Tuesday, January 31, 2012

D - Ran 5 Miles - 47 minutes

Walking in to a mechanic and saying "my car isn't running right" isn't going to give them the information they need to diagnose your problem. Its similar when you're running and your body is saying "I'm tired" but you can't figure out why.

I break down tiredness in a few ways:
  • Mental Tiredness - usually from stress, being overworked. Its tough to stay motivated in these cases and your mind wanders. I find this is best dealt with by just pushing through the run, brief pickups, followed by just letting your mind wander for a bit.
  • Exhaustion - from either running too much, not recovering from a run. You feel this in your muscles, and its probably a sign you need to ease off a bit to recover.
  •  Low Fuel Warning - not having enough fuel or bad fuel (McDonalds for dinner the day before?), sicknes - you can't do much about this on your run. Hold back, cut mileage, or even take the day off to recover. Try to eat healthier.
  • Sleepiness - This one I constantly contend with on early morning runs. A small dose of caffeine can help if there's no way around getting more sleep. I find a good warmup prior to starting (jumping jacks, realizing your forgot things causing you to run up and down the stairs) helps with this. 
  • Boredom - My body seems fine, I'm well rested, but I just can't get into the run. Change up your workout if you can. Fartleks can be a nice change of pace (literally), so can a track workout if its been a while. Try running through more crowded areas or take a short drive to get away from your normal route. 
Whenever I run, and I find I'm lagging, I run through the far from comprehensive list and try to figure out what it is that's holding me back. Usually, once I know, I start to feel better. The problem with today was that I couldn't figure out what was going on. I didn't even want to look at my watch for fear of finding out how slow I was going.

After Five miles... I checked my watch... Turns out I wasn't much under goal pace. With two long lights, 47 isn't a bad time for me. I guess the moral is, sometimes your body is just out of touch with your mind - and that's when being able to track accurate splits can be really helpful.

In other news, last night I made an awesome protein packed dinner. Quinoa, Brown Rice, Tempeh,Onions, Shrimp, Yellow Peppers, vegie broth, peas and mushrooms. I topped it with some hot sauce - and while its not pretty, it was tasty and filling.

But It's January! I Have to Wear a Billion Layers..

C - 5 miles, 46 minutes

My stomach was little off before today's run, so I'd like to say that I took it slow.  Really, I went about as fast as my body was interested in going and no faster.  It was over 50 degrees outside, but it's January, so I felt obliged to still dress as if it was winter.  Maybe next time I'll actually acknowledge that you don't have to wear warm winter pants and a bulky top to run when pedestrians on the same sidewalk are rocking t-shirts.

Maybe my car is just getting revenge?
 On a completely unrelated running note, my car is being stubborn and insists on pricey visits to the mechanic every two months.  I've tried to explain the whole "student loans" thing to it, but really my car is pretty needy.  Still there was an upside to today.  When some women have rough days their boyfriends give them flowers or chocolate, but D knows me better.  Guess who got more energy gels?? :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

D - Yesterday I ran 4 miles in 36 minutes - perfect recovery run.
Today - slept till right before I had to leave for work and rushed for the train... is that a workout?

On Friday I learned this fun little fruitstand style market was going closing down. Their landlord is putting up a highrise, so they will have to move. I've probably eaten more apples in the last month than the rest of my life combined thanks to them. It's sad to see them go.

As part of there closing they had a big 50% off sale where I ended up buying something I usually don't; Beef Jerky. For someone trying to cut down on how much meat I eat, it's a step backwards, but it's not your typical nitrate stuffed SlimJim. Steve's Original Paleo Kits use grassfed beef, mixed in with an assortment of nuts and berries. Weird at first, but it makes for a heck of a protien loaded snack. I also tried their dried wild blueberries - something I haven't seen before but really enjoyed. They also have a variety of vegetarian friendly options as well.

The best part about Steve's Original (in my book) is that its actually a fundraiser for a pretty cool non-profit. Steve's Club brings inner-city kids to the gym to add structure and physical fitness to their lives. It started in NJ but has been spreading pretty quickly.

While I wish there were more creative vegie options (and I'm writing to him about that), and that the products weren't so expensive, I'm still a huge fan. Everything I've had of his has been super tasty, and the non-profit supporting factor is just the icing.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

All kinds of running (videos)

C - 4 miles, 35:33

I really enjoyed today's run.  My legs were a somewhat fatigued, but it was a good tired and it felt nice to loosen them up with a (little) bit of speed.

Before I went running today, I watched some youtube clips of various types of impressive runners.  I'm attaching three very different examples below.  I like to see how different runners push themselves to the limit and how they enjoy the sport.

The first clip is of the famous Kilian Journet.  If you're not familiar with him, he's a trail runner who is known for absolutely dominating trail mountain races.  He's an interesting person, and if you want to learn more about him, there is some information here.  As you can tell by the clip below, he doesn't exactly share my fear of heights.

The second clip is actually a Navy SEAL's Ironman training video.  My favorite part of the video is watching his agility on the bars, and seeing how much control he has over his body.  The man is really part monkey or something...

The final video features cheesy music, so be forewarned.  Still, it gives you a sense of Team Hoyt- a father-son ironman team.  The son has cerebral palsy, so the father swims while pulling the son on a dingy, runs while pushing the son on a wheelchair, etc.  The son loves to compete and his enjoyment is easy to see.  I was crying by the end of the video. (Oh, and D, if we do end up running New Bedford, guess who else will be there- Team Hoyt)

Three clips and I didn't include any Olympic-type athletes.  I'm guessing we'll probably have a lot of that this summer with London 2012.  Finally, a link for D, who loves to cook.  A Runner's World blog on the runner's pantry list.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Your Speed is . . . Going Down

C - 13.08 miles (yes, the .08 is important) in 2:15, push Up challenge
Lemon Sublime

Today's run was not fast.  I am going to blame some of the time on the excessive number of traffic lights that I somehow managed to fit into my run, however I should have run harder.  Waiting at long traffic lights is a time to gain back energy, so the breaks really shouldn't have slowed me down so much.  I enjoyed the run and I'm sore now, but how did I put all those extra minutes into it?
File:Radar speed sign - close-up - over limit.jpg
Only picture it flashing numbers like "6," and then "5" ...

I had a "lemon sublime" GU during my run and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I normally prefer Hammer Gels, however I'll take whatever I can get.  I hadn't noticed that I was starting to drag, but the GU really cheered me up, and I began more or less bouncing along side a cemetery.

The most notable part of the run was somewhere around mile 12.  I was tired and running up a hill, and I looked up to see that one of those "Your Speed Is" signs was clocking my run.  Perhaps this is a fun thing if you are speeding up, but I watched it flash a low number, then a lower number, and then an even lower number . . . it was perhaps the most aggravating end to a run ever.  I've never wanted to destroy public property before, but that sign was totally taunting me.

So where do I go from here?  It was one run, I'm not hurt, and I'm going to fight harder on the longer run that D and I have planned next week.  It's not a bad enough time that I think anything is wrong, however it certainly is a motivator moving forward.  Oh, and I am very tempted to go run by that silly sign sometime again this week so I can watch it project progressively FASTER numbers for the world to see.

Sometimes you just need a little push to get you started

D - 13 miles in 2hrs 1 minute 44 seconds.

Today's run was a bit of a big deal for me. I ended it a bit tired, but still smiling and feeling really good about it.
The run started off with decisively loosing the mental game. Thoughts crossing my mind included "my body feels tired" "My legs hurt" "my finger hurts" "can I do 13 miles at a reasonable pace on my own" "I over-dressed" "I ate too much" ... you get the idea. That went on for about exactly 3 miles.
The Charles: Taken this summer on way to work,
also my running route today
Up until the three mile mark, despite my internal wining, I was maintaining 9:30ish splits. At three miles, as I was wondering if I could keep this up, let alone finish the run, I saw two girls jogging together. One of them had stated to slow up, a bit winded. Just as she switched into an actual walk, her friend got behind her, and started literally pushing her forward. They both started laughing and took off renewed.

Today's effort for me was a solo effort. I didn't have anyone playing pacing games with me, and no one would know if I switched to a walk. Some days the internal monologue keeps you motivated and strong, but for me at least, some days it does the opposite. It's nice when it just takes a glimpse of a beautiful skyline, a kid doing the YMCA to himself in a carriage, or just two runners having fun to knock me out of the rut.

So, I  pushed the pace to see what would give and was surprised to find myself in good shape -mentally and physically. I'm sure running along the Charles River on an absolutely beautiful day really helped with the mental game too.

Now, the reason I'm so thrilled with my time - It comes out to a 2:02:40 if I had kept pace for 13.1 miles. That means I was pacing out to beat my first half-marathon time at Old Sandwich Road Race from 2010 (before I broke my foot) on a training run. And, if I can drop a minute per mile on race day, I'll break 1:50 - which would be really amazing.

On today's run I tried the Mocha Cliff Gel - it tasted... like a mocha inspired chocolate bar that melted. It's thicker than Hammer Gels - about the same consistency as GU - just a tad too thick for my preference. Tasted really great though!

Time to attempt to get on with my day. I blew off a birthday celebration at the Museum of Science for this run and can hopefully catch up with them at there next stop.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Everybody's Doing It

C - day off
No words necessary.

Ok, fine D.  We're doing 13, not 12 miles tomorrow.  BUT, do you remember how many miles our long run is next week?? Get excited . . .

Today was a day off, and that's a good thing because it's pouring frigid cold rain here.  Still, I get antsy when I don't get to run - and today was even worse because it wasn't a push up day.  On my drive home I passed a girl running by herself in the dark and in cold rain, and I was jealous.  I also wanted to pull over to cheer her on and to suggest that she stop bouncing up and down so much while she ran.  Running is not a mentally healthy obsession.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Body Issues

D - Ran 5 miles: 44:41

Well, it looks like both C and I will be having posts featuring body issues. Ok, not the weight issues or aging body issues but the unexpected IT band feeling funny or catching a dodgeball weird and spraining your pinky finger. Yeah, that happened Tuesday night to me. I was told to ice it, so I figured a metal splint and 37 degrees running would take care of that. 

It felt great for the first ten minutes or so, but the metal got really cold really fast. I was starting to fret how I was going to run without freezing it off until I came up with a pretty simple solution that I'm a bit embarrassed to admit took so long... putting the splint outside the glove....

Anyway, the run felt like it was really slow, but when I hit the five mile mark I was pleasantly surprised. For feeling tired, and not checking splits, I'm very happy with keeping it just under 9 minute miles. Its too close to our 13 mile run this weekend (who wants to tell C it's 13 not 12 ...) 

Higher Mileage, Slower Miles

C - 5.1 miles, 48:50; push Up challenge

I'm being good, I swear.  I didn't push my running pace like I desperately wanted to.  I came home, I iced my knee, I did my push ups, yadda yadda... now please, please let me have a healthy 12 miler on Saturday.   Speaking of push ups, did you see Jon Stewart?  He did more push ups than I would have guessed.  Clearly I need to keep doing my half push ups if I'm going to catch him.

See? Brussel Sprouts on the knee as promised
I love that D's and my running schedule has started upping our weekly miles.  They may be slower, but I love being out on the roads longer - and not just because they mean I don't have run faster.  There is an adrenaline rush that comes with miles, and it's awesome (in case you haven't already figured that out).

So prior to my car's check engine light coming on (again) and my engine starting to make funny scratching noises, I had been thinking about buying compression socks - such as these.  Thing is, compression socks are not cheap and I really don't know how useful they'd be.  People in the Marthon Talk forums do appear to like wearing them after runs, although reviews seem to be a little more mixed about wearing them during runs.  While my car has made the decision for me at the moment, I'm still considering getting socks for after run recovery in the future.  Would love to hear more thoughts about them!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


D - Ran 5 miles - 48:09

As I walked out of work today, I had an amazing experience. It was still light out (sort of). Unfortunately I still had to take the train home, but its nice we're over the hump, and maybe someday soon I'll get to start and finish a weekday run in the daylight! In these dark days, make sure you're staying safe. I love the Somerville Road Runners' Winter Safety sheet.

I finally got around to following my advice and using a new route today and while it wasn't very fast, it was a great run. When I was plotting out my new route I was paying attention to avoiding bad intersections, I didn't really notice that most of my first 2 miles was uphill. That with the 1 mile steep hill I put in on purpose made for the "wasn't very fast" part.

I do have to say, hills are the great equalizer. The only way to get better at them is to keep practicing. While you're going up its working muscles harder, forcing you to keep your form as perfect as possible (great example of this on Skinny Runner) and to it simulates running fast without the same impact as actually running fast.

Once you get good, you have the added bonus of being able to whip by taller runners on the uphill. I logged a lot of miles with my much taller friend in high-school. Once we hit the uphills I could pass him... unfortunately he could make it up on the flats and down hills while singing 'leaving on a jet plane", but its more fun to brag about how I passed him on the uphills.

Dear Left IT Band

C - 5.1 miles, 48:40

Now I really want to know how fast yesterday's run was.  My legs were totally worn out today.  I felt like I should be moving, but really the pavement under my feet wasn't disappearing as fast as it should have.
Me "running" in Vegas.  Clearly working too hard...
When we were running 12 miles+stairs in Vegas my left IT band started spasming- it never hurt and if it had gone crazy I would have stopped.  I simply felt it - an experience that I had never felt again before today.  Like Vegas, I didn't feel it when I stopped running, and I don't feel it most of the time when I am running, but it still happened and I am determined to preempt any remote possibility of injury.  Therefore, I will foam roller tonight (though I really don't feel anything), and I'll ice it tomorrow after I run.  So there left IT band.  I'm going to try to keep you happy, so please stop making your presence known.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to grow your running legend- don't correct people

C - 6 miles, push Up challenge

The six miler today felt good, though I can't report a time because I forgot my watch (and didn't want to go back inside to get it once I'd finally gotten myself outside).  I know the run was under 60 minutes, but I'm not sure how far under.  I'm hoping it was a decent time because my legs are more tired today than they were after the ten miler on Sunday.

OK, fine, this has never happened to me, but I feel her pain!
The sun was out, the temperature was up, the puddles were big, and my jumping abilities were put to the test.  I ran a relatively new route and I lost my directions somewhere along the way, but fortunately I guessed the last few streets correctly.  I loved seeing everyone out enjoying the sunshine, though I do think the girl running in a small white tank top was a little too ambitious.

Does this count as running? or toward running legend-ness?

I had a fellow classmate tell me today, "I saw you running in the sleet not that long ago.  It was crazy."  I'd totally love to take credit for being a crazy runner, but I honestly can't remember the last time I ran in sleet . . . or even rain.  Still, if someone wants to start telling stories of my running awesomeness, I certainly won't correct them!

Cliff gels?

D - Ran 6 miles 55:30

The 6 mile run today went exceptionally well in my book. I'm really hoping I can crank out an average pace of 8:15 per mile during my next half-marathon, so I set my goal splits today for 9:15 (one minute above pacing). Despite being a bit groggy I was dead on my splits that I managed to check in on, and it worked out to the second for the total time.

Some of you may know that C tries to avoid caffeine in forms other than tea (most notably her addiction to tall non-fat chai tea lattes at Starbucks). This extends to finding energy gels that are not caffeinated. At first I thought this would be as simple as not grabbing double espresso flavored ones, but we've come to learn that you can even find caffeine in orange, tri-berry and just about any flavor. So yesterday when I was at REI (something I am lucky enough to be able to do on my lunch breaks) I noticed that for once the discounted gels were a regular, caffeine free (raspberry) flavor!
For those of you that haven't tried training with gels yet, start. Especially the first time you're attempting a longer distance, or are pushing that 12 mile run just a bit faster than normal, it makes the run more tolerable, and the recovery that much faster. It's also a great way to get used to the mechanics of eating them (carefully and thoroughly squeeze the gel out of the top portion before you open it) and to try different flavors before race day.

As great as the gels are, they can get to be a bit expensive. A great way to save on them is to check out your local REI. Every month the one by me puts out a selection of gels and energy bars for less than a dollar (75-83 cents a piece). This month was a small selection of Cliff brand gels. I tried out the double espresso this morning. The consistency was more towards liquid than solid (GU brand can be hard to swallow), so it goes down easy. The flavor was that of a espresso mocha. And the caffeine kicked in right away.

The best part of Cliff brand is that when you rip the top off it has a little anchor to keep it attached to the package. No more keeping track of the top (or inadvertently littering). Of course, it doesn't work if you open it from the wrong side, but I know for next time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mind Games on the Run

C - day of rest

So the 10 miler yesterday was an interesting mental exercise for me.  It was a wonderful run and I enjoyed the time that I got to spend with D, but, for me, it also turned into a series of mind games.  I don't think D was ever aware of this, but somewhere around mile 4 he started to break away from me.  As in, I looked up from the snow-sludge that I was fighting my way through, and he was more than two driveways away from me.  
Noooo! Mentally willing D to slow down or, better yet, me to speed up. 
This should not have been a huge deal, but I started to worry that this meant that he was becoming too fast for me to run distance runs with anymore.  I made a point of not asking him to slow down, but rather pushing myself forward harder and faster.  Long runs are supposed to be more than a minute slower than your regular pace, but I am not particularly skilled at judging my pace and I worry about wearing myself out too early.  Nevertheless, I pushed . . and it (mostly) worked.

D and I traded off who was leading during the rest of the 10 miles (the sidewalks were not clear enough to fit two abreast), but I made a point of not letting him lead again for too long.  I don't think he had any idea this was going on- love you D. 

My I-am-not-too-slow-to-run-with-D strategy also included pushing the pace during last mile.  I know I have to tire him out before the last quarter mile or else he'll break into a sprint at the end of the run and leave me far behind.  My final ending push totally would have worked, but we got stuck at a long traffic light and all bets were off.  The last third of a mile was up hill to the finish, and D had no problem with it.  D's greatest running talent is leisurely accelerating up hills, and I'm hoping some of this talent will rub off.  In the meantime, I'm grateful that we got to run together, but a little jealous that D won a race he didn't even know he was in.

Hopefully my mind games gave us both a better work out, and next time I can bring it just a little bit more!


D - Day off - and judging by my legs, needing it!

C should really check out RunKarlaRun's challenge this year. She's going to do a disney half in both Disneyland and Disney World. In addition to running at Disney (which C wants to do), you also apparently get an extra medal if you complete two races within one calendar year. C loves her medals. Thank you SSWAFN for linking to Karla's blog.

Source: BevReview.com
Also, in a very belated response to a pervious post by C about a unique Gatorade that was lime and cucumber flavored we found in New Mexico. It's called Limon Pepino and I really thought I had made a mistake buying it at first taste. However, being thirsty enough I tried another sip, then another, then found I really enjoyed it. Now i've been thinking about it for weeks and really can't wait to start the hunt for it in Boston. I'm not the only one growing obsessed with this flavor, there is actually a Facebook Fan Club for Limon Pepino Gatorade! Ok... so I shouldn't be surprised since there is also a shamwow ad fan club too...

I'm still wondering why its not listed on Gatorade's website...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Birthday Dinner and 10 miles in the Snow

C and D - Ran 10 miles in the Snow. 

C and I had a very relaxing day off on Saturday which was great considering what we had in store for us today.  Today we had a ten mile run, which I was really looking forward to. I enjoy long runs, but in the shape I'm in, over ten tends to get very tiring by the end. Less than ten doesn't really feel like a distance run. So for now, its the ideal distance. However, our 2012 is not ready for me to have a comfortable distance run quiet yet. In Boulder we had a 10 mile run that was interrupted for photo ops and issues with running at a higher altitude than we're used to. In Vegas we had what was probably a mile of unanticipated stairs in the middle of our runs. Today was the joy of New England running in January - namely snow. We managed to stay on task logging ten minute miles while puddle hopping, avoiding ice and sludge, and trudging through a few inches of un-shoveled sidewalks (grrrrrr).
We got back thinking "that wasn't so bad" ... until we started to feel the wear in our legs and back. Snow running really is quite the exercise on our stabilizer muscles. Maybe pushing our training (and increasing our mileage) through the winter will be the key for us break through our PRs.
After our run, C immediately cranked out her Push Up challenge while I supportively sat on the Bosu ball and put on Big Bang Theory. Then it was time to relax before heading to my parents for a belated birthday dinner which ended with this fabulous fruit covered cheese cake. The fruit makes it healthy, right?
Well, now I'm back in Boston, after my fourth (can you believe it, FOURTH) weekend in a row with C. We may have beaten this record, but its been a while. This week we get to look forward to a 6 mile run, then two five mile runs in what should be beautiful weather!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Running late for dinner

D - Ran 5 miles with a backpack!

 A while back I ran to dodgeball, which turned out to be a great exercise in using running to... well actually get someplace. This Friday, after a week of running in the evening, I needed to cram a run in after work. The problem was I was meeting friends for dinner at 6ish.

I packed up my running backpack before work and, adding in a loop to get up to five miles, ran to the bar where we were getting dinner. This was great for cramming in a workout in a packed day, creating flexibility, and laughing when you realize you are literally running late to dinner.

I did learn that a bag slows me down quiet a bit, and I have to pay a lot more attention to my form, but otherwise it was pretty enjoyable. More importantly, I learned that sitting on a bar stool for an hour right after a run leads to very stiff legs and difficultly walking for a while.

The Hummus plate at Shays in Cambridge is a great after running snack

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trifecta Friday

C - 5 miles, push up challenge

1.  I like running when my energy is back up.  I like it a lot.  Today I pushed myself into accelerating just that little extra bit that makes me feel like I'm moving.  There was ice on the sidewalks, so there was also a lot of decelerating, but overall the run itself was just plain fun and much better than the rest of my runs this week.

2.  I do not like running when it is dark.  I also do not like running when it is kind-of-dark, or becoming dark, or may-at-some-time-in-the-future-be-dark.  Most of this is grounded in the somewhat rational fear of not wanting to be a single female runner alone on the streets at night, however it probably doesn't adequately account for the busy rush hour roads that I ran along side of and their accompanying well lit-sidewalks.  Anyway, I literally zoomed out of work/school today at 4:30pm to complete my 5 miles before it got dark (these silly sunlight hours are your fault Winter).  I'm happy to report - sunshine success! 

My running trifecta.
3. I like to hula hoop.  No laughing! It's a great way to watch TV and get something resembling an ab workout (FLOTUS does it).  My hoop is a little noisy, so I don't hula quite as much as I'd like.  I also don't borrow my roommate's roller as much as I should.  I have to really press all my weight on the roller to get anything out of it, and I just don't seem to feel it as much as most people (yes, I expect D will read this and attempt to reteach me this weekend- love you babe).  However, if I have this problem, I suspect people with low BMIs (elites?) must really not get as much out of it either (of course their muscles are probably so tight that they get plenty of pain anyhow).  Finally, my Bosu rocks.  It lets me work on leg/ankle strength and doubles as a trampoline.  Clearly this makes it the most important piece of the trifecta.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tempo run

D - 5 miles in 42:02 complete with runners high

I still have so many photos from my trip left to use 
As I started out today I was feeling really comfortable, so I turned the last 4 miles into a tempo run (running at race pace for a shorter distance). Without really checking for mile splits I ended up doing a great half marathon paced run. The first mile was in 8:54, so that works out to a 8:17 average min/mile pace for the last 4 miles. I ended feeling strong rather than tired, so lets hope that I can keep this pace (works out to a 1:48 half marathon)  up in March.

This week in the training schedule is one of my favorites. After a long run this weekend (12 miles) we have four days of five mile runs followed by a day off on Saturday then 10 miles. The purpose of this week is to reduce the wear of a long weekend run, while at the same time bringing our overall mileage up a bit. A very smart way to add mileage. Its also a chance to mix up the tempo since I don't have to worry as much about recovering for the long run.

I really can't emphasize enough how much having a running plan (we use Bob Glover's plan) but there a ton of great ones out there. Jeff Galloway has one online , and Cool Runnings has one for all levels (they also have my favorite beginner runner's plan, the couch to 5k plan). Aside from keeping you motivated a good plan switches up your runs, allows you to push your self hard some weeks, but tapers at times to allow for recovery before making another push.

Thinking about a Four-Legged Running Companion

C - 5 miles

Today's run was so much more fun than the last two.  This is not to say that it was fast, but I didn't feel particularly tired and I got an adrenaline rush mid-run.  I (again) refused to set or look at my watch, but based on the amount of podcast I got through, I probably did the run in just under 50 minutes (49? 48? I'll never know).  The important part is that I'm working through this mini-running-funk and am determined to come out of it charged and grinning.

My "practically perfect" former springer spaniel as a puppy.
Also, oh wonderful, understanding D, I think you should know that I saw a happy brittany spaniel running along with its owner today.  I'm writing about this because I would like to get a dog in the future, and D has wisely suggested (determined?) that we should only really consider breeds that can run with us without being prone to injury.  This limits breed choices considerably, and all but rules out my favorite - springer spaniels.  It's an imperfect breed with hip issues, but I love it.  My now deceased, "practically perfect" springer was full of trouble, but she was so friendly and happy she was impossible not to love.

Anyway, back to running dogs- I recognize that runners have to be really careful not to injury a dog by over running it.  I would simply love to have a dog that I could take on some of my shorter runs (no more than 5 miles or so).  Of course, when you add in the fact that my sister is allergic to most breeds, and D would like to rescue a dog, we're pretty much left with searching out labradoodle rescues.  Do they make vizsladoodles?  Regardless, I do love how the brittany face is an awful lot like the springer spaniel face.

File:Brittany Spaniel.jpg
Author Kjunstorm.  How can you not love that face??
One final thought of the day, thanks to Marathon Talk- Linda Somers Smith won the Chicago Marathon in 1992, with a time of 2:37:41.  She just beat that time this month at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, with a time of 2:37:36 (28th place) at age 50.  So no worrying about being too old to run, this is not a sport with serious age limits (if you need more examples or research, I've found plenty).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Running

D - 5 Miles - 45 minutes

All over New England it's the time of year (a bit later than normal) that runners are starting to complain about the weather.  It's dark, it's wet, it's cold, it's windy and slippery and a sudden onslaught of snow can put you on the the hamster wheel for a week at a time.  This all went through my mind when I woke up this morning to the sound of my house shaking in the wind. And then I hit the snooze button....
This evening (when I finally got out to do my run), as I shivered during my the first few minutes of my run, I tried to think positively about Winter Running.  After all, negative thoughts at the beginning of a run make for a really tiring and rather painful run.  So the game of the day: What is GREAT about winter running:
          Lots of pockets - all your safety gear, jackets, pants, you can keep all kinds of keys, fluids, food, maps, directions and whatever else on you while you run.
          You can dress to stay warm - If it's 90 out, you can't dress cooler than you would if it was 60. But in the cold, there is really no limit to what you can pile on to stay warm. Sure you can't feel your face, but just speed up a bit, pull down your cap and you'll warm quickly.
 Cooling Down - If you heat up to much, a quick unzipping of a layer, or pulling off of your gloves and in seconds your body starts to cool down.
Less Crowded Streets - If you run in a walking city like Somerville, you'll start to notice around this time of year that you do a lot less dodging and weaving as you run.
Warm Beverages - Hot tea after a run is appealing only so often during the year.
 It Gets You Outside - Lets face it, when its dark an hour before you leave work for the day, its very tempting to go home, make some dinner and watch TV all evening. In the morning, the snooze button is just that much more tempting when the alarm goes off before the sun comes up. Breaking one of those habits with a run helps to fight that winter sluggishness.
 Feeling Really Bad-Ass - The look on people's faces when its snowing/windy/freezing out as you run by sweating while they're bundled up in parkas and scarves is what this season is all about.

Happy Winter Running - and remember to stay safe out there. 

Chai & Chobani

C - 5 miles; push up challenge

Ms. mix-a-lot here, back from another 5 miler.  My legs still feel tired, so I ran slowly again today.  In fact, my push up challenge actually felt easier than my run today (trust me, that's saying something).

No smoothie photo tomorrow, promise.
When I'm feeling energized, I'll time my run and play speedy music to pump myself up.  When I'm tired, the goal is to go the distance without getting injured or ruining the rest of my running week.  On days like today I listen to podcasts, which keep me entertained and prevent me from focusing on how tired I am.  However, it's also really hard to start sprinting when you're listening to a Planet Money podcast, so beware.

New Chobani flavor- more exciting than it should be!
Today, I'm focusing on what I eat everyday.  In addition to smoothies, I love having chai and Chobani (I'd say greek yogurt, but I really only eat the one brand).  Overall, I'm happy that I have the daily Chobani, but I'm not happy that I'm so dependent on chai.  Once and a while it's great, but it's a lot of sugar and empty carbs to consume everyday.   I'm not ready to stop drinking it everyday, but I'm thinking about it.  The first step is admitting to the problem right?  I'd Wiki that, but in a world with SOPA/ PIPA looming, it can't be done today.

PS - D, there are 60 days until the New Bedford half.  Just saying!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finding the Hastings Mantra

C - nothing?

Smoothie happiness
 As predicted, today is cold and rainy, and I have done 0 miles and 0 push ups.  Instead, I'm back to gray skies and blueberry-banana-strawberry-pineapple smoothies.  It's a tough life.

Amy Hastings
Photo by: Victah Sailer
Photo Run
Speaking of smoothies, I was unable to find enough smoothies to meet my smoothie challenge for our trip, but D and I did discover some delicious Midwestern beer.  We also found out that Nuun is a good pick-me-up when hiking the Grand Canyon and that the crazy lime flavored Gatorade we found is always good (I wish I could remember the flavor name- maybe D will?).

Finally, I've been thinking about Amy Hastings' amazing Olympic trials effort.  I love that she kept pushing herself, even when she knew she wouldn't qualify.  While I can't imagine running at her pace, I'd like to bring more of that attitude to my running.  Sometimes on short runs with D, I'll feel discouraged when he starts to break away.  I don't give up, but I should keep pushing myself to accelerate even when he's out of range.  I need to tell myself to run like Hastings.  Call it the Hastings mantra.

Monday, January 16, 2012

And We're Back

D - Ran 5 miles - 45 minutes
The run felt really good, and it's a good feeling to have planned ahead to skip the rain.

Here are a few highlight photos from the end of our trip. It consisted of a 6 mile run in flagstaff, 2 days staying on the Grand Canyon (2 long hikes and a 4 mile run along the canyon rim), and a 12 mile (maybe 13 with stairs) run along the Vegas strip (thank you C for coming up with all of our running maps!) 

Well, here they are!
Running the flat but very pretty Buffalo Park

Well, flat except for the very end, where a small dip at 7,400 feet altitude felt like a mountain 

Hiking the canyon, C staying as far from the edge as possible

but she hiked both days, and we made it pretty far down

after a day in the canyon we enjoyed some amazing views
I'm really starting to love running with a camera

yay vegas

After a week out west, our skin felt like that turtle looks. Bring lots of water when running out here!

"Back to Life, Back to Reality. . ."

C - 5 miles, push up challenge

D @ the Grand Canyon South Rim! One of the pictures that I do have.
Ok, so I know you'd much rather see beautiful running pictures, but almost all of our vacation pictures are with D.   Therefore, you're going to have to wait a little longer.  What I can do, is tell you that our vacation was amazing - truly amazing.
We both ran and hiked along the Canyon rim-  which could use some more fences...

We ran in Boulder, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas, and we loved every single run.  Running really is a great way to see a new city.  The city that we probably saw the most of by running was Boulder, but we also ran at over 7,000 ft in Flagstaff, saw the entire Strip plus some desert in Vegas and experienced a true hill work out in Santa Fe.  The Grand Canyon was the most beautiful, but it was also the most terrifying for me.  We were at the Canyon for two days- we ran the first day, and we hiked part way down both days.  We now have a gazillion pictures of me clinging to the Canyon rim and some sweet pictures of David next to overlooks.   Oh, and a nice shot of a lucky mule deer living by/in the Canyon.  In case you can't tell, he's moseying along the Canyon rim trail - a trail that we ran and hiked parts of and was the easiest on my fear of heights.

Running at elevation was difficult, but not impossible.  The hardest part was going up hills.  I really struggled with a tiny hill that we ran up three times on our route in Flagstaff, but I was comfortable running at a slow-ish pace when there were no hills.

I came back from this trip tired.  We ran three miles in Boston yesterday, and D seemed ready to go, but my legs just felt done.  Nothing hurt, but nothing really wanted to move either.  I was looking forward to taking today off until D pointed out that there will be cold rain tomorrow.  So I did my Tuesday 5 miler today, but I purposely did not take a watch and I ambled along listening to my Marathon Talk.

In other news, yay for an exciting Marathon Olympic Trials!  One of the best write ups that I found was here.  While I still haven't seen any video (anyone find it online??), I love that the top four women ALL finished faster than the previous Olympic Trials record.  Video of their post-race interview is here.  I am very excited for London 2012!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We'll be back to blogging shortly

Hi all, c and d here at the grand canyon. We don't have internet access except by phone, so we'll update our running adventures once we hit vegas.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

 C and D - ran .... in ....  (C - push up challenge) * Santa Fe

So we ran somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour through the back yard of D's sister's place, which we had hiked the day before to an altitude above 7500 feet. If you ever want a really good work out, the mountains surrounding Santa Fe with just a little bit of snow will kick your butt into shape. We climbed some pretty serious hills, jumped stream beds, treked through snow, contemplated what type of dog or coyote could leave a paw print quite that size and stared down a territorial dog or three. All this, and we managed to not get lost.
Sadly, this was our last day in the hills of Santa Fe,

but the proud new parents of JE (who is doing very well according to his doctor) are looking forward to some time as a family and to getting some sleep. We left after our run, and we headed out across the state to Arizona. There, we stopped at the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park. Despite our amazing back country exploration that morning, we couldn't help but to keep thinking that it would have been amazing to do our runs around here. There are so many little trails you can go out on for a mile or so, and the views are staggering. Sadly, we arrive with only an hour and a half to explore the 28 mile road the runs through the park, but we still made the most of it.