Marathon Training - Midpoint Status Report

I am currently training for my third marathon and this training cycle seems to have left me plagued with self-doubt, insecurities, and second guessing myself to the point of wondering if I am on the right path. Of course, I keep telling myself to suck it up, to be tough, to believe in myself, and to not listen to negativity and start being more positive. So much easier said then done. And then I read a recent article in Runner's World about "back-to-back" marathons and began the question game all again. Perhaps not a good read when you already have pre-long run jitters.

But first, let's step back a minute and review.

On September 16th I ran the Maui Marathon. I knew I had the Honolulu Marathon on my plate for December 9th so my goal was to run well but not kill myself. I needed to come out strong and ready to train some more. Well, I ended up PR'ing but I also gave the race all I got. You can read more about it HERE.

The day after race day I continued my running streak but did take it easy with four one-mile days before increasing my run to a whole 2 miles. I ended up with 11 miles that week....just as my training plan had me slated for. Please note, I customized this training plan from Smart Coach and tried to take into account recovery, training, and taper when juggling what I hoped to do. 

From week 2 to week 6 I consistently fell short in overall miles and a good chunk of that was me falling short in my long run miles. To make a long story short (no pun intended), in week 2 I hoped for 8 miles, I got 6 miles. In week 3 I hoped for 12 miles, I got 6.5 miles. In week 4 I hoped for 16 miles, I did back-to-back long runs of 9 miles and 10 miles. I was happy. In week 5 I hoped for 16 miles, I did just over 13 miles. In week 6, it ended yesterday, my plan called for 20 miles, I readjusted to 16 miles based on my past performance, and success! But it took a lot of determination and digging deep. But let's come back to that in a minute.

Good happy article!
You can see my trend of falling short and that had me wondering if I could really run 26.2 miles come December 9th. Now that Runner's World article wasn't giving me two thumbs up either since I wasn't consistently running 40-50 miles week before the Maui Marathon AND I did give the race my all....I didn't have reserves left in my tank. This left me wondering.....can I do this, should I do this, am I crazy?

Well, first, yes, I am crazy but I kinda like it that way. And second, I ran 16 miles yesterday and overcame some of my mental hurdles of pre-long run jitters, running solo, lack of sleep due to tsunami warnings, changing running plans at the last minute, etc. But I ran the 16 miles and I am not going to say it was a walk in the park but I succeeded, although I did run/walk the final uphill to my house....but I did it! And my overall pace was 10'15", which means I was pretty much on target with my long run training pace of 10'00".

Recovery w/ Tommie Copper
Yesterday's run was a milestone in my training as I feel my mind has shifted from doubt to determination, to believing, to dreaming, and to continuing to push myself. And that Runner's World article, I am glad I read it because even though it made me question myself a bit it also reinforced how I am listening to my body and adjusting appropriately. And it also relieved a bit of my self-imposed pressure by saying one 20-mile training would be sufficient as it is more important to do regular speed work as my muscles will forget that before endurance. And how am I doing on speed? I am pushing it weekly and that is a huge improvement over past training plans where I always seemed to forget about tempo runs, push-it intervals, etc.

Daily Gratitude: I am for all the wonderful, supporting comments I received during our recent tsunami warning and yes, we are all okay. We were lucky (in my mind, blessed) once again.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong.


REVIEW: Foam Roller App - Rolling the Right Way

I gotta say, I love my foam roller but I also must confess, it gets a bit dusty at times. However, when I do use it I am never disappointed and often, it leads to my muscles feeling better quicker, or staying nice-feeling if I use it more preventatively.

I am not one to go into things blindly so when I was rolling to deal with a pesky piriformis muscle I did my research and posted these foam rolling tips. They helped but the peskiness of my left glute still lingers and it a constant reminder to stretch and roll. In fact, it was on my mind a lot that I needed to get back into the "roll" of things when I got the great opportunity to download and try the new Foam Roller App. How could I say no? Really, there is an app to help me roll better?!

Let me first say, the cost of this app is only $1.99 and can fit into my tight budget and is worth it to feel better and perform optimally. But I did get to download the app for free for this review....gotta be honest.

I love to hop into an app and start looking around so when I saw the words regression, main, and progression I was so confused. I really didn't understand. So I clicked on the image and watched and was saddened there was no sound to let me know what those terms meant. Then I approached this logically and read about the app. Needless to say, reading instructions and information is a great starting point every time. I quickly learned those confusing words weren't confusing at all. To prevent you from having to experience this learning curve....here you go!

  • Main: Imagine this as average pressure. Start here. If you are cringing or not really feeling it, make adjustments.
  • Regression: The lower intensity level, the place to go to if Main has you cringing too much or wanting to scream.
  • Progression: The higher intensity level, the place to go to if Main is a walk in the park.

Some of the muscle groups even have higher levels of pressure. Just keep in mind, foam roller may hurt so good but it really shouldn't cause major discomfort. Roll accordingly.

Once I got my terms figured out I started rolling and focused on the glute muscles and I was shocked to feel the difference in the impact of rolling as demonstrated versus how I was. I also liked that the demos were the length of suggested rolling so you could roll along with it. I no longer cared about sound as reading the prompts is enough to set you up for success. And really, what are they going to say? Roll, roll, roll? 

I started with the rolls suggested for the hip muscles and then ventured into the Piriformis roll. The first thing that stood out is with this technique I am turning the foam roller 45 degrees from how I normally placed it. Ooo.....that felt good and to the point. Then I tried the roll for the Hip External Rotators, which are very close to your Piriformis by the way, and oowie! And an aha! moment! So, it is this muscle that is peskier! What a great thing to learn and I know this is the case since on my left side I had to "regress" to the main level. I think since I have been foam rolling for so long, even if on and off, I am able to roll most muscles at the progressive level.

Question Time!

  • Is the Foam Roller App a good value? Absolutely! Like I said, even a running mom on my tight budget can pay $1.99 for the good tips and demos.
  • Is it something you would use again and again or just learn and set aside? I say, keep using it. Yes, you may get the general set-up down and think you can remember and roll but it never hurts to look back and make sure your form is correct. They have suggestions like curve your back or arch your back to get you in the proper position so the rolling hits the right muscle.
  • Is it convenient to use? Yes, it is easy to navigate through the app and find the muscle group that you want to target. And since I always have my phone on me, or near me, it is always handy!
  • What is an added cool feature? I love that it has diagrams of the muscle groups with the muscles labeled. I know, this may sound silly as they could list things like glutes, hamstrings, quads, etc. but it adding this feature makes the app more educational and helps the user identify which muscle groups to roll. 
  • Would I buy this if not given this opportunity? Absolutely! Especially if I had read a review first and knew a little bit about what it had to offer.

Do you have any questions for me?
Are you ready to download and roll away?

Please note: I was given the opportunity to try this app for free as a FitFluential Ambassador. I was not paid to write this review nor did I promise a positive review. These opinions are solely my own. I am not a certified trainer or a foam rolling expert. Please follow all cautions provided on the Foam Roller App in regards to bony protuberances and places to ease pressure. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for 8 hours of sleep last night.
Daily Affirmation: I have unlimited potential.


Wordle Wednesday

I interrupt the regularly scheduled "Wordless Wednesday" with a bit of Wordle fun to celebrate day 300 of my running streak, in which I ran 6.51 miles with some Yasso's fun! More on that coming later and the run was dedicated to #runforMiracle.

Daily Gratitude: Thank you God for the gift of running and for the clarity of mind to hear and understand my body.
Daily Affirmation: I can make my dreams come true.


Bootie Busting Motivation!

First of all, I have been seeing my training glass as half empty recently and it has been bugging me to the core since I really am a glass half full kinda girl. Thanks to this post, I am feeling a bit more optimistic and know I just need to keep "putting one foot in front of the other" and trust myself and have faith in my capabilities.

That said, this is me this morning after a opting to sleep a bit extra versus going to the gym before work.

Yep, still pretty tired looking
I know that decision means less mileage but I really didn't think running on a mere 6 hours of sleep will cut it. I need rest. It also dawned on me last night before bed that I need to eat more. I have been increasing my miles but not my food intake that much. I need to get back to focusing on adding a bit of protein into each meal again. And last night I treated myself to a post-dinner snack of cottage cheese topped with sliced turkey and a couple of crackers on the side. Delicious! Really it is but darling daughter isn't convinced. And this may be the ticket to increasing my energy levels!

So instead of seeing my glass half empty this morning I see it half full. I will get to run later at home. Yippee! And perhaps darling daughter and I can agree on something to watch that intrigues me as much as her. AND I got the opportunity to make darling daughter breakfast this morning!

She LOVES her "Grandma" cereal!
And don't worry, I ate my breakfast later on.

What? You don't eat oatmeal with a fork?
But I do need to get this bootie in gear and get up early and run. Perhaps an early bedtime is in order? I need to dig deep and find my inner strength to make it happen. And part of that involves finding a support system or challenges that help keep my motivation high. And this is one I love!

Introducing the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (or HBBC) hosted by Run to the Finish!

Yep, I did it. I registered again for this challenge that starts November 19 and I am more than stoked! I have been looking forward to this challenge since it ended last year. It did help me push myself a little further to exercise a bit longer, introduce activities I could do while my running mileage was low due to a broken toe, and to choose fruit or veggie over decadence. I really wanted my fruit/veggie point!

This year the challenge does have a registration fee but I still believe it is well worth it as Amanda kicks butt (or should I say bootie?) organizing this challenge, there are lots of cool prizes, an awesome support system, and she was shipping boxes out like a mad-woman last year!

So hop on over and register and please let her know, Life as a Running Mom sent you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to find inspiration and motivation through fellow bloggers.
Daily Affirmation: I am an efficient, energetic (kinda), healthy, fit person who can handle anything that arises today.


Long Run - Ace or Fail?

Honolulu 26.2 on bottom
Yesterday my goal was to run 16 miles in week 5 of my Honolulu Marathon training. I really felt I would be able to do it but also felt it would be challenging. Why the challenge? Because my long runs building up to this point had been off. But I was feeling optimistic after my back-to-back long runs the week before. They left me hurting but I grew stronger. And they proved I had a deep inner strength to pull on. Plus, I was doing day 1 of #runforMiracle and I wanted every mile on my plan this week to make a difference.

Dear hubby and darling daughter dropped me off in town and I started my run at 7:39 am. It was going to be a point-to-point sorta. The sorta part is I knew I was going to have to pass them up at our meeting point and double-back to get the distance in. My legs immediately felt a bit sluggish but this is not new to me. I tend to take a bit to fully warm up and get into the groove. Within 5 minutes or so I knew this was going to be tough. I was warm, there was no breeze, the skies were clear, the sun was shining, and it was a long stretch until my first shade trees will begin to appear....and that will be in a hotter part of the island. I focused on starting hydration early and often and knew where my first water fountains would be for refilling.

I am going to break this post into sections: pace, nutrition, the final steps, and analysis.

After running a couple of miles I still felt like I was working hard and checked in on my mileage as the Nike+ sensor doesn't tell me consistently like the Nike GPS does....and my phone will die before 16 miles if I ran with the GPS. Anyhow, it told me my pace was 10'09". I told myself not to worry about pace and it was okay to run slower. My target easy/long run pace is 10'00".

To keep my mind distracted from the increasing warmth I decided to do a timed miles to see how the sensor is tracking in comparison to reality. Those nice mile markers along the road really can be handy. After my test I felt bummed. At marker 4 I was at 3.77 miles and at marker 5 I was at 4.65 miles....or so my Nike+ app was saying. The only thought that crossed my mind is "I haven't run a full mile yet and my reported pace is 10'14"!". Okay, I can tell myself not to worry about pace but I can't guarantee I will listen. And I grumbled internally about why they can't mark miles correctly along the road when it dawned on me. Ummm.....yeah, those mile markers are probably right chickee, it is your app that is lying to you. Just don't ask why this realization took so long. I did a couple more tests along the way to get a clear picture of the standard error so I could calibrate my run at the end.

My plan was to refuel every 4 miles. I packed two GU gels (berry and peanut butter) and a vanilla Stinger waffle (never tried this before and wanted to).

It was easy to pack the GU's in the pocket of my water bottle. The Stinger waffle had me puzzled. What was the best way to carry this? I ended up folding it in half and stuffing it in the back pocket of my running skirt. At 4 miles the berry GU went down well. At 8 miles I fiddled to get the waffle out and was excited to give it a try. Thing is, it was hard to open the package, the waffle was crumbling, and it was just hard for me to manage as I ran through city streets, paying attention to cars, and watching traffic lights. It tasted wonderful though but chewing on a run was new to me. And I was dropping waffle crumbs here and there. I felt ridiculous and annoyed.

About a minute after disposing of my trash I felt refreshed but I really think it was because I didn't have to mess with that process anymore, not because the waffle was energizing me. And then in another minute or so I began feeling some stomach cramps. Nothing too serious but still no fun. Fortunately they went away. I don't think I will be trying anymore waffles. But perhaps some pretzel sticks in addition to my standard GU (but vanilla please).

The final steps:
Finding some shade did bring a hint of relief but not a ton. I was still incredibly warm and hydrating like crazy. I ended up refilling at a water fountain at the park I would be meeting up with my family at. This was just before 10 miles and I was so tempted to stop. I felt beat. I hoped I wouldn't see my family as I may have been too tempted to stay with darling daughter if she asked me not to go on. As I ran off unseen I was also saddened to not get a pick-me-up from some cheers. That is when a car drove by with cheering out the windows and people banging on the roof. Yep, that was for me! even if it wasn't. My next point was to make it to the end of the sidewalk and make my next call then. As the barricade approached I knew it was best to turn around and head back. I was feeling sick and weak. It was nearing time for more fuel and the idea of a GU made me feel sicker. I drank water knowing I needed to but wasn't liking it. I ran back to the park and said, the end. That was at 13.27 miles.

Okay, here is what I hoped to do and what I am doing.

I have had long runs that made me feel happy. I have had long runs that made me feel sad, like yesterday's. Dear hubby keeps telling me not to be hard on myself. That it was hot, even at the park. That I did well and was smart to stop. And I know that to be true but it still leaves me wondering if I have it in me to run 26.2 on 12/9? Will I get myself properly trained?

In all reality, I am not hitting the mark each week with the long runs and that has me discouraged. But I am building up each week and that leaves me hopeful. Once again, this is my first time to go into training for a marathon right after coming out of one. It is new to me. This plan was just an idea of what I may be able to do.

Motivational Monday
The next three weeks are important. That 20 miles slated for next week could really be the following week. I could aim for 17 miles next week and that would match my progressive increase in miles without jumping forward too far and risking injury. And that 10.74 mile race....well, it may not happen due to budget constraints so I could fit in a longer run that weekend to build my confidence, right? The 20 miles in week 9 I gotta do, one way or another. Perhaps that is a good day to arrange a babysitter and make dear hubby run with me. Then it is taper time and come 12/9, I will run. I will try not to focus on time. Just run and do my best....and have fun!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for dear hubby and darling daughter helping me measure the park yesterday after my run so I can map out the craft fair for work. Granted, this may not have been the best idea to work more in the sun when I was so hot already.
Daily Affirmation: I attract positive people into my life.


Getting my taper right

I questioned my taper prior to the Maui Marathon as I find tapering a very hard thing to do. I even put out a call for suggestions/advice and pretty much got the response - when you bonk you will know you didn't taper enough. I got it. There isn't a one size fits all approach and yes, sometimes it is easier to determine what we did wrong that what we did right when it comes to running. Think of it this way, if you eat something and go running and got sick you will most likely say I will never eat X again before running. But if you eat and go running and run well, how often do we say, hey, I am always going to eat Y before running? If you are like me, not often. It is natural to learn from one's mistakes. So let's not fret on that too much.

But back to taper.

I still question if I got my Maui Marathon taper right and ironically post-marathon news and stories of taper started appearing everywhere! Even my Runner's World magazine had a story I "joyfully" read post-marathon. Actually, it took me a bit to delve into the brief article but I finally did with the thought process of how I can improve things come marathon #3. Let's work on the taper!

Why? Because if I apply what the article suggests to my past tapering, I wasn't dead on. I was off. So why not apply the strategies to marathon #3 and see what happens? Sounds fun, right?!

So in a nutshell, this is what I plan to do. But first, take a look at my miles leading up to the Maui Marathon. The marathon was the last day of the 33-mile week. And please note, these training weeks end on Sundays, which is race day, so I am considering the week of the 1 week out week....if that makes any sense.

Three weeks out: I will cut back my weekly mileage by 80-90%. I will see what my mileage is at that time and adjust from there. I will not set a mileage goal today. I will not cut intensity and ease up. Oopsie - I think I kinda did that in the Maui Marathon taper. Hmmm… Instead, I am going to run less but still stay at my easy and training paces. I will still do intervals and work on speed, but not as many. Okay, kinda sounds like how I handle recovery weeks. That makes sense!

3 weeks out
Two weeks out: I will cut back my weekly mileage by 60-70%. The one thing that is unclear from the article is do I do this based on mileage before three weeks out or the previous week? Fortunately I have a little time to figure that one out. Score 1 for planning early! I will still maintain intensity and not ease up in paces, only miles and time of my feet. Definitely know I was easing up quite a bit before the Maui Marathon at this point.

2 weeks out
One week out: Freak out! Just kidding…or not. As I will be freaking out but I will run 50% of my weekly mileage this week. Again, I need to ascertain if this is pre-three weeks out or based on previous week. Perhaps I will just do the math come taper time and then decide. Okay, guess I am not 100% into planning ahead! Now here is where things get fun! According to Runner's World, with a Sunday race I should take a Wednesday rest day. Okay, run a mile day for me. Thursday should be an interval run with 2 x 1-mile at goal pace with 2 minute rest and 4 x 400m at 10K pace with 90 second rest. Friday should be an easy 4 mile run. Saturday should be an easy 4 mile run with 4 x 30 second strides. Wowzers! That is nothing like my final week for the Maui Marathon!

1 week out
The idea is that in that final week I am recharging my legs and getting rid of that heavy, sluggish leg feeling. They even suggest if in your final runs you feel heavy-legged that you perhaps add a little extra and pick up the pace a wee-bit. Go figure!

Of course, all of this has me quite nervous but on some levels, it makes sense. Perhaps my instinct is to over-taper and I can't say I need to change things up with setting a new PR just last month but what if I did change things up and got even better race day performance? What if I followed this plan and shaved off more time? What would you do?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for crock pots.
Daily Affirmation: I am unique, loved, and free!


Run for Miracle - Please join me

I have a tendency to check into Daily Mile and twitter at night when I am cuddling darling daughter to bed. Yes, she is getting old enough and should put herself to sleep but I like our cuddle time and it gives me time to catch up on running chat....oh yeah, and a few games of Words with Friends. 

Last night I came across this tweet.....

How could I not check out the link and read more? And the story still brings tears to my eyes not only because of Miracle but because of the strength of her mom, Amanda. Really, she is impressively strong! And no one can tell her story better than Amanda....so hop on over and read it here. After reading this story how could I not run my miles for Miracle? I run every day....that should mean something and I signed up.....as soon as I got to a computer.

I didn't go into this week thinking I was going to take it easier and focus on recovery. It just happened. And so many times in life I think things happen for a reason. Although sometimes I can never figure out what the good reason is. But my first thought was, well, I am going to be well rested and will be able to run my heart out for Miracle next week. It will be my motivation to drag myself out of bed as early as I need to so I can run each mile as planned because I really do not want to cheat Miracle and her family out of anything.

This isn't the post I planned today but this is the post I felt I needed to write today. I want to help spread the word. I really try not to ask people for too much but if you are running, and we all know we are, why not dedicate those miles to Miracle and support this wonderful family?

And for a final heads up....next week you will be seeing a lot of #runforMiracle in my tweets and Daily Mile posts!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my healthy daughter. Each moment with her is indeed a blessing from God.
Daily Affirmation: I am grateful for all that I experience in my life time as my experiences help me become a better me.

Thank you Amanda for tweeting awareness to your cause and it is indeed a honor to be able to #runforMiracle.


Running and Resting

If you follow me on Daily Mile you may already know that my week started out with some "rest day" runs and I thought I was on the verge of a recovery week. I gotta say, I am still on that recovery week course.

There is a delicate balance between running and resting. You need both to get stronger and better at running. And either one can be hard from time to time. I love to run and love to run every day....seriously. And as much as I think it is cool to kick back and put my feet up, I kinda suck at that part. There is just way too much to do with being a full-time employee, mom, wife, and runner. And when I do finally sit/lay down it seems my mind is way too busy to actually feel like I am resting.

And then there is that darn guilt. Guilt over things I should have done, should be doing, etc. And right now the nagging guilt is that I am detouring from my training plan a lot this week. I have done this every time in the past but I wanted this cycle to be different. But it won't. It can't. I am tired.

Being tired in itself isn't a reason for me to ease up on running. In fact, often times a run is just what I need to perk up and get my energy levels back up. And the tired associated with my chronic and annoying cold sore/rash outbreaks is not a reason to cut back running at all. I can run through that. But there are other factors at play right now. Work is intensely stressful and all those worries have culminated in having to take on some furlough days again this year. Hopefully just two a month until the end of the year but that hurts an already tight budget. Stress makes me tired. It impacts my sleep too much to not. But running can alleviate stress and ease that, right? But I am still tired to the core and perhaps it is training related.

Check out my miles post-marathon.

No huge high mileage weeks but still, a pretty steep building back up in weekly miles. 11 miles in the week after (recovery week), 19 miles, 26 miles, 36 miles, and 10 miles so far this week. As much as I want to keep building perhaps this exhaustion is my body saying, hey, give me a week to catch back up. And that is why I am accepting a recovery week this week. I think I need it.

But recovery week doesn't mean slack off week to me. I kicked butt and pulled off my tempo run yesterday morning before work. Yep, I did an easy mile, 4.61 miles at tempo pace, and an easy cool down and it was still dark when I drove to work afterwards. I am proud of that mainly because I was tempted to not do it....to postpone the speed/tempo day but mentally I really didn't want to. Wednesdays are my "push it" day and I intended to push it! Success! And I felt good afterwards.....awesome good.....but still very tired at the end of the day.

So as much as I wanted to get up at 4:00 am this morning, I couldn't. Darling daughter wrapped her arm around me and snuggled in tighter and I silenced the alarm. I laid in bed and relaxed. I may have zoned in and out of slumber but I didn't really sleep more. I relaxed and enjoyed the moment. It was bliss. And yes, dear hubby offered a little massage but I just wanted to lay undisturbed. I think me saying no upset him but I can't worry about that. I am tired of worrying about what I say and hurting people's feelings over trivial things. Yes, I believe in being polite and courteous but no, I don't need to accept a massage if I don't want one. There is no harm in saying no at times. I have so little energy right now and I can't waste it on worrying about small stuff. I really shouldn't worry about the bigger stuff either. It will all be okay. And the run I "skipped" this am, it will happen later at home....no worries. Darling daughter and I already have our plan!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my sister's growth was benign.
Daily Affirmation: I am creating healing energy in my life.


Inspirational Running Quotes

Aloha All!

It is that time again! The time when I randomly decide to toss some quotes your way....mainly because I got an urge to look up some running quotes myself!

Here's what I am loving today:

"Man imposes his own limitations, don't set any." - Anthony Bailey

"The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things people say we cannot do." - Walter Bagehot

"The five S's of sports training are: Stamina, Speed, Strength, Skill and Spiritbut the greatest of these is Spirit."Ken Doherty

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." - Emil Zatopek

"When people ask me why I run, I tell them, there's not really a reason, it's just the adrenaline when you start, and the feeling when you cross that finish line, and know that you are a winner no matter what place you got." - Courtney Parsons

What is your favorite quote or saying? Feel free to leave it in the comments below!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for cinnamon and spice oatmeal. 
Daily Affirmation: In this present moment, I am happy and satisfied.


Long Run Love!

It doesn't happen every time but sometimes I just LOVE my long runs! And if you are a new runner, don't fret. It is also completely natural to really, really dislike the long run. You never really know what is going to happen.

After my speed work on Wednesday I detoured from my training schedule and just ran 1.31 of the 3 miles I hoped for. I just wasn't into it from the start and decided I needed a rest day. I followed it up with 2.0 miles on Friday. Not because the plan called for it but because it is what I did....and I loved it from step 3 to the end and was woo-hoo'ing while I ran. Please note, I was running at home on my incline treadmill and the only one giving me odd looks was my darling daughter.

Come Saturday I was determined to run 9.0 miles at the gym and coaxed darling daughter out of the house. She eagerly went into the Kids' Club and I hit the treadmill and I honestly feel the run was AWESOME from from beginning to end. I was having so much fun and was grinning from ear to ear but trying not to draw too much attention to my happy self as others were working out/running at the gym. I also had to resist the huge urge to dance while running mainly because I didn't want to seriously injure myself. I felt I could have kept on running but called it quits as I had another long run on my plate the next day with dear hubby.

And here comes Sunday. I woke up feeling miserable and extremely sick to my stomach. Dear hubby and I had a second honeymoon night and I think I partied a bit too hard. Gotta love friends who watch darling daughter while dear hubby and I bond. I managed to drag myself out of bed, drank some Gatorade, drank some coffee, decided I still felt crappy, ate a bit of Pop Tart while getting into running clothes, and headed out the door with dear hubby to run the 10 miles I had planned on running. I told myself to just start. I could turn around at any point. I could walk back if I needed to but start.

Shortly into the run I wasn't feeling too bad and I was seriously focused on hydration. I was taking a sip of Gatorade at the start of every song for the first three or four songs. Then I focused on hydrating every mile. I had my Nike+ GPS going so I was getting feedback every mile anyhow so it made sense. At about 4.5 miles I took a vanilla GU (as the peanut butter one in my pack made my stomach cringe and I knew dear hubby would be fine without a GU).

Ironically the run turned out better than I imagined. I felt pretty running muscle-wise good from start to end, as good as you can when running hills. It got warm at times but for that I am glad. And I focused on trying to stick to my 10'00" easy/long run training pace and I completed the 10 miles...although my stomach was still finicky a good portion of the day. Woo-Hoo!

10-mile pace & elevation profile
Making room for me daily
Today I wrapped up all that training with a nice and easy 2.0 mile run before work. I feel a bit achy but not too bad. I can't wait to see what is in store for me the rest of the week!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for time with my husband.
Daily Affirmation: I make room for myself in my busy schedule.


5 Running Blogs That Inspire Me

:) face parachute
I read and follow a lot of blogs and each one touches a special cord in me in one way or another. And I thought it was a good day to show some appreciation by highlighting a few...perhaps a twist on #FF. Note, I am not calling them my favorites since there are so many other awesome blogs I follow that I am not highlighting today. But for right now, here are 5 blogs I am really loving and how they are touching me....along with a couple of random pictures.

My running streak mentor
Introducing Shelly from It's Just One Foot in Front of the Other! I think she knows it but just in case you don't, this woman is amazing and has been a great inspiration and support system for me. Her tales of running daily and being a mom, with a little one about the age of my darling daughter, showed me it could be done. That gave me the courage to give it a try. What is it? Running every day! And I am doing it and loving it. And when I had a weak moment and contemplating stopping, Shelly was one of my many supporters who encouraged me to go on and she provided some awesome advice. Just start. You can always stop. Thanks Shelly! And P.S., she has some really cool nature shots on her blog from time to time. 

My connection to my spiritual side of running
The more active I have become in social media and reading blogs, the more I realize that many runners do have a deep spiritual connection. This means a lot to me since I often say "I found God" on one of my long runs. Since then, my spirituality has deepened and running is a great way for me to recharge my body to live life to the fullest. Meet Erin from See Mom Run Far. This lady is amazing and completely inspiring not only because of her running or having a dozen children but because she speaks from the heart and brings her spirituality into her posts from time to time. I truly do love following her journeys.

scenic swim lesson view
My reminder to laugh and to not take life too seriously all the time
Adam from The Boring Runner cracks me up! I am a very focused, driven, serious person that tends to worry too much. Remember my last confession? So reading blog posts from this fellow are much appreciated and in all that craziness there are really good lessons about life and running. Seriously, you can learn a lot from this Dad!

My reminder that we all have battles but running makes us good people
Erik at Running Moose has his good days and bad days just like any other runner. He has changed his life around through being active and even though he has battled injuries, he continues to run strong in life and I am sure he is setting a great example for his kids! He is also very active in raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis. Keep up the great work!

My only way to fulfill my inner hidden dream to be an artist
You gotta check out Tri-ing to be Athletic if you haven't already. Not only does this blog contain the cutest artwork ever, honestly her drawings rock the boat, but it is hilarious! You gotta love a blog that makes you smile from start to finish. And I am seriously considering touching base with her for some artwork! Her little peeps are that cute!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for each person who takes the time to sit down and write out a blog post to share. You are giving something special to the world.
Daily Affirmation: All my heart's desires come to me in the perfect time.


Confessions of a Worrier

I would say my fatal flaw is that I have a proclivity to worry and honestly, it does me or no one else any good. This is my Achille's hill of life that I need to find a way to push through and get to the other side to the less-stressed, less-worrisome life. But is it possible?

We were each created with our own personalities, traits, and capabilities. We were each created to be able to do and be exactly who we are supposed to be. And even though there is some worrying in my mix, I truly do believe I can push through it and worry less. I always had this tendency in life but after having my daughter, ummm.....4.5 years ago, worrying seemed to be more frequent. And honestly, it is ridiculous! It frustrates the bejiggins out out of me. Worrying NEVER fixes anything and only wastes precious time and energy that can be spent elsewhere.....such as playing, enjoying life, running!

I think I have finally seen the light, with the help of a very appreciated comment from my masseuse on Sunday. She knew I had emotional baggage to work through and was thoughtful enough to comment during the massage that all my needs in life are being met. She is right. They are. I am blessed in so many ways each and every day. Why let worry take away the joy in seeing the beauty in life? It is time to say NO to worries and YES to enjoyment! I mean, if I can dig deep and bust out awesome training runs and races, why can't I put an end to worry (or at least a major decrease)?

Now on to running because that is the "sole" purpose of this blog!

I am working hard to stick to my training plan as tight as possible this go around. Yes, there have already been detours but with me, that will always happen. And as I stood in front of the freezer last night reflecting on my progress so far and where I am going I realized something. Darnit! This training plan I plotted out for myself is kick butt tough! It is a progression of pushing and building I have never charted out for myself before. I do know I built it off of the Smart Coach app, like I did for the Maui Marathon, and adjusted it for my life but it didn't fully sink in until last night that it is some intense training. Note to self: perhaps establishing a training plan post-marathon is not the clearest moments of time to do so. 

I am not worried about the plan, I just realized it was tough. And sometimes just realizing that you are doing major work makes the work more bearable, the aches more understandable, the fatigue more natural. 

I have been doing a great job this week sticking to my plan and getting the miles in.....if you forget Sunday. Sunday was to be my long run day and with my two runs that day, I ended up with 6.5 miles. Not where I wanted to be but still the most miles on a single day since the Maui Marathon. Shouldn't I take pride in that? And in hindsight, I now know other factors were working against my performance abilities that day and from those, I have recovered.

Monday was to be 3 miles and I did them. I didn't manage to pull myself out of bed at 4:00 am so I ran them at home at an incline.

Tuesday was to be 3 miles and I did 3.25 miles. Once again, I didn't manage to pull myself out of bed at 4:00 am so I ran at home at an incline and started trying to up my home pace a wee bit. I succeeded.

Wednesday I had 7 miles on the schedule. I didn't quite get out of bed at 4:00 am but I did manage to run before work. Huge success there! But running time was limited to get me to the office by 6:00 am. I ran mile repeats. I pushed myself hard. I ended up with 5.03 miles and it was indeed hard work. I was happy and knew I could do the final 2 miles at home....and I did. Success!

And last night I was tired. Achy tired. And that is what left me standing in front of my freezer pondering my training. I had minimal runs scheduled for the weekend since originally I was to be in workshops pretty much from Friday night to Sunday night. That changed. So my training can change. I thought the 7 miles slated for today could be swapped for one of my later runs. But I decided to make the call in the morning. I try not to make major training decisions in moments of doubt.

Today my alarm went off at 3:45 am after a mere 6 hours sleep. I was tired. And I went back to sleep for another hour. And I am glad. I need to sleep and rest and thanks to all of you who continue to support that choice of mine. I know I can run today at home after work. I know I can do 3 miles today and the 7 miles later. I know I will continue to kick butt in training this week as long as I am smart and listen to my body. This week was altered to front load miles but I don't need to do that anymore. I can run smart and I will!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the comments that told me it is good to rest.
Daily Affirmation: I am happy and grateful for everything I have and receive daily.


September 2012 Training Report

This past September was a crazy training month as it included my taper for the Maui Marathon (marathon #2 for me, read about it HERE), recovery, and initiating training for the Honolulu Marathon (which I will be running in December). It has also been an emotional roller coaster for me and thank you so much for your support as I got my head out of the grey clouds and back into the sunshine of running!

So how did I do in terms of miles? Well, let's look.

Check out September 2011

And here is September 2012

I know in an earlier post I wrote about my uncertainties with lower mileage in September just in terms of where I feel I should be number wise two months out from another marathon but in all reality, I am happy with what I did last month. I ran 21.3 more miles this year, had over 3 more hours on my feet, and ran everyday this September versus just 17 last September. September 30th marked day 276 of my running streak. For all of that I should be proud and pat myself on the back versus feeling bad I had less than 100 miles....blah, blah, blah.

But how did I do in regards to my September goals? Let's look!
  • Run awesome at the Maui Marathon! - Success! I set a new PR for myself and learned I can push hard.
  • Continue to #plankaday. - Hmmmm.....I have been slacking a bit here but am working hard on making it daily again.
  • Begin training for the Honolulu Marathon by establishing and posting my training calendar. DONE! You can view the training calendar HERE.

My October Goals:
  • To squash that voice of negativity and doubt in my mind and increase my belief in myself. 
  • To run daily according to my training plan.
  • To #plankaday.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for hearing from my big sis yesterday!
Daily Affirmation: I am dynamic, full of energy, and passionate about what I do.


A New Age Division

I would love to think my recent absence from posting was due to me hanging out on the beach enjoying the sound of the surf and life; however, not quite. It has been a crazy 9 days and I can't believe Fall Break Vacation is over and it is back to school for darling daughter and back to work for me. Boo hoo....

Fortunately, I do like my job and love my co-workers so that helps a bit but I still had the hardest time getting to sleep last  night so I will be functioning today on a mere two hours of sleep. And running my scheduled 3 miles after picking up darling daughter.

For those of you who follow me via other sources, you know darling daughter caught the bug dear hubby had. Thank goodness they are both feeling better and are almost 100%. Those nagging coughs just like to linger around a bit. I spent a lot of time over the weekend cuddling darling daughter just to make being sick more bearable for her and my running was cut short. I have no regrets.

And I am sure you are wondering what all this has to do with age divisions....not much yet but yesterday was my birthday and just like that, I am in a new division. I am 40. I don't feel any different but some may say my grouchies yesterday were a sign that I did.

My plan yesterday was to run 12 miles since I opted to cuddle darling daughter on my long run day...Saturday. I woke up grouchy, achy, and plain irritable. I was even wondering if I was fighting a bit of whatever it was my family had. I think it was a yucky cold but one never really knows. However, I still pulled on my running clothes and as much as part of me wanted to hit the streets, I headed to the gym ready to go. At the mile 4 mark I was holding a GU in my hand and thinking, okay, take some gel, run another 4 miles, and regroup. My mind wasn't fully in my run but it wasn't the worst run of my life either. I have felt worse and pushed through it. I knew the joy I would feel at 12 miles but I just put the gel down and said nope. Not today. I even texted my sister and she gave me those great words of encouragement, you can do it, but all I could say was not today. I clarified that I would dig deep and kick butt next week but not today.

I still can't pinpoint exactly what was off but as I headed out of the gym with my shades on and tears welling in my eyes I just felt bummed. I started my drive home and without even realizing it was going to happen I yelled out "I want my Dad back" and I do. But it won't happen. And I know that. And I knew that then. I also had a deep rooted feeling that I didn't want to run, I just wanted my dad. But alas, it doesn't matter if I run or don't run, I can't change the fact that he lost his life to leukemia. But I can change the fact that I am still angry about it....and it has been awhile.

I would love to say I got home and I was happy go-lucky again but it took time, and some ibuprofen for girlie cramps, but eventually I found my smile. And I did kick out 2.5 miles later in the day....along with two 1-minute planks. And fortunately it was before the massage and surprise party dear hubby arranged. I had a great massage and we focused on emotional baggage. Trust me, it helps. And it was great being with friends and all that awesomeness made returning to work a wee bit harder today.

Why am I telling you all this? Not to make you sad or feel bad for me. We all suffer loss in our lives one way or another but my masseuse was right. I do have all that I need. I am taken care of. I just need to believe it and not hold all that negativity in my muscles. My body will be happier. I will be happier. My family will be happier.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the words, I got you, let go.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong enough to let love into my heart when I am feeling sad or angry.