Friday, April 29, 2011

4 the hard way

I firmly believe that all physical activities rely not only on your level of fitness but also on your mental state of mind.  Countless studies have shown the effects of positive thinking on athletes.  If you think you can do it you are more likely to do it.  That is why I chant "I love running!" not "I want to die!" at the end of my long runs.  Because even though I am pretty sure I am going to die, if I believe I am enjoying it than it is more likely I will finish strong.  And this usually works. . . usually.

Today was the exception.  I am going to say it was a combo of tired legs and a serious case of the blahs!  The blahs started at 5 this morning when my two year old started yelling, "Mommy, I wake up!  Come and get me!  I want Chocolate Milk!  I want Diego!  I want Explorer!"  (There are good and bad things about having an early talker.)  And the blahs continued when I took a peek at my training schedule and realized I needed to run 5 miles today.  Yeesh my legs were still feeling the 10.8 from the other day.  Going to the gym sounded good, but to sit in the hot tub not torture my weary legs on the treadmill.  I just didn't wanna.  But I did it anyway.

And I just should have taken a break.  I should have listened to my legs not the schedule because I ran a miserable, pathetic 4 miles.  My head was not in the game and if my head isn't in the game I will never last 5 miles on a treadmill.  Outside maybe, inside no.  I struggled and panted.  I tried going faster, slower.  Nothing worked and so I called it a mile early.

I left the gym feeling a bit defeated.  But these things happen (as my sister Kacey says).  Some runs are great, some are not so great.  This one was not so great, therefore, I will listen to my protesting limbs and take tomorrow off.  Rest well my friends because my head will be in the game next time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finally got some LSD! (Don't worry Mom- that stands for Long Slow Distance)

In a few of my latest posts I have been lamenting the fact that I haven't been able to do my long runs.  Weather and sick kiddos (and husband) have totally derailed me.  My last long run was over two weeks ago and I must admit that I was freaking out about it!  Ah, but this is the life of a mom, right?  Things never go exactly the way you plan.  I was almost going to give up and attempt 11 miles on the treadmill.  Blah!!  My love for the treadmill moves to blind hatred after about 6 miles.  But today the weather was going to be good and the husband was going to be home (yeah!!) so I got to do my long run outside!

I  drove to the Mary Carter Greenway got out all my gear and realized. . .uh oh, NO IPOD!!!  No!!  A long run without music!  I almost got right back in the car, but I just couldn't.  Who knows when I would be able to run this long again.  My race is 2 1/2 weeks away and I have to be ready.  So I sucked it up and ran without it. 

Here is the funny thing though, it was a great run.  Without my music distracting me I really got to enjoy how absolutely beautiful it is in Colorado right now.  Yes, Miss "I hate snow" "I miss the beach" is saying that I was loving my Colorado living today!  The grass is getting green, the leaves are budding, the river was flowing, and I got to run through fragrant blooming trees.  It almost made me forget that my legs were on fire. . . almost.

Beautiful day, beautiful run.  So, will I ditch my ipod for future runs?  Hmmm, maybe I will just try to look and listen at the same time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mean Mom or Healthy Choice??

Is it just me or has Easter morphed into Christmas the sequel?  I guess in the religious sense Easter is the sequel to Christmas, but I was talking more about the orgy of presents and candy that now accompanies this holiday.   I was even talking to a mom whose kids had an Easter list, you know like a Christmas list!  Don't get me wrong I really don't think there is anything wrong with giving your kids presents or treats, but how much is too much?  When do we cross the line between giving our kids enough to spoiling them?

So I made the executive decision to skip the Easter baskets this year.  I know!  What kind of horrible mom am I?  I kinda can't believe I did it.  I have been doing Easter baskets for our family since Kevin and I were engaged.  It is never too much.  Just a bit of candy and some small presents for the kids. But as I was planning to go out and shop for the goods I paused and looked around the house.  It is busting at the seams with toys and toys my kids play with for 2 seconds and then never care about again (unless I try to get rid of them).  Then I looked at the piles of candy my children had recently collected at birthday parties and other assorted events.  Do they need more toys?  No.  Do they need more candy?  Absolutely not!  Does an Easter basket have anything to do with the real meaning of Easter?  No, no, no!  I decided I just wasn't going to do it this year.

This doesn't mean that next year I won't do Easter baskets.  I am not banning them for life, but I am going to put more thought into the process next year.  I am going to try to find a way to make the "treats" a bit healthier and the presents a little more meaningful.  I am also going to emphasize the real reason we celebrate this holiday and make those baskets secondary.  I have been noticing a sense of entitlement in my children and lack of appreciation for all the blessings they have.  And you know what, giving them another round of candy and toys is not going to help that any!!

As for my decision this year, I am happy with it.  In addition to the kids not needing to eat a bunch of crap, Kevin and I don't need to eat a bunch of crap either!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oh treadmill! How I have missed you!!!

I love my kids. Having kids is wonderful, but the thing nobody tells you (well one of the things nobody tells you) is that kids are carrier monkeys.  They are always bringing home some sort of germ and this year it has been especially bad.  I have even accused them of going around and licking things in public places.  So you have three choices with kids: 1) Never go anywhere (a fate worse than death!) 2) dress them in hazmat suits or 3) just know they are going to get sick and deal with it.  As my doctor said, "There is no if, it is when.  They will get sick now or later.  It is called building their immune system."  And the kids have been filling up their immunity punch cards at a break neck speed this year.

However, this last rounds of germs was brought to our house by me!  Was I licking things?  I don't know how it happened but last Friday (the day I ditched the gym for the mall) I started to get a cold.  And this particular strain has been nasty and clingy.  I have been having a hard time shaking it.  It was then passed to Emerson (who now has an ear infection from it) and then Kevin.  Mason is our last hold out but he just sneezed and said, "I think I'm sick."  Ugh!

So as you can imagine all this sickness has put a major kink in my training schedule.  The kink being that I didn't have a training schedule this past week.  Each day I thought I would be able to squeeze in at least a short gym session, but each day it just was not possible.  As the days without a workout passed my anxiety grew.  I am not going to be able to finish this half marathon was the thought that was constantly running through my mind.  I think I can actually feel my butt getting bigger was the other thought.  I hadn't done a long run since April 11th and I was starting to feel everything I had worked for slipping away.

Kevin could tell how upset I was and, even though he was feeling really bad yesterday, he made sure I was able to run.  I only had time to run 4 miles, but those 4 miles felt wonderful.  I was a little apprehensive about how I would do.  I hadn't really run in a week and a half (the horror!) and I was still a little sick.  But I got on the treadmill, cranked up the music, and enjoyed every blissful step I took.  Oh how I had missed the feel of that moving belt beneath my feet.  When my time was up I felt renewed, calmer, and more at peace with my ability to finish the half marathon.  Of course I won't feel totally better until I can fit in another long run, but my fears of unraveling all my training in a week were unfounded.  Three weeks until race day!  I think know I can!  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Balancing Act

One of the things about signing up for an event like a road race or a triathlon is you get put on an email list.  All the races I have ever signed up for have been through so I get a lot of emails from them.  I actually don't mind this because they have some great articles, tips, up coming events, and yes the occasional advertisement.  An email I received last week was triathlon themed and there was an article about balancing life and training.  I immediately click on it because I have been thinking a lot about the topic lately.

Overall it was a good article but there was just this one little thing I had a problem with.  It was this sentence: "I have a full-time job, a husband and a dog that is spoiled rotten and can, for all intents and purposes, be counted as a child."  If you have children you know why I have a problem with this statement.  Unless you are a reeeeeally bad parent, having a dog is nothing like having a child.  Even having three dogs is nothing like having a child (I would know because I have three dogs and children).  Don't get me wrong a dog, especially a spoiled one (or 3), is work.  And when you are childless you do think that having a dog is pretty much the same as having a child.  After all you feed it and love it, right?  Then you have a child and you laugh at that former diluted version of yourself that thought that having kids wouldn't really change your life because after all you've had all this practice with the furry babies.  I am not writing this to berate this women and say she is a total idiot.  Of course not.  She had a lot of really good things to say.  But she was definitely missing the perspective of a (real) parent.  And being a parent and participating in events that take a lot of training present a unique challenge.  How do you balance being a good mom (or dad) and fit in your workouts (especially during two a day times)?

I definitely don't have all the answers but here are some things that have helped me fit in both.
  • I have the mind set that exercising might be taking a few hours away from my kids during the day, but it is hopefully adding years to our time together later in life.
  • When I take a little time for myself I am a happier, calmer mom (and wife).  
  • I found a way for the kids to be taken care of when I need to train.  For some people a spouse is always available.  Or they work out at home when the kids are there or at school.  That just wouldn't work for me.  So I joined a gym with a daycare.  My kids love it and I don't have to work around my husband's crazy work schedule. 
  • I have a husband who can stay with the kids when I do my long runs or ride my bike (things I don't do at the gym).  A relative, friend, or babysitter would work too!  I work my schedule around his availability.
  • I have a rough training schedule but I remain flexible in case things come up.  And things come up all the time!  Illness, appointments, playdates.
And then there are the times you can't balance it all.  And you know what, you just have to make peace with that.  I love to participate in these events but my family's needs come first.  If my kids are sick or my husband needs to work, then I just have to sit on the side lines for a few workouts.  And this week I have been sitting on the sidelines.  I have a sick baby girl and a husband who is working long hours.  So I missed some workouts (including my long run).  I have started to freak out a bit because that May 15th date is looming, but in the long run missing a few runs here or there won't make or break me.  This is just for fun!

So, if I still just had my dog babies I would have been able to make those runs, but then again I wouldn't have anyone to cheer for me at the finish line!

Healthy(ish) Strawberry Muffins

Einstein's bagels has an oh so yummy strawberry white chocolate muffin.  I discovered it when I was pregnant with Mason and I remember it was the first solid food I ate after my C-section with him.  But this very delicious muffin is very, very not good for you.  500 calories!!!! 22 grams of fat!!!  Horrible!!  No wonder I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant with him!  So of course I don't eat them anymore!  But I do love strawberries and muffins so I was so delighted when one day I came across this recipe for strawberry muffins made with yogurt.  Each muffin only had 160 calories, 5 grams of fat, and they taste really good too!  You use half whole wheat flour (I am sure you could even use all whole wheat).  This ups the whole grains and fiber. You also use plain yogurt which cuts the fat and ups the protein (if you use Greek yogurt like me then you add even more protein).

The kids love making them and eating them too!  Kevin likes them as well, especially when I made them slightly less healthy by adding white chocolate chips.  Yes, yes not as healthy but still not even close to 500 calories.  And of course we made them more fun by using the dinosaur muffin pan Mason got from his Aunt Kristy and Uncle Grant.  So if you like muffins but don't like the calorie count try this recipe out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baking Soda + Vinegar = Fun

I am a horrible cook so my children eat at Chick Fil A more than they probably should.  But like I said I am a horrible cook and I definitely don't know the first thing about cooking meat (since I don't eat it).  Recently in the kid's meals we so often get, they have been giving away books with different science topics and each book has an activity in it.  Mason and Kevin made a snow flake from one of the books and today we made a volcano.  Mason has been looking forward to this for quite some time and I purposely saved it for yearly check up day.  I told him if he did a good job at the doctor and was brave for his shot then we would get the supplies and volcano it up. He did a great job so we got to do the project (gotta. love bribery).

The design was wrapping clay around a plastic cup, filling that plastic cup with baking soda, and then pouring vinegar (dyed red) into the cup.  Basic acid/base reaction, but always a hit.  Come on who doesn't love to watch something bubble over?!  It was even more exciting for a 4 year old.  I took a video of the reaction (eruption) so Mason could keep reliving the glory.  I would post that too but it is sideways and I can't figure out how to fix it!  Overall a fun little project for the day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The clouds are rolling in

 Yesterday was Sunday, so technically the day I do my long run.  But the only thing running was my nose.  I decided to push back my long run to Monday afternoon hoping I would feel a little bit better.  I am feeling better and I think I will be able to tackle 10 miles again.  However, the weather might not be cooperating with me.  Dark clouds are rolling in and I am not super confident that this run is going to happen today. 

I would like to say I am bummed, but to tell you the truth I have been feeling a little burned out lately.  This half marathon is starting to kick my butt and I have found myself dreading my runs, which is the last thing I want.  I want to enjoy my training and I want to feel re-energized.  But lately I have been feeling run down and empty. Every time I train I take time away from the family and I want that time to be an enjoyable experience.  I love training for events because it keeps me focused and motivates me to not skip workouts.  The downside for training for an event is it is somewhat limiting.  Instead of running because I love it I am running because I am suppose to.  And when you start to think like that it just takes all the fun out of it. 

So I need a shot of motivation and a different perspective.  I need to remember that I signed up for this and it is going to feel so great to cross that finish line.  I don't know if I will do another half marathon, we will just have to see.  What I do know is that I am going to do this half marathon and I am going to do my best to enjoy the rest of this training.  In this next long run (whether it be today or tomorrow) I will focus not only on form but also on attitude because running is just as much mental as it is physical.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Walking with the Dinosaurs

My first born is 4 years old and totally obsessed with Dinosaurs.  I know this is a common thing for most children and my son is no exception.  I myself went through a phase and even held an paleontological dig in my backyard.  Mason has toys, clothes, a Nature and Science Museum pass, and books of course.

We were looking in one of those books early this morning and it made several references to the discoveries made in Morrison, CO at Dinosaur Ridge.  It dawned on me that my son loves dinosaurs and one of the really cool sites for fossils was 10 minutes away from our house.  Why had we not been there yet!?   So I asked Mason if he would like to go there after we we were finished at the gym.  His answer was of course yes, and his little sister was pretty excited too.  I think she is catching Dino fever from her big bro.

After the gym and a quick lunch we drove over to Dinosaur Ridge.  The little museum was first, and it is little.  But on the up side it was $1.50 for all of us and the kids were allowed to touch everything.   This is a big plus for my kids because they are going to touch everything whether they are allowed to or not.  In this picture they are putting together magnetic dinosaur bones.  But the kids were over the museum about 10 minutes after we got in.  This is not unusual for them, especially Mason.  His whole goal of an outing is usually to make great time.  He wants to see everything as fast as humanly possible.  I try to make him slow down and enjoy what he is looking it but his mind is always on the next thing.  So after about the third time of him asking what was next I decided it was time to move on.

In the gift shop I found out we had just missed the bus that would take you to up the mountain to view the dinosaur tracks.  So we had two choices.  1) wait an hour for the next bus (oh dear God no) or 2) walk up the mountain and just do a self guided tour.  I went with option two because an hour of two children constantly asking when the bus was going to get here did not sound fun.  Plus, it would be nice to take a walk with the kids and go at our own pace.

And then I made a bad mistake.  I did not take the stroller.  Why oh why did I not take the stroller?? I guess I figured Emerson would want to get out anyway and I didn't want to deal with the stroller if no kids were going to be in it.  But the thing is the kids would have been in it.  I greatly underestimated the steepness of the road we had to walk up.  It was fine for me but for 4 little legs it was a really long steep walk.  The other problem was the speed in which my two children liked to go.  Mason, as I have already mentioned, likes to make great time.  Emerson likes to stop and try to pick up every rock she can possibly fit in her hands.  When she runs out of room she starts to put them down her shirt (her "pocket" as she calls it).  This lallygagging caused immense distress for her big brother.  He kept yelling "Emmy hurry up!  The footprints will be gone!"  I reassured Mason that the prints had been there for over 65 million years and they would not erode in the next 10 minutes.  He wasn't convinced.  

We finally got to the tracks and both kids got to explore the area and see the evidence that these giant reptiles had once ruled the earth.  It was pretty cool and so exciting to see your kids get excited about science (especially if you were a science teacher!).

There are even more things to do at Dinosaur Ridge but they would have to wait for another trip.  It was getting really cold and clouds were rolling in.  It's Colorado and you just never know what you are going to get.  Plus the kids were tired from the long trek.  But we shall return and explore some more (next time with a stroller)!

Friday, April 15, 2011

And sometimes you just need a break

When embarking on a weight loss journey (like I did after the birth of my 2nd child) one usually starts some sort of fitness routine.  Some people find this to be a daunting and horrible experience.  They do it begrudgingly and eventually abandon it all together.  I found myself on the other end of that spectrum.  I love the time of the day that I get to exercise.  Maybe it's the endorphines.  Maybe it's because I know I am doing something good for my health.  Maybe it is the awesome stress relieving effects.  Or maybe it is just because it is the one time of day I get a break from mommy duty!! 

Because of this taking a "rest" day is a bit hard for me.  I know, I know, rest days are important!  It is time for your body to heal and other good stuff like that.  I think I rationalize going everyday because I switch it up.  I mix in weights, running, swimming, intervals, cycling.  But the fact is I need a day off every now and again and today was one of those day.  I was tired (thanks to my 4:40 am Emerson alarm clock) and coming down with a cold, but for some reason I convinced myself that I should still go to the gym.

Em and I dropped Mason off at preschool and headed to the gym.  After 10 minutes of struggling on the treadmill I conceited defeat, grabbed my sweet girl, and went to the mall instead!  I am in no way encouraging running out on a workout just because it is a little tough.  I am also not big on excuses for skipping exercise.  But I need to listen to my body and my body was saying, "Katie just take a break!!!  And also go see if those cute shoes are on sale."  I could have toughed it out, but maybe just maybe resting was the best thing I could have done for myself today.

Into Double Digits

I have been slacking in the update department but I wanted to write about my last long run because it was such a mile stone for me.  I hit double digits!!  Woop Woop!!!  It was my first 10 mile run and it was success!

I had to run Monday afternoon because for the first time there was bad weather on Sunday.  I woke up that morning to very gusty winds.  I decided not to go, then I decided to go, then I walked outside and decided not to go, then I guilted myself into the car to go, then as I watch the flags standing stiff in the wind and a few small animals fly by I decided to call it and spend the morning with the fam.  Good choice.  I could do a quick 3 miles in the wind but not 10 miles.  So, Monday after Kevin got home from work it would be.

I did my run on the Mary Carter trail.  I love this run.  It is beautiful and easy to map out.  Plus I think I have mentioned this before but it is flat and flat is good!  I was armed with my ipod, water, gatorade, and Sharkies.  What the heck are sharkies you say.  Well they are an alternative to GU.  GU is great if you like vomit but I don't so I have been searching for an alternative.  I tried Jelly Belly Sport Beans.  They were better but still a bit on the sickeningly sweet side.  So I gave these Sharkies a try.  Pros: much better tasting (like my kids' fruit snacks).  Cons: they kinda get stuck in your teeth.  Just don't let them get hot or you will have flash backs to the gummy bear scene of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The run was great!  The weather was beautiful and I was feeling good about being able to complete this daunting task.  My mind was constantly racing.  How is my pacing?  Posture?  How are my feet landing?  Are my arms loose enough?  And then around mile 3 I melted into the path and I was in the zone.

My favorite part of my long runs is the moment I realize that I am going to finish.  At the half way point (Belleview and Sante Fe) I was feeling good.  When I passed by Hudson Gardens I thought I had it.  When I reached Aspen Grove I KNEW I had it!  I click clacked over the bridge with a huge smile on my face.  I was going to do!  I was going to do 10 miles (it was actually 10.12).

I drove home exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.  Who would have ever thought that I could do this?  It is amazing what you can do when you put your mind and body to it.  So now the big question is, do I go further??  I have 4 more long runs before race day.  Do I go for 11 or 12??

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wedding Weekend

Last Thursday I left my children in the very capable hands of my hubby and hopped a plane to Oklahoma City for a wedding.  I was skipping town without the family so it had to be a pretty important person getting married right?

Well Amanda is.  We have been in each others lives since Freshman year German 101 (dates have been excluded to protect the old).  I have great memories of us in the language lab mocking "Stefan" on the tapes we were suppose to be learning from.  I believe we even vouched for each other (aka lied for each other) on our log sheets for those very tapes.  No wonder my German is nicht so gut.

Despite my lack of abilities in the German speaking department, I spent my Sophomore year of college in Heidelberg, Germany.  Amanda was one of my roommates and this is when we really got to know one another.  I could really write 100 blog posts about our shenanigans overseas.  I think our pictures might still be posted in a Belgium train office.  You know what they say, friends that get kicked off a train together, stay together!  But even though we had so much fun being obnoxious Americans in Europe, the things that I treasure most were our talks over vanilla tea.  We talked about boys, missing home, boys, our weekend adventures, boys, our crazy professors, and boys.  Let's just say it is a good thing that God was in control of our love life and not us.

Amanda and I were roommates again half of Junior year and moved off campus our senior year.  I could not imagine what my college experience would have been like with out her.

But our adventures did not stop there.  Amanda convinced me to move to Colorado after we graduated.  I didn't have a job lined up but I had a place to live, so. . . why not?  I was young and naive (stupid) so what better time to uproot your life and start fresh.  I found Colorado to be. . .  .horrible.  It snowed all the time (it really didn't but I am from Southern California so it seemed like it).  I developed an intense hatred of snow and all things cold.  But despite my misery I had my good friend to talk me off the ledge whenever the flakes started to fall (and to let me sleep in her bed when there was a mouse in my room).  However, she knew how homesick I was and supported me when I told her I was getting the hell out of there.  And she supported me again when a few weeks later I met my husband and decided that snow wasn't that bad after all.  She was there when I picked out my wedding dress, when I walked down the aisle, and was there to meet my children.  She is a friend I will know for life.  She can't escape me!!

That is why it was so wonderful to watch her marry a guy who is her perfect match.  All those times we sat around lamenting about this boy or that boy I am sure God was sitting back saying, "if you silly girls only knew what I had in store for you there would be rejoicing not angst!"  So thank you God not only for being in control but for giving me a great friend!  Congrats Amanda!  Words can't even express my joy for you and John!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Freestyle Success

Yesterday was Monday so that means weights and swimming.  I like to swim the day before and after a long run because it gives my legs a little break.  I never thought in my life that I would love to do laps in the pool, especially because last year at this time I could barely swim.  In fact, I refused to even get my head in the water.  So what made me want to start swimming?  Well it was really just a chance comment on Facebook.

Last year I took my kids on a walk, to the pool, and then I went for a bike ride.  I put as my status on facebook that I had my own little triathlon and I wondered if I could call myself a triathlete.  One of my friends (Audrey, the same awesome gal who went to the Newton's clinic with me) commented that I should do the Tri for the Cure with her.  To be honest it was something I had been thinking about.  I had started running again and was cycling a lot.  So swimming was the only missing piece.  However, if you stink at running you walk.  If you stink at cycling you switch to an easy gear and go slow.  But if you stink at swimming, you drown.  Hmmm, this was not a good idea so of course I signed up for it!

I had paid my money and now I needed to learn to swim.  I thought that perhaps I wasn't as bad as I thought.  I went to the gym pool and found out I wasn't as bad as I thought. . . I was worse. . . way, way worse.  I was gonna die for sure.  Since I didn't actually want to die I decided that swimming lessons would be a super idea.  The lessons started 5 weeks before the triathlon.  Nothing like cutting it close.

I ended up learning enough swimming in those lessons to breast stroke (head above water) for the race.  Sure women two heats behind passed me, but the point was I made it. . .and no CPR was needed.  I did another race a month later and I still did the breast stroke, but this time my head was in the water!  Yeah!  Progress!

I then came across and read a book called Total Immersion Swimming.  I didn't think reading a book would actually help me swim better, but it did.  Well that and lots and lots of practice.  I am proud to say that yesterday I was swimming free style (yes with my head in the water) and breathing every third stroke.  Now I am hoping that this year that I only get passed by women from one heat back.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

After the wind and before the rain/snow

In training for the half marathon I do one long run a week.  The only day that works for me is Sunday because every other day Kevin is working and I have no one to watch the kids.  Yes, I could technically go to the gym and do 9 or 10 miles on the treadmill, but blahhhhhhhhhhhh!  I just can't do it!  Running that long goes so much faster when you do it outside.  So far I have been pretty lucky with the weather because really at this time of year you don't know if it will be beautiful or a blizzard.  But today was the first day I thought the weather might keep me on the couch.

Horrible winds started to blow the night before and kept going into the early morning hours.  The news reported that some gusts were up to 90 miles an hour.  I really did not want to be running in that.  I continued to watch the weather report to find out when the winds would stop.  They would stop but then it would start to rain and snow in the late morning.  That meant a short window of time to get my butt out there!

I changed, laced up, filled up and drove to Platte Canyon.  I was planning to do 9 or 9.5 miles and I needed to get running before the clouds rolled in.

I did stay ahead of the weather. . .just barely.  Was it a good run?  Well they can't all be good runs right?  All in all I did about 10 miles (because of a detour to the McDonald's restroom) and ended up walking a bit of it because I wasn't feeling so hot (yes, related to the detour).  Oh well, I still put the miles in and now I know that if I have to stop during the race I will be able to start running again.  I wish it had been a better run but at least I was able to do it.  Next week is 10 miles and I am hoping I will be completely better!

Chocolate Cravings

Last night I went to the store to get a movie from Redbox (Wall Street 2, and it sucked!).  Kevin said "get milk. . .and chocolate ice cream."  Ah, man what is he doing to me??  I love chocolate, I love ice cream, I love chocolate ice cream.  What do I not love?  The 320 calories one cup of chocolate ice cream packs!  I just can't do that especially not at 7pm.  I also don't want to have a glass of water while my husband has delicious ice cream.  Time for a substitution.  I have found that a toasted chocolate vitatop muffin (100 calories + fiber) with a little light whipped topping (20 calories) taste a lot like heaven (and only 120 calories).  Smarter choice and still satisfied!

Love my Newtons!

Last fall I read a book about running call Chi Running.  The basic principle is the same as any other natural running book (Like Barefoot Running).  These books claim that we need to run more on our forefoot or midfoot instead of landing on our heels which constantly cause us to break.  You run with good posture, short strides, and lean forward from the ankles.  This causes you to land in a way that provides more natural cushioning for your body.  Since my knees are always an issue this promise was very appealing to me.   I read the book and started putting the principles into practice during my runs.  I have to say my knees and I are believers.  I did notice a big difference in my run times and the way my body felt after my runs.  Hey, I'll try anything that promises fewer aches and pains!

About a month later I just so happened to read an article about Newton shoes.  I had never heard of these shoes and they were from a company just down the road, so to speak (Boulder).  Newton Running is a company that designed shoes to help runners run in this more natural state.  So of course I had to try them!  I got a pair in November and, after an initial adjustment period, I was hooked.  I love my Newtons.  Not crazy about the color (BRIGHT orange) and really really not crazy about the price tag ($175).  But, until a cheaper option is available I will continue to shell out the bucks for these shoes (that is how much I love the ugly things).

Every Saturday in Boulder at the Newton Lab they have a free seminar.  I wasn't really quite sure what the seminar would entail but I wanted to go to make sure I was running properly in the shoes.  My friend Audrey had recently read Chi Running and I told her about the seminar.  We decided to go and check it out.  So thanks to my awesome sister who came over and watched the kids, we were able to head north to Boulder for a few hours.  I wasn't sure what we would encounter.  Would it be like a timeshare presentation where we were pressured into buying things we didn't want or need?  Would it be useless information or stuff we already knew?  Above all I hoped it wasn't a waste of time since both Audrey and I were taking time away from our families.

The clinic turned out to exceed my expectations.  We were taken through demonstrations and drills.  We were all observed and critiqued and I discovered mistakes that I was making.  Back at the lab my shoes were looked at to determine if my wear patterns were correct.  It looks like I have been running too much on my toes (which I thought once I went through the drills).  I also learned I need to work on shorter quicker strides.  Overall, I was very glad I went and if I get to run today I will be practicing the things I learned.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Running, bad knees, and bicycles

My first quest for fitness began the summer after my sophomore year of college.  I was taking summer school at Pepperdine and every morning I would wake up at 5am and make my way to a track that overlooked the Pacific Ocean.  Not a bad view for a workout.  My goal was never a weight or a size.  I wanted to be able to run 5 miles straight by the end of the summer.  Why 5 miles?  Who knows, but that is what I wanted to do.  When I started I could barely make it around the track once without stopping and by the end of the summer I was running 5 miles.  I walked more than I ran and then I ran more than I walked.  Pretty soon I wasn't walking at all.  I fell in love with running and the way it made me feel (losing 30 pounds didn't hurt either).

Fall came and full time school started again.  Although I still ran, I did not run as much as I had that summer and I would not run that much again until I moved to Colorado.  My roommate Ross and I started logging a lot of miles again to prepare for the Bolder Boulder (a Memorial Day 10K race).  This was my very first race and I enjoyed training for the event.  I enjoyed running the event too- that is until I blew out my knee.  I hobbled to the finish line and then took a 8 year hiatus from running.

After the Bolder Boulder I found it very painful to run.  I had also just met my husband.  Then I was dating my husband, getting married, going back to school, teaching, and having children.  Unfortunately, I let exercise take a backseat to everything else in my life.  After the birth of my daughter I started to get serious about getting back into shape.  After all I had 80 pounds to lose!

Since my knees had given me problems I decided to give into the Colorado peer pressure and hop on a bike.  I started on my Trek Mountain bike and, like I did with running, I started to slowly progress to longer rides.  I soon discovered that I loved cycling as much as running, perhaps even more.  Cycling was not just easier on my knees, it was a lot of fun.  I graduated to a hybrid Trek and finally in September last year Kevin got me a Giant road bike for my birthday.  Cycling has been a wonderful joy for me and it has given me the best gift ever.  It gave running back to me.  I found that all my biking had strengthened the muscles around my knee. Last April I slowly began to run again and I don't think I could have without my bike.  I was always careful to pay attention to aches and pains.  But my knees feel good (mostly) and I am enjoying being able to run again!

I am about two years into my second quest for fitness.  It has been slow and frustrating at times, but I am glad I have stuck with it.  7 pounds to go and I will enjoy running and biking it off!