What to do when you fall off your training plan

It happens. You have the best training plan ever and for some reason or another, you fall off. Perhaps it's an injury, perhaps it's just being sick, perhaps it's other things that life tosses your way. But don't fret. Not yet at least. First, let's talk.

I have gone through many training plans, each one I have developed for myself taking what is suggested and trying to factor in aspects of my life to make the plan more doable. Call my the training plan juggling master. And even though I have consistently PR'd on many races, and my goal race  - the marathon, I think too much juggling may introduce a weakness. An element that may be holding me back from realizing my big dreams.

But there is a catch. Too much rigidity isn't good either. Don't run what's on the plan just because it is there and overlook other factors that might be more important. And as a mom, sometimes the more important factors may be my family. I juggle. I still do. But in all reality, up until now I am still hitting my training goals.

Until this week. I may flop. And even though last night I did my calculations and realized if I ran x today, tomorow, and Sunday I could reach my weekly and monthly mileage goals. But that would be sandwiching a longer run with longer runs than usual. Sure I can do that! Right?

But first ask, why am I in this boat? Simply because on Wednesday I ran just a mile (my legs were off) and I fell short a mile yesterday (I needed to get to work). I am at a deficet and don't all runners just want to tack on those missed miles and make them up! Makes sense, right?

Not necessarily. Especially if you really factor in why you are not hitting your training. Personally, right now I am battling a cough and ear infection and my daily routine is all wacky with taking darling daughter to swim two afternoons a week. However, the biggest factor is my body is fighting another battle and energy needs to go there. It is okay. I know what is going on. I know how this battle started. It is a good one. I will be better at the end but right now, I need to give my body time to heal from the inside out. I don't need to be tacking on miles to my training plan to make up missed miles. I will be fine.

The "I'm serious" squint
Keep your eyes on the goal.

My goal: To break a 4:20 marathon. With that said, I understand the desire to hit the numbers, to run the miles, to train my heart out so I will be ready. Thing is, I could push through it and be okay trying to make up miles. Maybe. But is it a risk worth taking? Some of you may be saying yes.

What if not letting my body heal costs me more than just one below target week? What if it opens me to injury and an onslaught of missed performance? Is that worth it? I can see you all saying no now.

As runners we tend to be really good at pushing ourselves. Running through the tough. We are strong. But we can be foolish too.

Yes, I want a 40+ mile week, yes I want 175 miles in June, no I may not hit those numbers. But I will run tomorrow on running streak day 548. I want to run long. I may. I may not. I will see how my body feels after one more sleep.

Which brings me back to my first question - what to do when you fall off your training plan? Be smart. Don't kick yourself in the butt. Don't foolishly tack on miles to make up missed miles. Look at where you are and where you want to go. Because deep down I know those miles I miss this week won't negatively impact my performance come race day in September. I have time. I have a year long training plan so of course I will have missed weeks. But if you are constantly falling short week after week, I say it is time to really reevalulate where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there best!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for BLT's!
Daily Affirmation: I will break a 4:20 marathon!


Custom Fit by Kindrunner

Woo-hoo and happy Thursday! I hope you are all having an amazing day and with all the great stuff in the world, I wanted to tell you about an AWESOME experience I had this week!

Recently I blogged about Kindrunner (and you can read more about them HERE). I can honestly say, I am still super excited about what they have to offer their customers and when I saw they could do a virtual custom fitting, I took the bait and gave it a try.

I have always dreamed of going into a running store and getting personalized advice, input on my running form, and shoe recommendations. But I must say, it is easier said then done here on Maui. I am sure for some of you, this service is easy to get but guess what, it gets easier and available to those who don't have access to a full service running store.

Just last Friday I filled out their online form. It is easy. Take some pictures of your shoes, they tell you what and how, upload the images, answer a few questions and voila! You are done. The best part is you can to pick when they should call you back. Pick a single day of the week and a time frame and you are done. In all reality, the hardest part was me doing the conversion between the Eastern and Hawaiian time zones. Yes guys, I realize it is just math but there is a catch. We don't do daylight savings here and I never can remember where the rest of you guys are. Trust me, I am sure I have woken up my poor sister many times because I think it is an hour earlier than reality. Sorry sis!

But don't fret. If by chance you forget Kindrunner will be calling you, or on the phone with your darling daughter and give her priority, they will be kind enough to leave you a call back number. Two in fact. They provide an 800 number as well. Yep, I was talking to darling daugher when they called. It was our daily morning chat on her way to school. She calls me at work while daddy takes her. Can't miss that.

So I called Joe (a very cool Kindrunner dude) back and we started talking. Well, he did a lot of the talking providing information and I took notes. He asked questions to clarify things, got to know my running a bit more, why I made the shoe choices I did, what ails my body, and what I do about it. And then, he gave me his two cents, which was right on target to my thoughts in many areas. And don't worry, if you don't want to take notes, or can't keep up, they send you a follow-up email with all the details plus links to suggested shoes/items. Gotta love that!

Now for those of you who caught my statement that his advice was on target to my thoughts let me explain. I felt the Saucony Hurricanes didn't work with my body. I am pretty in tune to things and I felt odd in them. Confirmed - DON'T RUN IN HURRICANES! Not everyone, just me. And some others of course. They are the absolute wrong shoe for me.

I LOVE my Saucony Virrata and Saucony Kinvara4. YAY! Confirmed to be good running shoes for me. And he supported my gut that Virrata was good for my short runs and Kinvara4 was good for my medium runs. That leaves a long run gap. Those Saucony Cohesions that I went through three pairs last year with my two marathons? Okay shoes, good for my running style, but are an athletic vs. technical shoe. Stick with that type of shoe with cushioning but up to the technical line and voila! I have my long run shoe. Joe was kind enough to give me two choices in Saucony (my love), two choices in Brooks, and two choices in Asics. Gotta love choices, right?

Was it worth it? YES! He also provided further insight on how to keep my IT band quiet and taught me that foam rollers don't last forever. Well, some may depending on what they are made from and how. Kinda makes sense. I mean, my bed pillows are less fluffy over time so why wouldn't I break down my standard foam roller after years of intense rolling and applying almost full body weight?

So there you go, in a nutshell, what you can expect from a virtual custom fit via Kindrunner!

I am eager to hear what others think of the virtual custom fit service by Kindrunner. Have you done it? Did you like it? If you haven't done it, what are you waiting for? It is free, takes just minutes, and hey, you might learn something really cool and useful! I did! Now, when do I order my new long run shoes without dear hubby getting concerned about my running shoe collection????

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to get a custom fit in the comfort of my home on my schedule.
Daily Affirmation: I know my body.


Heads Up Giveaway!

This is a sponsored giveaway for Heads Up Bands. I was provided two bands to review at no cost. The opinions in this post are solely my own. I received no further compensation for this post.

Hold your head up with pride! 

Very powerful words, aren't they? But yet, the message is essential. With so much going on in the world it could be hard to hold your head up with pride but I really feel we each must strive to do that. And what does that mean? We each need to strive to be the best that we can be, embrace the challenges life puts in front of us, and by golly, be forgiving! We are all human and we will all make mistakes. And yes, we will all fall down and perhaps we may need help back up. Don't you want to be that helping hand?

But sometimes out of a dark moment, you find strength. In my little neck of the world, I went to bed annoyed last night, woke up mad, vented to my sister, said a word or two out of frustration, and then hit the treadmill ready to run and pray to find my peace. Within a minute, I knew the intervals scheduled for tomorrow were going to happen today. All that bottled up frustration was going to be transformed into something good, fast intervals. Mission accomplished!

Heads Up Bands image
But my dark moment pales in comparison to other dark moments. A real dark moment - being diagnosed with breast cancer (no, not me). Now that is dark. But now imagine out of all of that, a strong female is able to turn that bleak moment into something bright. Creating something new. Finding something good. And this is the background of how Heads Up Bands was born. Now that is an awesome mission accomplished!

The headbands are awesome. They stay in place. They are beautiful. In fact, too beautiful in some regards. I never could leave one on my head to run since I didn't want to turn it into a sweaty mess. I wanted it to stay awesome so I could feel strong and hold my head up throughout the day, not just during my run.

The better news, you can win one for yourself! This is a short and sweet giveaway with me announcing the winner on July 1st! Why wait longer than you need to? Enter below, spread the word, and have a great day! But most importantly, hold you head up with pride!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the random gifts in my life.
Daily Affirmation: Running makes me a more confident me.


Strength Training Week 9

I am having the hardest time writing this post. Not because last week was bad. It wasn't. It was good. But perhaps because I feel a little bit in limbo. Good thing today is the start of a new training cycle and once I get my run in, I should be fine!

So here is what I had planned for last week and how it went.

See? Not too bad! But let me tell you, it was an uphill challenge since day 1! I needed to be committed and stay focused. I knew I was having a procedure on Friday that required fasting (and no water). I chose to run before the procedure and that mile was tough. I was a slug.

The thing is, I wasn't sure how I would feel the afternoon and days after. Good news, by the next morning I was back to me and was able to pull off my long run. That too was an uphill challenge since I wanted to stop at mile 6. At 6.5 miles I was bored out of my mind and knew I needed to do something to keep my butt on the treadmill. So I played the 0.5 miles game. 0.5 miles until I can drink, 0.5 miles until I can increase the pace ever so slightly, and so on. Yes, I used negative splits to encourage myself to keep running. Once I hit the 10 mile mark I was too close to 1 hour and 40 minute so I kept going. Then I was too close to 10.5 miles so I kept going. Then I only had a couple of minutes left of the treadmill clock that was counting down so I kept going. Gotta love it!

And yesterday, well I had to run long enough on my incline treadmill to break a 40 mile week!

All in all, a great running week.

And that procedure? It revealed I am fine. Yes, I am happy about that. And yes, I was a bit sad no cause to tummy woes was discovered but I am okay with that. Before the procedure I already had the plan to go dairy free for 14 days to see if that was playing a role in things. I will blog more about that later but right now, it looks like I may be onto something!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my morning chats with darling daughter!
Daily Affirmation: I know my priroties and will keep darling daughter at the top.


Recharging My Soul

I blogged earlier this week about getting out of a running rut and I am in a rut, but not a running rut. A health rut. A not feeling so good about myself rut. A rut that is leaving me feeling heavy and tired. And as much as some people may want to imply, or tell me directly, it has nothing to do with overtraining. I am completely 100% confident with my running, my training, my progress, and where I am going. I just feel blah. And I attribute that to an ongoing stomach issue I have had for a couple of months now. In fact, it has been so long I no longer know the number of weeks off the top of my head. I used to. I used to be able to say my stomach has hurt for 4 weeks, 6 weeks.... Now, it just hurts. But not really like it used to hurt. It is a different hurt. Annoying hurt.

I am following doctor's orders and taking my medicine each and every morning, even when I think I may be better. And the "I'm better" days are really I'm better just not hurting as much as before days. The pain is dulled and my only dream now is to not take the medicine and be me again. And keep your fingers crossed that the doctors will discover the cause tomorrow and give me some insight. But I am not necessarily counting on that. I had a stomach issue years ago, did a bunch of tests, and got better on my own. Cause never known. And this is at the core of my rut and I think I am fearful of no answer and continued discomfort. That thought is making me edgy and when I am edgy, I sleep less peacefully. I am in a vicious cycle of a rut.

For weeks now I have been more focused on tracking tummy pain and seeing if it was linked to anything in specific that I started falling short on my nutrition focus. My meals are less planned. I am exhausted from analyzing my pain and seeing if there is a trigger. I did learn no lilikoi right now but in all reality, I wasn't eating lilikoi when the pain started so it isn't the real trigger.

All said and done, I need to recharge my soul. I need to get back to me. I need to keep running daily to clear my head and flush my body. I need to find my happy zone when not running. I need to get back to eating cleaner with well-planned meals, awesome weekly shopping, and tons of freggies. I need to get back to drinking a daily green smoothie when I get home from work. It always made me feel good. I don't see why it won't now. I need to take care of me from the inside out. And yes, I need to get more massages. Dear hubby is awesome at this but I need some real therapeutic massages focused on getting my energies moving properly and addressing any running related woes. I need to take care of me so I can feel re-energized.

So what am I going to do? Pick up some freggies on the way home, whip up myself a green smoothie, and perhaps make a wedge salad for dinner and lunch tomorrow!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to kick myself in the butt.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to recharge my soul.


Push It Wednesday: Get Out of that Running Rut!

It happens to all of us at one point or another, we are training quite happily and then kaboom! We are in a rut. Running ruts suck! Sorry, they do. It is hard to get motivated and do what you need to do when your mind is feeling blah, your body is feeling blah, and you are simply discouraged. But don't worry, you can indeed get yourself back out there and running merrily along!But how merry you run depends on you. 

Here are my 5 tips for getting out of a rut and I created two lists since I feel your strategy will change as you get closer to race day, assuming you have a target race for your training plan.

5 Tips for Getting Out of a Rut {Race Day is over 6 Weeks Away}
  1. First, ask yourself, am I overtraining? If yes, cut back miles or speedwork and perhaps incorporate more sleep. You will need to ascertain what you can cut/add based on where you are in your training schedule and what your primary goals are. Personally, I have found incorporating some recovery weeks in my training helps alot and in those weeks, I cut out tempo runs, intervals, etc. and just run easy miles all week. It is refreshing!
  2. Reward yourself! You are training hard and positive reinforcement makes a huge difference in everyone's life. How about getting some new tunes, a new running outfit, or perhaps just some sparkling water (my favoritie reward)? It doesn't have to cost alot but treat yourself!
  3. Run a different path or treadmill routine. It is hard to stay motivated when you do the same thing day in and day out. Switch it up! You can get some treadmill workout inspiration HERE!
  4. Sign up for a local race either as a participant or a volunteer. I do realize you may not want to race, or there may not be a race distance you like, so go ahead a volunteer. Just being there and participating can be revigorating. Race day endorphins are contagious! Go get yourself a dose of happiness!
  5. Run with a friend! Yep, get someone out there running with you. Even if you never speak to each other during the run, the norm for when dear hubby and run together, it is nice just having someone there with you!

5 Tips for Getting Out of a Rut {Race Day is within 6 Weeks}
  1. First, ask yourself, am I overtraining? Yes, this is my first question no matter what. But with race day just around the corner you may not love the idea of cutting back miles or speed; therefore, I strongly recommend SLEEP! Go to bed an hour or more earlier at least two nights in a row. It helps recharge and heal your body. Do it. You are worth it.
  2. Review your training log and write down a list of 5 positives. Yes, 5 positives. Find 5 things that you are proud of in your training. Perhaps it was a long run finished or running a certain pace or doing x-number of tempo runs. It could even be taking that much needed rest day 4 weeks ago and having a great run the following day. What about how many miles you have logged? The positives are there, FIND THEM!
  3. Stalk Check out the race website and/or materials. With race day just around the corner distract your sluggish mind by reviewing the course and other details. Now is a good time to start envisioning success on race day and to practice your mantras!
  4. Reward yourself. Yep, I am promoting self appreciation and positive reinforcement again. Treat yourself to new tunes, new running gear, a special drink (choose responsibly please and if you missed it before, I love to treat myself to sparking water!).
  5. Do something different. Run in a different place or run with a friend. Sometimes just by adding in a fun run you are able to get back on track with your training!
What are your secret weapons for getting out of a rut? Feel free to comment below!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for palm trees!
Daily Affirmation: I am open to love and to be loved.


Nike+: A Product Review

The other day I popped into a discussion on Nike+. There were many questions about how it compares to Garmin, is it good, etc. And then I realized, I have been running with Nike+ for years. It is really hard to tell since I don't think I really know when I started. But that is the lovely thing, I can log in and find out. Look at that, May 9, 2010, my first logged run with Nike+.

But let's rewind a bit. When I first started getting serious about running I wanted to know how long I was going in terms of miles and time. I wanted to know my splits. I asked for a Garmin. I received the Garmin Forerunner 410 as a gift. It worked beautifully but did take some time to "locate me" at the start of each of my runs. I had no real issues with Garmin. It was nice running in Spain knowing if I got lost I could follow the GPS map back "home". I didn't get lost...well, not to the point of having to follow the GPS back. But that is another story and this post isn't Nike+ vs. Garmin.

When I started running post childbirth and was serious about training for a marathon, starting with a half marathon, I purchased the Nike+ sensor for iPod. Why? I couldn't find my Garmin, a new Garmin was kind of expensive, I liked the idea of having a sensor that plugged into my iPod since that meant one piece of equipment...tunes and a sensor! Who could ask for more? And the added bonus, it was within my budget. You know, the working mom with a little kid budget.

Shoe tracker!
Since then I have upgraded from an iPod to a iPhone but I still run with Nike+. It may be the sensor, it may be the Nike+ Running app. It just depends and most days it is the sensor. I even run with the sensor on the treadmill but that isn't for knowing how far I have gone, but does help for calibration. It helps with keeping track of miles on shoes. That is a good thing!

If you are looking into getting Nike+, or have it and want to know more, here are some pros and cons to consider for both the sensor and the Nike+ Running app.

Nike+ Sensor Pros:
  • It is easy to attach to your shoe. You can put it in the specifically designed pocket in Nike+ compatible Nike shoes or just attach it to your laces in a pouch. I have a pouch. It is velcro and it easily moved from shoe to shoe.
  • It is affordable. The iPhone doesn't even require the receiver but your iPod will. The sport kit is $29.99. The sensor alone is $19.00.
  • You can share your runs via facebook and/or the Nike community. I don't join in on the Nike community for social media but I do like reviewing some of the stats and when they had the avatar you could dress, darling daughter loved doing that! Too bad that girl is gone.
  • The sensor does seem to have a good running life.  
  • You can have feedback on your run.
  • You can see your splits.

Nike+ Sensor Cons:
  • It requires regular calibration. If you really need to know your distance, be sure to recalibrate on a regular basis but often, I know it is wrong if my pace seems too fast or too slow.
  • It isn't consistent. My pace will jiggle all over the place during a run. Don't try to run to its stated pace for speedwork. You need to trust other means.
  • It is based on foot strike. This leads to some of the distance and pace errors I am sure.

How do you compare?
Nike+ Sensor Hints:
  • If your pace starts getting really squirrly it is probably time to replace the sensor.
  • If you are doing a long sensor based run, check your splits for the first couple of miles with road mile signs etc. to allow you to ascertain if the sensor is running true that day. I have found within the first few miles that I can determine if the sensor is on track, running slow, or running fast.

Nike+ Running app pros:
  • It is dependent on GPS.
  • It locates you quickly.
  • It will tell you if you have a weak GPS signal at the start.
  • You can see your splits.
  • It provides additional information such as temperature and elevation profiles.
  • The app is free and doesn't need to be replaced.
  • You can get feedback on your run and cheers. That is cool!

Nike+ Running app cons:
  • It uses a lot of battery power, especially if you are running with tunes too!
  • My longer runs outrun the GPS app so I have to rely on the sensor instead. You need to make this decision at the start.
Moving up meant a lot at the start

Nike+ Running Hints:
  • Be sure to turn off all other apps on your phone to maximize the battery life of your run.
  • Be wary of running through cities or other "sheltered" zones that may block the signal and provide inaccurate data.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for technology that enhances my life.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to overcome discomfort.


May Miles and Strength Training Week 8

I realized today when running that I wrote my May training report but I didn't get into the stats. So before looking back just one week, let's look back 17 days!

Once again, I ran 175 miles in May. This brings me to 734 miles for 2013 and 2,202 streak miles. May 31st marked day 519 of my running streak. My average miles per week for May was 39.5 miles and for 2013, 34 miles. I am still falling a bit short to achieve my goal of 2,013 miles in 2013 but there is still time. I am not overly concerned yet. But I do need to strive to keep that weekly average growing while training and running smart.

Now how did my 8th week of strength training (and my 11th week of marathon training) go?

Let's take a look!

For the most part, the week went well. I was completely on track to achieve my running goals. I knew I didn't want to run long on Father's Day so I had every intention to run 20 miles on Saturday. My plan was 10 miles at home then 10 miles at the gym mainly to avoid running a slow 20 miles on the incline treadmill at home and to have some long run running time without doing dual childcare. The bonus: darling daughter loves the Kids' Club!

I juggled the week's runs around a bit to achieve this goal and I was set and ready to go. But then Friday night darling daughter's eyes looked a bit pink. I had the thought of pink eye in the back of my mind but also knew she was at the beach for a school field trip and it could be that too. Saturday morning I awoke to her breathing a bit heavier and then she awoke with eyes crusted shut. My plans changed. 20 miles no longer mattered. She did.

Instead of getting up early I cuddled her and helped her open her eyes. I made her a nice breakfast and we headed out to get the essential groceries, comfort food (aka popsicles and ingredients for potato soup) and movies for a sick little girl, and got her to the doctor when they opened. Gotta love having the doctor available on Saturdays! We got the eye drops (yes, double pink eye...a mom always seems to know), got her home and situated with movie #1, and I started running. After about 1.5 hours, I took a brief break to make her lunch, ate a graham cracker with peanut butter and a few chocolate chips for long run fuel, and switched the movie. Then back to treadmilll for me.

We played the washcloth game that was invented during my 20 mile incline treadmilll run at the end of last year, ironically created when she got sick as well. Even though I had every intention to still do 20 miles, at 15 miles I knew my goal was achieved. I didn't NEED the 20 miles this time like I did last time. I had run through my lunchtime and really needed more fuel. Darling daughter was being great but I could see she would appreciate more Mommy time. I am still far enough out in my training cycle and have plenty of time for an adequate number of 20 mile runs before marathon #1. My priorities changed. 15 miles was perfect. Yes, I would fall short on miles this week as I still didn't want to run long on Father's Day but it would be fine. I had just run close to 3 hours in place. I didn't let excuses stop me and that is great mental training!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for weekend hours at our doctor office and that darling daughter is so much better already.
Daily Affirmation: I am commmitted to my training and am able to balance my life as a mom with my dreams as a runner.


Nourish Yourself: #whatsbeautiful

Since I wrote this post about A Typical Day in my life thoughts have been lurking in the back of my mind that I don't really take the best care of myself. Yes, I run daily. Yes, that is good for my heart and soul. Yes, I try to eat as clean as possible and strive for nutritious home cooked meals. Yes, I slipped some days. Yes, I am on target 99% of the time. But I feel I fall short in the pampering department. I just don't do it for myself and it comes down to budgets.

I am not good at spending money on myself for anything outside of my running related expenses. As much as I may want to feel like a beautifully pampered woman, I save those cents for groceries, pampering darling daughter, treating the family to dinner out once in a very rare occassion, etc. But is this necessarily right? Yes and no and I really don't want to go long into running a family on a budget, I just want to say, moms, you do deserve to pamper yourself.

After writing about my typical day I realized, I don't spend much on toiletries and often go to the bargain. And as I sat there with itchy skin thinking about it I remembered how when I was pregnant I indulged and bought Oil of Olay Ribbons to shower with daily with dreams of avoiding any stretch marks due to well nourished skin. And the calming scent soothed my soul. Over 5 years later, I am no longer moisturizing my skin and I am scratching like crazy. And I did the crazy. I indulged in another bottle of Oil of Olay Moisturizing Body Wash and you know what, I feel pampered when I scrub up. Within days, I am less itchy but not perfect yet and it feels good.

My next battle, my hair. It seems limp and unhappy. I know running and sweating puts a lot of stress on it but what if I good make it happier by nourishing it, and myself, a bit more and still not break the bank. Perhaps the Pert Plus or Suave Kids 2 in 1 shampoo, darling daughter likes the picture on it, isn't enough. Perhaps I need more? Perhaps not. I really don't know so if you have a favorite hair care routine please let me know! I feel every woman deserves to feel beautiful since we are each beautiful in our own ways.

That is one part I love about the What's Beautiful Challenge with Under Armour. I am so lucky to be a sponsored partiipant, you can read more about that HERE, as I can see it changing me and my own personal perspective about my training and my own beauty. I am finally able to call myself an athlete. You can hear me talk about that in the video below. I am embracing the challenges and trying new things. I am becoming stronger and more focused on my goal. I am saying #iwill when things get tough and moving forward. I am getting back up when I fall down and am not discouraged. If we truly push ourselves to test our limits I believe we will fall down. I see it as part of the challenge to becoming stronger. And in all this, I will remember to pamper myself to allow the goodness within me to shine out!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the moments when my stomach doesn't hurt.
Daily Affirmation: I have a beautiful heart!


Songs for Running - My Current Playlist

A dear friend asked me to share what's on my playlist over a week ago. Since I have been seriously slacking on getting the list to him, mainly because I keep forgetting to sit down and do it, I figured....why not blog about it as well? Perhaps it may be of interest to someone else but really, I would love to hear what tunes get you going during your runs. Feel free to comment and share your favorites!

Currently, my playlist is just a single collection of songs. Long story short - got a new computer, had to reload songs from CD's into iTunes, got a new phone, lost all old playlists, and I am starting from scratch in rebuilding my distance specific lists. That will come later and in all reality, I should work on it sooner than later. The last thing I want to be doing the night before a marathon is making a marathon-specific playlist.

So here it goes! The songs I run to!

Ain't No Sunshine - The Neville Brothers
All You Need is Love - The Beatles
Anatevka - Fiddler on the Roof
Angel Boy - Tim McGraw
Angel Eyes - Love and Theft
Angry All The Time - Tim McGraw
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
Bad Day (Workout Remix) - SHAPE Cardio
Beat It - Michael Jackson
Beer for My Horses - Toby Keith & Willy Nelson
Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - SHAPE Cardio mix
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Bottle Dance - Fiddler on the Roof
Call Me - Blondie
City of New Orleans - Willie Nelson
Come Together - The Beatles
Country Girl (Shake it for Me) - Luke Bryan
The Cowboy in Me - Tim McGraw
The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Charlie Daniels Band
Dirt Road Anthem - Jason Aldean
Down on the Farm - Tim McGraw
Down to You - Bonnie Raitt
Dream On - Depeche Mode
Dream On (Live) - Aerosmith
Drink On It - Blake Shelton
Drivin' My Life Away - Eddie Rabbit
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Fire - The Pointer Sisters
Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
Give It Away - George Strait
Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
Gonna Fly Now - Various Artists South Africa 2010
A Good Run of Bad Luck - Clint Black
Hard to Love - Lee Brice
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
Honky Tonk Badonkdonk - Trace Adkins
Hung Up (Workout Remix) - SHAPE Cardio
I Don't Want this Night to End - Luke Bryan
I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas
I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbit
I Love This Bar - Toby Keith
If I Was Jesus - Toby Keith
If I Were a Rich Man - Fiddler on the Roof
It Doesn't Get Any Countrier than This - Tim McGraw
It Happens - Sugarland
Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down
Let's Get It Started (Radio Version) - The Black Eyed Peas
Little Bit of Life - Craig Morgan
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Love Shack - SHAPE Cardio
Macarena - Los del Rio
Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys - Willie Nelson
Move Along - The All-American Rejects
My Sharona (Re-Recorded) - The Knack
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles
On the Floor (feat. Pitbull) - Jennifer Lopez
On the Road Again - Willie Nelson
One More Night - Maroon 5
One Way or Another - Blondie
Ours - Taylor Swift
Pickup Man - Joe Diffie
Pontoon - Little Big Town
Push It - Salt-n-Pepa
Rag Doll - Aerosmith
Real Good Man - Tim McGraw
The Real Slim Shady - Eminem
Red Solo Cup - Toby Keith
Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) - Big & Rich
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Sideways - Dierks Bentley
Sparks Fly - Taylor Swift
Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones
Take a Back Road - Rodney Atkins
Tall Cool One - Robert Plant
This Love - Maroon 5
Thunder Rolls - Garth Brooks
Time for Me to Ride - Toby Keith
Twist and Shout - The Beatles
Up on the Ridge - Dierks Bentley
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) - Shakira
Wake up Call - Maroon 5
Walk this Way - Aerosmith
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
We Are Young - 3OH!3
We Will Rock You - Queen
Where I Come From - Montgomery Gentry
White, Clean and Neat - Robert Plant
Whole New Way - Scissor Sisters
Why Don't We Just Dance - Josh Turner
The Wind - Zac Brown Band
Without Me - Eminem
A Woman Like You - Lee Brice
5-1-5-0 - Dierks Bentley

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I am done typing this list. ;)
Daily Affirmation: I am balanced in life.


Push It Wednesday: Look Back to Move Ahead

It is time for me to really look back at May and assess where I am, where I am going, and what I need to do. Yes, I could do this in the comforts of my home by myself but I feel there is value in blogging my monthly reviews. I feel it makes me more accountable to my goals and allows for the opportunity for the exchange of information, support, advice. We are all striving to reach our individual goals. We all have up's and down's and personally, I cherish hearing the raw details of other runner's training and race efforts as knowledge is power....even if the shoe isn't one size fits all.

First, May 2012. 

At first glance on my iPhone Nike+ app May 2012 had 63 miles. That seemed incredibly short for where I would have been in my training, I looked for my May 2012 report and discovered I didn't write one. Shame on me. But I dug deeper. I checked my stats on Running Ahead and Daily Mile only to confirm, my app lied. It makes sense. It only logs the miles I run with the sensor or GPS tracking me. That isn't always the case. Why didn't I think about that before? So in reality, in May 2012 I ran 110 miles. That makes me happier than 63. It allows me to better assess where I am in this training cycle as compared to last year. And what makes it nicer is that I am training for the same to big marathons at the end of the year. Apples to apples rocks! But it makes the image in this post inaccurate, and I have noted such.

But fortunately, I am using my stats from Daily Mile to construct this visual of how my training in progressing. I trust Daily Mile whole heartedly since I am 100% committed to being true and accurate here to track my running streak days and miles. I kinda like how the 2013 line is growing....how about you?

My Body and Mind

May has proven that my mind is indeed growing stronger. I have been battling tummy issues, and other things Mother Nature throws my way, and have been staying pretty much on target with my training. How do I know my mind is getting stronger? I am hitting tempo runs on days I don't want to run the tempo run. I always think of a zillion reasons to not run this run, or how to postpone the run, but I always dig deep to get it down. And in all reality, my mind does make the run worse than it is. Plus I am beginning to run the tempo runs with less looking at the clock for time and miles left. This is s skill I am working on as during runs I often think, how much longer? How many miles? How much time?

Sunday's run cemented how strong my mind is getting. And don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of work to do in this arena. But Sunday my mind kept me going when my body wanted to quit. And it wasn't my running muscles screaming, it was that darn female issue and the run colliding with the worse time of the month. And even though the run was only 15 miles instead of 16-18 miles I see it as a success. I pushed myself through many obstacles. My mind wasn't dwelling on how far I had gone or how far I had left. If it was dwelling on anything it was that I was only going to run 15 miles. And as much as I had thoughts of sending dear hubby ahead to come back and get me, I knew I would finish those 15 miles. And I finished them strong with my final mile being my fastest and my overall pace being just a few seconds faster than my target marathon pace to break a 4:20 marathon. Success. Near the end I asked dear hubby once about approximate distance. His reply, 14 miles with one mile to go. He knows me well but was off target at that moment. Ironically, I wasn't asking to see how much further I had to go or to see where I was due to a weak mind. I was asking to confirm that my sensor was on target because I didn't want to fall short on mileage due to error. I felt I was good to go and knew he would know better since he really does look at those mile signs along the road and we were on his traditional running grounds/route.

And the confirmation that my body is equally strong - I didn't feel any additional delayed onset muscle soreness after my run and was able to hit my training goals on Monday and Tuesday. But I am not so naive to think I won't feel any DOMS in the latter portions of my training as I am sure it will come. You just don't always know when.

June Goals

My May goals included to work more on my core training. That was a HUGE flop in most regards. But I have successfully done a few unspuported headstands! This was a smaller goal for my What's Beautiful challenge and darling daughter is delighting in me achieving my small milestones. But that core training, I need to get back to it and my squats for coffee breaks at work, or whenever I can fit them in. I know it is important for me and I need to push myself to stay focused and committed. And some yoga wouldn't hurt either to keep me nice and loose.

In addition, I want to focus on my nutrition in June. I have re-started a food log to document what I eat and how my tummy feels to see if something can be pinpointed. Unfortunately, my introductory month with a nutritionist is over. She was a doll and provided some insight on incorporating more protein here and there to keep my energy up. My stomach issues started at the end of the trial period and I just can't afford another month right now. And yes, I have doctor appointments and tests to help identify the cause of my tummy woes. Right now, my tummy seems better but perhaps that is the medicine that I am to take each and every morning. I don't want to continue to do that. Sorry, I do not like relying on medicine to feel good. It is a me thing. I just want to feel good. But right now, I am taking the medicine so my family, friends, and co-workers may not need to hear me whine comment so much about discomfort.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for no cane fires this morning.
Daily Affirmation: My hands can comfort others.


Spirit of the Marathon II

Gwendolen Twist, the producer of the Spirit of the Marathon II, kindly asked that I help spread the word about this awesome documentary that will be playing in select theaters nationwide tomorrow, June 12, at 7:00 pm local time. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to The One Fund Boston to assist those affected by the tragic events at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

The documentary will follow the journey of 7 runners as they aim to run a marathon through the streets of Rome, Italy. It is a movie I would LOVE to see but unfortunately, it will not be coming to Maui but it is playing on neighboring islands for my fellow Hawaii residents! You can check if it is playing by you HERE.You can watch the official trailer HERE.

If you get a chance to see it, please come back and comment on what you thought, what inspired you, etc. as I would love to hear more!

Thank you Gwendolen Twist for reaching out to me on my facebook page and allowing me to spread the word! The Spirit of the Marathon is also on facebook. I received no compensation for writing this post and did so out of my own generosity.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for sunshine and good friends.
Daily Affirmation: I use my social media contacts to spread goodness.


Strength Training Week 7: Run for the Callipygians

As much as I should really be reviewing May I can't resist talking about last week and how my training went - mainly because I want to highlight my runs for The Callipygians and their Race for the Clock. I supported this virtual run because my dear friend Yolanda is part of it and she is a true angel and how could I not support their running group striving to get a new time clock? The running group is S.W.F.T.R., a.k.a. South West Fun Time Runners, is an area-wide running club encompassing (at least) Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, and southeast Colorado. The club known as SWFTR (pronounced "swifter") was chartered in 1990. SWFTR also has a sister club based in Derby, KS, and known as T.R.R.A.C.Ks , a.k.a. The Road Racing Association of Central Kansas. {description taken from their facebook page}

I received my race package last week and was overly excited that it contained a race medal in addition to a t-shirt and some awesome reflective laces. Love winning things for being the participant that was the furthest away! And I must confess, the medal made me even more committed to doing a good run for this cause. I will get back to that later.

First, here is how my training went last week {and yes, the May review is just around the proverbial corner}.

It had its up's and down's but I feel I am more on the upswing these days. I started strong last week, which felt awesome after a few weeks of slow starts. I smashed my tempo run on Wednesday, which felt amazing after some crazy running over the weekend. Not long mileage just mileage with less sleep because we were camping. My tempo run has now grown to 6 miles and according to my plan, it should be at 4.5 miles by now. Gotta love progression! Thursday was a crazy family day and I fell short on time but knew I was still on target to hit my weekly mileage goal so I just went with the flow. Saturday was my first run for The Callipygians and I didn't feel it was enough to run just over 4 miles in place at home on my incline treadmill. I wanted more. So Sunday I headed outside with dear hubby for a couples run. My goal was 16-18 miles. I fell short. 

Sunday's run was incredibly difficult and amazingly awesome at the same time. I have a 6-10 hour window each month in which running and life in general is really difficult. This month, it collided with my long run. This often doesn't happen. I thought about bailing on the long run. I didn't want to do that. The idea made me feel weak. But I felt weak physically so I turned on my mental powers. As we drove darling daughter to our dear friends who were going to watch her I felt physically ill to my stomach. Starting the long run was going to be a big enough challenge in itself. But I did it and felt okay once I started running. That was until somewhere between 4-5 miles, maybe just past 5 miles, when I took a necessary Mother Nature pit stop. The pit stop wasn't the issue, I paused my timer for this but not at other times. I came out of the pit stop, started running, and the cramping intensified a thousand times inifinity. At one point all I could do was turn, huddle down, and not fall on my face on the side of the road. I wanted to scream. I did in my head. Dear hubby slowed and passed me up. Perhaps he feared I was going to vomit. Nope, just felt like my insides were being ripped out. It passed, I got up, I continued runing. The issue was just a few moments but it wasn't entirely gone. I slowed to walk and try to stretch it out but how do you stretch these types of cramps. I was clueless. I ran on saying I would be cramping no matter what. At 7 miles I thought of turning and just trying to make it back to our car. I thought of telling dear hubby to run ahead and come back for me. I kept running. I tried to run through the pain. It didn't really work. At just about 7.5 miles I told dear hubby we had to turn. He said "It's Okay." I probably yelled my response, "No it's not!"

I was mad. I was in pain. I didn't want to fall short on miles. But I didn't want to be laying in pain on the side of the road either. Or not completing the run I started. I was running for the The Callipygians afterall. I craved 16 miles. I accepted what was happening. I told myself, there is plenty more time in your training. On the return my cramps fortunately started easing up and finally vanished...to a degree. To be accurate, they just become tolerable. 

I finished strong and ran around our final destination just to securely cement the 15 mile run. I picked up the pace for the final mile. I earned my medal. Dear hubby never joins in on this and I know he is fully capable. He is faster than me. He can do it. For some reason, he thinks I think he is slow. He is wrong. I feel bad for keeping him at my slower pace for long runs. 

And check out these splits from this hilly course: 

During this run I consumed two Nathan bottles of VegaSport Hydration. I took a VegaSport endurance gel around mile 4 and mile 8. It was a weird fueling day. I felt no need for additional gels after my second gel.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for completing my 15-mile run at just sub-marathon pace.
Daily Affirmation: I am growing mentally stronger.


A Typical Day

My alarm goes off before 4:00 am. It is battery operated and I often wonder why those batteries last so long. And it is set ahead of real time so it is even earlier, which is good since my hand goes out, grabs the clock, silences it, and tucks in under the covers with me. I do this every day. I don't know why I can't just get up and wonder what I would do if I couldn't cuddle my alarm. Typically, I count to 100 and get out of bed. Sometimes I lose count, sometimes I drift, sometimes darling daughter awakes but often, I get up. When I don't, I go to plan B and that can be a post for another day.

I grab my Chico bag that I use as a gym bag and head out of the room. I change into my running clothes, put my little containers of VegaSport recovery mix and VegaSport protein powder in my purse with a wash cloth, grab my peanut butter muffin (I make them myself) and VegaSport pre-workout drink already in my Blender bottle, and lunch pack. I pack my Laptop lunchkit (darling daughter has the same), put on my running shoes (almost always Saucony), and head out the door. Destination gym. I eat my muffin and drink my pre-workout drink during my drive.

Once at the gym, I am pretty predictable. I unpack my yurbuds, my iPhone, and my wash cloth (I like this for my gym towel and use a variety of colors for fun). I position my Bondi Band and start running after I am synced with my Nike+ sensor. Yes, the treadmill has miles but this app allows me to track miles on each pair of running shoes too. Gotta love it! 

I conclude my run. Rinse my Blender bottle, add in the recovery mix, top off with water, and enjoy a run well done before work. (I drink the protein with my breakfast later in the day at work). But before work can truly begin, I must clean up. I take a quick shower, wash my hair (currently using Pert Plus right now and I am always changing brands), towel off, dress, rub on some Dove deodorant, and start my workday. I often leave my hair as it is or perhaps toss in a head band. Today I am trying a cool one from Heads Up. So far, I love it.

After work I pick up darling daughter from school and we head home always with huge plans of fun and games. We often get wrapped up in chores such as cleaning up the pre-school mess, putting away dishes, washing lunch dishes, making lunches, making dinner, showering (darling daughter comes in with my and she loves her Sauve kids shampoo and glycerin soap), eating, brushing teeth (and darling daughter just declared she loves the minty Colgate - I am stoked that I no longer have to buy kiddie toothpaste), sometimes a little movie time or Hay Day time, story time, cuddle time, and then adult time. Dear hubby may have one hour of my complete foggy attention before I zonk out, quickly wipe my face with a Stridex wipe (adult acne sucks), go to bed, and start the cycle once again.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the structure in my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to adjust to changes in routine.


Push It Wednesday: National Running Day

Woo-hoo! Today is National Running Day and when this special day happens to fall on a Push It Wednesday for me, there can be no excuses! I tweeted as much last night mainly to add an extra layer of accountability to hit my 5.5 mile tempo run slated for today.

But first, what is National Running Day? It's simple. It is the first Wednesday in June and it is a day for all runners to recommit to and declare their love of running. You can learn more HERE, find group runs, or make yourself a badge!

So when my alarm went off dark and early I had that extra bug in my ear. It is National Running Day. Do you really want to oversleep today? Do you really want to miss your run today? I think not. And even though I had no desire to run a tempo run as I stepped into my car, I knew I had to do it. My training goals are too big to slack. Today is too special to slack. I told the twitter world failure wasn't an option. I had to dig deep and get it done.

I got to the gym earlier than usual and savored the extra quiet. I got on my treadmill and started my easy one mile warm-up. It was time to pick up the pace and my body always feels out of sorts at first. Yes, I did a warm up and got my body adjusted but it seems to need a second adjustment period to get used to a 8'20" pace versus a 10'00" pace. I dug deep, listened to the music and said, just go 2 1/2 songs and you can check in. That grew to 4 1/2 songs before I looked at how far I had gone. 2.25 miles. Phew. I am feeling good and strong. (You can read more about my song trick and why I started it HERE.)  Okay, go for 4 songs. That grew to 5 songs. Just one more mile to go. I was feeling good and strong and decided to go another 0.5 miles to complete a 6 mile tempo run. With my warm-up and cool -down, I ran 7.52 miles before work. A pretty good start to the day on National Running Day!

P.S. Darling daughter will be running a little extra on the playground today for National Running Day and is committed to getting a good workout in herself. Gotta love it!

What did you run today? Did you make yourself a badge? Why do you run?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to talk to darling daughter every morning while dear hubby drives her to school.
Daily Affirmation: I am getting stronger!


Am I overtraining?

If you have been running and training for any length of time I am sure you may have asked yourself, am I overtraining? But if you haven't asked, you may still have been overtraining and if you have, you are hindering your race performance. And there isn't a magic number that if you hit it, you are overtraining. It is specific to each individual and will vary throughout your running career.

Let's look at my last full week of running (week 6 of strength training).

At first glance you may notice that I fell short of my training goals and as I coach, I would ask my client what was up. And for your knowledge, this week I was indeed okay...for the most part. That 1 mile Monday had me pondering what I was doing since it was the third Monday in a row with decreased performance and energy. I reviewed my training and realized I was running more at the end of the week and therefore; perhaps, asking too much from my body on Monday. On Wednesday I nailed my 5 mile tempo run at my target pace. The week before, I fell a bit short of target pace. My long run didn't happen not because I couldn't but because I chose to spend time with my family camping. I didn't know we would be camping this particular weekend when I wrote my program. It is okay. I say, it was an awesome recovery week.

And recovery is indeed important. But how do you know if you are overtraining? What are the signs? Does it matter? Can't you just run through increased training since more training means better running?

First, take a look at the signs of overtraining.

Yes, you may experience one or two here and there but if you are saying yes to a lot of them, take a break and run less or run slower. Your body needs some love. And yes, this does matter. It is through rest that your muscles heal and you get stronger. Running breaks you down at times. Allow your body to build back up.

I completly understand the desire to run more, run longer, run faster, etc. in order to achieve your racing goals. And yes, this is all necessary but if you continually beat up your body and don't allow it to recover, you are only risking serious injury and/or decreased race performance.

So to answer my first question, am I overtraining? Not right now and hopefully not any more. But I have in the past and that is when I see things like this.

correction, May had 110 miles. Phew!
Yep, I started going down in momentum before my September marathon. That race was hard. You can read about it HERE. It took me time to recover from the race and transition into training for my December marathon but I did it. And I learned a lot. And I am doing the same thing this year but better....I hope.

And to end things on a different note, here are 3 things I just don't understand (that I saw today):
  1. Sitting in a lawn chair in the middle of the road wrapped in dark blanket at 4:30 am {really?!}
  2. Working out in sweat pants and long sleeves or sweatshirts at the gym {I would be way too hot}
  3. The song about a bubble butt that was playing when I left the gym {sorry, just don't get it}
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the flowers dear hubby brought home to me yesterday.
Daily Affirmation: My blue eyes are indeed beautiful.


Let the kindness begin! Kindrunner is ready for you!

I am writing this post as an ambassador for kindrunner and I am really excited to make my first purchase! I was not paid to write this post and all opinions expressed are truly my own.

Did you see my post early this month about Am I a kindrunner? If not, you can go back and read it
but in a nutshell it introduced kindrunner.com - an e-commerce site for runners that provides an eco-friendly way to get new running shoes and turn in your old shoes to be refurbished and given to someone really in need. They have partnered with Soles 4 Souls and the More Foundation to make this happen. How awesome is that?! 

But it isn't just awesome for those in need who receive the shoes, it is awesome for you! And they are open and ready for your business. But before running on over to kindrunner here is why I believe this new company is going to succeed - great customer service for you, the runner who wants new shoes, with awesome features that will make shopping through their site truly unique.

The Awesome Kindrunner Features:
  • Confident Runner Pricing: You can get the running shoes of your choice below retail price. Yep, you read that right but there is a catch and it isn't sneaky. This option was designed for those who know what they want. I know lots of runners that say I only run in this make/model. If that is you, this is for you. The Free Return Shipping is not available with this feature but in all reality, if you know what you want you aren't going to be returning the shoes, right? And if it makes you nervous to forego free return shipping, just skip this option. 
  • FREE 3 Way Shipping: Free is good and free shipping on running shoes that you may get in a local store is incredible just because of the mission behind kindrunner. Customers will receive free shipping of their order, free shipping of any returns (if you did not do the Confident Runner Pricing option), and free shipping of your donated shoes back to kindrunner to be refurbished. Sounds like a win-win-win! Free shipping applies to all 50 states and yes, that includes Hawai'i. I asked! I guess that gives this a fourth win!
  • Kindness Cash Rewards Program: It pays to be kind! By mailing your old shoes back to kindrunner you can receive $10 credit for your next new pair of shoes. Here is how it works. Buy a pair of shoes from kindrunner. You will receive the return label to mail your old shoes back in. Put as many pairs of shoes you want in that one box, slap on the label, and mail it in at no cost. Kindrunner will scan your label and your Kindness Cash Reward will be applied to your account. Buy 5 pairs of shoes, mail in five pairs (one in each box), and you will receive $50 in Kindness Cash Rewards. I think this is a nice extra touch and a cool way to say thank you!
  • Expert Product Reviews: If you are browsing the shoes and want to know more, each product kindrunner carries will include an expert product review video on the page the product is on. You don't need to go hunting it down. It is there for you to make an informed decision. Kindrunner describes this service as bringing the knowledge of your local specialty running store into your home. Cool!
  • Easy 365 Returns: Customers have 365 days to return any product as long as it is in its original packaging and in its original condition. This made me think a bit but if for some reason you won't be able to use those shoes you just ordered, lets say you got injured, can't run for months, and then get the okay to run again but in a different model with orthotics. No worries. Yes, you bought those running shoes wrapped up beautifully 9 months ago. It doesn't matter. Go ahead and return them and get what you need!
Are you ready to pick out some new running shoes and start spreading the kindness? If so I have some evenFree Socks for Life!" Yes, you read that right. If you are one of the first 500 customers you will receive a new pair of socks with each running shoe order you place. Oh if I could only be so lucky! 
cooler news for the first 500 customers - "

And yes, I will be placing an order with kindrunner very soon as I think some new running shoes would be the perfect Father's Day gift for dear hubby! And I hope he isn't reading this blog post as I would have just spoiled his surprise.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for innovative business ventures!
Daily Affirmation: I am a kindrunner!