Friday, December 9, 2011

I think...

...I will try a marathon.


The seed is planted though.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The "Good Form"

Found this yesterday and thought it was interesting:


Here is a great video going over the info:


I think I have good form - I feel pretty good about how I run. However, when I go out this morning for a run, I'm going to try some of these points or see if I already do them.

Grey and 33 degrees for my run. Perfect.

So I think I have more of the common running form, than the good running form. It does feel better to have a tall body alignment. I do think I bend from the center as opposed to leaning forward. Honestly, I'm not sure about my cadence....I was too cold to count!

But what a fabulous run it was this morning! Only did 4.54, but I did it in 00:42:09, and seeing how I almost turned right back around to go inside after the cold wind made my cheeks numb - I'm proud of that! It was one of those runs where I kept fighting battles with myself about how far would I run? Will I throw in some hills? Do I really need to be out doing this right now? But I finally got in my happy running place, threw in every hill I could find, and didn't really care about how far I went. I finished feeling so...powerful.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Year, New Half!

Second half marathon is on the books! Finally made a decision about which one I would run - the second I made that decision, I registered and put it on the calendar. It'll be my first half of 2012!

I was thinking about running the Country Music Half in late April in Nashville. I signed up the girls to run the Kid's Marathon, but couldn't quite bring myself to register for me. Something was holding me back, and everytime I thought about it, I felt a sense of dread. There were several bad reviews I read about the race, but for every bad review, there were three good reviews....still, couldn't register. I was hoping also that if I went to Nashville to run it, some of my old neighbors would run it as well, but I soon learned that the ones that had run it before decided not to do it again because they weren't crazy about the course.

The other day, one of those old neighbors, a very serious runner, mentioned he would be up here in Indiana to run a marathon or half marathon in April. I assumed it would be the Indy 500 race he was talking about. People say it is a lot of fun, but it's also one of the largest half marathons in the country, drawing in 50,000+ runners. I'm not ready for that many people yet - sounds too chaotic. But, I assumed wrong. My friend was talking about the Carmel Marathon & Half Marathon...hello! I live in Carmel! Well...not really. I live across the street from Carmel, but have a Carmel address. did I not know of this race? It just started last year, with only 1100 half runners, and 580 marathon runners. That is more my speed. I'm sure it'll be bigger this year, but I can't imagine it'll be that huge yet. I drove the first 7.5 miles of the course the other day, and it IS hilly, but I'm not going to let that stop me. This race does get me excited, and I'm looking forward to training again. I've been running 3x a week still, but my long runs have only been 6 miles, and this Saturday was the first time in weeks I threw some hills in my route.

My next decision to make is whether or not to join a nearby running group to train for this race. There are two reasons I would join: to meet other runners (it's been so hard meeting people here - I like to run alone, but I'm willing to try a group), and because it's going to be hard motivating myself to run in the upcoming harsh winter weather. I took up running last winter, but winters in TN are mild - still cold, but the snow is minimal. It's going to be brutal cold here and much more snow. Ugh. I'm heading to the sports store this morning to buy a warm base layer top, and maybe some wind pants to go over my tights. Cha-ching. Oh - and it costs to join the running group. Cha-ching, cha-ching. I'll think about it...

Now comes the hard part - trying to stay fit with all this amazing holiday food always around!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hurray for Chocolate Milk!

Remember how I did my first double-digit long run? Ten miles. And after, I realized I didn't know how to recover properly from a long run. I did some research and chocolate milk kept popping up in all the articles. I figured I would try that instead of the other products they have on the market that would cost me more. Starting drinking chocolate milk, and never got another headache after a long run, and always felt great. Found a good article this morning on exactly why it works:

Benefits of Chocolate Milk After Your Workout

Published October 30, 2011
To get the best results from your training, ensure that your post-workout drink or meal is up to par. After your workout, your body is most receptive to using amino acids to repair muscle tissue, while using carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen.
One of the best post-workout options is chocolate milk. Most prepared chocolate milk beverages are made with 1% or 2% milk, but you could also create your own fat-free chocolate milk by adding some chocolate syrup to regular skim milk. This will provide you with the benefits of carbohydrates, while giving you the optimal protein source found in milk.
Do make note, though, that different brands will vary in total calorie content, so even across the 1% varieties, the fat content may be the same, but total calorie content (typically ranging from 90 to 200 per 250 ml) will differ.
Here’s why post-workout chocolate milk tops the list when it comes to fueling yourself after a hard session at the gym.
Protein Content
Post-workout chocolate milk is beneficial because of its protein content. Every cup contains between eight and 11 grams of protein, with the Clover and Bravo Foods brands containing the most. Ideally, you’ll want to consume between 15 and 25 grams of protein after a workout, which equates to 500 to 750 ml of chocolate milk.
Also, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, when taken immediately after exercise, milk-based proteins promote greater muscle protein synthesis than soy-based proteins.
Finally, another reason why post-workout chocolate milk is beneficial is because cow’s milk contains about 80 percent casein protein content and 20 percent whey protein content. This is ideal because the whey protein is fast-acting, allowing amino acids to get right into the muscle tissue, while the casein protein is digested slower, providing a steady stream of amino acids over a lengthier period of time.
Carbohydrate Content
Turning to post-workout chocolate milk immediately following your lifting sessions is a smart move because of the types of carbohydrates it provides. The total carbohydrate count will vary depending upon the brand you choose, with most coming in around 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates. The highest carb count is found in Hershey’s 2% Chocolate Milk, which rings in at 31 grams, while Hood’s Calorie Countdown 2% Chocolate Milk has the lowest carb count (5 grams).
This sugar will cause a spike in insulin levels, driving the glucose molecules into the muscle tissue and replenishing the energy stores for your next workout. Without this insulin spike, you’re going to be looking at a slower recovery period, which could mean more time out of the gym.
A study by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition had subjects perform three interval-style, exhaustion workout sessions on separate days, and then monitored the recovery that was demonstrated. The subjects consumed either chocolate milk or a carbohydrate replacement fluid post-workout.

Read more:
Going out for a long run this morning after the girls go to school, and will have my chocolate milk waiting for me! The area where I will be running a quarter marathon in March is loaded with hills - I'm going to drive over there, park, and tackle some of those hills.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What Now?

So I continue to be on a "high" from running the half-marathon and want to keep going. I have to be honest and admit that I can't say I enjoyed everything during the half - as I said, those hills and last 2 miles were brutal and I was hating it. BUT, the sense of accomplishment and wanting to do better next time is pushing me to coninue. I do have two races in my sights - in March, I will run a local quarter marathon (6.55), then April, I plan on the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville. Now that one has been described as being incredibly hilly and difficult, but the same people that say that also say it is a blast. Am I looking forward to another hilly course? No. It makes my quads hurt just thinking about it. But I'm going to take it as a challenge, try to train with even more hills added to my runs, and this time finish with a huge smile on my face and looking up. My other goal will be to do no worse as far as time, but I'm not going to focus on speed-work.

I've run twice this week - unfortunately, I had to do them on the treadmill. Our weather has been rainy, incredibly windy, and freezing. I can do each element individually, but not all three together! I will be able to do my long run (6 miles) outside this weekend. I'm a little nervous about being able to keep up my running this winter. It was possible in TN because winters were so mild, but I've heard they are rough up here in Indy. I guess if they roads are clear, I'll be out there, but I may have to start getting use to my treadmill again. Ugh.  Honestly, I don't know what kind of running schedule to be on right now...I figure I'll try to keep it around 15-20 miles a week, so that when I do start training for a race, it won't be such a shock to my body.

I found this article on and thought it was good:

by Paul Koks in Training Tips, image by Alex Bellini

How to Become a Successful Half Marathon Runner

Interested in writing for Get started now!
Everyone comes to long distance running differently. Some start out as casual weekend runners who find themselves addicted to racing after doing a 5K for charity. Others start out as successful 5K runners who decide to try going longer distances. Still others are complete beginners with no running experience who decide they want to run a half marathon right from the start.
Whatever has brought you to join the league of beginning half marathon runners, you will need some insider training tips to make it through that first race successfully and (hopefully) many others afterward.

Why are You Running?

You are more likely to make it through training and that first half marathon if you draw motivation and inspiration from at least one well-defined goal. The desire to hold your head up high and say that you finished a half marathon may be what gets your feet moving in the beginning, but it is not what will take you to the end of the race and into training for the next race.
Make sure your goals are very clear, so you can focus on them and feel inspired by them. For example, you might want to finish the half marathon with a particular time or you might want to raise a certain amount of money for the charity your race will benefit. There has to be something that drives you to keep going, even when you have blisters on your feet, its pouring rain, or you have the sniffles.

Honestly Assess Your Starting Point

Be very honest with yourself regarding where you are right now with your running. If you can barely run a mile without collapsing, do not start a half marathon training plan for runners who can comfortably run five miles. If you try to push yourself too fast, you will either end up injured or frustrated and worn out. You set yourself up for failure in the end.
If you are a complete beginner, then you can still train to run a half marathon. You just need more time to train than a more established runner.

Focus on Distance, Not Speed

If you keep running, you will eventually get to the point where you can focus on picking up speed, but that should not be your focus as a beginner. Focus on becoming more comfortable with running longer distances so you do not feel intimidated about running the half marathon and one day the marathon.
Training for distance simply means including a long run in your weekly training schedule. These long runs should be performed at the speed at which you want to complete the half marathon or slower and they should get progressively longer the closer you get to race date. Do not skip these long runs! They will build up your long distance comfort and endurance.

Increase with Moderation

Start out with a weekly mile schedule that fits your current ability and then increase your miles by 10% or less each week (if you feel ready). Remember, assess the beginning schedule according to a realistic idea of what you are currently capable of doing. You want to challenge yourself, but not to the point that you make your workouts impossible to get through. You also don’t want to set yourself up for overuse muscle injuries.
Your increase in miles should be gradual. You may choose to add more miles to your long run one week while pumping up some of the shorter runs on other weeks. Just make sure your increase is never more than 10% from your previous week miles.

Invest in High Quality Gear

Don’t skimp on the cheap running shoes. Gear up with shoes designed for your feet and which feel comfortable. Make sure you have clothing that is comfortable so you don’t have to worry about chafing and other discomforts.

Go for Natural Foods

You do need to eat for energy and optimal health when training for a half marathon, but you do not need all of the gimmicky products now on the market for runners. For example, a good sports drink will keep you hydrated throughout a workout but you don’t necessarily need gels. You definitely don’t want to mix gels or water with sports drinks. A sport drink is all you really need to get through a long run.
Stick with very simple, nutrient-dense foods. You need lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a healthy intake of water (when not running). Whole grains may be consumed, but you don’t need a lot of them. You don’t need bars designed for runners if you are eating wholesome foods.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mission Complete!

I did it! I DID it! IdiditIdiditIdidit!

I accomplished my goal that I set out to do five months ago. A goal I never dreamed I would be able to do. But it wasn't easy yesterday - in fact, the last two miles were miserable and when I crossed the finish line, I didn't feel excited - I was actually this mix of emotions that were mainly, well, pissed off and disappointed.

The night before the race, I hardly had any sleep. My mind was going a mile a minute and all I could think about was the race. I kept sitting up to check the clock, worried that the alarm on my phone wasn't going to go off. It did, and at 5:30 am, I bolted out of bed and into my running clothes. I went downstairs, got my one cup of coffee and started my steel-cut oats. Getting everyone ready and out the door on time to get parking at the race was my biggest concern, but it ran so smoothly and we didn't have any traffic to worry about! Ray was a huge help (still sick, but such a trooper), and the girls were so cooperative.

 It was in the low 40's Saturday morning, which isn't so bad, but the WIND...omg! The wind that was whipping around was freezing. We could have stayed in the truck longer, but I had to go to the bathroom so bad and seeing all the other runners start to walk toward the site made me nervous. I hit the porta-potties (with not a single person in line!), then we made our way to where all the runners were hanging out. There were three big bonfires with runners huddled all around them trying to keep warm. We found an empty hay bale to sit on and the girls and I wrapped a blanket around us - teeth chattering, legs shaking. I was beginning to think the sun would never come up and give us some relief.

I ended up visiting the porta-potties two more times. Unbelievable. The second time, a few lines were forming, but I got in quick. The third time, about 30 minutes until the race began, I ended up waiting in line about 15 minutes! While standing there shaking from the cold, a man behind me started up a conversation. He had been running for 28 years and was going to do the marathon that day. Very nice man, but delusional. He was convinced I would be running marathons soon. Ha! I've learned to never say never, but good grief...

A voice came over the loud speaker and announced it was time to get in our corrals. Squeal - it was time!! I gave Ray and the girls a kiss and found my corral. Being so cold, I didn't do a bunch of stretches like I normally do, but managed to squeeze in a few while in line. I felt ready though. I love that it was a small race - not the mega races I have seen on tv. There was a total of 2,098 runners for the half. My corral (E) got up to the start line in no time! I think that was my favorite part of the race - hitting that starting line. So exciting!! I crossed the line and spotted my family - the girls jumped up and started cheering. What a great feeling. I hit start on Garmin and off we went.

It was a narrow road in the beginning, so I kept a close eye on my surrroundings so I didn't crash into anyone. I was very pleased at my pace - I didn't start off full of adrenaline, like a bat out of hell. I was very calm, relaxed and running my race. It wasn't long at all before runners started to thin out and I didn't have to worry about hitting anyone - just enjoy myself!

The first three miles were a breeze. I just ran and took everything in. I loved looking at the surrounding beautiful park, loved hearing the footsteps all around me, seeing all the runners ahead of me, and listening to the conversations going on from people running together. We soon hit some of the hills I was worried about. I had seen these hills prior to the race, and they had scared me. Turns out, I had no problem with them. I saw so many runners having to stop and walk, and I was proud that I felt good going up them. At the top of what I thought was the biggest hill of the run (HA!), I saw Ray and the girls on the side of the road (that's when the picture was taken). Made my day to see them so excited for me - I went from thinking they wouldn't be able to make it, to having them give me such a boost. Love my family.

As the race went on, I was just so happy about how well it was going. Except...I had to pee!!! I actually had to pee at the starting line. WTH? After how many times at home and three times before the race? Good gosh. I managed to make it to mile 7 and stopped at a park restroom that didn't have a line. Thankfully, there was only one other person inside, so I got a stall and hurried. I was in such a hurry that I gave myself the biggest wedgie that I had to nonchalantly work out back on the trail with everybody running past me. Grrr. I got back into the groove and carried on.

Right around mile 9, I started to feel a little tired. I had taken some chews and water at mile 5, and had a few more. I was doing great on my pace though - kept it up right where I wanted to be. I had no idea what was ahead of me...Mile 10 was brutal. The entire mile was nothing but up and down steep hills. My legs were screaming at me. On the steepest of hills, I just put my head down, took short strides and told myself to just keep going. I passed many walking. I had just a few more feet to go to the top when my legs just quit. My mind said run, my legs said walk and there I was walking. That's when I started getting mad. I forced myself to run again when I got to the top of the hill, only to be met by even more hills. I made it through them though - I have no idea what my pace was at that point. I didn't care - I just wanted to get through this part. It just had to flatten out.

Mile 11 was a mile of negotiations. I was feeling like the hills had zapped me of all the energy I had left, but I couldn't possibly quit at this point. I was so mad at my legs, the course (which was absolutely beautiful - what a stunning park! But those hills!), the fact that I still had a good ways to go, the fact that I had to keep convincing myself to push on...this isn't the way I wanted to be feeling. I ran on at what started to feel like a shuffle. I remember even asking myself at one point "Why the hell would I want to do this again?!" Around 12.5 miles, I got a cramp in my side that just seemed to take over. I had had more cramps during the race but had been able to run through them. This one almost had me doubled over, so I had to walk. I probably walked a total of 45 seconds, but it felt like forever. I could hear people cheering and the announcer over the loud speaker - I was close.

I told myself I wasn't going to finish this damn race walking, so I started my shuffle again. What gave me a little more fuel was hearing complete strangers on the side of the road yelling, "You can do it, Amanda!" "Finish strong, Amanda!" I wish I had had energy for one final kick to take me over the line, but it was all I could do to get there. I did manage to throw my arms up - probably looked like I was celebrating, but in my head, it was more like a f* you to the last three miles.

Ray and the girls ran over to the rope, so excited for me and cheering, but I couldn't even talk. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't even do that - I was so exhausted! I grabbed a water and banana and finally made my way to them. Ray ran up carrying my chocolate milk and gave me a hug - told me how proud he was of me. I just leaned into him and stayed there trying to pull myself together. The girls were fascinated with my medal. We sat down for a little bit, but the wind was still whipping and I started to get the shakes. When we got to the car, I just couldn't believe the mood I was in! I look back on it now and laugh at how mad I was and what I was mad about! Mad at hills! I can do something about being mad at my legs...I need to cross-train before the next half I run. Yes...there will be a next half. I had a delayed reaction to my accomplishment - later yesterday, after a shower, food, Ibuprofen and a good nap, I was proud. It all began to sink in what I had done...I ran a half-marathon. I didn't quit. I didn't chicken out. I did it. And I want to get better at it.

Official time: 02:10:47

Friday, October 14, 2011

Expo Day!

It's race packet pick-up day! Boy, I feel giddy! And today's weather is crap, Sunday's weather is crap, but tomorrow's weather looks beautiful - sunny with a high of 66 degree/low of 49. Perfect. Only anxiety there is do I wear short sleeves or a long sleeve? I think I'll have my options laid out and decide in the morning.

Besides going to the expo to get my packet, I need to charge Garmin, charge the iPod, get all my chews and fuel belt together (leaving the water bottle off and just use the aid stations), study how to put that damn timing chip on my shoe (that is actually causing me some stress!), and gather all the snacks and drinks for Ray and the girls.

That may all be in vain though. Ray is sick. I'm praying he will recover enough today (which he has off) and the antibiotics will do their magic, that he can go tomorrow. If he doesn't go, the girls don't go. If they don't go, I will have no one there. That breaks my heart. I spent all day yesterday crying about it and just doing my best to convince myself I can still do it. I don't think it would bother me so much at the start, but crossing the finish line after all this hard work, and after all that it means to me, and having no one there I love to share in the's painful to think about. So, I have to stay positive.

I can't believe tomorrow is the big day. Squeal!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Will Be First Place

My husband has taken up racing, and has two first place medals that he likes to wave in front of me to prove he is a champion. If the medals were for running, I'd be jealous...and a little frustrated...but, luckily, it's for go-cart racing. Serious go-cart racing. They dress as if they were in a Nascar race and speed around a track at warp speed, and he has won twice.

I want to win. Yes, I see just finishing as winning - I honestly do. It will be a HUGE accomplishment to cross that finish line, and I will be on such a high from doing so. But I want to win. So, I decided I'm going to make my own category and WIN! I'm sure I won't be the fastest in my age group, so I can't go with just age as my category. It'll have to be something like this:

Winner in the Category of: 38 years old on the verge of turning 39
                                           Has two daughters & celebrate 10 years of marriage
                                           Has been running seriously for 10 months
                                           Wears a knee sleeve on her right knee
                                           Uses the Pink Lemonade Honey Stinger Chews
I will own this category....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

T-Minus 7 Days

...but who's counting, right? Me! This time next Saturday, I'm hoping things will have gone smoothly getting everyone up and dressed, I've eaten my steel-cut oats and cup of coffee, my light layer of mascara went on w/o a mess (hey...I am not a natural beauty, and if someone is going to be at the finish line with a camera in my face, then dammit, I want to look halfway decent - as one possibly can after running for more than 2 hours. Don't judge.), and we're pulling into a spot in the parking lot that is just a couple blocks from the start. And the butterflies in my tummy haven't turned into raging spastic butterflies that force me to make friends with a porta-potty.

Race Day Weather Report - sunny with a high of 64 degrees.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mother Nature - Please Be Nice

I've been keeping track of the weather for race day. Yesterday, it showed sunny with a high of 65 degrees. Perfect.

Today, it shows 60% chance of rain, with a high of 65 degrees. Ugh.

I'm trying to remember that the race day is still pretty far out in terms of getting the correct forecast - it's probably going to change every day up until a couple days before. I feel the need to be prepared though. I don't have anything waterproof - what to do?! I just bought a new cold-gear hoodie thinking race day would be freezing. Hubby is going to kill me if I now go out and buy a waterproof jacket! Throw me a bone, Mother Nature - it's my first race!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Race Dreams

Very real dream last night...I was at the race, and it was delayed due to bad weather. When they decided to start again, I was late and literally had to jump out of the car at the start line. No time to even stretch. On the course, there were no markings, no volunteers, no way to know which trail to take. I ended up following other people who were going the wrong way, so we would have to stop and backtrack. I became so disappointed and bummed that my time would be way off and the race was ending up a joke. Ha!

I'm going crazy. I think I'm just ready to get this over with!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Countdown Begins...

Under two weeks until race day. Gulp.

I'm going to try to think everything out this week, and be organized. I'm going to get my haircut (it's at that nutty in-between stage where I can't put it in a ponytail, but it's getting long and irritating. Just cut it off!). Make a decision on my race-day outfit (ordered a new cold-gear hoodie from Under Armor - bright green so the girls can easily find me! Hope it fits...and damn, it's getting cold out!). Drive out to the course so I can time how long it takes to get there. Figure out what I'm going to pack Ray and the girls to snack on while I run, and find all their coats/gloves/hats to keep them warm that morning. I need to make a list...

Training this week is easy - 3 miles, 3 miles, then 6. I had to break in my new shoes on my 8 mile run the other day. I went out on what should have been an easy 4 mile run last week, and my legs were killing me after just a mile. I was getting that feeling I would need to change shoes for a while now, but thought I could hold out until after the race, but that awful 4 mile run convinced me it needed to be done. My legs were tight at the beginning of the 8 miles, but then they seemed to "relax" and felt great the rest of the run. Glad I had the new shoes handy!

My oldest is home today with Strep...hoping I don't get it, but if I do, it better show up this week. Vit. C and handsoap will be my best friends this week!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Dozen Down

12 miles.


1418 calories burned


The two things learned this run:
       1. screw the cap on your water bottle tight. I had some water at 5 miles, and as I ran off, I realized it wasn't a bunch of sweat pouring down my was the rest of my water being sloshed out of the bottle with the loose cap. Ugh. I was really wanting that water at mile 9.
       2. around mile 11, it hit me that I could really do this half. I got a little choked up (I'm such a sap), then was hit with another realization - I can't breathe and run when I'm choked up. No getting choked up race day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The other day, my friend asked me if I planned on running the race in Nashville next Spring. "The race" she was referring to, is the Country Music Half Marathon - a huge race that runs throughout the historic sections of Music City. Several of my old neighbors have run it over the years. I decided to look into it and do some research on the race last night.

As I was Googling the race, several running blogs popped up - runners detailing their experiences running the race. I love reading good blogs. You can learn so much from them. I learned that the Country Music Half is another race that is described as "flat", but is in fact, very hilly (a constant complaint from every runner), the race has probably gotten too big and crowded, but highly recommended. I'll have to think about it, but would love to have another challenge lined up.

Anyway, I came across a blog from a woman who just completed her first half marathon, however, this blog was from 2009. This woman had a lot of the same emotions going through her journey as I am having, so I enjoyed reading what she had to say. When she was talking about the actual race day, she did something that I think is genius. If I remember correctly, a friend suggested the idea to her. Thinking about how long the race was going to be, and how you can start feeling a little lonely or lose focus, she dedicated every mile of the race to someone important in her life - 13 loved ones. She then numbered them and wrote them on her arm - at mile 1, she would think about ____ and how much he meant to her; mile 2, she would think about ____ and how much she meant to her, and so on. The last mile she dedicated to her husband, and when she came to mile 13, she spotted him in the crowd. Love it. Love the whole idea. May have to borrow that one...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Training Failure

Well, had my first training failure today. I was supposed to do 6 miles, but since it is raining outside, I had to run on my treadmill. "Dreadmill" as a friend calls it. I used to be so happy running on the treadmill, but now it drives me crazy. I'd take running outside any day - just sucks that I don't have any rain gear to wear. So, seeing how much I hate it, I only ran 3.5 miles. Sigh. It's all mental. Being inside on the treadmill, I start thinking of all the things I need to be doing and it's so easy to just stop and get on with the day. If I were outside, I would have taken some route three miles out so I had to run three miles back in - no excuses, 6 miles done. Now I'm disappointed in myself...must get over it because it is a big running week - 6 miles on Wednesday, then 12 miles on Fri. (or Sat.). Twelve miles!

Better start on all those things I got off the treadmill early for!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Big Run and Big Sale!

The steel-cut oats are cooking on the stove, it's currently 43 degrees out, and I'm going to try for another 10 miles after the girls go to school. I'm looking forward to it, actually. I could wait until tomorrow - I did 5 miles on Monday, another 5 on Wednesday, but I want to tackle the 10 today. I would love to have the same time, or faster, as my first 10, but I'm going to be crazy and throw in some hills so I fully expect my time to be slower. I'm hoping it warms up just a tad!!

And exciting news (for me) - looks like Asics is phasing out my model of running shoes! Everywhere I look, they are being clearanced out. Woohoo! I've never paid less than $75 for them (I know that's pretty cheap already for a pair of running shoes!), but I just found a pair for $49.98. Score!

*Update* Another 10 miles in the books! My time: 01:35:45 - that's with the added hills and a stop for water/chews at 5 miles, and more water at 7.5. Do runners stop Garmin when they stop for water/bathroom breaks? May seem like a silly question, but just wondering. I know your timing chip doesn't stop during a race. Have to say, this 10 miles felt GREAT...even with the hills! It has to be the cool weather.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Who Said Indiana Was All Flat??

"Beautiful course, but very hilly". That was the comment left this morning under some pictures put up on Facebook on the half marathon course I will be running. Yes, it does look beautiful, but really? Did she have to throw in there "very hilly"? I signed up for this particular half after my dear neighbor in TN recommended it - saying it was a great first half to do since it was so flat. I fell for it. I started seeing comments about "hills", watched several interviews from past races where the runners talked about "all the hills"...ugh. I watched a video of the course, and I suppose I just didn't notice the hills at first - easy to do.

So after seeing that comment, I decided I needed to see for myself. I printed out a course map and we all piled in the truck to go out to the park. I felt a little bit of relief as we drove through Ft. Harrison - yes, it is indeed flat. The we headed out on one of the roads on the course, and wow...huge hills. I'm not exaggerating. I glanced down at the map, and said "I am so glad I just have to run down these hills...oh...wait...ah, crap! The arrows show I go UP these hills!" I confess, I had a moment of panic, then a feeling of wanting to cry - I'm doing all this training, feeling pretty confident, my pace has gotten faster, and even though I have put in some minor hills in my routes, they are nothing compared to these hills. My goal of running the entire race is in jeopardy.

But, you know, I'm just going to do the best I can do, as cliche as that sounds. I'm not going to psyche myself out, or start thinking negatively. I'm going to plan to take the hills slow, and just see how it goes. I ran some pretty big hills in Tennessee - I can do these. Maybe I'll have to stop and drink a few more times than I had planned, but that's okay. I have to listen to my body.

Hills, shmills.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Trouble With T-shirts

Seeing how expensive running clothes are, when I hear of a sale, I'm all over it. But, there are some things I just can't bring myself to buy - like t-shirts with clever little sayings on them:

"Catch Me If You Can" - oh, you can. I'm not fast.

"Fast" - see above.

"See You At The Finish Line" - yea, and if you can, after you get there before me, have some         Gatorade or chocolate milk waiting. Thanks.

I need something that says "I'm Trying", "I Thought I Was Going Fast", "You Should Have Seen Me Last Year". I have one t-shirt that says "Running", and I think that's about all I can let my shirts say about me.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Oops...I Forgot About Recovery

A new discovery was made after yesterday's run - in which I ran 10 miles! Woohoo! (still can't get over that...) - I don't know how to recover from a long run. More specifically, I don't know the proper nutrition. I knew I needed to be concerned with what to eat before a long run, and knew I needed to find what works for me and get a routine started before the race. I figured it out, and what works for me is a bowl of steel-cut oats with a little bit of brown sugar and bananas on top, half a cup of coffee, then 20 minutes before I head out, some Honey Stinger Chews and sip on some water. I've got the fuel to get through the long distance. Now, what about when I get home?

So, I got home yesterday, grabbed a big Gatorade G2 (I think a 32oz.) and a CLIF bar, which I ate and drank while doing some mild stretches. Then I went upstairs, took a shower and got ready for the day. We went out to run some errands and I grabbed an apple. Almost two hours after the apple, we get home for lunch - I was starving by then and practically inhaled a huge ham sandwich with a few chips. I also developed a massive headache around this time so I went to go lay down for a little bit. After I got up (about 20 minutes later, when Ray sent the girls to my room to jump on me and wake me up...nice), the headache was worse, and I realized I had the same awful headache last weekend after my 8 mile run. Hmmm...For someone who rarely ever gets headaches, I knew there was a connection and it was something I was doing wrong. We ate an early dinner, I took two Ibuprofen, drank some coffee (hoping the caffeine would help), and had some ice cream (because my celebratory chocolate cake was taking too long to cool off...grrrr).

As I vegged on the couch after the girls went to bed, I got on the iPad and began to research "recovery after long runs". I read several articles, looked at many forums, and yep, I was doing something wrong. I was not giving my body the nutrients it needed to recover. I felt so famished all day yesterday - well, duh! I didn't eat enough and with that feeling, along with the monster headache, my body was trying to tell me something. The CLIF bar and Gatorade were okay, but I should have had more of a meal after my shower instead of just an apple. Then, I should have had more small meals throughout the day. And of course, I should have had more to drink. (And I should have taken that ice bath I'm too chicken to try). I was surprised to see that in all the articles I looked at, one of the best things to have right after a run is chocolate milk. Apparently, it has the perfect ratio of carbs to protein your body needs to start recovering. That, and a banana will start the recovery process, then after the shower (or ice bath!), a healthy meal - hopefully, that will ward off any headaches the next time I go for that long run. I'm upset with myself for not thinking about after the long run, but now I'm eager to try out what I know. Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to keep my supply of chocolate milk out of the hands of the rest of the family!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

If You Think You Can...

...You Will.

Ten miles done.

Legs were a little tired in the beginning, felt great by mile 4, stopped at 5 for a little bit of water and some chews, started cramping a little at 9 miles, and felt like cheering at 10. Kept thinking positive, kept looking ahead of me instead of the ground, and kept thinking about how great it would feel to say "I just ran 10 miles". It does feel great.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mind Games

So my run tomorrow will be a milestone. It's huge. TEN MILES. Ugh...just writing that makes my tummy do a flip. That's the double digits. Unheard of! I have run 9 miles before - months ago. (In TN, the heat and humidity were at dangerous levels, so I had to run inside on my treadmill. Girls were on break, husband had been out of town for two weeks straight, walls were closing in, so when I finally had the chance to run outside, I felt free - like I could run forever! But, had to stop at 9 to pick up the girls from my neighbor's...) Ten miles is just so intimidating and I HATE that I'm letting myself think that way! Damn mind games! I just ran 8 miles last Saturday - what's 2 more miles, right? I can do it...right?

As intimidated as I am, I'm also very excited to go for it. I guess I'm a little afraid of not being able to complete it. I mean, I'll complete 10 miles - eventually - but will I be able to run it all? I do plan on stopping to refuel and drink some water, but I don't want to walk. Should I let that go, and just tell myself that I'm not a failure if I do have to walk a little bit? And why am I even using the term "failure"? Sheesh...

I'm also a little worried about the weather - it's going to be hot and humid. I plan on setting my alarm for 5:30 (husband will just love that...), go through my routine as I would on the race day (drink half cup of coffee, breakfast, get dressed, stretch, put on gear, go to the bathroom a hundred times, etc.), and make it out of the house by 7. Hopefully, it won't be too bad at that time. I've been very lucky to have cool weather for my runs as of yet, and wouldn't you know it, the day I plan to run my longest distance yet, it's hot and humid. Oh well.

Before we moved, a friend gave me a couple half-marathon training plans. I looked at those, and several plans online. I found that most of the plans have runners training three to four times a week. I was running every other day, but started experiencing some over-use injuries. I decided running 3x a week would be best for me, and settled on one of the plans my friend brought over. So far, no more over-use injuries. So, last week, I ran 4 miles, rest, 4 miles, rest, then 8 miles. Took another rest day and started this week's training - 5 miles, rest, 5 miles, and because of the upcoming 10 miles, I decided to give my legs two days of rest before attempting. I hope that was the right decision. My legs do feel rested, and like I said, there is a part of me that is excited to go for it. Just need to get my mind in the right place...

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.

~ C. W. Longenecker ~

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


TGTRIO - Thank god that run is over. Seriously. I knew from the very beginning it was going to be a struggle. I woke up a half hour later than I usually do, and as silly as that sounds, something that minor can throw my entire day off. The plan was to do 5 miles today - 5 miles doesn't scare me anymore. It's totally doable. But after waking up late, and seeing how overcast it was outside, I started debating over whether or not I really needed to run today. When that starts to happen, I think about what my wise friend, Tara, one of the people that has inspired me to run, told me once: You will always regret not running, but NEVER regret it when you do. (I'm paraphrasing...Tara, correct me if I just slaughtered what you said...). I knew if I didn't run, I would walk around all day feeling like I had let myself down, like I didn't get anything accomplished. So, on went the running clothes, shoes and hat, and all the gear I run with.

Since it rained last night, and due to rain off and on all day, the air was cool, but heavy. That always makes me feel like I'm carrying extra weight, and I really have to pay attention to breathing right. I started out and my legs felt tired as well. Ugh. I decided to shake things up a bit and divert a little from my usual route. I love running on the Monon Trail here in Indy. It's a beautiful wide, paved, wooded trail that goes all throughout Indy and the surrounding towns. As far as I know, it's all flat, which after living in hilly TN, is a nice change. But I need some hills. Just outside my  old neighborhood in TN, we had a hill that became known as "Sam Donald Hill" (Sam Donald was the road). In my head, it was also known as "that Mother F*%#ing Hill" - it was steep and seemed to be a neverending climb. Many times, the Hill broke me, and I would end a perfectly good run by having to walk up it, and then I would be angry. As time went on though, I learned to tell myself to just put one foot in front of the other, quit looking how far is left, and I would make it up the Hill. Running. And when I would reach the top, despite panting, fighting the urge to vomit, and feeling like all the blood in my body was in my head, I would let out a weak "Woot!" So, when I diverted from my usual run on the flat Monon Trail today, I took a road that seemed to be hilly. And it was. I found my "Mother F*%#ing Hill" out here in IN.

Happy to say, I did make it up the hills (there is a small hill, and a large one - the MoFo Hill), but my legs were screaming at me. I made the turn to head back to my neighborhood when I looked down at Garmin and wanted to cry...2.7 miles. NO!! I was sure I had run 3.7 miles - only 2.7?? Crap. I told myself I had to listen to my body and just take it easy the rest of the way. There were times I felt like I was walking a fast pace or doing a super slow jog, but when I checked Garmin, it said I was running a 8:53/mile. Huh? I would tell myself to slow down again...Garmin said 9:02/mile. Folks, I'm usually at a 9:22 to 9:30/mile pace. I ended up finishing 5 miles in 45:15 - I think that's the fastest 5 miles I've ever done. But I wasn't trying - remember, this run felt like a struggle! I don't know what was going on - sure, it's cool that I went faster than usual, but I honestly worry about doing that during the half and burning out quickly. Hmmm...I don't usually even watch my pace, I've never done speed drills and don't think I ever will. I mainly enjoy seeing how far I can go, and I'll check pace at the end of the run out of curiousity. I watched it this run to make myself take it easy. I guess my legs had a different plan!

Off to shower. And by the tired as my legs are, as relieved as I am that the run is over, no regrets. Now, need to focus on getting my day back on schedule!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Am I A Runner?

Running. I've never considered myself a runner. I would never say "I'm going out for a run". I was more of a "wogger" - I'd jog, walk, jog, walk...I was close to being a runner in my mid-twenties. I'd go out and jog around the neighborhood of East Hill in Pensacola when I was home, or jog on the treadmill at one of the hotels on a layover if I was flying. I never took it serioulsy. It was something to do, and a way to burn off calories, as I was all about body image back then ("omg, I ate a whole meal last night, I'm going to get HUGE!"...yea, it was bad). Then I got married, and had the girls. I bought the jogging stroller, and did take the girls out in it a lot, but not running. Just for long walks. I LOVE being outdoors, and I do love being in shape. Can't say I was in great shape, but I stayed active.

There are several reasons as to why I suddenly took an interest in running. I watched as a couple friends, who weren't in great shape, took up running out-of-the-blue. I listened as they talked about mileage, pace, endurance...I was in awe of their excitement and their will to get better and better. I saw their pictures of reaching the finish line at a race, and wearing the medals they had worked so hard for. When was the last time I had reached a goal like that? When was the last time I had a challenge I worked hard for? I started getting on my treadmill more, and ran around the neighborhood whenever the weather was nice. Every once in a while, I would pass one of my neighbors/friends - one of the people that had taken up running out-of-the-blue and was now a half-marathoner. We would talk about running whenever we saw each other and she was very encouraging. One day, she suggested I run a 5k, even found one for me and told me she would run it as well. Fine...I'll do it. I was only doing 2.25 miles on the treadmill, but I was certain I was running over 3 miles on my route around the neighborhood. It had to be 3 miles because I was panting, sweating gallons and about to fall over from exhaustion when I reached my house - surely, it was an insane distance I was running.


Ray and I drove my neighborhood route one day and I was in shock when the odometer read "2.23 miles". That's it? That's the distance that was making me so tired and wasted? I was completely deflated. But not deterred. I started listening and reading more about how to run, how to pace yourself, how to build up endurance, finding the right shoes and clothes, etc. I think a major turning point was buying a Garmin - how else was I going to know when I finally reached that magical 3 miles? Several running friends told me running with a Garmin would change everything, and it did. I would go for a run, look down and see my distance - I ran that far?! Next run - I ran that far?!! Next run - omg, I ran THAT far?!!! I was so amazed, I would take pictures and send them to Ray.

I began to run that magical distance (in my head) of 3 miles on a regular basis, and got to the point where I could do it comfortably. The beginning of March, I ran that 5k and had fun doing it. I had fun running. And I was running! The greatest feeling was that I had challenged myself to do something, and I did it. I face challenges everyday - be a good parent, a good wife - and I love that, but challenges in running are physical and mental in a different way. A way that I haven't been challenged in years, and it's exciting. I never, never ever, thought I could run 3.1 miles, yet after that race and the thrill of reaching my goal, I began to dream bigger. My friend mentioned a half marathon one day and I laughed. As much as I started to dream bigger, I was thinking more like, oh say 5 miles. A half marathon is 13.1 have to run over two hours (at my speed)...well, maybe. I decided to make it my goal for 2012 - I would say goodbye to my thirties with a half.

But then...


I found myself going farther and farther, building up endurance and feeling great while doing so. I began to incorporate all the nutritional tips I was reading, drinking water, proper stretches - it truly blew me away that all this work and research was paying off. When I had my first run that lasted over an hour, I couldn't believe it!! That was something I thought I would never achieve - starting out in January, my 2.23 mile route took me half an hour, and I ended utterly exhausted. Several running friends encouraged me again to try a half...I decided I could do it, and not have to wait for 2012.

Knowing we were going to move to Indianapolis, my neighbor recommended a half out here in October, and when I read about it, it sounded like the perfect first half marathon race. The race is capped at 6,000 entrants - still a lot of people, but not the 50,000+ some races have! I began my official training four weeks ago, and have logged over 60 miles. I have good runs and bad runs. Lots of mental sabotage on those bad runs...need to stop that. I'm keeping my eye on the prize...crossing that finish line at the half. I have to say I'm proud of myself for how far I've come, and I'm still in awe that I'm even here and entertaining the idea of a half. Another challenging aspect of this race is doing it by myself. I LOVE running by myself, omg, it's the best! I love being out in nature, listening to my music or just being lost in thought, and I always end up saying a prayer because I feel so blessed when I run. Good or bad run, I come home peaceful and thankful. But, the actual race part of running, not to mention the culture of runners, is still so new to me and I tend to feel like a poser. I'm nervous about the logistics of the race, and would love to have an experienced runner there to show me around! I'm not going to let that stop me though - I'm 38, and it's about time I stopped being so self-conscious and insecure. I guess that'll be Challenge #2  on Oct. 15!

So yes, Oct. 15 is the big day and it's always in my mind. Running has become so important to me - physically (with all that I eat, I must run!), and mentally (free therapy, no joke) - and I'm so thankful for all the people that inspired me, even if they don't know that they did, and encouraged me. I look forward to that day I put that "13.1" sticker on my car!