Strength Training Week 1

Loving the red path!
Good Morning and Happy Monday!

I don't know about you but I had a fantastic weekend and what I enjoyed the most, besides being with my family, was doing some work in the garden. Even though we rent, I love being able to work in the soil and make improvements. And I love that our landlord allows us this freedom. It makes me feel happy and I feel it allows me to teach darling daughter just what it means to take care of the Earth.

But onto running!

What did I run?

I ran 43.93 miles this week, just up a hair from last week. In all reality, my goal was 40 miles. The plan goal was 38-47 miles. Why was I aiming for 40? Because I have been building for three weeks and know historically this is about where my body gives in and craves a recovery week and a cut in mileage. With that said, I was also determined to hit my training daily and run according to plan and I did. However, this week it took some double days and breaking mileage into pieces to achieve my goal and I am okay with that since I do plan to do that on many days throughout my training this year. Here is my visual of my running this week:

How am I feeling?

I am feeling good. I know it may be a bummer to keep hearing I am feeling good if you are in a rut but I promise to be honest and I will tell you when I am feeling blech. I did wake up grouchy on Saturday and had to give myself a virtual kick in the butt with this Finding Motivation post and it worked. In all reality, I think I was just bummed to have to break up my long run. I wasn't overly excited to run long in the gym. But I did what I had to do and that is what matters in the long run. Nice pun there too!

But I did have hurdles this week and that was associated to transitioning from base training to strength training. I now have tempo runs on my plate and that worried me. Could I do it? Could I pick up my pace and grow my tempo run? Can I run a tempo run 7 seconds faster per mile than my tempo runs before? And on Wednesday, I successfully ran my 3 mile tempo run. Let's not think about this coming Wednesday yet....

What did I learn?

I am stronger than I give myself credit for. And I am liking how I feel sticking to my plan. I love that I built this plan on solid training principles and with my personal goals and needs in mind. Each week supports the benefit of having a training range per day for myself. I am building that same element into the training plan for my clients. It gives you flexibility per day and I feel as a running mom this is essential. And keeping my miles in the plan range is keeping me strong and injury free. Although, I do feel my hips are getting ready for another chiropractic session but that is okay since it is almost at that 4-week mark.

How did I fuel?

I am almost 100% Vega Sport now. My protein powder isn't and that is okay. I have a huge tub I bought on sale that is yummy delicious and made from ingredients I have no real issues with. I said good bye to Gatorade this week and tried the Vega Sport hydrator. One pack does 8 ounces of water but I still used one pack in my 12 ounce sports bottle. I am not doing the 1/2 pack thing and think it is okay. It is a yummy flavor and a pretty pink color. Gotta love that! This week I used one Vega Sport Endurance Gel during the 10 mile portion of my long run on Saturday. It was the raspberry flavor and it was much nicer. Perhaps I knew what to expect with texture. Perhaps I just prefer raspberry over orange zest. Time will tell since I still have one more of each to try before selecting my official go to.

I have said good bye as well to a morning coffee before running before work. Instead, I am drinking the Vega Sport pre-workout energizer and no, this isn't a Vega Sport sponsored post. I purchased all these items myself as I have always been wanting to try the product line. I want to eat clean and run clean. I will keep you in the loop on how it is all working out for me. It is too early to really say.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for hardware stores and garden centers. Just walking inside can make me happy!
Daily Affirmation: I am growing spiritually.


Finding Motivation

I am determined. On many days, I am motivated. But this morning I am feeling blah and not 100%
into my long run. Perhaps because I know the time it will take me to run my 12-14 miles is longer than the time I have at the Kids' Club, which means I will need to break up the run. Part of me says wait until tomorrow and perhaps dear  hubby will be off to watch darling daughter but I wonder if that is being smart or taking advantage of my unmotivated mind this morning and allowing myself to procrastinate. And if by chance he is not off, there is no Kids' Club, and that would suck.

So with all that in mind, how about some motivational quotes to kick off our weekend of long runs?!

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." - Steve Prefontaine

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." - Fred Lebow

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'" - Peter Maher

"Remember the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." - Sarah Condor

"Every day is a good day when you run." - Kevin Nelson

"Everyone who has run knows that its most important value is in removing tension and allowing a release from whatever other cares the day may bring." - Jimmy Carter

Let's Run!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to write a post that lifts my own spirits.
Daily Affirmation: I am going to have an amazing long run today!


Push It Wednesday

Beep. Beep. Beep. 

My alarm went off at 4:00 am this morning and as my hand reached over to grab my alarm clock I couldn't believe it was time to get up already. I silenced my alarm, closed my eyes, and started counting. I told myself that I had to get out of bed by the time I got to 50. I opened my eyes, looked out the window, and saw the huge moon low in the sky shining brightly. I tried to find comfort in the fact that at least it wouldn't be too dark out. I climbed out of bed, grabbed my gym bag, and silently left the room. Once in the living room, I tidied the pillows and folded and put away the blanket that didn't seem to find their homes last night after I went to bed. All the while, I am asking myself why do I do this each morning? Why am I compelled to take a few precious moments to tidy up? I know the answer, I really do hope to come home to a tidy home at the end of the day. Messy clutter can make me grouchy.

I got into my running clothes, loaded up my lunch bag, and grabbed my pre-workout drink and muffin and headed out. The key to success is having everything essentially ready to be assembled first thing in the morning. It makes getting out the door quicker. And I eat my small pre-run meal on the drive to the gym. It works.

But going through my routine and knowing that I do want to run didn't make the idea of running this morning any easier. I am in the first week of a new training cycle phase. I had a tempo run on the plan. It has been awhile since I did a tempo run and this one was at a faster pace than my previous tempo runs. Okay, only by 7 seconds per mile but those 7 seconds were worrying me....especially when you add in the fact that it has been awhile. I knew what I needed to do. My mind wasn't playing with me.

Once on the treadmill I remembered an article I just read in Runner's World. Go figure, I would receive the Boston decision the Tuesday after the Boston Marathon. For some reason, those articles just didn't read the way I think they intended them to read. But I digress....the article I am talking about is the one focused on our own negative talk. I am guilty. I tell myself I am strong. I think I am weak. I want to break a 4:00 marathon. I doubt I can do it. I train hard and stick to my plans as best as I can. I feel like a failure when I slip. Do you see the negativity?

I feel tired. I say it is okay to go easy. I am having a bad day. I say, okay, run less. Sometimes these are indeed smart decisions. Sometimes they aren't. And today as I felt weak, tired, and not into a 7-8 mile run with 3 miles at tempo pace (7 seconds per mile faster!). I doubted I could do it all before work. Negativity.

Finding my happy zone
So I focused on the article and finding my happy zone. What is my happy zone? What about my mantra? I started with my power word for 2013... strength. All good and wonderful and it is my power word but in the back of my mind I heard weak every time I said strength. Nope. Not working. I envisioned my happy place. What is my happy place? A field of yellow flowers. It seems so wonderful. I love fields of yellow flowers. I dream of fields of yellow flowers. I envisioned a field of yellow flowers. I ran through it....and it sucked. I was smooshing the flowers. The ground was uneven. Not happy...not happy at all. So I put a trail through the field. Yes, that helped! I can run on this pathway with yellow flowers on either side. Dad. Yes, I just said Dad. He came into my mind as he does during many of my runs. Dad. Determined. I felt determined. I felt committed. I felt strong, loved, and supported.

Aha! I found my happy zone! Dad. Flowers. Strength. Dad. Flowers. Strength. Dad. Flowers. Strength. I carried those words and the image below through my tempo run. I ran towards my Dad, passed him, he circled back, and I kept running to him. And yes, I did envision this picture I have of my Dad shoveling snow and yes, I did chuckle at times of the irony of shoveling snow in the middle of a field of yellow flowers. Wouldn't you?

My happy place - how I saw it in my run
Dad. Flowers. Strength. I returned to it if I felt worried or uncertain. Dad. Flowers. Strength. Wow! 1.2 miles done. Dad. Flowers. Strength. Wow! Only 9 minutes or so left! Just over a mile! Dad. Flowers. Strength.

This carried me to mile 4. The end of my one mile warm-up and 3 miles at tempo pace. Now the 3 miles to wrap up the run. All of a sudden I questioned doing a mile warm up and 3 miles at the end. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, that I wanted to get into the tempo run ASAP to get over worrying about it. Worrying is the worst part. Doing it always seems easier. I can run 3 miles at an easy pace. And I did. My mind began to wonder some, my eyes started to drift around the gym, I did come back to my happy zone here and there but running easy was....well....easy.

7.07 miles done. 65 minutes of running before work done. Happy zone found. It is going to be a good day! And yes, I did push it this morning.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my Dad.
Daily Affirmation: I keep my mind open to learn new things.


Saucony Kinvara4: Product Review

If you have been following my blog then you already know that I have fallen in love with Saucony running shoes. I was blessed with the opportunity to review the Kinvara4 through a FitFluential Ambassador opportunity.

But before I start talking too much about the Kinvara4 let me provide you some background information. Years ago I was wearing running shoes more minimal in design. You know, the lightweight, flexible, very little lift shoes. The brand doesn't matter right now. Things changed drastically when I woke up with my left leg/hip in pain. Long story short, I had injured my piriformis muscle somehow, I become paranoid about further injury, I moved into more traditional/more supportive running shoes, and I stuck to it.

This puts me in the scenario of which came first - the chicken or the egg? Did the running shoe lead to the injury? I guess I could go in for a professional analysis but I truly feel I can listen to my body and what it is telling me. And I felt confident running my longer runs, especially marathons, in a more supportive shoe, such as the Saucony Cohesion.

Fast forward quite a bit, but not yet to today, and I had the opportunity to run in Saucony Virrata. LOVED them! But definitely felt with zero drop I would stick to them for shorter runs. I didn't envision myself running 10+ miles in them.

And that brings us to Saucony Kinvara4. I gotta say, I loved how much they had in common with the Virrata in terms of material and flexibility but these have a 4mm drop, not zero. Less of a drop than the Saucony Cohesion, more flexible, lighter, and definitely brighter! I immediately laced up for my first run and loved the way they felt on my feet. I also love that the shoelaces were shorter. I noticed it right off. Not too short but there is indeed less lace hanging around. Seems smart. Why have lace just bouncing around?

Typically my first runs in a new shoe are for 1-2 miles, 3 miles at tops. I broke all my own rules in my first run in the Kinvara4 with a 5.1 mile run. The shoe just felt perfect for me, an extension of me, and I knew then and there, I could run long in this shoe if I wanted to. And I have. I have logged two runs greater than 10 miles plus multiple other runs with the last one being 10.5 miles this past Saturday. Ironically, I ran 6 miles the next day in a more supportive shoe and although my pace was awesome, my body felt a little awkward at first. Perhaps the 4mm drop will prove to be better for me in the long run (pun intended).

For those who are interested, the Kinvara4 is $100 and you can see it HERE.

And in case you are wondering....

Will I be running all my runs in my new Kinvara4? The answer is still no but not because I don't love them but because I rotate through my running shoes. Right now I am rotating through Saucony Virrata (review HERE), Saucony Cohesion (almost ready to retire), Saucony Hurricane (replaced my Saucony Shadow Genesis and not sure I am loving the 12 mm drop...perhaps not my wisest purchase but seemed comparable to the Cohesion at first step), and Saucony Kinvara4.

Will I be purchasing another pair of Kinvara4 one day? ABSOLUTELY! Especially if this happiness keeps holding up!

Please note: I received these shoes free of charge to review through being a FitFluential Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post. I did not promise a favorable review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my sister finding the time to listen to me when I just need a shoulder to lean on.
Daily Affirmation: I find order in chaos.


Base Training: 3rd and Final Week

Before I get to the post, I have to say thank you very much for all the kind comments on my Making Ripples post. I got chills reading your stories and feeling your support. Thank you for the depths of my heart.

Now onto running!!!!

I am beginning to value writing these weekly posts as much as running and logging my runs. Why? Because it gives me the time to reflect back on the week and by having the structured questions I answer, I think it keeps me focused and I hope through the process it will make me a stronger runner and perhaps identify issues/concerns before they become problems.

What did I run?

Since this represents the third and final week in my base training cycle let's take a visual look at all three weeks.

As you can see, the goal of building up miles over the past three weeks was achieved. I know each week had a range of acceptable plan miles but in the back of my mind, I wanted to move from the low end to the upper end of the range. Therefore, in week 1 I kept my long run shorter and focused on not doing everything at the maximum. This gave me the room to build miles smartly.

Sunday's Outside Run
This week was probably my toughest to keep myself in check since it was a very emotional week and running helps me move through them. It would have been way too easy to run way too much but I did keep myself in check. Even to the point of telling dear hubby I couldn't run too much beyond 6 miles on Sunday to avoid increasing my mileage too much. And yes, I ran outside Sunday and it was blissful! I did try my hardest to stick with my easy pace but failed. In fact, I seemed to pull off negative splits. But I felt good and strong and that is good. And by Sunday night, my legs felt tired.

Sunday's Outside Run

How am I feeling?

Yes, my legs felt tired Sunday night but overall I am feeling pretty good! I did take advantage of a nice warm salty bath soak a couple of nights but some of that was for relaxing my mind, not for pampering my legs. I am happy where I am in miles per week and feel by working up the miles and not doing other quality runs besides my long runs that I allowed my body to adjust. Typically in the past after running three weeks of this mileage my body would be begging for recovery. It isn't. I feel strong and ready to enter my next cycle of training. And that is an awesome feeling! Although, part of me is going to miss the go easy all the time days of base training I know I can incorporate those upcoming tempo runs with a smile! Okay, maybe not a smile.

What did I learn?

Running smart is the best thing to do. I have always been a firm believer in running smart but I learned we all have more to learn. By becoming an RRCA certified running coach, I learned some valuable lessons. And yes, I will be offering virtual coaching and training plans. More information to come soon. Systematic training pays off!

How did I fuel?

I started removing my morning coffee at the end of the week and am going for the Vega Sport pre-workout drink. Why? Because as my wake up calls got earlier and my runs got longer, coffee in my stomach wasn't feeling good. I needed better fuel. Post run I am drinking the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator and then a protein drink later in the morning. It seems to be doing a good job of keeping my morning hunger under control. Of course, I do eat a sensible breakfast as well...typically after my morning run. And on Saturday's run I tried a Vega Sport Endurance Gel (orange) during my run at about the 5 mile mark. The texture shocked me. The flavor was strong. I had to drink a few times to rinse it down. But it wasn't bad. It just wasn't the GU gels I am accustomed too and it is too early for me to say much more. I am still hydrating with diluted Gatorade for my longer runs. And even though Sunday's run was less than an hour, I carried very diluted Gatorade to fuel my run.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for rain.
Daily Affirmation: I grow stronger every day.


Making Ripples

My head has been swarming with thoughts and very few are anywhere near coherent or blog worthy. I feel my blogging has drifted to the sidelines and in fact, my thought was to not blog today but just leave you with an image. I still will....at the end.

But then something amazing happened that changed my perspective. And that is a story worth telling.

Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? I am sure many of you have but in a nutshell the idea is that a small change can have a huge effect. The flutter of a butterfly's wings can cause a hurricane. Okay, I am not convinced that the storm effect is 100% true but the idea is still sound. Small changes can lead to huge effects. Do you agree? I hope so.

Today I woke up at 4:00 am and didn't want to get out of bed. In fact, the idea of curling up and staying all day in bed with darling daughter sounded like perfection. But I knew my pre-workout drink was waiting for me, I had to go to work, darling daughter had to go to school, so I pulled myself out of bed to see a text I received last night at 10:30 pm. One Boston suspect was dead and the police were going door-to-door for the second. Tears welled up, I got chills, and thanked God they were found. However, the news changed within minutes on my drive to the gym. The police were,and still are, looking for the second suspect. I felt sickened.

Once I got to the gym there was a man curled up, covered, sleeping on the sidewalk. It made me nervous. I didn't like the feeling. I walked on. I felt bad. My run was emotionally hard and at 4.6 miles I started to feel the emotions settling and my head clearing. As the end of my run approached, the heaviness started coming back in. But something changed. Me. The run changed me.

As I walked out of the gym the man was still curled up sleeping but I wasn't nervous anymore. I felt compassion. I walked by, got in my car, and could only think - I want to give him something to eat. I sat there puzzled until I remembered I had a granola bar in my lunch bag. I grabbed it, got out of the car, and quietly left it by his side. I didn't plan to be sneaky but as I got closer I could only think, I don't want to disturb his slumber, I don't want to hurt his pride. And as I walked back to the car I smiled. I felt sneaky. Good sneaky. And that was my first smile of the day.

I typically find a smile or two during my runs but not this week. It took change. A change in my mindset and my perspective. I was feeling small and useless sitting here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. How can I make a difference anywhere it is truly needed sitting here? And then through a random anonymous act of kindness I found my smile. I made a ripple.

Each day we each get to choose to make a ripple or not. You may see my ripple today as small and it is. A granola bar is indeed small in the grand scheme of life. But each ripple we make grows. My little ripple here in the middle of the Pacific has already extended beyond my state and perhaps beyond my country. You are hearing about it right now...and perhaps sharing it. My little ripple has made a difference. But more importantly, my little ripple changed me. It made me smile. And when I am feeling happy and good about myself, I am a better mom, wife, and employee. A better me who will make more ripples. And it goes on and on and on.....

My little ripples will grow and bring happiness, strength, compassion, love, etc. around the world. Will you join me?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my first smile today.
Daily Affirmation: I am a good mom.

P.S. The image I was originally going to leave for you is below. I have prayed so hard this week. Harder than usual. And with that in mind I wanted to leave you The Lord's Prayer in a Wordle!


How do you see yourself?

I believe in the power of good but when I saw the news this morning about the fertilizer plant in Texas explosion it seemed more than I could bare. So much tragedy so close together. My mind is still trying to wrap around Boston and then there is another devastating story. I was struggling to see any good and thought it was pointless to post. It isn't that I just want to tell the good stories. That isn't it. I want to tell the truth. But I also aim to be proactive and to find something I can do about the issues. And here, I can't. I can't change Boston. I can't change Texas. I can't go back in time and make a difference. I feel utterly useless.

But then I saw this - Dove: Real Beauty Sketches. Check it out. I agree, we are each more beautiful than we think. And we are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. Perhaps I can make a difference.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for positive messages in the world.
Daily Affirmation: I can make a difference.


Push It Wednesday: The Boston Edition

I took a day of silence yesterday from the blogosphere to meditate, pray, and think of Boston. And of course, my runs have been filled with thoughts of Boston and those involved. And as much as I thought I wasn't going to post about Boston, how can't I when it is on my mind from the time when I wake up to the time I go to bed?

Like all of you, the news was devastating to hear. I was actually at work, opened Safari to look up something, and saw the breaking news: Bombs at the Boston Marathon. I couldn't even read it. I sat in shock for a bit and then ran to the bathroom, locked myself in, and sobbed...and texted dear hubby the news. It was all I could do to try to wipe away the tears and get back to my job. And it took nearly an hour for me to tell a co-worker what was up as I sat silently, trying to work and not be too teary eyed.

I couldn't wait to get home and as much as I knew I needed to run to start processing my thoughts, I felt guilty once it became time to lace up my shoes. I told myself no runner would want a runner to not run and just did it. It was a tough run and no where near long enough for me to sort through my emotions. I sat for what seemed forever on the treadmill after my run knowing there were things to do. Darling daughter played nicely around me. Then dear hubby texted me a picture and I broke down and cried. Darling daughter asked why and I had to tell her without making it seem too bad for her. She is only five. My answer, some good people were hurt today in Boston and Daddy just ran for them. Honestly, it wasn't that he ran. Of course he would. It was that he sent me a picture. This is the second picture he has ever sent me in our whole time together via phone. It was a big deal. It still is.

Yesterday, I woke up early and made it to the gym and ran before work. I got 6.17 miles in and the first few minutes were filled with thoughts of anger and I let myself process these emotions as I knew I needed to face them to go beyond them. And then I meditated, I watched the President's speech, and I prayed. I prayed hard. And I prayed for my strength and thoughts of support and love to go to everyone impacted Monday. I dedicated over a mile to Martin and his family. I prayed the parent running, I now know it was his Dad, to not feel guilty for running. No runner put their family in harm's way. They didn't do this. And I envisioned the strength of the prayer circle surrounding Boston with love, compassion, and support. I know it is strong. I see the posts by runners. I see the runs for Boston. I see the prayers for Boston. I know the positive energy is going their way to support them. I believe.

Today I woke up early again and made it to the gym before work but only got 5.1 miles in. I lingered in bed a bit too long thinking. But I won't beat myself up over it. I still have so much emotion to process and taking time to rest is important. And I may not have prayed and meditated from the start to the finish of my run today but Boston was still there on my mind. The TV's are still showing images. And I am inspired by the man in orange, 78 year old Bill Iffing, who fell down, got up, and finished. Not because he finished but because he is a wonderful example of the perseverance of spirit. And he is just one of a million.

What does all of this do with Push It Wednesday?

Everything. Monday tested the human spirit and we are showing we are strong. There is goodness in the world. There is love. It is sad that it takes a tragedy sometimes for the goodness to be witnessed. And I believe, there is more good than bad in the world. We just don't see it so easily since the good deeds don't become breaking news stories. I ask you to be part of the good. Push yourself today. Do something extra nice for someone. Give an extra smile. Let someone merge into your traffic lane. Lend a helping hand. And pray. It does make a difference.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the birds singing outside the window.
Daily Affirmation: I am strengthened by my faith and my prayers make a difference in the world. 


Base Training Week 2

Another week has flown by and I gotta say, I am happy with my overall training this past week. Last Monday I posted my primary hurdle for this week, working full time, and I seem to have overcome that just fine by and ended up tacking on a couple more miles. What makes it even more impressive in my mind is that more of my runs were slower, which means I did them at home and it took more time. This can be a positive or a negative depending on how you look at it. I like it because I got my run done even if it took more time. I may worry about it since I was running more time at a slower pace. How will this impact my race performance in the future?

Here is what I did in comparison to my plan:

How am I feeling?

Surprisingly good. That doesn't mean I don't feel tired legs from time to time. I do. And dear hubby has been kind enough to give me a few good massages. But all in all, I am feeling great! I was pondering that this morning and I think having these weeks of increasing mileage and not doing any speed work or intervals is a nice "break" on my body even though I am still steadily increasing time on my feet. There is a reason for each and every run and I am beginning to cherish the purpose of base training. Amazing what happens when you do things right! Or at least better than before.

What did I learn?

I learned my body is quite adaptable. That heavy transition I felt last week between 40-45 minutes was non-existant this week. My body can make that switch without me feeling it anymore. This doesn't mean each run was a breeze. I still had tough moments, such as first run on Friday. I felt like a slug but still managed the same overall pace as the run the day before. Go figure! And my second run on Friday, I felt much better. And my run on Saturday? I kicked butt and had a blast! It started out sluggish but within 20-30 minutes or so (sorry, don't remember the exact time) a great song came on that lifted my spirits. Oh yeah, and that news video of the little boy with cancer running with a football making a touchdown...that got me tearing up on the treadmill and put everything into perspective. And I did something crazy - I ran my long run in my new Saucony Kinvara4. I don't often jump up in mileage that quickly in new shoes. Stay tuned for a product review.

How did I fuel?

Once again, I run most of my runs without any in-run nutrition just due to their length. There is no real need. And I drink a protein shake after most runs. Yep, most. I am not 100% on that yet and am not sure if I ever really need to be. And I don't drink a second protein shake on my dual run days. On Saturday I did my long run with Gatorade (made from a mix so it may be less concentrated) and one vanilla GU gel that I took at about the 5 mile mark. But I am happy to announce, I bit the bullet and bought some new product that I have been dying to do a training cycle with. Introducing Vega Sport! I am eager to see if going plant based in my in-run nutrition will make a difference but I kinda forget to pick up their sports drink version. That may have to wait a bit longer.....

I just want to add that I don't have negative feelings for Gatorade or GU gel as both have served me well in all of my past training and tons of PR's. I am just at a point where I have been focused on cleaning up my diet in all other realms that it seemed hypocritical to me to not do the same for my sports nutrition. I know eating better has made me feel better and I have to answer my own question, will I feel a difference by fueling my runs with a different product? Now is the time to test it out as my A races are way off in the distance.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I got to share gardening time with darling daughter this weekend.
Daily Affirmation: I am on the path to continued growth.


Listen to Your Body

Just listen to your body. Sounds easy, right? Your body will tell you what it can and can't do. But this isn't entirely true. Yes, I am a huge advocate of listening to your body but I also know sometimes my body lies. It may cry "stop" when in all reality, I don't need to. But then are those times when I do need to listen. Telling the difference between a minor ache and a serious ache can be quite difficult especially when you take into account that endurance runners are prone to push their limits.

Right next to listen to your body is follow your own advice. I commented to dear hubby last night on our way to fishing that I wanted to improve my diet and eat healthier. I didn't get the response I expected but in all reality he wasn't against me....he just didn't see how I could make it healthier with me already putting veggie purees into everything. But I am a huge proponent of continuous improvement and yes, things can always get better! I rode happily in the car thinking of all the wonderful freggies in our fridge and my commitment to cut back more on processed foods, increase sensible hydration, and just feel healthier and more energized. Please forgive me for munching on a granola bar in this moment. See, there is room for improvement!

And I knew food at fishing is never the optimal and I opted for a slice of veggie pizza. Not too bad, right? But if I knew they were going to be grilling chicken and asparagus and pulling out carrots and strawberries I would have skipped the pizza. Guess asking first is always good. Oopsie!

I tried to be good and decline other foods but I was under bombardment of offers to try this or that. I did take a few more nibbles of asparagus, even though I knew I didn't want more food, and adamantly refused the french fries. And I did drink perhaps one too many light beers and that brings me to today.

Listen to your body.

I didn't feel good waking up this morning. I tried to drink plenty of water before going to bed and throughout the night. I kept waking up. I wasn't sleeping well and I knew why. My body doesn't really like alcohol. Yes, I may like a glass of wine or a cold light beer but my body doesn't. And after going through a period of time with essentially no alcohol, I really could hear what my body was saying and knew why. We all know alcohol dehydrates you but I now know for certain in prevents me from getting a good night's sleep and sleep is essential for me. I need every minute I can get since I only have a few hours between my bedtime and when I need to get up if I am going to run before work.

I still ran this morning. I was tempted to sleep in but wasn't really sleeping. Plus, I told myself I made the mistake and needed to get my butt out of bed, to the gym, and run through some of this yucky feeling. And get some good nutrition and hydration into my body. The run felt hard but ironically I maintained the same pace as yesterday when my run was so much more blissful.

Am I saying I will never drink another ounce of alcohol? No. I am sure I will on a special occasion but I will not worry so much next time about hurting someone's feelings by putting my foot down and saying, NO, I don't want anything else to eat. NO, I don't want another beer. Sometimes I think I worry too much about causing a scene and not hurting someone's feelings that I forget to do what is really best for me. I need to listen to my body and stand up for it. I am the only one who can.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the 3.55 miles I managed to pull off this morning.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to say NO with grace.


Live Like You Were Dying

An act a day to a better you!
Have you heard this song by Tim McGraw --- Live Like You Were Dying? Most likely you have if you are a country music lover. If not, perhaps not. Every single time it comes on I am determined to not cry. But I do. And I did again this morning on my drive into work. I start off good but then when it references a patient receiving news they are going to die I just think of my Dad. How must he have felt when he got that news? And no, he didn't get to go skydiving or Rocky Mountain climbing or fulfill any lifelong dreams of things to do. He started treatments. Chemotherapy. Isolation. Nausea. Loss of Appetite. He suffered. But I am sure he loved my mom deeper if that was even possible. Those two are the epitome of love. High school sweethearts who still looked like high school sweethearts even after I got married.

I love the message of this song. It really promotes how delicate life is and how important it is to be the best you that you can be each and every minute. And each time I hear it I think of something new. Like today, I could try to talk a little sweeter all the time. If you are married you know that love for your spouse doesn't always translate to 100% sweetness. I am going to work on that. And as much as I would love to travel to Spain again, and I am sure dear hubby has a lot on his bucket list, I fear this song promoting the "just do it" attitude that it could lead to depression if a hurdle prevents a dream from happening. Yes, I would love to see Spain again. No, I will not let it get me down since I don't see how on Earth I can pull that off right now because I am surrounded by so many other blessings in life. I need to enjoy the presents in the present moment...as we all should do in order to truly be happy.

And that brings me to my run today, which happened before going to work. Yippee!!! I am so proud of myself. But it did take time to pull myself out of bed but not because I hit the snooze button. I turned my alarm off but I did snooze as I drifted back into my dream of being in a shoe store trying on all sorts of Saucony running shoes. The salesman even brought out a pair he was certain I would love....running heels. Was he crazy? And I told him as much in my dream. Yes, I may run in a running skirt but there is no way on this green Earth I will ever run in running heels! So if anyone thinks this is a good idea....STOP! Don't make them. Don't market them. It will be a flop! I am certain.

Fortunately, I woke up from my shoe shopping dream to really put on a pair of sensible Saucony, my Saucony Hurricane 14. In all reality, I chose them today since they are my only pair of running shoes with locklaces and I needed to make up some time from getting sucked back into dreamland. Yes, saving a few seconds by not having to tie your shoes was important to me this morning.

Did I find my strong on my run? Absolutely! I was blessed with an awesome assortment of songs that lifted my spirits. It started with Me and God by Josh Turner and that set the tone for my run. I immediately knew I was going to run by faith and trust that the song that came up next would set my pace. I altered between the upper and lower end of my easy running pace range. I always start on the low end. After a mile, I increased it with the beat of the next song. The songs were upbeat for quite awhile and then cycled song by song with an upbeat, slow beat, upbeat, slow beat, upbeat and then remained up until the finish. It was bliss and yes, I did go over my goal of 6 miles since I had to run to the end of the final song. Wouldn't you?

Today is completely jam packed with things to do. I skipped my ab workout this morning since I wanted those 6 miles and at first, I figured it would be fine to go without the abs but I don't want to. I will find a way to get them in even though my after work day is full. I must get those oranges on sale for $0.49 a pound since the sale is today only. And then dear hubby is picking darling daughter and I up for fishing night. I may even be a wee bit late home for our pick up time but he knows why and agrees, I must get those oranges. So it will be a late night and late showers so in all reality, my only options are do abs at work (not going to happen) or do abs at the beach in front of dear hubby's co-workers. Guess it will be option 2 and perhaps I can get a few to join in!

Have a wonderful Thursday and I must apologize for no Push It Wednesday post yesterday. I was in a complete funk but am much better today!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for songs that touch my heart.
Daily Affirmation: My determination is a personal strength.


Hidden Sources of Sugar

Sugar has been on my mind a lot the past few days since I found out a loved one has high sugar and needs to cut it back and exercise more. My loved one is amped to do what is right but as we started discussing food for a few minutes, it dawned on me that sugar is hiding everywhere and what may seems okay isn't as good as you thought.

But before I continue, I want to clarify I am not writing a diet post or telling anyone what to eat or what not to eat. And I am not 100% sugar free in what I eat. I live by the everything in moderation rule in life. I eat up my freggies, which is easy since I love them so much, but you can also see me with a cookie, some chocolate, or even chips from time to time. But for those who want/need to watch their sugar intake, please beware of the hidden sources.

With that being said, I do have one rule in my life. No aspartame. No fake sugars. Period. This was a health choice I made for myself and committed to it when I stopped drinking diet coke. I did a pantry search and realized this chemical was in a few other things such as pudding mixes (if they claimed to be sugar free). I refuse to eat this stuff and build my body with potentially harmful chemicals. I am not going to get into the aspartame debate today.

And here we go - Onto the hidden sources of sugar!

THE BIG SHOCKER: Children's vitamins. Yep, sugar is probably number 1 on the list of ingredients since I am sure the manufacturers are trying to make them yummy for kids but please read those labels very, very closely. Years ago when our pediatrician suggested vitamins with a bit of iron for darling daughter since her levels were a wee bit low I thought it was wise to follow instructions. Good thing I am a label reader as not only did the bottle I picked up first contain sugar it contained aspartame! Frightening! This product was intended for kids as young as 2 and there was a chemical inside that could have harmful health effects. I must confess, I had to look at a lot of bottles and go to more than one store before I found a vitamin that did not have aspartame.

But for my loved one, children's vitamins isn't the source of added sugar so here is a list of where sugar may be hiding and you may just not realize it, or realize how much of it there is.

  • Sparking Waters: Some are perfectly fine but I have found this takes good looking too. Often, if it is flavored, it has fake sugar. Look before you buy. 
  • Sports Drinks: Yep, there is sugar and yes, I do still consume these but only when I am exercising for an extended period of time. I do not just grab a sports drink and drink it during the day. And I often dilute them down. 
  • Bottled Teas: I prefer my tea plain and naked. A fresh sun tea is absolutely fantastic and refreshing!
  • Fruit Juice: Some may argue it is a natural sugar but often, additional sugar may be added. Plus, I would rather just eat the fruit. And trust me, this is a topic of debate sometimes at home as dear hubby would love it if I bought orange juice. I don't unless it is under special circumstances. And darling daughter will drink hers diluted. And yes, I do give her some diluted juice if she is recovering from being very sick....and that doesn't happen often.
  • Flavored fruit drinks
  • Protein Drinks: Yep, my protein powder is sweetened but I do try to look for those with lower sugar/carb contents.

  • Cereals: We all know the big culprits, those brightly colored kids cereals, but the seemingly healthier choices may also be high in sugar. Raisin Bran comes to mind mainly because dried fruit are high in sugar and there is added sugar on top of that. And if there is icing on your cereal, there is sugar added. Just look for cereals with lower sugar content.
  • Oatmeal: I purchase the plain and season with cinnamon or eat with fruit. And I do understand my mom giving me flavored, sweetened oatmeal when I was young. If nothing else, it helped instill the love of oatmeal!
  • Yogurt: I purchase plain for myself but darling daughter does get flavored, even though it is sweetened. I just make sugar it isn't sweetened with aspartame. I feel this is a good stepping stone to eating plain later in life.
  • Frozen dinners: The light versions may be adding sugar to compensate for less fat.
  • Baked beans
  • Granola bars: I know these are sugary and must confess, I keep some in the house for when I am in a bind. I do have to fall on convenience every now and then.
  • Canned fruit: Many are canned or bottled with syrup. I have taught darling daughter that we look for those canned in natural juices if we do go this route.
  • Dried fruit: Yes, fruit is good for you but when it is dried, the sugar is concentrated. I think this can become an issue if you eat too much dried fruit as eating the whole fruit may fill you up quicker due to water content.

  • Reduced fat peanut butter: Reading this came to a surprise to me but it makes sense. Manufacturers are adding extra sugar to reduced fat foods to make them taste better. Go figure!
  • Salad dressings: Yep, sugar may be the first ingredient listed. Look closely if you are trying to cut back on your sugar intake.
  • BBQ sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Asian sauces
  • Fruit spreads
  • Spaghetti sauce: Yep, prepared sauces may contain added sugar and I recently discovered, homemade sauce is so much yummier!
  • Flavored coffee syrups: I do add creamer to my coffee and try to do so in moderation with vanilla or hazelnut. 

I am fortunate that I don't have to be restrictive in my diet due to health concerns as writing this post made me realize how hard it can be to eat differently if needed for health reasons. I wish my loved one the best of luck in her diet transitions and hope it becomes easier over time. My one piece of advice would be - take small steps. Don't try to eliminate it all at once. And don't beat yourself up if you slip up. We all do. It is human nature.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for coffee.
Daily Affirmation: I may not be sugar free but I am the healthiest me that I can be today.


Base Training Week 1

With a training plan that goes until the end of the year, I feel I need to acknowledge small milestones in order to avoid falling off the beaten path and ending up in oblivion....unfocused, lost, and hopeless.

Week 1 was an awesome success! I loved how I stuck to the plan, most days, and ended up achieving my goal! Achievement is always an awesome feeling! And I am saying most days as I did do a little run jiggle to account for switching my long run day to Friday from Saturday.

So here is my plan and my reality:

I do realize my range in total miles is significant but I feel it is an added element that I need in my training. As a full-time employee and a mom, life can pop up quite often and make me feel like a failure if I don't get x miles done. Having a range each day makes it seem more doable. But I must confess, in the initial base building weeks of my plan, I do want to be more to the upper end of the range versus the lower one mainly because that is the idea of base building.

It was hard in some ways to run slower all week for every run. I did do minor pace fluctuations within my easy run 99% of the time. On Friday in the last mile, I went a wee bit faster but nothing too significant to risk injury or take away from the point of this cycle. I am working on building up my weekly mileage....not increasing speed. I also toyed with the incline when running at the gym to keep boredom at bay. P.S. My target easy pace is between 9'40" and 10'00" unless I am at home on the incline treadmill. Then I slow down.

What did I learn? Yes, every running week has learning lessons and this week I learned that my body is predictable and wonderful. I repeatedly felt a bit heavy between 40-45 minutes...a time frame when one may be tempted to stop with the thought process, I am tired, I can't go on. Thing is, I am not sure I was tired per se. I envisioned my body switching over or finding a new energy source within itself and it always did. Between 50-60 minutes I felt perfectly fine again!

How did I fuel? Fuel, what fuel? Since the bulk of my run were around an hour in duration or less, I didn't take any fuel or water during my runs. On my long run, I did sip diluted Gatorade and took one GU gel but I was sure to take it after the 45 minute mark when my body was beginning to feel a wee bit stronger. I wanted to push through that little hurdle myself like I had been doing all week. Thing is, I keep saying I want to try more natural gels and I keep sticking to the tried and true. The reality is, if I want to try new gels, now is the time! Plus I did have my standard protein drink after most runs. I kinda forget it on Sunday. What can I say? Oopsie!

In addition, I completed week 1 of my Amazing April Abs. I committed to 10-minutes of abdominal work each day and stuck to my guns and got it done. And as an added bonus, it helped me earn some extra points for the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge! I am so looking forward to week 2!

Challenges next week: One would think after a successful week pulling it off again is a piece of cake. Nope. Don't worry, I have confidence in myself but realize last week I was blessed with only working two days. Darling daughter was on Easter break so I had three vacation days and the two days I worked, dear hubby was with her so I had less time constraints. This week, I need to be successful while working 40 hours and sticking to a tight timeline! Wish me luck!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for gift certificates.
Daily Affirmation: I deeply and completely love and accept myself....I DO!


Friday Fun with Wordle

Every now and then I like to pop on back over to Wordle and make some word art from my blog. I love that it consistently highlights the words running, run, daily or day, darling, and daughter. Here is some of my favorites from today!

What words stick out to you?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my husband. Yes, dear hubby, I am!
Daily Affirmation: I live a life I would be proud my daughter follows.


March in Review

Let's be honest....March was a tough month for me. With the IT band issue creeping up at the end of February, my running time took a hit. Don't get me wrong. I am glad I eased up for a few weeks as my body is good to go again. It is better to run less and avoid serious injury than to run the same and be completely knocked out of the running game. I get that. Honestly I do. But it did cause some mental challenges within myself as I started viewing myself as weak, not strong. The good news....I did eventually find my strong again....at least, on most days.

The Numbers

My running streak stayed alive throughout March. March 31st marked day 458 of my streak and yes, I am still running daily. I concluded March with 104 miles bringing me to 384 miles so far in 2013. For those who are interested, it also brings me to 1,852 streak miles. Nice! The downside, my weekly miles average dropped from 32.9 miles to 29.8 miles for the year. I am confident I will bring that back up in the months to come as I have officially started my new training plan (and yes, that began on April 1st so I will talk more about that later).

My Body and Mind

My body's hiccups and minor complaints did fill me with doubt but I feel by facing those challenges head-on I had the opportunity to work on my mental game. There were many crossroads that I faced this month, which seem so small for a distance runner but yet so big at the time. After my IT band seriously yelled at me I was nervous with each run. I read that it can act up in the first 1-2 miles. Breaking 2 miles with no pain was a relief. I then had another limit on myself. Running any longer distance at all. Accomplishing 6 miles made me smile and feel stronger but yet, there was doubt. 6 miles paled in comparison to the 13.1 miles that was on my plate. Could I do it? Would my leg hold up? The second was the real question. I knew I could as long as my body stayed with me.

First Race in 2013

I can't believe it took me until the end of March to run my first race! I do love to race and since I am being more selective in what I do race, they are more spaced out. I am putting criteria primarily to budget the costs of running. It is a necessity when dear hubby and I both want to race and our race favorite, the marathon, can be costly...especially when we both are running. You can read more about my Valley to the Sea Half Marathon report HERE but in a nutshell, I did it! My leg stayed strong. I ran smart, and I PR'd. What a great way to start the racing year!

April Goals

For some reason, the expression April Showers Bring May Flowers keeps popping in my mind. I can see how this may be significant in other parts of the world but here, our climate is pretty much the same year round. But yes, we have had more showers. And no, that has nothing to do with my running goals. But yet, the expression sticks in my mind. Isn't it optimistic? Think of the dreary rain but yet it promises colorful beauty is right around the corner. Endure the rain. Discover the beauty. Very appropriate for training after all!

April marks the cycle in my training plan focused on building base. I am not trying to up my weekly mileage too much but to get my body more acclimated to the weekly mileage I want to be running during future cycles of my training. I want my weekly average to go up. So I am focused on that for 21 days. If I was doing a greater build-up, I would have devoted more time to it. But like I said, my increase isn't a huge number. So for three weeks in April I am focused completely on hitting my target miles and running easy. No speedwork. No tempo runs. No crazy intervals. Just run. Slow is even better sometimes. Each run is a run dedicated to time on my feet. Sounds nice, huh? Perhaps...if I don't let myself get too bored.

In addition, I want to be a step closer to better abs at the end of the month. Four weeks isn't a huge amount of time so I don't expect a night-and-day transition. Mainly, the establishment of a good daily habit committed to my abs. Baby steps......

How did your March go? Any April goals you want to share?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my health.
Daily Affirmation: I have a beautiful home.


Push It Wednesday

Get Up and Get it Done!

The theme for the day. Getting out of bed this morning was tough. It was my first day back to work after four days off. Yep, darling daughter is on Easter break. No, they don't have Spring Break. No, everyone who kept asking....my child was not to be in school. If she was, she would be there....unless there were very special circumstances such as family from Scotland were going to be on island for just one day. Yep, that happened. Yep, we took the day off.

But back to this morning. When my arm went out from under the covers to silence the alarm it went right back in. It was cold. Okay, not negative cold like some people have to face but my cold. The coldness on a bare arm that makes me want to stay in bed...indefinitely. Plus, I don't think I was ready to return to work. But I do love my job and I knew I would feel better running before work so out of bed I went. I drove to the gym bundled up with the heater blasting...okay, for a few minutes. Slowly I started cranking down the heat and stopped trying to warm my finger tips and chastising myself for being a wimp in comparison to those who face real cold. But I guess if it was real cold those smart runners would be wearing more than a running skirt, bra top, and t-shirt. That is bundled, right? Especially if you count the blanket I throw on my lap once in the car!

I never regret getting up and getting it done. Never.

Get Your Run On!

Like every good runner I follow my training plan exactly...NOT! I am always deviating. And I deviated today. I switched a couple of runs around not because I was lazy but because life changes. I was thinking, since I will be off Friday (last day of darling daughter's break and my turn again!) it would be a great day to do the long run at the gym versus Saturday. This makes Saturday less frantic for the two of us. Long run for me and then swim class later in the day for darling daughter is a long day for us because I refuse to drive back upcountry to go back down later. With gas over $4.50 a gallon perhaps you understand. So we find ourselves "killing time" in town, which is wearing thin after three weeks. Browsing is dangerous! But I need get two new running bra tops for under $7 each!

Back to running....it would make since to have a somewhat shorter mileage day working up to the long run on Friday. So I juggled and I don't regret it. I have been hitting my daily goals remarkably well! I have been good and sticking to the easy pace. Day 3 of 21 of base building is now completed! Woo-hoo!

Amazing April Abs!

Do you have fitness ideas and goals that keep getting pushed to the wayside? I do. Yep, it is true. It seems I have been saying for eons that I will incorporate more into my routine than just running. I do some yoga here and there. Nice....could be better and more consistent. But what I keep wanting to add and not doing is strength...in particular, I would like better abs. Who wouldn't? There you go! I told the world. I am like one zillion other people out there who want better defined abs. Shocking, I know!

The candy dish lies!
My diet is pretty clean. Score 1. Yes, I will be resisting that candy bowl on my co-workers desk. It is always easier when it is empty. It is in reach from where I sit. And I am good at resisting it 99% of the time but that final 1% can add up and kill my goals. Better abs.

And then the light bulb went off - April and abs both start with "A"! It is time to commit, take my own challenge, and start the process to my goal with Amazing April Abs!

I know myself and I am taking that into account. If I try to commit to too much time each day, it won't happen. Running will take priority. I have "x" amount of fitness time. I am not goofing around. On April 1st I spent some time looking for an ab workout to stream on Netflix. Darling daughter asked what I was looking for. I told her. She responded, who would want to watch exercise? My reply, I would. Guess I am the only one. Nothing to stream. And don't even tell me I can probably see YouTube on my TV since I can stream Netflix. Probably true but too much wasted time to look into it. Call my lazy. So I created my own routine for week 1!

My 10-Minute Abs!

Short and sweet. And since I do each movement slowly with attention, it does take me 10 minutes including any down time. I start with 20 crunches followed with 20 bicycle legs (40 if you count each leg). I keep my legs low, I focus on keeping my abs engaged and form. I repeat this cycle 5 times. I like the bicycle too since I feel it helps me stretch out my legs and I feel the impact on all muscles involved...focus, focus, focus. Part 2 involves push up's. Yep, I said push up's. Yes, it works your arms but I completely focus on keeping my abs engaged, my core straight, and do the push up's. I do two rounds of 25 and I must confess, I keep my knees down. My goal is my ab's but tossing in some arms doesn't hurt. Perhaps I will be better at keeping my abs engaged how I want when I get stronger and then I will up the intensity by going on my toes. It is a work in progress. Between the two sets of push up's I like to do a bit of Child's Pose and yes, the second set of 25 is much harder for me. Sometimes I feel so wimpy....but hey, I am getting stronger each and every day!

So how about it, why not toss in My 10-minute Abs yourself for Push It Wednesday?!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all the supportive comments on Daily Mile and for those runners who go above and beyond to connect. And yes, I even appreciate the virtual kicks in the butt! Mahalo all!
Daily Affirmation: I am growing stronger each and every day!


Running: Base Building

The cold bug may be out of our household soon....I hope. I seem to be back to normal. Darling daughter has a lingering cough at night time but not too bad at all. But dear hubby seems to be hit full force yesterday and spent a good portion of yesterday in bed. A quarantine may be in order to nip this bug in the bud!

Still, I have been running...just a bit more at home on the incline treadmill than I would have hoped. Saturday was a home run as dear hubby promised darling daughter she could go pick strawberries Saturday morning and he works on Saturdays. I knew we had to get there bright and early before they were over picked; therefore, no gym. I made up for it running wise by running 5 miles in the morning and another 3.5 in the afternoon. I was going for 4-5 miles but darling daughter started to doze and a nap completely interferes with bedtime. So I abandoned my run so we could get playing!

Yesterday I made a nice breakfast for darling daughter and I that included fresh picked strawberries with homemade waffles - that are made with banana. Darling daughter really does not like banana and I do have to sneak them into her diet. Sorry, I love them too much and know they are so good for you so I am determined. Ironically, she will beg and plead for banana swirl. Go figure - freeze and puree a banana and she will devour it...with sprinkles please! After breakfast I hit the incline mill and hammered out a nice 5 mile run. It was just what I needed to work through some tremendous grouchies. Sorry family. I have been missing my dad a wee bit more and it seems to make me low on patience. Thing is, I am thankful he is not suffering with leukemia and its nasty treatments anymore. And I feel his presence on a regular basis. But I will never not miss him and that is just how I live. And once again, I am thankful because his loss transformed me to someone who cherishes each moment and each step running just a wee bit more.

Which brings me to today. I am on vacation! Okay, just a couple of days as darling daughter has this week off of school for Easter break. We started our day at the gym where I ran 4 miles. My plan had 3-4 on the plate and I managed to do 4 uncomfortable miles. It is funny how sometimes easy, short runs seem so hard. It is easy to fall into the doubt trap about your long running capabilities. But hey, these tough runs make those runs where you actually get runner's high more pleasant! And today marks day 1 of 21 in my base building phase of my new training plan for this year. I broke it into cycles as I have a lot of weeks on it. My goal races are the Maui Marathon in September and Honolulu Marathon in December. I have big goals! So right now, I am building up my miles at my easy pace. It will be hard as tempo runs and intervals break up the monotony of running. The good news - each day is a planned range of miles to allow me to listen to my body. And my target paces are ranges allowing me some leeway in playing with pace to break any boredom. Plus I can toy with incline when at the gym or distract myself outside.

Now for a completely unrelated question - I have a new computer at home with Windows 8 and the view keeps changing from 100% to 105% or 120% etc. Anyone have any idea what I am accidentally doing to make this happen? It is annoying me to keep going to the settings icon to put zoom back to a normal 100%.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for new flowers in the garden.
Daily Affirmation: I will crush my base training!