Thursday, June 21, 2012

Intervals and Race Results

I am very motivated by goals. Since my 10K is over, I needed to find something to work towards to keep myself going. After reading my 10K race results, I decided speed is my next thing to work on. After running for a little over a year, I have gained perspective. In the beginning, finishing a race was good for me-I was competing against myself only. I still feel that way, but after seeing that only 11 people out of 450 finished behind me in the 10K, I have decided to try to increase my pace rather than my distance. I think I will eventually try a 1/2 marathon, but for now, I want to just get better, faster and stronger.

To begin this, I started doing intervals this morning. I was nervous (as usual when I get ready to run) mainly because my feet have ridiculous blisters on them that have been hurting really bad after the 10K. I have the same shoes, so I am not sure why, but they are really bad. I found a pyramid interval workout that goes like this:
5 minutes - walk/slow jog

1 minute at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 1 minute.

2 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

3 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

4 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

5 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

4 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

3 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

2 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

1 minute at 5K race pace

Slowly jog for 5 minutes.
Since I ran the first half of the 10K at an 11 minute pace, I decided to run the "race pace" intervals at a 10:30/mile pace. I know this is slow for a lot of runners, but for some reason it is my pace at which I feel like I am pushing myself. I followed the plan using a treadmill, and it was great. I don't even know how many miles I went because it was all about the time. I think it was a bit over 3 miles. I am glad it didn't end up being a super long distance because my feet are still recovering from the 10K, and I did not want to make them worse with another longer run. I think I will make interval running a normal part of my routine, and possibly sign up for a 5K that I will race to see how fast I can go. I can't believe that a 5K seems like a short distance! My goal is to be able to comfortably run a 10 minute mile, and race around a 9 minute mile. Then maybe I will look to increasing my distance again...
So, my photos from the 10K were available online a couple of days ago. I died laughing when I saw them. First of all, I wore black compression shorts and a black top, which is comfortable for me. However, it looked like I was wearing a unitard to run in. Second, my habit of wearing my headband over my ears to keep my headphones in resulted in me looking like I was wearing a shower cap. Lastly, they took most of the pictures at the top of the huge hill, when I was walking and breathing hard, making me look like a wuss. I had a good laugh, and then showed Warren. He started laughing, which set me off. We were both in tears. I haven't shown anyone but him, and we laugh every time we look at them. I have since tried new headphones, which allow me to keep my headband in a normal spot on my head. I thought of this photo when I saw my photos:

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Today was the big day! Niki and I met before the race so she could get some coffee, and so we could take one car to avoid trying to find 2 parking spots. We got there, walked up the big hill to the start line, and right as we got there, the race began. I was surprised at how few people there were, but then remembered that the last race I was in was HUGE, so maybe I was expecting the same.

I felt great for the first mile, despite the heat. It was nearly 70 at 7:30am, and really humid. As always, I struggle from on mile 2. I felt better at mile 3, then I hit the "hill". One of the main features of this race is the "hill". The 5kers don't do the hill, but the 10kers do...right after mile 3, in the middle of the race. What they fail to tell you, is that there is another hill, right before the "big hill". I ran the pre-hill, and was really winded. As I approached the big hill, I knew there was no way I would make it up if I ran it. So I walked it; I was glad to see that almost everyone else around me was also walking. Unfortunately, they were taking photos of the runners right at the top of the hill-right where everyone is walking, winded and tired. Bad spot.

After I got past the hill, my motivation picked up. I knew the hardest part was over, and I just needed to run 3 more miles to finish. I had a Gu, and felt really energized. At mile 5, my feet began to really irritate me-they had both blistered pretty badly over the past few weeks, and they were killing me. I told Niki after that I was sure my socks would be soaked with blood-thankfully I was just being dramatic, because they weren't. :) I had set a goal to finish within 1 hour 15 minutes. I was excited to be beating that pace for the first half of the race, but walking the hill ended that. I still finished in my goal time though, which made me really excited.

Here is a pic of Niki and I after the race.

I am so happy to have finished in a decent time, and am really proud of myself for only have to walk the hill. I celebrated by spending time with my family-this is me with my sisters:
Now all I have to do is try to figure out what goal to set next...there will always be another :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bad Timing

According the website countdown clock, there is T-minus 2 days and 20 hours until the Kalamazoo Klassic, which is the 10K I have signed up for. I am terrified and nervous. My timing for this was terrible.

My past two weekends have been a blast. I celebrated the upcoming wedding of one of my dearest friends, and rolled right into a week of intense prep for Warren's daughter's open house, which was this past Saturday. We had a great time celebrating her accomplishments with our friends and family. On Sunday, I felt like I got hit with a truck. Monday, it felt like 2 trucks. When I get that tired I can't sleep well and my stomach just turns upside down. On Tuesday morning, I decided to take a day off work to try to reset myself after another sleepless night. I slept all morning and part of the afternoon, and then decided to get my weekly allergy shots in the afternoon.

I have been taking allergy shots for 6 months without incident. Yesterday, I moved up to my highest level of dosage. Twenty minutes after my shots, I felt like my underarms, ears, and back of my head were on FIRE. They itched like crazy, and I started getting hives. I was taken back to a "reaction room", given several pills to take, and stayed under observation for about an hour. Thankfully Warren was with me to keep me company and to make me laugh. After the medicine they gave me kicked in the itching went away pretty quickly, but my hives stuck around for most of the night. If I wasn't already drained, this totally did me in. Thankfully I was able to at least sleep last night, but I still don't feel caught up.

So, even with all that, I knew I needed to get a run in since I am expected to run 6.2 freaking miles this weekend. I recently bought a new hydration belt that I want to wear for the race. Being the control freak that I am, I don't want to wait for the water stations during the race because it is going to be really hot (almost 70 at 7:30am). I knew I wanted to get used to it, so I wore it out tonight. I also had some Gu, which I am still trying to figure out if I like or not. Because I was tired after work, I had 1/3 of the Gu before my run, wrapped it in foil, and stuck it in the little pouch on my new hydration belt. I planned to do 5.5 miles tonight.

As soon I started I knew it was going to be a rough one. My legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each. The belt was tough to get used to, and my brain was telling me to stop the minute I started. I stopped to stretch my sore left leg muscle at .75 miles in (this has been a nice trick that has helped my hurting leg after about 1 mile); at 1.5 miles I stopped to go to the bathroom (which I have never done during a run before); at 2.4 miles I decided to have the rest of my Gu. I zipped open the zipper, and saw that it had gone everywhere, and that stuff is STICKY. I felt so defeated, I nearly quit. After walking for a few minutes, I decided to keep going for a while longer. I made it 4.5 miles, not my goal for the day. To keep it in perspective, me a year ago would be very proud of me today for running that far, walking breaks or not. I am trying to stop being so hard on myself :)

Please send your good thoughts my way for this Saturday. Given the chance to do it again, I probably wouldn't schedule a race after two weekends with major events. I know I will finish the race, but I want to do better than finish-I want to run the entire thing, and finish in a decent time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You run, you learn

Life has been really busy, but I have still been is almost compulsive because of my nerves excitement about the 10K in a 2.5 weeks. I have a TON of (really fun) things going on before that too, so I am nervous I won't have enough time to get all my training runs in before the big day.

Niki (who is doing the 10K with me) and I went out Sunday morning to run. The temps here in Michigan were in the 90's the past whole weekend. Sunday morning was a bit cloudy, and it looked like it might rain, which I would have welcomed on a 4 mile run. We started out with the temp in the mid-70's, and by time we finished our 4 miles, it was almost 90. It became completely sunny and the temp went up by almost 15 degrees in about an hour. I was DYING.

Tonight, I went out to do 4.5 miles. At one mile I started to feel that familiar pain in my leg. I stopped, did some stretches that have been helping, and went back at it with great results. I was running in a small park near my house that has a .75 mile track. When I hit my goal of 4.5 miles, I was half way around the track. I decided to just keep going until I hit 5 miles. It was much cooler, which helped. I think it is kind of funny though how my body began to reject any distance over my set goal. Right after 4.5 mile my knee and right calf began hurting...they have never bothered me before.

I was talking to one of my best friends and recent fellow runner this weekend about the training and upcoming 10K. I told her I have realized one of the reasons I have learned to love running. Each and every time I go for a run, I have to overcome a new challenge. It teaches me something new every time. Here's what I have learned so far:

  • I can go nearly 2x the distance if the temperature is at or under 70, and feel much better doing it
  • My mind will give up before my body does; a quick body and breath scan gets me back on track
  • I will not reach every goal I set every day, but that doesn't I won't steadily move towards the long term goal
  • The longer I run, the better I feel; the first 10 minutes are complete torture
  • Running with a friend is huge motivation, even if you never say a word to each other because of your headphones
  • If you feel a pain that isn't normal, stop. It won't just work itself out. 
  • I will quit earlier if my clothing or headphones are bugging me. Therefore, I only wear about three different outfits to run in, and wear a specific type of headband over my ears to keep my headphones from falling out constantly, regardless of the temp. I'm sure people comment on how awesome I look ;)
  • Just because shoes cost more doesn't mean they will work better. Likewise, the way shoes look should be the last reason to buy them
  • Don't run in anything made of cotton
  • If you feel like you need to walk, then walk. Eventually, you won't feel that way anymore. 
This list is brief, I think I could go on for a while longer. I know it will continue to grow too. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Foiled by a 9 pound (monster) cat

I planned to run last night after work to get my second 4 mile run in for the week, with plans to do a third over the weekend. I left work last night with several errands and a post-work engagement. I thought I would have enough time, but I did not. I wasn't too concerned because I knew I would have time to go before work today. I made plans to go to the gym with a friend this morning to do my 4 miles on the treadmill.

Warren leaves for work at 5:25am...this morning when he left, our cat, Vlady ran out. This is not a good thing. Anyone who has ever been to our house has heard, "Watch the cat!" when they leave and enter. Vlady is a bengal, which is a mix between a tabby and an asian leopard. Hunting is a strong instinct for him, and the chipmunks around the house drive him CRAZY. He has become an expert at running out the front door when you least expect it, which we aren't fond of since he is declawed and an indoor cat. He also kind of resembles a small raccoon, so we don't want someone shooting at him or something. This is him:
So, since he ran out this morning, Warren came to wake me up because he couldn't be late for work. I dragged my butt out of bed, grabbed a flashlight, and went out searching for him. It was too dark, so I decided to wait for it to get lighter before I went out. I went back out around 6:15, but needed to leave by 6:45 to get to the gym. An HOUR later, I still had not found him. I was not happy. Frustrated, I sat on the front step and pouted. Not 3 minutes later, Vlady came running towards me with a limp chipmunk hanging from his mouth, very proud. I was able to grab him, and then spent 5 minutes shaking the thing out of his mouth. By some miracle, the chipmunk ran away as soon as he let go. 

So, my monster cat interrupted my training schedule, ticked me off, and lost his chipmunk. He was as mad at me as I was at him.

By time I got home from work, the temperature gauge in my car said this:
Guess I will be back at it tomorrow morning, unless my monster decides to run outside and ruin my run again. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's all mental

So I have had two good runs since the shoe incident. My old shoes are treating me just fine, and somehow, a miracle has caused my leg and ankle pain to just be gone. I really just don't get how it could be so bad for over a month, then just be gone, but it is.

After the rough day Thursday, I went out with renewed determination Friday. I met my friend Niki at a trail after work, and we decided to do 3 miles. It was her first run since she completed a half-marathon. It was also nearly 90 degrees and sunny. We took it slow (slow for me, REALLY slow for her-she runs a lot faster than me) and made 3 miles easily. It was so HOT though! My face was all red, and I just couldn't cool down. I just hate running in that kind of heat.

I went out for 4 miles tonight. The weather was great, overcast and 60. As soon as I started, I felt like I was going to panic. It was really breath was short and labored, I felt nervous all over, and tense. It was almost like I was having a panic attack. After about 1/2 mile my breath expanded and became more steady, my shoulders relaxed and I was fine. I made 4 miles just fine. As I was thinking about why I felt like that, I realized that I am nervous every single time I get ready to run. I don't know why, but I get a really nervous feeling in my stomach and shoulders. I think it might have been worse today because I have some extra nerves about an event I have put together for work that is happening tomorrow. The run itself helps to get rid of my nerves, but it seems to spike them right before. I am not sure if it is a lack of confidence, a worry about injury, or something else I just haven't figured out yet. The first 1/2 mile today, I thought to myself 20 times that I had made a mistake signing up for the 10K. I don't think that now...running is such a mental challenge for me. As soon as I think I have something figured out to make it easier, something new shows up to challenge me. I saw this the other day, and I think it is so appropriate for tonight :)

So my plan is to make this a 4 mile week, next week a 5 mile week, then do a couple of 6 mile runs before the 10K in three weekends. Ahh!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bad start

Day 1 of 10k training. I was excited to go out running tonight because I had new shoes. I have decided that I would run 2 days in a row, then 1 off. After each day off, I would increase my distance by .5 miles, slowly working up to 6 miles as I get closer to the 10K. I planned to run 3 miles today, a fairly easy thing to do for me. 

I put my new shoes on, with the PowerStep insoles as recommended by the person at the running shop. I ran 1/4 mile before the bottoms of my feet started to feel sore. I attributed it to new shoes, and needing to break them in. By time I got to 1/2 mile, I was limping really bad. I was running on a fairly busy road, in a place where many of the people driving by might possibly know me. I have a personal rule that no matter how bad it gets, I will NEVER walk while on this road, because people might see me. I broke that rule today...that's how bad it hurt. Thankfully, I was right near Warren's parents house. I took my shoes off, limped in my socks through their yard, then drove their car back home. Of course I was near tears from frustration. Nothing new. 

A few months ago, I had some problems with the bottom of my feet, bad enough that I had to get my feet taped by a podiatrist for almost 2 weeks. I had strained tendons in my feet, and my arches had fallen. When I was having that pain, I couldn't wear PowerSteps because they hurt too bad. They healed ok, but the pain I felt with the PowerSteps was EXACTLY like that pain today, which scared me. I had to take 3 months away from running when that happened. So, when I got home, I took out the PowerSteps, put back in the regular soles, and went back out on the same route. I ran past the first distance that I made, but soon after the same pain returned. I stopped, turned around, and went from frustrated to PISSED. I began walking home, which included limping by Warren's parents house. They saw me, and called Warren, who came to pick me up from the side of the road. I was so relieved to see him. I was almost crying and took my shoes off immediately. Thankfully I can return them. I am going to just buy the same exact shoes I have. I guess the saying is true-if it isn't broke, don't fix it. 

So, this isn't exactly the way I envisioned my 10K training beginning. I now am nursing a hurt leg, hurt knee, and sore feet. I had a fleeting thought tonight as I was limping down the road...I thought to myself that maybe running was just too hard on my body, and it wasn't the right thing for me. I have grown to love running too much to give it up, I just wish I could be injury free. My registration for the 10K is enough motivation to keep me going. I am going to pick it back up tomorrow, with my old, comfortable, lovely shoes. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Focus: 10K!

I took a strengths finder at work a few weeks back, and the results described me perfectly. One of my top 5 strengths was titled "Focus". It means this:

Where am I headed?” you ask yourself. You ask this question every day. Guided by this theme of Focus, you need a clear destination. Lacking one, your life and your work can quickly become frustrating. And so each year, each month, and even each week you set goals. These goals then serve as your compass, helping you determine priorities and make the necessary corrections to get back on course. Your Focus is powerful because it forces you to filter; you instinctively evaluate whether or not a particular action will help you move toward your goal. Those that don’t are ignored. In the end, then, your Focus forces you to be efficient. Naturally, the flip side of this is that it causes you to become impatient with delays, obstacles, and even tangents, no matter how intriguing they appear to be. This makes you an extremely valuable team member. When others start to wander down other avenues, you bring them back to the main road. Your Focus reminds everyone that if something is not helping you move toward your destination, then it is not important. And if it is not important, then it is not worth your time. You keep everyone on point.
Gallup, 2008

In short, I agree. This strength of mine caused me to take a huge leap last night. Despite fighting a nagging leg and knee pain, I decided the only way I was going to accomplish this goal of doing a 10K was to just sign up for one. I chose one a month from today. I was really excited last night. I am really nervous today.

Because of my leg pain, I went to get new shoes today. Mine were about a year old, and probably have some miles left on them, but if it helps my leg pain I was willing to try it. The woman who fitted me for my new kicks asked me what kind of runner I was. I told her my history (briefly), and that this was the year I wanted to do a 10K, and I had, in fact, decided that I could do that in a month. Her reply made my nerves even worse-she asked me in a weary voice if I knew about "the hill". The race I signed up for is called the Kalamazoo Klassic. The 5K run starts at the top of a VERY large hill, and finishes at the bottom, with the route going all the way around the hill, but with the runners not required to actually run the hill. The 10K is the 5K route twice, meaning we run the hill. This hill is so legendary for this race, the slogan for the event is "The Thrill, the Will, the Hill…". 

I am pretty sure this is going to be very challenging for me. First, I have only run that far once, and my leg has hurt ever since. I am planning to take it slow, and increase my distance gradually until reaching 6 miles right before the race day. To keep me accountable, I will be writing after each run, and as I make progress. After I make it through this 10K, I would love to try a half-marathon. There goes my "focus" strength again!  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Charlotte Trip

Vacation! Warren and I had an opportunity to go to Charlotte, NC to visit family this week. We left after I got out of work on Wednesday. The weather was TERRIBLE. Our GPS was TERRIBLE. We had plans to drive to Beckley, WV to stay overnight. We calculated that it would take us  until 12:30 to get there, but for some reason the GPS said 2:30. As we got into southern Ohio and the mountains, the rain began to pick up. This picture doesn't look like it was bad, but it really was awful:
Soon after it got dark, our GPS routed us off the highway, and we drove for almost 2 hours on a two lane highway in the middle of nowhere, while it was pouring and dark. As we got close to WV, we ran into a thunderstorm and got routed off the highway AGAIN, and had to drive through a washed out back road. It was really stressful. Sure enough, we pulled into our hotel Warren reserved in Beckley WV at 2:30. Our hotel was noisy and awful too...not the best start to our trip.

Thankfully our trip has improved significantly since. The only bad part was my attempt at a run. We had a really cool day here yesterday, so I decided to go for a 3-4 mile run. Even though it's pretty hilly down here, I had a flat route to run. Sure enough, as I approached 1 mile, my left leg started acting up again. I stretched before, and stopped at 1 mile to stretch again. I could barely flex my foot. I tried to run it out, but the pain continued to get worse, and increased to shoot pain into my ankle. I called it quits and walked back, frustrated again. I was near tears again. When I got back to the house I googled the pain I was having and learned that I likely am agitating the Peroneus Longus and Brevis muscles in my leg ( I don't know for sure, but it is the exact spot I am feeling pain, and the symptoms match. I tried some stretches I found online, but it wasn't very effective. I am going to go to the sports medicine clinic on campus Tuesday to see if they can give me an idea of what is going on and what to do about it. I am running a 5K next weekend, which is usually no problem, but will be with this injury. I really hope it isn't a long recovery, I am really excited to run the 5K next weekend with my friends.

Today we went to Lake Norman, which is in Charlotte. It is huge, and beautiful. We ate lunch on the water, and walked to a nice gazebo that overlooked the water. We are heading home tomorrow morning. Sad to head back to reality.

Warren and I overlooking Lake Norman
Gazebo overlooking the water

Sunday, April 22, 2012

5K practice run

After yesterday, I hold have probably taken another few days of rest. I had made plans with friends, who I am running the 5K with in two weeks, to go out and run the course today to get a feel for it. Even though yesterday was rough, I decided to try the run. I planned to do extra stretches before, and take it easy and walk when needed to see if I could run the full 3 miles. Not helping my nerves was the weather and the part of town the course is in. It is really chilly and windy in my part of Michigan today, and the part of town we were running in is not that familiar to me. It is a lot of busier roads without sidewalks, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Although I had reservations, it was a good run. I warned up quickly, wasn't too cold, and there wasn't much traffic out to dodge on the road. My leg began hurting just before mile 1, but it was not as bad as yesterday, and I was able to push through it. I stopped around 1.75 miles to give it another stretch and it was fine afterwards. I remembered about 5 minutes into the run that I forgot to use my asthma inhaler before hand, something I always do. I had no problems though. I have been getting allergy shots for almost 3 months now (which is SUPER fun), which are supposed to alleviate both my allergy and asthma symptoms, and I think this is my first sign of them starting to work! Yay!

So I think I might not be as injured as I thought yesterday. My leg feels a bit sore, but not too bad. We were even in good enough spirits after the run to snap a picture! Running with company is nice, even if you don't talk the entire time. I usually run alone, so I forget this!

Rosa and me. Her BF Brandon opted to take the pic instead of join us :)  
Lastly, I saw this on Pinterest a while back, and it has remained a motivational tool for me. It's weird how something small like this can keep you motivated, but it works for me. If I am dreading going out for a run (which is a lot of the time) I think of this. It reminds of how great I feel about mentally and physically after I finish running. I have never regretted a run, even the ones that make me frustrated. I learn from each one. Tomorrow is my one year anniversary of beginning to run! I can't believe it!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

More Frustration

What a rough week for health. After my 6 mile run last Saturday, I was so excited to try the same outside. On Sunday and Monday I was really sore from the Saturday run, but felt up to trying a short run on Tuesday. Right up until I was ready to walk out the door. I even said to Warren that I wasn't feeling good about the run. Sure enough, I struggled through the run. My legs felt heavy, I couldn't breathe, and less than a half mile in I started having bad pain in my left ankle, shin and calf. I cut it short and walked home. I rested for 3 days, and tried again today. More of the same. I made it half a mile before the pain in my left leg was back. I tried to fight through it, but it was too painful. I only made it this far:
I was so frustrated I cried. And then I felt like an even bigger idiot because I was in a park full of people limping back to my car crying. People probably thought I was badly injured or was just my ego though. :)

I am hoping I am just worn out this week and don't have a stress fracture or something. I have got bad news a few times this week, and haven't been sleeping well. I also have been unable to keep myself from eating potato chips  and chocolate. Not good. I really pushed myself to do that 6 miles, and I am now kind of beating myself up for pushing it when I may not have been ready. It's also kinda ironic that I am struggling with pain the week after I attended a "Good Form Running" clinic. Go figure.

Next week I am getting away on a long weekend, so I am hoping that I can rest and reset. My first 5K of the year is the following weekend, and I really want to do well. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

6 (frustrating) miles

I have been planning to do a 6 mile run for a couple of weeks. It seemed like something was always getting in the way so I couldn't-I worked late a couple nights, which didn't leave me enough time. I get allergy shots once a week, and can't exercise afterwards...overall, my schedule was making it tough to get in a 6 miler. On Friday I decided Saturday morning was going to be the day! This 6 mile run has been a goal of mine ever since I decided to try a 10K this summer. I decided on a route outside, and was really excited to go early in the morning. When I woke up it was pouring rain and thundering...I was really bummed. I stalled a little while, checked the weather radar about 100 times before resigning to the fact that is probably wasn't going to be a day to run outside. The rain let up a little, but I knew a 6 mile run would keep me outside for more than an hour, and I didn't want to get caught in a storm.

I HATE running on the treadmill. But I was determined to do this run, so I went to the gym and pounded out the entire 6 miles on the treadmill. I was excited that I had made it, but irritated too. I use the Nike run app on my iPod to track my runs. It will work on the treadmill, so I used it. For some reason, it was almost a full mile behind the treadmill, and got farther behind with every mile. I wanted to use the run app to mark my distance, but got frustrated when the treadmill said I went 6 miles, and my run app hadn't even hit 5. I felt like I had run 6 miles, and was almost at the 90 minute mark. I tried to walk it out to hit 6 miles on my run app just so it would show in my history that I made 6 miles on this day.

One of the worst things about running on a treadmill for me is the lack of changing scenery. I get so BORED. At 90 minutes in, I was super bored. I clicked open Facebook as I tried to walk out the last mile for my run app, and learned about the death in the family of my lifetime best friends. I was excited to have reached my run goal, frustrated about the app, and really shocked and sad about the loss in their family. I decided I was done, and stopped short of hitting the 6 miles on my run app. The treadmill read 6.4 miles, so I am going with that reading! I do think it was more accurate-my run app was reporting I was running at a pace of 15 minute miles. I walk faster than a 15 minute mile, and I wasn't walking. I can't wait to try the 6 miles outside. I know I can do it faster and with fewer walk breaks, something I have to do often on the treadmill for some reason. I just hope my run app is more accurate outside so I know for sure what distance I am at.

I am wondering if anyone has better luck with accuracy from a different running app? I'd love a Garmin, it's just not in my budget right now!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I think I can be considered a "serious" runner now. I went to a Good Form Running clinic tonight. The running shop downtown, Gazelle, offers the workshop for free every Wednesday. During the workshop you learn about the different components to running with good form, which is supposed to reduce chances of injury and improve speed and comfort while running. Gazelle is for hardcore runners-it sponsors almost every major run event in this area. I was a bit nervous to do the workshop because I was nervous I would be too new at running compared to the other people that use Gazelle. The very first thing we did was go outside and get videotaped running-once with shoes, and once without shoes. It was kind of cold, so running barefoot on downtown sidewalks was not my favorite thing. I also felt pretty self-conscious, like everyone would be watching me run. It was pretty easy though. We all ran at pretty much the same time, so there wasn't time to watch other people run. After that we went inside to learn about the proper form, then they made us all watch each other run while we got analyzed and given feedback. That made me more nervous than the running outside!

I was pretty surprised by my analysis. I kind of expected to have them tell me I needed to work on everything! But I actually have pretty good form. They only had 1-2 pieces of feedback for me, and said I could fix them both pretty easily. The most surprising thing was that when I ran barefoot my form was almost perfect. And that was the case for everyone. It is pretty crazy to me that our bodies act differently with and without shoes.

On the drive home I was thinking about how nervous I was to get constructive feedback. This goes back to the having to be right all the time. I was also reminded of something my former boss has said to me over and over. She tells me that I am harder on myself than anyone else is.  I always criticize myself and worry about getting negative feedback, even though when I do get it I handle it pretty well. I appreciate feedback after it is given, because I learn ways I can improve. The anticipation of it is just awful for me. I was glad it wasn't too bad tonight; I think I can go run a marathon tomorrow with my feedback. :)

If you're interested in the Good Form Running, here is a link --->

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pinterest Fails

I woke up feeling VERY crafty today. I got on Pinterest to look for a dish to pass at Easter dinner tomorrow, and found a few things I wanted to try today. I wanted to try something fun on my nails, and decided that I would make cake pops for Easter. I dragged Haley along with me off to Michael's for scrap paper, cake supplies and whatever other things I thought of along the way.

Before we could get to work we met my sister and my nieces at a Bounceland, a large building full of blow up toys you can bounce on. We had a great time...I even decided to race my sister in a inflatable obstacle course that the little kids made look easy. She kicked my butt, and I felt like I had just ran 5 miles in 30 seconds. I thought Jillian Michaels was tough-she's got nothing on Bounceland! Haley snapped a pic before we left:

When we got home we went right to work making cakes. As they were baking, I began project number two. Here are some pics that I was going to attempt to re-create using links to blogs on Pinterest:

The instructions for this cute manicure state you should use laser prints to get the ink to transfer, but one user commented that you could use scrapbook paper with the same results. Nope, not true. Should have followed the instructions, but I don't have a laser printer. Not discouraged yet, I decided to try another manicure technique I also saw on Pinterest-marbled nails:
Also a major fail. Now I was getting frustrated. I decided to just try my own thing, and came up with this:

Good enough for me, not nearly fancy enough to put on Pinterest. I see so many cool things on Pinterest, and sometimes I forget that it really isn't as easy as people make it out to be. Or I just suck at crafts. So as my cakes cool and I prepare to make cake pops I hope I don't end up throwing out a bunch of cake from frustration. If they turn out like I want them to I will post some pics. If not, I am going to be stopping for a pre-made cake tomorrow before dinner :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hammers and Nails

Yesterday I heard a quote on the radio that I LOVED. Oddly enough, it was from a banking commercial, but it fits in the work I do and in my personal life. I shared it all day....what good is a great quote if you don't share! So the quote went something like this: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will approach every problem as if it's a nail".  How great is that?

My last two weeks have been pretty stressful; I am thankful that my personal life is not the cause. My work life has been tense. I've been tackling each day with the same tools-coffee, my colleagues, and a bit of sleep mixed in. Yesterday while at work a few of my colleagues who all go to the same gym invited a couple of those who don't belong to that gym to come workout with them. We agreed, and 5 of us met at the gym at 7 am this morning. The few times I have done a morning run I have enjoyed it. I don't do it very often for a couple of reasons. First, our treadmill at home is really uncomfortable for me (the author of a blog I like calls it the "dreadmill"-I agree!) and running outside before work makes me nervous because it's dark. Since I don't have a dog or a taser, morning running doesn't happen often for me. So today, I went for a morning run on a guest pass at the gym my co-workers attend. It was GREAT. I entered the day with an entirely different attitude, and even considered skipping my coffee. I decided pretty quickly I didn't need to take it that far, and made my coffee. But I still felt great all day, and didn't worry about having to work out after work when I am usually tired and ready to take any excuse to not run.

So this problem of stress that I have been handling all week needed another tool to manage it-I kept approaching it like it was a nail, when apparently it was not a nail. Morning runs-a new tool in my toolbox.

I am REALLY dedicated to accomplishing the 6 mile run I wanted to accomplish a few weeks ago. I am hoping this weekend will be it!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Skinny Jeans Crisis

Maybe it's just me, but the late 20's early 30's is an awkward age. Last year when I was writing "20 days to 30", I wrote about getting lost in stores. I got lost in the store again this weekend, and more specifically, got lost in skinny jeans. Usually I avoid new trends, which is why I am all of a sudden interested in skinny jeans, even though they have probably come close to running their course. Surprisingly enough, I actually like the trend this spring of brightly colored skinny jeans, so I've been window shopping for some recently.

So last night, I went to the mall to try to find some skinny jeans in a fun color. I went to few stores without much luck, and landed in one of those stores I was probably too old to shop in-but I went anyway. My goodness was I soon overwhelmed. They had skinny jeans, extra skinny jeans, ultra skinny jeans and jeggins. I was frozen with uncertainty, tried on a couple, didn't buy any, and left. I thought I might have more luck with the internet. The opposite actually happened. I went online and saw a pair I thought might work, so I read the reviews. One person commented that these were perfect skinny jeans if you didn't "want to look like you were trying to wear your teenage daughters jeans". Shit. Here we go again. And I didn't even know if these jeans would be classified as skinny, extra skinny or ultra skinny! So, as I try to wrap my brain around the skinny jean rules, this is what I have come up with:

Rules of Skinny Jeans:
1. If you are a teenager, you should wear a certain type of skinny jean. 
2. If you have a teenager, you should wear a certain type of skinny jean. 
3. If you are neither, don't bother. 
4. If you have any body shape other than that of Kate Moss, you are at risk of feeling like a fat ass in skinny jeans.

And these rules don't even begin to cover the color rules! So I went back at it today. I went to a different store, and dug through 18 different styles of jeans. I found some I liked that I think are supposed to be for a 30 something person, and don't make me feel like a fat ass. I am still too chicken to try a bold color, because I don't want to look like I am trying to be 18 instead of 30. (I saw a recent photo of Kris Jenner wearing red jeans, getting RIPPED by a  fashion writer for trying to look too young. This had made me nervous about the color, even though I know I'm not her age) I also bought a scarf from a home shopping network yesterday...I don't even want to know what that means!

When I was 26 and got lost in stores for the first time, I thought I would be secure in what I could wear by my 30's. No such luck.  If anyone finds the manual for what to wear in your 30's please let me know.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stress Habits

I hate stress. I know how to keep my stress low-I have lots of ways to do that. I run or do yoga, I read, call or see my friends or have a glass of wine (I know you aren't supposed to use alcohol for stress relief, but it just works sometimes!). The thing is, I am really good at doing all these things to keep my stress low, until I am really stressed. Then they become the hardest things in the world to do. This week has been a high stress week for me.  I quit running, I don't eat healthy, I stay up late and oversleep and rush around in the mornings. And when I do this, I feel even more stressed. On Friday, I was really excited about working up to a 6 mile run by the early to mid week. I haven't ran since Monday....and struggled to get 2 miles that day.

 In the past, I use a day or two of vacation to reset and get back to healthy. I need to figure out how to sustain the motivation and energy I have to be healthy and well even when I am more stressed. I am working really hard to tap into my "motivation trees"; I hope that works. I really want to accomplish the 6 mile run so I am confident to sign up for the 10K, which is my goal this summer. Hopefully the weekend will help me to reset...I don't want to have to rely on vacation days all the time...but I might the good with relying on the wine! :) If you have ideas please feel free to share!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Memory Lane

For the past few weeks I have been working on turning an unused room in our basement into a craft room. It has been a fun, trying, and interesting process, and is almost over! Last night, on the eve of my 31st birthday, I was in another room in our basement cleaning out some old furniture that I am going to re-purpose for craft storage. In one of the boxes, I came across a book my little sister Jennifer made me when she was 11 and I was 13. It is great. If you want to see it, today is your lucky day :) I am sharing it because there are some really funny things written in it (my sister has spunk that I have had never had!). It was a bit like looking at myself 18 years ago, and then now to compare. It was kinda weird. Before I post these pictures, I must say that I asked my sister if I could post these online, and she said yes. I'm going to make the pictures large so you can see the print-it is really funny.

This is the front cover...its all held up fairly well for being 18 years old and moved probably 10 times over those years!

If you ever read my 20 days to 30 blog (which ended a year ago today!), you know I have had a terrible affair with my hair my whole life. This is proof. Yikes. If I had to guess, this was around 3rd grade.
I so excited to find this last night because I haven't been able to remember what time I was born. Now I know, and was awake for it this morning. Another really funny thing about this is that I remember HATING Ace of Base as a kid...but I must have liked it at some point. Our memory isn't always right! I also remember loving Wayne's World...I got the single cassette tape of Bohemian Rhapsody and playing on repeat for days and days. I'm sure this didn't drive my parents crazy at all! 

Ok, could I be any cuter!? I love this pic of me. It really shows me in all my dorkiness :) This page made me a bit teary when I saw it last night. First, the things I wanted to do with my life haven't changed much. It is really weird to think that I knew what my passions were that early. I am currently working with young people, and even though I am not a psychologist, I am in a very similar field. I still have a passion for teaching, and am doing some teaching in the fall. And I still love animals...just not the brains to take all those bio and chem. classes to be a Veterinarian. 
It was also VERY weird to run across this book on the eve of my 31st birthday, which was written when my parents were both 31. I always thought my parents were so old! Ha! It just gives some perspective...when my parents were my age they had 3 kids! 
And lastly, I want to go back to my 13 year-old self and ask me, "Really? You have had no happy, funny or exciting moments in 13 years!?!" I'm glad I have become more optimistic in my old age :)

Oh, just look at those late-80's/early 90's bangs! What steals the show on this page is the back handed compliment Jen gives me...I won this honor by default!

And lastly, the author herself makes an appearance. Don't miss the last line...remember I told you she had spunk! :)

I hope you have enjoyed this trip down my memory lane. Thank you to my sister for making this for me...18 years ago. It is so very precious to me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Practicing What I Preach

I've decided that I am going to write here more often. I might not always post to FB or Twitter, so check back if you want to keep reading. I also worked (kinda) hard to give my page a makeover yesterday, so I wanted to show that off too!

I had a rough morning. I have not been getting much sleep, and last night was no exception. I was up late last night because of a wonderful evening with friends to celebrate my birthday. I was also up early again this morning. I am on vacation from work this week, but my body doesn't realize that, so if any little thing wakes me up from 6am on, I am pretty much guaranteed to not be able to go back to sleep. So this morning, after about 4 hours of sleep overnight, I called to inquire about a change in my student loan payments, a task I had been avoiding all last week. The news I got was not payments went up significantly more than I anticipated. After hanging up I couldn't help it-the tears started flowing. It was right then that Warren got up to find me making breakfast while crying. I don't think guys like walking in on those situations :)

The water works didn't last long, but I still felt pretty bummed. I thought about something I teach my students. HALT-it's an acronym that stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. It's a pretty basic idea. If you are one or more of those things, you are not going to be able to accept difficult things as easily, keep your emotions in check or make the best decisions. Babies show us this pretty well. If I see a toddler having a melt down in the grocery store the first thing I always think is "that must be one tired kid". My mini-meltdown was a combo this morning-tired and hungry. I still am bummed that my payments are going up, don't get me wrong. I am just aware that I probably wouldn't have cried about it if I wasn't running on little sleep and no breakfast. After eating breakfast, I decided to practice what I preach and do some things to clear my mind and hopefully feel better. I cleaned and then Warren and I went for a long walk, and it helped. So, remember, if you are feeling really bummed or down, do a quick check. If you are HALT tend to those first. It will help. That is also why I am going to take a nap right after posting this :)

On another note, I am going to attempt to complete a 6 mile run this week. I may not run the whole thing, but I have learned that taking walking breaks as a runner is ok, and pretty normal. As long as I can make the entire route I will be super excited. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trees of Motivation

It must this time of year that gets me in the mood to write. If you remember back a whole year ago at this time, I was smack in the middle of my 20 days to 30 blog. That still remains one of the most creative and great things I have ever done for myself. It also reminds me that I am about to turn 31. Birthdays sure do come faster as you get older.

So in January, I made a New Year's resolution that was so cliche. I guess I was feeling a bit sassy since I completed my last two resolutions. Two years ago I decided to open an IRA and begin saving for my retirement, which I completed. Last year was completing a 5K, which I did 3 times. This year, I decided to make the ever so common weight loss resolution. And I didn't tell hardly anyone, because every time I make this resolution, I don't stick to it. Well, 2.5 months in I am still going strong, and have lost almost 10 pounds. More importantly, I feel great and healthier than I have in a while. I had thought about reviving the blog to track my progress, but I was a bit nervous that if I didn't stick to it that I would have failed publicly. I think I am ready to share. Tonight I went for a 5 mile run (my longest distance yet!). It took me a while, so I had lots of time to think. So in that full hour of jogging around a tiny little track at the gym, my mind landed on motivation.

I got to thinking-lots of things people wish for come right down to motivation. For me, I often lose my motivation to workout consistently or eat healthy pretty quick. It isn't that I don't know how to do those things, I just get lost in life, and there goes my motivation. So tonight, I did some reflecting on how I was able to keep motivated for so long this time.  An image of a money tree came to mind-that idea that if we just each had a money tree our lives would be so much if we all had a motivation tree imagine what we could get done! A little tree in our backyard that we could pluck little bits of motivation from whenever we needed a boost? Then I dared to dream big; what about a motivation forest!??! I realized that this very idea was what I had been tapping into for the last 2 1/2 months. I had been diversifying my motivation to keep it steady...plucking my motivation from different trees as needed to make it interesting and (so far) unwavering.

My motivation trees are pretty varied: A new piece of running clothing really makes me want to run so I can try it out; a new running playlist will get me motivated to go for a run. Reading a really good, inspiring running blog can do the trick sometimes ( I really like, or even just telling a new person the goals I have set works. Last week I found a new motivation tree-I got complemented on my "runners legs". That is a motivation tree I REALLY like! Another new one was found today. I had a wellness assessment at work. I learned that my recent lifestyle changes have led to health benefits; I also got new info about ways to boost my energy before working out, which made me really excited to try. And sure enough, I got over the 4 mile running plateau and made it 5 miles for the first time!

So the moral of my ramblings-when I find myself losing motivation, I will know it is time to diversify, move to another tree. If we pluck leaves off the same tree, pretty soon it will be bare. And hopefully, since I have put my New Year's resolution out there for everyone to see I can turn it in to another tree in my motivation forest. I'll keep you updated :)