Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Marathon

Well...

I FINISHED THE MARATHON!

It was tough. I was slow... even slower that I had hoped to be. But I finished it and still had a big smile on my face!

My chip time was 6:44:32. See? I told you I was slow.

I felt like I was doing great until about mile eight. I felt OK until about mile 13. After that, I hit that wall everyone talks about.

I think there were a few contributing factors in play by that time:
  • An annoying and painful blister had developed on the big toe of my right foot.
  • My left heel started hurting pretty badly.
  • I mistakenly thought there were going to be GU packs available around mile 14 so I didn't ration very well. As a result, I ran out of gel packs. The GU station was at mile 17 or 18.
  • My hydration belt kept riding up on my waist and that bugs me.
There were many, many positives about the race:
  • The whole thing was very well-organized.
  • The volunteers were awesome!
  • The weather was overcast and drizzly... perfect.
  • It was a fun race with lots of positive energy.
  • Some of the neighborhoods had residents passing out water, treats, oranges, and even beer! Some guy gave me a handful of Peanut M&Ms... and I told him that I love him.
Reflections
I'm a little disappointed about my time. I was feeling positive enough during the first half to think I might finish in under 6 hours. When I started having to walk more than I could run, I knew that wasn't going to happen.

To keep the disappointment at bay during the race, I kept reminding myself that a few short weeks ago I was contemplating dropping out of the race due to my injuries. I had to remind myself that I have not been able to do much running in order to train properly due to my knee issues... then the heel trouble.

So... to sum it all up , I consider it a blessing that I was able to participate in the race at all! I am grateful I was able to finish it... much better runners than myself have had to drop out of their own marathons due to injuries or illness. It was fun and I feel proud of myself for having done it. I do not plan on doing any more marathons, though. For me, half marathons seem to be more compatible with my running style, life, training, and health.

Pictures of the Finish


I was SO glad to see that finish line!


What's up with the thumbs?
I don't know... too many
Happy Days episodes when I was little, maybe.
I was in love with The Fonz.

With my free post-race beer.
The big concert was put on by the English Beat.


But Wait- That's Not All!
I plan on posting more about the race tomorrow... including some observations, some of the amazing people I saw, and my favorite water station (which was at around mile 10... which happens to be the mile I dedicated to Patrick at My New Life on the Run).

Again, I'd like to thank all of you for cheering me on!! You rock, Bloggers!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's Here!


Holy Cow!!

The day I have been thinking about, training for, eating for, planning for, talking about, reading about, writing about for five months is here!!

Well... tomorrow it's here, but you know what I mean.

I can't believe it's been more than five months since the day I woke up, decided I needed something constructive to do, and figured I should run a marathon. I've blogged before about why I decided to do this so I won't bore you with the details... plus, I don't really know why. As I've mentioned before, maybe it was because I hated running so much that I chose this particular goal. Yes, I'm a little kooky like that. But anyway, I said I wasn't going to blog that again.

When I decided to keep this blog about my marathon training, I had no idea how many wonderful runners out there in Blogland would come to my side, virtually speaking, and offer their support. So thank you, everyone, for your encouragement and words of wisdom. I will be thinking about you while I run tomorrow. And you. And you. And you. And, yes, especially you! If that creeps you out, get used to it because I'm going to be out on that course for a looong time!

Right now I am excited, scared, antsy, and feel like I should be doing something physical in order to be ready. But I'm just trying to relax, drink my water, and get my mind prepared for tomorrow. I still don't know what to have for dinner this evening... but I'm sure I'll think of something. :D

Goals

I read somewhere that it is good for runners to set goals for each of their races. My goals are simple and few:
  • Finish
  • Finish before the broom pushers sweep all the trash out of the finish line area.
  • Finish with a smile on my face.
  • Finish with pride.
  • Finish in an upright position.

Expo Excitement!

Yesterday (Friday) I went to the Expo down at the San Diego Convention Center. It was fun! I got my bib, my goodie bag, and my free race shirt.

I also got to meet Irene who is a fellow citizen of Blogland. We had fun looking at the exhibits, shopping, dodging people, and shopping some more. It was a busy place yesterday... I'm sure today is crazy-crowded!


That's Irene, in case you don't know.
We were standing like we didn't really know each other.
Oh wait- we didn't!



By the end of the Expo, we were good buddies.
And princesses.


Helping the Economy

One thing I learned about Irene yesterday, is that she loves to buy running stuff just like I do! We got some cute stuff at the expo. There was so much I wanted to buy! There were all kinds of gadgets and clothing items I wanted... but I was good. After all, two people alone can't take this country out of a recession all by themselves.


I bought this shirt:


In case you can't tell, it says "marathon mom" on the front. On the back it says, "run along now".

As in... "I'm cooking dinner, run along now." Or "I'm going to the bathroom, run along now." Or "Yes, that is a beautiful snail, run along now."

Ch-ch-ch-changes
After reading your comments on my last blog, I decided to carry more food gel. I also decided to wear my hydration belt during the race. I know a lot of runners who are against running with the belt because it slows them down. I'm just worried that I will be so slow during the race, the aid stations will close or run out of water before I finish. My hydration belt also carries more stuff in the pockets (like more gel packets). It holds four water bottles but I'm only going to use two of them. You know, so they don't slow me down. ha ha

I also might wear my black Nike hat instead of my pink hat. I've been wearing my black hat since I started training and I feel like I owe it the honor of going with me to the finish. I was concerned about wearing black because of the sun but it has been cloudy and drizzly here for the past couple days. I don't think I need to worry about the sun making my head too hot.

And She's Off!
I am done blogging for now. Thanks for all your well-wishes and kind words! I can't wait to tell you how it goes! Have a great weekend & to all you others who have races, Good Luck & Have Fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What am I Forgetting?

Ready-Set-Pack!

I feel like I'm getting ready to go on vacation, yet I'm only traveling one half hour away from my house. I'm talking about getting ready for the marathon (as if you didn't know that). I've been planning what I'm going to wear, what I'm going to eat, what I'm going to carry on my body during the race, and even which hair elastics I'm going to use.

Normally, I'm not a planner but when it comes to getting ready for certain things (ie. work, trips, and long runs) I like to be ready ahead of time. I have found that it cuts back on my stress level in the early morning rush. The more unknown a situation is for me, the earlier I start getting ready.

It's only Thursday, but I am as ready as I can be for now. Here are the items I have ready to go right now...

Backpack Essentials


  1. Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans in case I can't find coffee somewhere
  2. Electrolyte water from Trader Joe's
  3. Knee brace
  4. Face Sunscreen... SPF 50
  5. Glide, of course
  6. The Stick
  7. GU Chomps... just in case
  8. Myoplex Chocolate Crunch Protein Bar for after the race
  9. Nathan Body Wipes
  10. Toilet wipes (so I don't have to use my sock)
  11. Lysol Spray for the port 'o potty (see... I was serious about that, folks!)

Where's Waldo Sara?
And, just in case you're going to be in the marathon, waiting at the finish line, or watching the live feed of the finish on the web and you want to look for me... this is what I will be wearing:


  1. Pink Shirt
  2. Pink Hat
  3. Gray Run Skirt
  4. Pink & White Socks
  5. Blue and White Shoes
  6. Sunglasses
  7. Bright yellow marathon belt
  8. Watch (so I know when to run:walk)
  9. Pink Road ID (in case I keel over on the side of the road)
  10. iPod (fits in a nifty little pocket in the shorts attached to the skirt)

Good Thing the Belt Stretches!


  1. My Phone (so I can take pictures and call my husband if I need to)
  2. Strawberry scented lip balm with SPF 15
  3. Chocolate Accel Gel
  4. Toilet wipes (in case... well, you know)

Just as when I pack for any type of trip, I feel like I've forgotten something. For those of you who have done this before, am I forgetting anything I'm going to need?

By the Way...

I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Challenge Accepted... I Think

Music for Running

Inspired by Irene, today I created a playlist to listen to during the marathon. There are 92 songs all together. It works out to be six hours, 15 minutes, and 11 seconds.

Then, because I had nothing better to do (translation: "Because I didn't want to wash the dishes"), I posted that bit of information on my Facebook status. Tall Mel wanted to know what my top ten songs are. Tall-in-Wedges Mel wanted me to list them all in a blog. I'm still not sure if she was serious.

Well, since I still have nothing better to do (translation: "Since I hate putting laundry away"), I decided to respond to the Mels in a single blog. I'm going to list all of the songs on my playlist. I will indicate which are my 10 favorite running songs for Tall Mel.

I'm going to write them in order of how they appear on my iPod playlist (mostly alphabetical by artist). When I run, it's on "shuffle" so they won't be in this order for the race.

  1. Take a Chance on Me -- ABBA
  2. The Lucky One -- Alison Krauss & Union Station
  3. She Talks to Angels -- The Black Crowes
  4. Into the Ocean -- Blue October
  5. Run-Around -- Blues Traveler
  6. Don't Look Back -- Boston
  7. Not to Us -- Chris Tomlin *
  8. Accidentally in Love -- Counting Crows
  9. Proud Mary -- Creedence Clearwater Revival
  10. Bad Moon Rising -- CCR
  11. Who'll Stop the Rain -- CCR
  12. Don't Dream it's Over -- Crowded House
  13. Up and Away -- Dave Matthews Band **
  14. Grace is Gone -- DMB
  15. So Much to Say -- DMB
  16. American Baby -- DMB
  17. Ants Marching -- DMB
  18. Come on Eileen -- Dexy's Midnight Runners **
  19. Mercy -- Duffy
  20. The Riddle -- Five for Fighting
  21. Monday Morning -- Fleetwood Mac
  22. Don't Stop -- Fleetwood Mac
  23. When I Come Around -- Green Day
  24. Sweet Child O' Mine -- Guns N' Roses **
  25. Knockin' on Heaven's Door -- Guns N' Roses
  26. Upside Down (Remix) -- Jack Johnson & Money Mark
  27. Me and Bobby McGee -- Janis Joplin **
  28. No Slack -- Joe Bonamassa
  29. Unbroken -- Joe Bonamassa
  30. Waiting for Me -- Joe Bonamassa
  31. Red Light -- Jonny Lang
  32. Bump in the Road -- J. Lang
  33. Anything's Possible -- J. Lang
  34. Don't Stop Believing -- Journey **
  35. Walking on Sunshine -- Katrina & the Waves
  36. Black Horse & the Cherry Tree -- KT Tunstall
  37. Suddenly I See -- KT Tunstall
  38. Fool in the Rain -- Led Zeppelin
  39. All Downhill -- Lyle Lovett
  40. In My Own Mind -- Lyle Lovett
  41. If I Had a Boat -- Lyle Lovett
  42. Private Conversation -- Lyle Lovett
  43. Independence Day -- Martina McBride
  44. I Run for Life -- Melissa Etheridge **
  45. Breathe -- Michelle Branch
  46. Shattered -- OAR
  47. Fool in the Rain -- OAR
  48. Hit Me with Your Best Shot -- Pat Benatar
  49. Outrageous -- Paul Simon
  50. Grace Like Rain -- Plumbline * **
  51. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) -- The Proclaimers
  52. We Will Rock You -- Queen
  53. We are the Champions -- Queen
  54. Fat Bottomed Girls -- Queen
  55. Dani California -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
  56. Snow (Hey Oh) -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
  57. Time Stand Still -- Rush
  58. My Redeemer Lives -- Rueben Morgen *
  59. Walkin' on the Sun -- Smashmouth **
  60. Dakota -- Stereophonics
  61. A Thousand Trees -- Stereophonics
  62. Step on my Old Size Nines -- Stereophonics
  63. Have a Nice Day -- Stereophonics
  64. Pick a Part that's New -- Stereophonics
  65. When the Stars Go Blue -- Tim McGraw
  66. Sweetest Thing -- U2
  67. Desire -- U2
  68. All Along the Watchtower -- U2
  69. Angel of Harlem -- U2
  70. Beautiful Day -- U2
  71. '40' -- U2
  72. When Love Comes to Town -- U2 with BB King **
  73. Red Red Wine -- UB40 **
  74. A Thousand Miles -- Vanessa Carlton
  75. Baba O'Riley -- The Who
  76. Your Love is Amazing -- Brenton Brown *
  77. Forever -- Chris Tomlin *
  78. I Lift my Eyes Up -- Kutless *
  79. Majestic -- Lincoln Brewster *
  80. Everlasting God -- Lincoln Brewster *
  81. Blessed be Your Name -- Matt Redman *
  82. Jesus Lord of Heaven -- Kutless *
  83. Another Hallelujah -- Lincoln Brewster *
  84. Today is the Day -- Lincoln Brewster *
  85. Let the Praises Ring -- Lincoln Brewster *
  86. Tom Sawyer -- Rush
  87. Marathon -- Rush
  88. The Tide is High -- Blondie
  89. Heart of Glass -- Blondie
  90. The Climb -- Miley Cyrus
  91. Once in a Lifetime -- Talking Heads
  92. And She Was -- Talking Heads
  93. The Day we Caught the Train -- Ocean Colour Scene
Nope, that is not a typo... there are now 93 songs. I realized while I was writing this that I forgot to put #93 in my playlist. Good thing I wrote out all the songs, otherwise I might not have realized the Ocean Colour Scene song was missing. That could have thrown off my whole race!!

In case you haven't noticed, the songs with the red * are church/worship songs. These songs help keep the focus off of myself when I'm getting worn out. I find they help me stop thinking about how sore and tired I am.

The ten songs that have the ** are the my favorites for running. They either have a good beat, make me happy, or keep my mind off of myself for a while. I added a bunch of new songs today, though, so I may find some other favorites.

Wellness & Heeling (Pun Intended)

That crazy-looking night splint seems to be helping. I woke up this morning, stepped on my heel, and *voila!* no pain! It felt mostly better all day... until I stood around on our hard floor making dinner without my shoes on, because my 7 yr. old spilled apple juice and my running shoes got the brunt of the splatter.

So I'm happy! Not about the juicy shoes, happy about my heel. Thanks for all your well-wishes, suggestions, and sharing your knowledge!

Monday, May 25, 2009

RICE... It's not Just for Dinner Anymore

Rest is best...
Or so they say.
Ice is nice
Did it today.
Compression
Works well for me!
Elevation...
High as can be.

When did RICE become something you do?
Don't ask me, 'cause I haven't a clue!
Rice used to be just something to eat...
Now, it's something I do to my feet!

My Old Codger Boot

I'm doing all I can to get my heel as healthy as it can be for Sunday! I'm "RICE"ing it. I've been stretching and rolling it. I'm being good to my foot. It owes me- BIG time!

I even purchased one of these beauties today:



Ya, I know what you're thinking... "Those are some styling socks! Where can I get a pair of those?!"

You may even be thinking... "That is one invasive splint. I sure hope that thing helps. And doesn't hurt someone in the process."

If you're my husband (and I'm pretty certain you are not), you call it an "old codger boot" and then you have to laugh at me. And you know what? I don't care! I'm willing to try anything right now to get my heel race-ready.

Truthfully, it has been getting better. All your advice has been helpful! As injuries go, I would consider my heel problem relatively minor. Except for the fact that I plan on putting it through 26.2 grueling miles in about 5 days.

I have not tried to sleep in the night splint yet. I've heard it's uncomfortable and I believe it! If it helps, it will be worth it. As an added bonus, I think the cat will be in for a nasty surprise when it tries to attack my feet in the middle of the night. Mwha-ha-ha-ha. Take that, Kitty!

Good News!
I found a ride to the race with a friend of mine... Theresa, who rocked the Carlsbad 5000! A friend of hers is going to drive us down to the starting line and drop us off. This will save me a drive down to the San Diego Airport Authority lot, where I would have to park and then wait for a shuttle bus to the starting line.

I much prefer to be dropped off at the start! I am so happy that Theresa and her friend have invited me along! It will also be great to have a friend to wait with... at least until we have to separate into our corrals. She will be in Corral 8. I am assigned to Corral 20. Um... did I mention she ROCKED the Carlsbad 5000?

Speaking of Food
I know... I wasn't speaking or writing of food. I had planned to blog about food but now it's my bed time. If I had blogged about pre-marathon food as planned, it would have been the perfect segue to letting you know about Amanda's giveaway at Run to Finish. She is having a cookie giveaway! Check it out!

Good night! Time to get some much-needed sleep and to put my night-splint to the Spastic Kitty test.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Racey Thoughts

One week from this moment I will have have finished a marathon! I can hardly believe it. It is starting to sink into my mind that this is going to happen. I'm pretty good about keeping my nerves in check about most things. If I get nervous about stuff, I usually don't allow it to surface until the anticipated moment occurs.

I have to admit, though, I am:
  • Nervous
  • Excited
  • Scared
  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Happy
Mostly, it's the unknown, small details that are making me nervous. Like:
  • How will I get down there?
  • What will I bring?
  • Will it be chilly?
  • How much coffee should I drink?
  • Should I bring a little can of Lysol to disinfect the yucky blue port-o-potty before I use it?
  • What will I do with my stuff?
  • I know... they have UPS trucks taking all the "stuff" to the finish line, but then I have to find the truck... and my bag after the race.
  • What if I get lost on the route? Trust me, I get lost easily! Very easily*.
  • Should I wear some makeup? I want to look alive when they take my picture.
  • What if I can't find my husband at the finish line?
  • What if I can't sleep the night before the race? I'm not a good have-to-sleep sleeper.
Then there are all the "maybes"... many of which are irrational:
  • Maybe my heel and/or knee will get so damaged from this race that I will never recover.
  • Maybe I'll get lost.*
  • Maybe all that sweet Cytomax will make my tummy very unhappy.
  • Maybe I should wear a diaper.
  • Maybe some well-meaning at-home spectator will spray me with their garden hose. I hate getting sprayed by hoses. Even more, I hate wet socks.
  • Maybe I should bring an extra pair of socks... I read of someone who ended up having to use her socks as toilet paper during a marathon. I assume she ran sockless for the rest of the race. Hopefully, she did not put them back on her feet.
  • Maybe I ought to bring some toilette wipes.
Then there are all the week before the race concerns, mostly involving eating, drinking, and resting questions. I'll blog about those another time since this blog is getting long and the hour is getting late.

*Some examples of me getting lost:
  • Very nearly walking into the men's locker room at the gym last week after using the pool.
  • Getting so lost at Caesar's Palace in Vegas that it took me an hour to find my way out.
  • Losing my car in the hospital parking garage.
  • Not being able to find my hotel room (on numerous occasions).
  • Getting lost (and very late) on my way to jury duty.
  • Practically panicking in a pumpkin patch corn maze because I couldn't find my way out... I was ready to tear down those corn stalks.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

So Much to Say

Update
I want to say thanks to everyone who left such kind and encouraging words about my dad. It was so nice to read your comments.

My dad is doing better. He is still in the skilled nursing facility, but hopes to get out next week. He has been receiving physical therapy twice a day and pretty much has his fine motor skills back. Walking is still a struggle, which isn't surprising since he was still recovering from back surgery when he had the TIA.

I really appreciated all your well-wishes and prayers! What an amazing group of people you are, Running Blogger Friends!


I Said I Was Not... But I Did
Last week, I blogged that I was not going to run until the marathon in order to give my knee and heel a chance to recover. Well, today I broke down and ran. I felt I needed it since it's been such a stressful week and because I'm dealing with the how-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-this-marathon-if-I-don't-run jitters.

My group was scheduled to do six miles today. My kids spent the night at their grandma's house on Friday so I took the opportunity to sleep in. And I did. Until 10:30, my friends... just like my pre-kids days.

After I woke up (on my own sweet time), I had my coffee and cereal and headed to the gym. I ended up doing three miles on the treadmill. I figured that would be a good number to give my knee and heel a little work without doing too much damage.


The Treadmill Blues
I don't like running on the treadmill. Who's with me on this? Running on the treadmill is trudgery for me. Boring. Monotonous. Repetitive. Predictable. All the things I dislike in life and in running. I had to keep telling myself to not feel discouraged... that the marathon will be much better and seem like less work because of the crowds, energy, and being outside. I hope I'm right because three miles on the treadmill was pretty miserable!


*I found this picture on another blogger's site: Check it out...


My Aches & Pains
Great news! My knee/leg is probably about 95% better. It did not bother me at all during the week last week or during my run. I decided against giving a 100% because it felt a little twingy for a while after my run. The twingies are gone now, though. Yipee!

My heel, on the other hand... well, let's just say that after reading your comments on a previous posting, I'm pretty sure I've got a mild and/or beginning case of plantar fasciitis. I've been taking a lot of your advice and have been icing, stretching, rolling, resting, and pleading with it. It felt better during the week, especially yesterday. After my run today, however, it is tender. I'm going to fight this because I don't want it to keep me out of the marathon.

I've seen this funny-looking contraption at a few different sports stores:

Have any of you tried this? Did it help? Is it worth the $35?


This is a picture of the Pro-Tec Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint. There are quite a few different night splints out there... any other recommendations?


One More Week!
I can't believe the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is a week away! I am excited... and I am scared. I have lots of thoughts and emotions whisking around in my head regarding the race. I will share them on my next blog... after I get them rounded up and under control.


By the way... Irene, that blog title is for you! What song is it? I didn't intend to do that but it fits!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Snip Snip

Today my four year old "trimmed" our cat's whiskers.

Poor kitty.




Sigh... I need to run!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Compression Convert?

Saturday's 10 Mile Taper Run
It is often said that running is a mental sport. I believe that. Yesterday's group run was 10 miles and I have to say, it was more difficult in some ways than the 21 miles the week before. My perceived difficulty most likely came from these sources:
  • Although the run was partially along the Mission Bay area, much of the run was not very attractive. We hardly ran along the beauty of the ocean at all. Instead, we ran through neighborhoods with too much traffic and bad roads.
  • It was overcast. While that made it cooler, it also made the run more dreary.
  • I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to meet my group by 6:00. I was TIRED!
  • The biggest factor was my own frame-of-mind. Before the run, I thought of it this way, "Oh, it's just 10 miles. Easy-cheesy! Compared to last week, this will be a quick little jaunt along the coast."
The problem with that frame-of-mind is, 10 miles is still 10 miles! It still takes time to run that distance. In my head, I was ready for the run to be over practically before it started. But it wasn't... it seemed to take forever! It's funny how much the brain has to do with the quality and likability of a run!

Rock 'n' Roll Route
Even though much of the run was not very scenic, the benefit of running it was that a lot of it is part of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon route (maybe miles 18-23 or something like that). It is good to see where I'll be running for some of the marathon. One nice thing is, the roads will be closed so the traffic will not be an issue during the race.

Accidental Compression
After Saturday's run, I had to go to a party so I didn't get to do my usual "relaxing on the couch" thing. My bad leg was hurting so I iced it and on a whim, put on the knee brace I had purchased a few months ago. I figured the extra support would not hurt. It felt better just to have it on. I left the brace on for the duration of the party (about 3 or 4 hours).


The amazing thing was waking up this morning and having my bad leg be almost pain-free!! I was able to put my full weight on it and even chase my boys around at church. This has not happened after a long run in ages!

In my mind, I reviewed what I might have done differently to make this happen. The only thing I could think of is the knee brace. I've heard a little bit about the benefits of compression after a run but haven't taken it seriously. Until now. This is something I definitely want to learn more about.

What are your experiences with compression therapy?


Worrisome Running Stuff
My left heel has been bothering me for the past week. I'm wondering if it's the start of planters fasciitis. I'm trying to stretch my foot/arch, icing, and rolling my foot on a foot roller.

I don't know if this is the wisest strategy before a marathon, but for the next two weeks, I am going to do no running at all. I will continue with the cross training and strengthening but I really want to have as much time as possible to allow my heel to get better.

What do you think, my wise, experienced Running Blogger Friends? Any suggestions for dealing with a sore heel?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Just Say "NO" to Snooze Button



Why am I up? I have to get up early and do 10 miles tomorrow. I still need to get my stuff ready. It's 9:50 p.m. here and I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. Guess I better get off of blogger.

G'nite all! Have a great weekend of running, racing, doing nothing, or whatever is on your agenda!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hold the Whipped Cream

My New Pal
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I am now keeping track of what I eat. I'm hoping to lose 5 pounds, which will put me at my ideal weight & help decrease the size of the muffin-top that hangs over my lower-rise jeans... aren't all jeans lower-rise, these days?

A couple of you suggested FitDay as a tool to keep track of my food and calories. I checked it out but found it to be slow and had too many ads. I did some searching around and found another free food journal site called MyFitnessPal. So far, I like it. It's easy to use and there are lots of different types and brands of food in their database.

What?! I've Already Had That Many Calories?!

One thing I've noticed with my eating habits is that I eat a lot of calories for breakfast. I love breakfast! It is my second favorite meal... dessert being my all-time favorite meal. I consume too much cereal, too much creamer with my coffee, and too much chocolate in my milk.

Today was even worse in terms of morning calorie consumption. I went to Starbucks. That was mistake number one. I ordered a mocha... mistake number two. They put whipped cream on it, even though I told them not to... mistake number three (their mistake). I was in too much of a hurry to ask the Barrista to take the whipped cream off... plus, it IS yummy! That was mistake number four (my fault).

As if that didn't give me enough of a calorie boost-- I then ate two servings of my favorite cereal, Frosted Mini-Wheats. The cereal alone was about 300 calories, add 1% milk and the mocha to the meal and that gave me about 720 calories!! Yikes!

It's a little depressing. At the same time, it's good to see that my breakfast routine can get out of control and use up a large portion of my allotted calorie intake for the day. I need to be much more aware of what I eat and drink in the morning.

I ended up trying to cut way back on calories for the rest of the day but I got hungry by the evening.

20170
No, that's not the number of calories I consumed today. Close... but no. That just so happens to be my race number for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I got my confirmation packet in the mail yesterday. Woo-hoo! So, 20170 is it. It's a good number and should look nice on my shirt on race day.

Assuming I get to wear it. My knee has been bothering me a tad since my 21 miles on Saturday. Nothing horrible, but a little worrisome for me when I think about how it might respond to running 26.2 miles less than three weeks from today.

Here is an example of my constantly changing thinking process:

-"Stepping up that curb hurt! Uh-oh... maybe I won't be better by the time of the marathon. And if I am, what if the running a marathon ruins my knee forever?!"

+"Hey, my leg feels pretty good now that I iced it. Should I wear the pink shirt or the blue one for the marathon?"

- "Darn cat. I wish he wouldn't run between my legs... having to dodge around him hurts. Hmmm... maybe I ought to pull out of this race."

+ "Wow! My knee didn't hurt when I had to put all my weight on it just to get my pants on. I can't wait for the marathon!"

And so on. It seems like I am changing my mind every couple hours regarding whether or not I should do the Rock 'n' Roll. I even dreamed about the marathon the other night. I was running it. But I was lost. And my husband was running with me. Strange.

Is this normal? Am I having pre-marathon jitters?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lists


As I write this, my four year old is in his room. He was banished to his room because of his naughty behavior and because he needed to cool down. Yes, my adorable snuggle-bug can be a firecracker! And when he explodes... watch out!!

His four minute time-out was finished several minutes ago, but he refuses to come out. I think he thinks he is punishing me by not coming out. Ha ha ha... I'll just let him think that.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying some peace and quiet. A perfect time to write a blog that is sure to bore everyone to tears. Heck, it will probably bore me to tears.

The thing is, I need to get strong, do my physical therapy exercises, and keep up my cardiovascular work. I also need to drop about 5 pounds... five very stubborn pounds.

I decided it might help if I make a list of my workout plans and keep track of what I eat. I figured it might help even more if I share my lists with you. Now, don't get so excited... I'm not much of a list person and many of my list-making ventures end a day or so after I start them. But, I'm willing to give it a try... again.


This Week's Exercise Plans
  • Monday: PT homework (lower body strengthening & core)
  • Tuesday: Stationary bike (30 minutes) & upper body strengthening
  • Wednesday: PT homework & Yoga (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: Stationary bike (30 minutes) & upper body strengthening
  • Friday: Stretching & REST!
  • Saturday: 10-miles Group Run
  • Sunday: REST & eat whatever I want

Monday's Slop Log
  • Oatmeal with dried cranberries (1 serving)
  • Trail mix (peanuts, almonds, and chocolate chips)
  • Greek style yogurt with blueberry Muesli mix
  • Grilled chicken skewers with red & green peppers over brown rice, spinach and broccoli salad with almonds and Asian dressing.
  • One glass of wine
  • Honey-roasted peanuts (a handful)
  • Water throughout the day... but not enough.

OK... my little firecracker is out of his room and back to being a snuggle-bug. Time to go to Target!

Adios!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Behind




When I say "behind", I'm not referring to my Gluteus Maximus. I'm talking about my reading of blogs. That's what happens when I have a life for a couple of days.

I really enjoy reading everyone's blogs! I get so much encouragement from my running blogger friends and I find myself wondering what is going on with you all.

With that said, I have to plan my grocery shopping for the day. Yes, more "life" getting in the way of my blog reading.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm a Winner... AGAIN!

Heck, I think I should pack up my bags and head out to Vegas... I'm on a winning streak, here. I just got an email from Amy at the Runners' Lounge informing me I am one of the winners of the book, Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti.

In order to win the book, I had to finish one of three sentences about moms and running. I chose to finish "Running and motherhood are a lot alike..."

I finished it this way:

Running and motherhood are a lot alike... both push you beyond limits you never thought you could reach. Both come with good days and bad days. Both make you question your sanity. Both come hand-in-hand with hurt. Mostly, both result in rewards far greater than ever expected.

I don't know if the winners were drawn randomly or if they actually read what people wrote. Either way, I don't care... I've wanted to read this book ever since I read about it on another blogger's site (I just can't remember who wrote about it... anyone else know?). Yay, me!


First the Online Shoes certificate and now this. I rarely win anything... maybe my luck is changing.



Today
Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there! I hope your day was as wonderful as mine.

I'm feeling pretty good today, post-longest-run-ever. I'm sore in my legs, but I am assuming that comes with the territory. My knee hurts but not as much as it was hurting a few weeks ago.


I have so many blogs to catch up on! Better start reading...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Come Hill or High Water...

Exhausted
Right now, as I write this, I am exhausted. But it's a good exhausted. It's the kind of exhausted you get after going a distance longer than you ever thought possible. It is an invigorating kind of exhausted.

Twenty-one Miles and Still Smiling!
I'm sure there are people out there who would label me as crazy for thinking getting up at 4 in the morning and run-walking 21 miles is great fun. I know you don't think that, RBFs. You are all crazy, too!

And it really was fun! I ended up with three other girls who were going at the same pace I was going. Better yet, they were run-walking like me. We decided on 3 minute walk:3 minute run as our walk:run interval. One of the girls had a Garmin so it was even easier to keep track of our pace.

I ended up going on ahead of the group at about half-way through because I felt their walking pace was a tad slow for me. I felt like we were out on a leisurely stroll every three minutes. I didn't mind too much, though, because my plan was to take it easy for the first half and step it up a notch for the second half.

Bring the Hills!
I was determined to run when my running interval was on, regardless of the hills. Well, regardless of the up hills... because of my knee, I did not run down any hills. And run up hills, I did. And I loved it! Yep, I just get crazier and crazier.

Running Pretty
OK, not pretty pretty... but not ugly. I was able to run without looking like a wounded animal. I didn't even feel like I was running like a wounded animal. Things felt pretty good in the knee/leg department. It wasn't until around mile 14 that I started to feel little twinges of pain in my injured leg. The twinges were slight, though.

Mile 17
Mile seventeen was our final aid station. I could not believe it when the volunteers reminded us that there were only four miles left. I found myself saying, "That's all?!" I stretched a little, grabbed some pretzels, filled my water bottle, and kept going.

Mile 18
This is when I started to feel tired. Sore and tired. My left heel was hurting, my muscles were complaining, and my darn leg was getting more twingie. But, still... all was bearable.

Miles 19, 20, 21
Ouch, ouch, ouch. But still going, going... done!

The Tide is High, but I'm Movin' On
By "moving on", I mean "going in"... but that doesn't work since Blondie did not sing it that way. Since the end of the run ended up right at the beach, many of us decided to go in to help our muscles recover faster. The ocean water was cold. Very cold. It also felt like paradise for my tired, aching legs and feet. The tide was very high this morning so we did not have to wade far in order to get a nice lower body ice soak, courtesy of the Pacific Ocean.

The Final Analysis
Since I ditched Garmin Girl, I don't know my exact pace or time (I forget to set my chronometer... again!). I figured out that it probably took about five and a half hours to get through the 21 miles. I did stop a few times to stretch. I also stopped at a couple of the aid stations to chat and spread cheer.

So do I think I can do the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, based on today's run? You bet! I expect to be cutting it close time-wise, especially if it's hot the day of the race. But assuming my leg continues to cooperate, I will do this!!






I will do this!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A New Bounce in my Step



Kudos to Online Shoes
I got my shoes from Online Shoes today! First of all, let me say that I was very happy with the service I received from Online Shoes. I had a question about the gift certificate transferred to me by Christy at Run Like a Girl. I emailed my question and received a very prompt, helpful reply.

After I placed my online order, I accidentally canceled it(duh!). The lady I spoke with at the customer service center was not just helpful, she was very friendly. I like that I had no problem reaching an actual human being!

The shipping is free if you have it sent via UPS Ground. I received my new shoes and the running skirt I ordered today... just three days after I ordered them. I must say, I am impressed with Online Shoes.


My Saucony Grid Excursions TR3s
Now that I've established how happy I am with Online Shoes, I'll tell you what I think of the shoes I ordered through them. When I first put them on, I was a little concerned that they didn't fit... they felt a little snug. Then I realized that the toe box is probably a little more narrow than my Mizunos. After standing and walking in them, I determined they are not too tight.

Then I did a practice run around my family room, into the kitchen, and back to the family room. I swear, it almost feels like there are bouncy springs in the soles of my shoes. I felt like I was boinging across the floor. OK, I exaggerate... but after my clunky Kayanos and light-weight Mizunos, the Sauconys feel bouncy.

I like the way they look and the way they feel. I already tried them out in the dirt, rock-filled parking lot at my son's school, and I can tell they will be nice for trail running. I purposely stepped on chunky rocks and I felt like I boinged off of them.



Train Run on Saturday!
Not trail run... train run. This will be the third time the West Coast Road Runners have taken the train from Solana Beach to Oceanside for a long run back down to Solana Beach. I missed the first Train Run because my boys were competing in the Junior Carlsbad races. That was so worth it! I missed the second one because of my dang knee. Dang you, knee!

This Saturday's Train Run is 21 miles. This is the group's last long run before we start tapering for the Rock 'n' Roll. I'm going to check with my PT and with the WCRR coach to see if I ought to attempt 21 miles since my longest so far has only been 14 miles.


This map is for 20 miles... I guess they will get that
extra mile in there somehow!


New Hope
I didn't mention something to you all in my Tuesday's blog. What I ommitted to tell you was that I came home from the gym after my failed attempt at running on the treadmill and announced to my husband that I was done with running, walking, hopping, pogo-sticking, etc. until my leg is completely pain-free. I told him I was done with the running group. I was done with training for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I was frustrated.

Looking back, I'm sure I purposely didn't admit this in my blog because then it would be "official". And, dang it, I want to finish that marathon! To clarify, I can say this to my husband and have it not be "official" because he knows by now to "just go with it".

My knee does seem to be getting better and better. I don't feel like I suffered any set-backs after last Saturday's 14 miler. My left leg was overly tired, but after an extra day of recovery, it feels much better.

Twenty-One Mile Test
As long as my PT OKs it, I'm going to use this Train Run as a test to see how I might perform during the marathon. I figure, if I can walk... and hopefully run some... 21 miles, I can do it for 26.2 miles. This will give me a good idea of my timing and how my knee might react.

Awwww...
I told my husband all this this evening. True to his nature, he is "just going with it". He has been very supportive during all this crazy running stuff. Not once has he complained about money spent on running gear, race registration fees, or all the Saturdays he has had to get up with the boys instead of sleeping in.

He also told me that if I feel like I can't complete the 21 miles on Saturday, I can call and he & the boys will come get me. OK, everyone... all together: "Awwww..."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Mother's Day Gift

All I Want for Mother's Day
My husband has been asking me for days what I want for Mother's Day. I usually know exactly what I want, but with the budget being tight and the fact that I don't really need anything, I was having a hard time trying to decide.

I'm happy to report... because I know each of you is just dying to know... that I figured out what I want. I told my husband that I want to sign up for the Surf City USA Half Marathon.

I can't sign up until June 1st
Um, never mind... I just signed up!! I've been visiting the website every couple days (including last night) and it has only been open to past participants. I wasn't supposed to be able to sign up until June but they must have changed that. Woo-hoo!!

So, Happy Mother's Day to me! The race isn't until February 7, 2010 but that's just fine with me. With the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll still up in the air for me, I will have this race to help keep me motivated... and hopefully a few others from my "wish list" in the fall.




The Green Smoothie that Wasn't
I took Amanda's challenge for Raw Foods Wednesday, and decided to make a green smoothie. I used organic herb salad, spinach from my garden, cilantro from my garden, milled flax seed, flax oil, stevia, Greek yogurt, and blueberry juice*. I blended it all together in my blender. It was not green. It was purplish-brown... sort of like a bruise. It smelled... horrible. It tasted... even worse. It made me gag so I poured it down the drain. I don't mind eating my veggies, so I think I'll stick to solid vegetables.

*I did not get this recipe from Amanda. I'm sure she has much better ideas of what tastes good together than I do. I was just using what I had available.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lefty on Strike

Huh?!
So... I'm watching The Biggest Loser right now. The contestants have to run 26 miles as part of a challenge. They have 26 days to train.

Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable about this? I mean, these people have done incredible things, but a marathon?! It's not that I don't think they can do it, but it seems unhealthy to me. But then, who am I to say? I'm no running expert... just someone who over-did it in the training and am suffering the consequences of that.

My Workout
I made it to the gym today. My plans were to do strength training for my upper body and then do a run on the treadmill. The whole time I was doing my upper body work, I was looking forward to trying out my new shoes and logging in some miles.

Once on the treadmill, I warmed up by walking a lap and then upped the speed to running level. I could not do it! It was not just the pain in my right leg, which I'm used to... it was my left leg rebelling this afternoon! It didn't hurt, fortunately. It was tired!

I think my poor left leg has finally said, "Look, lady- I've been doing most of the work here, trying to pick up the slack for Ms. Righty over there. I even pushed us through 14 miles on Saturday. Well, I've had enough! I'm taking a rest whether you want one or not. I'll let you know when I'm ready. Don't call me... I'll call you."

I ended up taking both legs- and the rest of me- to the stationary bike (which is getting so boring). Then I did a little on the elliptical. Ho-hum.

My physical therapist suggested running in the pool. Have any of you tried this? If so, what did you think of it? Did it give you a good workout using the same muscles as running? Any suggestions or advice?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Peanut M&Ms and Shoes

Here's the Deal
I have eaten more Peanut M&Ms today than I care to admit. There were lots of small bags of them left over from my son's birthday party yesterday. They are yummy. Very. Yummy.

I think they are all gone now and that's a good thing.

New Shoes!
After my group run on Saturday, I was chatting with my friend, Elvi, about knees and shoes. She has very similar knee issues to mine. Elvi was sharing how much she loves her Asics GT-2140s . I mentioned that I had tried those but traded them in for a pair of Asics GEL-Kayano 15s due to ankle pain.

Elvi looked a little surprised and told me how she tried those until her knee pain got unbearable and her sports doctor told her the Kayanos are more suited for people who are heavier than she is... the Kayanos' cushioning is only effective if you have enough weight to place enough pressure on the cushion (or something like that). I'm a little heavier than Elvi... she practically disappears if you turn her sideways... and I don't know if all that is true but it got me thinking.

My knee stuff started at about the same time that I switched to the Kayanos. I remember thinking how much better my ankles felt, but that my knees were starting to hurt. I even went to Road Runner Sports and purchased some Superfeet in hopes that would help the knee pain. It didn't help much.

Prior to talking to Elvi, there was maybe a second or two where I considered the possibility that the Kayanos were not the best for me. I didn't entertain that thought for long, though, because the Kayanos are so comfortable, have awesome reviews, cost lots of money, look pretty, and have really cool angled laces.

After talking to Elvi about her experience, I made a quick decision to swing by Road Runner Sports on my way home from our run to see if my 90-day return period had expired on my Kayanos. My receipt was at home and it would have been way out of my way to go home and then back down to Road Runner Sports.

Road Runner Sports Rocks!
I took my sweaty, smelly self to the guy at the counter and asked if he could check to see if my 90 days were up. Turns out I was 5 days past my 90-day return period. Arghhhh!

This is one reason why I love RRS so much: The guy at the counter told me I could go ahead and exchange my Kayanos anyway. Apparently, they allow you a one-time-only to exchange past your 90 days. Did I mention that I love RRS?

I didn't even have the original inserts that came with the Kayanos. No problem. My Kayanos were brownish from trail running. No problem. I had just run/walked 14 miles in them and they were sweaty. No problem.

Mizunos
After explaining my situation to a cute shoe guy, he had me try on a pair of Saucony Hurricanes and a pair of Brooks. I liked the Hurricanes, but they reminded me too much of the Kayanos. The Brooks felt great, but the orange-coral accent color was not very appealing to me. Mr. Cute Shoe Guy told me that since I liked the Brooks, he would have me try some Mizunos.

A little more history... I tried some Mizunos on at the Carlsbad 5000 Expo. I loved how light and flexible they are. When I tried them on at RRS, they were as I remembered them. I liked them. A lot. I left Road Runner Sports with a fresh pair of Mizunos Wave Nirvana 5 that day. So long, Asics... I'm done with you.
These are the Wave Nirvana 5s

I don't love my Mizunos yet... I still have to run in them. Do I think my knee pain is a thing of the past? I'm doubtful. Only time will tell if my new shoes will be better for me than my Kayanos.

More Shoes
I mentioned that I won the $100 gift certificate from Online Shoes... well, I ordered some shoes for trail running. I decided on Saucony Grid-Excursion TR3. It was a little weird buying shoes without trying them on first. I hope they work out!
These are the Saucony Grid Excursion TR3s



Why is it so complicated to buy running shoes? Maybe we should all just run barefoot.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Runner on the Right!

My Longest Distance!
Today was our group long-run... my longest distance at 14 miles (I missed the group's 16 and 18 mile runs).

I'm going to use this blog to share some of the things I learned on this long-run Saturday. Fourteen things I learned since the time I woke up... one for each mile I ran/walked today:
  1. It's dark at 4:35 a.m. when the alarm goes off.
  2. It's still dark at 4:45 when the alarm goes off again.
  3. Hitting the snooze button makes you late.
  4. Instant coffee isn't half bad... when you're desperate.
  5. Don't wash your running clothes the night before, chances are they won't be dry.
  6. Plain Greek yogurt with ground flax seed is not a yummy breakfast.
  7. Just because the running skirt looked awesome on the size 0 model, that does not mean it will look as good on a size 6 (or 8 depending on the time of month) real-shaped woman.
  8. It's good to shuffle your feet when walking through a dark house in order to avoid stepping on the cat.
  9. It's still dark at 5:15 a.m. Turn on the car's headlights.
  10. Speeding, while illegal, is an effective way to make up for hitting the snooze button.
  11. My running group needs to give out better driving directions.
  12. Chula Vista is an ugly place ... even the area on the bay.
  13. Someone in the running group made a poor decision when choosing this area to run 14 miles.
  14. One bad thing about being late (due to getting lost) is having to walk/run alone in a scary, desolate, industrial area while trying to catch up.
Ugly Run
I'm not referring to myself this time! The area was ugly. I never had a positive view of Chula Vista, which is south of downtown San Diego. When I saw that our run would start at the Marina, I thought maybe I wasn't giving the place a chance and maybe it would be nice. It wasn't... although it did get a little better as the route lead into Coronado, along the Silver Strand.

Adding to the overall yuckiness was the overcast weather. I'm sure things would have looked better with a blue sky to steal the show. It wasn't all bad, though. The best part about the route was that most of it was on a bike path so vehicle traffic was not an issue.



To the right was what looked like a salt mining place.
I'm not sure what it was exactly.



This was on the way back, so the sun was starting to burn through the clouds.
Those power lines make very disconcerting crackling noises.


Forget the Scenery... How was the Run?
The run/walk itself, was OK. I walked much of the 14 miles, but did manage to put in a few miles of running. My leg/knee was hurting a little as I ran but not unbearably so. I started with the group that consists of mostly walkers. Some walk and run, like me. As I mentioned above, I started late (about 10 minutes behind). Because I ran a good bit of the distance, I was able to catch up and/or pass up many of my group by mile 7, which felt very good to me!

The next pace group started about 40 minutes after I headed out. The fastest runners of this group started to pass me at about mile 6. At the turn-around point (seventh mile), I started 5 minute walk/ 3 minute run intervals, which I kept up until about mile 12. This kept me ahead of most of my group. It also allowed me to keep up with the slower runners of the second pace group.

Who? Me?!
One funny thing occurred as I was running slowly along the bike path. A group of bike riders was coming up behind me and I heard a man shout out, "Runner on the right!" as an alert to the other riders. I had not noticed any other runners around me at that time, so the declaration surprised me. I looked around for the "runner". Then I realized the man was talking about ME! That made me feel so good!

I Made It!
I made it through the whole 14 miles. Am I sore now? Yes! Does my leg hurt? Yes! Along with my left heel, my right ankle, and my butt. I'm sure the heel, butt, and ankle pain will go away pretty quickly. I just hope my knee/leg pain doesn't feel worse tomorrow. We'll see.


Well, now that we all know it is highly unlikely the city of Chula Vista will ask me to be their tourism ambassador, I think it is time to turn in. I woke up way too early this morning. Good night, all!

Have a wonderful Sunday!





Friday, May 1, 2009

Ugly Running

It may not have been pretty. In fact, it probably provoked the pity of passers-by. It wasn't the best feeling of my life. But I did it. For better or for worse, I did it.

Yes, folks... for the first time in weeks, I ran. If you can call it that. My left leg ran while my right leg grudgingly tried to keep up. I tried to run like a graceful gazelle, effortlessly bounding along the road.

That's not me.


Now, imagine this tortoise limping along...

That's me.

Don't worry... I am exaggerating. It was not that bad.

I tried to do a repeat of my Tuesday walk, except faster. I walked faster and since I was feeling pretty good... and because I got jealous of people running past me... I decided to give running a try. I started slow and stayed slow. It was labored, a little limpy, but so lovely! When I felt too labored & limpy, I walked. I mostly walked the 4.6 miles.

I ended up with a pace of 14:58. A heck of a lot better than my 18:something pace on Tuesday*. Hopefully, I can get myself even faster and running more gazelle-like. OK... I'll settle for less wounded tortoise-like.

*I realized that I didn't stop my chronometer at the stoplights on Tuesday. There were a few long "Don't Walk" moments, so my time was a little better than I thought.


Early Day Tomorrow
Tomorrow is our group run/walk. Fourteen miles. Whether I run part of it depends on how my leg is feeling. We are meeting at 6:00 a.m. about 45 minutes away from where I live (without traffic). I should be in bed right now.

Have a great weekend! I know there are lots of you out in Bloggyland who have races this weekend. Have fun & good luck!! I can't wait to read how they go.