Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sure FELT like Ten Miles!

Beautiful Lake Hodges

Today's run was supposed to be ten miles... it ended up being shorter than that, but more on that later. I couldn't run with my group so I decided to do my run on the trails around Lake Hodges. Lake Hodges is in north San Diego County, about 15 driving minutes from my house.

Lake Hodges was just one of the areas hit hard during our last wild fire in the fall of 2007. Several homes burned down and the landscape was blackened by burned trees and brush. The damage caused by the fires is still visible but there is regrowth everywhere. The flowers are abundant, the blackened trees have leaves, and there are little animals scampering around.
It's beautiful again!

Burned tree


Poor me. I don't have a Garmin. It's OK, you may cry on my behalf. Would you like a tissue?

I decided where I was going to run today based on a route I found on I've run at Lake Hodges before but only as far as 8 miles. There are no street names out there on the trails so I had to try to figure out from the map where to turn around and head back. I thought I had it right... even thought I might have gone too far... when I turned around. After I got home, I logged my run on the map. I was able to find the approximate area where I turned around and it turns out I only ran 8.64 miles. Ugh! I was mostly disappointed because it felt like I ran so far!

Sunny and Warm

I love sunshine. I love warm. The problem is, running makes "warm" turn into "hot" pretty quickly. At around mile six, I was very uncomfortable. Before I left home, I put on SPF 50 sunscreen but it felt like I was getting burned by the sun. It was almost 80 degrees at 10:45 a.m. I should have started my run much earlier than I did... I knew it was going to be warm but didn't think it would make running so much harder. Now I know.

New Stuff

I ordered an ID wristband from Road ID and it came in the mail yesterday. I love it... the strap is pink and has my name & emergency phone numbers engraved on a metal plate. It is very comfortable to wear and I feel better knowing that if anything ever happens to me on a run, my family can be contacted. Even if I get eaten by a mountain lion, it's bound to poop the medal part out eventually, thus making my fate obvious.

I also got a new iPod (Nano) for my birthday. I had been using my husband's iPod Shuffle. I love that I can make playlists on the Nano. Now I have only stuff I like on my music player. I'm also looking forward to downloading audio books to listen to while running. Any suggestions?

California Poppies

So many beautiful wild flowers are in bloom around the lake. Among my favorite, are the Poppies. Here are some pictures I took as I finished up my run.

That's all! Have a great weekend, everyone! And good luck to all those who have races this weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stats and Trails

Today's Stats

60 minutes (while watching Curious George and Oswald with 4 yr. old)
30 minutes in the a.m./ 30 minutes in p.m.
Errands: Big 5 Sporting Goods, Target, Gas for Van, Grocery Store
Laundry: Rest day
Fun: Nature walk with boys, visit kittens at the pet store
Run: 39.41 minutes (Trails)
Wine: 1 glass Chardonnay... so far.

As you might be able to tell, I got a lot done today. Except for laundry (putting away a monumental pile of clean clothes yesterday did me in). In actuality, it was a pretty frustrating day. This was one of those days when I just needed a Mommy Time-Out.

As soon as my husband got home from work and I made certain my guys wouldn't starve to death, I gathered up my stuff and rushed out the door.

Destination: Kit Carson Park's Trails

Today's run was just the Mommy Time-Out I needed. Just me, my tunes, my camera, and half of my brain (the other half got lost somewhere in the dirty clothes pile... I'll find it when I'm ready to do laundry again).

My run went pretty well in terms of my knee/leg pain. The pain is still there but it isn't any worse. I've been making sure I stretch & ice it after I run. I'm also taking a rest between run days.

I think I ran a little faster today. It's hard to tell because I didn't follow the exact same route I took on Monday and I do not have a Garmin (or other tool) to measure distance. I just felt like I was going faster. I also included trails with more hills today. Fun stuff!

Tomorrow is a day off from running. I'm hoping to get some strength work in. I also want to do Yoga using the Yoga for Runners I downloaded today from Yoga Download. Thanks to Amanda at Run to the Finish for the coupon code... I downloaded a 60 minute class (audio) for only $2.98. The site also includes a printable file of the Yoga poses used in "class".

Saturday is supposed to be a group run but I'm going to do my own thing, instead. This is because the 10-mile trail run the group is doing involves a very steep, long hill. I wouldn't worry if we were just going UP... it's the DOWN part I fear. I'm going to do my 10-miles around one of our local lakes (Hodges). It's hilly but not a knee-buster.

Now it's time for me to hit the hay. (Yawn) Good night!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Return to Running

I did it!
I ran today, after more than a week off. My knee/leg did not feel 100% but I figured I could always stop if I needed to. I started out with a longer-than-usual warm up walk. When I did start running, it felt awkward at first. I felt stiff and hesitant about putting weight on my knee. Once I got into the flow of it, I felt good.

Dirt Lover!
I decided to give one of our local parks a try. They have lots of walkways and trails. I kept to the trails as much as possible since it feels better on my joints. I felt like a kid in a candy store! There were a few different trails to choose from and it was hard to stick to the shorter trails. The routes I chose were pretty flat, with only a few small hills.

Speaking of Hills...
I used to dread hills. I avoided them as much as possible. Now for some strange reason I like running up hills. OK, I'm not talking about huge, steep hills... yet... but I do like the way my legs feel when I run up a manageable hill. I don't like going downhill, though, because of my knee.

Family Fun
My husband and kids went with me to the park when I did my run. They played, explored the "woods", and kicked the soccer ball around. We got the kids to burn off some energy, my husband got to spend quality time with the boys, and I got to run. A win-win-win situation.

Speaking of Family Fun...
My boys (ages 4 and 6) have decided they want to run in the Jr. Carlsbad, which is the kids' version of the Carlsbad 5000. The kids do their races on Saturday, while the main races are on Sunday. It seems like a fun day for everyone. They are SO excited because every kid who runs gets a medal (my 6 year old wants this), a Goodie-bag (my 4 year old wants this), and a T-shirt (Mommy wants this).

The only problem is, I'm supposed to do a 16-mile group run that Saturday. I think I'm going to have to do the run on that Friday on my own so that I can see my boys run. I can't miss that!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good New, Bad News

The good news is...
  • My knee/leg is feeling lots better but I'm still giving it a rest.
  • I enjoyed a belated 14 year anniversary dinner with my hubby last night (the kiddos had a Grandma's house sleep-over).
  • I got to sleep in this morning... something I haven't done in a very long time!
  • It's a beautiful, sunny Saturday and the house is quiet... the boys are still at Grandma's.
  • I am catching up on my fellow runners' blogs.
The bad new is...
  • I had to miss our 14-mile group run this morning.
  • I feel lazy & fat.
  • My Asics Kayano 15's are gathering dust.
The best news is...
  • The good news out-numbers the bad news!
I'm hoping to start running again next week. Maybe give the old knee a try on Monday & see how it goes. It's been very helpful and encouraging to read your comments regarding my knee/leg. It makes me feel good to know that resting it and taking my anti-inflammatories will payoff in the long run (ha ha... pun intended).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

Alive and Kicking
So... I went to the doctor on Monday. After a lot of poking, prodding, twisting, and squeezing (of my knee, that is), my doctor had no real answers for me.

He sent me to get X-rays and prescribed an anti-inflammatory. My X-rays were normal so I'm happy about that. The doctor said he would refer me to a specialist if the pain continued after taking the anti-inflammatory and after giving it a rest.

True Colors
I'm glad he's the type of doctor who can admit that he is not an expert on sports related injuries. I also like that he didn't suggest that I just stop running all together. Other runners that I know have had this said to them by their doctors.

Take It Easy
I've been resting my leg by not running all this week. I still plan to not run the 14 miler scheduled for Saturday. I've been taking the anti-inflammatories. And my leg & knee feel so much better! I still have pain that shoots up my thigh if I put too much weight on my leg (unless I lock my knee), but I'm not limping around anymore.

I'm hoping to get back to running sometime next week. Don't worry, though... I'm keeping everyone's advice in mind and won't run before my leg/knee is ready.

How About You?
Have you ever gone to a general practitioner with a sports or running-related injury? If so, what kind of advice did he/she give you? Have you ever been told to just stop running?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lots of Great Advice

Thanks, everyone, for your comments about my knee. I'm taking your advice (and the advice of my husband) and will be calling my doctor in the morning. I don't know how knowledgeable he is about sports injuries, but I'm hoping he will at the least refer me to someone who is.

I really appreciate what you all had to say. I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again... the running community is amazingly supportive!

I'll let you know how the doctor's visit goes.

And Mark, thanks for deciding to not buy that house for me. I'm certain you saved me from certain doom during the next big storm. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

12 Miles I Shouldn't Have Run

My Longest Run Ever
Today was our 12-mile group run. This is the longest run I've done to date. I was wrong when I said in my last blog that we were going to run past Torrey Pines Golf Course. We actually went the opposite direction and headed north along the 101.

In spite of the trouble I had been having with my knee, the run started out great! The tide was low so we were able to run along the beach (the sand was compact) for about a mile. This felt wonderful on my joints!

For the whole run, I was able to run:walk 10 miles before I really started to feel the pain in my knee flare up to a whole new level. The eleventh mile was painful but I could still keep up with the running intervals.

It's All Downhill From Here
At about the twelfth mile, it was downhill for the rest of the run. I'm sure you know that downhill running is really hard on the knees. I was in so much pain by then, I pretty much limped my way back to my car. I stretched, iced, and drank my chocolate milk before heading home.

Since I've been home, the pain isn't any better. In fact, it's worse. What started out as knee pain a couple weeks ago, is now radiating from my knee and midway up my thigh. I thought it was "runners' knee" but now I'm worried that it might have something to do with my IT band... or worse, a stress fracture.

I'm very disappointed. I'm already anticipating being out of running commission for the next week, including my long run next Saturday. I know I need to give my knee/leg a chance to get better. I'm sure most of you can relate when I say that this frustrates me.

My plan for this week is to keep icing, stretching, and strengthening.

I took my camera with me on my run today. It was overcast all morning but it was still a beautiful place to run.

Looking north... almost to the 6-mile (halfway) point.

Looking south... close to the end of the run.
This is part of the downhill mile (or so).

Anyone want to buy me this house for my birthday?!

Friday, March 13, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday

This is my little Sand Monster.
Gosh! I can't wait for summer!!

Running notes:

  • My knee still hurts but I bought a band to go along the bottom of my knee cap while I run. It seems to help.
  • I ran yesterday but kept it slow... for the sake of my knee.
  • Tomorrow's group run is 12 miles along the coast. This is a beautiful area but hilly. If you follow golf at all (I don't), you've probably heard of the Torrey Pines Buick Invitational. We'll be running in that area.
  • I'm going to try my 2:1 interval strategy for this run. I'll let you know how it goes.
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Run:Walk- Day One

Yesterday (Monday) I tried out the run:walk method for the first time. I ran at 2:1 intervals. Two minutes running, one minute walking.

These were my findings:
  • Made time go fast: Maybe since it was a break from my usual routine... I like to mix things up (this applies to most areas of my life).
  • Surprisingly smooth: It was not as difficult to run-walk-run as I thought it would be.
  • Faster Pace: I found that I could run faster for the 2 minutes that I ran. My walking was at a brisk pace, as well.
  • Good workout: Probably due to the faster pace, I felt like I was getting my heart rate up and working my legs.
  • Not a knee-fix: After trying this method, my knee did not feel any better than it does after a straight run.
As I mentioned, my pace was faster using this style. How much faster? Well, my usual pace- when I run the whole way- is at about a 15 minute mile. I've never established this time down to the second because I figured it was enough to know that I'm slow.

Yesterday's run was accurate due to the fact that I had to keep track of the intervals as I ran. The same run that took 40 minutes last Thursday, took 33.50 minutes yesterday. This translates into a 12:21 min/mile. I ran 2.74 miles.

Hmmm... interesting.

Will I keep doing this for my runs? I'm giving my knee a rest and I'll try it again on Thursday (assuming my knee feels better). I plan on doing my 12-mile run on Saturday using intervals, also. After that, I'll play it by ear... er, or should I say foot?

By the way, I bought an icepack for my knee today. I love it! It's very cold and wraps around my knee using a neoprene cover with velcro straps. I've used it only once and my knee feels better already. If you're interested, it's the HotCold Therapy Wrap by Pro-Tec Athletics.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Thanks to everyone who responded to my question regarding getting my butt kicked by the "Minute Walkers".

After reading your comments and looking into the Galloway method, I decided to give it a try. I don't think I'll do the 1:1... that's a little manic for me. I'm going to try a 2:1 (2 minute running: 1 minute walking) and see how that works for me.

I have a few reasons for wanting to try this. First, my knee has been bothering me since my 10-mile run two Saturdays ago. Second, we have a 12-miler coming up this Saturday and I am very nervous about trying to run this. Finally, I'm ready to try something new, with the hope that it will be better for my body and maybe even make my time better.

The main obstacle I have to get over is me. I have it in my mind that I'm somehow cheating or letting myself down by walking (on purpose). Intellectually, I know there is no shame in walking but it's harder to convince my pride of that.

I'll try it out this week and let you all know how it works out.

Thanks, again, for all your input!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Trail Run... Fun!

Trail Fix
Our group run today was 8 miles along a lake. The best part was, it was on trail. There's something about being out on a trail that makes me feel at "home". Maybe because my family liked to go camping and hiking when I was a kid. I take my kids out on hikes/trail walks as often as I can.

I love running along the coast for its beautiful scenery and cooler temperatures but the beach areas are usually crowded and congested with cars, bikes, and people. Of course, the trail has its own sort of traffic... other runners, walkers, bicyclists, and the occasional horse rider. But, there are no cars and the amount of people strolling along the route is much less.

Dirt, Rocks, Views
Today's run was challenging for me. There were a few hills and my right knee has been hurting since last week's 10-miler. I loved every minute of it, though. The dirt beneath my feet, the sounds of nature, the rocks, the view of the lake... so much fun! I was tired and sore at the end of the run but it was worth it.

X's & O's
Since the route was close to my home, my husband and my boys met me at the end of the run. My 4-year old's sweet, smiling face at the end of the run was a blessing! He gave me lots of little kisses and hugs, even though I was sweaty and dirty.

My husband was able to get a few pictures of me slowly running into to the parking where the group had met before the run.

Here's one:

The lady in the red shorts is one of the coaches.
She was waiting for the stragglers. I was one of them.

Snail Runner vs. Minute Walkers

So, now I have a question for you:

1. There were a couple girls who started the same time I did. I nicknamed them "Minute Walkers". They walked for a minute & ran for a minute. They did this for the entire route. I was frustrated because they beat me back to the finish. I know I run slow but I really busted my butt to run as much as possible. I'm wondering if the Minute Walkers* are on to something... something better than what I'm doing. What do you all think?

*Maybe I should change the "Minute Walkers" name to "Minute Runners". It sounds a little better.

Friday, March 6, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday

This is my six year old. He lost his first tooth on Tuesday.
That's the tooth in his hand. He was so excited, he even let me take pictures of him sporting his newly-gapped smile!

A Sort of Enlightenment

I had an epiphany that night when I got to be the Tooth Fairy.

I've been a Mommy for over six years but often don't feel like much of a grown-up, myself. There are moments, however, in my Mommyhood when I feel like a grown-up... like a parent. For example, the first time I had to fight the school traffic jam in order to drop my son off at school~ it felt like such a grown-up thing to do.

Playing Tooth Fairy made me feel like that too. As I quietly exchanged my son's tooth for a 1974 Silver Dollar, I felt mature. I felt responsible. I felt like a parent. I felt like MY parents! I think those are the times when I truly feel grown-up... when I find myself doing some of the things my own parents did for me.

Now, before you call CPS and report me as an admittedly irresponsible parent (except for the times when I get to fight school traffic or get to be the Tooth Fairy), let me explain that I am a grown-up and I usually act like one. I just don't usually feel like one. I like it that way.

Running Related Stuff

Tomorrow is our group run. Eight miles on mostly trail (supposedly). I'm excited about this! I've been itching to get out and do a longer run on some trails instead of on asphalt. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Have a great weekend of running & relaxing & being with loved-ones, everyone!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


As a woman who runs alone, I am constantly aware of my surroundings. You just can't be too careful, I guess.

These are the things I look out for while I run:
  • Big white vans
  • Dog poop
  • Killer bees
  • Drunk drivers
  • Stupid drivers
  • Skateboarders
  • Coyotes
  • Stray dogs
  • Crows sitting above me on tree branches
  • Horse poop
  • Rattle Snakes (on trails)
Aside from stupid drivers and poop of all sorts, I'm happy to say I have not encountered any of these possibilities... until today.

I live in an area of San Diego County that has a lot of open spaces. Near my home there are hills, open fields, and avocado groves. As a result, we also have a lot of coyotes. Mostly they come out at night and their prey usually consists of bunnies, gophers, cats, and other small animals.

It seems that they are becoming more bold these days as more and more people move into their stomping grounds. It's not uncommon to see them in the daytime, wandering around on the outskirts of populated neighborhoods.

I was about three-quarters of my way through my run this afternoon, when I saw what looked like a small, funny-looking dog cross the street ahead of me. As a recovering dog-fearing person, I was immediately on the alert. I watched from a short distance as it disappeared into a group of eucalyptus trees. I decided to keep going since the dog looked like it could do only minimal damage if it decided to attack my heels.

As I approached the spot where I saw the little "dog" go into the trees, I watched another dog- a much bigger dog- cross the street ahead of me. At first glance, it could have been a German Shepard. Its tail, legs, and gait gave it away. It was a coyote. It, too, disappeared into the trees. I then realized that the first dog was a coyote, as well.

My heart started pounding and I debated turning around and heading back the way I came. It was late in the afternoon and my husband was expecting me home soon. To run back the way I came would be way too far. It would get dark and my husband would start to worry.

I decided to keep going since there were enough cars coming and going to give me some confidence that the coyotes would not come out and attack me. I also kept my hand close to my canister of pepper spray (I don't run alone without it).

I crossed to the opposite side of the street from the trees where the coyotes ventured. I kept my ears and eyes alert for signs of other coyotes that might come out of hiding in order to join their buddies in the trees.

While that was the last I saw of the coyotes, I have to admit I was spooked. Spooked enough to pick up my pace and run -not walk- up a big hill. Every little noise I heard after that made me nervous. I even saw a huge black dog staring at me from behind a flimsy, little fence. I almost started to panic when I realized it was just a small horse.

I was glad when I finally reached my cul-de-sac. I felt a little foolish being afraid but I think I did pretty well for someone who used to fear being mauled to death by the yappy little chijaujau down the street.

So, here are a couple questions for you:
  1. What do you fear while you run?
  2. Have you ever been spooked by something during a run?

The following are pictures I took of a coyote near our house a few weeks ago. It was out in the middle of the day and seemed to be looking for gophers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Saturday Run

It's been a few days since my Saturday run but I've been so busy enjoying our beautiful weather, I haven't had a chance to blog.

Here's a Quickie About How Saturday Went
  • We showed up late for our group run... we got lost due to a freeway closure.
  • Since my pace group was already on the road, I didn't take enough time to stretch or warm up before the run.
  • The scenery was absolutely gorgeous!!
  • There were quite a few hills.
  • My muscles felt like lead... probably because I didn't stretch much or warm-up.
  • The weather was perfect!!
  • My new shoes felt great!
  • It was a loooooong 10 miles.
  • Did I mention the scenery was gorgeous?
  • I went thigh-deep into the ocean after my run. It was cold and it felt so good!
To sum it all up, it was a tough run but the weather was unbelievable and La Jolla is one of my favorite places. I was actually distracted by the scenery and found it difficult to keep my mind on running.

Next Saturday, we cut back back to 8 miles. My last 8-mile run was my best so I'm excited about it!

Here is why I was so distracted while running*:

Those blubbery things on the beach are seals.

Baby seal snoozing in the sun.


The ocean was clear and the sky was blue.

* These pictures were taken the day after our run. The weather was so beautiful this weekend, my husband and I took our boys down to La Jolla Cove on Sunday.

My guys... the two smaller ones are trying to ignore their Mommy with her camera.