Friday, February 27, 2009

The Next Great American Runners

OK, I'm jumping on the Nikemom's T.G.I.F. Foto Friday bandwagon. The theme for this week is, "America's Next Top Runner".

Here are two of America's Next Top Runners:

This was taken several months ago. My boys (age 3 & 6 at the time) were running via the Wii Fit. I'm sure Jimmy Buffet shirts and sliding-down shorts will be the "hip" running apparel one day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Asics Kayano 15s & Me

Thanks for all the comments regarding my infatuation with my new shoes!

I'm happy to say that I still love them. I ran almost 3 miles today and they feel amazing! I felt no pain in my joints while running. My ankles and knees didn't complain at all after my run!

Saturday is our training group 10-mile run. This will be the true test of our love... through uphills & downhills... in dirt or on concrete... for better or for worse... if my Kayanos remain faithful, I will pledge my undying love.

At least until I wear them out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is It Shoe Love?

"Good-bye, Not-So-Old Friends"
I changed my running shoes. I was happy with my previous pair... except that I've been having ankle and knee pain. Even with the insoles I purchased last week, my joints have been nagging me while I run.

I bought my running shoes and insoles at Road Runner Sports . They have an incredible return policy! They give you 60 days to try out your shoes and 30 days for the insoles. If you aren't happy, they will take them back.

So, I decided to exchange my shoes for a pair with more cushion. I wanted to do some research first, so I went online. I went straight to Runners' World and stumbled upon a video of their Editor's Picks for shoes. The first pair reviewed looked like a winner to me... Asics (ding!). Stabilizing (ding! ding!). And cushiony (ding!, ding!, ding!). The shoe was this one:

This is the Asics Kayano 15. It is built for those who need stability and also has added cushion. The laces are designed to follow the natural curve of the foot. They aren't much heavier than my Asics 2140s , which were nice & light.

When I tried the Kayano on at Road Runners' it was as if a heavenly light shined down on my Kayano covered feet. I could almost hear the angelic singing that goes along with moments of divine intervention (well, at least as they appear on TV).

Yes, they felt that good!

I ran on the treadmill at the store with them. I had the shoe expert record my feet as I ran just to make sure they were the right shoe for me. He said they looked good. Yay!

The great part is, after exchanging my 2140s and the insoles, the new shoes cost me nothing. Normally, they are about $40 more than my 2140s. I was happy to go home and tell my husband (who is extremely supportive, by the way) that I upgraded my shoes at no extra expense!

Keep in mind, I have not really run in them yet. I plan to put my new babies to the test tomorrow. Hopefully, they work as well as they feel!

My Stats So Far This Week
Monday: 3 miles on the treadmill
Tuesday: 3.9 miles on the road
Wednesday: Day off*

*I meant to do some strength training and core work today but I slacked off.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nine Miles, No Trail

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was excited about my Saturday group-run because it was supposed to be a trail run. Well, due to all that "torrential" rain we had last week, the coaches decided to bypass the trail and stick to the paved roads. I was disappointed but I figure it's better than getting my new running shoes covered in mud.

This run was tough! At the start of the run, there was a hill that went on and on and on... I ran as much as I could. Walked. Ran. Walked. Sort of ran. Walked. And so on. I know hills are our friends but I don't like them.

When the route did flatten a bit, it was a little easier but I was probably taking it too easy in order to baby my ankles. For the whole nine miles, I alternated between running and walking. It wasn't the "high" I got after my 8-miler last Saturday, but it was still fun- and the longest route I've done so far.

For my mid-run "snack", I chose the Cliff Gel in Mocha flavor. It wasn't horrible... and it didn't make me gag like brussel sprouts and sushi do. It was difficult to get down, though. The gooey consistency was like nothing I've ever eaten.

Did it give me more energy? Eh, hard to tell. I did feel like I had more energy after the run. Usually I go home, kiss the kids & hubby, and crash on the living room couch for a while. This time, I went home and suggested we all go on a hike (I was still a little disappointed that our run was not a trail run). So, that's what we did.

We have lots of great hiking trails in our area. If you really wanted to, you could hike in the mountains and the desert on one day. The next day, you could hike in the California brush areas (that's the stuff responsible for a few of our more recent wildfires) and then take a stroll along the beach. I love this about San Diego!

Here are a few pictures from our hike in North Inland San Diego County, which is where we live:

The inland brush areas are pretty when green.
During the summer and fall, this is all brown and dry.

An old barn left over from when the property was a ranch.

Just when I was thinking this could be a great place to run, we encountered this hill.
Lots of people do run here, though. Maybe someday...

We figured this guy could be dinner if we got lost. Mmmm... lizard on a stick.

My wonderful men- none of whom like getting their picture taken.

Almost done after about 3 miles of hiking... I wore the boys out. All of them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mystery Food

This was a non-running day for me. I have a 9-mile run scheduled for tomorrow. I'm particularly looking forward to this one because it's mostly a trail run. I'm thinking it will be like hiking- only faster.

Last week, the coaches for my running group told us to start bringing some energy-type food to eat during our runs. In a strange way, I'm excited about this... I'm now running long enough distances to consume those mysterious, funny-shaped packages that I've seen at the check-out counters at the athletic stores!

So, which to buy? Well, I had a credit at Road Runner Sports so I decided to try out a bunch. Here is my collection:

I haven't decided which of the gels I will try out during my run tomorrow. It's a tough choice since the idea of downing a mouthful of gel doesn't sound very appetizing-- I don't care what flavor they call it! As of tonight, I'm leaning toward the Mocha Cliff Shot since it has caffeine and it's going to be an early morning.

I love Jelly Bellies so I don't think I need much convincing to pop those in my mouth. The Cliff Shot Bloks mystify me... what are they? They feel gummy. They look yummy. Are they cubed Gummi Bears? Do I eat them as I run, instead of the gel? Will they yank out my fillings? Hmmm... so many new things to discover in the running world.

So, tell me...what is your favorite energy food-thing to eat while running?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On the Road Again

This is going to be a short one... I have had a headache all day (I get a killer headache at the same time every "month").

I just wanted to thank those of you who gave advice and encouragement about the pain I was feeling in my ankles. I'm happy to report that I got out there again this morning and was able to run mostly pain-free. Yay!

I started out running like a little old lady but gradually got back into my slow but steady pace. Honestly, I didn't want to run this morning. It's been nice snuggling and watching Curious George with my littlest boy in the morning. But once I got going, I felt so good and happy to be out there again! I knew I could get my snuggling time in after my run.

Anyway, that's all. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's blogs... looks like some good ones (gotta find out what the green guy is about!). I'll probably catch up with y'all tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


February 17
Training Assignment: Run 40 minutes
Actual: None

Listening to My Body
My ankles are still griping at me. By griping, I mean, they hurt! I haven't run since Saturday and have missed two training days. This is discouraging and frustrating. Saturday's run was such a "high" for me. Now, I'm waiting for my ankles to feel better and tell me it's OK to start running again. I would run and try to ignore the pain but I'm afraid of causing even more damage that would keep me from even more training days.

Searching for Solutions
Today, I went to our local Road Runner Sports to find out if the cause of my ankle pain could be due to my shoes or if an insole would help. In case you don't know, Road Runner has an incredible return policy. If they fit you for shoes, you have 60 days to use them to see if they will work for you. If they don't, you can return them. That's better than Nordstrom's return policy!

I explained my problem to one of the shoe-fitters and she rechecked my pronation with the shoes on. She seemed to think the shoes were fine and perhaps I need more cushion. To my surprise, she offered to find some shoes to replace the ones I have. I have been running in Asics 2140 and I really like them. She brought out some Saucony that she thought might provide more cushion but they felt heavier and not any more cushiony than my Asics.

I asked about the Superfeet insoles... I had done a little research on them and thought they might be beneficial to my whiny, little ankles. The shoe girl wasn't so sure about whether they would help or not. She was more concerned that I had been over-training and that might be why my ankles were hurting.

I usually am very suspicious of salespeople trying to sell me things I don't need-- not at Roadrunner Sports! I have been there a few times since I started this venture into running and have never felt pressured to buy anything. I almost had to sell her on the idea that the Superfeet might help. She finally suggested that I try them and if they don't work, to bring them back within 30 days.

Superfeet or Not?
So, the verdict is still out as to whether or not the Superfeet will help. Only time- and running- will tell. I just have to get out there and run again! I'm thinking it would be smart to take tomorrow off, too. Ugh! That will be three days of training missed. So, unless my ankles feel completely better when I wake up tomorrow, I'll be waiting to run. I think I'll use my Yoga DVD instead. I'm sure the stretching will help.

Advice, Anyone?
Has anyone else had ankle pain from running? This pain is mostly on the outside of my ankles. There is no bruising or swelling (which would suggest stress-fractures). I've been looking into ankle support options, such as Kinesio Tape and ankle wraps . Have you tried either of these options? If so, what do you think?

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Monday Morning Run-- Mission Aborted

February 16
Training Run: 35 minutes

It's Raining, It's Pouring
It's raining here today. When it rains in San Diego, it is a major news story. The anchor men and women jump into action, put on their serious faces, and give names to the news-worthy weather. Names such as, "Storm Watch 2009" or "The Biggest Storm of the Year". Never mind that it is only February. Never mind that it's just rain... rain we need in order to stave off the constant threat of drought.

I love the rain and I was looking forward to running in it. I was excited about trying out my new running rain-jacket to make sure it really works. I got the jacket on clearance a couple weeks ago and debated the necessity of it. Here was my chance to justify the purchase.

Fashion and the Average Soccer Mom
The only problem was, my ankles and my right knee have been hurting since yesterday morning. I'm sure the pain is mostly due to the 8-mile run on Saturday.

My ankles and knee probably would have been fine if I had not decided on high-heeled, no cushion-what-so-ever boots to wear to church yesterday morning. It probably wasn't smart to wear the boots while doing errands and carrying my four-year-old on my hip at the same time. I knew they were making my body very unhappy.

It probably would have helped, also, if I didn't have a soccer game last night. I only play once a week so I refuse to invest in a pair of expensive, foot-friendly cleats. The sprinting around the soccer arena is tough enough, but it's the constant stopping and turning that made me realize how much my ankles were bothering me.

And the Point Is...
I headed out in the rain this morning to do my scheduled 35-minute run. I didn't get very far. My ankles and knee are pissed at me and they let me know it! Yes, I'm training for a marathon. Yes, I'm enjoying the challenge. Yes, I have grown to love running. But, no, I will not push my body to the point of injury.

So, I turned around and went home... where I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and the company of my husband (the kids are at grandma's).

By the Way
It was raining enough to discover that my running rain-coat works pretty well. It got wet and I could feel it but my skin did not feel wet. Yay! Money well-spent.

And here's the quote for the day. It has nothing to do with running but it ties into what I wrote about at the beginning of this blog:

"Stay tuned to News 10, where we will tell you how to keep your family safe in this severe weather..."
~News Anchor Woman on Channel 10
(just now... seriously!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Best Run Ever!

February 14
Group Run: 8-miles

Red Robin & Yummy French Fries
A new milestone for me on Saturday! The West Coast Road Runners met early in Carlsbad, CA to embark on an eight mile run up the coast. I was nervous about this because my training runs during the week were not the greatest.

The night before the run, we went to Red Robin for an early Valentine's Day family time out. I ate lots of french fries and most of my Whiskey River Chicken Burger. So, so yummy!! I was tempted to get a chocolate malt for dessert but I decided against it. I was pretty full and worried about how all the food might effect my run... but I figured it couldn't make my run any worse than it had been all week.

Valentine's Day on the Coast
Sounds romantic, but my morning on the coast was strictly for the purpose of running. And what a perfect place to run! A few hills, yes, but mostly running right next to the water along the "strand" which leads from North Carlsbad to Oceanside. It was chilly but only partly cloudy... no rain as predicted.

The ocean to the left of me... the railroad tracks to the right of me... my favorite tunes in my ears... the run up to the turn around point was fantastic! I kept running and running and didn't feel a need to walk. When the first half of the run was almost over, it occurred to that I just might be able to run the whole 8-miles without stopping to walk. It seemed like a nearly unattainable goal at the time, but there was that smidgen of hope in the back of my mind.

I Did It!! (Well, Mostly)
About 6 miles into the run, as I headed back to where we started, I decided I would go for it! I would do the eight miles without walking. I was so tired but I convinced myself to keep going. I kept remembering all the motivational quotes that talk about running being a mental sport. I ran at my usual snail-like pace but I kept going. And going. And going.

Until the very end of the course. The hill that I ran down at the beginning of the run was a great way to start, but not a nice way to finish. I ran up as much as I could but finally had to walk to the top when I realized I was about to topple over the side of the bridge wall (or so it seemed). After the crest of the hill, I ran the last couple blocks to the end.

In spite of the short 1/10th of a mile I had to walk, I felt pretty darn proud of myself! Three weeks ago, I was shedding tears of frustration that I couldn't even run/walk 5 miles without feeling like I was going to die. Now I was fighting back tears again... but this time tears of joy and a sense of accomplishment! Two months ago I never would have dreamed of running nearly 8 miles non-stop. I feel so good!

So, there it is... my Saturday run in a nutshell.

The moral of the story: Eat french fries the night before a longish run. Lots and lots of french fries. :) OK, don't quote me on that... but I'm willing to try it again!

I may have used this quote before but it's one of my favorites right now. Except for the diet part... I still like to think the french fries helped.

The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy. It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed.
~Jacqueline Gareau

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Running Week

January 11
Training run: 40 minutes (did about 3 miles)

January 12
Training run: 30 minutes (did about 2.5 miles)

I can't say that this has been my best week running since I started nearly 4 weeks ago. It seems like I was feeling more successful a last week. I was running and thinking this morning (I can do both!) about why this might be the case this week.

I've been reading that it can be a long process getting your body in the right shape for running. While my heart and mind might be ready, my body is going through a cycle of tearing down and rebuilding as it adjusts.

I'm hoping this is just one of those weeks when my body is readjusting itself to fit my training. I feel I need to focus on getting more sleep and eating more balanced meals. I have had a busy week with unexpected problems (broke a molar yesterday...). I haven't been eating as well or as often as I should be.

So, time to get back to basics!

Meanwhile, I'm already thinking about other races I can do. I would love to do the Seattle Rock & Roll HM in June... about a month after the San Diego Marathon. I'm also looking into doing the Chicago Rock & Roll half in August. I don't know that I will do these (there is the whole problem of money and time) but I like the idea of traveling and running.

We have an 8-mile run on Saturday and I'm excited about it! Another record number of miles for me. You can bet I'll be blogging about it!

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."
~Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Love My Fireplace

Monday, February 9
Training Assignment: Run 35 minutes

My body was not a happy runner this morning. Maybe I'm worn out from the 7-mile group run on Saturday. Or maybe from sprinting around during my soccer game yesterday. Maybe my body was letting me know that it was miffed about having to run on the treadmill at the gym.

In any case, I did the 35 minutes assigned by my training coach, but I was so tired. I felt like I did the whole run wondering how much longer I had to go. That only makes it seem even more laborious.

Even now as I write this, I feel worn out. I think I'm going to take a day off tomorrow- which is supposed to be a running day- and run on Wednesday instead. Wednesday is supposed to be a "rest" day but I think I need that rest now!

As an extra bonus, it's supposed to stop raining by Wednesday so I will be able to do my run outside. I'm also hoping my bruised foot and blood blister I got when a 19 year-old girl stomped on my 38 year-old foot during soccer will be be less irritating by then. That little whipper-snapper!

So, I'm ending this blog now. And I'm too lazy to find a motivational quote for the bottom of my post. Do you have a favorite running quote? Maybe you can share it in the comment section while I lie in front of the fire like a tired, old dog.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Seven Mile Saturday

February 7
Saturday Group Run: 7 Miles
Carlsbad, CA

In spite of the possibility of rain, the West Coast Runners met for our seven-mile run this morning at 7:20. This is the longest run I've taken on to date.

There were not as many runners this morning, probably due to the weather. The forecast said there would be rain all through the county this morning but when we got to our meeting point, the sky was only cloudy. No rain... just nice and cool.

The run went well! I kept my usual slow pace but I ran most of the seven miles. I enjoyed running along, watching the waves pound the rocks and sea cliffs. There was even a rainbow in the sky (but no matter how fast I ran, I couldn't find the end & get that elusive pot-o-gold). It was a great feeling to get to the finishing point, knowing I had completed the full seven miles. This is addicting!

After our run, the coaches talked about proper gait and stretching techniques. Good information. I realized I need to work on how I carry my upper body and focus on landing more mid-foot and less on my heel. I'll be working on these while I run this week.

Running Thoughts

I know I've mentioned before that I like running by myself. It's not that I'm all that entertaining, I just don't get the luxury of being by myself very often. Running is relaxing to me. It's almost like the impact of feet on pavement (or dirt) shakes up the lint and dust from my brain and scatters thoughts around. My thoughts have a chance to float around uninterrupted. They are mostly random, simple, and blessedly meaningless.

Here are some of the thoughts that floated carelessly through my brain during my run this morning:
  • Dang, this running rain jacket is hot... it's not even raining.
  • I hope these mud puddles don't ruin my shoes.
  • I love you, stop signal... keep saying "Don't Walk" for just a little while longer.
  • Is that guy taking a leak over there in the bushes??
  • Maybe I can tie this jacket around my waist.
  • Oh, those waves are coming right up to the side of the road... maybe I'll get splashed... Yay!
  • What a cute puppy.
  • OK. This jacket is coming off.
  • I don't see any other team runners... I hope I don't get lost.
  • I wonder what would happen if I stopped and sat on that bench to watch the waves with that man over there. Maybe he'd share some of his coffee.
  • OK... there are some team members. I'm not lost.
  • Darn it! I need to tie this jacket tighter.
  • Ohhhh... a rainbow. Wish I could run with my camera.
  • I like my new bra.
  • My team members are coming back my direction... maybe I'm almost at the half-way turn-around point.
  • My butt hurts.
  • Is that the turn-around point? Why is it moving away from me... sort of like that rainbow?
  • How do people run so fast?!
  • Is that the turn-around point?
  • Is that it?
  • I... think... I'm... there...
  • And turn!
  • OK... back the way I came.
  • Where did this hill come from? I don't remember running down this part.
  • I wonder if people can hear me breathing...
  • Dang! That coffee looks good!
  • The tide must be going out now...
  • I'm glad I got this jacket off. I'm getting used to it hitting the back of my legs now.
  • How do people run so dang fast?
  • There's that cute puppy again! Hi, baby...
  • How much longer?
  • Am I lost?
  • No, that's where I cross the street.
  • I hope I get the red light... I hope I get the red light.
  • Ahhhhhh... thank you stop light... I love you.
  • I'm almost there...
  • Don't slip in the mud puddle...
  • There's the end!
  • There's Mitchell, waiting for me.
  • Yay!! Done!
  • My butt hurts.
Next week, we run eight miles. That's one extra mile to run, fluff up my brain a little, and hopefully not get lost. Unless it's in my thoughts.

"I always loved was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." -Jesse Owens

Friday, February 6, 2009

Running for Daniel

Today I registered to run in a 5K called the Carlsbad 5000. I was not planing on running any other races before the Rock & Roll Marathon but I when I heard about a group putting together a fund-raising team for a little boy I know, it was a no-brainer decision to join the team and sign up.

Here is some background regarding this boy's situation:

Last school year a fourth grader who attended the school where I taught was hit by a car while chasing his skateboard down his driveway and into the street. Daniel was struck hard by a car driven by a teenage boy (who was going the speed-limit, by the way). Daniel suffered many injuries, including fractures and major head-trauma. He was placed in a drug-induced coma in order to let his brain rest so the swelling could go down.

After numerous surgeries and months in the hospital, Daniel is home. He is confined to a wheelchair and has extremely limited movement. He currently attends special day classes at his local public school. Some of the teachers at this school are the ones who put together this running team.

The team is hoping to raise money to help Daniel's family buy a van that has a motorized lift for his wheelchair and that can accommodate his needs. I saw the opportunity to join the running team when I read their family update on (a website for families going through rough times due to injury or illness).

So... I'm running a 5K now, too. This one is for Daniel.

I'm waiting for permission from Daniel's mom to post links to his CaringBridge site. If/when I get the permission, I will put them up in order to share his story.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random Ramblings

February 5th
Assignment: 35 minute run
Actual: 4 miles (about 60 minutes)

Random Thoughts Filling my Attention-Deficit-Disordered Brain
  • Do you think it's possible for me to get to at least a 13 minute mile before the Rock & Roll Marathon on May 31?
  • At my current rate, I worry I'll be dragging myself across the finish line long after the officials, spectators, and other runners have cleared out and gone home.
  • Seven-mile run coming up on Saturday... it's supposed to rain. What do people wear to run in the rain?
  • My hands got sooooo cold running in the morning this week.
  • How is it possible to be cold and still sweat at the same time?
  • It's so strange to be cooling down and warming up at the same time. My body didn't know what to do with itself this morning!
  • Why was Michael Phelps so stupid as to toke it up... especially when he knows he's a public figure who will likely be photographed while doing it?
  • I need to find a good running bra. I'm small-framed but biggish in the boobies... any suggestions?
  • I get to sleep in a little tomorrow!
  • My husband wants to start running. This is great, but he doesn't think he needs to invest in good running shoes.
  • I'm hungry.
  • My favorite running songs this week: Red, Red Wine; Come On Eileen; I Run for Life
  • I almost started crying today as I was running and listening to "I Run for Life". Wow! I've never really listened to that song before... I heard it but didn't listen to it. Great song!
  • My butt is a little sore.
  • I love Chocolate Chip Cliff bars. I could eat them like candy!
  • My hands smell like garlic. I love that... that means I actually cooked!
  • I love the running community! Where else can you find such a great bunch of total strangers, offering encouragement and advice?!
  • I just found out there might be lightning on Saturday. What do people wear in an electrical storm while running? Hopefully nothing! I mean, hopefully we won't run in an electrical storm...
  • It's past my bedtime. Good-night!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


February 4
Non-Running Day

I haven't had much chance to blog this week so I have some catching up to do.  Guess it's good there isn't a whole lot of new stuff to blog.  

I've been keeping up with the training schedule set by the West Coast Road Runner coaches.  I've even added a little bit of time to my weekday running because I'm hoping it will help prepare me for the seven-mile Saturday run coming up.  I'm not over-doing it... just pushing myself a little more.  We'll see if it helps to keep me from getting my butt kicked by seven miles of San Diego coastline (which can be a little hilly).  

A New Attitude
When I started this adventure of training for a marathon, I never expected to start loving it!  At best, I hoped I'd learn to tolerate it.  I used to see people running and I'd think, "Ugh!  That looks miserable!  Why would anyone want to do that?"  

Now, when I see people running while I'm out doing errands I find myself thinking, "I want to be running... oh, that's right- I already ran today."  I never imagined myself ever thinking something as crazy as that!

Body & Bootie Changes
My jeans are fitting better again!  My butt is getting smaller and firmer.  My legs are more firm. Even my arms are looking more toned... how the heck did that happen?  I don't run on my hands.  

I have tried so many things to try to lose the extra 5-10 pounds I've been lugging around since my second child and nothing has worked... until now.  I'm not at my ideal weight yet but I see changes, I feel changes, and my clothes are fitting better.  To that, I say "Woo-hoo!"

Looking Ahead
I can't imagine getting to the point in my training where I am expected to run 10 miles... 15 miles... 18 miles... and finally 26.2 miles.  I hear my some of my West Coast Road Runner friends talking about the long runs ahead.  They know what lies ahead because they've done this before. 

They assure me that there will come a time when I will actually think a 12-mile run is nothing! Right now 12 miles seems like something only a die-hard athlete would do!  I have a tough time picturing myself thinking of a 12-mile run as a breeze.

I'm looking forward to getting to that point!

"We are here to be heroes.  The marathon is the one way we prove it to ourselves."
~George Sheehan