Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crawl in Bed and Pull the Covers Over My Head

Distance: 1.99 mi.
Time: 26:01 min.
Pace: 13:05/mile
Time of Day: 4 p.m.
Temp: 37°F, no wind chill according to, but there was some wind

Today was a struggle mentally. I totally blew off my strength training this morning in favor of doing absolutely nothing. I think maybe PMS is playing with my head. I talked to Coach Jeni twice and both times she strongly encouraged me to go run 2 miles. The physical exertion would release endorphins and help me feel better. It took until 4 p.m. for me to get out the door. Do I feel better? Not measurably, but I can build off the fact that I did indeed go run rather than continue to sit in my chair. Thank you so much, Jeni, for your support and encouragement.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Good Day to Rest

Rest Day

Mmm, cold today. The high was maybe 30°F with wind chills at least 10 degrees colder. A good day to rest! I am a little sore in the legs after my 4.8 mile run yesterday. But my foot doesn't hurt so that's a good thing. Back to the gym tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Feel So Much Better!

Distance: 4.8 mi.
Time: 1:01:05
Pace: 12:44/mi.
Time of day: 3:30 p.m.
Temp: 39°F, 30°F WC

It was a beautiful day to run! The sun was shining brightly. Only a slight wind. No rain, no snow or ice. Glorious!

I have 2 reasons to feel so much better. First, I am able to run again! I was very happy to be outside running, especially since it was such a beautiful day. I didn't plan to run 4.8 mi. but I misjudged the distance of a new leg on my route. So I feel good that I ran that far. Also, my pace was faster than I have been running. (It would have been even better, but I had to stop & tie my shoe! What's up with that?) I made a concerted effort to run just a bit faster. Not so much that I am exhausted though. I think I tend to get stuck in more of a warm up speed than a run speed. So after I had run for 1/4 mile to warm up I picked up the pace and worked to keep that faster pace. I am pleasantly tired.

My ankle is a little stiff after the run. But I think it is o.k. It isn't painful, just kind of stiff. So I'm happy about that.

Now for the 2nd reason I feel so much better. I discovered that the reason I twisted my ankle is not because I'm a klutz, but because the road has a definite uneven spot where I turned my ankle last week. I ran the same route I started on last Thursday and when I reached the point where I fell, I paid special attention to the road surface. I didn't see anything then but on the return trip over the same spot, I almost fell again due to a marked unevenness of the road surface. Here's the deal. This road was recently resurfaced and the shoulders were topped off with this very fine gravelly stuff. You can't readily see where there might be a dip in actual black top. But now I know! I'll be careful in that spot and run a little closer to the traffic lane when it is safe. I'm so happy I'm not as klutzy as I thought!

So tomorrow is my regularly scheduled rest day. And, Coach Jeni told me not to "run, run, run" when I get back on the road. So I guess I'll take tomorrow off and hit the gym again on Thursday. I'm still thinking about the weight issue. Then Friday I get to run again. Yeah! And on Saturday Coach Jeni (and all my beautiful grandchildren) will be here for the weekend and Jeni & I will get to run together. I'm so excited! Oh yes. I'm also excited because this weekend is the big birthday party for The-Love-Of-My-Life!

Life is good!

Some Thoughts on My Strength Training

I was a little surprised to wake up this morning and not feel any stiffness or soreness from my workout yesterday. I did only 1 set of each exercise but I did those 15 reps at the heaviest weight from my last strength training workout. This makes me wonder if I need to increase the weight I am using.

The other thing I've been mulling over is this. I have read that you should change up your routine every 8 weeks or so. I have been using this routine for 8 weeks now. Do I think about changing the exercises? If so, do I just select other exercises that work the same body part? Do I switch from free weights to machines? Things that make me go hmmmm.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Training Again

I warmed up on the elliptical trainer for my strength training session today. My ankle didn't hurt a bit so I'm going to try and run tomorrow.

I was pushed for time this morning so I only did 1 set of each exercise using the heaviest weight. I didn't have any trouble which makes me wonder if I should increase my weight all around. Hmm.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nursing the Ankle

I stayed off my ankle today as much as possible. It doesn't hurt at all when I walk, but I figure the more I rest it the quicker it will heal.

I plan to strength train tomorrow. I can warm up on the elliptical machine instead of running on the treadmill.

I am getting worried about my setback. I'm not sure how I'm going to make up for the week of training I've lost. My gut instinct to is run, run, run when I'm able to run again, but will it be too late to build up my endurance and stamina? What if I wear myself out?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not Yet

I tried to run today and got in about .75 mile before I called it quits. The ankle felt much better and I was having on trouble walking or moving it, but running was too much. So I'll rest until Tuesday and try it again then. Monday is strength training day and I think I'll warm up on the elliptical machine before lifting weights.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Forced Rest

Thursday's Stats
3.77 mi. in 48.39 min.
Temp. 39° F. 32° F wind chill

It was a glorious day to run yesterday and I would have made my 5 miles if only I hadn't twisted my ankle. Can you say klutz? I stopped to chat with my mailman as I was walking up the hill. (He's the 4th person to recognize me running along the rode.) Then I headed out. I turned right out of my subdivision on to the main road. (This is opposite of what I usually do. I wanted to find out how far I could continue down the road before I had a hill.) About .1 of mile on the road I was just running along and oops! I rolled my left foot.

The sharp pain really got my attention and I hobbled off the road onto the grass and held on to the utility pole conveniently located right there. Quick thinking took over and I immediately paused my running app. It took a couple of minutes before I could step, but my foot seemed o.k. so I walked a few steps then jogged very slowly a few paces. Everything seemed to be o.k. So off I went. Slowly at first, testing the foot. But honestly, it seemed o.k. Around mile 2 I decided maybe I should head home so I turned around.

If only I hadn't taken my shoe off life would be fine, right? But I did take my shoe off and that is when I realized that maybe, just maybe I really shouldn't have run on the ankle. I hobbled upstairs for a shower, then wrapped my ankle, sat down, elevated and iced it.

It is much better this morning, but I probably won't be running tomorrow. Bummer. But as Coach Jeni told me this morning, better to rest it completely than run on a strained, sore ankle.

So I'm moving on to heat on the ankle this afternoon. I didn't make it to the gym this morning so I'll try and get some shoulder work in later today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Resting today.

Had a great session with Coach Jeni today. I won't mention all the things we discussed, but it was a ton of fun!

We modified my training schedule because I realized yesterday it included 1 too many weeks before the half-marathon. Out the window went this week's schedule. Which means I run 7 miles on Saturday. I've been looking forward to longer distances and here's my chance. I'm kinda excited. Now if only it will be a decent day to run. I'm not asking for sunshine and warmth, just wind chills above 15°F and no big snow. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sweatin' Away

4.00 mi. in 50:51 min. Top speed 4.9 mph.
Temp: 24°F, 12°F wind chill.
Time of day: 6:30 a.m.

Too cold to run outside this morning so me & my best friend, The Treadmill, worked out together at the gym! I know I've mentioned how much I sweat on the treadmill, but today I felt like I might float away. But be that as it may, I ran my 4 miles in good form and good time.

Recently Scott and I were talking about how he passes the time on the treadmill. He doesn't watch TV, nor does he listen to music. Kudos to him! He told me he picks a spot, just focuses on it and runs. I tried something similar today. No way I'm not listening to music, but I did pick a spot on a poster and focused on it and just ran. I didn't watch television; I didn't watch the treadmill display; I didn't look around at what was going on in the gym. I just focused on that orange spot and ran.

I found that when I did that I was able to focus on my form and breathing. I think my feet and legs are working great, but my arm movement needs helps. I don't keep my elbows close to my body when I run and that allows my arms to cross my body in front, rather than move straight ahead. Part of this problem relates to my carpel tunnel. I have to be careful how I hold my right thumb or my fingers begin to go numb on my right hand. So I took some time today to keep reminding myself to hold my elbows close in to my body and figure out how to relax my right hand. I wasn't 100% successful, but I'm making progress.

Another issue I have is hunching my shoulders. I know that when I keep my shoulders down and relaxed I run much better, but they tend to creep up into that hunched up position. So I worked on keeping my shoulders down and relaxed.

I wasn't focused on my "spot" 100% of the time. I had to keep reminding myself to focus and keep bringing my attention back to my spot. But I strung together about 6 songs of good focus time. One of the biggest distractions was the sweat. I told myself, "You can wipe your face only at the end of each song." A couple of times I had to wipe off my face mid-song. I read somewhere about weighing yourself before and after running to see how much sweat you are losing. Maybe I should do that just to satisfy my own curiousity.

I'm a little stiff today after strength training yesterday. Not surprising since I missed last Thursday's workout due to a migraine.

The weather forecast is for sunshine on Thursday and more snow Friday. I may swap workouts so I can run outside on Thursday, then strength train on Friday at the gym.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just Another Sunday & Monday

2.19 mi. in 28:21 minutes

1.15 mi. in 15:00 minutes (warm up for strength training)

More snow kept me indoors on the treadmill Sunday.

A little surprising is the fact that I'm not sore from running the race on Saturday. Even though it was only 5 miles, I thought I might be a little sore due to the race conditions and environment. But I'm happy to report that I feel great.

Scott and I cross the finish line Saturday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm a Racer!

5.07 mi. in 1:06:00; The Frosty Five Race
Temp: I forget exactly but it was about 34° or 35° F with a wind chill in the mid-20's
Time of Day: 8 a.m.

Oh my gosh! I ran my first race. The realization is pretty exhilerating. The actual running was challenging.

I cannot thank my son, Scott, enough for his support during the race. He ran at my much-slower-than-his-normal pace and did an excellent job of encouraging and supporting me during the race. He came up with this cute little ditty that he sang to me at every mile marker to keep me going. He was wonderful.

So here's the lowdown on the race. I was so nervous I wanted to cry. As we milled around before the race I very easily could have burst into tears several times. Why? I have no clue. I didn't feel nervous or scared until we actually got to the race site. Then I guess it really hit me all at once what I was doing.

I estimate that there were probably 300-500 people racing. I'm not very good at estimating group sizes so I'm relying on my husband's and Scott's estimates. It was a good size, I think, for my first race. I was able to experience the long line for the porta potty. (Thank goodness for Starbucks across the street.) I now know what it feels like to be in a group to start off. And I encountered my first water station and picked up the cup successfully. I didn't like the fact that it splashed all over my face as I continued to run while trying to drink. (Coach Jeni said in retrospect I should have either walked while drinking or just stopped and gulped it down.)

We ran at the back of the pack. But I wasn't last AND I didn't have to walk!!! The route was a "B" shape with the start and finish lines in the middle of the "B", so that you circled around and crossed the start line at the 2.5 mile point. When I reached that point there were already people standing around who had finished the whole course. Scott told me to "ignore all those people just standing there." Which I did. There was one pretty big hill, after the water station, between the half-way point and mile 3. The-Love-of-my-Life said it wasn't that the hill was really steep, but it was pretty long, covering  a good .25 miles.

Speaking of The-Love-of-my-Life, he was so great. He took pictures (Which I will download from his phone and post here.) and cheered us on at a couple of different points. He was waiting at the finish line with a big hug and kiss. He was awesome!

So what do I think of racing? It was fun. Yes, I'm still looking forward to the half-marathon. I have a better understanding of my training and how it prepares me for racing. (Many thanks to Coach Jeni, DD1, for her expertise.)

It was a great experience yesterday. I am looking forward to continuing my training for the half-marathon. I just hope the weather breaks soon. We had 3 or 4 more inches of snow last night and it is supposed to stay cold for the rest of the week. Yes, I can do 5 miles on the treadmill, but can I do 7? We'll see.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Bad Dress Rehearsal Foretells A Fabulous Opening Performance

4.08 mi. in 55:00 min.
Temp: 25°F, 15°F WC
Time of Day: 7 a.m.

A bad dress rehearsal foretells a fabulous opening day performance. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

It was a struggle to run today. I didn't sleep well last night. I had trouble with my iPhone right off the bat. And it took over a mile to settle into any kind of rhythm. When I reached the 2.0 mile mark and turned around to head back home, the wind hit me in the face. It wasn't terrible, but it was just enough to make me cold. Another half mile before it wasn't blowing straight in my face. My hamstring tightened up for a while and I had to slow down a bit to work that out. So it was a struggle. But I made it! I didn't walk. Tomorrow's race will be fabulous!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm Official!

I picked up my race packet for the Frosty Five race on Saturday! Wow, the shirt is awesome!

Another Day Off

I woke up around 3 a.m. with a migraine so I am taking today off to recover.

Migraines wipe me out. First, they hurt like hell. Second, when the pain goes away I am just exhausted and sleep for several hours. Also, if I'm not careful I can restart the headache and suffer all over again.

I've had migraines since I was a teenager. And while I am still unsure why I get migraines, I have learned that I need to take it easy as I recover from one. It's weird but exertion often brings the headache back. So I'm taking it easy today and skipping my strength training session. I'll be back running tomorrow.

Oh yes! I pick up my race packet today! Woo-hoo! My first race packet! I am so excited!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Day After 5 Miles on a Treadmill

Rest Day

I was exhausted yesterday afternoon and evening after running 5 miles on the treadmill. Jeni & I talked late in the day about how tired I was and I asked her if it could be because I didn't eat any GU while I was running. She said she didn't think so, not at this distance. But when I casually mentioned later about having shoveled snow in the morning she broke in and said, "That's probably why you are so tired now." Maybe. I guess so. I know shoveling snow is hard work, but still…would it make that much difference? So as the day wore on I contemplated my tiredness and the snow shoveling and how it all is intertwined.

One reason I wanted to start running is to increase my fitness level. I did not like being only 54 and feeling so out of shape. I felt physically weak; I lacked energy. And I just didn't want to feel that way. I want to be physically active and strong. I also want to be mentally sharp. Sometimes I look at the vast majority of women around me and I cringe. I don't want to be huffing & puffing my way through life, unable to shovel the snow in winter or rake the leaves in the fall. I don't want to qualify for the Olympics, but I do want to be active and energetic.

I realize that I've only been on this journey for a 3 months. I'm no where near what is called "fit". But I am better than I was last summer. And that's a start. And every time I increase my running distance or time or speed my body must adjust. Maybe next winter I'll be better able to shovel snow and run 5 miles on a treadmill without being so darn tired. But today—I'm really glad it's a rest day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Running in Place

5.0 mi. in 1:05:44, 0% incline, 4.6 mph top speed
Temp: 15°F, WC -2°F with 6" of snow on the ground
Time of day: 11:30 a.m.

It snowed over night and turned much colder. I know this because I shoveled our driveway and my neighbor-across-the-street's driveway. Which is probably why I am worn out after running 5 miles on the treadmill today.

I'm sure at some point an hour on the treadmill will be no big deal, but right now it's a long time. I feel like I've bonded with gerbils the world over--running, yet going nowhere. I loaded a movie onto my iPhone and watched it while running. It helped pass the time, but it was still significant time on a treadmill. In fact, I learned today that 60 minutes is the "club limit" on the treadmill. Since there were 3 or 4 empty treadmills and no one waiting for me to get off, I just started it up again and ran the last half 1/2 mile to finish up the 5 miles scheduled for today.

I also have my first blister. I guess I shouldn't be happy about that, but I figured if I run almost every day, the day would come when a blister appears. It doesn't hurt, isn't very big and I think I will survive. Coach Jeni told me how to treat it and I'm sure I'll be fine for the race on Saturday.

Thursday Scott and I are going to pick up our race packets. I'm pretty excited.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, Monday

1.02 mi. in 13:27 min. at 0% incline, top speed 5.2 mph
Warm up for strength training

Just another Monday with my free weights.

Six inches of snow is predicted for today and into tonight so I'm thinking I will run my 2nd 5 miler on the treadmill tomorrow, if I can get to the gym.

I'm drinking extra water and after last night I'll be more careful what I eat this week. Those 5 jalepeno poppers were maybe a little much!

Easy Does It

2 mi. in 12:20 min. at 0% incline, top speed 5.1 mph.

Just an easy run after my 5 mile run on Saturday.

Coach Jeni called to talk about my upcoming race. Some things to remember for the week before a race:
  • Hydrate
  • Sleep well as many nights as I can. Probably Friday night won't be a restful night due to excitement. Remember sleep is cumulative, so sleep well early in the week.
  • Watch what I eat all week to avoid digestive upsets.
Wintry weather is in the forecast for the rest of the week. Looks like I'll be running on the treadmill as prep for the race on Saturday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Five Miles Down

5.07 mi. in 1:15:00.
Temp: 33°F, WC 23°F and wind from the north at 13 mph
Time of day: 8 a.m.

I ran 5 miles this morning! That is 5 miles! That is 1 mile more than 4. And I feel great! Next weekend's Frosty Five is definitely doable.

I was pretty excited about today's run even before I headed out. I was pumped up that I would get to add some distance to my runs. The-Love-of-My-Life was concerned about me running since it sleeted and snowed some overnight. But the roads were only wet and so I headed out early.

I started slowly, not wanting to get tired and not be able to finish. It worked. Although my pace was slower I ran strong and never felt like I needed to walk. I am so excited and happy about my run today I was grinning from ear to ear all day.

I received my new iPhone armband. It worked great and I believe it will be comfortable on bare skin.


Friday's Stats
1 mi. in 13:03 min. as a warm up for strength training.

Kudos to me for pushing through a bad case of the blahs, sleet & snow, and late afternoons to get to the gym at 4 p.m. and work out.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mixin' It Up

3.0 mi. in 38:18 min.
Time of day: 2 p.m.
Temp: 35°F, WC 31°F, cloudy

So much for the insight yesterday that I need to get out later in the day and absorb some life enriching sunshine. The weather forecast for today is cloudy with a winter storm on the way. Snow & ice tomorrow. I did swap Thursday's and Friday's workouts. I ran today and, if I can't get to the gym tomorrow, I will be able to do most of my strength training at home.

As I was running today I was thinking about struggling these last 10 days or so. I reminded myself that I usually experience some difficulties right before having a breakthrough. I learned this in therapy the last few years. Over and over I would experience difficulties, feel like giving up, get depressed and wham! I would have a break through that would catapult me forward. I do not progress at a steady, linear, upward motion. I move forward in leaps and bounds. So applying this self-knowledge I figure I will get my stride back, better than ever, sometime soon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rest, Rest, Rest

Rest Day, Yoga this evening.

This week is better than last week. But I think I have hit a slump where it would be easy to quit if I wasn't already signed up for 2 races. I feel like I am running a lot but not making progress. It seems like I have been running the same 3 or 4 miles for a really long time. In fact, that isn't the case. I have only run 4 miles 3 times. Maybe it is all the 3 mile runs that seem endless.

Last week was a step-back week so every run was 3 miles, no additional miles. Jeni explained to me that every few weeks a step-back week is scheduled to allow my body to adjust to the additional distance that I run. I understand that. But, I've been running 3 miles for almost a month now. And a lot of it has been on the treadmill. Hmm, that probably adds to the feeling of running but going nowhere.

As I look at my training schedule I see that I will be adding miles for the next 2 weeks. I sure hope it doesn't snow anymore! And I realized last night there are only 10 days until my first official race. So I have several things to look forward to. And there's no way I'm going to quit. I really enjoy running too much to stop. I guess I'm impatient for more distance and better weather.

Maybe that's it! I'm suffering a mild case of cabin fever. Whew! That makes me feel better. It's not the distance thing at all, but the weather keeping me inside most of the time that is weighing on my mind. Can I modify my daily schedule so I can run late morning or early afternoon? That way I would catch more sunshine. I'll have to work on this.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Icy Hot

4.0 mi. in 52:45 min. 33°F, no WC
Time of day: 7 a.m.

I successfully ran my 4 miles today even with a sore hamstring. After discussing the situation with Coach Jeni yesterday we came to the following conclusion. Running Saturday at a 3.5% incline irritated my hamstring, then Sunday running a hilly route on snow and ice further inflamed and irritated it. Treatment was ice yesterday afternoon and evening, 10 min. on/30 min. off, and ibuprofen.

We also discussed stretching and whether to stretch my hamstrings before running. I am in the camp that stretching cold muscles is more harmful than not, so I always stretch at the end of my runs. However, this morning I did do some mild stretching before heading out.

My leg didn't hurt when during the run, but I felt it. I have had heat on my leg most of today and it's feeling pretty good. Tomorrow is a rest day and Thursday is strength training again. So the hamstring should have time to do some healing.

On Sunday my son was telling me about the running app he downloaded to his iPhone. It was basically like my Runmeter app, but he had voice updates on how far we'd run, the pace, the time, etc. It was pretty cool. So I checked out my Runmeter app and discovered it did the same thing. I set it up this morning and every 1/4 mile this voice came on and updated my progress. Very cool! Thanks, Scott!

Also this morning I tried a different energy source. I took along a bag of energy "jelly beans". I liked these a lot better than the GU but the package is difficult to tear open while running and then they have a zip lock that you have to pry open. I will buy these again but put them in a different kind of bag to carry with me.

And one last thing. I ordered an arm band for my iPhone from Soon I won't have to hold my iPhone any more.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Pain in the Butt

.5 mi. in 7:07 minutes, no incline (warm up for strength training)
Time of day: 6 a.m.

Uh oh. Oops. I think I did a no-no. I have a pain at the top of my left hamstring radiating into my backside. I didn't even notice anything was wrong until I hit the treadmill. I almost rolled off the back the pain surprised me so much. I slowed way down to 4.2 mph thinking it was stiff and would work out. Nope. I was able to limp to half a mile and then I got off. I was able to walk o.k. and I completed my entire strength training routine. I think this warrants a call to The Coach.