Readjusting Goals

This is going to be short and sweet as darling daughter is hooked and wants to explore some more educational games online.

My training this week has had its up's and down's and yesterday I made a decision. I opted to stop pushing to reach my goal of 48.9 miles this week. In fact, I opted to not even run long today and just wrap up the week with under 40 miles. I was going to run at home but darling daughter really wanted to go to the Kids' Club and I wanted to support her ongoing enthusiasm for the days I really will need her to go.

Essentially, I knew I could run long today and reach my goal but I wasn't sure I should. Yesterday my legs felt a little achier than usual in the afternoon. Granted, by the time I woke up this morning they were feeling good but I stuck to my thought process yesterday.

I have 18 miles on my schedule for tomorrow. I feared pushing myself to reach "the goal" and then running 18 could risk injury. I can't say I feel one coming on but with how tired I have been, the aches, etc. I didn't want to tempt it. Reaching "the goal" wasn't worth risking my end-state goal of running a great marathon in September and repeat it in December.

I am at peace with my decision and kept my miles low today. I ran for 20 minutes, stretched my little heart out for 10 minutes, and ran another 10 minutes. My legs are feeling good and with the extra love and rest, I have faith they will carry me through my 18 miles tomorrow. I wasn't sure they would if I pushed them harder today. 

I am not the one to take short cuts or the easy road out and I don't think I have. I just made a smart adjustment to my training and wanted to share my thought process with you all.

And by the way, "the goal" is there for me again next week.

How has your running/training been going this weekend? Any changes in your plans?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my few moments on the computer.
Daily Affirmation: I am in charge of my body and in control of my training.


A Running Night Owl?

I saw the funniest thing on my Nike+ page today....

Excuse the funny image...
They classify me as a night owl.

What?! Me? A night owl?! You got to be kidding! I am so a morning person. I get up before the sun to run, go to work, be a mom, and barely stay awake until 9:30 pm when I go to bed. I am not a stay-up-late and party run night owl!

But then when I got to thinking about it, the definition is all a matter of perspective. I am not running when the sun is rising. I am not running in the middle of the day. I am running when it is dark (67% of the time) and I guess by their definition, that makes me a night owl....or at least an early morning owl. And on that note, I often do see owls flying by on my drive to the gym in the mornings.

#FitFluential #PROOF
With all that being said and done, I crawled out of bed this morning (note, I didn't say night) at 3:45 am and headed off to the gym. I wasn't sure how much I was going to run today but I had to do at least an hour's worth. My left leg is being pesky and I wanted to ensure my mileage goal wasn't overriding me running smart. I ended up running 7 easy miles and then devoted a good chunk of time to stretching and you know what, my leg is feeling better already!

And check out my #PROOF for the day....see how dark it was when I started? And I couldn't resist taking a photo of the sunrise as I headed into work.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the generosity of others.
Daily Affirmation: I am capable and worthy.


Hit the Hills with Me

Life is all about choices. We make them each and every day and in all reality, what truly matters at the end of the day is if you are happy with your choices.

I choose my family. I choose to love. I choose to run. And when I put my head down at night, I am happy with my choices.

Yesterday I chose to sleep in. The day before I didn't and did this. Yesterday I slept. I am happy with the choices I made for myself both days and believe they positively impacted my run today. But first, let's step back about a minute and say yesterday after work I ended up running 2 miles. I did have time to run more. I really could have but I chose to be a mom, to make lunches, to make dinner, to be with my darling daughter. I don't regret it one bit.

Today I chose to get out of bed super early and had my alarm set for 3:30 am. I had to re-brew my pot of coffee since I seemed to have messed it up last night. I guess I forgot to pour the water in top and just left it sitting there in the carafe. Hmmmm.....the water actually has to go through the coffee grinds to become coffee running mom. 

I got to the gym dark-and-early with my pre-run nourishment of that homemade oat muffin I loved so much the other day. I had to try it again. There is something truly peaceful and invigorating walking into a pretty much vacant gym and coming to a row of empty treadmills. I had to take a moment to take a picture of the serenity but then quickly hopped on and got to running. My goal was 10 miles for today. With that, I could do some good longish runs the next two days, perhaps a mile or two in the evenings, and would be on target for my weekly goal and perhaps not too burned out for my long run Sunday. Oh my! In all reality, my training week isn't developing in the ideal way with so many miles stacking up before Sunday but I keep telling myself, it is good training and building strength. Listen to your body. Don't get too wrapped up in those numbers you love so much. Try to reach your goals but be smart. Sometimes it sucks being your own coach.

And since it is Thursday I still wanted to do some hills. Yep, I did an incline run at home yesterday but I didn't feel that truly fit my hill workout goals for each week. I warmed up for a mile or so and then did a 30-minute segment of 2-minute hill repeats. They started okay but felt harder as time progressed. I then did a mile or so recovery and stuck in another 10-minute segment of 2-minute hill repeats. This segment had three 2-minute hills. And they felt hard. Harder than those in the first round and I was going the same pace. I honestly wanted to stop every step of the way but kept on running. I knew these three were the most important three. Getting through the three that are the hardest mean the most.

I wrapped up those hills and kept on running. Isn't that what everyone does after hill repeats? I thought so. I ended up with 11.10 miles today and I am very happy! I am so happy I completely forgot about the soapbox post I originally was going to post today....and that is good news for all of us! Essentially, it was going to be about how we are each responsible for our own happiness in case you are dying to know.

P.S. That muffin seemed to have a good impact on my running again this morning. Yippee!

How did your workout go today? What did you do?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the phone call from darling daughter this morning.
Daily Affirmation: I am in control of my own happiness and accept that I can't make others feel happy if they don't want to be happy.


Wordless Wednesday

I slept in and got to see light when I left the house.


An unexpected run

You never know what life has in store for you and honestly, I think that is what makes life so exciting!

But before I get into what happened today, check out this video I made yesterday and there is a little surprise guest!

Last night I was just plain tired. My body ached and I felt mentally exhausted. I know I am starting a big week of running for me and am front loading miles this week to make the transition to running long on Sundays versus Saturdays so perhaps that is part of it. I have also been on an emotional roller coaster and although some of the excitement has been energizing I am beginning to think the drama is taking its toll on me.

When I woke up this morning at 3:40  am I just felt tired. This is nothing new. I always feel tired so early in the morning but today as I laid there thinking, I decided the mileage goal for the week wasn't my top priority. It shouldn't be. I needed to take care of myself and if I was so tired, I just needed to sleep. I could get a couple miles in after work. All would be good.

I thought about the video above and how I was going to post it. I made a statement of my goal and how would I feel if I said, nope, didn't do it. I chose to sleep. I decided it would be a good statement because it demonstrates at times we just need to listen to our bodies. I set my alarm for 5:00 am and rolled over to go back to sleep.

Thing is, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't tired anymore. It took me less than a minute to realize my body wasn't going to let me talk myself out of my pre-work run. All my reasoning was still sound but my body did want to run. I decided to pull myself out of bed, which took no effort, and to run based on feel. Forget all mileage goals. Just run.

I got ready, poured a cup of coffee, and grabbed a homemade oat muffin and headed out the door. I made it to the gym early enough to devote a good chunk of time to running. Within the first two minutes of running I decided today was a good day for speedwork. I typically do this on Wednesdays but thought doing so today, easy run on Wednesday, and hills on Thursday sounded good for this week with every day having higher mileage goals. I finished my warm-up mile and started progressive 1-miles....start easier and work up the pace. I envisioned three speedy 1-miles with a half mile recovery between.

I did my first fast mile and felt good. I did my second faster mile and felt good. I did my third fastest mile and had to turn to my power song to help me through. The end came and I was happy. However, I still had some good running time left and my body wasn't ready to just do an easy pace. I did a final fast 1.25 miles before cooling down and calling the run completed. I ended up with 8.08 miles today, right in my goal range for the day. Pretty cool, eh?

On a side note, I did wonder about that oat muffin and what impact in had on my running today. I think it may be great pre-run fuel!

What run have you done recently that surprised you in your capabilities?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my body was strong enough to overcome my mind today.
Daily Affirmation: With every breath my awareness grows deeper.


Bengay zero degrees - Product Review

Remember this picture from last Wednesday and my promise to say more? Well here it is!

I was contacted by Bengay and offered the opportunity to review this product, Bengay zero degrees gel. I was instantly intrigued because they stated it could be stored in the freezer and that sounded "chilly nice"! I must confess, when I agreed I did tell them my current go-to was Icy Hot for my aches and they still sent me product to review. And when the first one arrived in sad shape, they sent more at no cost to me. Score 1 for great customer service!

First, let me tell you the bottle of product arrives in a sealed zipper bag, the one pictured. When I saw this I was saddened by the extra packaging as I try to be green in my purchases. When I saw the bottle leaked I was happy. Now that I am using the product and storing it in the freezer I am very happy. Yep, that extra bag isn't a waste. It is needed and a great idea! Mahalo!

Second, and what you probably really care about, is how it works. Awesome! The fact that it goes on chilly cold is an awesome plus and I feel relief immediately! I have used it faithfully on that pesky piriformis and feel so much better afterwards and it has no lingering scent at all. It barely has a scent when you put it on. Totally not like the Bengay I remember from earlier years. I wouldn't go as far as saying it "blasts away the pain" of my piriformis because those aches do come back but hey, is there one of us out there that is expecting a miracle product? We all know these products provide relief, not cures.

But I can say it "blasts away the pain" of my tension headaches....and that is an added perk. And did you know perk is slang for perquisite? I have battled two tension headaches with this product. The first time was after I took pain killers and found no relief. I got home and thought about the Bengay zero degrees. I was hesitant about putting the chill on my neck so focused on my shoulders. Instant relief. So last night when the headache returned (days later by the way) I skipped the pain killers and went straight to the Bengay zero degrees. Instant relief. And for someone who battles headaches on a regular basis, this is the best discovery in my life! Relief from headaches without pain killers! Mahalo Bengay!!

Now if you are anything like me you may be wondering how Bengay got its name, right? After some googling, and entertaining my fellow co-workers, I learned Bengay was named after its developer, Dr. Jules Bengue.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the staff at Bengay for giving me this opportunity and introducing me to an awesome product.
Daily Affirmation: I make every act an art of love, freedom, mastery, and hope.

Please note: I was given this product to review by Bengay at no cost to myself. I did not promise a positive review. I was not paid for my review. The opinions expressed are solely my own opinions.


Recovery Day

My body ached last night. Okay, not my whole body but my legs were achy from my piriformis down to my toes. Not pain achy....just achy achy. And I think it is to be expected after running a 44.43 mile week so I am not worried. I did soak in some Epsom salt, sweet talked dear hubby into a massage, and put on my Tommie Copper calf sleeves to sleep in. This morning, I am feeling much better although there is still a bit of a knot in that darn left piriformis. I truly think that is my way of life now and no, running less doesn't make it happier. It can bug me even on low mileage weeks. I just need to give it stretchy love and massages....either by others or the foam roller.

Today I leisurely moved into my daily run. I made some breakfast for darling daughter and myself. We had oatmeal. I had plain wheat with craisins and cinnamon. She had Quaker maple. You know, those little packets that many of us grew up with. Please tell me you did too and I am not alone in this. I tried a bite of hers and have to say, woah sugar! It took me time but I am used to unsweetened oats right now so it shocked me. I am even thinking I will try to dilute hers with my oats in the future but then, she is eating it and doesn't get it every day so I think she will be okay. I survived it and it is setting the foundation of eating oatmeal, which I want to do. And dear hubby won't touch it with a 10' pole so if a little sugar paves the way, so be it. Does that make me a bad mom?

On to my run, I did an easy 1.11 mile run on my incline treadmill this morning and I really think it helped loosen up the kinks even more. I followed it up with stepping outside to tend to the vegetable garden a bit. A great way to start the day but now I think a shower is in order and some good quality time with darling daughter.

What are your Sunday plans?

Have a great day and talk to you later!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for sunshine.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to see the good in others.


This week's long run: Week 5 of Marathon Training

I can't believe I am at the end of training week #5. I even had to double count as if counting to 5 is that hard. Time flies!

Do you remember my mileage goal for this week? Here it is....

I gotta say, I did it and beyond. But I will get back to that. Let's talk about today's long run. It was another day at the gym with darling daughter going to the Kids' Club. She eagerly started her adventure and I headed off to hit the trusty treadmills. My pre-run fuel consisted of a small cup of coffee with a hint of vanilla cream and two toaster waffles with a touch of macadamia nut butter. Yummy! I had diluted Gatorade and one GU to carry me through the run.

The run started good and I didn't feel as lethargic as I have been recently at the beginning of my runs. Thank goodness since my goal was to do 12 miles and I had a lot on my mind to work through. I wasn't ready for mental obstacles yet. The first hour went well and I was making it to my benchmarks without many mind games. I took my peanut butter GU after about 50 minutes of running. Yummy! At the hour mark, almost on the dot, I felt like a well-oiled running machine. My legs seemed to be moving with ease and life was perfect. I would love to say this stayed with me throughout the remainder of the run but I can't lie. It didn't but I appreciated the high when I had it. I am a firm believer of appreciating each small gift or blessing in life.

For some reason today I was also determined to have time on my feet. At moments I had the desire to just run faster to get to the end quicker but hey, is that always best? Speed is good on speed days but those easy runs and long runs have a purpose too. Time on my feet. Running faster to get done quicker isn't always the best plan of action. Go figure. But truth be told, I did let myself speed up in the final 10 minutes.

I ended up running 14.35 miles today and wrapped up the week with a whopping 44.43 miles and some chocolate muscle milk (1 scoop). If I had a running calculator in my head I would have done 0.01 more today just to be able to type 44.44 but look, I did it anyway! Thing is, now I need to tack on a bit more for next week's goal. I looked at my calendar and the adjustments I would need to do. It is going to be an odd running week for me since Saturday won't be my long run day....it will need to be the following Sunday. Therefore, I'm doing a lot of longish runs and will need to get my butt out of bed early most days next week. Wish me luck for my goal for next week is:

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my loving younger sister.
Daily Affirmation: I can push myself but know how to push hard but not too hard.


Easy Runs - They are not always easy

Just because I am running every day doesn't mean I don't value the importance of rest. I truly feel I am taking better care of myself and my training now that I am running more than when I was running less. I know, that doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't running 4-5 days be easier on my body than running every day? 

For me, part of it was because I tended to push too hard on those days. I know, I know....there is that book out there that says you can run less and can run better by making your runs more meaningful and less lazy. Perhaps one day it will work for me. Right now in my life it isn't. I need the lessons I am learning from running every day.

I need to learn to listen to my body better and to truly hear it. I need to learn to differentiate the aches of running due to muscle issue versus the aches of running due to mental/motivation issues. And for me, at first those aches feel about the same until I really look deeper within myself.

Today is a great example and also shows how I deal with training hiccups on a daily basis. I set my alarm for 3:45 am to allow myself to get my run in with no time pressure constraints before work. I did wake up when the alarm went off for a millisecond. Unfortunately, I fell back to sleep so quickly I didn't hear by back-up alarm....the coffee pot going. Yep, I program the coffee pot the night before to go off about when my alarm does because often that sound and the thought of warm coffee with vanilla cream is enough to get me out of bed.

However, I did wake up about 30 minutes later and started my daily routine of getting out of bed, getting into my running clothes, pouring my coffee into my thermos, and heading out to the gym. I don't drink much coffee before my run but it is there for me post-run and I tend to continue to sip on it throughout the morning. And the coffee from 3 hours ago....still by my side, still warm, still yummy. And I probably won't finish it all. Seldom do.

Now back to my run. My running always tends to start slow and I often take a good solid mile to really get into the groove. My longer runs often take me a good 3 miles. Go figure...I think some unconscious part of me knows the percent equivalent completed and I need to do that hard work before I can reap the full joy of the run.

Today was no different but I stuck to it. I incorporated some intervals with increased speed. I know that isn't supposed to be the case on easy run days, like today, but I really wanted to kick out 7.55 miles and only had an hour. Remember, I did want to wake up earlier. So my easy run today was going to have to be less easy if I were to achieve my mileage goal for the week. Is it smart training to up the pace just to get to the number? I guess it really depends on the circumstances and for me today, it was. I knew I was coming off of an easy 2 miles yesterday and only have 12 miles on the plate for tomorrow. Okay, to some that may sound crazy but let me explain. I was in the middle of a short, easy run and a long run that isn't at my upper limits of long runs. It was okay to push it a bit more.

Mind, I am stronger than you.
But it wasn't easy. About 15 minutes into the run I wanted to stop. I ached but it wasn't the muscle ache. It was the mental ache. Sorry mind, you are not winning. That is when I incorporated the speed intervals and please note, I wasn't running my maximum speed. Just up'ing it a bit. Another 15 minutes went by and I thought about not running the full 7.55 miles. I told myself I would only regret it later. I was so close to my goals so to give up would only hurt me. I kept running but knew I had to change the plan. I switched out of the interval plan I had scheduled and started doing random intervals. This tricked my mind and things started to feel a wee bit better. Time progressed and my mind felt weighed down by the pressures to wrap up this run and get to work. I wasn't entering the running worry-free bliss. I felt heavy but it wasn't my body. It was still my mind. I started running for the "trees" and when I started to get close to them I moved them further away. Yep, I started playing mind games. One more minute at this pace and they you can cut back a bit. Oh....you are almost there. Just go one more minute and then you can cut back a bit. Oh....you are almost there. How about two more minutes? Yeah...you are almost there. Hey, why are you going to ease up now when the end is so close? Don't give up yet....run strong to the end. 

Bingo....I ended up running 7.63 miles with an average pace of 7'51". It wasn't easy. But my body was strong and that weak mind that kept wanting me to quit....I was stronger. Running streak day 176....pau!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for quirky computer mishaps that make me laugh. This popped up yesterday when I was inputting a survey question "How old are you?".

Daily Affirmation: I know I grow stronger on the days I lose hope since I will find it again.


Summer Virtual 10K Race Recap

First, I was asked recently where I find these virtual runs and I wish there was an easy answer beyond reading blog posts from others. Sometimes I learn directly from the host, sometimes it is from someone who has entered, and sometimes my "hint" comes in the form of a tweet.

I recently started a board on Pinterest for virtual runs and I will pin there whenever I hear of one. Please note, this is a new board and I may need a kick in the butt every now and then to remember to post. At least, until the habit is established.

Now onto the virtual run. This was my second run for the virtual races being hosted by Toni at Running, Loving, Living. I ran the 5K on Tuesday (you can read about it HERE) and the 10K yesterday.

Unfortunately, my legs weren't as into it as I would have hoped and I started off slower than desired. I decided getting the miles in was better than focusing on speed especially since I didn't want to negatively impact my overall training. But I still wanted to do my second race in my back-to-back race plan even if I wasn't going 110%. I ended up running a progressive 10K and by the end, I was nice and speedy. I don't know where that came from but it is always great when it happens. A run that started out yuck ended awesome and just proves I should never give up when things feel yuck. I ended up completing my run in 51:14 with an average pace of 8'14". I am happy.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for rain.
Daily Affirmation: I am getting stronger each day.


Summer Virtual Run 5K Race Recap and Sweat Pink

First, I have to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my post yesterday and provide support and advice. I am hoping darling daughter has a better day today but am armed with great ideas to help her over this hurdle. Thanks again for the support!

Now onto running....

Toni over at Running, Loving, Living is hosting a summer virtual run and I am in....for both the 5K and 10K. The run started yesterday and continues through until June 25th. My original plan was to run the 10K yesterday and the 5K today. However, due to my squeaky car having an appointment yesterday, I got to have extra time at the gym beforehand and opted to run long. I know I could have used splits, or combined both races in the one run, but I like to give a virtual run my full attention and devotion.

I am surprised on how well my legs held up today. I wasn't planning on pushing it extremely hard as I ran 10.15 miles yesterday (average pace 8'55") and am supposed to do a tempo run or speed work tomorrow. Although, I just checked which it was to be and it seems Smart Coach is giving me a break for speedy Wednesdays this week. Hmmmm..... I chose to do the 5K today and ran a progressive run. I started a bit faster than my standard easy pace and ended up pushing it quite nicely at the end. My race time was 23:19 with an average pace of 7'30". Cool! Now let's see what I can pull out of my legs tomorrow for the 10K. :)

On a somewhat unrelated note, but still on the trend of fitness, I have a few pairs of pink shoelaces itching to go on some shoes. These are courtesy of FitApproach and part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship. I really wanted to hand out a pair today for a deserving lady at the gym and have been pondering it for days. How do I choose? How do I remain unbiased to peeps I talk to more? I ended up going random because doesn't anyone at the gym before 5:00 am on a rainy day deserve a reward? Sorry guys, you deserve it too but my random operation couldn't be pulled off for you. Why? Because I randomly selected a lock in the locker room and tucked the laces there to be discovered by one lucky lady post-workout. I hope to see some new pink laces in the gym one day in the future!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities I have to spread my love of fitness and by being able to give random acts of kindness.
Daily Affirmation: I know how to ask for help when I need help.


Feeling helpless....

and it has nothing to do with running. That front is going well and I will return to talking about that tomorrow.

But today all I can think of darling daughter who is four and having a hard time at pre-school. It seems she is missing me and crying more than usual. I want her to be happy. Her teachers want her to be happy. Her dad wants her to be happy. We are all torn and at a loss. In all reality, I think she is just bored and needs a bit more structure right now as there is a lot of free time for "summer" but I could be wrong. She says she just misses me....and has hinted that there are no new things to do.

I can't help but feel like a failure as a mom since we have been trying to troubleshoot this for a couple of weeks now and I feel I am in the same boat. It breaks my heart for her to be sad. It breaks my heart to hear she had another tough day. It breaks my heart to be so helpless to do anything. It breaks my heart to have to hear from her teachers again about her having a rough day.

What I do know is that her school environment is loving, bright, and enriching and that she is surrounded by people who care and are trying diligently to help her over this hurdle. Why now? I really don't know but she has a few more weeks until summer break and then it is a whole new year.

And if anyone has any advice please share. We have tried rewards for no crying, her picking out "new" toys today, and me printing out activity sheets the whole class can use. That part starts tomorrow.

Go figure, I can run 10.15 miles with ease this morning but can't find an answer here.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the teachers who all do genuinely care about my daughter.
Daily Affirmation: It is hard to find one when I feel so helpless but I can say, I am a caring mom who has a lot of empathy for my daughter, and others.


Getting ready for training week 5

First, Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Today is a sad day in some regards for me since I can't call my dad and tell him how much I love him. But I feel his presence with me each and every day and am thankful he is at peace and not fighting a nasty disease any longer. I wouldn't want him to be miserable. But I do wish I was closer to my mom to ease some of her pain and loss.

With that said, it is time for me to wrap my mind around this coming week of training. My mileage goal this week is 42 miles. I know this is 10 more miles than what is on my training plan. Go figure, I work like crazy coming up with the "perfect" plan and am amping it up. Thing is, I wasn't sure I would have the time to run more miles and based the plan on what I was sure I would be able to commit to. But I want to train hard, run long, get the miles in, and reach amazing goals come September and December. Therefore, I am working hard on finding more time for me to run. So I guess I am looking at my plan for the bare minimum, training paces, speed work, tempo runs, hill work, long runs, and target distances and then going from there. Trust me, I have put a lot of thought into my adjustments and kinda like the flexible approach I am taking. Why? Because each Sunday I reflect on how my body is feeling, what the plan calls for, what I dream to do, and then establish a course of action that is best. Sounds like a good, adaptable plan that allows me to push harder when I can and not get down when I can't.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my last hug with my Dad and that I hung on just a bit longer.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to do wonderful things in my life.


This week's long run - marathon training week 4

My mileage goal this week was 30. I ended up with 30.17 miles after completing my 12-mile long run for the week today. I felt pretty good during my run although there was some boredom issues on the treadmill. At the end my left piriformis got a bit cranky but I did my little incline trick and it eased up. I ran at a negative -3.0 incline for about 30 seconds, changed it to +5.0 for about 30 seconds, and then back to where I was. This seems to help shake up the muscle a bit and lets me continue on with less tightness and crankiness. My overall pace was 8'10". I feel this was a good run to end my recovery week but am slightly bugged that my muscles are achy and I am not totally refreshed and renewed. Thing is, just because I am running less doesn't necessarily mean my body is doing less or that I am resting more. The life of a mom.....

But there are some things I should be doing that I am slipping on a bit....and I need to stop that and do what I know works. First, this little post-run stretch at the treadmill. It feels so good on my hammies and I honestly feel them easing out and stretching nice and long. It only takes about 30 seconds for each leg and come on, it is pure silliness on my part to skip this just because I am in a hurry.

And this is an essential stretch for me that I should do need to do daily. If you look closely at the picture below you will be able to see how my range of motion increases with each repetition of the stretch and this shows my tighter side. In all reality, this only takes me a few minutes and if I can't do it post-run I need to get into gear and ensure I do it later in the day. Although, it is best post-run when my muscles are nice and warm.

But one thing I am pretty good at doing when my legs are achy is putting on some compression wear and I am loving the Zensah athletic compression socks. I was so blessed with the opportunity to review this product and didn't realize how much I was going to fall in love with the socks. I have even been wearing them for my long runs. And Mr. Compression Sock Fairy, feel free to leave 6 more pairs under my pillow so I have a pair for each day of the week! Yep, I do try to do laundry just one day a week, which is hard with me running daily.

And let's not forget about compression shorts, I do turn to sleeping in them when my glutes are a huge pain in the butt! It helps....along with Epsom salt and creams!

What do you do to eliminate minimize your aches and keep running strong?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my darling daughter running into the Kids' Club with pure enthusiasm but wonder why she cries and misses me so much at school.
Daily Affirmation: I am courageous.


Do Dreams Come True?

Yes and No.

Sorry, but all dreams don't come true. We all know that and I don't want this to discourage you from continuing to dream and working hard to make your dreams come true. Because often times, the dream we don't get turn out to be blessings in disguise because it makes way for a bigger dream to come true.

I have a dream. Many of them actually. Some small, some big. Some related to running, some not. Some I can really work hard to achieve, some are out of my hands. But in all reality, giving up hope on my dreams would be the equivalent of giving up hope on myself. I refuse to do that.

Today I woke up with this thought in my mind.

Thing is, I don't really know which dream of mine will come true today but one will, somehow, in some way. Will I instantly realize it? I'm not certain. But this confidence, this faith, made my foot steps feel lighter, eased the burden on my shoulders, and brought a smile to my face.

Dreams do come true every day. And guess what, sometimes miracles happen too!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each opportunity in my life and each hurdle because they make me who I am.
Daily Affirmation: My faith in God makes me stronger and gives me the confidence and courage to dream dreams that others may call miracles.


Treadmill Running: Hitting the Hills

Running is an amazing thing. I love it so much but yet at times, it can be hard. I want to run but I can become bored. I want to become a better runner but training can be intimidating. However, with time and practice I seem to be mastering some elements for myself.

When I started this blog I was training for my first marathon. I started writing to find inspiration, motivation, support and that was a success. But I also discovered some worries along the way. I would read other running stories and feel like I wasn't doing enough, pushing enough, running enough. But in time, I learned to not compare myself to others but only to me. And please, I am human so yes, there are days I still fall into that comparison trap. Don't we all?

But through running and/or blogging I found my strength. I truly feel blogging did help that process by hearing stories of others successes, hiccups, frustrations, training mishaps, training goals, etc. It made me realize I am not in it alone. Running is hard and it should be. Training is hard and it needs to be. I cannot accomplish all my running goals without pushing myself to my limits, testing myself, dreaming bigger, reaching further, and having courage.

And sometimes my ideas can come out of nowhere. They just pop in my mind and I embrace them full-heartedly. Like treadmill hills. Today was to be an easy run. FYI - yesterday I ran 5 miles with 3 miles at tempo pace. My overall pace was 7'35". It was hard but comfortable hard. And it left my legs feeling it later in the day. I realized this every time I walked up the stairs at work.

Seconds into my run the idea of doing some hills sounded cool. I instantly changed my run profile to incorporate intervals of an easy uphill and downhill. Imagine gentle rolling hills. My legs were liking the different feel, my motivation was loving the switch, and I got to thinking more. How about I do this each week? Wouldn't it up my training a bit? Would it help me be able to better tackle that hill near my house? Wouldn't it make me a better runner? Yeah, it could be a bit harder, especially if I changed the hill profile, but isn't that the point of my training?

It didn't take me long to come up with my plan. For the remainder of my training I am going to have hills Thursdays. Yes, this falls after Wednesday's tempo or speed work days but I think that is fine. I am mainly focused on changing how my legs are working at different inclines and will keep the pace where it should be for this to still be an easy run day. Yes, I just used hills and easy in the same paragraph. Am I nuts? I think not. I think I can train this way and it will better prepare me for major hill work or hills in races later. And remember that nasty hill near by house? I can use it as a test to evaluate how my training is working. Cool, eh? And please note, my Thursday hills won't always be the gentle rolling variety. Way too boring!

And for the stats: Today I was supposed to run 5 miles but as I approached that 5-mile mark I was at the start of an "uphill" and how can I quit then? And then I had just over 2 minutes until I rounded out 45 minutes of running. How could I quit then? I ended up with 5.39 miles with an overall pace of 8'20".

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the courage of others to share their stories of strong that include DNF or scary run experiences. You know who you are and you are amazing!
Daily Affirmation: I am contributing something wholesome and unique to society. 


My May 2012

I have been procrastinating some on writing this report but that doesn't mean I haven't been looking at my stats. I was feeling a bit discouraged, uncertain, annoyed with myself for caring that my miles in May 2012 were less than May 2011. Not by a huge amount but enough that had me questioning what was up and if I was on track with my training in comparison to last year. The thing is, I really want a good time this year for the Maui Marathon. Not saying last year's was bad, I just want better so I feel I need to train better.

Here are the images of my totals for 2011 and 2012 for comparison.

May 2011
May 2012

The good thing about analyzing, and analyzing, and analyzing is that sometimes something pops out that you forgot. Remember that uphill Jacaranda Run that I wanted to do well at so I tampered quite extensively before hand? Did that light bulb just go off in your head too? Yep, that taper week this year I didn't do last year and that would account for 9 miles...at least. And this year I ran more often, but for less time, and miles were only off a bit. I am not getting to think about that anymore because it is time to move on.

Accomplishments in May:
View Larger
  • I did register for and race the Jacaranda Run with dear hubby and placed 1st in my division. And in fact, I placed 4th overall in the women runners. I see great dreams for this race next year. 
  • I ran half marathon #7 for the year. 
  • May 31, 2012 marked day 154 in my running streak (and I am still running strong)
  • I did select and post my training plan for the Maui Marathon. I will be updating it on a somewhat regular basis with my real completed miles (just by weekly totals though) because accountability is good.
  • Darling daughter and I became best friends with the gym and Kids' Club during our staycation and my running continued awesomely even with her school break.

June Goals: 
  • To continue to build mileage and I hope to have a mid-40's week the end of this month. 
  • Run with dear hubby more often but he keeps insisting we start this in July.
  • Set the foundation for switching my long run days to Sundays. It is becoming more imperative as my distance continues to increase.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for bagels and jalapenos. Sorry, I still do love this treat!
Daily Affirmation: My determination and analytical skills will enable me to have a great training season!


Motivational Mondays

Happy Monday to all! 

For some in my neck of the woods today is a holiday....a  lovely state holiday that really doesn't impact me much since I still have to work. Or perhaps it did impact me as darling daughter unwittingly coaxed me to stay in bed with her longer before she got up with me when I was getting ready for work. Yep, no pre-work run for me today but I will get to it later. No worries and how can I resist those eyes and hugs? Pure delight!

If you follow Life as a Running Mom on facebook you may already be aware of this, but I have Motivational Mondays going on over there. My goal is for each Monday to post a little bit of inspiration to get us all me off on a good footing for the remainder of the week. And it ties into being FitFluential. Now if I could only find the motivation to sit still long enough to write up my May report.....

And just so you don't have to go to facebook today here is a sneak peek at things to come....

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for hugs.
Daily Affirmation: I wake up every day to love and joy.


This week's long run(s): Training Week 3

Training Week 3
In case you haven't heard, I am currently officially training for the Maui Marathon, which takes place in September. As part of that, and part of keeping me focused, I am posting updates on my weekly long runs so here we go!

And yes, this week I did two. Call me crazy, call me nuts, call me ridiculous....your choice. I choose to call myself committed, dedicated, and determined. My goal was a 16 mile long run this week. I also had another goal to complete 44 miles this week. I missed both goals but guess what? Thanks to an awesome comment on Daily Mile from an incredible lady, I am not going to let those numbers discourage me. Plus right now I am feeling really good with my training at the end of week 3.

On Thursday I headed to the gym to tackle that 16-mile training run and even though things were in my favor with me hopping out of bed early enough to do so, things changed and so did my plans. I ended up running 11.54 miles. Not close enough to 16 to make me happy. Not enough to get to 44 either. So today I headed back to the gym with darling daughter (who eagerly hit the Kids' Club) to tackle long run #2 for the week. I knew the 15 miles I needed to hit 44 weren't going to happen in the time frame I had but I had to run long. I had to be strong. I had to get into the 40's....or you could say, I really wanted it and felt it was doable.

Today's run was hard. Killer hard. I wanted to quit 20 million times but I didn't. I had the number 12 in mind - it was a nice even number, more than my long run on Thursday, and would get me into the 40's for the week. And even though I was achy it wasn't warning sign achy. In all reality, it was probably just "hey lady, you just ran 11.54 miles 48 hours ago and you want me to do more" achy. Yes, I did. And when I finished my 12 I felt good mentally. And yes, my legs still ache but isn't that expected in training? And in all reality, today's run is one of my best to date. Not my fastest. Not my longest. But awesome because I did it and proved to myself again that I can. And I was able to tell darling daughter that I wanted to quit and didn't...and she was proud of me.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for public events at our local library.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong.

P.S. I ran 40.86 miles this week, 0.67 more than last week, and please note, my training week doesn't match the Daily Mile week. I train Sunday to Saturday. And good golly, I need to write my May Training Update Report.



Each and every day we all make so many choices. Whether or not a choice is good is all relative but I can whole heartedly say that I believe the vast majority of choices are based on good intentions. I  choose to believe very few people are out there with the intent to harm.

Yesterday was a crazy day for me and I truly appreciate all the supportive comments. It was a day when life seemed to come to a stand still due to choices and different opinions, all good, all based on good intentions, but the result was still chaos, confusion, fear, etc. It is funny how life can do this.

I have to say, at the end of the day all turned out how it should, and it really usually does, and I had to make my own choices along the way. The choice to speak or not to speak.

Often the choice to take action can be easy. No one will second guess you choosing to prevent a car accident or some other injury. But choosing to speak your mind, to share your viewpoint, to share you emotions tends to open yourself up to judgment....whether good or bad. But when I reached the finish line end of the day yesterday, I rested peacefully knowing I ran my own race did what was right in my mind and for that I am happy.

Life is indeed a funny thing....and it really is a lot like running. Yesterday was a blah run for me in terms of life but today I have started out with a free spirit and a burst of energy.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each and every one of you, your comments, and your support.
Daily Affirmation: Running makes me a better person in all aspects of life.


A run cut short and tears

I actually managed to easily pull myself out of bed this morning for this week's long run (shocking! I know!) but a phone call cut my 16-mile run short at 11.54 miles.

Running has taught me to be strong.

Running has taught me to have faith.

My personality compels me to believe all will work out.

But today I am full of so many doubts as certain circumstances in my life seem out of control with no positive outcome possible. I am at a complete loss and every fiber of my being wants to correct this "wrong" and make it right but I don't even know what the "wrong" is. I am sorry I can't go into more details, and you really wouldn't want to hear them, but as I shed tears and type I am trying to formulate a plan on how to tackle this hurdle.

I did the difficult. I spoke my mind to those who should hear it. I said the things that matter to those who are important to me. And I need to remember I do believe in a stronger being and to keep faith.

And am I upset about my run being cut short? Yes and no. I wanted the 16.1 miles for day 161 of my running streak but there will be time to run later. And I will run 44 miles this week....one way or another. I may get knocked down but I won't stay down!


National Running Day: Speed Work

I must interpret my normal schedule of Wordless Wednesday to say yippee for National Running Day! How can a runner not be excited about today? But did that mean I eagerly jumped out of bed at 4:00 am to head off for my morning run? No way! As much as I love to run, and love to get it in before work, I still find it so darn hard to leap out of bed when it is dark outside. I really don't think this will ever become easy for me but perhaps I may get better at just doing it.

Today is the wonderful hump day of the week. You know, the day that is hard but can be so darn good since it marks the middle of the week. Ironically, it is on this particular day each week that my schedule has my tempo/speed work days. I guess I should take ownership of that since I am partly to blame the one who made that schedule. And hard these runs so darn hard but so darn good when you are done?

I drove to the gym dreading the speed work. I knew it was there, I knew the pace, I just couldn't remember the intervals and quantity. Once on location I double checked that and felt relieved. Two 1600m with a "jog" between. Total goal is 5 miles. Really, only two one mile repeats at my speed pace? That sounded easy enough! After all, I can clearly count to two and not forget which interval I am on! Yep, those repeats of 5 or 6 can become tough to keep track of. Some people may have gotten wary of holding a faster pace for a mile but hey, I only had to do it twice today!

My plan always starts with a mile warm-up and cool down on my speed and tempo days so I stuck to that formula and busted into my run. The speed miles were hard and at the end of each I was ready to ease up a bit but I got them done. And the beauty of speed work on the treadmill is you can't slow down when you start feeling a bit sluggish. You gotta keep running! After wrapping up my 5 mile plan I opted to run a bit more at a slightly slower pace than my usual easy pace runs. Why? Because I really want 44 miles this week and I need to sprinkle a few extra miles in here and there to achieve that. I ended up running 7.6 miles in just over an hour with an average pace of 7'57". I really did want to keep on running especially since a really good tune just started playing but alas, I had to get to work!

Have a wonderful National Running Day! Did you run today? Are you going to? What did you run? Anything else special to add?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the massages dear hubby gives me.
Daily Affirmation: I am growing stronger each and every day.


New Loves

Day 159 done!
One thing I am loving about being a FitFluential Ambassador is being exposed to great people and great ideas....plus a little gentle reminder every now and then to go check out things I have been meaning to do doesn't hurt either. Oh yeah, and if you aren't an ambassador and want to become one, let them know Erica G sent you. And don't worry, you don't need to be a blogger. They love enthusiasts just as much!

So on to those new loves of mine....

Instagram....really, this is as much fun as everyone has been telling me about! And it is a great thing to look through to unwind and find motivation at the same time. I must confess, it was Run to the Finish that inspired me to buckle down and do this with her green smoothie challenge. I am posting an image daily of my green smoothie and have embraced the #junephotoaday challenge too. What can I say? I am a sucker for challenges. You can find me there as lifeasarunningmom.

And thanks to the reminders from FitFluential, I finally started pinning on Pinterest. You can find me at RunningMom6 (same handle as twitter). I pretty much just started this today but am amp'ed about My #FitFluential #FitFluentialBucketList board. It is a bit scary putting goals and ambitions out there in the world this way but hey, if I don't have the courage to state my goals how can I have the courage to do what I need to do to achieve them?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the virtual kicks in the butt you all give me.
Daily Affirmation: I am capable to achieving many dreams and goals.


Just Running Around

It has been a crazy weekend and I am so glad I decided to do my long run on Friday to free up time for the weekend. But I still felt there wasn't enough time to do everything darling daughter and I wanted to do.

We started our Saturday with some time at the gym and Kids' Club as I was determined to run a little more than my scheduled one-mile rest day to get to a 40-mile week. I just had to do 2.81 miles. I seriously recollect running 3 miles but I just triple checked my logs, including the Nike app that doesn't lie to me, and I ran 3.6 miles in 30:04 with an average pace of 8'20". That totally makes sense that I ended up running more to round out my 3 miles to 30 minutes. And then darling daughter and I headed out to party #1 for the weekend. That night, I was tired and made a "lazy" dinner of tuna melts, which turned out quite delicious. For the tuna salad part I mixed tuna with mustard, carrots, tomatoes, fresh herbs and toasted with cheese. Yummy! I was exhausted by the end of the day and ended up going to bed early.

Sunday I woke up to a note from dear hubby that he could give me time to run later in the day. First, I don't like to procrastinate on or put off runs. Second, I really needed to take a rest day from running so I opted for just 15 minutes...a twist on my rest day mile. Doesn't rest day 15 minutes sound nice? I ended up running 1.44 miles on my incline treadmill with an average pace of 10'23". I then got the laundry going as well as a crock pot of lentil soup before heading off to party #2 with darling daughter. I probably stayed up too late before having to return to my normal work schedule today but I survived.

Today I opted to not do my green smoothie in the morning. I really do think the blender will wake the family so perhaps it will just be my afternoon daily snack. So I headed to the gym with a cup of coffee and ran 6.28 miles with an average pace of 8'45". Training week #3 is off to a good start and I am hoping for 44 miles this week!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for being able to see things like this....especially since there are less one mile days.
Daily Affirmation: I am ready to see my own life in new and exciting ways.


Good Bye Easy Times

For the past nine days, today included, I got a taste of being a stay-at-home mom since I took a week off of work to be with darling daughter during her school break. I can't say it was "easy peasy" since I worked my butt off doing 1,001 chores and aiming to cook better dinners each day. Plus we had three parties to attend and yes, partying is fun but it can be a handful with a four-year old who isn't ready to start partying or ready to end partying. 

No mom's life is easy no matter if she works at home or works away from home since every single mom works very hard each and everyday. But today, and some of yesterday, I felt myself beginning to sulk inside when I realized my "fun" time was coming to an end. Tomorrow is going to be really hard for me and darling daughter. Not only am I going to miss being with her, I am going to miss being able to sleep in a bit more and wake up beside her. I am going to miss going to the gym with her even if it means finding a treadmill is a bit harder and costs me a bit more for childcare and snack rewards. She always picks the dehydrated fruit by the way. Come tomorrow I am going to have to pull my butt out of bed at 4:30 am (and this is my sleep in day of the work week) to be at the gym when it opens so I can get my run in before work. I am going to have to pick my own locker, put my own stuff in it, and take a shower without the non-stop communication and entertainment from my darling. And it makes me sad. But somehow I need to dig deep now, find my happy face, and be strong and positive for her and hope her day tomorrow goes easier than mine.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I truly do love being with and sharing my days with my darling daughter. I am thankful we have so much in common. I am thankful for her.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong and can endure the challenges of life.


This week's long run

I am wrapping up week two of my marathon training and once again, I moved my long run up a bit in the training week to free up time for the weekend. Darling daughter has not one, but two, birthday parties to attend. We did the same thing last year but fortunately this year, the two are on back-to-back days, not back-to-back on the same day!

However, I felt yucky this morning. Not sick. Not hurting. Not really lethargic. Just not all peppy and ready to go. But I got into my running clothes, laced up my shoes, and announced to darling daughter we were about to leave. She asked if we were going to the Kids' Club. I didn't let the worry come out in my voice and said yes and was ecstatic when she eagerly bounced up and down in excitement. Phew....what a lucky start to the day!

We got to the Kids' Club, went through our normal routine, and I dragged myself to the treadmill still feeling blah but knew running today was the right thing to do. Running when blah is fine and builds mental stamina about overcoming hurdles. And perhaps my mind is just getting bored with the same running environment because surprisingly my body is still feeling good and strong even with the increase in mileage this week.

I knew I had a mileage goal (14 miles is on my training calendar and I have updated it to show the miles I actually complete each week) but opted to go for a time goal since I only had two hours of childcare and some was wasted with my stroll to the treadmills. I felt that would relieve some of the pressure of my run today and free my mind to enjoy myself a bit more. I would love to say with the first step I was in bliss but hey, I am not going to lie. I wasn't dying but I wasn't flying. But at about mile 8.5 pure bliss hit me so strong I honestly felt chills of pleasure run down my spine. This degree of runner's high doesn't happen to me very often but when it does, I know my spirit is fully engaged and I am running just how I am meant to be running. And I was astonished to find out I completed 15.36 miles in 1:50:34 with an average pace of 7'11". Part of me feels like I will never be able to do this again if I tried but that is the beauty of running. On days when you feel blah you still have the power to amaze yourself.

For my running nutrition I am beginning to incorporate what I will be doing throughout my training cycle and for the marathons in September and December. Yes, I am looking at both mentally as I need to finish the Maui Marathon and hop right into focusing on the Honolulu Marathon. I ingested two GU gels - triberry and chocolate. The flavors are okay but I really like vanilla and may just order them online since our local sports store doesn't seem to have this flavor in stock. I am also drinking a diluted Gatorade. I am making it from a big container of powder. Why Gatorade when it isn't my favorite? Dear hubby likes it, many races offer it, so I am going to give a a try early on to see if I can stomach it. If I start having problems, I still have time to convert back over to my tried and true favorites.

When I got home I couldn't resist looking at my mileage so far this week and realized if I run 2.81 miles tomorrow I will wrap up this week with 40 miles. I really want to do it. I know tomorrow should be a 1 mile rest day but really, how can I not try? And I can always go short on Sunday before bringing the miles back on come Monday.

P.S. This is half marathon #7 for the year.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my run today.
Daily Affirmation: I know my dreams that are meant to be will be.