Just Another Base Run

I ran today after work instead of before work. I opted for a few extra minutes of sleep and knew I could get my run in later. My goal today was the simplest goal ever --- just run the base run on my training schedule for today. I ran 4.6 miles and although the run in itself wasn't overly challenging, the perfect run before a long run tomorrow morning, it was the perfect run to work on mental readiness and fortitude.

I pinpointed my underlying edginess to nervousness about the marathon in September. I must confess -- I have questioned if I could succeed and if I should be embarking on this journey. Although deep inside there is a resounding yes to both, I did some research on the mental training necessary and am glad I am facing these questions today, not weeks before the big day.

So in my preparation, I focused on mental training techniques today such as mantras, envisioning success, and envisioning the race course during my run. I do have a couple of mantras I go to on occasion but one that popped into my mind today, and one I fell in love with, is "I will". A shortened version of I will succeed. Why do I like this? Because I can think the words "I will" with each foot strike and hear an echo of succeed in the back of my mind. When I envisioned a steep uphill climb I tried the "I will" and heard an echo of battle this in the back of my mind. Pretty cool and now I have another good tool for my marathon running tool kit.

And my final thought for the day is a question to all the runners out there. How many of you have a running significant other/spouse? Do you run together? Do you race together? Is there any competition between you two?


Run #2 for Sunday

Yesterday I ended up running two runs to achieve my distance goal of 6 to 7 miles. To read more about the first run, click HERE.

My second run occurred at almost 6:00 pm, after going to a going away party for a dear friend, a co-worker and a gym companion. She will indeed be greatly missed but she is on the beginning of an exciting new journey for herself.

I ended up doing a lopsided pyramid run in this style - 1:1:3:3:2:1. Each step of the pyramid was equal in duration but differed in intensity. My distance for run #2 was 2.43 miles. It was a great run and my body felt like I could have kept on going but alas, I promised my daughter some afters (aka dessert) after I got her washed up in the shower.

What was for afters? Dried bananas that my daughter and I made with our newly purchased dehydrator. Trust me, listening to it all day is worth it! Plus she got a marshmallow and a cup of non-fat chocolate milk. This was my version of milk, chocolate, and bananas she requested. I make the chocolate milk too with store bought syrup (calcium enriched) and she only gets a teeny squirt.

Overall distance for Sunday: 6.51 miles.

My mental state: Ironically, my mental state during my runs was good and I had the mental stamina to push through the challenges of the tempo intervals and the determination to do my second run. And I say ironically because overall I seemed to be off kilter yesterday with an underlying edginess.


Tempo Intervals

My training plan today called for running tempo intervals. The distance goal was 6-7 miles; however, I didn't run that distance and perhaps I needed a longer warm-up and cool-down in order to achieve the distance with the scheduled number of intervals.

Here is how the run went (and it was all at a 10% incline):
  • Warm-up
  • 6 minutes at tempo pace (x4)
  • 2-3 minute rest at recovery pace
  • Cool down
The end-result was 4.08 miles and I was exhausted at the end. The last tempo interval had me wanting to ease the pace but I stuck to my plan and finished the 6 minutes. If my daughter wasn't getting squirmy I am sure I would have toughed it out and rounded out the mileage; however, she deserves my attention too. So my plan is to tackle 3 miles later today....perhaps after a friend's going away party later this afternoon.


Oh, the Joy of Running!

Today I had a goal of running 5 miles and I achieved it. I needed a successful training run after the obstacles of the week and not only was the training a success by happening, the run was fantastic!

I did a pyramid style run in the middle of a brief warm-up and cool-down. My steps were 1:2:3:4:3:2:1 and I enjoyed every bit of it. My daughter was a delight and kept herself happy and occupied with a little snack (2 large marshmallows), some coloring, looking through photo books (and she gave me a commentary on my two running albums), and some TV (Ramona and Beezus).

Some may think running on a treadmill with a TV on is great but for me, often I find it annoying and just ignore the television. However, you can't help getting a couple of glimpses here and there. There was one scene today in the movie of a water fight with water hoses, watering cans, and water guns occurring over the fence. How can that not add to the pleasure of a run?

And my Nike+ issue from yesterday....resolved......although through a long route of frustration. I purchased a new receiver and it made no difference (okay, now the running mom is getting frustrated). Next step, a completely unresponsive iPod. So I went to get online and had no connection and had to work my magic there but found out how to "reset" an unresponsive iPod. Score 1! iPod responding and receiver is recognized. Okay, so now the computer couldn't recognize the iPod so after updating my iTunes all is good to go! Note to self....next time my receiver isn't recognized, remember the secret menu and center button trick to at least get that part of my technological life in order. Very important tip if this were to ever happen on a race day! So perhaps my "bad" day yesterday was really a good technology training day for the running mom who loves her gizmo's!

Finally, all was not lost with going to the sports store two times (to buy and return an receiver that wasn't needed). I have the new running skirt I have been dying to try! Okay, I am 99.9% sure it is the Nike Pacer I have been looking at online; however, the tags never say the model name. Go figure! But it has all the same design elements: side pocket for MP3 player (on the inside by the way), back zipper pocket at waist, mesh vented sides (quite comfortable), and boy shorts underneath (once again, quite comfortable). I ran in it today and LOVE IT!


Is it Monday yet?

Monday marks the beginning of my training weeks and yes, I am so eager to get this week behind me and start fresh next week.

I am normally the type of person that embraces each obstacle and sees the silver lining on every cloud....oh yes, even the cumulonimbus clouds (and you should hear my darling daughter talk about those cumulonimbus clouds). But today I really feel I have reached a frustration limit and am ready to throw in the towel and begin a new week of training.

I can't say my training this week has been bad though. As I reflect back, each run has been very good to great and I have pushed myself. I think the main disappointment is centered around my long run, which yes, I really do love. I was eager to go yesterday and woke up with a "glued" shut eye (eye infections really are not fun) and today was take 2. My eye is much better so off I go until screeeecchhh!

My Nike+ receiver isn't being recognized....okay, perhaps it has died now.....can a receiver die? And yes, at times it is really terrible how stuck I can get onto technology but my choices were: do the run blind without really knowing if or when I met my mileage goal, give up and go to work, or accept disappointment and do cross training at the gym.

What would you choose?

I chose the cross training, of course, remember I do always look for that silver lining. I ended up doing 20 minutes on the Stairmaster (2.13 miles) and 10 minutes on the cycle (2.67 miles). And then I cleaned up and headed out to work so I can get off in time to go by Sports Authority to get a replacement receiver and hope that I am good to go tomorrow.

But I can't leave you with frustrating thoughts in your mind so here are some happy points:
  1. I did still get in a good workout and enjoyed myself. Cross training does have benefits and is something I do not routinely do.
  2. I enjoyed a whey protein shake in my new Blender bottle after my workout.
  3. I watched a very inspirational movie last night - Heart, The Marilyn Bell Story. More on that to come later.


Running Almost Naked......

Yesterday I tossed my training plan to the side (figuratively speaking of course....it is still clearly posted on my freezer door) and started my run after work.

My plan's goal was to run 7-8 miles but I felt what was really needed was some running fun. So I freed myself from any distance goals, freed myself from any running plan, and made sure my Nike+ was not going to tell me which mile I was on. I was not going to worry about pace. I was going to run free and naked! 

But in all reality, I couldn't go all the way in my freeness. I still wanted to hear my tunes and kept my Nike+ on to track the end result, but the mile counter was indeed turned off and I resisted all temptations to check in on my pace with the simple touch of a button.

My new goal was to just run for 60 minutes, follow my heart, and have fun. And it was fun! I even think my ponytail was bouncing more freely! And I ran at a pace that was feeling good to my body, not over challenging, just fun and nice.

Prior to the run, I did drink a Gatorade PRIME01 and consumed three PowerBar Energy Blasts (berry flavored) during the run. The end result was 7.27 miles with an average pace of 8'37" (remember, I did mention I let my Nike+ do its stuff....just didn't peak until the end). My splits are below and notice, I do love the negative splits and seem to run them even when it isn't the plan. And I really did push the final 0.27 miles, not represented in the splits.

My mental state: Awesome! It was just wanted I needed to unwind and get motivated for a long run today.

And what about my run today? Guess what? Postponed. It seems I have caught my daughter's eye infection and woke to a "glued" shut eye. I do realize the guideline is that if the illness is above the neck, you are good to run, but for some reason, one blurry, achy, itchy eye didn't seem like a good running companion to me. But I am confident I will be good to go for the long run tomorrow and may squeeze in a shorter run later tonight in the comfort of my home....if the eye permits. Until then, I will try to avoid rubbing my eye and try to not feel too sad inside for having to postpone the long run. I really was looking forward to it!


2 Miles Today

Today was an easy day in terms of overall distance but yet, it was a good running day. When I first started running on my home treadmill it was HARD! It took awhile for me to adjust my treadmill training days from no incline to a 10% incline. But in terms of my overall gains in fitness, it is worth it.

I have come a long way in the past 4 months. I am embarrassed to confess my first runs on the new treadmill lasted a mere 20 minutes or so. They wiped me out! I can now run up to 90 minutes. I haven't tried anything longer. My pace is much slower on this treadmill than on the roads but I am fine with that.

So for today, I went 2 miles but aimed to have some of that same exhausted feeling I initially had on the new treadmill. And I reached it at a pace much better than months ago. In all reality, if I hadn't also planned intervals between moderate and moderate-hard paces I could have had a better overall pace. In the early days, my pace was around 13'00", today it was 11'30". My day of sprint work was 10'17" (still slower than my real half marathon pace).

I still love my home treadmill for what it allows me to do but I am also glad for the gym days, solo road running days, and road running days with my darling daughter. I feel each helps me become a better runner. The one thing I am lacking in is strength training. I have zilch beyond picking up and carrying my 37 lb daughter. I really should do something about that but where do I find the time?

Mental State: Awesome!

Physical State: I felt sluggish at the start but that quickly evaporated.

Final Thoughts: I love my Bondi Bands for my hair and they have replaced my traditional running hat. However, I really do need the heavy wicking bands for those good runs. The light wicking ones are so cute but I will end up with some sweat in my eyes.

Why I Blog

Family and friends have accepted that I have started a blog about running and at times I get funny looks or questions why. So why is so much of my life centered around running? Why do I have a blog about Life as a Running Mom? Why do I have Nike+ updates and running pictures posted on Facebook? And why do I keep a journal of running quotes and other fine thoughts on the family website?

Simply put. Because I am a runner.

I love running and running is a part of me. Yes, I have become more committed to running recently and some owe that to my commitment to my father and desire to remember him in a meaningful way. In some ways that is indeed correct. I do run to honor and remember my dad and I am compelled to run a marathon for the same reason. But I did not initially chose to run a marathon for my dad. It was always a wish rooted deep down inside of me.

I have honestly been a true runner since college. Okay, what is a true runner? Well, in my earlier years I ran because of soccer. I may have even run to increase my training for soccer but soccer was the goal. Not running. In college I took an aerobic running class and became hooked on running. Thank goodness for those necessary gym credits I had to take to pay off the new gym on campus. Running has been in and out of my life since then and now I am committed to keeping it in my life. As a single woman, it was easy to run whenever I wanted. I could go to the gym before, after, or before and after work. No worries. Now running takes more planning and commitment. And that brings me to the blog.

Why do I blog about running? Why do I talk about it so much? I talk about it because I love running and hope to share the passion. It is me and I want to share me with my loved ones. And I blog to work through the training. Yes, blogging is indeed part of my training. A training log is one thing but I have noticed that my overall training has increased in analysis with me writing a little more about each workout. Plus it provides an additional level of commitment, which is motivating. I have gathered some followers, and many sincere mahalos (thank you's) for following me and commenting. It is truly appreciated and very motivational. And I follow other great running blogs for more inspiration.

So simply put, I blog about running to be a better runner. To analyze my workouts and  the impact of life commitments. I blog to find motivation and hopefully motivate others. And I blog to document my journey to my first marathon and beyond!


Pyramid Run

My goal today was 6 miles and I was going to run my 6 miles, no matter what! Sometimes, running really is the first priority of the day.

My running plan was a pyramid with each stage being equal in time duration but increasing in intensity as I moved up the pyramid and then decreasing on the way down. The overall look was Yes, I did double the 2's and 1's on my way back down to add in some extra distance and my final 1 had a little extra time added to it to round out my 6 miles.

My Est. Cals Burned
Was it a good plan? Oh yeah! I was huffing and puffing at the top of my pyramid barely able to answer my daughter's questions. She is notorious for asking questions at those tough times and never picks the yes or no questions. I did catch my breath on the decline but have to confess, I was puffing again for the final mile or so. PERFECT! I am a firm believer in pushing your limits at times and if you always run at an easy to moderate rate of perceived exertion than you are cheating yourself. And running at an incline really racks up the calories burned!

My mental state: Good but challenged. I was fully motivated to do the run but my darling daughter is not feeling well and her patience level is low and her whining level a bit high. Does this mean I should have stopped? No. I did alter my first two plans to meet her needs. I didn't go elsewhere to run in the wee hours in the morning so she could wake up to me. I didn't take her out in the jogging stroller so she could be in the comfort of our home. And honestly, sometimes it is best for the whole family if mommy runs.


When you have no time....run sprints!

I am notorious for trying to do it all and at times, it takes its toll even on me. I can't believe the things I packed into this weekend! I really feel what I have accomplished in just two days may take others close to a week. But unfortunately, it did impact my training.

But I cannot complain. After fixing my daughter waffle and blueberries for breakfast, we headed out to volunteer at the Weight Watchers 5K. Our job was to work the turn around point and make sure everyone did indeed turn around. And no, no one wanted to venture past us....they were all eager to turn. It was quite cute to see the turn around dances and picture taking. It was also exciting to see friends and co-workers pass you. Of course, being who I am, I made sure my daughter and I cheered for each person who passed us and made sure they all heard a "good job" or "awesome". Some replied back, some not, but that is fine because I know the sentiments were indeed heard.

After our cheering and course direction session was over, we headed out to finalize some errands and made it home for me to squeeze in a run. I had so little time before I had to tackle lunch and laundry (at a friend's due to a broken dryer) so I sprinted!

My sprint plan was simple. Warm up a couple of minutes and then sprint for 1 minute at a pace 1 mph faster than my recovery pace. Take a minute and then super sprint for 30 seconds at a pace 2 mph faster than my recovery pace. I took a 1 minute rest after each sprint and a 90 second rest after each super sprint. Well....almost. I did my final two sprints back to back...a sprint followed by a super sprint and then a cool down period of a couple of minutes.

I may not have clocked the miles but I worked my body and you know what, my fast twitch muscle fibers need that every now and then. So for you out there who worry you can't run the full distance due to time constraints, never fear, it is a great opportunity to fit in some speed work! But then again, I am the kind of person who always sees the cup as half full and believes everything happens for a reason!

But the next time I volunteer at a 5K I will ask to work the turn around again and my daughter and I will run to our station, do our part for the community, and then run back to the car! I should have thought of this plan a little earlier in my day!!!


Rest day today, Volunteering tomorrow

Unless something amazing happens in the next 30 minutes, it looks like today is going to be a rest day. My priority of the day was a play date for my daughter and giving her some good quality time that she really deserved. But I am okay with the rest and if I wasn't I would have pushed myself to do the 3 miles slated for today.

Last night my legs just felt tired and they had every right to be. In the past three days, they have given me 25 wonderful miles so why not give them a break?

Tomorrow I will run, either before or after the Weight Watcher's 5K walk. Tomorrow my daughter and I are giving back to the community and volunteering at the walk and will be directing the walkers and cheering them on. I felt compelled to do this for three reasons:
  1. Someone at VIRR asked for help and I support and am a member of that running community so obviously, I wanted to say yes.
  2. I want to volunteer as a sign of thanks to all those volunteers that make the runs I participate happen.
  3. I have a good friend in Texas doing the same walk tomorrow and this just seemed right.


6 Mile Recovery Run

First, I must confess. I went to bed early last night and I mean early! I went to bed at the same time as my darling daughter (7:00 pm) and slept right through to my alarm going off at 4:00 am this morning. I can't remember the last time I have gotten so much sleep at once and I think it is great! I had a 12 mile run yesterday after a 7 mile run on Wednesday so I am sure my muscles loved the recovery sleep.

Google Image
I took my well-rested body out of bed and headed out for the day's planned 6 mile recovery run. And yes, even though I was rested and eager to go, I stuck to my plan of a recovery run. As I headed out and turned the corner I saw the blaze, once again, of a roaring cane fire. It always amazes me how aggressive those cane fires are in the wee hours of the morning when most of the population is sleeping. I am also more attentive to them now than I was in the past. Living here you become complacent to the fires....after all, it is just another cane fire and part of the harvesting process. But once about a year ago I stumbled across just another fire to find myself in a blackout of smoke with flames on the road. And yes, I did call 911 and even though they tried to dismiss me and tell me it was a "controlled" fire, they quickly released that yes, I was right and that the fire was indeed "out of control".

But I digress....back to the running part of this blog. My goal was 6 miles and my plan was a recovery run. Run at a consistent pace but let it be easy. Not ridiculously easy, but easy. I read in an article recently that Kenyan runners tend to do their recovery runs extremely slow, even at a turtle's pace (Runner's World, 2011). I'm not going to go that slow but to me, the article just pointed out how a proper recovery run holds merit.

I ran at a steady incline and did very minor modifications in my pace. If you haven't realized, I tend to do that. I restrained from really pushing the final mile to stay true to the recovery run and I feel great!

My run nutrition: Prior to the run, a little peanut butter and Gatorade PRIME01 to rinse it down. During the run, some Cytomax but I didn't really drink a lot due to the distance and effort level.

My mental state: Awesome! And part of this is due to how good my body felt and how well it was performing.

The running stats: 6.01 miles, 54'43" total time, 9'06" pace


12 Mile Long Run - Almost Even Splits

I woke up this morning ready to run but must confess, I did move my alarm time back 10 minutes when my daughter climbed into bed next to me. She deserved a good 30 minute cuddle before a school day and I love cuddling her!

I did something different today. I took some advice from a friend and ate a small spoonful of peanut butter before heading out to the gym. She isn't a runner but an exercise enthusiast and says that little spoonful does wonders for her morning workouts. Since I am notorious for not eating breakfast before training in the mornings, I figured it couldn't hurt. I rinsed it down with some Gatorade PRIME01 and was on my way.

My goal today was 12 miles. My plan was to get a good pace going and maintain it throughout the run with a little incline and pace adjustments along the way to make the run seem a bit more natural. I had my bottle of Cytomax with me along with 6 PowerBar Energy Blasts. I calculated that each blast represents about 20 calories. Much different than the 100 calories per GU Gel. Therefore, I established a blast plan of taking one every couple of miles throughout the run. My reasoning - I typically eat five small meals a day so why not repeat the same concept in my running nutrition plan? It seemed to work well. My energy level stayed where it should be and I was able to do a good solid final mile for Dad.

It is funny how that final mile can be hard regardless of the distance I run and perhaps it is due to me altering my training level in the shorter runs. Perhaps it has something to do with the final stretch but wouldn't that make it seem easier with the I am almost there mentality. Or perhaps it is because I want to run that last mile as strong as I can to honor my Dad. Who knows, but today I loved my final mile.

It started with the standard degree of perception exertion but my mind drifted. This isn't usually the case for me too often but I really went into a day dream realm thinking about getting ready for the marathon in September. Oh yeah, for some reason I was envisioning the bus ride to the start, the pack, being at the start alone with my family on the other side of the island. And I ran. And I continued to run well and when I came back to reality, I realized I felt good.

My mental state was awesome! I just incorporated a little mantra towards the end, as to be expected. I reflected on my running posture at times and realized as I tire I tend to fold my arms and hands more. I focused on relaxing and running in my normal form.

And at the end, I must have been so in tune to my body that I totally enjoyed my post-run shower, the feel of the pressure of warm water, and the peace of showering alone without a youngster at my feet playing with shower toys.

A perfect beginning to a perfect day!

Final Stats: 12.04 miles with an average pace of 8'59"


The Selfish Runner

Running takes strength and determination to overcome physical challenges within yourself and the environment. It is also one of my favorite things to do. I truly believe running makes me a better person so when I am told running is a selfish act, I cringe inside.

After my initial shock to such a statement, I turned to the Internet to gain insight on this outlook on running. I stumbled across an amazing blog, that I now follow, by Chronic Runner and read her post and perspective on the selfishness of running. Click HERE to read it. I felt an immediate connection to this blogger. Perhaps it was the content of the post or perhaps just that the template she used is the one I first selected. I ended up going to bed content and happy.

But it is amazing how sometimes the quiet sleep of the night and the beautiful break of dawn can spur your mind into thought and reflection, even without a run.

Is running selfish?

One of my favorite topics of learning in college was the selfish gene theory, which pretty much puts genes in the driving seat. It is the genes that want to continue, not the plant or animal. Imagine genes taking hold of the outer shell of the organism and compelling activities that benefit only the genes, not the organism as a whole.

The Definition of Selfish: concerned exclusively with oneself, concerned only with one's welfare regardless of others

Based on this evidence, the selfish gene theory is truly a selfish expression but I fail to see how my running falls into the same category.

One may argue that yes, when I am running I am being selfish in that moment. Perhaps that is correct if you twist the definition to include doing an activity that benefits oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally. But when I run I am not only thinking of me. My mind focuses on all aspects of life. It is a time to reflect and become a better citizen. I run to support charitable causes. I run to honor my dad. I run to encourage others to run. In races, I run and think of the other runners and their challenges and successes to make it to race day. I run and think of the volunteers and their dedication of time to cheer the runners on and provide necessary support and course direction. I smile at them. I smile at other runners. Okay, I smile when I have the strength but if I am not smiling on the outside, I am on the inside.

But can running be considered selfish because when I am running I am not fulfilling other domestic duties? 

Perhaps if I were an extremist. But I get up early to run. I run when my daughter naps. I no longer ask my husband to watch my daughter on a regular basis just so I can go running. I don't even leave her with a babysitter when I run. I fit my runs in and when I run with her, she has the option of being pushed in the jogging stroller or me running on the treadmill. And when I run with my daughter, she is not ignored. My earphones are off so I can hear her and yes, at times my answers have to be brief as I am running uphill pushing a stroller. I apologize to her and explain mommy is doing a tough part. Is this selfish? I think not. She sees her mom pushing herself. She sees an active mom balancing work, life, and personal goals. And she is one of the best coaches out there. Just think of the motivation you get as you run uphill pushing a jogging stroller and your daughter asks if you are walking now. Oh my!

If I removed running from my life, yes, I would have more time to do other things but what could I do that isn't selfish if it fulfills a personal interest. If I filled that time with reading, is that selfish? If I filled that time with crocheting, is that selfish? If I fill that time with getting my hair done, manicures, pedicures, is that selfish?

I am a runner. I need to run. Running makes me a better person. I have always been an active person either directly through my employment or pursuing other interests.

I went through an approximate 3-year period of my life where I didn't run or pursue any real activity. It is during this period that depression took hold of me and it took a lot to get me back on track. I have even read from multiple sources that my blood type (O+) compels me to be physical and engage in very active exercise. Running is my stress relief, running is my meditation, running makes me happy.

So if at the end of it all, I am still called selfish. So be it. It is just a label after all but deep within my soul I know running makes me a better person and a better mom. I can only hope that one day my daughter follows in my foot steps and adopts a "selfish act" in her life that compels her to be a better woman, a better citizen.

Waking Up With a 7 Mile Progressive Run

I ran 7 miles today. This is the run I was to do yesterday but my day was so full! I could have run half of my miles and made up the rest later but I opted to slide the run back a day. This sets me up for the same training benefits I was hoping for this week. Doing my long run after a moderate run day.

But did that make it easy for me today? Absolutely not! I plopped out of bed and got ready to go as quick as I could. However, I was still yawning as I stepped onto the treadmill. I usually don't start my runs yawning but within minutes I was getting my energy and feeling good. After the 5 minute warm up, I cranked up the pace and my goal was to run with an overall pace near my 10K pace, if running on level ground. I did systematically increase the pace throughout the 7 miles and am beginning to notice that I probably can increase the base pace of my training runs a wee bit and will focus on re-establishing my thresholds for running solo, with a jogging stroller, and at a constant incline.

I loved my run today. I felt good and strong and my piriformis held up well. I drank a Gatorade PRIME01 pre-workout and tried some PowerBar Energy Blasts during the run. I traditionally don't nourish myself during runs of this length but wanted to try the new product before attempting it on a longer run. Mainly because, I only bought them because the PowerBar Energy Blasts are much easier for me to find and buy...a definite plus for a running mom. I got the Strawberry Banana flavor. They were so delicious and come packaged 9 in a pouch. I pulled a couple out for today and have the remainder waiting for me at home for my next run. I do like that you can customize how much you ingest a little bit more that the GU gels. That could be a plus but carrying them on runs may be a bit trickier.

My mental state: Great. I didn't need to incorporate any mind tricks and repeat any mantras today.

Overall pace: 8'52"

What's next? 12 miles tomorrow and a good night's rest!


Reebok RealFlex - Performance in their first 10K Race

Running is all about the shoes. Sure, physical fitness and mental toughness come into play but without a good pair of running shoes, success may not truly be achievable.

Have I found my perfect pair? I am not sure. Perhaps it is the scientist in me that is always testing. Perhaps it is my inner drive to always improve and find better answers, better solutions, better strategies, better running shoes. It is that inner drive that pushes me to run so why discount it as a drive to find the perfect pair of running shoes?

Currently I am training in Reebok RealFlex, a switch from Nike Free Run. Am I happy? So far, so good. I ran my first 10K race in them recently. Click HERE to read more about that. They did me well on the grassy start and the pavement. Only at one time did I get a rock stuck in them that I couldn't dislodge with my running tricks to get rid of a stone. I stopped very briefly, knocked out the stone, and kept running. But please don't ask the size of the pesky stone. I didn't pause long enough to investigate that far!

Running with Dora
I am not completely sold on these shoes yet. What would be the final selling point? The disappearance of the pesky left piriformis tightness that plagues me. Is it getting worse? No, and that is a good sign on behalf of the shoes. Is it getting better? I would say yes, another good sign on behalf of the shoes. But please note I am also being diligent with stretching, some strength training pilates style, and foam rolling. However, I am also getting less professional massages (a budgetary reason) and so far, I am not paying the physical price for diverting those funds to school shoes and supplies for my darling daughter. And who can regret the huge smile your daughter gives you when she gets some new Dora running shoes (yes, she calls them running shoes) and Dora socks!

But for good running shoes...I still hope to find the perfect pair for me and perhaps I have. But oh how I wish there was a true running store on island that I could go into for a fitting and advice!

Reflecting Back on the 5th Annual Jacaranda 10K

The night before the race I went through my normal race routine. I picked out the running clothes for the race. I usually try to tie into some theme (ie. pink for Run for the Cause) but make sure I don't race in anything new. This time my racing gear was going to be centered around my Bondi Band message: It's just a hill, get over it. After choosing the gear, with my daughter's input, I prepared a sprint bottle, uploaded a new play list of tunes, and settled into a calm, peaceful evening.

My family was all up by 6:00 am the day of the race and it seemed hubby was gearing to go. Too bad for him the race didn't start at 7:00 am as he kept hoping for. I tried to stall the family as much as I could while I ate a Powerbar with some milk, styled my daughter's hair, and got myself ready. And then it was out the door to Auntie Kelly's and Uncle Bob's who were slated to watch the darling daughter while I ran with hubby.

We got to the start an hour early, which is earlier than I wanted but I chose not to fret and just kick back and enjoy the scenery. The photographer came by to say HI and commented that this must be a tough race because every looks so serious and aren't joking as much as they usually do prior to runs. And that hour went by fast because before I knew it, we were lining up and getting ready to go.

The start was quick and fast with two loops around the track at Seabury. Perhaps I should integrate some grass running into my training here and there. It does feel different than pavement but I was fine and my hubby was by my side. Regardless, I was happy to hit the pavement even if it meant it was the start of my uphill climb. I also checked into my pace and realized I should take it back a notch. I really don't think I could maintain a sub-eight minute per mile pace uphill.

The route was beautiful; however, I didn't notice the jacaranda trees and their blooms as much as I imagined. The course is indeed a challenge and mile 3 was a hard one, as I was warned. And this is the second time I have raced with hubby and that added another element to the mix. Oh yeah...it is worth noting we don't even train together. Hmmm.....

At the halfway point I told myself I could increase my pace if desired but I really felt I was already racing at my peak for this course. It is so hard to know for sure in a new race and this is a skill I will need to work on. I kept it going and skipped the water stations at miles 2 and 4 as I was carrying my Cytomax. With about 1 mile left I was determined to pull out all the stops. After a brief burst in speed I felt my reserves were empty and calmed myself that at least it meant I was racing well. It is one thing to train and have a lot left, it is not the way one should always race.

Go Mommy Go!

But low and behold, the finish stretch came in and part of me was bummed that I wasn't able to really push the final mile. I closed my eyes for a moment to accept myself and found a bit of energy hidden deep inside of me and it came crashing out as I sprinted to the finish. Yes, sprinted! Where on Earth was that energy? Could I have sustained a faster final mile? I really don't know but I did learn a valuable lesson. I learned that when I feel empty that somewhere down deep there will be a reserve of energy for me and it will come out when needed. And isn't that a valuable lesson for any endurance runner to learn?

Mommy's medal goes to daughter
A friend asked me after the race if I set a new PR for myself. Well, no. I didn't set a new PR for a 10K and don't know if an uphill course is the forum for this but I am happy with my results.

My race time was approximately 1:08:00. I forgot to stop my Nike+ immediately and honestly didn't look at the race clock as I crossed. I placed 2nd in my age/gender division! Go Mommy Go!!!


3 Mile - Positive Splits

It took me awhile to get into the mindset to do my run today. My day started with the necessary errands and then going to a friend's house to finish laundry due to a broken dryer. By the time I got home with my daughter to put her down for a nap, I had to sleep too. But by the time I woke up I was revitalized.

After getting my daughter set-up with her post-nap snack and movie, I got running. My goal today was 3 miles. I wasn't feeling too tight or sore after yesterday's race so I wasn't overly concerned. But I opted to try a new game plan. I wanted to incorporate positive splits in my incline run. Why? Because as much as I aim to race longer runs with negative splits, I often have a hard time implementing the plan. I guess the racing high gets me out and going. So I thought, hey, if I tend to start faster than desired in races, what would happen if I did a training run like this every now and then?

I enjoyed my run today and enjoyed a new training style. It did tire me but it didn't overtire me. I think it was the perfect post-race/end of week workout. A great prelude to a rest day tomorrow before amping it up again for the next week of training come Tuesday.

Happy Running!


High Mileage Week

My training week runs from Monday to Sunday but I couldn't resist looking at my training calendar to see where I am. Currently, I am teetering around 30 miles. A great accomplishment when you think of where I was initially and the hurdles along the way. Plus, it is the first training week in which I tossed in a long run on Wednesday and a race today (click HERE to read about it).

Is this a good training idea? For me, absolutely! There are races I run with the goal to push myself completely to the limits and races I run to just prove to myself I can. Today's race fell in the second category and ironically, the distance of the race aligned with the distance on my training calendar. However, don't get the impression that I didn't push myself.

What's next? 3 miles tomorrow. Will it be simple? Who knows. I am tired, my legs are tired, but I look forward to drawing an X through the next day on my calendar and earning my day of rest on Monday!

But what I really wanted to say today was a huge MAHALO (thank you) for all the friends and family who support the runners in their lives. Although running may seem like an independent sport, all runners need someone to lean on every now and then for support....so MAHALO and PEACE to all!


3.37 Mile Progressive Run

It wasn't too difficult to get out of bed this morning to do my run. My training goal was a mere 3 miles.

My plan, enjoy the run but don't get too crazy pushing myself in light of race day tomorrow.

I easily went through my morning routine of getting my stuff together and headed off for my run. I had no need to rush since I had plenty of time to run prior to going to work.

I started my run at my base run pace and immediately began to enjoy the rush of running. I turned up the volume (although maintained a respectable level) and reveled in the tunes. At the 1 mile mark, I systematically increased my pace and ran as if there were no worries in the world. At the 2 mile mark, I increased the pace again and systematically increased my pace throughout the last 1/4 mile. The final 0.37 miles was a cool down.

I loved the run today. Nothing ached. Nothing felt tight. I felt wonderful!! It was the perfect run to have prior to race day tomorrow. Although my husband is a bit concerned about the race being uphill essentially the whole time. For some reason, I have no concerns about that. 6.2 miles uphill may be a challenge but I am ready to take it on one step at a time!


14 Mile Long Run with Negative Splits

I am often amazed by how often I tell myself that on Tuesdays I am going to go to bed early. I always envision climbing into bed pretty close to my daughter's bedtime. And Tuesday comes and goes and I don't get to bed any earlier than my normal bedtime and fortunately, I don't stay up too much later.

However, it still took two rings of my alarm to get me out of bed, dressed, and ready to run. I tried to look for the four planets that were supposed to be visible in the wee hours of the morning but had no luck. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough. Perhaps I didn't look in the right direction. Perhaps I was looking too early. Who knows but I headed into the gym to run my 14 miles slated for today.

My pre-run treat was an orange Gatorade PRIME01, which was a great pick-me-up this morning. My running plan was to start out at a modest pace and maintain it for the first 7 miles. After that, I planned to pick up the pace and incorporate negative splits. At mile 3 I was feeling awesome and was tempted to start picking up the pace right then and there. However, I constrained myself and convinced myself to stick to my plan. About 45 minutes into my run, I took my GU mandarin orange gel. I wasn't feeling fatigued yet but opted to be proactive since I didn't eat a breakfast prior to my run. It is amazing how well the gel went down and how much I liked the flavor this go around. This just supports training with drinks and gels and not trying something new on race day.

Finally, mile 7 approached and I was able to start picking up the pace. I began an conservative approach and at approximately mile 10 (or 11), I systematically continued to pick up the pace. For the final 1.5 miles, I was running good and strong.

Overall pace: 8'41", a wee bit faster than my PR for a half marathon pace of 8'47"

My mental state: Very good. There were moments that I felt a little hurdle but quickly overcame this by focusing on elements such as the sound of my feet pounding or the beat of the music. In the final stretch, I visited my manta "run strong, run strong, run strong" and was awed by how it matched the next song on my play list.

On that note, I think it is time to add new songs to my play list. It is getting a bit old. I love songs with a good beat and need songs that are kid friendly and some that can be added to my "for mommy's ears only" list.

Happy Running!

3 Mile Base Run

My Nike+ marathon training plan had me slated to run 3 miles yesterday. Sounds simple enough; however, staying up late made it hard for me to climb out of bed to run prior to work. No worries....I can get that run in later during the day!

I ended up staying at work later than expected, darted off to pick my darling daughter from school, and skipped all errands and headed directly home. I informed my daughter of my intent and told her I need to run 3 miles today. When she asked why I just said, because it is on my schedule. She quickly entered into her coaching phase and tried to convince me to run 5 miles instead. Tempting as it may be, I couldn't overdo it with a race slated for Saturday and I already have a full week.

Once home, I got my daughter set up with her activity of choice - play dough! After a 1/4 mile into the run I stopped to stretch my left piriformis since it was feeling a bit tight. My daughter eagerly asked if I already ran 3 miles. I explained it is good at times to stop and stretch and got back to running. At the halfway point, my daughter's interest in play dough diminished and she asked for some movie and snack. Often I make her wait until the run is done but today, I quickly hopped off the treadmill, got her all situated, and hopped back on making sure she understood I had to keep going.

It took me a few moments to get back into the awesome running groove I was in but I did succeed. In retrospect, I am glad I opted to get my daughter set up with a new activity. She was happy and I got a happy run in. What more can a running mom ask for?

My running mental state: AWESOME!!!


The Final 3 - Pyramid Run

My training plan had me slated to run 6 miles yesterday. I ended up splitting this into 2 runs. Click HERE to read about the first run. I was hesitant to do this since I am a firm believer of running the distance. I always questioned if splitting it would have the same benefit in terms of training gains. Of course, I would never split a long run.

As I started my second run of the day I discovered what I considered to be the second easy 3 mile run wasn't as easy as I thought. My legs were heavier and felt more sluggish. Perhaps two runs in one day isn't as simple as I thought. It does make sense due to less recovery time between the runs. I ended up running a 3.13 mile pyramid run. My pace was slower than my first run of the day by approximately 10 seconds. My mental state wasn't as prime but I changed that by enjoying the music and my daughter. She loved it when I called out a few words here and there of the song, although that happened less as my running continued.

The end result was a total of 6.34 miles yesterday, a great base run day. I look forward to a day of rest and fun with my daughter. I truly earned my rest day today by finding the commitment and determination to squeeze in my run time yesterday.

What's next? 3 miles on Tuesday and 14 miles on Wednesday.


3.2 Mile Progressive Run

I awoke this morning to my darling husband and daughter providing me with good morning treats in bed and a lovely Happy Mommy's Day! After church and grocery shopping, it was almost time to make lunch for myself and my daughter. This left me in a predicament. Do I try to squeeze in my 6 mile run now? Do I postpone it and hope for time later? Or do I run some now and hope to run more later?

I opted to do some running now while I can. This really leaves me two options: run the remainder of my allotted miles later today or run 6 miles tomorrow (instead of taking a rest day) allowing me to take a rest day on Tuesday (which was slated to be a 3 mile day). Who knows what the end result will be. Only time will tell.

My progressive run was great. After a few minutes at my standard warm-up pace I started systematically increasing the pace until I was really having a great time at the end. I truly do love pushing the pace and testing my limits. I was having so much fun I ended up putting in an extra 0.2 miles this morning but alas, my darling daughter started asking for a snack, which meant I had to hop off and get to making lunch.


Training Adjustment - 5 Mile Pyramid Run

My training plan had me slated to run 4 miles yesterday and 2 miles today. Life happened and once again, I had to make the necessary adjustments. This seems to be an ongoing challenge in the life of a running mom.

My issue yesterday - simply put, I was running out of time and then my Nike+ sensor really died. I thought it died on me a couple of weeks ago but I managed to squeeze just a little more juice out of it. In retrospect, perhaps I should have just switched it then. Long story short, I ran 1 mile yesterday. Not my 4 but I am really happy for the 1 strong mile I put in before returning to Mommy duties.

Therefore, today I was very committed to get my miles in and took those missed miles from yesterday and added them to today...hence, the 5 mile pyramid run.

I loved the run. My steps felt springy. My mental state was fantastic and I even shouted out a few whoo-hoo's here and there. It must have become contagious because soon my daughter was shouting her own whoo-hoo's of support and giving me a "go mommy go GO!" every now and then. I can't imagine one thing in the world that could have made today's run even better!

Reebok RealFlex Revisited

There seems to be a lot of hype about the Nike Free Run vs. the Reebok RealFlex. I wasn't aware of this when I pondered my decision weeks ago to purchase a pair of RealFlex.

I have been running in my Reebok RealFlex for over two weeks and feel it is a great time to post a re-analysis. See my first running shoe comparison HERE.

I have run indoors on a treadmill and outdoors on track and ground with my Reebok RealFlex distances ranging from 1 miles to 14 miles. The bulk of my runs have been in the mid-range. I am completely happy with my new running shoes. They are comfortable and the ties stay firmly in place. I love how lightweight and flexible they are. I have read arguments that they aren't a real minimalist shoe and for me, that is fine. I wanted a lightweight flexible running shoe that performed like my Nike Free Run. I made the switch to the Reebok RealFlex but I wanted to test to see if the perceived support I felt when trying on this shoe would prevent ongoing stress on my piriformis muscle. It is too early to ascertain if the shoe is successful in that regard.

One positive is that so far the RealFlex doesn't seem to hold onto stones like the Free Runs did. It always bugged me when a stone wedged in under the ball of my foot during a run. The only thing I can say that isn't completely positive is I have to be careful with my lace up. With my Nike Free Run I always had to lace tightly and firmly. With the Reebok RealFlex I don't need to apply the same concept to the final pull at the top of the tongue. If I do, it is too tight on the top of my foot near my ankle. If I remember to pull normal here and lace, I am good to go and as I said previously, the ties stay in place and the shoe fits perfectly.

I look forward to putting another 58+ miles on these and my first race in them is next weekend.

Do you run in either of these shoes? If so, post your vote on which you prefer - Nike Free Run or Reebok RealFlex.


The Power Within - Running Lessons Applied to Life

I am on the verge of doing something new and the idea puts butterflies in my stomach.

As I reflect I realize the drive and skills I need are already in place. Years ago I wanted to run a 5K. I trained and I ran. Success! Then I thought, hey, I am good at running and started running more and longer distances. I enjoyed every step of the way.

When I got pregnant and had my daughter I fell off the running wagon but had the drive to get back on. Success! I am running again. My next ambition was to run the Turkey Trot. I hadn't really been training at that distance for awhile but once again, I did it....success! My next dream was to run a half marathon and once again, success! Currently I am fully engaged in a training plan for running a marathon and I truly do envision success at the end of that journey.

So why is it when I desire something outside of the running realm I get nervous to take action and do what is necessary? Shouldn't the same principles I apply to running apply to all goals and ambitions? The only difference I see is that some of those "other" goals in life are dependent on the responses of others and that is really out of my control. When I run, I run. I take sole responsibility for myself but is that necessarily true? Would runners be as successful without the love and support of family, friends, and volunteers? Would we be as successful at races without those lovely water/Gatorade support points? Yes, I do realize we could carry all that we need but it is nice to have a support system in place and you must agree, some runners do rely solely on that support.

My challenge for myself and others today is for us all to recognize that we each have the power within ourselves to accomplish great things. We will indeed all succeed. Perhaps each dream and goal will not be fully realized but I don't view that as a failure. Not dreaming and not setting goals is a failure. If you have achieved all you have dreamed and have reached all your goals, have you stopped dreaming and setting new goals for yourself? I think yes.

Keep dreaming and run strong!


Pro-Form XT 70 Treadmill - Product Review

Just after Christmas my husband treated me to my own personal treadmill. After 4 months I am still loving the flexibility of having a treadmill at home. I am able to get my workouts in and get more sleep! Two pluses for a running mom.

So what do I really think of my treadmill now?

The Pro-Form XT 70 treadmill is an adjustable incline treadmill that allows you to position the track at 10% or 20%. I carefully reviewed my options in stock at my local Sports Authority store prior to making my purchase and this one ended up being the winner partly because I liked the warranty on the motor. It is a basic treadmill without too many additional bells and whistles and yes, you can get some really fancy treadmills these days.

Functionalities of the treadmill:
  • You can easily change between a 10% or 20% incline. I stay at the 10% level but do see how I could do speed walking at a greater incline on days I need to do something entirely different.
  • You can adjust the resistance of the shocks. I keep it at the firmest (24) due to my running goals but I can see how people would want to change this around to change the feel of their workout.
  • You can select workout schedules and each schedule will direct you in the incline, shock level, etc. I haven't ventured into this realm yet.
  • You can attach your iPod to the treadmill sound system. This is cool but the speaker output is low and music seems quiet behind the pounding of your feet.
  • You can easily jump between speed levels by hitting 4, 5, 6, 7, etc. The salesman promoted this as a selling point and it made no impact on my decision making process. It was something I never used on the gym treadmill (because it wasn't an option). However, I am loving it now for sprint work. 
  • It folds up relatively easily for space saving. Ironically, this was an initial selling point for me. I didn't want a treadmill that didn't fold up and only considered those that did. However, right before I made my purchase I realized I would never use that function where my treadmill would need to be. The idea of my daughter being able to play around a folded up treadmill and a mechanical mishap made me cringe!
  • You need a "key" to start the treadmill, which is easily removed. I actually keep it in one of the drink cupholders (another plus). My daughter knows the treadmill isn't a toy and respects it but it is an added sense of security that it won't accidentally be turned on.
  • It is iFit live compatible. I really think one day I may explore this functionality but haven't yet.
  • It is relatively quiet.

How do I like the treadmill now? I am quite happy. For those not willing or able to focus on incline training, this isn't the treadmill for you since you can never run at less than a 10% grade. My major stumbling block was getting used to my different tolerance of this treadmill versus those at the gym. When I did my first run on this I was routinely running an hour or more on the gym treadmill. I honestly felt wiped out after 20 minutes on my new treadmill and that really hurt the ego....trust me! However, I am now running for an hour at more at times and feel it has positively impacted my hill running capabilities. The one thing I do miss it its functionalilties is pre-set/customized intervals (although I should really explore the workouts more).

Would I buy it again? Yes and no. I purchased it at a really good sale price and it does fulfill my training needs so yes, under those circumstances I would buy it again. However, I do see the merit in having a treadmill that has more versatility in the incline adjustments. No treadmill will last a runner their entire life, although that would be sweet, so I can't say what the future has in store for me.

Was it a good investment? Absolutely! The emotional and stress relief I have by being able to workout at home is awesome! Plus, I can eliminate gym dues from my budget altough come July I may miss being able to go to the gym. No home treadmill can replace the motivation and support you get from working out with others especially at a gym with really good staff who notices if you are "slacking".


Ready, Set, Go! 10K Tempo Run

It always amazes me how many thoughts rush through my mind before, during, and after a run. It can be quite inspiring and can be translated to all aspects of life.

Today's scheduled training run was a total distance of 10.2 miles. After a 1 mile warm-up I ran 10K at race pace and followed it all up with 3 miles at a recovery pace. I loved the run and it worked me harder, in some regards, than my 14 mile run last week. I think the "challenge" was the final 3 miles on tired legs but the end result was great!

My ponderings today centered around success and competition.

Question 1: How do you measure success? What makes you a successful mother, a successful employee, a successful runner, or a successful citizen? I guess it is all relative depending on what is important to you. There is one underlying element that needs to be remembered, what you consider a sign of success could be completely different than what someone else considers a sign of success. For the really hard question, do I consider myself successful? Absolutely! I set multiple goals for myself in my personal and professional life and I do reach them. To me, that is success. It isn't about status, income, or title. Those are just labels used in life, which brings me to question 2.

Question 2: We live in a competitive world but is competition healthy? The ongoing drive of competition could leave people feeling unsuccessful so this is unhealthy. Competition to achieve unrealistic goals or against unequal components is not healthy. But competition as a motivator to improve oneself and to be the best you that you can be is definitely healthy. I loved that today I could run along side others at the gym and we were on equal footing. We were all side by side doing the best run we could do today and we were in it together even though we were all running at a different pace. If you put us outside, we would have spaced out but in the gym we were indeed all equal. For that matter, you could really consider all runners in a race equal as they each work to achieve their own personal goals. You never know, that person who comes in last in a race may have just achieved a new personal record for themselves that day.

And that brings me to my final comments. I read a quick inspirational quote from Matt Fitzgerald that focused on how mental training is so important for distance runners. He recommended that you include an assessment of your mental state in your training to help yourself hone this skill. I think that is a great idea! I often think about the mental stamina that is needed along with the physical stamina to run longer distances but not once have I considered evaluating my mental state for each run. I do assess my overall feeling and note any aches but from now on I will incorporate a mental state assessment.

My mental state today: I started out feeling good and during the tempo part of the run, I did dig in deep and focus my mind and body on keeping my pace for the entire 10K. When my legs were tired during the final 3, I focused on the benefits of running on tired legs and let myself cherish each mile's accomplishment. My mind trick was that after completing each additional mile I could slow my recovery pace if I really wanted/needed to. The end result, I never slowed it down and even opted to do a final push for the later quarter of a mile.

Run Nutrition: I opted for a Gatorade Prime01 again today and drank it prior to my run. I chose a berry flavor and it was nice but I do believe I prefer the orange. During the run I did a GU gel - tri-berry flavor. I loved this flavor and it was so much more pleasant than the mandarin orange I had last week!

What's next? A fantastic massage tonight, a rest day tomorrow, and more running on Friday!

Click HERE to find out why my numbers are all orange.


A facelift was needed!

When I first started my blog I didn't put much attention into the look and feel. I picked the template I felt best respresented me but I didn't venture into the background choices and all the alternatives out there. Perhaps I should have at that time, but I don't think I really knew they existed.

So welcome to the new look and feel to my blog, which in all reality, is the same. A place where I go to express my training goals from a mother's point of view. A place I hope you will come to get some running insight, inspiration, and know that you are not out there alone.

Blog entries can range from nutritional recipes, training plans, product reviews, run details, and race analysis.

Happy running and I hope to see you out there one day!

Lentil Soup

The crock pot is a running mom's best friend. I am a big fan of soups, as well as the rest of my family. One of our favorites is lentil soup and I never really make it exactly the same way twice.

Yesterday was a busy day and I was grateful to be able to start a batch of soup in the morning, go get haircuts for me and my darling daughter, run my 5 miles, spend quality time with my family, and still have leftovers for another day!

The recipe is simple and you can customize it how you please.

Lentil Soup Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of lentils - I have found that the inexpensive lentils are just as good as the more expensive lentils so choose whichever pleases you.
  • 1/4 pureed cauliflower - I have also used broccoli or spinach.
  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli florets - This was a new one for me to add larger broccoli but I had some fresh, frozen broccoli in the freezer and couldn't resist.
  • 6 small sweet peppers - chopped or diced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes - cut in half
  • water to cover the lentils - watch the soup throughout the day and add more if needed
  • black pepper to taste
  • garlic to taste
  • broth seasoning of your choice or replace water with liquid broth

Cook for 8-10 hours and stir on occassion. I believe I have made this recipe in as little as 4 hours. Just choose the appropriate setting on your crock pot. Mine has 4, 6, 8 and 10 hour settings. I had one in the past that had low, medium, or high settings and I would probably opt for medium for all day cooking.

Last night I had added a bit too much water and sometimes I add a little instant potatoes or cornstarch to thicken the soup; however, I had a craving for dumplings last night.

Dumpling recipe:
1 cup Bisquick mix
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1 Tbl fresh cilantro from our garden

Mix and drop into soup. Cook uncovered 10 minutes than cook covered 10 minutes.


The fully packed 5 mile base run

Today's goal: 5 miles. Sounds easy enough, right?

I started out feeling good and totally enjoying the run. Not only was I ready to go, my darling daughter was all set with things to do and I was sporting a new Bondi Band and ready to test it out. By 2 miles I began to ponder the challenges of a running mom and quickly decided I should extend those challenges to any running parent that actually runs with their children, or runs when needing to still fulfill parental duties. I convinced myself that the three year old requests for action from mommy could only be efficient training for the marathon. Those 26.2 miles I will run alone (sweet bliss!) but I am sure there will be times I will need to focus my mind around a distraction/frustration and just keep going. And yes, this running mom is definitely including preschooler behavior management during a run as a marathon training tool. Why not?

The run ended well and to my surprise, and my daughter's, the Bondi Band did great and stayed in place! Score 1! My training pace was steady and consistent throughout the run, which was a sub-goal for my training today. And after the run my darling daughter received some undivided attention and snuggles before she drifted off to sweet sleep naptime slumber and I am seriously contemplating climbing right back next to her to catch a little snooze myself!

Maui Marathon - T minus 4 months

Just over 4 months to the Maui Marathon and I am committed to my training. April was another good month; however, a fierce stomach flu early in the month did impact my training and perhaps my performance in my race....although I can't say that with certainty. My weekly run average was down to 3.4 runs per week but I was out of commission for almost a week. Surprisingly, I still had a good monthly total of miles that is comparable to March...78.14 miles logged and I am now in the blue level with my Nike+! I completed one half marathon race (click HERE to read more)and ran another half marathon plus long run distance. Pretty good!

My hurdle last month was just the stomach flu. I have implemented a good training system that allows me to get my runs done and to have fun doing them. My piriformis muscle is continuing to get better but needs the constant attention and awareness. I have noticed that if I skip stretching, it begins to nag me a bit. I continue to love and use my foam roller.

In April I purchased a new pair of running shoes, which continue to be enjoyable. I am still eager to see how they hold up and what their impact will be on my muscles and individual biomechanics. Click HERE to read more. In addition, I had to buy a new sports band for my iPod. My iSkin duo was beginning to get a bit too smelly and was showing considerable wear and tear. I stayed with the iSkin duoband. I just need to add a bit more Velcro but I love that I can still use my iPod functions through the protective shield and it is pretty comfortable.

May Training Calendar

What does May have in store for me?
  • The Jacaranda Run on the 14th. My hubby actually wants to run with me too!
  • More training and a continued commitment to increasing the long runs.
  • Continue to research and try energy products for pre- and during long runs. Click HERE to read my first trial.

My hurdles this month?
  • Early Wednesdays and incorporating long runs before a long work day. I need to prepare and pack well.
  • Mental training. I need to continue to find the joy in running when obstacles get in the way.
  • Finding time to be with my family when training time increases.