Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I know, it has been forever!

So, after a little reprisal from my follower, I realized I have not updated my blog in quite some time. This tends to happen when I start a new job. The job seems to take me over and I have no time for a couple of months. However, now, everything is where it should be and I have a little time at the end of my day!

Running update: it is AWESOME!! I have been getting faster every week. I have also been increasing my endurance. Last week I did a 5-miler in 42 minutes! This past Sunday, 7.61 miles in 1 hour 10 minutes. I am also dropping weight, which is always nice. I was once told that dropping weight makes you run faster, and running faster makes you drop weight. I love this paradox! The only problem is that I have had to buy 5 pairs of new pants because none of my old ones fit any longer. I got rid of them straight away, and have no plans to ever regret that!

I have a planned HM in January and a M in May. I think it will go well. The HM is in my hometown and is going to be rather hilly. The M is in Fort Collins and is primarily downhill. I am certain to get a PR, but I am hoping to get a BQ. I have to shave another minute off each mile of my endurance run, but it is possible.

OK, time to get a little more work done, then I am out of here!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Motivation and podcasts

As a runner, especially a self-professed lazy runner, finding motivation halfway through a running program can be a bit difficult. The music from my iPod gets boring, the treadmill gets annoying, and getting my lazy butt to the gym is a challenge. However, I have found a way to get a second wind and move forward in my program. There are several podcasts that can help a runner get that foot out the door. One of the best ones I have found is MotionTraxx.

MotionTraxx is an interesting conglomeration of tech-style music organized by BPM, allowing the runner to choose the speed of the music for the type of workout expected. Yesterday, I chose a tribal drum beat at 170 BPM and was able to finish a 5 mile run in 45:05. The track continued for over an hour, allowing time for a 10K or better, depending on the runner's stride and speed. There are also interval options where the narrator dictates your workout for you. After some speedwork on Tuesday, I selected this option. The workout was hill intervals, mostly walking. The directions to increase/decrease the incline/speed of the treadmill were preceded by a little bell jingle so that I was sure to pay attention to the new direction. It is a little less than half an hour and provided a good workout for my glutes. I also love that each workout states the halfway point, in case the runner is doing an out and back, or just wants to know where they are. There is only one issue I think could use improvement: the music starts fast on many of the tracks and it would be nice to have a slower warmup and a slower cool down incorporated so that the runner doesn't have to change the track.

Another that I have been listening to for years is the Indie Soup Runner. While there are no directions or specific workouts, there is a good up and down movement of the music to allow for good warmup time, as well as cool down. The music follows a theme rather than BPM and is alternative in nature.

Podcasts are typically free (at least the ones I look for), and provide a great conduit for new music to be heard. When I get to try out a new venue, I look forward to my next run. I can't wait to hear what the podcast has in store for me and I love that there is a new one every month. Now, time to get on the treadmill. Speedwork today, so I am thinking 180 BPM!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Loving good runs!

I made a very important goal today: 5K in 28 minutes! I have a ways to go. According to my race pace calculator, I need to break 23 to get to a pace where I could qualify for Boston. Once I can become this fast, I will start working on increasing my mileage. I am hoping to be able to hit a BQ by my 35th birthday (next September). I am not so concerned with actually going to Boston, as qualifying is my primary goal. I have a couple of scheduled races this year:
Sep 3: A Million to One 5K
Oct 29: Hoover Dam 10K
Jan 7: Running From an Angel 1/2 Marathon

Per the recommendation of a dear friend of mine, I keep from registering until the last minute. This has saved me a lot because something tends to come up. I am also better prepared for the race. I also try to keep the races close to where I live. This helps me to remember to participate because of the advertisements around town. I have also learned not to bite off more than I can chew. There is a cool run in Rachel, NV in 2 weeks, but the shortest they have is a 10K. I know I am not quite prepared to participate in a 10K race, so I will have to wait until next year. If I had registered 2 weeks ago, when I first read about it, I would have wasted $50 or risked an injury. This has happened before, and I have learned not to do that anymore!

The trick is to schedule races far enough apart so that you can train in between the races, but not so far apart that you lose the competitive attitude. I haven't raced in a very long time and I am just now getting back into it. In fact, it has been 4 years since my last race, and I did not do well on it. I have volunteered, but haven't participated. Starting with a short race (5K) is a good way to make a debut after a long hiatus. You can judge where you are at and still have the atmosphere of competition. No need to hurt yourself, after all, it isn't about winning for the first one, it is about seeing how well you finish.

My favorite race is the 1/2 marathon. This race makes me feel like I really did something cool (running 13.1 miles), but my legs don't get that feeling like "Kim, are we seriously still moving?" It also gives me an excuse to be lazy around the house for the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DOMS wanes

Today was a good run! Decided to step it up a bit with some intervals. All went well and didn't feel a twinge until the last quarter mile. I made sure to stretch a lot afterwards. I also walked a quarter mile between each mile. I think rehabbing my hams is going better than expected. Tomorrow, I have a pace run. The goal is 9 minutes per mile or better for 1 hour. This is pretty speedy for me, but I am going to try my best! I will have to keep an eye on my heart rate and watch my leg muscles. I push, but pushing too hard leads to injury. Better to be smart about it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not the DOMS!!!

So, as a consistent runner, many would think that the plague of DOMS would be behind me. Usually, this horrible event occurs if you push it too hard. I haven't pushed it too hard. Instead, I renovated my youngest daughter's room. Sure, this may seem to no way compare to running for an hour, but let me tell you, it was so strenuous. I didn't notice it at the time. After all, it was just laying vinyl, painting the walls and moving furniture. This was Saturday. Sunday: could barely move. Seriously! My hamstrings were in so much pain, there was no way I could run. I finished up the bedroom in about 3 hours, and lazed around the rest of the day. I was expecting to feel a bit better by Monday, but no. Completely relaxed all day!

Tuesday: I made it to the gym! They were playing Red in the Cardio Cinema, so I caught the end of it during a 1 mile walk. They restarted the movie, so after a bit of stretching, I felt fine enough to jog for a bit. I made it 2 miles in 19:35! Yay! Finished with a half mile walk. Tomorrow, I will go a bit longer, but still be careful not to push too hard. Soreness is easier to deal with than injury!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Last day at the office!

I could not be happier that this is my final day coming into the city to work in an office. I much prefer to work at home. I am glad I could be of help to my current client, but I have learned that I need to be able to control my environment, work hours, etc. My previous client seems to be picking up steam, so I am going to be more available to help him get the ball rolling. While it was nice to have the steady income, I just don't think I like the idea of giving up my freedom for it. Hopefully, my first client will be able to pay me very soon and I won't have to worry so much. With all the work that needs to be done around the house, I am not sure how much longer I can wait.

Today's workout was decent. 10 minutes up hill, 10 minutes stair climbing, and pulling some weights was a nice change of pace. I am still recovering from the accidental gluten ingestion. The weight hasn't left as of yet, but I am sure it will take my intestines a couple of days to detox. I can't believe how much this has set me back. This allergy is going to take some getting used to. When C was diagnosed, I was mostly good about it with my grocery shopping, but would allow myself the occasional glutenous treat (pun intended!). Now, that isn't allowed, so there is a lot more research required. I did go to Starbucks today, but only for a coffee (real coffee, not that foo foo stuff). I was eyeing all the yummies behind the display case. I grabbed a Naked Smoothie...some treat!

However, there are some benefits to following this GF lifestyle. Many of my problems have reversed. I had my first 28 day cycle (has never happened), and until today, has been fairly light. Today, more in the medium range. I have a feeling that if my mother had taken her own doctor's advice about staying away from gluten when she was a teenager, many of her feminine issues would never have occurred. Of course, there needs to be much study on this. I have a sneaking suspicion that the American lifestyle of loading up on breads has caused not only the obesity epidemic, but also many of the illnesses people suffer from, rather they are overweight or not. My stepdaughter has so many feminine issues, but is not in any way overweight. If she could give up the gluten, I think she would feel a lot better.

OK, I am stepping off my soapbox now! Have a good day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Update from Starbucks (and a little bragging!)

Received information from Starbucks on the ingredients of the Java Chip Frap. Just as I suspected: the chocolate chips include some cookies and have "unbleached unenriched white flour" in them. Explains the tummy ache, headache and 2 pound weight gain (my intestines bloat from the dying of the celia). Ugh! Just another thing I have to take off my treat list.

Today was a great run! 4 miles in 38:25. Tomorrow is cross training and I am very glad. Had a little ham trouble this morning. Tomorrow will be slow uphill and stair climbing, with a lot of stretching. Saturday is a rest day. Sunday, the long run. Hoping to make an hour.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

GF followers, beware!

OMG! So, I have been treating myself with the yummy and fabulous Java Chip Frappuccino, thinking it was just milk, chocolate, whip and so on. No, no, no! Apparently, there is some form of gluten involved in the creation. I managed to get the worse headache, which is finally waning, and a serious tummy upset. I looked it up and it seems all Fraps are OK EXCEPT Java-Chip. Ugh! That so sucks! I contacted Starbucks to find out the deal, so I will report their answer later. So not feeling great right now!

Yesterday, against my body's wishes, I forced myself to the gym for the free weight class. It was good and I was glad I went. This morning, I managed a 5K in 29:20 at a nice easy pace. I was supposed to do a full 45 minute run, but it seems the treadmill did not agree with my plans. It timed out at 30 minutes and forced a cool down. I spoke with the staff and they said I simply picked the wrong one. So, tomorrow I have a 50 minute run scheduled and I know to stay away from number 4. Let's hope number 3 is more compliant to my wishes!

Next week I will be home. My contract with my client is ending, and I am actually pretty happy about it. I prefer to work from home. I didn't think I would, but the freedom of getting my work done at my leisure rather than someone else's schedule appeals to me. I also have a lot of office cleaning that needs to happen, not to mention some yard work! Plus, it gives me a couple of weeks with my girls before they start back to school. C has a pretty hectic schedule starting soon, so it will be good to be home for that. The only problem will be my lack of income. I am hoping I find another client soon. Writing business plans will be much better than acting as someone's lacky!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cross training

This is a subject most runners I know like to avoid. Cross training is one of those activities that I really don't like. I know it is imperative to becoming a faster runner, but the whine wants to come out with "I don't wanna!". However, I force myself to partake at least once a week, sometimes twice. There is a class at my gym that is all free weights. I try to go every week, and it is great for my entire body. We do squats, lunges, and various lifts that target the triceps and biceps. As a runner, I find that my upper body is never as conditioned as I would like it to be. So, I force myself into this free weight torture. Other cross training I like to employ is the stair climber. It is a great workout for the backside and can really work up a sweat. I have also been known to participate in a spin class. I think the trick with cross training is to mix it up. Otherwise, the workout gets stagnant. I also add some core strengthening exercises, and that about rounds it out.

BTW, all this diet and exercise stuff seems to be working. I find that my clothes are getting too loose! Pretty soon I will have to partake is my favorite cross training activity: Shopping!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stress and diets

As many runners will attest to, running is a great way of venting stress. While it is still important to be careful and not injure yourself during a hard run, it really is a great way of taking out your troubles. This morning, I woke up stressed. It was the weirdest thing because I never really get stressed out about things; a little high strung, but not really stressed. Why stressed first thing in the morning? Well, I had a dream about cake. I love cake and have always had a sweet tooth. Recently, I was diagnosed with having an intolerance to gluten. This should be no surprise, as my oldest daughter has full on Celiac Disease, and my youngest is also sensitive to gluten. So, per my doctor's recommendation, I gave it up, cold turkey.

At first, no issues. I simply cleaned out the cabinets and fridge, and made sure to stay away from the grocery store bakery. I also found some gluten free treats for that sweet tooth. However, I find that I still crave the sweets I used to enjoy: cookies, cakes, pies, all the stuff that I packed on my rear end! Sure, the GF sweets are ok, but they lack the texture. Luckily, Pamela's Products makes an excellent pancake and baking mix. While I have only tried the pancake recipe, I am excited to try the coffee cake recipe.

There is good news to following the diet that is best for my body: I have dropped more than 10 pounds pretty  effortlessly. I actually dropped most of the weight before I started running. While running, though, I have only shed another 2 pounds. I am sure this is mostly due to water retention and letting my stomach get the better of me. I tend to overdo it on the cheese (hey, I gotta have something, right?) when I make eggs. I also snack on GF cereal (Chex Cinammon is so yummy). And, one of my favorite junk food indulgences is Starbuck's Java Chip Frappacino. GF and so yummy! Yes, I know, full of calories and fat, but so yummy! I only allow one per week, and that is only if I had attained a goal (Can anyone say a 5K in less than 28?!).

I always try to remember that being GF isn't the worst thing in the world. A friend of mine has a son who cannot ingest Gluten, Eggs, Dairy and most anything kids love. The poor kid is stuck with adult food forever. She is glad to find the reason for his ailments that have plagued him for years, but it still sucks for that poor guy.

Many like to equate GF to the Atkins diet, especially at restaurants. The two are very dissimilar. On Atkins, there are very few option. Green leafy veggies, limited amounts of fruit, meat and cheese. However, on a GF diet, all fruits and veggies are allowed, as well as natural ice cream (read the ingredients), grains (oats, rice and corn, but no bulgher, wheat, rye or barley), meats, dairy, etc. It really is much easier than most imagine. But, I never forget the indulgence of a huge piece of German Chocolate cake and the moist texture GF flour just cannot provide.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lovin' the downhill!

I love running downhill. You can run totally relaxed and feeling slow, but you have gained a full minute on your typical run. Today, my first mile was in 8:30 and my second was in 8:18. It was nice to gain so much ground so fast, but when it was time for the last half mile, which is mostly uphill, I was ready to die! I really hate uphills! But, I do not run away from them all the time. Tomorrow morning, I have to go pick up my car that I dropped off today. And, you guessed it, since I dropped it off and got to run downhill, tomorrow I have to run up hill to pick it up. What goes down must go up, right? I expect my times will be more in the 10-11 minute range, but it is good practice. Uphill running is amazing for that gluteus maximus! If only my lungs could keep up with my legs!

I will check back tomorrow, if I make it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not a great week

Not sure why, but my training is not going so well this week. Sunday, I did not have much energy and ended up doing mile repeats at a slower than average pace (9:40). Yesterday, I increased to 1.5 mile repeats, but at an average of 9:50. Today I kind of threw in the towel and opted for some cross training. Uphill walk for 10 minutes, stair climber for 10 minutes, pull weights for 20 minutes and abs for 10 minutes. Tomorrow I have to drop off the car at the local mechanic's and run home (about 2 miles). I am hoping an outdoor run will help get me over this slump. I am looking forward to the end of my current employment contract (next Friday). I really prefer to work at home. It makes my time a lot more flexible for exercise. I am thinking of incorporating some of my exercise videos to punch things up. I think I may be getting into a rut. Ugh!

Friday, July 8, 2011


So, yesterday, I did make it to the gym. Eventually, hubby joined me and was less than thrilled about it. He usually gets a bit cranky before we has to catch a flight back to his station. While I didn't get the entire pace run in, as scheduled, I did manage to get 2 miles in 18:09. I am pretty thrilled about this because it is faster than my best time in basic training 14 years ago. Today, I will pace it out. I think 9:20/mile for just over 4 miles is doable. Speed is fun, but longevity is necessary.

I read a lot about running. I subscribe to Runner's World, have books on my Kindle app about running, and try to absorb as much information as possible. I also track my workouts like a compulsive person. Seriously. I have 4 different ways of tracking my runs. There are 2 apps that I use on my phone. One keeps my schedule and time, the other tracks all of the distance, plus allows for notation. When it is cool enough for me to run outside, I also have my Garmin and I like Daily Mile, which syncs with my Garmin and posts my progress to FB. One of my best friends will say I am way too analytic and should just enjoy the running. The thing is, I do enjoy it, but I also enjoy tracking my progress in every conceivable way. This tracking is what keeps me going. Every time I see an improvement, I want to improve upon it. I am also inherently lazy. If I don't track, I don't stick to it. Further, I find that I need to up my game, otherwise, my body becomes accustomed to the pace I set. I actually read about this in my Kindle book. A runner must increase the effort in order to improve. With all this tracking and reading, and then applying to my workouts, I believe progress is a given.

Diet is also a major part of running. Many say that they can eat whatever they want because they ran 5 miles that morning. I so wish this were true for me. I don't eat gluten due to allergies, but I do get carbs from rice and potatoes. But, even though I run as much as I do, and avoid wheat flour products, I can still gain weight from junk. This week I managed to gain 4.6 pounds! Horror of horrors! I blame salt! Hubby and I have eaten out quite a lot during his visit and restaurants in America have an obsession with salt. Ugh! While I know I am not starting at square one, I feel as if this backslide is one of the worst things of the American diet. Oh, well. No more eating out for a while.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To gym or not to gym

They say that the gym can become an addiction. I have always thought this was an addiction I would like to have, mistakenly believing that the compulsive need to go to the gym would make it easier. But, I have come to discover that addiction to the gym, or exercise addiction, is a serious issue. According to Active.com, exercise addiction is present when the addict overvalues the exercise to social obligations (family, work, etc). http://www.active.com/running/Articles/Know_the_signs_of_unhealthy_exercise_addiction.htm

Now, why do I broach this subject? Well, tonight is the last night my hubby is home for a couple of months and a part of me wants to take the day off and go home right after work. But, the runner in me wants to complete the 45 minute pace run I have scheduled for this afternoon. That same part of me says the kids will be taking a lot of hubby's attention and they probably won't miss the hour long furlough if I do it on my way home. This decision is usually seen as a no brainer: take an extra rest day and go home. But, it really isn't that easy for me. Where does the desire to run meet with the compulsion? If I choose the gym for an hour, does that mean I have crossed some imaginary line or that I am simply dedicated to my plan?

I am lucky, though. Hubby loves to meet me at the gym and so the decision has been made for me. I am such a wuss!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ugh! Repeats!

So, yesterday, I took a killer weight lifting class. My arms are a bit soft, so getting some upper body strength is my goal. This class is for the total body, though, and being a runner, I definitely added some weights for the squats and lunges. I scheduled 30 minutes on the treadmill today and thought since I got such good weight training in last night, I should do half-mile repeats. I like repeats because I can go faster than my normal pace for 2 laps, then walk for a lap. However, it has been a very long time since I did repeats (like a year), and I forgot the stiffness that can ensue from running so quickly. Now, I am at work, and every time I have to get up, my legs scream at me. I can actually hear them saying "OMG! What the heck were you thinking?" If it weren't for the knowledge that repeats help increase speed during distance runs, I think I would cry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meeting/beating goals!

OK, so yesterday was a great day on the treadmill. I had originally scheduled a lifting class, but since I missed my run on Monday, I thought it better to take my stress out on my legs. Man, am I glad I did! Last week, I managed a 5K run in 29:45, which isn't too bad for me. I am typically a pretty slow runner, so I was happy to beat 30 minutes. Yesterday, though, I maintained a higher than normal pace, really striving to challenge myself rather than reverting to my lazy ways. It wasn't so hard that I thought I would drop, and I probably could have churned out another mile at a slower pace, so I know it was a good pace for me. I was thrilled when I passed 3.1 miles in 28:44, taking an entire minute off of my previous time! My goal is to get 5K in less than 23 minutes flat. That is a mile every 7:25. Right now that seems very fast, but as I lose weight and continue to train, I know I will get down there eventually!
Why 5K in less than 23? Well, my goal before I turn 35 (in 2012) is to qualify for Boston. According to my race pace calculator, that means an average pace of 8:25/mile for the distance of a marathon. If the calculator is correct, that means running a 5K at race pace in 23:02. Right now, I can achieve this speed with a sprint on flat ground. Carrying it on for 3 miles though...yikes! But, I do not despair! My goal weight is 22 pounds away, which means I can drop another 2 minutes per mile with proper training. It won't be easy, but I am looking forward to getting there!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I hate when life gets in the way

So, yesterday, I received a call from my water delivery guy. It seems my dog really wanted to meet him and managed to break the window in his effort to make a new friend. I had to rush home after calling a window installer for an estimate to replace the broken window. Then, I had to take the dog to the vet because he tore up his leg pretty good. Turns out, he actually tore through 2 layers of muscle and the fascia connecting them. He was immediately admitted into surgery. I was able to get home and make dinner, then had to go back to pick the very groggy dog up from the vet. I feel bad for the dog, but jeez! Needless to say, I did not get my run in last night. Normally, this would not bother me. After all, it was an accident and I am sure the dog has learned his lesson. But, I really missed my run. So, I have to ask, if I look to running as a stress relief, how come when stressful event occur, I do not have the time to strap on my running shoes? When I smoked, I was always able to find a few minutes for a cigarette. I don't smoke anymore, but I am beginning to understand why people take up the habit after quitting for so long. It is much easier to find the time for it when life gets stressful. The shear cost of it is why I haven't started again! After all, the damages and the vet bill equal more than $1200! Just another way the government is controlling my decisions (taxes is why ciggies cost so much!).

Monday, June 27, 2011

When life gets busy

OK, so it has been a bit since my last blog. I have finally settled back into my house, though the garage still needs complete unpacking. I have to wait for cooler weather for that. I am thinking October! Anyway, I came back to an economy in the toilet and discovered that thanks to my continuing education, I am overqualified for most available jobs. Therefore, I decided that maybe I need to freelance my skills and start my own company. It wasn't that hard, really. Filing the paperwork and paying the taxes was pretty easy. However, finding the right clients is where it gets tricky. I have one who is not able to pay and another who pays, but is getting a screaming deal! I am very grateful to my husband and his ability to support us while I try to make a go of this.

In the fact that I am very busy, I still find it very therapeutic to pound the dirt as often as possible. Running gives me the outlet to really think about what tasks are in front of me and how to go about tackling them. However, I find that my children are not as apt to accept this time mom needs to herself. My youngest (9yo) usually asks why I "have" to go for a run. I try to explain that it is good for my body, being careful not to say "Mom needs some time to herself". It is a very fine line because I don't want her to feel like I don't want to be around her, but I also don't want to give her a complex about self-image. I tell her it is the grown up way of playing chase, but we can't play chase like kids do because we have to pace ourselves. I tried a couple of times to let her accompany me on her bike. That did not go well. Then she tried on her scooter. Also, not good. I have complaints of my own, I don't need to hear anyone else's whines about going up hills. So, I decide that if I am going to get "Mommy" time, I need to go when she is still asleep. My oldest (14yo) doesn't mind that I am gone. She just has no desire to join me. I can understand this. I can be pretty hard if she starts whining. This is why she will be learning to run in high school track. I didn't learn until I joined the Air Force, so at least she is getting a head start.

I get a lot of questions about my schedule and how I manage it all. After all, I run up to an hour a day, manage clients of varying needs, take care of my two girls while my husband is finishing his tour in Germany and constantly research market fluctuations as they pertain to my business. It really comes down to a matter of priority and opportunity. Also, a lot of multi-tasking. I have been known to answer client emails while walking on the treadmill. It also helps to have a Red Cross Certified babysitter as a daughter! She really allows me the time that I need to get stuff done by playing with the 9yo. Of course, we have our fair share of drama (what household with a teenage daughter doesn't?) and the occasional ball does get dropped, but we do the best we can with what we have. I think the main thing to keep in mind is that life happens and the only thing you can do is control the things you have control over. The rest will play out.