as a high temperature as cooler at this point...

How is it still this hot?? Treadmill for me today... I'm going to have to start extra early to get 8 miles in tomorrow morning before it's scorching.  #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

But instead we are having some of our hottest days and consecutively as well.  Yay.  Steve was traveling last week so it was the treadmill for me.  Chaney wouldn't even entertain riding her bike with me in the evening while I ran... that means it's really hot if a kid won't ride their bike!  BTW, I started watching Homeland to pass the time on the treadmill and I am now officially addicted to that show.

It was a really tough run. I'm pretty much over this summer thing. At least the sunrise was pretty...  #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

I had great workouts running on the treadmill during the week/Saturday which made Sunday's long run outside an even ruder awakening.  I woke up early and started my 8 miles as soon as it was light out.  It was one of my more miserable runs since I started running again.  The humidity was awful, the sun was hot once it came up and I just felt sluggish.  But in letting go of my perfectionism little by little, I wasn't going to freak about a bad run; instead I decided to focus on the other runs during the week that were good.  This is progress for me. :)

When I got home I hopped in an almost cold shower so we could go see a 10am movie.  I sat in the theater still sweating and told Steve that it was hot in there.  Turns out that it wasn't hot, it was just me. ;)  This continued the rest of the day.  Everywhere we went I was hot.  It was the weirdest thing... or maybe not since it was 109 on Sunday. 

I got a massage on Monday and she worked on my legs {my calves in particular} and I felt tons better afterwards.  It's amazing how tight my calves are and that I don't even notice anymore until someone else works the tension out of them.  As I continue to increase my mileage I'm going to get massages more often.  She specializes in medical and sports massage and wow, she really knows her stuff.  She even understood why I don't want to get rid of my callouses despite Steve's complaints. ;) 

Hey, at least I keep my toenails polished!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Improving as a runner

I feel so much better now!  I'm pretty sure the rest of the people in my home do too.  30/#55milesinaugust #motherrunner #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

As a beginning runner, I think I've paid more attention to what not to do because I have wanted to avoid injury and run consistently.  And while that's fine and good I fell into the trap of not improving much either... at least past being able to run consecutive minutes and miles.

One of the most common pieces of advice given to beginning runners is: if you're out breath, you're running too fast.  Now I get why that makes sense, especially early on, but at some point if you don't push yourself you aren't going to see gains in fitness and performance. 

I took that rule of thumb to heart and outside of some hills and the occasional strides, I've run at a "conversational pace".  I know that doing this has kept me healthy but after talking to a running friend and expressing my frustration; I realized that it's OK to push myself and breathe hard in some of my workouts.

In that same conversation we were talking about breathing and how your warm up can impact your breathing throughout the workout.  Now, I'm not the most patient person so I consider walking for 5 minutes before I run to be close to overkill.  I know.

My friends suggestion was something similar to what she does.  She's not only a great runner, but she is also a smart runner so I was happy to listen.  Here's what her warmup looks like: walking, a light jog, a "break a sweat" jog and THEN beginning the running workout.  She said that this keeps her from warming up too fast or not enough which can lead to labored breathing throughout her workout.  Interesting.

Steve is traveling so I'm stuck on the treadmill. Today was my easy day so I tried warming up how @soultrain21 suggested. What a difference! She's a super smart runner.

Yesterday was my easy day so I tried this strategy.  I walked 5 minutes, jogged 4 minutes, jogged a little faster for 3 minutes and then began running.  Not only was my easy pace faster but my breathing was great the entire time.  I didn't have that "first mile is the toughest" feeling and I finished the workout feeling great.  I'm a believer!

Did it take a little longer to warm up?  Yes.  But did I have a better run?  Yep.  So I've come to realize that reasonably pushing myself after a good warm up is OK and a good thing when I have a tempo run or speedwork assigned for that day's workout.

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest differences.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Not for the faint of heart

It's a beautiful morning for a trail ride!  It's almost "cold".

It all started out nice enough.  Trail biking with Steve on a new trail that was supposed to be fairly easy, a beautiful morning, a good night's sleep the night before... what could possibly go wrong?

If you're grossed out by road rash, scraped up legs and a little blood... look away.  The trail we rode was not easy but rather it was super technical.  I'm a decent bike rider but nothing to write home about.  I tend to think I do better on two feet than I do on two wheels.

As I sit here pouring hydrogen peroxide over my leg, I think now would be a good time to discuss why I do better with two feet compared to two wheels.  #notacyclist #doesthiscountascrosstraining #motherrunner

This confirms my theory.  Not gonna lie, it hurt.  But pouring hydrogen peroxide on my legs hurt even worse.  I didn't cry but I came very close.  I spent the rest of Saturday nursing my wounds and eating sushi.

Sunday was long run day with 8 miles on the schedule.  I was definitely sore but I did fine.  I got home, showered and Steve decided I needed to get back on the bike after wiping out so bad the day before.

Got back on the proverbial bike after yesterday's wipeout. Today was great and yes, I'm super tired after running 8 miles this am. Happy Sunday! #motherrunner #imightbe abikepersonafterall

We went to a different trail that was confirmed by a real person to be beginner friendly and thankfully that's exactly what it was!  It was still a blast too.  I'm glad he convinced me to give it another go.

My totals for the day:
8 mile long run
7.35 mile trail ride
Approx 1300 calories burned

This is happening. Stuffed hatch chiles wrapped in bacon!

We celebrated by making chicken stuffed hatch chiles wrapped in bacon.  Amazing and totally worth the calories burned earlier in the day.

I normally hate rest days but today I think it's a pretty good idea. #motherrunner #ouch #sorelegs #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

Monday was a rest day and while I usually dislike rest days, this one was quite welcome. :)

All in all, it was a good experience.  I still love trail riding mostly because I get to spend quality time with Steve but also for the challenge.  The key is just to stay upright so you don't have to explain your road rash a million times. ;)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Won!

Stress test take 2. I'm going to win!  #motherrunner #winning
Before the test and slightly nervous...

No, not a race.  But I did "win" my stress test.  I'm super competitive so even though you can't technically win a stress test, I'm telling myself that I did.  Because I can. :)

I arrived in my running shoes and clothes.  They took my vitals and my resting heart rate got an audible sigh from the nurse.  It was 45.  I couldn't believe it!  I was not in good shape when I started running last November and while I'm not anywhere near fast, I'm healthier and that makes me happy.

The technician's response: I'm glad you wore running shoes because you are going to have to run.

For my age my max HR is 180.  45 to 180?  That could be a problem.  After 25 minutes running on an increasing incline the tech settled for 80% of my max.  I'm glad he made me run though because he explained that they used to let athletes slide knowing their HR wasn't going to max out but that also missed identifying heart conditions in otherwise healthy athletes.

They also did a resting EKG, an ultrasound and something else that showed the blood flow.  Pretty cool!  They repeated the same tests right after the stress test to see what things looked like when my heart was working hard.

Me: 1 Stress test: 0. The only thing that showed up was a murmur but nothing to be concerned with. I am officially free to run all the marathons I would like although my Dr. suggested getting my head checked for wanting to run so far LOL.  #motherrunner
After and much more relaxed...

The good news: my heart murmur behaves exactly the same at rest as it does when my heart is taxed.  There were no blood flow issues, leaky valves, etc.  My cardiologist (who I love, BTW) told me I was free to run all the marathons I wanted to although I might want to get my head checked for wanting to run that far for fun.  Funny guy!

My chest pain was anxiety related so his "prescription": watch my caffeine intake, limit my stress, and manage my anxiety.  He doesn't realize that those three things fuel my work days so thank goodness for running!

New laces, new socks and my favorite route... all were great.  The weather was perfect and it made me so ready for fall! #motherrunner #mizunorunning #marathontraining #halfmarathontraining

So I'm definitely out of my running funk and back to running without anxiety.   I also went trail biking with Steve this past weekend and have the war wounds to prove it... more on that later.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Slept in this morning so it was the treadmill for today's run. I didn't want to run but as always, I'm glad I did. 9/#55milesinjuly #motherrunner #mizunorunning

I've been in a little bit of a running funk lately.  I've gotten some miles in here and there but we've had other things going on... like painting and redecorating Chaney's entire room.  We have also been trying to squeeze the best out of that last little bit of summer left before school starts.  So not only am I in a running funk but I'm also a little sad that summer is nearly over.

OK, IKEA... I take back everything bad that I said about you.

Yes, I love the routine of the school year but along with that comes endless to-do lists, school drama to talk through after school, violin lessons and everything else that comes with being a 4th grader.  All of this also means that I have to really structure my mornings to fit my workouts and runs in.

The last little bit of my funk has to do with my anxiety attack/ER trip several weeks back.  I followed up with a cardiologist last week and he found a heart murmur.  Weird.  I'm new to all this terminology but hopefully I'll learn a lot more today when I go for my stress test. 

Goal #1 today: win the test.  Competitive much?? ;)

But really, my biggest priority is getting some peace of mind and some assurance that I'm healthy.  Because honestly that has put a bit of a damper on my running enthusiasm lately.  I certainly don't feel unhealthy but I don't like words like "hear murmur"... "irregular rhythm"... "missing EKG peaks" either.

So that's where I'll be this afternoon.  Thankfully the cardiologist reviews the results with me today so there is no more waiting.  From there I hope to proceed directly out of my funk.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Training Tuesday

I've had a hard time settling on a training plan.  So many of them are similar but at the same time many of them are very one-size-fits-all.  The 10K Runner app that I started with was great because it had no focus on miles or pace; just time spent running vs. walking.

But ever since I completed that program, I've been following a mash-up of plans which was beginning to drive me crazy.  I read Run Less, Run Faster and I really like the philosophy behind the training plan.  It even went as far as to tell you pace/time/miles to train at based on your last race.

That part I liked... what I didn't like was how cumbersome managing the actual plan was.  I was constantly looking up my next workout, then forgetting it, looking it up again at 5 am.  And then as my times improved, I had to find the new corresponding workouts based on my improvements.  I know... first world runner problems.

Did I mention that I signed up for the Cowtown Marathon for this coming February?  I did and I'm so excited!  When I paid I was offered a customized training plan through Run Coach for a flat $20 which is a steal.

All I did was log in, create a profile, enter my recent race times and it put together a plan specifically for me.  The cool part... as I record my times and miles and they improve, the rest of the training plan automatically adjusts to my new training levels.  I get a weekly email and then I get an email the night before my next running workout telling me exactly what I'm supposed to do.  Worst case, I can just look on my phone while I'm out if I forget how many 400's, etc to run.

This all might seem a little lazy but oh well.  I'm busy and it's one less hurdle I have to jump to get out the door and actually run.  It also syncs with Nike+ which is the watch I use.

Training up for the week:
Monday - long run of 6 miles {I missed it on Sunday}
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - tempo run {.50 warm up, 7 drills, 3 strides, 5:00 at tempo pace then jog 3:00 x 3, .50 cool down.
Thursday - cross train
Friday - tempo run {same warm up & drills, 1:00 hard/1:00 jog x 6, .50 cool down}
Saturday - cross train

I missed my long run on Sunday and the schedule automatically updated, dropped a cross training day in favor of keeping the long run which is more important.  Pretty cool. :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I took this picture while hiking around Multnomah Falls when we were in OR for the RNR half.

This post has nothing to do with running and everything to do with running. 

Stick with me. 

Pain is no stranger to those of us who run up and down hills, on concrete, rocky trails, in the sticky heat and in the freezing cold.  I'm pretty sure that if you finish a hard run and nothing hurts then you're doing it wrong.

But what happens when you avoid pain?  Not a lot.  You aren't pushing yourself.  You're not growing.  You're not getting stronger for sure.  But it is demanding and it won't go away no matter how deep you bury it; it just doesn't work that way.  This applies in life just as well as it applies to running.

I think I'm pretty safe in saying that for the last 10 years I've avoided as much pain as possible.  Sure, it's bubbled up to the surface here and there but I've buried it more than I've embraced it or even slowed down or stopped to feel it.  What happens when I do this?  Scar tissue piles on top of scars that lay on top of pain. 

When I tore my shoulder up and had to have surgery I spent 3 months with my shoulder immobilized to let the extensive repairs heal.  When I came out of the sling I had zero range of motion.  My physical therapists and orthopedic surgeon had never seen so much scar tissue develop so fast.  I had a scar tissue problem that eventually required a second surgery to manipulate my shoulder to break up the scar tissue and then clean it all out.  Very aggressive physical therapy followed to keep scar tissue from developing again and it was extremely painful.  It was miserable but I pushed through it and found a new normal for my shoulder.  Not perfect, not painless but still in a good and functional place.

I'm not going to say that I haven't grown at all as a person over the past 10 years because I have but I've danced around the pain part as much as possible.  I had been hurt over and over and I was tired of the pain.  I found a respite in the joy of having my daughter that was followed by meeting my now husband which has been a wonderful 7 years and counting.  But despite my happiness I still had areas in my life full of scar tissue on top of buried pain where I remained stuck.

And then I started running again.  Running sucks sometimes; especially when you are starting all over.  It's painful.  Your toenails turn colors and sometimes fall off.  There are blisters, sore muscles, and of course chafing. 

But I still put on my shoes time after time and here's where life and running intersect; old hurts have begun to emerge and for the first time I'm feeling the pain.  I'm not burying it, I'm not ignoring it; rather I'm feeling it, learning from it and pushing through it.  I learned how to do this by running.  Running woke me up to my old friend pain and the fact that pain can be a good and even powerful catalyst for change.

It's true, running changes a person.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just when...


... you think things are going great there always seems to be something that pops up.  This was my view Friday afternoon and yes, those are my cute shoes on a hospital bed.

I felt "off" from the get go that day but I just chalked it up to fatigue.  But then I was sitting in a client meeting that afternoon and it started to feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  I had chest pain and soon it was spreading to my shoulders and neck. 

I finished the meeting and got some water.  I sat back down at my desk, drank my water and Googled chest pain spreading to shoulders and neck.  I didn't even have to open a single link; every preview on Google told me to go straight to the ER.  So off I went with a co-worker who gladly drove me and stayed with me.  I work with some pretty awesome people. :)


It's amazing how short your wait is when you walk into an ER and tell them you are having chest pain; it was either than or my new haircut that I got for the occasion.  I had exactly enough time to write my name and birthday.  By then they were taking me back to start an EKG.  Fortunately my EKG looked great.

The pain was not subsiding so next was a blood draw, a chest x-ray, morphine, and a CT scan to check for a blood clot.  Nothing showed up thankfully.

Diagnosis: atypical chest pain/severe anxiety.

I have a follow up with a cardiologist next week for a stress test and I can't help but wonder if you can win a stress test since you're running?  That's my goal... win the stress test!


The ER doctor told me to take it easy and I did that for exactly one day.  I ran a few miles on Sunday and was back to riding my bike on trails with Steve on Monday evening.  Not doing something physical is no longer an option for me... especially since it's one of the things that helps to minimize my anxiety.

So while this event scared me and even made me wonder how I could be possibly have a heart issue given all my running, I felt more confident knowing I would be OK because I have been taking good care of myself.  That's a good feeling because 6 months ago I would have felt very different and would have second guessed my health the entire time while waiting for the test results in the ER.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Run Faster...

I'm convinced the right nail polish color makes you faster...

... Run Farther.  This is the book I'm following to build a good base leading up to my half marathon training.  I'll be using the same book for that training as well.

I'm slow.  There's no way around that.  And while I'm OK with that, I'm not OK with that long term.  So this week I picked up with week 8 of the novice 5k plan in the book:
  • Walk 10 minutes
  • Run 1 mile
  • Walk 5 minutes
  • Run 6 minutes, walk 1 minute X 3
  • Walk 10 minutes
This has been a pride check for sure because I can run 8 slooowwww miles with no issues.  But they are slow miles if you didn't catch that previously. ;)

My theory is that if I run the running segments at a faster pace than I'm used to, with walking mixed in, it shouldn't be too much of a shock to my body.  Plus, I'm the type that fears running out of gas on a run but if I know I have a walk break here and there, I won't be as afraid to push it.  Am I correct in my thinking?  I think so but I don't know for sure.  But that's what I'm hoping.

I'm not crazy about watching my weekly mileage drop but I feel that this approach will yield better results long term.

I'll complete the novice 5k plan just in time to start the novice half marathon training plan and the two plans seem to be a continuation of the other.

I'm also mixing in hill repeats once a week because they suck.  That makes perfect sense...

Overall, I'm feeling great.  I don't have those nagging pains I had when I started running.  My legs feel strong and my confidence is increasing.  I still have moments of self doubt where that little voice starts saying, I can't do this.  Six months ago I would have agreed with that voice but today my response is, I'm not just running... I'm training.  For whatever reason, repeating that when I start to doubt helps me push through.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trails & Life


It's been a busy few weeks around here!  I'm still running lots and I've added another weapon to my fitness arsenal: a bike.

Steve took up cycling and I started thinking that I could do that too.  I've been reading "Run Less, Run Faster" and one of the things they emphasize is cross training via bike, swimming, or rowing.

My bad shoulder is not very agreeable to swimming, we don't have a rowing machine, so the bike it is!


Plus it gives Chaney and me a chance to ride bikes together.


And witness this awesomeness...

Here's how my week looks:

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Bike/weights {upper body & core}
Wednesday - Run
Thursday - Bike/weights {lower body & core}
Friday - Run
Saturday - Bike on trails
Sunday - Long run


Saturday is actually optional but I went trail riding with Steve a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it!  It was a nice break from the monotony I can feel while running.  On the trails, you have to pay attention, think, and anticipate.

A few thoughts about trail riding... it's not easy, you can get hurt {my knee/leg are proof}, there is nature to contend with {snakes!} and you have to have a lot of trust in the person in front of you if they are leading.

And trust is a big one for me.  Because of things in the past, I'm not the most trusting person in the world.  But as I rode and followed Steve, I began to get more comfortable.  He didn't take me on trails that were too hard for me to make himself look better.  He looked out for me and helped me along the way.  He never got frustrated if I fell or slowed down.  Pretty much the exact opposite of what would have happened in my previous marriage.  As I realized these things, my nervousness about the experience began to melt away and that is a wonderful feeling.  Being with someone who wants to keep me safe makes trusting a whole lot easier.


So after my first trail experinence I knew I wanted to run on trails as well.  I found some Saucony Kinvara TR shoes at a great price and bought them.  I got to try them out while we were on vacation since the resort had a beautiful running trail.  It was a wonderful way to start each day!

Back to the shoes... they are great shoes!  They fit well and I don't feel every rock I step on.  I'm also going to wear them when I bike as I have no desire to clip in.  That just seems dangerous. ;)


As far as my regular running goes, I'm working on building a good base while adding some speed and hills into the mix.  My half marathon training officially starts on August 26th and I want to be ready to tackle that training plan.  Hopefully it will be slightly cooler by then too...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lately & Recipes


... I've been running on the treadmill.

It's hot here in Texas.


...and the treadmill is also kinder to my feet as I work out my achilles issues.


I've also been a tad obsessed with Mason jars.


I really like the idea of taking salad for lunch all in one air-tight container without it turning into a soggy mess. 

And then there's the overnight oats which is really just a fancy name for cold oatmeal which I'm loving this summer since I usually work out in the morning and the last thing I want after taking a shower and putting on a suit is something hot to eat on my way to work.

I'm not much of a recipe person but here are the "recipes" (more like instructions) for the oatmeal and salad:

Overnight Oats:

1/2 cup of oats (not the instant kind)
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of almond milk, soy milk, or regular milk
Small spoonful of a nut butter if you want - I used Justin's Maple Almond Butter
Any kind of fruit - I used blackberries

Mix the ingredients in the jar, put the lid on and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning you have breakfast ready and waiting.

Meatless Taco Salad:

1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
1 red pepper (diced)
1 yellow pepper (diced)
Mixed greens
Avocado (chopped)
1 tsp of shredded cheese if you like
2 tortilla chips

Mix your black beans, corn, diced peppers and 1/3 cup of salsa together*.  This will be the dressing for your salad.  Put this mixture in the very bottom of the jar.  I did this step the night before, put the lid on the jar, and refrigerated it.

The next morning:  layer your avocado on top of your black bean mixture.  Follow with your mixed greens (this was by far the largest serving in the jar).  Add your shredded cheese and crumble your tortilla chips on top.  Close your jar and refrigerate until lunch. When you are ready to eat just shake the jar and your lunch is ready.

*The black bean mixture made enough for 3 lunches plus some extra that we ate as salsa with dinner the next night.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's ridiculous how fast you can develop an obsession with running clothes, shoes, and gear when you run! 

I stumbled across Ellie several month ago when I read about them on another blog.  Instantly, I really love their concept.  You join for free and you get two pieces {tights, top, shorts, skirt, tank, etc...} each month for $50 + free shipping.  You can mix and match any way that you would like.  Most pieces retail for more than $50 per item so I love getting such a great deal.

This month I got this awesome skirt and top.

Everything is high quality and the designs are very unique.  The skirt is typically $54.95 and the tank is typically $44.95.  So $99.90 worth of clothes for $50.00.  Score!

I not crazy about paying full price for something I'm going to sweat in even if I know I'm getting good quality so this is concept is perfect for me.  I've picked up a lot of staples for my running wardrobe through Ellie so I just had to share.  I figure it's my duty to enable other runners and their shopping habits... ;)

So go take a look!  As you can see, they also have a pretty cool loyalty program which is another awesome perk!

Enabling over. ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

An ounce of prevention

A soggy 8.5 miles... favorite song on my run... I have really high arches. #motherrunner #56milesinjune #mizunorunning
summary of last Sunday's run

A few weeks ago I started having a familiar pain in the ball of my right foot (my good foot).  Familiar because it was around my sesamoid bones and one of those bones in my left foot is what caused my nightmare foot injury and surgery several years ago.

I read online and did some self diagnosis and decided that my high arches were to blame.  I visited my local running store and left with insoles which I had been considering anyways.  And these are really cool, BTW... you can put them in the oven so they mold to your feet in an almost custom way.

I didn't cook dinner tonight (Steve did)... but I did cook my new insoles.  #motherrunner

Despite my expert self diagnosis, new insoles, resting, and icing, last week it was hurting more and more even when I wasn't running or walking.  Considering that I just registered with a friend for the Vegas RNR half in November, I was sick even thinking that I might have injured the same bone(s) in the opposite foot.

But instead of ignoring the pain like I did last time I did the responsible thing and made an appointment to see a foot & ankle doctor.  I went yesterday and the great news after x-rays was that nothing was broken. :)  The doctor's bigger concern was why I would be having these kinds of foot problems at my age so he started moving my feet and ankles around.

"Impressive" was his response when he was testing my Achilles strength.  But just when I was getting all proud of myself he shot me down with, "do you know how extremely tight your Achilles are?". 

I didn't... I have never even had a thought about Achilles tightness when I have been running.  He equated the extreme tightness to running in high heels which suddenly made the ball of the foot pain make lots of sense.

Thankfully I haven't developed any sort of tendonitis in either Achilles so he simply wrote me a referral to a physical therapist who will be able to show me how to stretch so I can stop running in high heels. It will only take me 3-5 visits to get the stretching down and from there he said I should notice a major difference in my running as well as a disappearance of my foot pain and some of the other "little" pains I have while running.

I don't think I've ever been to PT prior to having an injury so this will be something new for me.  But this is definitely a welcome change and this preventative mindset just might be something I stick with... ;)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chi Running and other random thoughts...

2 quick miles on the treadmill before dinner. I'm really liking this Chi Running technique... book is by Danny Dreyer. #motherrunner #chirunning

I started reading Chi Running by Danny Dreyer about a week ago.  I'd seen references made to the book and I was curious.  It turns out that it's a very interesting and helpful book.  Especially for those of us who are not naturally gifted runners. 

The short story is that the running form and technique is very similar to some of the Kenyan and Ethiopian runners who win almost all the big races.  They run very efficiently and a book that teaches that piqued my interest... especially the part about reducing running injuries.

In the 6-7 months since I've started running again I've remained virtually injury free other than the odd pains, cramps, and soreness.  I'm pretty sure some of that can be attributed to starting off with a run/walk program.  So now that I'm running my miles, I feel like I need all the help I can get to stay injury free.  My next half isn't until November so I figure this gives me a decent amount of time to continue to build my base mileage, speed, and work on my form.

So far, I don't have a ton to say about Chi running other than the fact that I like it and it makes sense to me.  Time will tell how it works for me as I practice it more.

I tried a pair of Saucony Kinvaras with a negative heel drop and initially they seemed great but now they aren't agreeing with me.  So I've stocked up on my favorites... Mizuno Wave Rider 15's and these three pairs should last me awhile.  I'll still think about rotating the Kinvaras in to see if I can get used to them but only in short distances after 6 miles this past Sunday left me with ridiculously sore calves.

On running... it's nice not training for anything specific.  It seems to take the pressure off of wanting to have every run go perfectly because they aren't all going to be perfect: case in point, my HM in May.

And I'll be honest, that half really hit my self confidence.  I pretended that I was OK with the outcome but it still really bothered me to have worked so hard only to have leg cramps hinder me.  But that's the thing about running; nothing is ever perfect and for those of us who are perfectionists, that can be difficult.

Perfectionism is something I think about all the time.  I want to do everything perfectly.  I don't like that about myself and it's a constant struggle for me.  So maybe running is a good idea for me because nothing comes easy when you are starting from scratch and nothing is perfect.  I don't like that I'm still a slow runner... that's certainly not perfect.  But instead of hating that about my athletic self, I'm working on embracing it and using it as a challenge and a way to measure improvements from my hard work.

I'm not good at doing this all the time but it is something I am more mindful of...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Portland RNR Half Marathon

Finished!  Stretched, showered, food, stretched some more and now it's time for a nap.  Congrats to @soultrain21 @knittybitties and @twomoreseconds who ran today too!

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I ran my first half.  I'm glad this trip was a vacation for us because we came back to lots of end-of-school activities and projects and just an overall busy time of year.

One last run. 97% humidity?  No thanks!  PDX here I come!

We had a wonderful time in Portland!  We went with friends; my friend and I ran while our husbands cheered us on.  My last run was Friday morning before we left and it was a balmy 73 degrees with 97%  humidity.  Yuck.

More Portland... I'll be running a half marathon down there tomorrow morning!

Portland is absolutely beautiful.  Now I love Texas but I will freely admit that there are prettier places on earth and the PNW is definitely one of those places.

Oregon is absolutely beautiful!

After we went to the expo on Saturday, we decided to rent a car and head up to the falls.  I've never seen anything like this.  The pictures don't come close to doing the scenery justice.  We hiked some and ate lunch and then headed back to Portland.

I think I'm ready. Now if I can just get some sleep...  #motherrunner #halfmarathon

We found an Italian restraunt and had pasta for dinner and then headed back to the hotel where my type-A OCD took over.


The weather the next morning was perfect for running.  Cool, a little overcast, and no rain.  I ate a banana and warmed up a little.  After standing in the port-o-potty line it was time to line up in my corral and we were off!

My target finish time was 3:05.  Yes, that's slow but I was good with that because I knew where I had come from in just 6 months before and I was/am proud of my progress. :)

Miles 1-6 were great.  I was even ahead of my 5 mile goal and I felt great.  Mile 7 started the hills.  Unfortunately, I cramped up in the middle of mile 7 and it was bad.  I've never had muscle cramps during an athletic event and I may have even secretly rolled my eyes at those guys who collapse dramatically on the basketball court with cramps. 

I get it now.  Leg cramps suck. 

I stopped and stretched and got the cramp somewhat under control.  I started to run again, still uphill and the cramp came back.  I stopped again, stretched and decided to walk for 2 minutes.  This kind of cycle repeated itself through mile 11 where the hills finally leveled off.  But then the downhills started and those weren't much better.

At mile 12, there was one last giant hill and by that point I had to walk up it.  I had my phone and texted Steve and told him what had happened but I was making it through OK.  I put my phone away and started running down the hill and didn't stop again.  I hurt, I was frustrated, and it was killing my competitive self to know that I was not having the race I wanted to but I kept going. 

I crossed the line at 3:10:38.  NOT what I wanted to see on my watch but I tried to focus on the positives like the face that I didn't quit even when I really wanted to.  I also enjoyed the first 6 miles, the race atmosphere, and the organization of the race.  Looking back at my splits pre-cramp, I was on pace for 2:55 so that makes me feel a little better knowing that I was doing really well before my meltdown.

I've found that it's all about looking for the positives when you are on a journey to get healthier so that is what I do my best to focus on. :)

After the race, we went back to the hotel, showered, ate, and took a nap.  Once we woke up we headed to the coast which once again didn't disappoint in the scenery department. 

Love this guy!  And I'm still in awe of how pretty Oregon is...

Steve loves the beach.  He also found a little piece of heaven in a salt water taffy store.  We ate dinner and headed back to the city.

Longest line for donuts I've ever seen...

We had a few things to cross off our list before leaving and Voodoo Doughnuts was on the list.  The line was out the door... no matter what time of day.  We gladly waited and walked away with a box of doughnuts that included maple bacon, butterfinger, oreo, captain crunch, and other crazy toppings.  We had a few drinks and ended up back at the hotel with the guys downing doughnuts in the parking garage.  You probably had to be there but it was pretty darn funny... ;)

Race details:
- Portland Rock 'n Roll Half marathon
- Very organized
- Wave starts that actually worked
- Great course support - water, gatorade, gu, and of course bands at nearly every mile

Will I run another half with the RNR series?

@soultrain21 and I were content to run San Antonio until our guys talked us into Vegas . Let the #stripatnight training begin!

Um... yeah!  My friend and I "talked" each other into this one and our husbands are thrilled to tag along to cheer us on in Vegas. 

So for now I'm back to focusing on the same things I've been focusing on: eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of myself.  I still want to get faster and I'll have plenty of time to do that among other things between now and November.

I've been reading Chi Running and I'll share my thoughts on that in an upcoming post...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Last long run...

yes, I really do have tiny feet!

Next Sunday is my half marathon in Portland!  I had 10 miles to do and I was determined to get them done at some point this weekend.


Friday night looked like this with an interesting grocery cart assortment.  I was just excited that the grocery store has Cliff Shots!

I woke up Saturday morning and my right knee {my better bad knee} was aching badly.  I learned my lesson running with Motrin in my stomach a few weeks ago so rather than subject my knee to 10 miles, I opted for the elliptical which was still a good workout.

So that left Sunday, Mother's Day, to get my 10 miles done.  It was a little tough getting up early on a weekend day but it was nice to be back home before Chaney even woke up and of course the feeling of accomplishment so early in the day was nice too. :)  I took some Motrin the night before, drank a lot of water and set my alarm.  I was out the door by 6:40 am.  I didn't eat; I just had Cliff Shot and a glass of water before I left.  I'm really starting to think I run best on a pretty much empty stomach.

I've mentioned before that we live in a great neighborhood for running.  I headed to the trail first because it's my favorite.  A .25 mile from where the trail ends are the hills.  Big hills.  I decided that I would tackle the hills and then make a loop back to the trail as my reward for making it through the hills.  That loop is almost 5 miles which works out perfectly for 10 miles.

I'm always tempted to run on the cart paths but I always resist...

I carried my Nathan water bottle {which I love, BTW} and one more Cliff Shot.  It's only a 10 oz bottle but one of the bonuses for running around a golf course are the ice cold coolers at each hole.  I'm sure the golfers didn't mind me re-filling once.

The other bonus... the bathrooms on the golf course. :)

I didn't see many people out running which was a little unusual.  I did see a few people walking their dogs who had no intention of poop scooping until the saw me coming.  Not. Cool. 

And a first, I got nipped at by a dog.  A lady was walking two small dogs on long retractable leashes.  I moved into the grass because she wasn't reeling them in.  As I ran by one of them lunged and had I not picked up my heel high and to the side, it would have gotten me.  I love dogs and I'm not scared of them.  But if there are any that I'm leery of, it's small dogs because I'm pretty sure I've read that they are the most likely to bite. 

This was one of my best runs yet which leaves me feeling pretty good about the half next weekend.  I'm still nervous and even dreamed about it all night but I guess that's pretty normal.

And because it was Mother's Day, I came home to an omelet bar, fresh fruit, hashbrowns and mimosas.  We had my husband's family over for brunch and it was wonderful.  Steve is a great cook... I would run 10 miles every Sunday to come home to that but he already told me not to get spoiled!

I hope all you moms had a wonderful Mother's Day!  I know I did. :)