Friday, March 30, 2012

Fabulous Friday GLAM BEAUTY Treatment for the Mommy Marathon Runner

Dead toenails, sore body, tired eyes.  Sluggish.  You know, that feeling we get from time to time.  It comes with being a parent.  Or with being a mom who is marathon training.  So, what do you do when you need a little pick-me-up to help you feel glowing and gorgeous again?

Why, get a makeover from your 5 and 7 year old daughters of course.  Talk about expressive and dramatic techniques!  You'll walk away feeling lively and energetic.  Looking and feeling like a princess clown.

Y'all know you want to hire my 5 year old as your make-up artist for your next big gig.  I mean, forget paying the big bucks.  She'll work for free.  Or a few treats like a movie or licorice.  Save your money and buy a new purse since your current one probably has ink all over it from the 2 year old pen explosion in the Chiropractor's office during your last visit.  And better yet, use some of your saved money to paint the chiropractor's walls.  (Story coming at a later time).  Anyway, back to the 5 year old make-up artist.  I mean check out these MAD SKILZ:

I would show you a before and after picture like all the great make-up artists do but she couldn't figure out the camera.  I'll tell you this...her make up goes oh so well with my post run/swim and ready for bed look.  I look sort of like a washed up harlot.  I mean Beauty Queen.  I especially like the way she makes my NOSE pop!  Doesn't everyone go for the nose popping technique.  Or is the eyes you want to stand out?

The Toes
Oh, ladies, I'm not done!  If you think that is stunning and irresistible, then you MUST check out this company's pedicure jobs.  They are simply amazing.  I mean they transformed my feet from half-painted January Hawaii trip leftovers/DEAD toenails from marathon running feet to GLAM GLAM GLAMOROUS.  Each of them took a foot to be in charge of while I created the beginnings of my Taper-Time Collage Journaling Project which you can see more of HERE.  

Here's a nasty before picture.  I know, I know, gee lady, do something with those things.  Um, I AM.  I'm running.  And Running.  And Running.  No time for pedicures.  And no point.  All it takes is one 20 plus mile run for my toes look like this again.  I only have 3 dead toenails this time though so this is a good thing.  

Yeah, pretty nasty huh?  Didn't say I was trying to win any SEXY FEET contest.  Check out my set up below.  Older cousins visiting to keep watch over the beauty supplies and I was just able to sit back and relax while I created my collage art and meditated on the Boston Marathon.  

And the AFTER Picture.  Who doesn't want rainbow toes?  I must say, they did an awesome job at covering up those dead black middle toes.  Yes?

How will you feel Fabulous this Friday?  If I were you, I'd find some of these young beauticians so you can feel Glowing and Gorgeous too!

Happy Friday,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The TAPER. And Channeling the Taper-Time Feelings and Thoughts with Collage Journaling

Training for a marathon is a long process.  After months of training and focusing on a goal race, we finally come to the last 2 or 3 weeks and start our TAPER.  So many of us write about taper-time madness and the feelings and thoughts that come with this part of the training plan.  It is a time to start cutting back on the mileage and long workouts.  A time to absorb the hard work we've put ourselves through. And a time to recharge for the big day. 

Taper is exciting and maddening all at once.  With it comes a slew of emotions and feelings for me.  Mostly positive. My body and mind are tired as they should be after my highest peak week of training.  73 miles ending in a hilly 22 miler @ 8:00 pace will do that do a girl.  And I'm going easy on myself. 

Yesterday's "planned" 13 mile run was awful.  My body was slow and TIRED and it was a battle just to hold on to a recovery pace. I got home after my second attempt at fitting in my miles feeling knocked down.  But instead of feeling defeated, I had grace with myself.  

My after-run Runninghood facebook status:

"Some days we have it and some days we don't.  Today, I didnt' have it.  Body says: REST.  So, I'm going to listen.  I think this is true in so many things we experience...motherhood, our jobs, sport, relationships...We don't always have to be "ON".  Cut yourself some slack today (message to myself)."

I'm reminding myself to truly listen to my body and know that I make the best decisions for myself as my own coach.  Sometimes this means not following my plan and giving myself an unplanned down day.  That would be today.  If I feel charged later today then I'll fit in my recovery run.  If not, no big deal. It isn't the end of the world to miss a day if I feel I need it. And I'm pretty sure I need it. 

Instead of running, I felt drawn to my much neglected Running Journal that so many of you know me for. I felt the need to process some of these taper-time feelings that are stirring around within me...nerves, flickers of doubts, excitement for the big day, fatigue, etc.  I was drawn to some good ol' quiet, reflective and creative time Amanda/Runninghood style.  It's been awhile.  This training cycle has been mostly running and logging analytical data.  The facts.  But not so much of the feelings.  

Today was a great day to spend time in my Running Journal since I've had my older nieces around to play with the kids.  For me, my Running Journal time involved:

  • Reading over my training runs and the data that shows all of my hard work...The numbers that are proof that my race goal is realistic and within my reach.  This really helped me fill my confidence cup.  
  • Reading some positive e-mails from friends that believe in me.  
  • Creating a collage based on flow and feelings about the upcoming Boston Marathon.   

Collage Journaling
Collage Journaling/Art is a great tool for me to use when I'm a bundle of emotions and mixed feelings.  It is a tool I've used often throughout my life when it comes to channeling my inner strength and focus.  Going through the process of creating a collage is very therapeutic for me and I almost always come out of it with a new clarity and calm.  You might remember some of the collages I did before the Newport Marathon last spring:

These are great to look back on even if I'm at a different place than I was then.  

The Collage Journaling Process:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to relax.  As a mom of three little ones, this can be tricky but today I had older cousins visiting so this turned out to be a very quiet and relaxing morning.  
  2. Gather collage supplies:  magazines, glue sticks, scissors, paper or journal.  For me, a few old Runner's World magazines do the trick for words to cut out.  And of course, my Running Journal is where I put my collages.  
  3. Go by FLOW and FEEL.  When I'm looking through my magazines with scissors in hand, I almost always have a strong FEEL for the image and message I want to capture.  As I'm looking through my magazines, I let my mind flow with the thoughts I'm wanting to capture.  If a picture or word jumps out and flows with what I'm "feeling" then I cut it out.  Sometimes when a word in itself is a great word for me but the color or size of it just doesn't flow, I leave it behind.  I know, it sounds funny but it all makes sense when I'm in the process.  
  4. Keep it Open. Let your mind be open to including all sorts of messages in this collage.  You might be surprised at what you end up with when you let your your mind flow. Your collage isnt' something that has to be finished TODAY..keep adding to it. I didnt' finish my collage today but just starting it helped me to feel calm, focused and positive.  And put some of these "Taper jitters" in the trash.  
My unfinished collage journaling that I will continue to add to in the next few weeks.  
1. Have you tried creating collages as a tool for finding focus, reflecting or setting goals/visions for your life?  
2.  What are some things you remember about the taper time that comes right before a peak race?  


Monday, March 26, 2012

Peak Mileage, Last 22 Miler, Unexpected Ice Bath Footage and Bits of Training Stuff

Thankful to have found a friend who can run 22 miles with me, push me to be my best, and then take sly videos of my ice bath for later entertainment (see below)

Training HARD for any goal takes Dedication and TIME.  Towards the end of the long road, it can start to feel like that's all we do, talk about, think about, and focus on.  Training.  Preparing.  Focusing.  But one look around our life usually tells us differently...our children, relationships, volunteer opportunities, jobs, family, game nights, and people who are there to support and encourage us despite the fact that we have less time to spend with them.  Part of making big goals a reality means making those goals a PRIORITY.

I admit, Boston training has taken a lot of my time and energy.  I've structured many of my days around my workouts, gone to bed earlier, used the t.v for my kids WAY more than usual in order to get in a treadmill run, and posted more than PLENTY of running-related pictures and status updates on facebook.   It might seem to some that I have no life outside of running lately.  But gosh, I'm so thankful for those friends and family that GET me and GET my training enough to stick around through all the parts of my life...not just the times where I have the most in common or the most to GIVE to them.

As excited as I am to be nearing the end of this long training cycle, I'm equally happy that I've had the diligence in getting this far.  And I've had fun doing it!  Almost so much that I MIGHT turn into one of those crazy running bloggers that jumps right into another training plan soon after this one is over.  Hey, I said MIGHT.  The idea of an open summer with the occasional Jillian Michael's video to keep my abs and legs looking good coupled with a whatever-kind-of-run-I-feel-like and followed by a cold beer with my husband over dinner sounds WAY more up my alley for summer running plans.

There have been many reasons for why this training cycle has been so enjoyable....friends who have been virtual training partners, my blog and the connection I have with so many of you and the support and encouragement that comes from that, girlfriends (Nicole and Stephanie) to run with, my treadmill, and so much more.  Training has just "clicked" this time around.  And three more weeks to go so here's hoping it keeps on clickity clicking without anything unexpected!

73 miles!  I ended this last week with a 22 miler with my good friend Nicole.  That brought me to 73 miles for my highest week of running ever.  That's a great feeling!  The last week went something like this:
11 miles with an a.m and later a.m run
11 miles with 6x1000m on TM @ 1% incline.   All at 6:11 pace except 2nd one at 6:15 pace.  Trying to account for TM vs. road running.
15 miles.  Had to break it up a bit due to schedule with kids.
8 miles
6 miles recovery
22 miles with Nicole @ 8:00 pace.  Note:  there were a few stops due to peeing, stretching and water/fuel issues but not too worried about that.  Great run to gain confidence and figure out fueling for marathon.  Very hilly course and strong finish.  Last 7 miles:
7:17 YES!

I ran half the 22 in my Brooks Launch and the other half in my Pure Flows.  I think I just might be wearing the Flows for Boston!

As far as fuel, I've decided that the Sports Beans are just too tricky for using and running most efficiently so I will probably use my favorite gel of all time...tastes soooo YUMMY:

Once we got back from our 22 miles, we quickly scarfed down some quinoa/red rice and some citrus Recoverite and then I made my way into my COLD bath for recovery.  Little did I know, Nicole decided that she would take this opportunity to play videographer.  It made for some funny footage that I think many of us might relate to.  And I kept my swearing down too so that's a bonus.   

1.  Do you take ice baths or cold baths for recovery?  I don't use ice because I've read that cold water does just as good for recovery and the ice really isn't necessary.  Works for me.  As you can see from the video, this is painful enough for me.
2.  What kinds of recovery food or drink do you use?
3.  Do you have a good friend to run with?  I always said I run alone.  And I thought that was the way I liked it.  But the past few months have taught me differently.  I've loved having someone to run these long runs with.  Not so sure I'd feel the same about speed workouts with someone else but who knows...I'm changing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Three Weeks Until Boston MOJO! And Boston Blogger Meet UP Ideas???

Feeling incredibly happy right now.  Maybe it is because I have the house to myself on a Saturday afternoon while my husband takes the girls to a play and my son naps.  It could be because it is the start of Spring Break and the weather is an amazing reminder of the coveted Oregon summer that is to come. It might be from having a relaxing Friday night where I ate my weight in pizza, soaked it up in one too many beers while sending "I love you messages" to a couple special people and then slept until 10a.m. Could be from knowing that I have some really solid girlfriends in my life that I can see still loving and having my side when I'm an old bitty without any teeth.  We'll be traveling across the country to see each other wherever we may be while we drink tea and share stories about our glory days and how we met. Or maybe this happiness comes from the perfect and surprisingly strong-feeling of a 6 mile recovery run I just had.  The hills that usually demand a slug-pace out of my tired legs, felt effortless and my body feels strong and capable. I almost feel like I shouldn't talk too soon but such a good feeling to have at the end of my highest mileage week EVER and right before my last 22 mile run tomorrow.  

Whatever the reasons, I AM HAPPY.  And I'm THANKFUL to be where I am at in my training plan and feeling so strong (knocking on wood here).  So, it is time to finish these next three weeks before Boston with a fully stocked bag of MOJO.  The picture above may not be from my fastest race but it does remind me of digging deep and believing in myself.  The look on my face is one that I know.  It is a look that is a sure sign that I was winning the mental battle in my head at this moment when the picture was taken.  Despite the negative thoughts that were making their way to my mind, I was fighting back and loving myself for a lot of the race. It is a picture that makes me feel strong and reminds me of how far I've come.  I'm holding on to this feeling.  And I'm going to look at this picture often in the next few weeks as I find and hold on to MY STRONG.  And  how LOYAL am I to Brooks?!  I mean really, will you look at those arm warmers turned inside out just because they didn't say Brooks!  Ha!  Kidding.

Calling all Boston Runners
So, all of you who are running the Boston Marathon, live in Boston, or are heading there for the anyone planning some kind of Boston Blogger Meet Up?  If not, I'd say it is time to get the ball rolling peeps.  I'm thinking EASY, SIMPLE, Pick a place and time and come have a beer, juice, water...whatever you drink....and maybe some appetizers and then either leave after a quick hello or see where the evening takes us.  Very noncommittal but still an opportunity for people to connect, take a few pictures, share some race stories, etc. So, I guess the big things to nail down:

  1. Who? Who is interested in a meet up?
  2. When? What day and when?  I'd think that AFTER the marathon might be better.  Then those of us that do want a beer and some not-good-for-you food can enjoy it without worrying about the race.  Maybe Tuesday if people are sticking around??
  3. Where?  Maybe some locals or people that are familiar with the area can suggest a good place to meet and then we can nail down a reservation for a room or seating that is big enough.  Where did everyone meet last year?? I guess I could e-mail SUAR and ask her when she gets back from her vacation.  
Okay, that's getting the ball rolling.  Now anyone want to roll with it and share some ideas??  

In my next post, I plan on sharing some of my DREADMILL tips for making it all bearable.  One of thees tricks or tips requires ringing an imaginary bell every mile...this consists of me putting my hand in the air while singing "Ding Ding Ding".  It's the little things.  

Happy Spring!  Happy Weekend!  Happy Running!  


Friday, March 23, 2012

These are the Days

Okay, I promise, no fake pooping or pretend cooking shows with weird voices today. But thanks for your comments and support on my last post.  It would really be an honor and joy to get the opportunity to run with the Nuun team for Hood to Coast 2012!  

Instead of shooting vlogs and odd videos to share, I'm just going to share a bit from my journal on this beautiful Friday morning.  Thankful for the time I had to drink my coffee and have journal time with my kiddos (they have their own journal but they also helped with mine today).  Love my Fridays this year! 

"  3/23/12....Slowing myself down just a bit on this Friday morning in March.  Knowing that these days are numbered.  My time at home with my two younger kids without anywhere to go and everywhere a POSSIBILITY is precious!  I love my Fridays with my sweet kids.  The promise of family movie night, pizza and ice cream, and a Saturday morning to wake up late is just one of the many things that keeps me smiling today.  And an easier day of Boston training today after an incredibly awesome peak week!  Reminders everywhere that LIFE is RICH...a gift to savor.  Even the toys scattered on the floor and the spilled cereal and milk on the table next to a pile of stinky clothes waiting to be washed are a reminder of this wonderful life to be lived.  THANKFUL!  A few highlights of gratitude today:
  • Journal time with my sweet girl.
  • Awesome week of training.  6x1ks were SOLID
  • New possibilities with life, running, motherhood
  • Family Night tonight
  • Some very special running girlfriends (and non running girlfriends) that Encourage and LOVE me.  
  • Healthy kids
  • Reminders to be in the Present before I miss out.  So easy to get sucked into the "EVERYWHERE ELSE".  
  • Opportunities to use my gifts
  • Ever loving husband and love of my life.  
  • Boston Marathon so close!  A bit sad about one of my dearest friends who won't be there due to injury.  She's provided so much love, strength and encouragement to me over the last couple years.  I love her dearly and I've finally just accepted that she will be with me in spirit and heart.  So much of my 26.2 in Boston will be run for and "with" her in my mind.  I love you Jenn."  (Still thinking of bringing you in blow up form just for kicks and good blog opportunities).  
  • 22 miles with Nicole on Sunday!  Last really long run before Boston!  So nice to have a compatible running partner for these runs.  
Thanks for letting me share my life with you.  Thankful for you.  And great to meet some of you last night at the book reading for Train Like a Mother.  Always nice to put faces with names.  However, a little odd meeting people that seem to know everything about me (fake poops, skin stretching, motherhood stories, training, etc.) when I know very little about them.  Ha!  Felt a little naked last night.  

Happy Friday!  We are off to the Children's Museum to slurp up some sick germs.  Isn't that what ends up happening at places like that??!  Let's hope NOT! What makes your Friday special?  Any fun weekend plans?  


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In the Kitchen With Runninghood Episode 1: Team Nuun Hood-to-Coast Application

NOTE:  I love Nuun and I want to spread the word so others can love it too! There are three videos in this application post.  I know, I know, allow me to explain.   The first one is my "In the Kitchen with Runninghood" where I cook up a recipe for the perfect HTC athlete and use a bit too many voice change-ups with my iMovie maker.  But I had fun doing it and the chipmunk voice makes me laugh every time. Although tit is long, the fast forward option is there for a reason.  The next two videos are per request from a good friend who insisted that my first one wasn't the Amanda she knew.  So I included those videos at the very end for those that want a choice.  They didn't make the cut for good reasons. Yes... I spent a bit too much time on this.  Now back to real to be a MOM and try to fit in 15 miles today!  
I'm the one in the middle wearing the orange shirt and braids.   My husband and I were the Nuun "cousins" that weren't on the team but certainly felt like a part of the Nuun Teams for Hood to Coast 2012!
 Hood to Coast.  The relay of all relays. A time where memories are made and one gets to run through some of the most beautiful parts of the country while making friends, losing sleep, and looking forward to a huge celebration at the end.  Hood to Coast wasn't always an event that I felt like participating in.  I mean, come on, you couldn't pay me enough money to do this relay when I had infants at home and I was up every 2 or 3 hours all through the night.  There was no way I was going to PAY to lose sleep and run all night.  But now, this relay just spells F-U-N to me and I'm hoping that I have another opportunity to not only do it this year!  In fact, I hope to get chosen to join Team NUUN 20012 and have the chance to not only run my heart out and STAY EXTRA HYDRATED with NUUN,  but represent a fabulous company/product and make some new friendships in the process.

As some of my readers might remember, I ran HTC last year with my husband on a team that we found last minute.  It was such a joy to be on a team where we got to meet new friends and be on a team together.  But one of the best parts of my HTC 2011 memories was that I got to meet so many of my virtual running blog friends that were running on the Nuun teams.  I was eager to get to every exchange point so that I could find the Nuun vans and say hello to my friends and hear about their obviously amazing experience that they were tweeting, facebooking, and blogging about as they made their way from Mount Hood to the Oregon coast.  I even texted with several of them about how we were doing and where they were at on the course.  And when we got to the beach, they were some of the first people I found to celebrate with.  I wasn't part of the Nuun team but I sure did get a taste of what it would be like.  Several of them referred to me as the Team Nuun "cousin".  This year I hope that I get to be part of the TEAM!  No cousin.

Team Nuun "Cousins" 2011.  This year I hope to be part of the TEAM!

Why Nuun?
I haven't known about Nuun for too terribly long.  In fact, last summer I think I still pronounced it as "Nun" but thanks to the HTC Nuun team from last year, I now know that you pronounce it as "nooon".  What I do know for sure about Nuun is that it got me through my July marathon (Sauvie Island Marathon) hydrated and on top of my game.  Since then, my husband and I have used Nuun to replace our electrolytes during workouts and AFTER workouts for better hydration and recovery.  I would love to have the opportunity to represent the Nuun company!

MIle 26.  Finishing 26.2 Smiling!  And hydrated by Nuun the whole way!  

Ideas for my Nuun Application
When I found out that Nuun was accepting applications for the Nuun Team for Hood To Coast 2012, I immediately started thinking about how fun this would be.  I admit that being one of the first to not only apply but share my application publicly might seem a little hasty or spontaneous but I'd like to see this as taking initiative and jumping in with my whole heart.  I know the competition is tough this year so I can only hope to have a spot! And I knew that if I waited too long to apply that I'd probably end up over thinking the whole thing and end up with a less authentic video so I just spent a night introducing myself to Nuun via my iMac video camera and went with it!

Before I decided on a final idea, my mind was rolling with what direction to take....

I thought about sharing the deepest parts of my running story


Perhaps I would share a bit about my creative fort that lasted at good solid 2 weeks before my 2 year old tore it down.  It really was a motivational hideout.  A little weird for a grown woman to be sitting in a kid fort and using it as her "office".I know.  It didn't last long anyway before my 2 year old son decided to destroy it.


Maybe I would talk a bit about my Running Journal and how it is a great piece of motivation and inspiration. And something that has inspired many other women to do the same and take new direction with their running visions.


I could even share my last week's running vlog from my eye poking machine.

Whatever I decided on, I knew that I wanted to do it with 100% and get it done right away


I tried shooting a few videos. (After a bit of convincing from a friend, I included these videos at the very end and they are actually more popular than the Kitchen one.)

My first videos (one is included at the very end of this post) were in the bathroom where I often find quiet when the rest of the house is crazy.  Some know this as my "fake pooping time" where I gain a few moments of self-time all in the name of a poop.

Those didn't work out so well.  I got several good minutes of video and then they ended up going downhill.  Don't worry people, I wasn't really pooping.

I eventually moved my video to the living room where I raced down the hallway on my son's toddler bike as I tooted the horn in preparation for the "self-horn-tootin'" that one usually does when they are applying for something big.

Okay, so I ended up including this video at the very bottom of this post after all.  

Yeah, that was just stupid.

I even practiced writing backwards on my chalkboard (my video camera on my Mac Book Air films everything in mirror image so any writing  I include in the video is backwards as if I'm seeing it in a mirror.  I'm sure there is a way to fix this but now isn't the time).  I tell you this....WRITING BACKWARDS IS A GIFT!  Worthy of getting chosen for the Nuun Team.  After all, this skill might come in handy when decorating vans and such. 

What this board really looks like.  My lovely backward handwriting.

A picture from my computer.

And Then There It WAS! My PLAN Was Unfolding....

Nothing like a good workout to get the wheels spinning.  It is usually during some of my hardest workouts that I get my best ideas. Today's workout was no exception.  Sometime during my 11 miles with 6x1000m repeats@6:11 pace, the idea came for the filming of:

In the Kitchen with Runninghood
A recipe for cooking up the perfect candidate for a spot on the Nuun HTC team

The video below is my official application for Team Nuun HTC 2012 (along with this blog post).  I hope you enjoy it because I sure did enjoy filming it with a little help from my MacBook Air and my kitchen assistants (a.k.a my kids).

A few notes about the video you are about to view:

  • Just a reminder that all of the signs and labels you see in this video have been written backwards so that YOU can view them forwards (my imac shows everything in mirror image). 
  • My "assistant's" name is Tri Berry after our current stock of Nuun flavor. 
  • My film budget was low so I wasn't able to hire a techie for this shoot.  But next time, I think we'll have more money to make a more decent film.  Kind of like the Twilight movies.  
  • This was also my first time to attempt to use the iMovie program on my computer so the sound effects, speed changes, and changes with voice are purely my attempt to make the 8 min video more interesting and sometimes funny.  I don't claim to be even near an expert at using this program as you will see when you watch my "film".  
  • I know I cut this thing up a bit too much with the voice changes but trust me that it gets better as the video goes on (IMO the best part is towards the end). I at least made myself laugh, and MAN, can't put a price on a good laugh. 
  • If anything, just skip the first 1 min or so which is just me introducing myself on my TM before the "cooking show" begins with some good ol' PUMP UP THE JAM tunes!

I plan on sending this blog post to Nuun along with an e-mail with additional information they requested.  The e-mail and this post will be my official application.  

In the meantime, gotta ask for a little help from my friends.  YOU.  In the comment section of this post, in addition to anything else you might want to say, would you please tell Nuun a word or two about why you think I might make a good addition to the Nuun HTC team for 2012??? Pretty please!  Or if you're really feeling like putting yourself out there for my sake, visit their facebook page and put in a good word for Runninghood!  Thanks in advance friends.  It would be awesome to be a part of Team Nuun for Hood to Coast 2012!

So Nuun PLEASE Choose ME!  I promise to run my little heart out, represent NUUN proudly, and be a great teammate!!

Thanks All!

P.s...a good friend said that my video above is too serious and not the Amanda she knows soooo...she requested my fake poop is just a sample.  Also below that is my "fly down the hall on a kid bike while tooting my horn video".  This one ends with me running in place in my Beaver socks and cutting the video short saying "This is the Stupidest video ever!"  Entertainment at its NOT SO FINEST.  Ha!

Monday, March 19, 2012

100% Heart, Final Countdown, and Psyche Test #2

I promise I'll return to more substantial posting relatively soon. In the meantime, this happens to be my second post in an hour.  What is the blog world coming to?!  This is my day off running and I must have too much time on my hands.  But I'm soaking up this day because this week will be my hardest week yet!  Hope to top out at 70-75 miles and run all my workouts with 100% HEART!  Then taper time baby!!  How did THAT happen?!  I've had so much fun this time around.  And such a different kind of plan compared to my Brain Training from last time.  Last time I did way more speed workouts and I felt way more prepared to race faster 10k and 5k times during marathon training. I surely ran faster for all my runs except long runs...easy pace, recovery, etc.   But honestly, this time around, I think I feel more confident about hitting marathon pace for 26.2.  Hope it all comes together.  It will! Whatever happens will be just another experience that I will learn and grow from.  Whether I run a 3:30, 3:15, 3:22, 3:28...these are just numbers.  I'm still the same Amanda.  Pressure is coming off for this race and I'm going to focus on how enjoyable the process has been and how enjoyable the experience will be.  Ha, easier said than done but I can talk like I have my shit together, right?  

Focus for today:

  • Enjoy my two little ones that are home with me.  Fully!  Right now, mommy is on the computer and they are lost in a world of imaginary play.  The house is a horrible mess but LIFE is CALM and happy.  Savoring these moments even as I have my head stuck in the Internet world.  
  • Spend some time just sitting on the couch and reading a book for fun.  
  • Spend time in the plank position while I play cars with my little guy.  
  • Write thank you cards with my daughter for all her birthday presents.
  • Have SOMETHING planned for dinner. Other than veggies, chicken and quinoa.  Sure would be easier if I had an iPhone and could buy my first app which would surely be this Spinning Meals App. via the Spinning Cook.  More coming soon about this but if you are an app person and you want an app to make meal planning and shopping an easy and non stressful thing (unlike my reality), then you really must check this out. A really great giveaway in regards to this is coming soon so check out the app and let me know what you think!  

Okay, so nobody seemed to see what I saw in this picture below and now that I think about it, it really isn't very realistic looking.  Looks more like a row of fingers or guns if you look at it from the side.   

But surely I'm not alone in this picture from my daughter's classroom welcome sign!  I mean, really?  Was I the only immature parent in the classroom?  Apparently.  

Happy Monday!  

Rorschach Penis Inkblot Test for Runners

In light of my The MENTAL of Running post from yesterday, I thought I'd continue to dig deep into the psychology of runners with my version of one of those Inkblot tests.  Instead, let's all take a moment to dig deep into our inner psyche and share what we see in this picture.  

What Do YOU see? Photo taken from Barborka On The Run.

Oh, come on!  Don't tell me that I'm the ONLY one that sees a row of penis hills! Or I guess a row of pointing fingers if you look at it from the side.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The MENTAL of Training

There is only so much physical training and nutritional diligence one can have in their attempts to reach their goals and find success in their sport. There comes a point where the "Mental" training becomes almost more important (if not the MOST important) than the work we put our bodies through and the fuel we consume. At least it does for me. Our minds are perhaps what hold us back or help us fly forward more than any other element in life. With so many things.  Not just running.  It is our mind that fills up with the voices and messages that will either help or sabotage us.  And when life gets tough, the pressure is high, or we find ourselves pushing against a new barrier to get to another level in meeting our goals and watching our dreams unfold, it is our mind that comes into play.  

Our mental training can be one of the hardest things to get in peak condition for success because our minds are filled with so many messages that come from every past experience we've ever had. These thoughts and messages can be automatic and deep seeded.   

So how can we take the voices of doubt:

I can't.
I don't have enough ________.
I'm not good enough yet.
They must be better than me.
I haven't trained enough.
I don't have what it takes to do _____
They must have something that I don't have.
I guess today  just isn't my day.
Maybe someday....

And replace them with voices of CONFIDENCE and POWER?
I can do this!
Why not me?  It has to be someone.
I'm good enough.  
I'm just as good and worthy as my competitors.
I've got everything it takes to make this dream come true.  It is up to me to make it happen!
I've worked hard for this and I'm prepared.
Pain is temporary...dig deep!  You're better than settling.  

It takes work to push those negative feelings and self-doubt out of our heads and to the curb.  This can be especially hard for those of us who have those destructive and negative messages living within us for so long.  Even when we think they are gone, somehow, they show their ugly heads when we we need to be quiet THE MOST.   

I've tried for years to get my mental game strong when it comes to performing as an athlete.  And I'm SO MUCH stronger than ever before. I've come a LONG way and this shows not only in my running but in all the other areas of my life that I've found success in. However, in high school and college I was a MESS of MENTAL.  My mind is what held me back in every race.  I felt suffocated with FEAR (fear of pain, not being able to hit my times, disappointing others...), SELF-DOUBT, PRESSURE TO PERFORM, not feeling good enough, and so much more.  With every race or hard practice came that sick feeling in my stomach that made me dread what I was about to do.  I remember a medley relay at Indoor Track Nationals where my coach was going to have me start the relay.  Instead of being confident and going out there and giving it my all and being happy with my best, I panicked.  I literally had a breakdown when he told me I would be starting.  Fear disabled me and I was a mess of tears and feelings of inadequacy. Over a stupid race! What?! 

I know, this all sounds ridiculous to be so scared and nervous about a silly track race or a few cross country meets.  Right?  It sure does to me.  I mean, where did this fear come from?! And really?  It is only a race silly girl.  

What I do know now is that I wasn't entirely alone in these feelings and mental barriers that I faced as an athlete.  I know of lots of runners who have experienced similar things.  And these feeling translate to other areas of our lives too.  They hold us back.  They keep us from reaching our goals and making our dreams become reality. 

After this weekend, I am convinced that I must step up my mental game if I'm going to accomplish my goals with running.  I must put some big work into getting my mind in tip-top shape to go along with all the physical training I've been doing. 

As many of you know, I had a 10k this weekend. As is normal before a 10k or 5k, I felt nervous and I was putting pressure on myself to perform.  But it wasn't anything too much.  In fact, I went into the race feeling confident and in control.  I went to bed with a clear head  and an excitement to run after reading several e-mails from some dear friends that helped me put this tune-up race into perspective.  

Here are just a few things that went really well with this race:

  • I approached the race knowing that it was a tune-up race during the peak of marathon training and I kept that in mind so that I didn't get too hard on myself in expecting to run what I might if I were tapered and in 10k shape.  
  • I lined up in my yellow Brooks top feeling stronger, and more confident than ever before.  

  • I believed that this race was mine to do whatever I wanted.
  • Instead of feelings of fear and dread, I had feelings of being prepared and eagerness to see what I could do off of so much training. 
  • While I was racing, I felt strong and in control for most of the race.  I was able to push aside some of the negative messages that appeared in my head.  
  • After the race, I was able to put things in perspective quickly and not let this one race discourage me and cloud-up my vision for Boston.  I only spent a few minutes pouting and feeling cruddy about my performance and then I was ready to move forward and see it as a great threshold workout. A 43:02 10k (6:55 pace) is a workout that will get me one step closer to a STRONG Boston.  I'll get my 41:xx and 40:xx another time.
  • I WON my race!   This is always nice despite the fact that I didn't run a time I was happy with.

Goals going into this race:  
  • To use this race as a gauge for what my marathon pace will be.
  • To PR!  I mean, I ran a 42:09 in January off of way less training and a few strains.  I expected to at least break 42 minutes and I had no doubts that I would.  
  • To stay mentally STRONG and push myself HARD.  
  • To push away all the negative thoughts and replace them with the mantras:  "Don't Puss OUT", "Ride the Edge", and "Find your strong".  
Overall, I did a pretty good job at trying to stay focused and replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.  I fought back against my negative mental messages even though it was a struggle.  I'm proud of myself for this.  Having an awareness of my mental struggles and being conscious of the messages that creeped into my head is half the battle against them (Thanks AM for your questions that got me thinking about these things).  Although I'm not proud of some of the thoughts (even a little embarrassed) that I had during the race, I think sharing them will help me conquer them. So, here are some of the messages that showed their ugly faces in when the race got hard yesterday:
  • You're just not that fast.
  • You must not be as good as you think you are.
  • You'll just have to tell the girls that today isn't your day.
  • You're not enough today.
What?!  Was I really telling myself these things and planning what I would say to my friends about my poor performance even before the race was done??!!  Yup.  I know, pretty ridiculous.  Ridiculously WEAK!  


I'm proud of myself to recognizing these thoughts.  I'm proud of myself for fighting back every. single. time. even if it was small.  I'm proud of myself for NOT quitting even despite the stitch I had from mile 4 to 5.75 that made me feel like I would have to stop.  My legs kept moving and my mind fought back and replaced every negative with a positive.  It was quite the mental dialogue.  Funny really.  It went something like this:

"This just isn't your day.  Stop it Amanda!  You've got this.  Quick feet, lean forward a bit, use your arms, breathe.  I'll just have to accept that maybe this is just my level.  Maybe I'm not capable of faster.  SHUT UP Amanda!  You've proven you can do this even off of little training!  You've got this.  Man, I feel like a bad ass in this small race...there is no la la.  Here we go.  Happy happy bad ass feeling.  Oh crap, I'm slowing down.  What is wrong with you Amanda?!  You should be running faster!  I'm just not there today.  Maybe my threshold is way slower than I thought.  Come on Amanda push it!  Why? I've already lost too much time to PR...this is pathetic...I didn't even break 7on that stupid mile...."  

Yup, I've GOT A LOT of MENTAL WORK to do!!  LOTS.  But you know what?  I'm more than half-way there just by being aware of this.  I've got this.  Once I'm truly aware of something and I've made the decision to do something for know, because I WANT it for me and not because someone told me to do it, I usually get it under control pretty dang fast.  So, here we go.....on to some big time mental work.  And what better way to improve than to practice often.  This means the more opportunity to race, the better!  

In the same way that my dreams have come true and I've found success in my non-running life, I'm convinced that these things come from knowing what we want, believing in ourselves, surrounding ourselves with people that love and support us, being aware of our weaknesses, and doing the WORK that it takes to get to where we want to be. As with all these other parts of my life, I'm excited to push forward and keep growing!  


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vlog from the Eye-Poking Machine

Just because everyone wants to watch 4 minutes of me running on my treadmill in the garage while talking to myself, I thought I'd post a VLOG today.  What a silly word. But if I'm going to post anything at all on this thing this week then it is going to be in video form because my writing brain just doesn't work so well these days.  Here is a summary for those of you (most of you) that really have no interest in watching ME for that much of your day.  Ha!  

The Vlog gist:
  • Me running a recovery run while talking to myself...or you. 
  • I talk about my sexy yellow Brooks top and why I'm wearing it today...needing some mojo.  It makes me feel fast.  Faster than I really am.  
  • My trick of having the garage door open in hopes of it feeling like I'm running outside instead of on my treadmill.
  • I talk with my hands a lot because...well, I always talk with my hands. 
  • I talk about how I don't have much inspiration or energy for writing or reflecting lately.  I miss that part of my blog.  I miss writing in general.  But I'm also happy with the NOW and I'm having fun with this training.  I'll have a lot of time this summer to just run for fun and get some of my mental energy back.   
  • My self-pep talk about TRUSTING MY PLAN and believing in myself.  I'm officially throwing that old HEAD CASE Amanda to the curb.  Enough is enough.  I'm good enough just as I am and all I need to ask of myself is my best.
  • 10k this Saturday.  Just going to use it as a great workout and run the best I can.  And I might wear my yellow/fast Brooks top if it is warm enough..enough feeling like I'm too slow to wear it.  :)    
  • I talk a bit about my son.  And show you the humble pie on my face from all the times I never believed my friends when they said that boys would be different.  I've been in tears at least 10 times this week with parenting issues.  Mostly dealing with my bundle of BOY.  Gosh I love him though.  He crawled into bed with me last night and fell asleep for a bit before I carried him back to his bed.  So much love. 
  • And then some more mindful/mindless chatter. 
Now off to plan some birthday parties, take my kids to this really fun place called Out of this World Pizza where they will get a lot of germs and work off a bunch of energy, and then get all dolled up for my husband's birthday dinner tonight.  

Happy Thursday!  


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bump of a Training Week, 22 Miler, and Gratitude

Honestly, this was a hard week for me.  In so many ways.  It was one of those bumps in training that had me feeling pretty lousy until today.  I started the week with the flu right after a 30k race/training run with the last 13ish miles @ around marathon pace.  Not only was my body tired from the harder long run, but I was sicker than I have been in a long long time.  Lucky for me, my husband stayed home from work on Monday to help take care of me and our sick kids.  This was a HUGE help.  

On top of being sick, it was THAT week.  You know, the one right before your period where all your energy is zapped, you want to eat nothing but junk, and you feel like crying at the drop of a hat or snapping at everyone for saying the WRONG thing, looking at you the WRONG way, or for just being in the room at the WRONG time.  

Let's just say that fitting in my planned workouts this week was HARD. I ended up with 67 miles out of the 70 that I was supposed to get in so I feel pretty good about that..considering.  I found myself barely plodding through every run and feeling an overwhelming amount of fatigue. I did manage to fit in one decent threshold workout.  Although it wasn't what I had planned and didn't go down in the books as a "great" workout by any stretch, it did get done and I'm stronger for it.  

22 Miler is in the books baby!
I'm normally one who doesn't mind running alone.  In fact, I've always enjoyed it more than running with a partner (other than my husband).  However, lately I've realized more and more what a blessing it is to have found a friend and compatible running partner in my friend Nicole.  We don't run together often but when we do, I often leave feeling charged and challenged.  I was so very grateful that Nicole was able to run with me today so that I didn't have to plod through 22 miles on my own.  After this week, my spirits were pretty low when it came to running and I was just feeling an overall BLAH. Usually, I'm a pretty positive person but there are just those times when you need a friend who will listen to your "Blahs", doubts, and "ho hums" without judging or getting sick of you.  This was one of those runs where Nicole just let me process for the first few miles.  She listened and let me know she understood.  That's all I needed.  Thankful for this today. I'm glad that we can be there for each other in this way.  Our 22 miles together left me feeling recharged, motivated and EXCITED to finish this Boston training STRONG.  She even managed to get me kind of excited about racing a 10k next weekend. 

22 miles.  Easy pace. 8:06 average.  First mile 8:47 pace. Last three miles for me were : 7:38, 7:29, 7:25.  The cool thing was that I felt like I could have kept going for at least 4 more miles at this 7:25 pace.  This is a good feeling to have after a 67 mile week and recovering from being sick.  

So much to be thankful for:

  • A husband that picked up the slack BIG TIME this week.  He cooked all week, was so nice about me taking off for a three hour run with my friend after church today, and he didn't complain at all.  
  • Some really supportive and wonderful running girlfriends who have been there for me every step of the way through this training.  To encourage, advise, tell me like it is, love me and believe in me more than I do myself sometimes.  
  • Some beautiful spring weather this week.  
  • My proud of her.  

  • My mom coming over to lead my kids through a painting on canvas experience.  So neat.  I've always wanted to have my walls filled with art from my kids over the years and I really wanted to have something of theirs on canvas but didn't know where to start.  

I think it is really funny how my son's abstract ended up looking like an angry bull.  Fitting.  He isn't angry but he sure is like a wild bull in a china cabinet sometimes.  

  • Feeling strong and healthy. 
  • It is my husband's 33rd birthday this week and my daughter's 5th! Yes, it is a busy week with planning for 9 five year olds to come over to my house for a party and getting family together for my husband but I love celebrating birthdays!   
  • A day off of running tomorrow and an open day to spend with my two younger kids.  These days are precious and I savor them so very much.
  • Boston is in 5 weeks!   


Thursday, March 8, 2012

The "Stupid" N Jar

My daughter brought the counting/letter jar home from preschool the other day.  Our job is to fill it up with 12 items from around the house that start with the letter N.  The first things that came to my head when I got to brainstorming:

Noodle (nothing to do with the theme above)

Thinking of these words in themselves are just fine.  Normal.  Not worried about where my mind is.  Obviously we didn't put anything in the jar to represent the first three words except possibly a nipple of a baby bottle.  The not "normal" part of all this initial brainstorming was the fact that I felt the to tell the sweet preschool teacher all about the first N words that came to my mind.  She giggled politely as most people do when they don't know how to take me.  Good thing we have a good relationship and she knows me pretty well.

We did manage to gather up a few N items to meet the 12 item criteria but I usually end up printing off pictures from computer for these sorts of things.


  • My flu symptoms are almost gone.  Yippie.  Just in time for my 12 miles with 7@ threshold tomorrow.  I thought that run was today but was so relieved to find out that I have another day to recover from this nasty bug.  
  • I've been running really slow and easy this week so that my body can conserve energy to get well.  I also haven't had a ton of choice in the body has just TOLD me that I'm running slow and there is nothing I can do about it.  But my run this morning told me that things are looking up.  
  • I woke up several times with the number 7:2x in my head and dreams of marathon strategy.  Still not sure what marathon pace I'll shoot for.  I might just shoot all strategy to the wind and run with my heart. This is what I do best anyway.  My heart will probably get me further in Boston than my head anyway.  Having a pace band and marker on my arms telling me numbers and data for various splits might just make me think too much and I already do that.  
  • My 2 year old son won't stop saying the word "stupid".  I need to just dig out my parenting books and deal with it the right way instead of making it worse with my lazy parenting choices lately.   I've been reacting in all the ways that I've always learned NOT to.  I've totally given a load of POWER to a silly little word. And I have one power hungry 2 year old boy that is using his power in any way he can.  Ha!  He is sick and grouchy so that has something to do with his stupid swearing.
  • I'm "fake pooping" again so that I can buy a few minutes on here before heading out to preschool. I think I'm about to get caught.  More on the "fake poo" later...this is a real strategy in my mommy belt.  It buys me a considerable amount of self time.  And honestly, the bathroom isn't so bad of a place to chill.  
  • I have a chiropractor appointment in about an hour.  Regular adjustments have been a very important part of my training this time around.  I always feel better afterwards and my stride feels so much more natural.  
Okay, time is UP!  
1. What N word items from around the house can you think of if you had to do the counting jar for preschool?  
2.  Do you have a 2 or 3 year old boy that likes the word "stupid"?  What are you parenting tips for putting an end to this without giving too much power to a word?