4.30.2011

Today's Recovery Run

I did something I have never done before yesterday. I ran a half marathon + distance and then went to work!

I have moved my long runs to weekdays for really good reasons but yesterday was the first time I really pushed the limits and did something different. I am very happy with the results and with how I am feeling today. I spent 10 minutes last night with my newest best friend --- the foam roller. If you haven't bought one yet, now is the time. Treat yourself and your muscles to delight!

My adjusted training schedule had me slated to run 3 miles today. As much as my mind dreamed of sprints with what I consider a short distance, I held myself to running a recovery run. I mean, is it really a good idea to sprint the day after running your long run? Don't think so!

My recovery run was at a 10% incline and I did my standard routine of altering the pace a bit here and there. Although, I did run within the pre-selected pace range and framework I established at the start. How do I feel? Great! I love the feeling of training smart and reaping in the rewards. My muscles are happy. I am happy and I am looking forward to my run tomorrow.

Negative Splits

I recently read an article that discussed negative splits and loved to read that this is a great running style that can result in success at the finish line, at least for races long enough to use this strategy. I wish I could take this article and show it to a coach I had in the past. Her viewpoint was if I could pick up the pace at the end than obviously I wasn't pushing myself hard enough. But then again, she is the same coach who never recognized my off season efforts to work on speed that resulted in me being a faster runner. I wasn't allowed to run that fast but had to stay with everyone else. Trust me, I do see the importance of teamwork at times but sometimes, you just need to push yourself and your teammates!

Negative split defined: Essentially, your pace increases at the end of the run. You start out good and conservative and then let it fly later!

Traditionally, this is a running style I love and who doesn't love finishing strong? I also believe that in most cases, this is how I race. And the times I didn't, it is because I ran out of reserves or it was a 5K where you don't have time to hold back.

I kept this running strategy in mind for my long run yesterday and plan to apply it to many of my training runs to hone my skills of selecting the right start and end paces. My splits for my last 14 mile run were:

Mile 1: 10'21" (this pace I will never maintain running solo....I was just easing into my run.)
Mile 2: 9'26"
Mile 3: 9'17"
Mile 4: 9'19"
Mile 5: 9'30"
Mile 6: 9'19"
Mile 7: 9'22" (don't know what happened to me here....hmmmmm.....)
Mile 8: 9'01"
Mile 9: 9'00"
Mile 10: 8'59"
Mile 11: 9'14"
Mile 12: 8'45"
Mile 13: 8'32"
Mile 14: 8'23"

4.29.2011

This week's long run: 14 miles

I crawled out of bed around 4:00 am for today's long run. The goal: 14 miles. I grabbed a couple of pretzels and headed out the door to go to the gym. On the way, I also consumed something new: a Gatorade PRIME01. I don't know if it was the Gatorade or my excitement, but prior to the run I was fully energized.

My training plan was to do the run in negative splits so I started out at a comfortable pace. After approximately 6 miles, I slowly started to progressively increase my pace until I was at full race pace for the last mile or so. In addition, at around 6 miles I tried something else new --- some GU Mandarin Orange gel. Since it was new, I started with limited amounts and rinsed it down with my standard Cytomax. I can't say I loved the flavor but it was okay. I tolerated it and perhaps it did have a positive impact since I did feel fine throughout the run and was able to progressively pick up the pace as intended.

The end result: 14.01 miles with an overall pace comparable to my race pace for the Maui Half Marathon last September.

4.28.2011

Nike Free Run vs. Reebok RealFlex

Close to a year ago I switched from the standard running shoe to the new light, flexible running shoes that mimic barefoot running. My first choice was the Nike Frees, of course!

Nike Free Run: 
Nike Free Run
I love the flexibility of this shoe and it is very lightweight. It did take me time to get used to the pull on nature of the shoe followed by the lace up. I went through two pairs of these shoes, with each lasting me close to 4 months of running. The sign of replacement need was the outer edge of the sole. It is Nike+ compatible and my plan was to buy a 3rd pair and you can even customize your own pair now! This had the fun appeal for me. Additional notes: Even though I laced up tightly, I was always able to just slip out of the shoe at the end of a run. I always purchased an insole to replace the Nike one.

Reebok RealFlex: 
Reebok RealFlex
I had seen multiple ads for this shoe and was intrigued that it was similar in nature to my favorite shoes, the Nike Frees. When I was recently in the store looking at new shoes, I even picked up one and loved the flexibility, design, and weight. However, I was still compelled by having a Nike+ compatible shoe. Then the salesman came up and saw I liked the light weight running shoes. He expressed that the RealFlex was quite popular, very similar to the Free Run, but more cushioning. Honestly, I liked the design of the sole a bit more as I felt it enabled a little more traction. My one mental hurdle though was my Nike+ sensor. When I asked the salesman about this, I was informed that yes, they sell the holders you can attach to your shoe and there is a $6 model and $10 model in stock. Very important for a Hawaii runner. I tried on the RealFlex and was immediately impressed by the way it shifted my stance into a position I feel will have a positive impact on my running and injury prevention for my "weak point". I purchased the shoe and although it has only been my running shoe for 2 weeks, I am happy. Time will tell how it holds up and scores overall but I look forward to putting more miles on my Reebok RealFlex. Additional note: I lace up tight at the start of the run and at the end, I have to unlace to take the shoe off.

If you are looking for a minimal running shoe, either the Nike Free Run or Reebok RealFlex have proven to be good contenders from my point of view. They are in the same price range so that doesn't even need to be a factor for consideration. Try them on and see what you think and stay tuned for further updates on the durability of the RealFlex.

Related Reading on Running Shoes:
Reebok RealFlex Revisited
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10th edition
Columbia Drainmakers
What's In a Shoe?

{Addendum 1.10.13: Since writing this post I have run in many types of shoe. I am a firm believer that running shoes are not one size fits all. We all have our own preferences, and it may change, but at this point in my running career, Saucony Cohesions are my go to!}

4.27.2011

Simple Fruit Smoothie

About a week ago I purchased some Fruit2Day. They looked like really good fruit drinks that had no additives that I didn't want, provided two servings of fruit, and had real fruit pieces. Yum! I picked up three and was eager to try my new healthy treat as a means to ween myself off of Diet Cokes.

I first opened the blueberry one and took my first sip envisioning a drink like pulpy orange juice. Oh my was I wrong! This drink literally had fruit pieces in it that you had to chew! This was not my cup of tea!! And I had two more bottles....what was I going to do???

I quickly thought of making them into smoothies. I took about 1/4 cup of yogurt (plain or vanilla should work fine) and added one small bottle of the Fruit2Day. Blended briefly and voila! A delicious and nutritious smoothie!!!

Will I buy Fruit2Day again? Sure, now that I know how to turn it into something I can drink (not chew).

The Runner, The Cheerleader, The Coach

Yesterday I was told I was self-centered, which was pretty gut-wrenching and the end result, I climbed into bed after midnight when I planned to get up in less than 4 hours for a 14 mile run. This is not a happy feeling.

The Runner: I found myself frustrated beyond belief and questioning why on Earth am I training to run this marathon? What is the purpose? Should I be doing this? To answer those questions, I am training because I want to run a marathon, it is a personal goal, it is something I can do for me, and I want to run to honor my dad. What is the purpose? The sense of accomplishment and pride. And perhaps, it is just so years later when I reflect back on my life I can see that I did do something just for me. This is important for all moms because in reality, we are not self-centered and we are prone to give more to our children and families than we receive ourselves. Should I be doing this? YES! I do realize training takes some me time but every mom deserves me time. It makes them a better mom and who can really criticize someone when their me time is running?

Just for Kids Storage Bins
The Cheerleader: I really did need that inner cheerleader to turn me from frustration to hope. Ironically, last night I also put together a new shelving unit for my daughter. I have done this many times but this was a new brand and design and I could not figure out the camlocks. With mounting frustration and the unit falling apart many times, I got online and looked for help. Oh yeah, camlocks are simple once you know what you are supposed to do. Just screw in the camlock screw, add the circle piece to its place and slide onto the screw and tighten. So essentially, put the shelves all on one side and then prep the other side of the shelves. Then add the second side of the unit. After I was all done, I was talking to my wise 3-year old daughter and told her that was frustrating. Her words of wisdom, next time don't get frustrated. If it breaks you always put it back together. So okay, I may be frustrated that my night's sleep is essentially gone and worried about the impact on my training but I will figure it out! Thanks little girl!!!

The Coach: At times that virtual Nike+ coach can't do it all for me. It may have a plan but what happens when life gets the best of you? Should I go on less than 4 hours of sleep and do a long training run? I don't want to hinder my training. My inner coach's words of wisdom, I have two back to back rest days on the schedule for early next week. It is fine to bump back my runs one day. I will still get the scheduled runs in and it is better to sleep and then tackle the run tomorrow. If I didn't have to work 10+ hours today the plan may need to be addressed differently. If it were a race or closer to the marathon, the plan may need to be addressed differently, but right now, I am fine.

From reading this it may seem easy to be your own runner, cheerleader, and coach but in all reality, it is extremely hard. I yearn for more support from those closest to me and to hear from runners on how they tackle the same obstacles.

Happy Training and Don't Give Up!

4.26.2011

More energy for me, more energy for you

Right before the Wahine Half Marathon I downloaded an e-book written by Kendrick (look for Kendrick Fitness on Facebook and you will find it!). It was one of my best purchases for nutritional and fitness guidance.

Last week I started the eating plan he outlined in the book. I am not calling it a diet because it clearly allows you to eat and there are not any huge restrictions. Essentially, I switched to eating five small meals each day at specific times. I was always kind of close to this but the book outlined what nutrients to focus on for each meal. For example, put some protein and fiber in my first lunch. It also included some suggested meals.

I am one week into my new eating plan and I truly believe my body is feeling better because of it. I am not getting the afternoon slumps in energy as drastically, which is a great thing! In addition, I have lost a couple of pounds. My goal wasn't to lose weight per se. I just wanted the energy to do my runs and live my life to the fullest.

Is the plan easy to incorporate? Yes and no. I felt it was easy on my work  days to stick to the schedule but on my hectic weekend it was a bit harder due to the necessary planning it involves. But my daughter is loving my purple water bottle that is following me wherever I go!

In addition to eating right and often, I am aiming to incorporate more sleep into my life. Long lost are the days I could stay up all night reading a book and still get the sleep I need. If I stay up late, I am just harmed by lack of sleep that I will never be able to recover in the life of a running mom. The one element that has truly enhanced my ability to sleep more was purchasing my own treadmill. This is allowing me to fit in runs where I normally wasn't able to and allowing me to get that one more hour of sleep on most days. Trust me...it adds up and makes a huge difference! And I am going to need those reserves when I pull myself out of bed before 4:00 am tomorrow for my weekly long run.

Eat well, eat often, sleep, and be energized!

4.25.2011

Incline Training - 6 miles

My training goal today was 6 miles. My options were squeeze in a road run whenever my dear hubby got home from work or do the run on my incline treadmill. I opted for scenario 2.

My daughter was all set with snacks and a movie, or so I thought, and I got on and started running. My hurdles today were:
  • My daughter wasn't as ready as I thought and kept asking for things. I just told myself this is the mental training necessary for some of those longer runs when your mind isn't 100% where it needs to be.
  • The treadmill itself. The supporting documentation stated that workouts on this model will be 40% harder. I agree. I don't think it is 40% harder than a road run but it is probably accurate to say it is 40% harder than running on a standard treadmill. On that note, I have read in multiple places that you should always add some incline to your treadmill running and that a 1% incline is close to road running. Did I mention my incline trainer is at 10%?
  • I was hot! Once again, running in my home took its toll. Perhaps I should aim to run in the earlier, cooler hours of the day. But then, this is wonderful training for the heat I will face at the end of the Maui Marathon.
  • The time of day. Traditionally I am an early bird runner whenever I can be. I seem to feel better in runs then. However, I will run whenever I can fit it into my life and it seems afternoons are becoming more popular.

All things aside, it was a great training run and I am glad I did the 6 miles at an incline. I did have to incorporate some speed walking as my legs felt like lead and I was incredibly thirsty. Yes, I did drink my Gatorade and even had my daughter grab me an extra cup of water. My ego hurts about having to do speed walking (and when I do speed walking I do increase my arm workout) but I would rather do that than cut the miles short. Plus, I felt things in different muscles during the speed walks and that is always a good thing for overall training. On a side note, I often do my 5+ miles on the road or a standard treadmill, not the incline treadmill, so that was a new training twist. And to make my ego feel better, in the time it took me to do my run today I could have done a standard 10 mile run. Why does that make me feel good? Because I worked hard! I wasn't just breezing along so even though the miles were less, the workout was intense!

4.24.2011

Incline Training - 3.4 miles

My weekend is packed with things to do between surprising a good friend with a shark dive and Easter today. However, I am still on target with my training plan even if I juggled the planned runs around a bit. After all, that is the life of a running mom.

Today I did my scheduled 3 mile run on my incline treadmill at home after church while my daughter watched Curious George. I was feeling good so I put in a little extra time on the treadmill plus this is the perfect training for the upcoming Jacaranda run next month.

My overall pace was slower than usual but I did increase my pace for each mile I ran. It is always a good training run when you finish strong.

My home treadmill running does work my body in very different ways than road running, with or without my darling daughter, and the gym treadmill. I always feel a higher rate of perceived exertion and I always seem to sweat more, even with two fans going in the room. So, out of curiosity I decided to measure my sweat loss today and found out the short run resulted in a loss of 1.6 lb of sweat. Seems like a lot for such a short run but I won't really be able to make any conclusions unless I do the same analysis on another run. I will keep you posted if I ever do!

Happy running and be strong!

4.22.2011

I want a Bondi Band

A fellow blogger, Running Diva Mom,  posted a giveaway that highlights a product I never knew about. Check it out! They have a wicking ponytail hat that I have fallen in love with.



Click HERE to read all she wrote about it!

Training Plan: 10-mile Long Run

Running takes commitment no matter how much you love it. I am a runner. I love to run. I get cranky when I don't run. I even get jealous when I see someone running on the side of the road and I am driving somewhere I need to be. But even with all that love, it can still be really hard to pull myself out of the warmth of my bed at 4:00 am to go do a long run.

But as a running mom, I know what I need to do and I need to get those long runs in when I can. Usually, they are slated for Wednesdays prior to work but I felt a 10 mile run after 13.1 miles on Sunday might be pushing it a wee bit too far right now. So I ran today.

In all reality, my run ended at 9.62 miles with an average pace of 9'02" per mile. I started out easy and picked up the pace after the initial 1 mile warm-up. Then at mile 4 I really picked up my pace and was running at a pace of 8'30" or less. My goal was to work on running on tired legs to improve performance in my races. I was just slowing down for my cool down when my sensor up and died on me. It is quite funny to hear "activity stopped" when you are still running along. I took it as a sign to just wrap things up for the day since I did need to get to work and on the way, I had to make a pit stop to get supplies for the Easter Bunny.

What's next? I plan on running 6 miles tomorrow with my darling daughter, a short run of 3 miles on Easter (again with my darling daughter), and then two days of rest before 14 miles on Wednesday. I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy Earth Day and keep on running!

4.21.2011

Training - Let's get speedy!

I took one day of rest after the Wahine Half Marathon primarily to enjoy my final day on O'ahu with my family. But after that, my training got right back on track as I am now completely focused on that marathon on my schedule in September. There will be some fun races/runs along the way but my goal is in sight and now is not the time to get distracted.

Typically, I rest a bit more after my half marathons and am quite pleased on how my legs are responding to getting used. I did try to keep things "easy" though.

Day 2 after the race: I did a nice track run with my daughter in her jogging stroller. To say a track isn't completely accurate because everyone will envision those 1/4 mile oval loops. This is a track/trail/walkway that consists of three intersecting loops which is great for keeping things mixed up. It also includes some inclines and you can do a really big incline or really big decline depending on the direction you are travelling. I did both and mommy and daughter had a blast! I kept my pace regular and my goal was to just get the legs going. Distance: 3.19 miles. Overall pace: 10'07" which is par for my pace when pushing a 38 lb child! But oh does that really increase the uphill training!

Day 3 after the race: I had so much fun on the course I ran the day before that I had to return to it but this time I ran solo. I really pushed the first two miles and then told myself I could slow down for the final mile if I really needed too. Perhaps I slowed a bit, perhaps not. I really need to analyze the profile more since my pace was not consistent at all with all the ups and downs of the course. However, my overall pace was 8'13", which is faster than the pace for my last 5K race. Read about that race HERE. Distance: 3.01 miles. So am I happy? Oh yeah!

Day 4 after the race: Today I give my body a rest day and plan to do 10 miles tomorrow if all goes well. Hopefully, my darling hubby and daughter don't keep me up too late partying tonight!

4.20.2011

Reflecting Back on the Wahine Half Marathon

It was a humid and still morning as I headed to the race start with my darling husband and daughter. I got to the chute moments before the pre-race announcements and entertainment. I had time to watch the fire dancers and ponder on how a race start full of women differs from a mixed race. The delightful chattering of women was a bit unnerving at first but then I just had to laugh inside because every woman knows, women love to talk and there was a lot to talk about this morning!

Prior to the race, the speakers blared with The National Anthem and we all covered our hearts and looked at the flag. Within moments, the speakers failed and for one split second there was dead silence. Quite remarkable considering the huge number of people congregated in Ala Moana Park. However, the runners proved to be as wonderful as women are as their voices raised to continue the anthem. The speakers did come on later and the whole experience could bring tears to any amped up running mom.

After the final countdown, the horn sounded  and I walked my way to the start where I was finally able to take off running with some great tunes! I felt strong and good even though I could tell the humidity was going to impact my hydration but no worries. I had my sprint bottle with Cytomax and there were plenty of aid stations throughout the course. Nonetheless, the heat began to take its toll on me around mile 10 and it did impact my pace. No one really wants to confess to slowing down in a race, but I did and my pace dropped by 20 or so seconds per mile. However, I did maintain that pace until the end.

The course was quite remarkable and a mix of everything. I had the pleasure of running around Ala Moana Park a couple of times before heading out on the roadways towards the airport. There were some scenic stretches along the beach breathtaking enough to cause me to go "woah" and that takes a lot! The route also included a track pathway through a park and a few steps here and there. Any obstacle was clearly  marked and the race volunteers did a remarkable job keeping the runners informed and motivated.

This is definitely a must-do race for all women out there! The energy and spirit was intoxicating and how can you not like getting a tiara and boa at mile 12 to complete the race with?

My overall placement was 497 out of 1,599 finishers and 494 out of the 1,593 female finishers. I placed 90 in my division (35-39), which had 265 finishers. My time was 2:19:15. Yes, this was my slowest half marathon to date but I am still completely happy with the results. I was running in new terrain with warmer temperatures, more humidity, and I did allow myself to pause at moments to see the beauty. This is something I have never done in a race before but this race deserved it in my mind. My enthusiasm for this race was high from the moment I heard about it and I wanted to truly cherish each moment of the run. I wasn't running to win. I was running to have fun and to be a strong woman, a diva!

I hope to see you next year at the 2nd annual Wahine Half Marathon and feel blessed to be a part of the Inaugural Run Like a Diva run in Hawai'i!

4.19.2011

Long Run and Jacuzzi - Perfect Mix!

I have always loved Jacuzzis and who wouldn't? Warmth and bubbles with a therapeutic massage! What an indulgence and a perfect component to the Run Like a Diva series Wahine Half Marathon. (Post-race analysis to come soon.)

I must confess that I spent amble time in the jacuzzi the day before the race, hours after the race, and the day after the race. It was delightful, relaxing, and perfect for every diva! Imagine a mom sitting blissfully in peace while being able to watch her darling daughter and hubby play in the "cool pool", to use my daughter's terminology. At times I was even visited by my daughter who would join me to put her toes in the delightful warmth.

How are my muscles feeling today? As to be expected. I have the normal aches two days post half-marathon that go as quickly as they come and I look forward to a run with my daughter after work today.

4.14.2011

Wahine Half Marathon - 3 days to go! Do you have your bling?

The bags are packed and we are set to go! Aloha O'ahu! Here we come!

I am not really a superstitious person but races pull out every superstition I have. I have my tried and trusted running shoes, shoes, and gear all packed. However, there is no way I will let that bag out of my sight! It will be by my side for the entire 35 minute journey to Oahu. You would think I could check it for such a short trip, but no! Superstition number 1: I must run in my trusted gear and I will take no risks that the gear will not be there for me. Plus, I don't want just anyone messing with my shoes! They are my companion and have been with me every mile of the way...almost. I do have to get new shoes on occasion.

Superstition number 2: Don't do anything different the night before the run. What can I say? I couldn't even agree to going out to eat with a friend because my family is already used to my pre-race dinner quirks. Why make someone else go through that?

Am I ready? Oh yes I am! I am prepared and set to go!

What's on my agenda?

  • Friday: Get to O'ahu, lunch with a friend, go to the Expo and have a blast! Sleep.
  • Saturday: Relax with the family. Mediate. Enjoy life. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Try to sleep.
  • Sunday: YEAH!!! Run, run, run! I hope to catch up with a good friend who is also doing the race and will leave it in God's hands to help us "bump" into each other.

In the meantime, my blog will be quiet but I will return with a race analysis and post-race notes.

Racing is what running is all about. It is the frosting on the cake and I am going to indulge in the moment.

What must others think?

As I sit back and reflect on how I  must have looked going out for my run today I have to laugh inside. I was going to just do a couple miles on the treadmill to keep the juices flowing for race day on Sunday. My daughter just wasn't going to cooperate as she usually does. So I picked her up, headed out of the door, and put her into the jogging stroller.

She was kicking and screaming every inch of the way but I knew I needed to run and I knew she would be fine as soon as the wind started blowing through her hair. Within seconds, the screaming was gone and the whining was tapering away. By the end of the two miles, mommy and daughter were both doing great!

Unfortunately, this doesn't work all the time and as a mom, you need to be able to ascertain when to pull the plug on the run (mommy duty does win at times) and when your run can be turned into therapy. But still, what must have the neighbors thought as I was putting my daughter into the stroller? She was screaming and I was telling her a run would do us both good.

4.13.2011

A Day for Motivation

The Wahine Half Marathon is just around the corner and I am focusing more on ensuring my rest reserves are full and ready to go. Now is the time I go ahead and let myself sleep those extra 15 minutes. Who knows how I will sleep the night before the race!

Which makes today the perfect time to reflect on some running quotes I found dear to my heart.

  • By Pamela Cooper: The American marathon footrace has evolved into a cultural performance, a chance for people to tell a story about themselves...that story is about community.
  • By Richard Benyo: The marathon lifestyle promotes doing rather than watching...by adopting the marathon lifestyle you can confront your own lions, be your own hero, fight your own battles, challenge yourself.
  • By Hal Higdon: Think positive. You are a special person. Reward yourself with self-praise as your achieve each interim goal en route to the marathon.
  • By John "The Penguin" Bingham: Every day gives you an opportunity to improve. With every run, you can try to be better. Not just a better runner, but a better person.
  • By Pam Oliver: Running puts me in a positive state of mind. I'm constantly getting ideas for stories on the run.
  • By Kara Goucher: Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running.
  • By Tate Donovan: Why do I run? It's the best form of exercise. It's totally the core of being in shape. I really feel so good--anytime after the first mile.
  • By Jeff Corwin: I look at running as meditation. It allows me to decompress, download, and get rid of negative stuff. That's my secret. I go inside myself.
  • From my daughter: Mommy, make it go faster. (She was watching me run on a treadmill.)

My quotes:
  • I run for peace of mind.
  • I run to remember my Dad.
  • I run to show my daughter that women are strong.
  • One more mile for Dad.

4.11.2011

Aloha Divas! 6 Days and Counting

Course Map
It hit me last night when I was cuddled in bed trying to sleep. This is race week and I couldn't help but wiggle my toes in excitement! The Wahine Half Marathon which has had me amped ever since I read about it is just around the corner!

Prior to my first half marathon last September, I was a nervous wreck the week before. I was edgy and cranky and every other emotion you can name that has no real benefit to family life. I didn't feel all of that really before the second half marathon but the day before at work I ended up having to leave because the butterflies started really getting crazy in my stomach. This one, who knows what I will feel but I can't wait to experience each moment of it!

I read a recent article in Runner's World about the importance rituals can have on running and began to ponder if I really had any. I don't race in or with anything I never trained with but that isn't really a ritual. Just smart running. I arrive early to races but that is just so I can get my child taken care of and then have time for me to wrap my mind around the race. But upon further reflection I discovered that my rituals are coming out more with my longer races. I said a prayer and sang a quiet Peace is Flowing Like a River before my 1st half marathon. I felt compelled to do the same before #2. And yes, I will be doing the same this coming Sunday because why wouldn't I? Oh yeah, and I almost always run with a hat on!!! (And I like the ones with the Velcro straps in the back.)

What are your running rituals?

4.10.2011

Running for Fun

I can't really think of a time when running is a chore but perhaps at time, it isn't as fun as it could be. Today, I ran just for fun. I had a limited amount of time so instead of worrying about the training schedule or doing speed work....I just ran!

It was fantastic to run with no objectives besides running. It was quiet freeing and instead of thinking of goals I reflected on what is affecting my life now. I thought minimally about my upcoming race, I thought about my daughter, and I pondered how I really do want her to get into the preschool at our church. I reflected on how this could positively affect the whole family beyond my own running objectives.

But most importantly, I ran and listened to my feet pounding. I had no music or distractions. I just ran and let my thoughts run freely as well.

So my advice to you all, go out and just run for yourself every now and again. You will be amazed at how wonderful it feels and how it truly cleanses your soul.

Peace and happy running to all!!

4.09.2011

The Primary Running Mom Dilemma

I am indeed a runner but I am also a mom and don't forget I am a full-time employee. At times all those priorities get jostled together and it is hard to really focus on my personal goals. Today is one of those days.

Saturdays are usually my mommy and daughter days. The good days where all is possible! Running can fit in any time and life is great! However, this Saturday I am bogged down with training stress from loss of runs due to a stomach bug. I am finally back to me in health but I want to run!!! Unfortunately, I do have a work obligation that will postpone my run and I only find comfort in that my treadmill will be my faithful companion waiting there so patiently for me when I get home.

So off I go, to work, with my daughter. Dreaming of running, dreaming of doing what she desires, but we will work and to be honest, we will have fun.

To the running moms out there, how do you cope when your training goes to the wayside when other priorities of life surface?

4.08.2011

Are you a sipper or a gulper?

As runs increase in distance and intensity, the need to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes becomes more imperative. I have seen runners utilize different techniques to get their needs met - some carry a bottle (freely or with a strap), some have bottles strapped around their waist, and some use a camel pack.

Personally, I hand carry my drink and I love it when it is nicely strapped on because I like to keep my hand muscles loose and relaxed as much as possible when I run. If at all possible, I will only carry my little 10 oz sprint bottle since it is nice, light, compact, and fits well in my hand. I also like how it releases the water with a spout designed perfectly for sipping because I am indeed a sipper.

I traditionally take little sips along my run starting after about 20 minutes into the workout. And to be honest, sometimes a little sip and rinse is only what I need. I have learned that this is the technique that is best for me and it prevents too much fluid in my stomach at once. The main thing I need to remember is to just keep sipping, which is usually not a problem because I have trained myself to go for a sip based on how I am feeling. I have learned my thirst cues.

One thing I have never done is said I need x-amount of fluid for a run of x-distance. I do not think I will ever formulate a plan that specific because I realize my personal hydration needs are dependent on my level of hydration pre-run, the intensity of my run, the duration of my run, and the elements.

So can I always run with a sprint bottle? No way! At times I need to carry my standard water bottle and just deal with it. I train with both methods, or even no bottle, in order to be prepared for whatever I will decide to do on race day.

4.07.2011

10 Days to Race Day

I am about to embark on my third half-marathon and my pre-race training took a sudden turn around. My hope was a last long run yesterday at 12 miles. That did not happen and I haven't even run yet today (oh me oh my!). Why? On Monday evening I was hit hard by a stomach bug and even missed a day of work. I have been resting and barely eating and am still trying to regain strength.

I am back to almost normal today. My appetite isn't 100% but I am eating again to nourish my  muscles. The missed massage I had for Tuesday is rescheduled for today and now I need to focus on my mind.

Running is both physical and mental. I could beat myself up over the missed run but that will accomplish no good. Instead, life happens and tends to always happen to me in full swing prior to the half marathons. I reflected on this and realized:
  • Debut half-marathon - I lost the week prior to the run due to a family emergency. Training came to a screeching halt and I did great!
  • 2nd half-marathon - Serious injury two months prior and I was in recovery running mode. I ran the race with the goal of finishing. I got a new PR!!
  • 3rd half-marathon - Stomach bug....hmmm....are my guardian angels up to something? Does nature know something I don't? How will I do? I am sure I will do just fine. I know I can run the distance. My body will be strong and re-nourished by the time the race starts. I will get some more training runs in but I will continue to train smart....not to overdo it. That is my motto...train smart....and it works for me!

4.05.2011

The Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie Delight

I have a banana tree in my yard which means at times, I can be overwhelmed by ripening bananas. I quickly learned that peeled bananas freeze well and can become a mainstay of my morning smoothie.

My favorite recipe is simple with only three ingredients - 1 cup milk, 1 extra small banana (5-6" long), 1 Tbl peanut butter (okay, some days I mix in a little vanilla protein powder).

I use either fat-free cow milk or vanilla soy milk. The nutritional analysis with fat-free milk is:

252 calories
8 g fat
5 mg cholesterol
132 mg sodium
34 g total carbohydrates
3 g dietary fiber
23 g sugar
13 g protein
24% vitamin A
16% vitamin C
51% calcium
4% iron

Servings: 1

This smoothie is great for pre-run or post-run, depending on how it settles best in your stomach. I usually drink it post-run and it has a good amount of protein for my muscle needs. In addition, the potassium in the banana is always a plus for any runner! And for a woman with osteopenia, the calcium boost is a good way to start the day off smart.

4.04.2011

Maui Marathon - T minus 5 months

Just over 5 months to the Maui Marathon and my training is getting more focused. March was a great month. I averaged 4.6 runs per week and completed 79.54 miles. An awesome feat when you factor in that I also had a very nasty, persistant cold in March. In addition, I completed one 5K race with a time I am very happy with. See Run 'Til Your Green for more on that.

My hurdles last month were incorporating long runs in a busy mom's schedule and increasing training with a 3-year old daughter to take care of and spend time with. I feel I have knocked these hurdles down. I did something very odd when I began a new training plan via Nike+ virtual coach....I moved my long run days to Wednesdays versus on the weekends. In the past, I did my longest runs on Sundays which meant I had to run with my daughter or my hubby needed to have the day off. By running the longs on Wednesdays, I can run solo and hubby is home all day with my daughter.

My piriformis muscle is getting better and better. I had 1 professional massage last month (delightful) and purchased a foam roller to roll out the kinks between massages. It is a blessing!!! One of the best purchases ever!!!

What does April have in store for me?
  • The Wahine Half Marathon on the 17th and I can't wait to participate in my 1st all women race.
  • More training!
  • Time to buy new shoes.

My hurdles this month?
  • Getting up earlier and earlier on Wednesdays to incorporate long runs before work.
  • Adjusting to a new training schedule - the new run assortment and arrangement is proving to challenge my running perfectly! I just hope it does the trick in prepping me for the marathon.
  • Mental training - Oh yes, focusing the mind, meditating (do I really have time), or whatever it takes to envision success!
  • Finding time for family fun and love!

4.03.2011

6-mile Base Run at Noon

Most runners probably do not head out of the day midday to do a run in Hawai'i. However, sometimes a running mom has no real choice. It was run at noon today or don't run today. Obviously, I had to run at noon because there is a 6 mile run on my training calendar right there on the freezer door.

I donned my running shorts, shirt, socks and shoes. Grabbed a sprint bottle of home-made sports drink. Put on my running hat and off I go after getting a goodbye kiss from my darling daughter.

I started my run along a rolling hill course. After a mile or so, I diverted to a running path at the nearby park just because there were some portions that offered some shade. However, I could still tell the heat was affecting me. The winds were calm today and the sky was clear (both great things for the whale watch scheduled later today but not so great for a run). But my optimistic running mind just reminds me that each tough moment is 1 more element in making me a better runner and isn't that what training is for?

What's next? Coach says 2 days of rest and then 12 miles on Wednesday. What will I do on my 2 rest days? Perhaps schedule a massage with one of my dearest friends...perhaps I should confirm a time and date now!

Happy Training!

4.02.2011

Coach says 2 miles, I say SPEED WORK!

I am at the tail end of week 1 of my new training program via Nike+ virtual coach. So far, so good. Today I did a very short run. Perhaps the idea was to have an easy run day between a medium-long run yesterday and medium-long run tomorrow but I couldn't resist the idea of making those 2 miles count more by doing some speed work.

So I hopped on the running mom's best friend....aka my treadmill....and off I go knowing I have the time as my daughter has just settled into some Curious George.

My alternative would have been to run the 2 miles with her in the jogging stroller, which was very do-able but I NEVER sprint with my daughter in the jogging stroller. Just one of my running mommy rules.

I ended up doing 5 sprints with each having a 1 minute duration. The intensity of the sprints was high enough that at the end of each I was more than ready to ease up the pace. The next sprint came just when I was in my normal running groove so I never ran long at a "comfortable" pace.

I had a great workout and really feel I will keep those short Saturdays that the coach has assigned as my weekly speed work days! However, I am still debating if I will ease up next weekend in preparation for the Wahine Half Marathon on the 17th!

* Orange numbers are in memory of my dad and his battle with leukemia.

Base Run 4:5:4:3:2:1

My last training run was in the category base runs. These are the bread and butter of my running. A run where I go out for a set distance and work on my running but the runs are not long enough to be considered a long run. In base runs I push myself enough so the runs are not easy or recovery runs.

Yesterday's base run had a different intensity profile for me. I am notorious for starting out my base runs at my comfort pace and then picking up the pace at the end or middle of the run. It is a conservative running pattern in which I know I will have the energy reserves at the end because I pick up the pace in accordance with how I feel. Not this time!

My intensity profile for this base run was 4:5:4:3:2:1; therefore, I started out strong and then allowed my pace to ease up some. In addition, 60% of my run was in the 4:5:4 and there were times I wanted to give up and slow down but I refrained. My goal was to begin incorporating training runs where I have to keep going when my body says "Really? More?" to build on the mental training needed to go the distance.

The run was hard for two reasons: I started out strong and I was running at a 10% incline but I felt great at the end. I didn't give up. I kept going and I remembered why I love to run! (Not that I ever really forget that one.)

Keep running and be happy!

What's next for me? Speedwork....I'll keep you updated!