Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

I was very tempted to use my recent weak workouts as an excuse not to run today.  I sent my hubby out on a bike ride and intended to stay curled up on the couch, claiming I needed more rest.  After about 5 minutes of reading race recaps on my favorite local healthy living blog, Peanut Butter Runner, however, I was ready to get out there and give it whatever I had.  I stepped outside briefly to get a feel for the weather and then put on shorts and a tank.  I'm so glad I went for this run!  The sunshine and warm temps felt wonderful and although I was still plagued by lightheadedness after a short time, I finished with some really great speeds!

1 mile - 9:55 (9:52 average pace)
.25 mile - 4:17 (walk break)
.5 mile - 4:50 (9:36 average pace)
.05 mile - 1:03 (walk break - I thought I was done after this and sat on the front porch for a couple of minutes soaking up more sunshine, but then I decided there was no reason I could bang out a final .2 so that I could finish at 2 miles)
.2 mile - 1:41 (9:03 average pace)

It was a nice final run for 2011, even though I wish I was out there doing my 9.5 mile long run that's on the schedule for this weekend!  I still haven't managed to get in the 8 mile run that was scheduled for 2 weeks ago, so 2012 will definitely be loaded with some back-to-back long run weekends to get ready for the half!

Tomorrow I plan on writing a post about goals, hopes, and dreams for 2012 so I thought today I would recap a little of what has gone on in 2011...

I've bounced around a lot this year, trying out 3 different jobs.  I started off doing about 8 weeks straight of document review, which I tend to enjoy but got really tired of in March.  My mom had been begging me to come work as a contractor with her in the real estate department of a local supermarket chain's corporate headquarters, so I decided to give that a try from March to July.  It was fine, but I felt the company really took advantage of me.  They paid me next to nothing, I was constantly told about rumors about how I was going to be hired permanently and was being considered for a job in the legal department, only to be rejected less than 24 hours after sending in an application.  I called it quits there and decided to try working in my husband's law office.  This was nice as I had an extremely flexible schedule, but my husband and I just weren't meant to work together and that's okay with me.  In September I headed back to document review and that's where I've been since.  It's still only a contract job, but I enjoy the work and I've made several friends there so it makes it much more enjoyable.  It also pays pretty well!  I still don't have any sort of game plan for an actual career that I'll be happy pursuing for years to come, but it's in the works.

During the first half of the year, I put on a significant amount of weight and floundered around with P90X and Insanity, completing about 2 weeks of each program before giving up and doing nothing for several more weeks.  During the summer, when I became too fat to wear any of my clothes, I reached my breaking point.  I made a conscious decision to start running and be patient with it, and in September I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I've made huge progress from the beginning, when running for 90 seconds/walking for 120 seconds for 30 minutes was a challenge.  My longest run to date has been 8 miles, and I can now run a sub-10:00 mile!  My fastest 5K time has been 33:00!  I haven't lost a ton of weight yet, only about 7 pounds, but the difference in how my body feels and how I fit in my clothes is apparent.  Still a long way to go, but I'm so proud of how much I've done already!

The year has been pretty stable as far as my personal life.  My husband and I have a very happy marriage, we've stayed best friends, and still really enjoy spending time together after a year and a half of marriage and 5 and a half years of being together.  We did complete several things on the (very long) list of home improvements we need.  We fixed our pool, which had been a big hole with ripped liner and nasty green water for the past year, we had our bathroom completely retiled and a new shower put in, we replaced an air conditioner that had broken in fall of 2010, we furnished our dining room, and we got a baby grand piano!  We also went on our dream vacation to Maui, which was beyond incredible, and did a lot more traveling here on the mainland to Asheville, Charleston, New York, Savannah, and Myrtle Beach.  The only real bump in the road has been recently with our unexpected pregnancy and the heartbreaking loss a week later.  It's really thrown us for a loop but now we're both excited about moving on to a new year and our decision to start trying for a baby now!  Already the idea that we're trying to bring a new little person into our home has motivated me to tackle several home projects, including cleaning out and reorganizing our pantry!

{luau in Hawaii}

{traveling the road to Hana}

{Jackson Square in New Orleans}

{Top of the Rock in NYC}

Despite the hardships of this last week, it has been a truly wonderful year and I'm so thankful for all of my blessings.  I hope to make 2012 even better!  Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I have been MIA lately, and that's because I haven't been running.  My last official training run was Monday, December 19.  Later that night after running, I found out I was pregnant.  Four days later, I found out that my hormone levels were severely low and that my pregnancy would end soon if they didn't drastically increase.  After a difficult and tearful Christmas, I found out on Tuesday that my levels didn't increase at all, and on Wednesday I miscarried.  I'm thankful that if this baby wasn't going to make it that it happened early and I required no medical intervention, but it's still been heartbreaking.

Needless to say, this has taken an emotional and physical toll on me.  After the first doctor's appointment, I was so upset I couldn't find the energy to exercise for several days.  On Tuesday I felt better and went to the Y with my husband so I could start trying to recover some normalcy.  I did a 10-minute running segment at 5.5mph and I think I covered about 10 more minutes over the rest of the workout.  I kept having to stop and walk because of lightheadedness.  I didn't look at my total distance for that workout, but I know I spent about 45 minutes on the treadmill (mostly walking).

Yesterday I really wanted to run and wanted to get my training back on track, so I went to the Y again.  This time I completed a 15-minute running segment at 5.5mph, but was only able to run about a minute longer after the walk break.  I had the same lightheaded feeling which I'm guessing is connected to the fact that the miscarriage is still in progress.  I walked for the last 15 minutes and ended up completing 2.25 miles.  I tried to ride the bike some, but I still didn't feel quite right so I stopped after 5 minutes.  I don't want to overdo it and I'm really hoping to be back in the game by the end of the weekend!

As a bright light through all of this darkness I've been living through, my husband gave me a really wonderful Christmas present.  The plan for my 1/2 marathon all along has been that I would go to Orlando with my mom because my husband couldn't get off work, and I would run the race while she cheered me on.  My gift on Christmas morning was finding out that my husband bought himself a plane ticket and hotel room to come down to Orlando the day before the race and leave that night after the race, and that he will be running the race with me!  I am so, so excited!  It will be so wonderful to do this together!

I have been wanting a change in scenery for my runs lately.  The idea of running through our neighborhood in the dark and the cold just hasn't excited me the last couple of weeks.  I really just want some sunshine and maybe some natural areas (with nice paved paths) to run through!  I think we might try out something different over the weekend.  I'm hoping I'll be up for a longer run!

While this pregnancy was unplanned and a big surprise for us, my husband and I were really excited about having a baby after the idea settled on us.  The loss, though early, was devastating.  We've decided to significantly change our plans and go ahead and start trying to get pregnant, because it's hard to imagine not having a baby now.  So we'll see what happens, but I'm hoping that soon this blog will be about running for two!

Monday, December 12, 2011

101.44, baby!!

That's right...I have run more than 100 miles since getting Toby!  And there are a few runs that I did before Toby came along, and on the treadmill since I've had Toby.  It's great to see the number there in my stats, though!  It feels like such a big accomplishment.

I'm thankful I have that accomplishment to make me feel better about the crappy runs I've been having lately!  My old shin and ankle pains have come back and have been torturing my short runs.  Ever since the awesome 3.28 miles in 34 minutes I have been struggling.  I think the problem is that I stopped icing after every run because I thought I was better.  I'm icing as I write this and I hope that will make a difference on my next run.

Tonight I covered 3.15 miles in 35 minutes.  Not horrible, but not where I'd like to be at this point.  My ankles were aching almost from the beginning, but I managed to do 12 minutes before stopping for a 3 minute walk break to start out.  Then I pushed through another 13 minutes of running, 2 minute walk break, and ended with 5 minutes of running.

I really, really hate these leg pains.  I haven't had them in so long I'd forgotten how discouraging they were and how they could ruin what would otherwise be a really pleasant, fun run.  Tomorrow I'm going to hot yoga so that should get me nice and stretched out, and hopefully these ice packs will do the trick as well!

I ran to my parents' house again tonight and this time they were home, so I didn't have to run back :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Approaching 100

I've got 2 runs to sum up in this post...well, maybe 2 and a half.  My goal this week was to run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday--all short runs.  Monday was my fast, fantastic run!  On Wednesday the hubby and I set out despite some pretty chilly temps and some pretty fat rain drops.  I was all set to be hard core and run in the rain, but my feet started getting wet and the rain drops were splattering me in the face and making visibility pretty low (it was also dark).  So after 10:08 and .98 miles, I steered us back inside the house.  Hubby was very grateful.  I was disappointed, but no sense running with cold, wet feet!

I decided to make up for Wednesday's short-lived run by running on Thursday.  I set out alone planning to run 3 miles.  After the first two, my legs were cramping pretty badly and I considered throwing in the towel.  I turned off Toby and came in the house, but I did a few stretches and felt better so I decided to finish it up!  I headed it back out and randomly decided to run to my parents' house.  I've considered doing it several times as they live less than a mile away in the neighborhood right next to ours, but just hadn't done it yet.  Of course the first time I decide to surprise them, they aren't home!  I finished up my 30 minutes right at their driveway and went inside to say hello to the puppies.  Now at this point, I didn't really want to run anymore and had intended that my parents would drive them home.  I considered calling my husband to see if he was leaving work soon and would pick me up, but then I remembered my parents don't have a landline anymore!  I sat there for a few minutes, debated waiting on them, and then decided I'd just run back home.  It actually turned out really well because the last leg of the run went great and I finished at 4 miles in 43:15 (not including the breaks I took inside)!

This afternoon was time for a 3 mile run, which I considered making a 4-miler because I was pumped from Thursday night, but my legs were so tired today and I just didn't have it in me!  I actually fell a little short of my goal of running for 3 total miles, not including my walk breaks, and finished up at 3.1 in 34:37.  I did some yoga this evening to help stretch out my legs...I definitely need to get back into my 2 class per week routine!

On two of the runs this week I got to try out my FABULOUS new lululemon gear!  On the rainy run that wasn't meant to be I wore my Run: Essential Jacket.  It was really comfortable!  So soft and light I didn't feel like I was wearing anything, but it definitely helped protect my body from all the raindrops!  I also L-O-V-E the thumbholes!  They are absolutely my favorite thing about lulu clothes and I wish all my long-sleeved tops had them!

On my 4-miler I wore my Run: For It Tights and Run: For It Pullover.  I wish I could wear these all the time!  I got both in black so I look like a running ninja!  They are lined with tech-fleece, which is so soft and so cozy.  As soon as I pulled on the tights I felt warm.  The rise on the tights was perfect--they didn't slip or side a single time during my run!  And the pullover...oh, the pullover!  Be still my heart.  It's so flattering...I adore the asymmetrical half-zip and the cuffins kept my hands nice and toasty until I got warmed up!  I really have no negatives about either item.  I want it to keep getting cold so I can keep wearing them on every run!  Although as it gets colder I'm gonna have to wear a tank under the pullover.  I did wish I had a little more warmth in my core by the end of the run.

All in all, a very good week!  I might go for a little run tomorrow as well because I'm less than 3 miles away from hitting 100 miles on Toby!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I used to watch several TV shows religiously.  My DVR was always packed!  I had at least 8 shows set to record every week, and none of them were shorter than an hour.  I've had to give up a lot of that TV watching since I graduated from school but I really don't mind that much.  Right now, though, I'm watching one of my favorite shows--The Biggest Loser!  I used to watch it every week when I was in school, but now I catch it when I can.  I made absolutely sure to be around for tonight's episode because it's the marathon episode!  The race just started and all the contestants look so amazing!  The funny thing is...I'm actually feeling jealous of them!  I'm so excited for my race and can't wait for it to get here!

I went for a short run yesterday after work and decided to consciously try to go faster.  I ended up running up every wicked hill in our neighborhood and did three 10-minute running segments with 2-minute walk breaks in between.  I hit the 3 mile mark at 32:00 and 3.1 at 32:33!  I was so excited!  My legs were really tired (but I'm sure that had a little to do with the 8 miles I covered on Saturday and all the hills I did during the short run), but I wasn't struggling with the speed.  After I uploaded my stats from Toby I saw that I averaged a 10:21 pace!  It just felt EXCELLENT to know that I could run that fast at this point and that I'm only going to get better!  The long runs have been hard but not unbearable and the half marathon is feeling so doable at this point!  My 2:30 goal even feels pretty close!

With all the accomplishments I've made in my running recently, it's really bringing a lot of joy to my life!  I feel so happy and strong after a run, I actually want to eat healthier, I feel better in my clothes and I'm able to fit into things I couldn't wear a few months ago.  I'm so glad I made the decision to make running a part of my life and I can't wait to just keep pushing myself and making myself a better and healthier person.

My sweet husband who spoils me oh-so-much got me another early Christmas gift.  He took me to lululemon and let me pick out whatever I wanted to get outfitted for cold weather running!  I got some super cute stuff and I can't wait to post about it after I've gotten to try it out (it's been in the 60s every day here lately so a little too warm for my new toasty duds).

I'm keeping up with my yoga as well and feeling more flexible and more connected with my breath at every class.  I am thisclose to achieving a full headstand, I just need to get a little stronger in my core!  I've been doing little snippets of yoga at home as well, mostly some easy hip openers because I've got really tight hips and they need all the work they can get.

I'm in such a happy place right now! :) The Biggest Loser already has me crying and feeling all sappy and emotional about how far those people have come and how strong they are, but I'm also a little teary thinking about what I've accomplished as well.  Another quick short run coming up tomorrow...maybe I can beat my time from yesterday!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunny run

Today's run was nice because it was my first run in the sun in awhile!  My weekday runs have been in the dark lately because I always run after work.  But the sunshine sure felt great today and gave me the extra boost I needed to make it through 7 miles of running, 8 miles total!

I was trying hard to make sure I ran slow when we started out (hubby went with me - yay!), but I ended up throwing myself off.  I was running all wonky and ended up feeling more tired after the first 3.5 miles than I did after the 3.25 mile run at the 10:30 pace earlier this week.  During the second half I allowed myself to pick up the pace a little bit and just run where it felt comfortable, with the result that I didn't have any shin pain and felt better on the whole.

At the halfway point we stopped at the house for a water break and to fuel up.  Today I tried Clif ShotBloks, strawberry flavor, and I really liked them!  I felt like they really did give me a tiny burst of energy, they tasted great, and they didn't leave my mouth feeling salty like the gel did.  I will definitely be trying these again!

I felt like the ideal plan for this run would be to do four 1.75 mile segments, with the usual .25 mile walk breaks in between.  However, I was prepared to have to split it into five segments rather than four, if I was feeling tired.  I started off feeling very strong, though, and we ended up running 2 miles before the first walk break, followed by a 1.5 mile running segment and then our halfway break.  I was feeling so bad after the first half I really thought we'd be splitting the last half into 1.25-1.25-1 segments.  But changing up my pace and attitude really helped and we made it to 1.75-1-.75!  I would have loved to just do two segments in the last half instead of three, but after that 1 mile my legs were feeling dead so I knew I'd have to have a break!  I'm okay with it though because it put us at a nice even 8 miles total!  We finished in 1:35:13 with an average pace of 11:53...which I think is AWESOME!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Back in the game!

I haven't posted in awhile, but I have been running!  On Sunday my husband and I managed to make it out for the 6 mile run!  I was tired, and feeling really beat by the end, but we did it and it felt great.  The goal was four 1.5 mile segments, but I was really dragging at the end so we split the last segment in half at .75 miles.  That put us at four .25 mile walk breaks for 1 mile total of walking.  We ended up at 7 miles in 1:27:12 with an average pace of 12:27.  I would liked to have gone a little faster but I just wasn't up for it. I was still getting over the tail end of my wicked cold!

I also tried a gel for the first time on the 6 mile run--PowerBar chocolate flavored.  It was a lot tastier than I expected!  It actually tasted a lot like liquified Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bars, which I love!  I didn't notice that it gave me a huge energy boost, but maybe I would have really been dying if I hadn't had the gel halfway through the run.  The one thing I didn't like was that it tasted a bit salty and my mouth felt dry during the last half of the run, even though I drank almost an entire bottle of water with the gel.  I've got 3 more kinds to try, so I'll check one of those out on the 7 mile run I've got scheduled for Saturday!

Last night we went for a 30 minute run (I'm so glad my husband has been joining me lately, we've been having such a great time together!), our first run in sub-50 degree temperatures.  I wore a Nike DRI-Fit Cotton long-sleeve tee and my Nike pants, and because it felt so cold out I also wore my North Face jacket.  About 5 minutes into the run I definitely didn't need the jacket and unzipped it almost all the way. Being so insulated also kind of through me off my game--I ran at a very slow pace for a short run and I also was running with poor form because my legs were bothering me at the end.  But I'm super proud because we ran the whole 30 minutes without any walk breaks!  That's the first time I've been able to do that since my very first day of Princess Training!  We resolved that we both wanted to run a little faster the next time, though!

Next time was tonight--we went out for another 30 minute run.  This time I was better prepared as far as what to wear.  I ditched the North Face, and since the Nike cotton tee is too thin for these temps, I wore an Under Armour shirt that I've had for awhile.  It ended up being perfect!  I was a bit cold at first but quickly warmed up.  The sleeves were long so I could pull them over my hands (just wish they had thumbholes) and the top had a half-zip up top, which zipped would make a mock turtleneck.  It even had a little zipper garage so the zipper wouldn't scrape my chin!  I wore my Nike pants again because they are amazing, and I felt great the whole run!  We definitely achieved our goal of running ended up being my fastest run to-date!  We did two 15-minute segments with one 5-minute walk break, so we ended at 35:00 with a total of 3.26 miles and an average pace of 10:44!  WOOHOO!!!!!!  Now if I could just run that fast without the walk break!  I'll be getting pretty close to 3 miles in 30 minutes, which is at the top of my goal list!

So far, I'm really liking running in the cold :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First run in the new shoes

I just finished my first run in my new Mizuno Wave Riders!

And the verdict is... LOVE!!  One thing I was worried about was the size of the shoes.  I'm normally an 8, but the fitologist (love that word) at Run For Your Life recommended I size up to a 9 so my toes wouldn't be pressed right up against the front of the shoe.  He said if I was dealing with that for 13.1 miles, my toes would hate me by the end.  I took his advice, but I was a little worried I would feel like I was running on boats today and trip over the big shoes.  It ended up not being an issue at all!  I actually really liked how my midfoot and arches felt snug and secure, but I had all this delightful room for my toes to spread out!

When I first started out, I could really feel in my legs that I was running a little differently.  I think it was just the adjustment to the different kind of cushioning in my new shoes because the soreness only lasted for about a minute and then I was fine.  I also felt some minor soreness in my feet at different points, but again I think it was just adjustment to the shoes.

Overall, it was an excellent run!  Because my cough attacked with such vengeance last night, I decided to just do a 30-minute run today.  My initial goal was three 10-minute running segments punctuated by 2-minute walk breaks.  But once I got going, I just kept talking myself into running further (this was mostly to do with my desire to time my walk breaks to coincide with going up a hill) and ended up running 21 minutes before taking a 4-minute walk break.  I finished up with a 9-minute running segment and ended up completing 3 miles at 34:05!  Now if only I could hit 3.1 in that time...

The biggest indicator of how great my shoes are came at the end of the run.  I came inside to do some stretches because my shins and calves are usually pretty tight, even after a short run, but when I got into a nice down dog, my legs felt just like they did before the run!  Not tight, not cramping, just warm and strong!  But I'm still sitting on the couch with my ice packs on, because my ice packs make me feel hard core and I've missed them :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Trot!

Well, after my run last Wednesday, I really started to feel the effects of the cold I was trying to catch.  I decided to rest on Thursday in hopes that I would be better by the weekend, but the cold just kept getting worse.  I'm pretty sure the cause was me not getting enough sleep last week.  I ended up leaving work early on Friday and not working at all Monday and Tuesday of this week.  I was already taking off the rest of the week because of Thanksgiving.

I've been steadily getting better with lots of rest and yesterday I finally felt up to running again!  My husband and I had been planning on doing our own Turkey Trot the morning of Thanksgiving for awhile so I was excited I was able to participate!  I did decent, but I could tell I hadn't been out in awhile.  I was able to do two 1.5 mile segments with a .25 mile walk break in between.  It took almost exactly 38:00.  My stats from Toby are decent--it's obvious that starting out I was having a hard time finding my groove and my happy pace, but I got there after about 6 minutes.  I was really pleased with it and very happy to be back out again!

I was really starting to feel like a lazy lump again and I was worried about falling behind on my training!  I'm about 4 runs behind, including a 6 miler, which I'm hoping to complete either tomorrow or Sunday.  I'm all better except for this nagging cough, which has decided to really bother me today, but the hubby and I have been very busy doing Black Friday shopping so I think I just need to take it easy the rest of the night!

Speaking of shopping, Pete had an early Christmas surprise for me today!  He wanted to drive to Charlotte today to check on some deals for him, so while we were up there he suggested we stop by Run For Your Life, the running store that's near my yoga studio that I've wanted to check out.  Then when we walked in he told me we were stopping so that I could get custom fitted for new running shoes!!  That's where I was planning on getting them when I needed new shoes, but it was really exciting to go ahead and get them!  The staff member who assisted us was excellent.  He talked to me about what kind of running I was doing, whether I was having any pain or issues, and then he watched me walk and run.  He said that I'm running pretty neutrally, so that's great!  I tried 3 different pairs, ran in each one, and ended up doing a side-by-side comparison of Nikes that were similar to the shoes I had and a pair of Mizunos.  When I put them on side-by-side, the difference was obvious!  The Nikes were sliding around my foot and felt cushioned, but not secured.  The Mizunos had more arch support but also felt snugger through my midfoot and didn't slide around at all!  I can't wait to try them out on the's hoping that will be on the 6 mile run this weekend!  After I picked out the shoes, the staff member suggested some good technical socks and also talked with me about different gels and energy boosters that would be good during my long runs.  I plan to start trying those soon too!  I have the very best husband! (He didn't get left out of the Christmas fun...we also got him a brand new road bike from Bike Line so he can get ready for his triathlon in April!)

It would be a pretty perfect day if I didn't have this cough!  I'm so ready to be healthy again and running regularly!  I also haven't been to yoga in a week and I'm feeling desperately tight.  Next week I'm going to start afresh and go to sleep earlier so I stay healthy for my workouts!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Back from the Big Easy

I haven't blogged in awhile because I just got back last night from a trip to New Orleans!  The trip was a surprise for my dad's 50th birthday and we had a really great time!  I had been looking forward to the trip for awhile and the opportunity to explore a city through running, however, NOLA had other plans for me!

The first few days there were 22mph winds sweeping through the city and it was just too cold and too much of a struggle to fight through that wind!  I made do with the treadmill at our hotel and was pleasantly surprised that I ran at an 11:19 pace for two 15-minute segments with one 3-minute walk break in between.  I could really tell a big increase in my fitness from the last time I ran on a treadmill, and I could also tell the difference between running on a nice flat surface and up and down all the hills in my neighborhood!

After the weather perked up a little bit I still didn't get to run outside because there was really no great area close to us.  It was a week of short runs--two 30-minutes and one 3-miler--but the sidewalks were so cracked and uneven that I think it would have been a hazard to run on them!  I did see some people running in the grassy area between the streetcars, but they had to duck out of the way when two streetcars passed each other and I decided not to mess with that.  But on my second treadmill run I completed the entire 30 minutes at an 11:19 pace with no walk breaks!  I felt great and strong through the whole run and it was very motivating!

I meant to do all three of my runs for the week in New Orleans, but too much rich food and the desire for more leisure time with my family caused me to only complete two runs.  I'm okay with that, though!  There was one day where I considered running, but we had done so much walking the day before I just felt like I needed to rest.  I've been trying to keep the mantra "listen to your body" in my mind and give myself rest when I need it so that I don't overtrain or make myself sick.  So far so good!

So tonight I completed the 3-miler that I missed in New Orleans!  I really think I could have finished the whole 3 miles without stopping, but a challenging hill prompted me to take a .2 mile walk break.  It was a really great run, though!  When I started, the manner in which I was running can only be described as buoyant!  It was 70 degrees outside, dark, but it felt wonderful and I was really happy to be back home and running outside again.  I was bouncing along cheerfully, until I peeked at Toby and noticed I was bouncing along at a paltry 12:45 pace.  So I curbed my bounce and focused on maintaining my happy pace of (roughly) 11:30.

Tonight was also the first time I wore my headlamp.  I felt like a giant dork, but it was actually very comfortable and helpful on my run.  I wore this headlamp from Athleta and was very pleased with it!  It wasn't too tight, it stayed in place, and lit my path very well.  I felt safe from passing cars and I was able to see the road in front of me so as not to slip on any pine cones or trample through piles of leaves.  Sometimes when I wear things snugly around my head during a workout I'll get a headache, but I didn't have that issue with the headlamp.  It's also a delightfully girly shade of pink, which is just an added bonus!

I've been paying close attention to my 5K time during my recent runs.  Running 3 miles in under 30 minutes is definitely on my list of 1-year goals!  Tonight I was right at about 36:00 when I hit the 3.1 mile mark.  When I was running in 2009 I ran in one 5K race and finished in about 38 minutes, and I was pretty darn slow.  I would really like to blow that time out of the water!  I'm not sure the event timing was all that accurate, but I've got 38 minutes fixated in my mind nonetheless.  I'm happy to have beaten it, but I want to pulverize it!

When I got home I enjoyed this post-run pumpkin spice protein smoothie!

It was delicious, but my blender is kind of so-so and didn't completely puree the raisin bits, so my smoothie was a little on the chewy side, which I wasn't thrilled about.  I've been thinking about getting something like a Magic Bullet to make smoothies, but I haven't decided what I want yet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Long and strong!

I had my most successful long run thus far today!  5 miles were on the calendar and my goal was to run in 1 mile increments with .25 mile walk breaks in between, five times.  Because of my struggles with pace and poor form in previous runs this week, I really wanted to focus on doing well at this run.  I read a few articles before heading out on long runs to remind myself on how the run should go.  I knew I needed to put a lot of effort into maintaining a slow pace that allowed me to finish strong without any huffing and puffing, but I also had to concentrate on keeping good form at that pace so that I didn't end up with leg cramps.

Well, I succeeded on both counts!  During my first increment I decided to keep running to 1.25 miles because of hill location.  I actually felt strong enough to maintain that ratio through the whole run, though, and I ended up with 4 1.25 mile running increments instead of 5 1 mile increments.  I was so excited!  I checked my pace with Toby frequently and tried to stay around 11:40.  Pete told me on the run this week when I had such horrible form that it looked like my legs were closer together than usual.  So today I listened for my pants rubbing against each other and if I could hear it, I adjusted my form.  It seemed to work well!  I also paid close attention to how my feet were hitting the ground and pushing off evenly from both feet instead of favoring the left.

During the last .25 miles of the run, I felt so strong that I sped up on the last leg!  I wasn't huffing and puffing, my legs were tired but not in pain or cramping, and I just felt amazing with the accomplishment.  I finished in 1:09:49, with a total of 5.75 miles including the walk breaks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Well, on tonight's run I was so concerned with not running too fast that I ran too slow!  One of these days I'm going to master pacing.  But anyway, I decided to do 5:1s because I wore heels today and my legs were feeling stiff.  One positive thing about the run was that my super slow pace gave me a lot of endurance and this is the first time I've really noticed a big difference in my endurance based on my pace. After the first two 5:1s, I went for 12:30 before taking another 1 minute walk break, and then did the last 7:30 without stopping.  We covered 2.8 miles in 33 minutes--not horrible, but not great.

My legs were hurting a bit during this run, but it's definitely because my form was super sloppy.  My husband said that I was running weird the whole time.  At the end of the run, I noticed that the ball of my right foot was sore like it had been running barefoot on the ground but I did not have the same feeling in my left foot.  I think I was pushing off on the right foot with all of my weight instead of distributing it evenly across both feet.

On Friday's run I'll definitely be focusing on finding my happy pace!  I told my husband that these 30-minute runs just seem so challenging to me, even more challenging than the 5-miler coming up on Sunday, because I just don't like running based on time.  For some reason I feel like I do better when I'm going for a specific distance.  He proposed the simple solution of making those runs 3-milers instead of 30 minutes.  I think I'm going to give that a try, because I'll feel like I accomplish more and I won't be watching the clock the whole time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some like it hot

And that includes me!  I went to my first Hot Vinyasa class tonight and I loved it!  I knew it sounded cool to me, but I wasn't sure I would actually like it.  I kept envisioning sweat pouring off me and feeling soaked and like I couldn't breathe.  In reality, the heat felt great and not humid at all, and I certainly sweated a lot but not inconveniently a lot.  I felt loose and limber and was rocking out my forward folds!  Afterwards the sweat dried fast (thank you luon!) and I felt cleansed and relaxed.  I hopped on over to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things and got a delightful juice, which I can't remember the name of now but it's green and full of vegetables, along with kiwi, banana, and mango, and delicious!  I also got some Mediterranean style hummus which I enjoyed for dinner when I got home.  All in all, an excellent evening!

I didn't blog last week's runs but they went really well.  They were short runs.  Tomorrow my first 30-minute run of the week is lined up and I'll wrap this week up with a 5 miler!  Woohoo!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strength and gratitude

Today's run was really strong!  It was a 30 minute run and my goal was a 5:1 ratio.  Hubby went with me and we had a really nice time.  The leaves are changing and looking beautiful in our neighborhood, the temperature was perfectly crisp, and we were able to chat some as we ran.  It made the whole thing so pleasant!

Also very pleasant was how strong I felt today!  During last week's 5:1 run, I was struggling after the first 2 running segments.  That was mostly because of leg pain, but I was also a bit winded.  Today I felt strong throughout the whole run, I might could even have done a 6:1.  My goal is to eventually be running 3 miles during all of these 30 minute runs, but I'm not quite there yet.  With about 1:20 to go I was at 2.83 miles, so I pushed and ran really fast for the last little bit, ending up at 2.96.  Sooo close!  But I felt good and strong even at the speedy part, so that put a big smile on my face even if I feel short of the 3 miles :)

Yesterday's Vinyasa class was also wonderful!  At the beginning of the class the instructor told us to think of someone towards whom we felt gratitude, who made it possible for us to be at yoga class.  There was no question in my mind who that was for me - my very sweet husband.  On Sunday I made a big batch of vegetarian chili in the crock pot to take to work for my lunch this week, but I didn't start until 7pm.  I thought it would only take 3 hours, but at 11:30 it still wasn't done.  I have to get up at 5:45am to make the hour's drive to work, so it was already way past my bedtime.  Pete offered to stay up with the chili so I could go to sleep, and he stayed up until it was done at 1am and then put it in five individual containers, one for each day of the week.  That's only the most recent example, but he works so hard for our family and encourages me in both my running and my yoga.  So I dedicated my practice to Pete and focused on sending him all my good feelings and thoughts.  I told him about it when we both got home, and he told me that he actually had one of his best nights at his tennis group.  Guess all those good feelings made it to him!

The pose we worked towards in class was Frog and when we got there, we stayed in it for what felt like forever!  It was really tough, but I made it through the whole thing and it felt amazing afterwards.  My hips felt so open, even throughout the day today!  We also did Mountain Climber, which my teacher said I could do if I let go of the fear of supporting my weight with my arms.  Easier said than done!  I was still feeling good and happy from yoga when I got home and kept practicing a few things, and I ended up achieving Tripod Headstand for the first time!  Yay me :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back with a vengeance!

Wednesday I decided to skip a run and rest to get over a little cold, and I planned on going to yoga Thursday and Friday and doing my long run on Sunday.  On Wednesday night I took some Nyquil and went to bed at 9pm, but when I woke up for work I still felt very out of it.  At my husband's encouragement, I took the day off of work and canceled my yoga class for the night.  I ended up getting a full 15 hours of sleep, laid on the couch and watched HGTV all day long, and feeling much more prepared for work the next day.  Yoga on Friday night left me feeling very cleaned out and rested, I took another day off on Sunday (although I ended up cooking all day for a family dinner, but that was lots of fun!), and today I was ready to tackle my 4 mile run.

I was very nervous about the run because this is the longest distance I've ever attempted.  My goal was to finish 2 miles without stopping, and then I'd see how I felt for the last 2 miles.  And I achieved that goal!!!  I ran the first 2 miles and then was winded, but not the worst I've been.  I planned my route so I ended up at my house at that point and I took a few sips of water from a bottle I'd stashed on my front porch.  I wanted to run another mile after that, but my legs were feeling leaden and I only made it .25 miles before I had to take a walk break.  My walk breaks are always just .25 miles when I'm doing distance runs.  For my next running segment I had a goal of .75 miles but I ended up going a whole mile.  I was seriously considering pushing through to 1.25, but since I'm still getting over the lingering effects of my cold I didn't want to push too hard.  So I took another walk break and had a few sips of water at my house again, and then I finished the last .75 miles running.  

4 miles of running, 4.75 miles total, total time of 56:30, average pace of 11:53, and another big check mark on my training schedule!!!

I thought a lot this week about my progress.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not making progress because I still can't fit into my favorite jeans, I still can't consistently run 30 minutes without stopping, and I still can't run the scheduled distances without stopping.  But I've been reminding myself a lot lately to notice that I really have improved a lot since starting this blog.  I used to be huffing and puffing and falling over like crazy if I tried to attempt to run a mile!  I still remember the first time I ran the nature trail and I was dying after 10 minutes and .75 miles.  Now I run a mile and I feel great!  It still feels like work, but I definitely don't feel like I need to stop or like I'm going to keel over.  I'm also getting faster, there are times when I can run pretty steadily at a 9:35 pace!  I'm going to make a real effort throughout my training, and beyond, to notice the progress I've made (even if it's small progress) and to be proud of myself for just making the effort to do this!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Under the weather

I made a big decision today.  I decided not to run.  I'm signed up for Vinyasa classes Thursday and Friday night, so tonight would be my last chance to get in my second 30 minute workout for the week.  My cold felt worse today than yesterday, though, so I made the decision to miss the run.  This was difficult because I'm kind of a nut about keeping to the training schedule, but I'm trying to make the right decision and let myself get better in time for the weekend's long run.

I'm going to be sad that there will be a check missing from my training schedule, but I feel that I'm doing the right thing...curling up on the couch by the fire watching Harry Potter movies! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fight to the finish

Today's run was long and hard.  Sore from the vigorous yoga practice yesterday, my legs felt sluggish and crampy.  Weekly runs never seem to go as well for me as the weekend runs.  I am more tired on weekdays from getting up early for work, but I also hate the timed runs, and all my weekday runs are 30 minutes.  I know eventually that short amount of time will be a welcome break for me, but right now these runs are just plain tough.

I decided to try something different for tonight's run.  I've been feeling sneezy today (mostly due to the fact that our bathroom has been in the process of being retiled for the last 6 weeks and our bedroom has been in a constant haze of tile dust--it's finally getting to my sinuses) and I worried about being able to make it through tonight's run.  When I set out and felt tired after only 3 minutes, I decided to complete this workout at a 5:1 run/walk ratio.  That means I ran for 5 minutes and walked for 1 minute, then repeated until I had spent 30 total minutes running.  I thought this would be easier on me, but it got pretty tough at the end!  I had to take a 2 minute walk break after the fourth running interval.  I finished with a total of 2.88 miles at 36:00...definitely not my fastest, but I've got to give myself a pat on the back for just completing this workout.

Now to figure out what to do for the rest of the week.  I'm definitely planning my long run (4 miles!) for Sunday, because that seems to be the day that works best for me.  I'd like to have at least 2 rest days before my long run, so I need to do my other 30 minute run either tomorrow or Thursday.  I'm planning on another Vinyasa class Friday after work, but I'd really like to squeeze in another yoga class this week as well (while I've got the 1-week unlimited starter pass).  Initially I wanted to do my other run tomorrow and go to another Vinyasa class taught by Emily (instructor from Monday night, she was great!) on Thursday.  Now I'm concerned that my legs might still feel pretty beat down tomorrow and maybe I should go to the Vinyasa Chill class tomorrow night instead.  Decisions, decisions...

It sure feels great checking all these runs off my training schedule, which is hanging on the fridge! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Exhilarated joy

I went to my first yoga class today at Gotta Yoga University, and it was amazing.  I chose a Vinyasa class because that's what I'm familiar with, but I had no idea if the regular class would be too much or if I needed to do the beginner class, so I was a bit nervous but very excited.  It turned out Vinyasa was perfect  for me!  I loved the class and the teacher and the studio, and can't wait to go back for more.

One problem I noticed that I have is constantly looking around to see what other people are doing.  The most difficult part of yoga for me is shutting down my mind.  I was very worried at how I compared to the others in the class, but I tried very hard to let go of my concerns and focus on myself.  I think I did pretty good, and I even ended up in a picture on Gotta's Facebook page!  Yay me :)

At the end of the class, we were given cold washcloths scented with eucalyptus to place over our foreheads and eyes during savasana.  It was pure bliss.  Afterwards, the instructor told us to take whatever emotion the practice had released in us and carry it to wherever we went next.  I didn't immediately realize what that emotion was in me, but as I got in my car to start the drive home I could not wipe the smile off my face nor could I get rid of the exhilaration rushing through my veins.  I was so happy and so ready for more!  I even had that deep feeling in my chest that I get after a really hard run.  The drive home was relaxing instead of stressful like usual and I arrived home cheerful and hungry.

I can't wait for my next class!  This is definitely going to be a regular part of my routine from now on.  Also, my lululemon crops, tank, and mat were outstanding!!  I don't have enough good things to say about today!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall is here!

I had a fantastic run today!  It's simply gorgeous the 70s, so a little bit warm, but the leaves are changing and the sunlight has that rich, golden quality that encapsulates fall!  Today was the final run of Princess training week 2, 3 miles.   I had originally planned to do this run yesterday morning, but my legs were so tired and sore during my run on Thursday that I decided to take an extra day off.  This turned out to be exactly what I needed, because my legs felt fresh and strong through the whole run today!  No cramping or seizing up.  They did get tired near the end, but I was really happy with the workout.

I ran the first 1.75 miles without stopping.  I have been getting a little bored with my usual route through the neighborhood, so I thought I'd spice it up a little today and take a trip down the nature trail.  It was really nice and shady back there, but then a bug flew in my mouth and I spent a couple minutes coughing and hacking and feeling generally grossed out (I can't stand bugs).  But I got over it, kept running, and got my 1.75 miles in under 20 minutes!  The nature trail comes out at the end of my street and then there's a pretty steep hill leading up to my house.  I walked up the hill and took a short break at the house, my sweet hubby brought me a much needed drink of water!  After my little hydration break, I walked a little longer for a total of .25 miles of walking, and then started running again.  As soon as I started running my legs felt tired and my breathing was a tiny bit labored.  I set out with a goal of running .75 miles before my next walk break, but I started feeling like I was barely going to be able to make it to .5.  Somehow, though, I pushed past .5 and then even harder past .75 to make it for a whole mile without taking a walk break!  I took another .25 mile walk break and finished the run with a last .25 mile run.  The last run was good, and I steadily increased my speed at the end--it was really nice looking at the graph of Toby's data and seeing that line steadily incline at the end!

So I finished 3.5 miles (.5 of that was walk breaks) in 40:22!  Even though it was really hard work during the last leg, I really enjoyed this run!  If the weather had been just a tiny bit cooler, it would have been an absolutely perfect fall running day.

Tomorrow I'm trying my first yoga class at Gotta Yoga University!  I'm excited and nervous...I hope I can keep up with the pace of the class and I haven't signed up for one that's too hard!  I suppose if it does turn out to be too much for me I can scale back to the beginner's class, but I'm ready for a challenge!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fast out of the gate

Today it was cooler than it's been in awhile, it hovered around 57-61 degrees all day.  It also misted the entire day--sometimes actual raindrops fell, but it was mostly mist that floated around and made everything damp.  During my short affair with running a couple of years ago, I always seemed to have my best runs on chilly, misty days like this, so I was excited all day long about running today.

My hubby discouraged me from running tonight because he was worried I would get sick from being out in the cold and the wet.  It was tempting to latch on to this ready-made excuse and just cuddle up on the couch by the fire, but I kept my focus and headed out there!

I was so excited about the run that I started off very fast at about a 9:30 pace, and ended up running the first mile in 10 minutes.  This is faster than I've ever completed a mile before, so that was exciting!  But it was too much for my legs, and they bothered me for the rest of the run.  I made it through, though, and I actually really enjoyed it.  So now I'm enjoying cuddling up on the couch by the fire, but with the satisfaction that I completed the first workout of training week 2! :)

And now for a little rant, because this is my blog and I can say what I want...

I saw something on Facebook today that both irritated and inspired me.  A friend of my aunt's posted the story about Amber Miller running/walking the Chicago Marathon and giving birth later that day.  She made the comment that it was ridiculous, and why would anyone want to do that 39 weeks pregnant or ever.  My aunt expressed similar sentiments.  It bothers me when people try to make fit individuals feel bad or crazy for pushing their limits, breaking barriers, and making huge achievements.  I think that Amber Miller is awe-inspiring and I only hope to maintain that level of fitness when I'm pregnant.  Judging from the fact that she gave birth to a healthy little girl, completing the marathon was a perfectly safe choice for her.  She stated that she had support from her doctor as well as the marathon officials.  I say more power to her, and thank her for being such a positive role model and example for women and athletes everywhere.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goal update

I've decided to take a day off from working out today because I am just plain exhausted, and after the fiasco with the Zensah sleeves yesterday I want to give my legs another day of rest before I run again.  But we had some downtime at work today and I found myself thinking a lot about my goals and what I want out of life.  Following lululemon's advice, I'm trying to think about where I want to be in 10 years and work backwards from there.

10-year working goals

  • I work at home/own my own business (ideally, a photography business)
  • I have 3 children
  • I am a dedicated distance runner and have run the following races at least once each:
    • Disney's Princess Half Marathon
    • Big Sur Half Marathon
    • Big Sur Marathon
    • New York Marathon
    • City of Oaks Marathon
    • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
  • Yoga is a regular part of my workout routine
I think a lot of those goals can be incorporated in the 5-year category, so I'm going to skip that one for now and focus on some more immediate goals.

1-year working goals
  • Practice yoga at least twice a week
  • Run 10 miles without stopping
  • Make new like-minded friends
  • Get a promotion at work
  • Practice the piano at least 3 times a week
  • Cook at least 2 meals on the weekend
That's a lot of progress from the last time I posted about goals!  It feels good to feel like I have something to accomplish, even if they are small things, instead of like I'm just killing time until the next big life event (babies).  I'm always happier when I have a plan!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Zensah sleeves = disappointment

Well, the Zensah sleeves really let me down.  I was so excited for my run today!  As soon as I got home from work I stretched for a couple of minutes and then slid on the sleeves, ready to go.  I thought they felt good, very snug and warm on my legs.  Once I got out there, though, my legs started hurting almost immediately.  I don't know if the odd feeling of my legs being compressed caused me to run with bad form, or there is the possibility my legs were just too fatigued from the run earlier in the week to make it today, but it was very uncomfortable.  I had to stop and walk after only 3 minutes of running, and then I just ran back home to take them off.  I tried to stretch out the muscle cramps on my front steps after taking off the sleeves, and then I set back out to hopefully run for another 20 minutes so I could check off the next workout on my training schedule.  But my legs hurt so badly, I had to walk for the majority of the time and at 25 minutes I was back home and decided to just give up.  Even my knee and ankle joints were starting to hurt and the pain wasn't lessening much with walking, so I came inside and did my usual post-run icing.  I'm hoping that by resting tonight I'll be able to make it through the whole 30 minutes of running tomorrow...needless to say, I'll be running SANS Zensah sleeves.  I'm seriously thinking about just returning them and getting $40 in my pocket.

Not finishing my workout is so disappointing!  I've been working out so much lately and it feels so good, I'm actually sitting here on the couch feeling sad that I don't have the burning feeling in my chest that lets me know I've just had a great run.  But tomorrow is another day, and I'm determined not to let this slight bump derail my motivation and the pride I've felt this week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Small victories

If last night's run gave me a thrill of accomplishment, it was nothing compared to this morning as I was getting ready for work.  I couldn't decide what to wear--I've been pretty limited recently because all of my clothes have gotten too small, especially my pants, and it's starting to get a bit colder here.  I debated in my closet for awhile, and finally decided to try a pair of gray Loft pants.  I knew they wouldn't fit because just 2 weeks ago I couldn't button them at all, but I decided to try anyway.  To my complete and utter astonishment, they slid right on, buttoned right up, and fit very comfortably!  I was stunned.  I immediately ran to the bed and woke up my husband to tell him, even though it was 6:30am.  The fact that I was wearing those pants kept me upbeat the whole day long!

I've been working out consistently for over a month now, but this is the first time I've seen real results.  The feeling is unbelievable and gives me motivation like nothing else.  Tonight when I was doing yoga I felt more graceful, flexible, and lithe than I have in a very long time.  I still don't fit into my favorite jeans, but I know I will get there.

In other news, my Zensah sleeves finally arrived today!  Can't wait to try them out on my run tomorrow!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Princess Half Training Day #1

This week marks the start of my official training for the Princess Half Marathon in February.  And today was my first workout!  I'm following Jeff Galloway's Run Disney training program, which is designed specifically for the Princess Half.  So the goal for today was to run/walk for 30 minutes...

AND I RAN FOR 30 MINUTES!!!!  I'm so excited!  This is the point I've been trying to get to for the last several weeks!  And even better than the fact that I ran the whole time...MY LEGS DIDN'T HURT!!!!  They did start to hurt during the last 3 minutes of my run, but I think that's because I was tired and my form was slipping.  I was actually glad they started hurting because it showed me that they hurt because of bad form.  The trouble is I don't know what about my form was different this time!  But I've also noticed that they hurt more when I run slower, so something is wrong with my form when I'm moving slowly.

At first I was discouraged about my run, because I ordered some Zensah compression sleeves over a week ago, and I really thought they would be here today.  I've rushed home every day for the past week thinking they would have arrived, and every day I've been disappointed.  Today was the biggest disappointment of all, however, because the online tracking information told me that they arrived at my local post office on Saturday!  Hopefully they'll be here in time for my next run on Wednesday.

But one of my new items of running gear did arrive today!  I ordered 2 Bondi Bands last Friday and was super excited to wear one on my run today!

It's the first day when it's actually been cool during my run - 50/60 degree temps.  The Bondi Band was great!  It's also my first piece of gear that I'll definitely be wearing in the Princess Half.  When I opened the package, I thought the Bondi Bands felt very thin and flimsy and I was a little skeptical.  But it was fabulous!  It kept my ears warm, held my bangs back, and kept the sweat from dripping down my face.  I think there will be a large collection of Bondi Bands in varied colors/sayings in my future!

So happy and proud of my accomplishment today.  It's so encouraging, and I really hope I can keep up the good work on my next run!

(this includes my short little cool down, but the first 30 minutes was all running)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Post-run yum yum!

I have been excited all day for the deliciousness I had planned as my post-run meal!  I've been reading that oats are a great food for both recovery and fuel and I read about a mixture that sounded scrumptious - oats, 1 mashed banana, soy milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dollop of peanut butter!  It did not disappoint.  I think it will be even better when it gets cold outside and I can come in and fill myself full of warm, carby goodness!  I also had a nice glass of chocolate soy milk to top it off.

My run today was good on endurance, slower on speed.  I stayed around a 12:00-12:30 pace, but I ran 1.5 miles without any walk breaks!  The only reason I had to stop was because of shin pain.  Then I walked for .25 miles, ran another half mile, and walked the last .25.  I really wanted to run for another .25 so I could make it an even 3, but my legs were getting a little shaky and I didn't want to push it.

I waited until about 7:15 to run tonight and I really enjoyed it!  It was cooler (it's been in the 80s and humid here lately, not fun) and very peaceful feeling.  As it got a little darker, though, I did wish that I had some sort of head lamp or more reflective clothing.  Another thing to add to my running shopping list!

I felt great at the end of the run today!  I want to fix my legs so badly.  I just want to be able to keep running without this ridiculous pain!  I do think it's getting better, but I'm a very impatient person.  I've ordered something that I think might help, I'll post about that when it arrives.

I got to enjoy my post-run yum yum while icing my legs on the couch with my baby girl Honey snuggled up next to me.  Happy girl :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just let me lie on the floor for awhile...

Some days (like today), the only thing that gets me through my 90 minute yoga practice is the fact that at the end I get to do corpse pose for 1 glorious minute.  I realize that I don't have to go through 90 minutes of yoga in order to lie on the floor in silence for a minute--I could just go lie on the floor and skip all the rest.  But there's something about the state of mind I'm in after all that yoga...I feel stretched, strengthened, centered, and clean, and when I go into corpse pose I really feel like my entire body is immobile.  That minute is really my favorite part of the day.

Currently my yoga practice is YogaX from P90X.  I think it's a really great workout and introduction to yoga, but I'm hoping to broaden my horizons and try some new practices.  I'm considering getting some Rodney Yee DVDs.  I really like his demeanor and his voice is like cold water!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

About Tina

Thus far, this blog has been all about running, but I'd like to start making it more about my life as well.  To begin, here's a little about me...

I'm 24 years old.  I graduated from college in 2 years, thanks to lots of AP credits and a heavy course load, with a BA in Political Science.  I then went straight through to law school, from which I graduated in the customary 3 years.  That was in 2010.  I passed the bar on the first try and have worked various temp jobs loosely tied to the legal field since then.  I married my favorite person in the world on August 21, 2010 and we live in my hometown.  My hubby is also a lawyer and owns a very successful firm here in our town with another attorney.  Those are the basics.

I don't want to be a lawyer.  I haven't had a real job since graduating from law school, largely due to the fact that I don't apply to 90% of the job postings I see because I can't bear the thought of actually doing the job.  My heart's just not in this career.  Currently I'm doing document review (I sit at a computer all day long sifting through company emails and classifying them as either "responsive" or "not responsive" - not exactly challenging or rewarding) and it pays well but the work is only fairly reliable and I have to drive an hour away each day.  I'm struggling to find something that sparks passion and inspiration in me, something I can also make a career out of.

I tend to flit all over the board career-wise.  At several points during the last year I've considered being an accountant, an elementary school teacher, a nurse, a photographer, a writer, and a college adviser.  Now I'm starting to consider some type of fitness career as well.  I'm drawn to creative careers, but I lack the courage to "put myself out there," as they say.  I'm hoping running will help me gain confidence so that I can find the career that's right for me and pursue it with all of my heart.

Inspired by Healthy Ashley, I've decided to make a list of 1-, 5-, and 10-year goals.  This is going to be a work in progress and will probably have several drafts before I'm satisfied.  But I've got to start somewhere, so here is are my "Working Goals."

1-Year Working Goals
Run a half-marathon in 2:30 or less
Make yoga a regular part of my life
Get pregnant with first child

5-Year Working Goals
Pay off student loans
Run a marathon

10-Year Working Goals
Have 3 children

Sad, right?  That's all I've got for now.  The only concrete goal I have is the number of kids I want to have!  Okay, I'm discouraging myself.  I need to give myself credit for trying, and hope that in the coming months I'll have a little more direction.  Goal: make more goals!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Meet Toby!

Today I went on my first (well, tried to, anyway) run with my new running buddy, Toby!  Here he is...

Yes, Toby is a Garmin Forerunner 305.  I've been wanting one for awhile now but kept telling myself I'd wait until I was committed to running before making that kind of investment.  One day this week, though, I was looking at it during my lunch break and decided to just go ahead and take the plunge!  I definitely wanted it before the Princess Half, and I knew if I got it earlier it would just help me with training.  I bought it for $138.88 from Amazon, which I thought was a great deal!  It arrived last night and I was like a kid on Christmas morning driving home from work yesterday...I just couldn't wait to open it up and start playing with it!

So today I decided to run with Toby after work.  It took no time at all for him to find the satellites, and was super accurate on distance readings.  Pace was pretty accurate too, but I think it takes him a little time to adjust and my pace is not very constant at this point.  When I was running, though, I managed to stay pretty steady around 10:30, with which I am very happy!  I had hardly run .2 miles, though, when the problems became apparent...

1. It was super humid outside today!  I'm really over the humidity and ready for crisp fall weather to settle in.  It will be so much better for my running!
2. My legs are very sore and tired from yoga.  I've done yoga twice this week and really worked my legs hard, in addition to my run earlier in the week.  They just didn't have it in them today.
3. It has rained for the last several days and although the sun did come out earlier this afternoon, the nature trail was pretty water logged so I was running on the street.  I don't enjoy it as much--less shade, harder on the legs, people looking at me--and my poor little legs just couldn't take it.
4. For some inexplicable reason, I was doing all my running in uphill areas of the neighborhood.  I know that this will come to my advantage in my race because the route is almost totally flat, but I wasn't feeling the hills today.
4. I am EXHAUSTED.  This has been my first full week back at work, getting up at 6am every day, and I'm just ready to crash.  I don't think I had the energy for a run on hard pavement in high humidity.

Excited as I was about Toby, I headed for home after just a mile, of which I only ran .75.  I was drenched in sweat from the humidity, even though I hadn't gotten my heart rate up super high.  So now I'm crashed on the couch, planning on letting my husband go to dinner with his brother, and I'm just going to go to sleep.

I'm getting a mani/pedi with my mom tomorrow at 10am, but I plan to get up at least by 8 and go for another run with Toby!  And I don't plan to let him down this time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today's run: I am Super Girl, and I'm here to save the world!

I may not have super powers, and today's run was not super compared to all the amazing athletes in the world, but it was super for me!  I haven't been blogging about my runs lately because they've been so discouraging and I haven't had any progress.  My leg issues have continued to plague me, so this week I resolved to do some ankle strengthening exercises and some yoga to really stretch out my muscles.  My ankle exercises take about 10 minutes a day, and I did YogaX last night, so today I felt ready for a run!

The C25K program has not been working great for me the past few weeks so I have decided, as I often do when plans don't pan out the way I want them to, to go rogue.  I'm going to start focusing on a distance of 3 miles because that's the base for all of the half marathon training programs out there.  Today I decided to run on the nature trail since it's soft surface and I planned on doing 3 laps.  Well, I did just that and it went great!  I also tried to run faster than I have been--no little shuffly-shuffle.  I ran the first mile without stopping in 10:30.  Then I did a 2:30 walk break, followed by a 5-minute run, 5-minute walk break, then finished up with two more 5-minute runs with a 3-minute walk in between.  That's...10:30-2:30-5-5-5-3-5.  And my time for 3 miles was 34:26!  Even better than my goal time of 36:00!   I'm very happy with it!

Hopefully I've found a mix of yoga/strengthening/running that will help me actually start to see progress.  Also, I'll be running with a buddy starting on Thursday...more about that later this week! :)

Miles logged: 3.75

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I've been slacking on posts lately, but here is what's been going on with me... I completed my first 20 minute nonstop run on the nature trail last week, and it went really well! I stayed really slow at a 12:00 pace and didn't start getting out of breath until I had 3 minutes to go. My legs were heavy, but they didn't cramp or seize up like they have been. But getting in the first workout of Week 6 of C25K, which is 5-3-8-3-5, has been an enormous challenge. My legs have seized up right about the end of the first 5 minute segment every time on the treadmill. I finally completed the workout last night on the streets of my neighborhood, with only slight leg cramping. It was a tough run though, and I was disappointed by that. But I'm not running today or tomorrow, with plans to run Saturday morning before we go to the Carolina game. Hopefully that will give my legs a nice rest so I can make a stronger showing in my next workout.

In other news, I officially signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon!!!!!!! I'm so excited! My mom is going with me and we're going to Harry Potter World the Thursday and Friday before the race. My half training program officially starts the first week of October, right when I finish C25K! So I'm very driven to complete all of my workouts now, because I'm genuinely training.

I feel like I could be making serious progress if it weren't for my leg issues. They really get me down sometimes, but I'm stretching and icing and hopefully soon I'll build up enough strength that they're not a problem anymore.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today's Run: Back to the real world

Today was my first run after a 9-day vacation, but I'm proud to say that I worked out while on vacation, too!  I'm very happy that exercising is becoming part of my regular vacation routine.  Because of the horrible condition my legs were in the week before I left, I started out on the elliptical.  I did the elliptical twice, and then decided to give the treadmill a try.  My legs still hurt, but nothing close to the incident I had at the Y last week, so I pushed through.  I ran in 5- and 3-minute increments, with 3-minute walks in between.  I also did the bike one day because I was bored with the elliptical.

We got home yesterday, but this evening was my first opportunity to work out so I headed to the Y to get on the treadmill.  It was a bit rainy, so I decided not to brave the muddy nature trail.  I was aiming for the first work out in Week 5 of C25K, which is 5-minute runs, buffered by 3-minute walks.  At first, I was in some pain, so after 2 of the runs I walked for 10 minutes.  I felt much better after walking it out, and then I was able to do the full work out with no extra breaks.

The legs were hurting a good bit, so I came home and stretched really well and then iced.  I even did some weightlifting this evening, yay!  But I think part of the problem on the run was that I started out at 5.5mph, which I think is just a bit much for my weak little legs.  5mph feels like a good speed, so I'll keep it there until I build up some more muscle.

I'm going back to work tomorrow at a place where I have an hour long commute.  But I'm going to keep up my commitment to working out and run when I get home!

Miles logged: 4.0

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Poor little ankles

I went to the Y with great ambitions of doing my run on the treadmill.  I did a 5 minute warm-up at 3.5mph, did the first 3 minute run segment, and my little ankles were just aching.  So I stopped and stretched for awhile, then got back on and ran 2 minutes.  The pain came back almost immediately so I decided the run just wasn't going to happen.  I didn't want to strain myself so much that I couldn't run the next day.  Off the treadmill I got, and onto the elliptical for a nice 30-minute, low impact workout.

One reason I have a tough time working out at the Y is the abundance of people I went to high school with.  There was one girl there tonight who I knew when I was younger who was just in super shape, wearing this little capris with a zebra print waistband and a neon green tank top.  And there I was, in an oversized Steelers tshirt and baggy shorts, clunking along on my chubby legs.  But I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about those feelings, and look forward to the day when I can wear cute, sexy workout clothes to the gym and feel great.

Decided today that maybe my running shoes are ready to be retired.  I've used them as workout shoes for the past 2 years, so I think they've pretty much had it.  Tomorrow I will be shopping for a pair of Nike Air Pegasus +28s!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Today's Run: Surprisingly tough

In spite of being super excited for today's run, it was a tough one.  I'm really glad I didn't let my cockiness get in the way, because I was seriously considering skipping ahead to Week 5 of C25K.  But you know, that workout might be easier after all.  Today's run involved 3 minute run intervals, 90 second walk intervals, 5 minute run intervals, and 2.5 minute walk intervals.  Alternatively, the week 5 runs involve run and walk intervals of equal times, as opposed to shorter walk intervals.  I think that's what made it so much harder.

I hit the nature trail again today, because it's much more peaceful than running at the Y.  I think after today, though, I might switch to the treadmill.  Next week I'll be on vacation so all my runs will be on the treadmill, so I thought I'd try to start getting used to that.  Also, it's really discouraging when the humidity affects my speed and endurance.

My time today was 12:30 on the nature trail, with an average of 13 minutes.  I made it the whole 3 miles in 39 minutes on the dot, but my warm-up was a little slow because I got caught behind some people walking their dog.  I really want to break past the 12:00 minute mile point.  I think that will be my mini goal for the time being.

The primary thing that made today's run so hard was pain in my shins.  They feel so weak!  Almost like they could just snap at times.  I ice them after every run, which helps with soreness, but it doesn't help the feeling during the runs.  I think I need more calcium in my system.  So, tomorrow's to-do list: get a multivitamin, get a calcium supplement, get more ice packs for my legs.

Miles logged: 3.1

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Today's Run: Evil oval of torture

Today was my “long run.”  I set out with a goal of running 1.5 miles with no walk breaks.  I didn’t have any time goals, I wanted to go slow enough to make it through the whole 1.5 miles of running.  Since it was hotter than usual and I was doing my run in the middle of the afternoon, I opted to do this run at the YMCA on the indoor track. 

I started out with a quarter mile of walking to warm up.  The track is pretty small, so it was 12 laps to a mile.  Since my walk/run pace has been averaging about 12:00, I aimed to take a little longer than a minute to complete each lap once I started running.  Everything started out fine, my legs were a little sore but that wasn’t unusual.  I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that I wasn’t getting winded at all.  I seemed very cardiovascular-ly prepared to run this distance at this pace.  After about the first half mile, though, I started noticing that my legs were not hitting the ground evenly.  The track had such a severe angle that my right leg was always lower than my left leg.  I pushed through the run, determined to get my 1.5 miles of constant running in, because the pain wasn’t unmanageable.  My right leg just felt sore all the way from my ankle to my butt, but it was the dull pain I always seem to get on longer runs.  My left leg, however, only hurt right at the ankle. 

I made it to the end of my 18 laps in 19:30, which I was pleased with.  I started walking to cool down, and felt like I was going to fall over because of the weird soreness in my legs!  It was horrible!  I made it through about 10 seconds of walking around the track when I realized I couldn’t do it anymore.  But I knew I needed to walk to work out the tightness in my muscles that came from the track.  So I jumped on a treadmill and started walking at a 20:00 pace.  The improvement in the feeling in my legs came very fast.  I walked half a mile, felt considerably better, and decided to do a little more running.  Here is the breakdown of my treadmill workout: 

.50 miles – 00:00-10:00 – walk at 20:00 pace
.50 miles – 10:00-17:00 – run at 14:00 pace
.25 miles – 17:00-22:00 – walk at 20:00 pace
.50 miles – 22:00-29:00 – run at 14:00 pace
.25 miles – 29:00-34:00 – walk at 20:00 pace
.50 miles – 34:00-40:00 – run at 12:00 pace
.25 miles – 40:00-45:00 – walk at 20:00 pace
Total: 2.75 miles

I still didn’t feel winded through the whole treadmill workout, which I was really happy about.  When I got home I was flat out exhausted, though.  I got on the couch with a big bottle of water and iced each shin in three different parts (15 minutes on the bottom, middle, and top of my shins).  I was ready to pass out, but I rested, ate some cereal, and I felt a lot better. 

If it weren’t for the evil track (which I can’t understand how anyone walks or runs on ever), I think the workout would have been a lot more successful, but I’m still really pleased with my results.  I can’t wait for next week, actually…week 4 of C25K!

Miles logged: 4.5