Friday, February 22, 2013

Race Day Preparation: Clothing, Fuel, and Race Information

And this is the post where I include way too many pictures of myself for my liking but it goes with the topic of preparing for race day so bear with me.

 It's that time.  A week out from a marathon.  Usually I wait until a couple of days before race day before I start thinking too deeply about things like what to wear, where to pick up my race bib, what I'll eat...yaddi yah yah.  But it is going on week two now of my coach dropping nice hints that he'd like me to be thinking ahead about such things so that I don't get overwhelmed trying to pack and think about it all at once.  And he's right, I probably will be better off for thinking of these things ahead of time.  Especially since I have quite a bit of other life stuff going on right now.

I guess, I'd like to start by saying that this is not a fashion running blog.  Ha!  I hope I don't offend anyone but what I race in is so much more about FUNCTION than it is about FASHION.  In fact, I don't give a hoot whether I'm color coordinated or if my socks look good with my ears.  I don't care about sparkle or bling or too many accessories.  I do care a little about looking good when I run (I'd be lying if I said I didn't care at all). I think when you LOOK GOOD you FEEL GOOD.  But what looks good to me is often what feels good and this isn't always what looks good to others.  Ha!  I only own a few pairs of running shorts that I wear (I know what I like and I'm all about keeping things simple with my wardrobe)  and I'm sure many of you would think I'm awfully gross due to the fact that I've worn pretty much the same pair of 3/4 compression tights for almost every run this training cycle.  And no, I don't wash them after every run.  That's just nonsense to me when I'm going to sweat again anyway.  I wear them because they work in keeping my left leg holding in there.  And you know, I'll probably wear them on race day too.  Even if they do make my ass look like a squished up bagel.

So, in deciding what to wear on race day, I'm considering these things:

  • comfort
  • weather
  • how my leg feels
  • representing Brooks and Nuun (I'll probably wear my Nuun visor).  
The picture at the top there is what I sent to my friend Jenn as I started to toss around what I wanted to wear.  I think we both agreed that the Nuun shirt underneath the vest would be too hot.  Just the vest and arm warmers with a tank underneath is probably enough.

Okay, maybe this is the one I sent Jenn.  :) 

 I do know that if it is on the cooler side, I do want to wear one of my favorite Brook's Essential Run Vests.  Love these things!  I wear them daily!

If it is warmer (btw, I haven't checked the weather in Napa ONCE so far...I should do that!) and my leg is feeling okay with just KtTape then I might just wear my yellow and black Brooks tank/short I wore in my last two marathons, Boston and Foot Traffic Flat.

This was around mile 22 of my marathon after Boston "let's qualify so we can run again next year since it didn't happen in 90 degree Boston."  Not feeling so good here...sun, antibiotics...not the best mix! Really Hoping to never run a HOT marathon again considering almost all of my marathons have been hot!  Newport was 75 degree, Boston 2004 was 87 degrees, Boston 2012 was 90 degrees and then both of my  Foot Traffic Flat marathons were on July 4th so on the warmer side.

And this is what death looks like!  Ha!  90 degrees Boston Marathon 2012.  The very last stretch to the finish line!!  At this point I was making all bets with God...if I could just finish, I would...... And way too skinny for  what is best for me.  This was at least 8 lbs lighter than I am now.

I printed off my Napa Marathon information last night that was sent to me in an e-mail.  It was actually really fun reading about it.  Some highlights that stood out to me:
  • They are very strict about NO HEADPHONES and enforcing it.  They mentioned this several times.  No problem for me since I don't like racing with music.  I'd much rather have quiet and enjoy the beautiful Napa Valley!  
  • This year's Napa Valley Marathon is all about "Honoring Women in Marathoning" and I love that I'll be there.  
  • I hope to meet and hear some of the speakers.  Joan Benoit-Samuelson will be there.  
  • Considering a pasta feed dinner...the speakers sound great.  Really the whole marathon sounds so well run.  I remember it being great the first time I did it but it is all a little foggy to me.   
  • The overall winners win their weight in wine...Ha!  If only I were just a little or a lot faster!  
  • The sweat bags sound really nice!  We have a choice between a duffel bag and a backpack.  
  • Napa Valley Marathon is a "GREEN" marathon.  One thing hey encourage is for us to bring our own bottles to grab at the aid stations.  Not sure if I'll do this or not.  I will help with litter in making sure my trash goes in the garbage.  

 Fuel.  Hey, if you know what works, stick to it!  I'll be using Honey Stinger Gels.  I'll probably take a few flavors.  And I'm sure I'll be stuffing them in my bra again.  Hey, this is a great way to hold them when I don't have many pockets.  If I wear the vest then I'll have plenty of pocket space.  But if I wear the yellow tank and shorts, I'll need my bra for storage.  Not much in there anyway so plenty of room.

Breakfast.  I'd also like to make a final decision about what to eat on race morning.  I'm so used to having my own comforts here at home where I can easily cook up a big bowl of steel cut oats with chia seeds, flax, apples, agave, etc.  In a hotel this is harder to prepare.

Visualizing.  I'm including this final picture because it inspires me.  I posted this for a contest last year before Boston and it gets me excited to run.  It also makes me miss my original Pure Flows.  Although I'm loving the Ravenna's, I really did love the Pure Flows.  Just trying to stick with one shoe for now because it is working for me.  Anyway, this picture makes me remember that "It's go time" feeling.

1.  What do you eat on race morning if you are traveling away from home?  
2.  What's your favorite gel to use in a marathon?  Or form of fuel?  
3.  Do you have a favorite piece of clothing to race in?  
4. Do you print out the race information, pack your race bag, and decide what to wear ahead of time or wait until last minute?  Usually I wait until last minute but like I said, my coach has really been pushing me to get this stuff started early.  He probably knows me well enough by now to know that I stress out if I wait too long for things.  :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Positive Energy Boosters

Waking up this morning with a little cold to go with the other fun stuff related to yesterday's post about  taper, periods, PMS, and the process of moving has reminded me to be more conscious of the things that help BOOST ENERGY and increase positive flow in my life. Some of your awesome comments got me thinking about this too so here are just a few of the many things that I have on my list for Boosting Energy:

Healthy Breakfast
I grew up with a mom that was very good about making sure we started our day with a GOOD breakfast.  At the time, I didn't appreciate it.  Getting a bowl of oat-looking mush with bee pollen, flax seeds, and other weird looking tree-hugging "stuff" wasn't really something that made my kid-self smile with gratitude.  But I sure am glad for it now.  It is so easy for me to get busy during the mornings with helping my kids get ready for school, making appointments, and getting distracted by various to-dos.  It isn't unlikely for me to look at the clock and notice that it is late morning and I haven't eaten anything yet.  Just coffee.  Yikes!  This is no good.  Today I made sure to cook up a big bowl of steel cut oats and top it with flax, chia, Udo's Oil, apples, agave, and a bit of soy milk.  YES!  This will stick with me for awhile.  My body says "Thank YOU!"  

Breathing is a natural part of life. We all do it.  We have to.  But I notice such an energy boost and calm that comes when I take even a few minutes to be more aware of my breathing.  And including imagery and meditation with those deliberate breaths.  I usually try to find a quiet place or just step out on my deck for a couple minutes at various times during the day and 
In fact, this was actually part of what was written in my marathon plan for this week.  
I put my arms out, up or by my side and with every breath I focus on positive thoughts.  Sometimes I just repeat words like Love, Health, Kindness, and Strength as I breathe.  Other times I visualize a strong finish in my race.  And then many times I visualize positive energy flowing directly to the areas of my body that need healing.  I know, to some of you this sounds like mumbo jumbo hocus pocus but hey, it works for me.  

Time Being Still With My Kids
So much energy comes from being intent with the time I stop chasing my tail and just sit down with my children.  This often comes in the form of reading a book together and cuddling on the couch.  Not only does this fill me up with love and positive energy but it does the same for them.  These are some of the most cherished moments in life.  It is easy to get busy and not stop long enough to do this.  So Energizing!

Photo from here.

Ah, Portland has had some of the most beautiful sunshine this winter.  Yesterday it was nice enough to actually relax on our deck.  The kids had a friend over and they spent the afternoon dressed in swimsuits and going on treasure hunts in the trees while I had time to relax and soak up some vitamin D.  

There is so much power and energy that comes from listing the many things we have to be thankful for.  So much abundance in this life!  I often include lists of gratitude in my journals but many times I say them out loud for my kids to hear.  We share our gratitude over breakfast, at the dinner table or in the car on the way to and from the various places we go.  It is always neat for me to notice the boost in mood that comes after listing some of the really great things in life that are easy to overlook.  



What are some of the things that would go on your list of ways to Boost Energy? I suppose I'm talking about several different forms of energy in this post...Physical energy as well as mental, emotional and spiritual energy.  Adding to this later I'd definitely add Naps and Running...two of my favorite energy boosters!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thoughts on: Marathon (Taper), Menstrual (Cycle and PMS), and Moving (to North Carolina)

PMS= PreMenstrual Syndrome AND PreMarathon Syndrome

Okay, this post will be one of those posts where I just write.  And write.  And let whatever words come as they come.  Who knows where this will end up.  I think that there is a definite peace that can come from just writing in stream of consciousness form.  I almost always finish with a clear mind.

First thing on my mind is menstrual cycles.  Yep, all 5 to 6 of the men that read this blog can probably bet that they won't find much to relate to today.  Sorry Dudes.

First off, I'm one of those crazy women that actually likes her period.  I know that many of you have a form of birth control that actually stops your period so that you never ever have to worry about it again.  Yikes!  Not sure why that freaks me out but it does.  But no judging you by any means. I know some of you do it for reasons that involve health, painful cramping, etc.  It just isn't for me.  Something about starting my period every month or so that feels like a reset of sorts.  Hard to explain unless you just get it.

The "normal" woman has a cycle of approximately 28 days or so.  Not me, I'm a regular 35 days to every cycle.  Aren't you so glad you know this about me?  Thought so. And my next period is supposed to be on RACE weekend!  Yay! I'm thrilled about this.  In all seriousness though, some women claim to actually run faster and stronger while on their period.  So, fingers crossed that this is the case with me.  I intend for it to be so.

So, here's the thing.  I'm convinced that even though I have a longer cycle than most women, I still start that dreaded PMS (and in this case PMS is Pre Menstrual Syndrome AND Pre Marathon Syndrome) the same time as they do...oh, say around the third week or day 21.  But the fun part for me and certainly my family is that my PMS starts around day 21 and goes until day 35.  So I have a minimum of 2 weeks for PMS. Let me tell you, PMS in my 30's is an entirely different thing than PMS in my 20's.  Good Grief, Help us all now if it gets worse in my 40's!

PMS symptoms for me can include but are not limited to:
  • Irrational thinking
  • Being overly critical of myself
  • Tired
  • Finding the need to eat anything and everything that is within sight.  This includes mostly CRAP:  pizza, candy, crackers, chips and salsa, etc. etc.  
  • After eating said crap, going on to bitching and moaning about the fact that I ate all of that CRAP.  
  • Taking things people say to me and twisting them into the worst possible meaning.  
  • Finding myself overly annoyed by things that are just normal parts of life with kids:  toothpaste on the counter, shoes all over the floor, spilled water, etc. etc.  
Now let's add to this PMS business the fact that I'm in week two of Marathon Taper.  Ah, what kind of sick joke is this?  Ha!  I swore that I didn't think I'd experience any of this taper madness business that I read about.  The tears flowing this morning over my broken treadmill as I tried to fit in my measly 4 whopping miles (measly and whopping...can you even use those in a sentence together like this?  I just did so yes, yes, I can) told me that this was more than just PMS.  Taper Madness is definitely setting in. Going from almost a month of 60 to 65 mile weeks to 45 and now 36 mile weeks has definitely left me lacking in those happy endorphins.  Or whatever.  I don't even know what this taper madness is all about but it is real.  I'm itching to run more, overly emotional, overly critical, tired, starving (but yet NOT burning the calories to warrant that appetite), etc. etc.

So, the next 12 days should be a hoot.  Hormones and Marathon Taper Emotions.  My husband is one lucky dude.  

In all seriousness, Yes, I'm feeling a little on the emotional side.  However, I'm still happy, excited and optimistic about this training cycle, upcoming marathon, and OH, Did I mention that we move ACROSS the COUNTRY in a month?  Just a small thing to add to Taper and PMS.  Ha!  

Marathon Taper + PMS + Preparing to Move to North Carolina on March 24th = LOADS OF FUN!  

As I went out on my run this morning with my son in the jogger stroller and tears in my eyes at being frustrated by my jacked up treadmill, I found so many things to be thankful for and take JOY in.  So glad things happened just as they did because I'm certainly feeling happy now.  A PERSPECTIVE SHIFT that has left me feeling full of GRATITUDE.  Disclaimer:  This may be due to a swing in moods and I might be back to crying again before I push publish on this sucker. So, I better get to listing the good stuff while it is here.   

Thankful for:
  • Sunshine and blue skies AGAIN!  This has been the best Portland winter in FOREVER!
  • Time to have a fun conversation with my son on my run this morning.  It was an easy 4 miles and every bit of it was enjoyable.  My son shared jokes with me and we chatted about all sorts of special things.  Really, it was a highlight of the year for me.  
  • Healthy food.  Just made a big blender full of spinach, fruit, kale, chia sees, flax seeds, etc.  
  • A good coach who has guided me so wisely through this training cycle and reminded me of the need to breath deeply and focus on the positive during this last stretch.  
  • A girlfriend that had my son over for a play date this morning.  So nice to have a short break to myself.  
  • The outlet to write and express my feelings as they come.
  • Learning. Lots of that going on right now!  
  • New Adventures coming with this move to North Carolina.  As scary as it is, it is equally EXCITING.  
Alright ladies, do share:
1.  How does your cycle affect your running performance?  Do you find that you run faster or stronger during your period?  
2.  If you've trained for a marathon, do you experience "Taper Madness"?  
3.  Do you have PMS symptoms or are you one of those LUCKY ladies that sails on through life without even the slightest change?  


Thursday, February 14, 2013

My "Sole" Mate. Together We Are Stronger.

My Valentine Running a 22 Mile Run in training for a 3:10 marathon

I can remember the summer of 2000 so clearly.  
The summer I decided I would do something I'd never done before.  
Go somewhere I'd never been before.  
Live FREE and happy and make the most of my last summer before my final year of college.  
Life was good.
I had a gut feeling it would be the summer of my life.
Packing up my Toyota Corolla and driving west to Oregon was 
Wonderful all that the same time!
I only knew one person.

Driving up to what would be my new apartment for the summer, I was alone.  
But Happy with that.  
Being alone with my thoughts and excitement at this new adventure
Made me Happy...
Knowing something BIG was ahead of me.
Nobody home for the weekend.  

And then there was a knock at the door.
And it was 
The neighbor, 
delivering a pan.  


The next morning was our 
Something in me knew I'd met my match even if it would be a few more weeks before I acknowledged it.  
6 miles together.  
First thing in the morning.  
Rising Sun.
Fast pace.
He stayed 
or to my side 
the entire time.  
Only now do I know it was because I was wearing little tight red shorts.
"Best View EVER," he says.  
I thought it was because I was a little faster than him.  
But really
Still Are
Right on Pace with Each Other!  

Since that first run together on that warm almost-summer morning in May of 2000, 
We've had MANY runs together.  
So Many More than I could list in this post.
Long Runs
Slow Painful Runs
Fast Playful Runs
Jogger Stroller Runs
Dig Deep Runs
All that comes with Loving to Run Together.
And Loving to Share RUNNING together.  

Through the years,
 as our three kids have been born, 
we've had to split up.
Our runs together, 
our version

My Husband 
My Sole Mate.
My Partner for Life.  
My Calm
My Balance
My Match
In So Many Ways.  

May we have 
A Lifetime
of Runs Together.
Together We Are Stronger.  

Happy Valentine's Day to my Running Soul Mate...My Sole Mate ...and More.
Our first marathon together.  His first and my 4th.  So fun and happy!  3:24

Right before our first marathon together, his first ever.  He wasn't fully trained but still ran a Happy 3:24.  I may or may not have grabbed his hand at the finish...Gah!  I CHEESY.  I laughed about it afterwards. 

Had to put an old school one in here.  We weren't running here but we had just met and already gone on our first runs together.  So glad I made the drive from Colorado to Oregon that summer of 2000! 

Here we are after the Vernonia Half Marathon where we both set out to break 1:30 once and for all.  Funny story really. Didn't happen.  He left me at mile 7 because I was being stupid.  He finished in 1:31 and I in 1:33.  We didn't reach our goal but we had fun! 

My first 5k since college.  Shamrock 2011. We set out to break that stupid 20 minute mark but the hill for  mile 2 (or was it 3?) killed us and we finished a bit after 20 minutes.  Again, it was still fun and running with him by my side gives me a strength like nothing else.  

Hood to Coast 2011.  The BEST ever since I got to have him in my van!

One of the last exchanges of Hood to Coast before heading to the beach.  

After his first marathon (not properly trained) in 3:24

Kids so proud of their Dad!  After his 2nd marathon only weeks after his first.  3:20.  Didn't get that 3:10 but instead got a year long plague of Plantar Fasciitis...Uggh! Too much too soon.  

One of many Trail Run Dates on Wildwood Trail

Hood to Coast 2011.  Partying with Team Nuun!

My biggest cheerleader after Boston 2012

Again, my biggest cheerleader in my second Foot Traffic Flat Marathon 2012 (my Boston redemption race after a 90 degree day in Boston that left me struggling just to finish)  

Another race together.  He left me in the dust on this one.  But thanks to the Lady Bug Run, we could do it together and have someone watch our kids at the finish line.  LOVE. 

Thankful for our love story!

And in adding to my post, Lessons from the Run from yesterday, I'd say that so many of my Life Lessons from the Run have been WITH my Love.  I'd add to this post by saying that the runs we've been on together have taught us about working together.  They have taught us about the joy in having a life partner that shares in something that you love.  Something you love together.  And that fighting to the end of a race together teaches us that we can always fight through the difficult patches that life throws our way.  It also shows us that so much of life together is joyful when we do what we love together.  
Together we are STRONGER.  

Do you have a favorite person to run with?  

Happy Valentine's Day,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Life Lessons we Learn from the Run

Today was my hardest and fastest workout in a long long time.  Maybe in almost a year.  Definitely in this training plan.  Towards the end of my ten 1000m repeats, I could see that I underestimated the time it would take to finish the workout.
The 10:35 kinder pick-up time was quickly approaching,
Was quickly FADING.
I wanted to quit.
My son was ready for mommy time,
     and I knew I needed to hurry or I'd be late to get my daughter from school.
I ended the last 1k at only 400m.

But as I started to get off my treadmill, I hated the feeling that came with quitting because it was hard.
I hated the feeling of walking away from something because I just didn't want to push myself.
So I stepped back on the treadmill
       and finished.
Stronger than planned.
More Determined.
Knowing that finishing would feel so much better than quitting.
And It DID.

I'm so glad I finished today. So glad I got back on that treadmill and did the rest of the repeat even though I was exhausted. I KNOW that workouts like today carry over to my life. When my life goals get blurry and hard and seem as if I can't finish something or make something happen, I will remember workouts like today that tell me there is more in there than I think.  It's up to me to dig deeper.

There are so many lessons we gain from our runs...the slow and steady ones, the challenging ones that leave us feeling as if we can't push another step but do, the ones we drag ourselves out of bed for, and the ones that we take PURE PLEASURE in. And the ones we really do skip because we know what is best for us and how to listen to our inner voices that tell us what we need the most.

Some of the lessons I've learned from my training:  

The hard workouts like today that we push through even when we want to quit teach us that we have more inside of us than we think we do.

The runs we go on where we are filled with so much joy and love at doing something we feel made to do...where we come back feeling refreshed, energized and inspired....These runs teach us to be true to our passions and in making time for what makes our souls sing.

The long runs where we keep going at a steady pace all the way to the end teach us about endurance. They teach us to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  To keep working towards our dreams and goal.  To keep making our way through life.  They teach us about the satisfaction that comes from reaching the end of a long process and not stopping.

The runs we have with friends where we talk and laugh and just enjoy the companionship of another runner teach us about the value of having friends that share common interests.  They teach us about the treasure of play and friendship within our sport...within our daily lives. They teach us the value of surrounding ourselves with people that uplift and encourage us.

The very EASY or RECOVERY runs teach us the necessity  of slowing down in life.  They teach us of the value in stepping back a bit and not always having to be pushing ourselves and making BIG things happen.  The value of just being content with being present and with the day as it comes.  

The REST days teach us the value of being STILL in life.  They show us the truth in just wrapping ourselves up where we are at and just being where we are at.  Just resting and replenishing. Taking time for us to do what recharges us so we have more to give later.

I could think of so many lessons I gain from my running.  So many things I take from my training and carry over to my LIFE.

What are some things you've learned about yourself or life through running/training for something?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

StrideBox Review and Giveaway

There are so many things out there in our world today that make things easier on people.  Online shopping, drive thru coffee shops, getting your groceries delivered, etc.  One of the things I've been especially interested in is getting organic produce delivered to my house once a month.  I've heard of friends who have this service where they get a box delivered every month with an assortment of organic vegetables and some fruits.  They don't know what they are getting so they are sure to try out a variety of things they might not otherwise have bought from the store.

But what about Running Specific Deliveries??!  

When I was contacted by a company called StrideBox about doing a review of their service, I was excited to hear what they had to offer.  Instead of getting organic produce delivered to your door every month, how fun and useful would it be to get a box full of RUNNING related (and other endurance-related sports) goodies to try out?!

Here's some quick facts about StrideBox that they sent on a Quick Fact Sheet in my February Box:

Who's It For?
StrideBox is specifically curated for runners, but could be used for other endurance athletes and active people as well.

What's In It?  
The contents are different each month.  Subscribers can expect nutrition products, running accessories and other cool stuff.

How Much Is It?
StrideBox is $15/month (includes shipping)

It was fun getting my February StrideBox in the mail.  I know it might seem silly to some but even the way it was wrapped up so nicely in tissue paper made it feel special.  It was like getting a present!  Again, each month your StrideBox will be filled with different products to try out.  Every month has a card telling you what is included and offering you discount codes some of those products if you decided you liked them enough to buy more.

Here's what StrideBox had to say about February's box on their StrideBox Blog:

We stuffed this box full of cool running nutrition and accessories… here’s what was in the February 2013 StrideBox:

  • Gu Chomps Energy Chews, Lemon Flavor
  • Hammer Bar Ultimate Energy Bar, Cranberry Flavor
  • Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes Fizz, Peach Flavor
  • Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel, Acai Pomegranate Flavor
  • Mazama Bar High Performance Energy Bar, Various Flavors
  • Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix (2), Lemons And Limes, Oranges
  • Dr. Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief Gel
  • Lock Laces – Shoe Lace System
  • On The Go Towels (3), Unscented, Am Rush, and After Hours Scents
  • StrideBox Bend-A-Bottle Soft Water Bottle

One of my favorite things to try out in this box is certainly my new favorite gel:  Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel and the Lock Laces for my shoes!  I'm sure I'll try out all the other products very shortly too...they are things that I will use...or at least try.  Some of the contents are new brands that I've never heard of and some are my favorite things.  I can add them all to my Running Fuel "STASH".

StrideBox would like to give one of YOU an opportunity to try out their March Box.   I'm changing things up a bit here with how I do this giveaway thing since I want to give you an opportunity to comment on here AND on Facebook...whatever works for you.  I know some of you don't like to use Facebook but some of you don't like to or can't leave comments on the blog post for some reason.  So, follow me here...Trust me..I'm all about making these things EASY.  Good grief, how many hoops does one want to jump through just to enter a giveaway, right?  :)  All this requires is thinking of a number from 1 to 1000 before your comment or comments (depending on how many you leave..only one required).

So...for every comment (here or on the link to this giveaway on Runninghood's facebook page) just preface it with a number from 1 to 1000.  I'm going to use a random generator to choose a number and the person closest in number to my number I choose will WIN!  If you choose the same number as another person then I'll draw from a hat old school style.  Sounds good to me.


  • Follow StrideBox on Facebook or Twitter.  Then let me know you did (on here or on Runninghood's facebook link to this giveaway)!  Just give me that number between 1 and 1000 first.  Example:  "356.  I followed StrideBox on Facebook."

Extra Entry: 

  • Tell me (on here or Runninghood's FB wall) WHY you think you'd love STRIDEBOX!  Again, remember to preface it with another number.  Example: "432.  I'd love StrideBox because I'm new to running and racing and this gives me a chance to be introduced to some great running-related products!"  
  • Share this review and giveaway about StrideBox on Facebook or Twitter and let me know you did in a comment (either here or on Runninghood's FB link to this post).  Again, remember to preface your comment with a number from 1 to 1000 (different from before).  Example:  "999.  I shared on Facebook."  
Easy Peezy.  Good Luck to you!  I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys think about this service.  I haven't seen anything like it.  

Giveaway ends on February 18th.  


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Taper Time, Body Weight, Perspective...Bulleted Marathon Training Reflections

It's been awhile since I've had a bullet style post but today seems like one of those days.  One of those moments where I have many thoughts running through my head and a definite need to write...just for me...and some of you that enjoy updates.  And just to get let things flow.

  • Taper Time! Today's 15 miles was the last run of my 18 week training cycle before TAPER starts. Where did the time go?  
  • Heavy Legs. After last Sunday's 3 hour 15 minute easy run (is running that long ever really "easy"?  I guess I should say Easy pace) which ended up being 23 miles, my legs were a little dead this week.  Heavy.  Things just felt harder.  But that's normal for the last peak week of training before taper, right?  
  • This training cycle was officially the first marathon training from start to finish where I've had a coach guide me through every step of the way.  What a GIFT this has been.  It has allowed me to really relax and TRUST.  I've also learned so much about training efficiently. Marathon training doesn't have to be HARD or FAST or make you feel like you are exhausted every step of the way.  My coach has had me doing just enough. I may not be setting 5k and 10k PRs right now...or even close to having that speed but I do feel confident about marathon pace and threshold workouts.  
  • Steady Training. I had one week of this training plan where I was slightly injured. But I was calm about it all and really kept things in perspective.  I took a few steps back, stopped running, cross trained and rested.  I honestly didn't know what the rest of the plan would hold for me.  I thought I might be more seriously injured than I was but things worked out for the last 4 weeks of training to be strong with 60-65 miles every week.  
  • Perspective.  Really, I've kept such a good perspective this entire marathon cycle.  I've seen running as what it is for me right now.   FUN.  I haven't been super ambitious about being the fastest I've ever been or running the most weekly miles as I possibly can.  I've just wanted running to take the right place for me as I am preparing for a move across country and trying to be the best I can be at helping my kids make some awesome memories before that.  So happy with the way things have gone.  
  • Such SUPPORT.  I have to husband has been so incredibly supportive of my training.  I get most of my training runs done during the day before he gets home but on the weekends, he has let me sleep in and then been cool about me running my long runs on Sundays whenever I feel like going.  This usually means me leaving the house leisurely (after coffee and slow start) about 10:30 or so.  I can't say enough how much I value him.  He's my biggest support in life.  Always has been.  Love him so much.  
  • Time management.  I've written before about the question of "How do you find the time?" in regards to motherhood and marathon training. So much easier now than ever since I have some kids in school.  Really it is just about being efficient with your time.  I use every minute of my day.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes to get a run in after dropping my son off at preschool and picking my daughter up from kinder.  I use that 1 hour and 30 minutes to the full extent.  Granted, I'm always nasty and sweaty when I pick her up.  I do volunteer in the classrooms on Tuesday and Thursday every other week so on these days I usually have to use the treadmill.  This works too.  
  • Treadmill vs. Road.  I've come to hate the treadmill.  But it works and it helps me get my runs in. However, I've been so fortunate to NOT have to use it much at all this time around.  Most of my runs have been outside.  I've been so blessed with my Tues and Thurs time slots to help with this.  I also have the best neighbors that ever were and I will miss them so so much when we move away.  Our kids are best friends and we often trade watching the kids.  
  • Music while running?  No thank you.  This time around, almost every single one of my runs have been with NO MUSIC.  Just my thoughts.  My focus.  And I love it!  Even my 23 mile run was alone with no music.  Quiet.  In fact, I don't even think about much on my runs lately.  I think about my run.  My form, my focus, the moment, THE NOW.  I love this!  
  • I've learned more about myself as a runner in this training cycle than EVER before.  I've learned about what shoes work well for me right now, gels I like, things I need to do to prevent injury, that just because I can doesn't mean I should, and just an overall centered feeling with myself and my running.  
  • LOVE for my BODY.  Not only have I taken the time for epsom salt baths EVERY NIGHT for over a month now, I've made time for lots of the important things like rolling, icing, compression, taping, stretching and LOVING and POSITIVE messages to me.  OH, and SLEEP.  
  • Body Weight and being TONED.  Doesn't matter to me so much this time.  Seriously. Last few training cycles I've just gotten too thin IMO.  I paid attention to weight and I did more to stay toned.  Nothing wrong with being toned.  Doing Jillian once or twice a week.  I love feeling and looking like that.  But just wasn't my focus this time around.  Only so much time.  And I've realized that I don't need to look HARD to run my best.  Ha!  Don't get me wrong, I'm still in great shape and I love my body...I've just kind of let that go.  And I'm about 5 to 8 pounds heavier than I was last year when I ran Boston.  I'm 5'4 but 125 is a way better weight for me than under 120.  Weight is so different for everyone.  My friends don't believe me when I tell them that I'm 125...all my life I've gotten that.  But it is a good healthy place for me.  If I weighed the same as my other 5'4 running friends, I'd be so so so unhealthy looking for me.  There is no way I could weigh 110-115 and be well nourished.  Again, so different for everyone because they look great at this weight...STRONG!  Anyway, I'm happy being a bit softer this time around and loving my body as it is.  After my marathon I can go back to getting ripped with Jillian.  Ha! 
  • Nutrition.  I just stocked up on all sorts of good things to eat over the next few weeks: flax, chia seeds, kale, spinach, oats, cottage cheese, grains, almonds, etc. etc. etc.  LOVE eating good.  After my salad with quinoa and grilled chicken last night I just felt so energized.  I shouldn't tell you about the 9:30 p.m snack of 3 pieces of pizza and half a pint of ice cream.  Ahhhh, I had a moment of weakness.  Does it make it better that the crust was very very thin?  Probably not.  I've got to knock that crap off.  :) We almost NEVER have ice cream in the house but my daughter had a sleepover on Friday and we had it left over from that.  Yikes! 
  • Keeping my Training Specifics more on the quiet side.  You know, I haven't posted too much about my training this time around.  I don't do Daily Mile or other forms of publicly logging my mileage and workouts.  I guess I've just been a bit more on the quiet side this time around.  And it has actually been nice.  Maybe that is part of having a coach to discuss running with and give me my workouts.  I don't have the same need for that social aspect that comes with sharing workouts.  I have a few friends that I e-mail workouts if they ask or if I feel super energized about them.  I also have a friend Stephanie (super speedy girl!) who has been there to run with sometimes and chat with me about marathon pace and strategy, etc.  Thanks Steph.  Can't wait to read about your last half marathon..can't stop thinking of it!  
  • Piano and Cello.  I can't get enough of piano and cello music lately!  Two groups that are always on my pandora stations:  The Piano Guys and 2 Cellos.  LOVE.  I especially love The Piano Guys version of A Thousand Years (if you can get over the kind of cheesy part of two guys playing music in a forest, it really is beautiful music).  I listen to it OFTEN.  I mention this as part of these training bullets because this kind of music has been a big part of my CALM this time around.  
  • It has been so fun to look back over the last 2-3 years since I started Runninghood.  So much has changed.  Inside and out.  And I've learned so much.  I've also gained an incredible amount of richness in my life with wisdom from many of you and some very very dear friendships that I'm certain will last a lifetime.  Writing a blog might seem pathetically self-indugent to some but oh isn't for everyone.  I'm happy to have my blog.  
  • We leave for Boston only 3 weeks after we move to Asheville, NC. I'm excited to be in Boston with my husband.  It is a special trip for us. This will be our third time traveling there for the marathon together. I'm also excited that I will just be running Boston for FUN this year.  Who knows if I'll even run it.  I've got to assess how I'm feeling after my March 3rd marathon.  No matter what, I'll be there.  And I'll get to see people I love! 
  • So Bring on the 3 week taper.  And the move to Asheville, North Carolina (if you're from there...gosh, I'd love to hear from you)!  

Happy Sunday,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Superhero in YOU

"Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do." -Steve Jobs

3 a.m. And my son was wide awake. Dreaming of superheroes again. Since I sleep with earplugs, I didn't know anything was astir until my husband stumbled into the room and plopped our WIDE EYED 3 year old on our bed. It wasn't long into the shared bed experience that we knew that our little man wouldn't be settling into a deep sleep as we had desperately hoped.  He was trying. But it just wasn't happening.  He'd be quiet and still for a few minutes, just long enough for us to drift back to sleep, and then his legs would shoot out in little kicks or his body wiggled under the covers. In and out of sleep for us. Him, tossing and turning.... just SO. Full. Of. ENERGY.

After about 30 minutes of trying to fake sleep, I lost hope that this would go smoothly.  I knew that my  husband had gone to bed way later than me and that he was exhausted so I cut my possum act, pulled the earplugs out, and put my mommy hat on.  Rolling over, I looked into my bundle of three's eyes and told him I loved him and that it was time to sleep.  I kissed his cheeks and he puckered up his lips to return the gesture.

Then we exchanged some words that went something like this:
"Mommy, when I grow up, can I be a superhero like Batman?"
I smiled and said, "Forget Batman, you can grow up to be Superhero YOU!" Then I rolled over  and whispered "Goodnight Superhero Sam."   
I could feel his smile on my back as he returned my goodnight with a "Goodnight Superhero Mommy!"

My son really does believe in superheroes.  Why wouldn't he?  He's three.  He believes in an entire world of imaginary possibilities.  On any given day, I often don't know whether to call him by his name or any of the common superhero names like Batman, Superman, or Spiderman. He gets lost in a world of his own.  Dashing down the hall.  Sputtering out sounds meant to show that he is rescuing someone.  Or tearing down a chair in my dining room even at the risk of royally pissing me off.  All in the name of SAVING THE DAY!

May We Always Believe
Seeing my son so lost in thought last night, or early this morning, was actually a very special moment for me. One I want to remember forever. I could see, hear and feel his "Child-like Wonder" in that window of time that we shared.

My prayer to myself as I drifted back to sleep with his tiny hands on my back was that he would hold on to this child-like wonder and sense of superhero possibilities for as long as possible.  Even forever.  

Waking up this morning brought with it my usual routine of making a beeline for the coffee pot and plopping myself down on the couch to wake up with my thoughts.  From then until now, I've been thinking about this Superhero Topic. This subject of child-like wonder.  This thought of having a deep belief in our our Inner SUPERHERO!

When do we lose this?  At what age age do we lose our child-like wonder?  Our sense of believing in the impossible?  At what moment do we lose our sense of Superhero possibility?  Some never do.  Perhaps these are the people that really are our LIFE SUPERHEROES. Not just for others but for themselves and what they do for themselves so they can give back to the world.  Some never give up their sense of child-like wonder and hope.  They hold on to something SO PRECIOUS and POWERFUL.  Their ability to hold on to their superhero mindset is what makes them great.  It's what keeps them climbing and reaching for the dreams that seem impossible to some.  It is these people that push on and discover things in life that others can only imagine.  They are the people that are often laughed at or told   that they "dream too big" or are "kidding themselves".  These dreamers, child-like believers, and Self-Superheroes shut the negative voices out and they almost always prove that they really can make the "impossible" possible.  They make us all believe a little deeper. They are the people that end up changing the world for the better.  And really, when it comes down to it:

They ARE superheroes.  

Merriam-Webster defines superhero as:

a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also; an exceptionally skillful or successful person.

 They are their OWN SUPERHERO!  They never let that go. But now their fictional is REAL and it carries over to their skill and success.  That sense of "saving the day" and making BIG THINGS happen is still there.

I'd like to believe that I've held on to a great deal of my child-like wonder.  And in light of this conversation with my son, from here on out, I choose to see the Superhero that I can be to my world...even if what I believe in or strive for might seem crazy to some.

Can you think of someone that inspires you with their sense of superhero possibilities when it comes to making big things happen (for themselves and others)? 
Or who are some REAL LIFE superheroes of history that have changed the world as it once was?