Running With Swagger

Last night I had a great run of 4 miles with my best time yet. 48:35.  I realize it’s not a 10 minute mile which I would absolutely love if I could but it’s better than a 13 or 14 minute mile. But that’s not why I’m writing. Leading up to my run I was in a funk. I was grumpy and sort of tired. I wasn’t not wanting to run I was just taking my sweet precious time about getting it done.

So finally I made it out the door, dressed in my most comfortable/favorite short run running clothes once again just ready to get the run over with.  Mile 1, was okay I realized quickly that I didn’t have any residual soreness leftover from the marathon and that I wasn’t nearly as tired as I thought I was. Mile 2, nothing special going through the motions feeling like that second mile had grown like the way it feels like oatmeal grows when you’re eating it.  Mile 3, I realized I was feeling really good and I was comfortable. I was comfortable in my pace, in my shoes, and even in my clothes. I was just really comfortable. Then I sort of started laughing at myself because I thought of a song I had heard “Swagger Jagger.” It’s a pop tune but I was like, “yeah I’m running with some swagger!” Yeah, I really thought that, don’t judge! Finally Mile 4 feeling just as good as mile 3 only better because I was homeward bound!

What initially started off as just a chore turned into a fun 4 mile run.   It could be I was just cracking myself up regarding the whole swagger thing but it was still nice to get in a faster pace than I have been. Oh did I mention it was suppose to be a recovery run!  I like to think it was……….I recovered from my ill attitude!

26,000 Women and A Few Good Men

I traveled, I ran and I came home with the signature Tiffany blue box. Yep, this past weekend I made a whirlwind trip from Mississippi to San Francisco to run in the 2011 Nike Women’s Marathon. For 5 years I’ve entered lottery only to be turned down till this year.  In the meantime I’ve ran in 6 marathons with 1 DNF (did not finish) and since August 2010 I’ve been chasing #6 finishers medal. In August of 2010 I planned on running a marathon only to be plagued with injuries. Then in January 2011 I went to Georgia to get #6 finishers medal only to have to throw in the towel with three miles to go.  Then in August of this year I had planned on running the race I wanted to do in August of 2010  but I backed out at the beginning of August so that I could concentrate on the Nike Marathon. So needless to say #6 was worth the wait.

Friday at  9 A.M. I flew out to San Francisco arriving at 1 p.m. busting with pure excitement. I couldn’t wait to see the pink Nike tent and all that awaited. I knew that if Nike was involved it was going to be an awesome event. And it was.  The Nike Expo was located centrally in downtown San Francisco at Union Square. Fortunately it wasn’t far from my hotel, two blocks.

From the beginning Nike made it so easy and so much fun to be there.  They had people from the start directing folks to the correct area that we needed to go and if there were any problems they handled them with great ease.  Gatorade was a sponsor so there was nice little area set up so that you could sample what would be on the race course.

Next Neutrogena had an awesome booth that let you sample their products plus sent home some nice samples as well. It was like a mini facial.

Paul Mitchell staff was on sight to help style hair.

While all of this is going on there was a phenomenal DJ rocking the place.

 It was so much fun just hanging out. In addition  there was a relaxation area where you could prop your feet up in massaging chairs.

In the back of the expo was Nike’s main area.  In one area there was gait analysis, sport bra fittings and photo ops as well.   They also had several laptops set up so that we could set up our Facebook to request automatic updates to out statuses while we were running.  Outside the expo several other booths were set up as well.  It was definitely a fun and upbeat place to be. They also had a small little booth set up outside (think porta potty small) with last minute race essentials.

Across the street was Niketown and of course, Tiffany’s!!  Fun little thing is that Nike had a huge wall with all the participants names listed.  It was exciting to see my name. It made it all a little more real that I was about to run 26.2 miles.

 After cruising through Niketown and purchasing a few souvenoirs  I headed back to the hotel to change clothes stretch my legs out and then we were headed to Alcatrez for a night tour.

I highly recommend it if you ever go.  However before we could leave I realized that on our way there we had to go back to the Expo.  Somehow I realized that I was given a half-marathon bib instead of a full marathon.  Fortunately, the folks made it super easy to switch it out and we were on our merry way..

Saturday I wanted to see as much of San Francisco as possible with little walking as possible. The tour company Mr. Toad’s was just the way to go. I had to book our tour before going out there so in advance we knew to meet them at Fisherman’s Wharf.  So after doing the tourist thing and taking the trolley down to Fisherman’s Wharf we spent the next 3 hours touring San Francisco from a 1922 Rambler.

We got out twice to see a few things and to stretch our legs.  First stop was at China Town where we checked out the little shop where they make fortune cookies.It was actually interesting to watch since there was only three ladies doing these by hand. They make approximately 20,000 of these every year!  Next door was fellow who played his violin outside his barbershop. Apparently his quit famous around there. He’s even starred in a movie or two. Pursuit of Happiness was his proudest appearance from what I gathered.

If your ever in the San Fran area and want to see a lot in a short amount of time I highly recommend Mr. Toads Tours.  They really make it fun, enjoyable and you won’t kill your legs climbing hills trying to see everything.

Saturday night was pretty low key.I was pretty tired from the day before and actually fell asleep pretty early.  I was relieved when I woke up Sunday morning knowing I had slept well. Sunday morning getting ready was easy. Had a decent little breakfast and then it was off to get my Tiffany necklace.  From the moment I stepped out the hotel the streets were packed almost an hour before the race was scheduled to start. The city was booming with music, lights and videos being projected on to screens.  Nike even had someone to help warm up the crowd. I personally just watched the warmup. That’s what the first 3 miles are for right?

So after a relaxed start I was off to complete my marathon. The first two miles were easy but mile number three introduced me to my first hill. Immediately I thought, “Oh crap!” I immediately knew that I had to walk the hills in order to make it.  Miles three and four were rough but it was mile seven that really got me.  It was the never ending  uphill.  It’s a hill I never want to see ever again!  Then the downhill was just as hard.  I felt certain that if someone bumped into me I was going to roll downhill!! It was pretty steep.  Miles nine and ten were steady inclines as well.  The whole first half was just brutal with hills.

The second half wasn’t as nearly as bad.  My hips were feeling the effects of the hills but I feel like I went into the second half feeling pretty good.  The only time I ever started feeling tired was when they took us around Lake Merced.  A lot of people didn’t like the route I learned as I was chatting with folks while we were running.  The didn’t like the traffic part but it gave me something to look at. It kept me entertained.  The thing that was hardest for me was the fact that up until that point it had been cloudy most of the day but the sun started coming out  and it was zapping some of my energy.  However at some point it went away and after a much needed potty break I felt ready to go again. Also on the way to Lake Merced and to the finish line was a beautiful view of the beach.  Yes it was a long stretch of it but it’s not something I personally get to see everyday. It was fun to watch the surfers and it gave me a mental break from what I was doing.

The whole race I had been running off of heart rate instead of pace.  My goal was to keep it above 145 but I didn’t want it going pass 155. I think once it did but other than that I probably had a harder time pushing it up to 155.  My hips were just fatigued and didn’t have the strength to push like I wish they would.  Mentally I feel like I held up really well.   I never questioned myself or doubted myself. I knew what I had to do and that was that.

The finish line was a sweet sweet sight. And the prize was just as phenomenal as I had hoped.  My little blue box I’ve been wanting was just beautiful.

It’s definitely the best finisher’s medal I’ve gotten to date! It’ll be hard to top that one!

The post race set up was a little weak.  They were out of fruit and the finishers tee didn’t have my size.  Neutrogena did have a set up with face wipes that was much needed especially since I had my finishers photo taken with some hunky firefighters!

There was chocolate milk available and a really neat stretching area as well.

I also highly recommend purchasing the post race shuttle tickets because I was in no shape to try to figure out how to get back to my hotel. The shuttle took us back to Union Square which was plenty close enough since I was only two blocks away.

Monday I’m back in Mississippi with a little fatigue and some mild soreness.  It was a very fast, fun and busy weekend.  A lot of flying, and a lot running.  Would I run NWM 26.2 again? Probably not. I can say I’ve been there, done that and got the blue box.  A lot people have done that race repeatedly and just love it.  I would give it an A- just because of the finisher’s t-shirt issue but overall I would recommend to a girl friend to run. It’s a fun race, it’s entertaining, it’s challenging and the course is well supported.

I’m so glad this race was my #6 finishing race.  It was well worth the hard work and wait.

It’s Here!!

Okay so I LOVE free stuff.  One step further is I  love useful free stuff!  Well I recently won day 4 of Spi giveaway which was a free Spi Belt of my choice and………..drum roll please…………….$50!!  Oh yeah!!  That’s a lot of GU!  Or socks, or Vaseline for chaffing areas. Really a runner can do a lot with $50!

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However I’m EXTREMELY excited about my Spi Belt, as my sweet friend Claire would call it, a glorified fanny pack.

Spi Belt (Small Personal Items) is a “Sleek, expandable, secure and does not bounce. Can hold an iPod™, Blackberry™, cell, keys, up to five GU™ packs, and other small personal items. The SPIbelt does not bounce, ride or shift while running or doing other activities.  Made with pride in Austin, Texas.”  Also if you want to know, does it bounce well this is what they have to say about it “It does not bounce when used properly. For best results, position it below your waistband. The heavier the items (i.e. iPod & cellphone), the more snug you’ll want to adjust it. Place flat and larger items in first, so closer to your body. Be realistic when filling your SPIbelt. Although it stretches, don’t be tempted to max it out. It’s meant to replace your wallet, not hold your wallet. A standard load consists of an iPod, cell phone, money, i.d., car key. Guaranteed: As always, if you are not satisfied, we will gladly refund your money.”

I’ll be happy to let you know after Saturday if it’s true or not. Also if you want to know………

Will it hold your phone:

Yes. We have not met a phone that did not fit in the SPIbelt, that includes ALL large PDA type phones. Not only will it fit, but you’ll have room for your nano and car key.

WIll it hold your asthma inhaler?

Yes, it will. The SPIbelt is a much more stylish way to carry your supplies.

It’s washable, you can order a waterproof version, and they have a race belt version as well.  Amazing!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting its arrival because I picked out the one that holds Gu packs!  I know, this is exciting stuff!!  No longer will I have to stuff these things down my sports bra any more.

Guys I’m just here to tell you. If any guy ever figures out how much stuff we really pack away in our sports bras, someone will come up with a male sports bra just for storage purpose. When they do, make sure you remember you heard it here first!! Phones, money, Gu, keys, heck on a good day we could probably fit a small Gnome in there!

Being that I won’t really need Gu until this weekend I’m left with just randomly wearing it till Saturday. If all works out according to plan, this little guy is going to the Nike Women’s Marathon with me!

By the way I highly recommend following Spi Belt on Facebook. They really do have some great products and giveaways. They didn’t pay me to say this………..but winning a really cool contest never hurt!! Thanks guys!

Gettin’ My Forrest Gump On

And I was runnin……..

Okay so I had to get this off of my chest.  So I’ve just spent the last two weeks running on a path of mileage building.  You know, working on the volume.  I’m not going to lie, it was hard but once again more mental than physical. I honestly can say very rarely in the last couple of weeks has my body ever really retaliated against me. It could have but it didn’t.  The only thing that has retailiated against me is my heart rate.  Not in a bad way, all normal stuff.  I’ve just been surprised that I’ve felt challenged but I always feel like my legs or body left a little something out on the road. Just enough to invite me back to chase it down the next day.  Almost like a bread trail, you know, Hansel and Gretel.

Anyways, so tonight I had to run 5 miles with a ratio of one mile running and then a 1 minute walk break.  You know, just enough  to tease the body. I also need to mention that I just ran 16 miles this past weekend. My heart rate was all over the place from the beginning of today’s run.  I was aggravated because other than the calf cramp  I kept catching in the first mile (and the crazy heart rate) everything else felt fine. Now my time was slower tonight but I looked back at the last time I was on a recovery week and I guess you can say it some what of a consistent pattern. Nice thing about numbers, they rarely lie.

Here’s the part that annoys me the most, I DON”T FEEL FATIGUED OR TIRED.  I felt like I could have ran 10 miles. I might have been slow but I just wanted to run.   I understand how Forrest Gump felt!  For all I know I could have ran another mile and crashed but when I went inside from running I left a lot on the road. No it wasn’t worry or stress or anything else. It was 100% all running.  The stranger part, I liked it!

I’m really jealous of Forrest Gump for his ability to just keep runnin and runnin (yes I misspelled it on purpose because Forrest rarely pronounced his g’s in running).

I guess that’s why an ultramarathon is on my bucket list. I really think that I want to tackle an ultra one day. Keep in mind, thinking and doing are two completely different things.  I have no clue why I’m so enamored by this idea.  You know it’s kind of like when we were kids and we thought that magical things happened after midnight, well I guess I think magical things happen after 50 miles. Frankly, there probably are magical things happening after 50 miles but it’s all due to delirium!

I know all the information out there says its a good thing to feel like you can keep going but at the same time you feel like you’ve worked.

(I’ll get those article later. Of course I can’t find them when I need them!!)

At least I’ve got one thing going for me that Forrest didn’t, I don’t have tor worry about shaving my face!

Whatever the bleep it takes!

6 weeks until Nike Women’s Marathon. I’m starting to get just a little giddy when I really think about it. Somewhere along the lines of “Oh my gosh. I’m really going to be running in San Francisco.” Then I can’t help but think, “They better not run out of finisher’s medals before I get done or I’m going to be livid!”  For the most part though, it’s just pure excitement.

Last month was a big month for me.  I had decided to bow out of the Tupelo Marathon and I started working with a running coach, which means  my running plan was ditched and I dove head first into “I have no clue what to expect” running plan. I just knew that in order for me to go to San Francisco and be mentally healthy and happy with my training I needed help.  So far no regrets.  I have gotten everything I wanted and some more. In fact, when I ran 5 miles at the beginning of the month my total time was like 1 hr and 4 minutes. On August 31st I ran another 5 miles and my time was 58 minutes and 35 seconds.  Hello?!  Didn’t expect that!

So Friday I had mentioned that I maybe needed to make some mini goals for September. First off, who really listens to me on here enough to call my bluff?!  Well apparently Running Coach does because he brought it up and wanted to know did we need to set some. Yeah I had that deer in the head lights look like, huh? More like I was thinking, “What you talking about Willis!?”  Then it dawned on me, the blog.  So do I need mini goals this month? Yes and no.  Yes to my diet which I’ll cover in a moment and no to my running.  The quality of the running is improving, my times are improving and I don’t stress about my workouts. I methodically get up, put my running clothes on and out the door I go to do whatever the man tells me to do.

I’ve discovered the older I get sometimes I hate making choices. I know there are some days and some situations I just want someone to tell me what to do.  Making decisions all the time is exhausting. So this aspect of my life is nice.  It’s easy.  That’s where I’ve failed nutritionally. I hate making decisions. What’s for breakfast? How about lunch? What do you want for lunch? What’s for dinner?  Any idea what you want to eat? I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “If I ever win the lottery I’m going to have someone plan all my meals.”  I hate thinking about food.  Don’t get me wrong I like the experience of food. I like smelling it, cooking it, tasting it. But I know that I need to lose weight and the constant choice making  does not help me. It’s like running. Even though I know I have a running plan (this is prior to the running coach) I am analyzing the plan I’ve made for myself ten different ways ten different times. I doubt what I’ve created for myself. Am I working hard enough, long enough, fast enough? Am I working too hard? Should I be running flat road or hilly roads? I get bogged down in choices. I get myself in a hole and it’ like I’m looking up at the sky with this great big hole around me and I have no clue how to get out of it. Will someone just tell me what to do?!

 

The hole i dig myself in mentally

Well you know what? They have. Twice actually and I just wasn’t paying attention.

And what’s so funny about it all makes sense. Plus I really need to pay better attention to what I’m being told.  I’m not crazy about having to make decisions regarding my diet. So the easiest thing to do is be consistent and have structure.  Have a go to breakfast, lunch and snack. It’s like running shoes.  Most people don’t have 20 different running shoes to choose from every morning. They have one pair that they know to get up put on and head out. Easy peasy!  Same principle with nutrition and diet. For breakfast pick something that is doable and tasty every morning and make that your go to meal. Then you know exactly how many calories, protein and fat is in that meal. No room for screws ups!  Same thing with snacks and lunches.  Keep it simple and easy.  So that is my nutritional goal. Well there’s two actually.

 

1. Pick go to meals and stick with them. One whole month!

2. Write it down. I hate keeping a food journal for whatever reason but this month it’s one whole month of journaling.

That’s the goal.  It’s not rocket science I just had to have someone tell me. Twice apparently.  I can be so hard headed.

So I started my month out with a long run …………on the treadmill. It wasn’t horrible. I watched a movie and half. All of Source Code and half of Rango. 14 miles.  We have had a tropical storm to sit on top of us for the last couple of days and there was no way I running 14 miles which is 3 hours for me in the pouring rain. I would have been miserable. Wet heavy shoes, uncontrollable chaffing.  It just wasn’t happening. So I got it in my head that this had to be done, it was on the schedule. No skipping. It was just one time and the bigger picture is San Francisco.

The other day I watched the movie “Win, Win.” Probably not family appropriate but it still had a good message.  So this kid was phenomenal wrestler who life’s struggles caused him to stop wrestling. Well after ending up on the door step at his grandfathers who was being cared for by his lawyer, the lawyer takes him in for a couple of days. During those couple of days the lawyer/part time volunteer wrestling coach (how convenient) realizes that the kid likes to wrestle.  He has no clue how good the kid really is and somehow the kid ends up in one of his matches.  Here’s the best part. So the kid is in the match and pulls out this off the chart no name move that wins him the match. Later on the coach asks him to share the move with the group. The kid was hesitant and said “well it’s just my thing. It’s not a real move.” After the coach pressed him for a bit about the move the kid explained what he’s feeling just prior to using the move and then him names it. He calls it, “Whatever the F*** it takes.” It’s expletive I know but I like it.

That’s how I felt about running on the treadmill Saturday. Just whatever the flip it takes.  Just get it done!


Trailer #1

Win Win

— MOVIECLIPS.com

 

 

 

I’ve also got to start doing more abdominal work. Nothing major but I need a better core system than what I have right now.  Right now it’s like asking a jello mold to hold me up.  Kind of wobbly and jiggling and not too stable.

I’m ready for September!  Nothing but good stuff on the horizon.

 

 

Working the Long Runs

I should have posted this Saturday but I was so busy. After 14 extremely hot miles I had to rush off to spend the remainder of the day with my husband’s family without my sweet hubby. My husband is a sports equipment manager at a local college so when football season rolls around I become what I like to call “a football widow.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to spend much time doing the fun stuff with us during this time of year.  It’s okay. Considering I met and spent most my dating life with my hubby at a baseball field or a football field he understands that I married him for free tickets to the  games!   It just kind of it what it is. Meanwhile the day was not long enough.  I have 2 nieces and 3 nephews that totally rock!  I can’t get enough of them. I love hearing, “Aunt B!” I call them my Angels. So when I say the day was not long enough, I really mean it.

 

Prior to all the fun I started my day with a 14 mile run as I mentioned before.  I was amazed when I got to the Trace to find so many people out to run. Apparently Marathon Makeover was training that morning and man there was a lot of them!  It was fabulous to see so many people out and about. Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that my run went smoothly and semi painless.  The heat and humidity was a killer.  Beyond that I can’t complain.  The nice thing about my runs lately is that I get to just zone out. So that’s what I did.  It was nice!  Below is a snap shot of what my run look like.

One thing I noticed on this run was how mentally easy it was.   I try to stay positive and upbeat in day to day dealings but for some time now running would bring out the worst in me. Okay not the worst but I wouldn’t walk away with a warm and fuzzy feeling either.  I would finish feeling defeated and beat up.  I had come to accept that feeling this way was normal and acceptable.  Somewhere I had adopted the attitude that whatever the workout dealt me that that was the outcome and it is what it is. I have recently learned that it’s okay to set myself up for success. Who knew!?  It’s not always necessarily okay to think, “Well, it is what is and it’ll be what it’ll be.”  It’s nice to feel that mental turning point.

  In day to day dealings I try to stay positive and to expect good outcomes but I’ve failed in my running to apply the principles.  Why oh why does running have to be so mental?! All I want to do is run.  However I do have an actively working brain that requires just as much attention as the rest of me does.  Someone once told me runners are normally running to something or away from something.  For me at this current point in my life, I’m just running to a finisher’s medal in San Francisco!

8 weeks and counting!  Yes, it’s only 8 weeks away and I’ll be 26.2 miles closer to a little blue box being held by hopefully some hunky fireman!  Now that I’m not in control of my training schedule (which by the way I’m absolutely loving) I’m not sure what to expect in San Fran.  I keep hearing about these hills so I’m a little nervous/anxious in regards to that. The rest of me is just ready to be there.  Do I have any expectations for this marathon? Not really. I just want to finish.

As I was saying I’m not in control of my schedule so I have no clue what the upcoming week has in store for me.  All I know is that it’ll change based on how each workout goes.  Once again, there goes running mimicking life. Dynamic and always changing.  How can anyone not love this sport?!

Do You Check Your Ego Before A Workout?

Ego, this is a word that rarely made its way into my thoughts or conversations till recently.  I think it came up something like, “You have to be willing to check your ego to finish strong.” I thought, “I don’t have an ego! I’m Brandy!  I have a lot of things but an ego is not one of them!”  In fact, I probably work at trying to down play my past experiences because I don’t want people thinking I’m trying to be something I’m not. Nor do I want people thinking I’m something I’m not. Not the same as trying to be something I’m not.    That one little word has really clung to me more than I expected it to.  It’s amazing what our brains filter when talking to someone. Who new several weeks ago I would be writing about it?!

Today I’ve come to terms with the fact that I do in fact have an ego.It’s shocking I know!  I’m having a hard time believing it also.   I’ll admit I thought ego to always be a bad word.   I didn’t want anyone describing me with an “ego.” I would have been devastated!  I still have my reserves regarding this ego business. So what changed my mind?  My new running program.  Allow me to explain.

Let’s take the two mile predicted run I went to this past Tuesday.  So it’s a free local event on Tuesday nights that you predict your time for two miles and then you see how close you come to it.  It’s probably more of an excuse for runners to have food, fun and some entertainment.  Either way, I predicted my time 26:30 since I’ve been running 13 minute miles plus some. We were required to write our time next to our name on this big piece of poster board.This is where my brain started going DING DING DING because my ego saw that everyone else was predicting to run 2 miles in 20 minutes or less.  I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole!  My ego didn’t want people to know that I was running this slow so it was saying “Drop the pen and bolt now.”  I didn’t, instead I wrote my time down for  THE WORLD TO SEE. Ugh.  Then came the actual run.  Alarm number two was going off.  Here I was at this event to  run 2 miles and this dang blasted running coach has me on a leash with my heart rate.  Ugh.  I had a granny in moo moo to pass me by, sans her walker!  Okay so that’s what my ego perceived the whole situation as.  My good ego on the other shoulder knew I needed to keep my heart rate in line with what was prescribed because after my two mile run I had to run one more mile as well for a total of three miles.  My good ego knew what the big picture was so it was okay with the run. My bad ego was telling me to let loose and show those youngsters passing me up that I really could hang with them. Since I stayed with the prescribed program I actually shaved more than a whole minute off of my predicted time. Not bad.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  We all have egos.  How many times have you gone to the gym and seen someone that seemed less your equal at first glance but you realized they were running faster than you, spinning faster than you or lifting heavier than you? Did you try to keep up or up them one? How many times have you gone to yoga class, peeked over at your neighbor and tried to stretch further than your neighbor? Lastly have you ever watched an exercise video and attempted to outdo the people in the video? If so, then you my friend need to check your ego.

That’s just like last summer when I was lifting heavy weight while performing deadlifts. I’ve always prided myself on being strong for a female. The heavy weights along with poor form caused me to hurt myself. What drove it all? My ego.  I wanted those around me to see that I could lift more and more. I didn’t want to put the “girly weights” on. Ego’s have their place and time but when we’re training it’s not the place for it.  They can push us to the point where sure we think we’re having a great workout but the next day we realize it was way too much, that your ego pushed you too far.  When you go to the gym, track, yoga class or wherever, you have to do your workout.  Do let your ego dictate your workout.

As for me and my ego, we are a work in progress.  I’m sure the next time I have to toe up against someone else that little devil is going to be sitting there saying, “This is all you’re going to do? Can’t you go any faster?” So if you see me running and I start getting a little twitchy don’t worry, I’m having a fight with my ego. I’ll be okay!

I believe!

So tonight I just had the best run ever!  Okay, maybe not ever but at least in the last year.  I ran 3 miles in 39 minutes while running 4 minutes and walking 2. What made all the difference?  Heart rate!  That’s right I put my heart rate monitor strap on that I’ve had for 2 years now and maybe wore twice before today.  So my new training plan is requiring I include this in my training package and I’m completely hooked on it.

I’ve spent months trying to come back from not being able to run for 6 months.  I finally decided on a run walk ratio and found that 2:1 worked for me (or at least I thought).  I also constructed my own training plan as well with this 2:1 in mind.  Well I know it all sounds fine and dandy but every run I’ve been on since December I’ve questioned myself.  Am I running fast enough, am I running to slow, am I running long enough, etc. You get the picture.  Well finally I had enough of the self doubt and asked for help.  In my 12 years of running I’ve never had any formal training regarding my running so this was HUGE for me.   I had my first run with Mr. Running Coach this morning and I was so nervous!  I had no idea what to expect or what he would think of my running condition or even me for that matter.  Thank goodness he’s a genuinely nice guy who is passionate about the sport.   Also thank goodness he’s talktive in the mornings because I am not. We only did 2 miles this morning, mostly so he could get a feel of what I’m like when I run (I guess). Either way I wore my heart rate monitor for the run and was able to forward my stats to him via Garmin Connect.  Very cool stuff.

Trace Run-First time to use heart rate monitor

 It’s amazing how much info that little watch gathers.  It’s my new best friend. In fact I have two things I pray never break down. My Garmin watch and Google Gmail.  Both would extremely detrimental if they did!!

Anyways so later on today he sent me an email with everything I needed to know for the next couple days and he also told me to keep my heart rate around a certain point .  Well, It was much lower than I thought it should be. Like really slow. Talk about disheartening when I saw that. However, if he thinks it then it must be for the better good and I’ll try anything at least once.  I really think he could tell me to stand on my head and I would (funny thing is that’s what I use to do as a kid to get attention, stand on my head!).  Curosity had the best of me so after I got home and the sun went down I got dressed, laced up the shoes and tied on the heart rate monitor for a 3 mile workout.  It went amazing!  I’m completely sold on the heart rate training.

Ran with heart rate monitor with new run walk ratio. Very pleased.

I can’t wait to see what the next 9 weeks of my training brings.  I know I’m probably a little too over excited about all of this but for so long now all my workouts have been just mediocore and I’ve just been going through the motions.  The change is good.  I can’t wait to share more with you guys.

This is going to be  so exciting!

 

Sweaty Decisions

I'm not sure who's dog this is but could it be any cuter?!

 

What a humid day!  At 5:45 a.m. I walked out my front door to a wall of sticky hot heat.  Within 2 miles of running I was drenched and disgusting.  It was the kind of sweat that made my hands sticky even though nothing was on them. Gross!  Today was a semi stressful but easy 5 mile run. It should have been 6 but I had to take a bathroom break and that threw my overall time off so I only had time for 5.

Let me be the first to say, I think way too much!  I overanalyze and replay everything.   I have a hard time falling asleep because I just can’t shut off this tiny motor of mine.  Like I mentioned the day before, I’ve meet with a local running coach who questioned (in a postive way) how important was my marathon Labor Day weekend. He also brought up the point that typically it takes one day of recovery for every mile a person runs in a marathon. Let’s look at the big picture here. A marathon is 26.2 miles.  That’s 26 days of running. Now marathon number one is Labor day weekend. Marathon number 2 is October 16. Hmmmm not much time to recuperate and do whatever it is I’m suppose to do between two marathons. That’s another thing. What am I suppose to do between two marathons so close?  There’s not much literature out there that I’ve found that covers this kind of time frame.  I’ve really been stressing over this, a lot.  Hence me contacting a running coach.  I’ll be honest I really expected him to be like, ” Sure, two marathons in a month is completely doable.” Instead he was polite but I sensed he thought the elevator didn’t make it all the way up with me.

So my options are A. back down from marathon #1 and concentrate souly on marathon #2 or B. Do marathon #1 and suffer possibly through marathon #2.  So some of you may be asking what am I even signed up for two races so close together. Let me explain.  In January of this year I decided that 2011 was the year that I would run Tupelo Marathon and get my skull and cross bones finishers medal.  I love a cool finishers medal. I have one that is the Mercedes emblem.  Very cool.  I also ran the half marathon as a training run a couple of years ago and fell in love with it.  It starts at stupid thirty in pitch black (really, take a flashlight) and you follow the police car lights  till the light starts to break.  It was so much fun because I could not see where I was going. I’m pretty sure I stepped on road kill.  I also ran with some of the nicest people.  I really had way too much fun but I didn’t get a medal.

Anyways, then the plan  for the Tupelo race turned into a girls trip. In April like I’ve done for years now I put my name in the lottery for the Nike Women’s Marathon with the thinking that this would be another year I wouldn’t get picked.  Well, I did.  Since I made a promise to myself and my friend I went ahead and signed up for Tupelo Marathon in either May or June.  So since then my friend is unable to go to Tupelo so that left just me going to chase after my medal (literally).  Now to present time, I’ve got two marathons a month apart and no set plan in site.  You can see where my concern is coming from right?

This morning I struggled mentally and physically with what to do.  I mean, it’s been weighing on my mind but in order for me to get any sleep last night I had to tell myself that I would make a decision while running.   I don’t mind making decisions but I have to know that I can make it and not feel like I’m going to have regrets.  I like to make a decision, declare it and not look back.

I made my decision.

I decided that Tupelo would have to wait one more year.

Does it pain me to make that decision?  A little bit. However I am having an even harder time with that space bewteen the two marathons.  It’s like a black hole in my mind that I don’t know what to do with and that scares me more than the pain of not doing a race.

Feeling just a tad bit lost today I’m not sure what my training schedule is right now.  I’m okay with that.  Everything happens for a reason.  I think this is where running is like life. Constantly changing and altering. Nothing is set in stone and nothing is certain. I have to be able to adapt.  I know this all sounds a bit dramatic but marathon training is such an emotional ordeal as a physical one.  If I have an off day with running it messes my world up and vice versa.  A runner puts so much heart and soul into completing 26.2 miles they can’t help but have an emotional attachment somewhere in the mix. So when major decisions have to be made it becomes  emotionally taxing.

Sorry for the long post. I just had to clear my chest.  Enough of that. Time to move on.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Solid Run

Recovery runs are so nice.  Now I’m not sure 12 miles and recovery go in the same sentence but some how if a person runs marathons it does.  That just goes to show you how wacky marathoners really are!

Instead of my traditional Saturday run  I had to bump my normal run to Sunday this week since I had to teach pilates Saturday morning at 9:15.  Saturday actually turned out to be a very busy day.  Let’s see 9:15 pilates, shoe shopping (running shoes of course), hair appointment, then I had to go to my mom’s to move rocks ( long story but there was a lot of them), rush home to change clothes to head to the movies to see the Smurfs, dinner with friends and finally home about 9 p.m.  Sunday’s 12 mile run really was a recovery run compared to Saturday!  It really was a solid run.

So before I can finish my long run report I have to fast forward (and jump around just a bit), I’ll come back to the main point in just a minute. Sunday afternoon I meet with a local guy who is a running coach.  For some time I’ve followed his blog and wanted to inquire about his services but I felt ashamed regarding my  run/walk pace  being so slow.   Running coaches are for fast people right?  Well Friday I really got to thinking about my San Francisco marathon but I can’t do it until I do my Tupelo marathon which is one month apart.  I really was smoking the wacky weed when I decided to do all this!  Anyways, I gave myself a little panic attack because I realized I had no idea how to attack that month between the races.  So Friday night I sent Mr. Running Coach an email asking him if he would be interested in helping out a local slow poke.  I figured it would be a couple of days before I would hear anything back but nope by the start of my Smurfs movie Saturday we had already started communicating. It felt like Christmas in July!  We eventually decided on meeting up and going from there.  I was so nervous! But of course he’s a super nice guy who really has a true passion for the sport.  I was also very impressed how well organized he was.  (My point of telling you all of this ties in with my long run post.)  He asked me questions that most runner’s get asked all the time and I answered my normal answer but then he was ” No. Why did you start running?”  It was a very direct question. Not a generic “I want to hear your fluff answer” question.  It was thought provoking questions if a person allowed them to be.  For instance “Why did you start running?”  For me it was 1999 and I had no clue this sport even existed.  I had never heard of a 5k, 10k or marathon.  So after moving to Hattiesburg and finding out about this sport it really was a desire to want to do something different.  I had played tennis, lifted weights (yeah, one day when I’m feeling frisky I’ll break out the pictures from the weight lifting days) but never ran for a prize.

In the bigger picture I want a running coach to hopefully help me be a stronger runner and maybe finish a marathon in 5:20 instead of 5:30.  And of course me being my typical self (meaning being critical of myself) I kept reminding him ” I’m slow. Like really slow.” Finally he said ” Slow is a relative term.  No matter how fast you are someone’s always going to be faster than you and someone’s always going to be slower than you.”  It really put things into a different perspective for me.  I knew immediately this morning when I went running and didn’t fuss at myself about moving so slow that this Mr. Running Coach might be just what the Dr. ordered. It gave me something to chew on that’s for sure.

So back to my long run post.  Mr. Running Coach in just a short amount of time helped me to look at how I view my running terms. So what do I mean by a solid run. What is a solid run for me? Well…………excellent question.  Since I run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute  a solid run would be keeping to this schedule. Not wearing down and having to do a mile of cycling back and forth between a  1 minute run and 1 minute walk.  A solid run is me not breaking down mentally and wondering why I can’t run harder or faster.  A solid run means executing the plan without little deviation and not breaking down mentally which would cause me to constantly question or doubt myself.  That’s a solid run.

So I’m not sure when I’ll start working with Mr. Running Coach (if I didn’t scare him off) since I only have a couple of weeks till my Tupelo Marathon. There’s not much he can do for me except advise at this point.

So the rest of this week is spent gearing me up for my 18 miler this coming Sunday. Then the following weekend is 20 miles and then downhill from there.  A person would think I would be over the nervous excitment leading up to a marathon but apparently not.  I know pretty soon I’ll have the dream where I oversleep, miss the start of the race and try to play catch up. I always have the same dream at some point just before a race.  It’s kind of like that Seinfeld episode……………The Hot Tub.

Friday Ramblings-Monumental Moments

So today I thought I would do my Friday ramblings about my little monumental  moments.  In case I’ve faliled to mention earlier, I created this blog as a accountability tool. Well to be honest up until this week I wondered if it was really doing what I wanted it to do for me. Sure I feel like I’ve maybe entertained but have I gotten anything out of it?

As of this week, YES!  So yesterday I decided I was having tuna fish salad for dinner. I knew I needed a few things from the grocery store so I popped in to do some shopping.  Instantly I realized how hungry I really was.  I love chips and dip!  So I automatically thought “Why not? What would it hurt?” That’s I looked up at this woman who just randomly glanced at me and I thought, “What if she knows I’m Pounds to Miles Brandy and she knows that I’m buying junk food!?!” I normally don’t have these kind of thoughts. In fact I normally assume that I know most people and very few people have any clue who I am.  So NORMALLY this kind of thinking would never have cross my mind. Really.  So I put the chips back.  I wasn’t done with the internal battle yet.  Aisle after aisle of all my favorites were screaming at me “Take me home!” and all I could think was “What kind of fake would I be if I surrendered to this?”  So with my head held high (and a bag of ginger snaps) I came out with tuna, eggs, ginger snaps and lettuce!

I’m constantly setting small goals for myself but I have to say, the monumental moments are so much sweeter!  They come unexpected and in different forms.  It’s not like running a marathon.  I know running a marathon that 99.9% of the time I’m going to reach my goal of finishing the marathon.  However on my little  journey of becoming a better version of myself some days are harder than others.  It’s so much easier (most days) to do what feels good than what my mind wants to do.

That’s another thing, I’ve been reading the book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” and I’ve got some really good points out of the book.  For instance:  “For individuals’ behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. The problem is this: Often the heart and mind disagree. Fervently. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (p. 5).  

and

Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (p.12)

There are tons of other great points and ideas in the book but these are just a few that really stood out.  I’ve come to realize about myself as I write more through here that I’m more of an emotional person than I thought I was.  I emotionally eat and I make decisions or don’t make decisions based on how I feel. I also critique (sounds nicer than criticize) myself all the time.  I’m very hard on myself when it comes to how I’m measuring up.    For example: in the past I’ve tried so hard to have a hard nose attitude regarding  self control and eating. My thinking was it’s all or nothing. There is no room for failure. This attitude might last a week or two then I’m so exhausted I wake up one morning and I’m like “Screw it. I work hard, pay my bills and live a relatively healthy life. I deserve to eat whatever I want!” Well then 2 hours later I’m beating myself up for having no self control (again) and being so mentally exhausted.  No wonder!  I exhausted myself with having self control with no plan. The all or nothing attitude might be just a bit too much for me.  I’m learning that I have to have a plan.  I have to educate myself on whats healthy and whats not.  I also have to remember I don’t deserve to eat junk food. In fact, I’m punishing myself by putting that junk in me rather than saying “I love myself enough to know I don’t deserve to eat crap!”

And of course as I write all of this I imagine Tina Fey’s voice in the back of my head narrating all of this!

So as for my Friday Ramblings go, it’s time for me to put this one to bed and move on.  I have a busy weekend in store.  Today my brother-in-law comes home from Afghanistan after being over there for a year now.  We all feel very blessed to have him come home safe and sound to us.  He has  3 beautiful children and a lovely wife I know can’t wait to see him.  Saturday I get to teach pilates, get a hair cut and then out to my mom’s to do some honey-do chores. Sunday I’m running 12 miles. Next weekend calls for 18.  I can’t wait!!

Have a great weekend!

Cheers!

Working on Losing my Truffle in my Shuffle

(this is how I felt yesterday)

I started this post last night and fell asleep.  So I really mean for this to be posted yesterday (Wednesday).

So all day long (when I wasn’t thinking about work) I’ve been trying to figure out what to blog about.  It couldn’t be about running because I haven’t had the energy to put many miles in.   So there are no stories to tell or no lessons learned. So tonight when I was talking to Hubby about being so hungry all week and how I was going to be lucky to even lose a pound this week after losing 4 last week (by the way did I mention I lost 4 pounds last week?).  Then the thought came to me that this the part of my blog where the title comes into play. You know…….Pounds to Miles.  So at this point in my life I’m concentrating on good nutrition.  As I’ve mentioned before I’ve recruited the help of Runners Fuel to help make this change in my life.

Side note:  This young lady deserves a special place in Heaven for dealing with my multitude of questions day after day.  Really if you ever decide to hire her, you most certainly get your money’s worth from her services.  She’s amazing!

So my main focus beyond the normal counting calories is learning to eat quality food in the right portions. It sounds easy I know but I feel like I could solve the nations budget problem easier than I can master this.  It’s not just knowing what a carb is or a protein but know what amount and the quality.  For instance I love Subway.  I love a flatbread turkey sandwhich with pepperjack cheese and a majority of the veggies. So what’s the problem?  Well I was wondering if flatbread is good quality and if it was one carb or two? Is a normal 6 inch wheat sub 1 carb or 2?  I know 2 slices of 100% whole wheat bread is 1 carb but the Subway bread is larger so I didn’t know how to count it.  The answer is a flatbread is not horrible but not the best. Obvisously the wheat bread is the better choice and it’s 1 carb.  Not to mention my confusion with mexican food.  That’s another day!  It’s just so much to think about.

Last week I was EXTREMELY obsessed (not just concerned but obsessed) with analyzing everything I ate  but this week, I feel like I maybe have a little better handling on it but I also feel tired and really hungry.   Not craving any one thing but just a desire to eat.  I don’t know if this translate into anything  but I hope this is just a phase and will pass soon.  I also haven’t had the motivation to log what I’ve eaten this week.  The only thing that is somewhat out of my normal routine (does one good week count as routine?) is I do have a slight scratchy throat and a mild cough (allergies perhaps).  Who knows?!?

This is the part where I get frustrated with trying to be a healthier version of myself. I’m so consistently typical with my behavior. I go on a diet;  first week is my learning curve, the second week I lose some weight by the third week I suddenly don’t understand why I haven’t lost 20 pounds yet!  I grow frustrated, I throw caution to the wind and BAM!  I regain what I just lost plus some.  I think in addition to a dietitian I need a therapist.  Anyone like to offer their free services?!  I know what the elementary basics are to nutrition but there is so much more to it and that’s what most diets and dietitian fail to realize is that even though you may know the basics there is so much more nutrition and teaching the basics is not enough. That’s why I’m falling quickly in love with Runners Fuel (not a paid advertisement!)

I know it’s going to work out and I’ll be happy I stuck with the program but good golly it’s mentally exhausting.  But if it was so easy I would have done it already, right? It’s like someone said on Extreme Makeovers: Weight Loss Edtition, food is something you have to be around everyday in order to survive. It’s hard.  Sure I could throw it all out the window, eat till my jaws hurt and be the size of a sumo wrestler but I know I wouldn’t like myself very much.  I like running too much to just totally disregard my nutritional habits.  So I just take it one day at a time.  If I come off sounding like I’m whining I don’t mean to but I would be lying if I try saying this is super easy and for 3 easy payments of $39.99 you too could look like this!  It’s just not that easy. Not only am I learning to make wise decisions I’m having to reprogram myself to how I view my food. I love to eat but there’s other things I love to do more than just eat.

Remember: Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.

P.S.  The picture above makes me laugh because anytime a Windham on a road trip is late getting in a vehicle, the Truffle Shuffle must be done before you’re allowed in the vehicle!  Good times (for those of us in the vehicle).

Fresh Starts

 

Man oh man this week has flown by! I have tried so hard to post all week but time has not been my friend this week.  I’m trying to learn to be more efficient with my time but it’s kind like when I declare I’m going on a diet. I suddenly seem to eat twice as much as when I’m not dieting.  Well I’ve tried hard to be efficient with my time and it some how has suddenly been slipping away faster.  Enough about that, on to better things.

So Monday I ran the Peavine Falls 8.2 mile run in Birmingham, AL.  It was one of the hardest runs I’ve ever participated in but I had the most fun.  I definitely learned that I need to run hills (although can a 900 foot elevation even be classified as a hill?!?!)  more often. The race had a 900 foot elevation for 3.25 miles and I got the come down the same way I got up there.  I found new muscles that day!  The remaining part of the run was through a wooded area with a very narrow trail.  I think a few people ahead of me ended up falling on the trail  but to my surprise I managed to stay upright.  The rest of the day was spent watching little league games and traveling.  Tuesday my hamstrings were still pretty fatigued so I decided to take the day off.  Bad decision since Wednesday and today was spent being extremely exhausted from hanging out in the hospital with family due to unforeseen circumstances.  Everyone is okay but after this week I’m sure I have a few new gray hairs.  Physical exhaustion is one thing but mental exhaustion is the worst.  My body felt fine but I honestly could not muster up the energy to run, or do anything other than sleep.  So not only am I not working out but I’m beating myself up over it when this is one of those things that I sort of have no control over.  It’s not like I’m being lazy. Right? On the upside I have a 14 miles planned this weekend as my long run.  I hoping that even though my mileage was so low this week that somehow my body will be forgiving of the circumstances.

Of course my diet has suffered somewhat.  I had decided that Tuesday would be a new diet day, holidays have a way of wrecking my waist line.  Of course it didn’t happen that way. So instead of getting my “plan” kickstarted I had to make the wisest decisions I could regarding nutrition.  However, all is not lost.  Excitingly I found a program called Runner’s Fuel.  Rebecca is a licensed nutritionist that caters to runners.  I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with some fabulous nutritionist who really know what their talking about but Rebecca is the only one I’ve come across that applies her knowledge to running.  She will be helping me improve my nutrition while hopefully helping me lose a few pounds.  The nice thing is she applies her program to my current running schedule so that I’m getting the right fuel at the right time.  The other convenient thing about it,  is that  she tells me what to eat on my off days (which are always hard ones since I’m resting with little extra calorie burning going on).  I feel like it’ll be a good rounded program that hopefully help me become a better athlete. I’m very excited to add this in to my training and I  hope that I don’t let her down.

I’ve received my program from her so I’m definitely planning on digging in this weekend to study  and then getting started on my program Monday.  I know it won’t be easy and that it’s going to be tough but I’m a true believer that some effort is better than no effort.

I can’t wait to share with you guys.  Up until now I’ve really been excited about my running because I have you guys (hopefully someone’s listening) to share my ups and downs with but I haven’t been sharing about my nutrition because I’ve been eating like a pig.  It’s nothing to brag about that’s for sure.  So I look forward to sharing my experience.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and a great weekend. Be sure to get plenty of fluids and eat your vegetables.

Cheers!

Upcoming Races!

Since my week has been insane, I’m just now posting races for the weekend.  If you have one you would like to add please let me know.

July 9 – LaSalle General Hospital Wellness Center Ready, Set, Fit Health Fair 5k Run & 1k Fun Run/Walk – Jena, LA – See flyer.

July 9 -Swinging Bridge 5kSee Flyer

 

 

The Long Run

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine.

I had THE best 12 mile run this morning! I would definitely call it a good quality run. We started at 4:45 a.m. since we both had to be at work by 8(ish) weather was cooler than it has been but still somewhat muggy. We left Thu’s house and headed for The Long Leaf Trace which was 2.25 miles from her house. It is so nice to have the streets all to ourselves and not have to dodge traffic. So once we get to the Trace of course I have to use the bathroom. I swear I’m going to have to start wearing an adult diaper when I run! Once our little pit stop was completed off we went for another 4 miles before our next pit stop. Those four miles went pretty uneventful for the most part. About mile 4 we started to see signs of life. That’s the bad thing about getting up so early to run is that I feel like we are the only two people on Earth and that the sun will never rise. Several guys were out biking but didn’t see anybody else running. So once we took our pit stop at mile 6 we decided to head back via the main roads. That’s one of my favorite parts of running is using the main streets rather than some track or trail. I’m grateful for the trail that we have but I really do love the openness that roads have to offer. Yes i realize they are not nearly as safe but I also do my best to stay out of drivers way. Although I have been known to refuse to give up my space of the road when a car had plenty of room to go around me. Anyways the next 6 miles proved to be harder because of the gentle inclines (I wouldn’t necessarily call them hills) through out our course. About this time my legs were starting to get a little tired but nothing too terribly bad. For the most part all the aches and pains I experienced earlier in the week didn’t rear their ugly head. If anything bothered me it was my breathing but I think that was just allergies. So somewhere along the way we miscalculated our route ending the 12 miles with a mile walk home. We could have ran 13 but schedule required 12 so the mile cool down was nice.

I think one thing that helped is I’ve learned to bring plenty of liquids, peppermints, and Gu’s. I found a hand held Camelbak water bottle that is very easy to take with me and a Fuel Belt that has one storage pouch and two more small water bottles. The nice thing about the Fuel Belt is that it doenst bounce when I run. So after 6 miles start taking the Gu’s and alternating between Gatorade (I keep the Gatorade in the small water bottles since I take less of that in) and water.

In 2001 I started doing triathlons (I rarely do one now) but at one of the races during the run part (you know swim, bike, run) a older gentleman ran past me asking me if I wanted a peppermint. At first I said no but he insisted so I caved and took one. The sweetness really help perk me up and the peppermint part help settle my stomach (which can get upset between the Gatorade and the Gu). Every triathlon I went to that year and years after I always ran into my peppermint man! So a year or two goes by and I skip the whole triathlon thing but finally decide to do a biathlon (run, bike). I wasn’t thinking the morning I got dressed and put on a running skirt which we all know will really slow down my biking (yeah, right). As I’m biking, some guy with a Nemo doll tied to his bike seat comes flying past me on the huge hill (felt like a mountain) calls out “Lose the skirt and you can bike faster!” Talk about firing me up to catch up to this Nemo carrying bag of wind. Only after I finished did I learn that it was my peppermint guy! His skirt comment was forgiven once I learned who he was. That’s the aspect I love about going to races, is the friends and the stories I come home with.
So next week we run 14 miles as a long run. Monday calls for 3 miles, Tuesday is repeats, Wednesday is a cross training, Thursday is 3 miles and Friday is rest day. I’m using Fridays and Sundays as rest days. This past week we had to do our long run due to travel schedules.

I won’t be posting again till Monday due to family being in town. Enjoy your weekend.

Cheers!

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