Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What is that...? I think it's called.... the sun?

Well, all those April showers are bringing the May flowers in my neighborhood.  There are all sorts of beautiful colors, but I never realized just how pink my street is!  PINK everywhere!  ...Or I have pink on the brain since I am gearing up for my breast cancer charity walk.  I did my 4 miles on Sunday and was seriously in awe of how the breeze grabbed the cherry blossom pedals and made them dance in the air.  I would have imagined something silly like it was my victory lap and it was celebratory confetti, but my sore calves were killing my mood.  It did carry me home though.  I would just look for the next pink blossom and before I knew it, I was done with my 4 miles!

When I took this picture, I dropped my husband's white headphones...  It took him about an hour to help me find them.  Oops.

 These were very pretty, but full of bees!  That's okay, right?  Leave them alone and they leave you alone... or something like that.  I do know a running friend who got stung and then an infection!  Leaves me a little paranoid about them...  :)
This isn't a rose, but looks a lot like one!  Anyone know what it is?  It's very pretty.

This tree lost a lot of it's flowers from the rain and breeze... and let me tell you that it's huge, waxy pedals are very slick!  Don't fall when running through the flower pedals!  

Monday was a day of stretching and strength training, but I spent the evening at Portland Running Company and found my new candy store.  I love supporting local businesses and found the staff so incredibly helpful and great product selection.  I don't want to sound insincere, but I can seriously gush!  They know what they are talking about.  My helper was John, and he just ran a full marathon the day before!  Anyone who does that is freakin' amazing.  Anyone who gets off the couch and runs or walks is amazing in my eyes...  but this guy got it done in just over 2 1/2 hours.  Wow.  It took a bit of time to find the right pair for me, but I appreciate that he never lost patience and went outside with me with every pair of shoes to watch my stride when I ran.  


As you can see, my trusty worn out pair on the top have a HUGE, bulky heel.  I hated trying to run in them... so, not knowing anything about shoes or running, I flocked to the sparkly ones like a raven hoarding shiny things.  Aren't they nice for a run on a gloomy, overcast day?  They could be... depending on your pronation type.  It would seem that I over pronate, big time!  My heel rolls inward and this can cause further pain in my already iffy knees and aggravate my "runner's knee".  ...Which I happen to be in physical therapy for!

The garish rainbow shoes (that I am totally smitten with,)  have too much "flex" and it seems that I need to have that bulky heel to provide the support I need not to roll my heels.  This is made even more clear by examining my wear patterns on my shoes....  My worn out, over-loved, day-to-day shoes are worn out in the middle of the shoe while the edges still have some traction.  Exactly what is desired.  So....  after an hour and a half of running in all sorts of shoes (I was in denial about the bulky heel and hoped to avoid it...), I now introduce you to my new running shoes!  (Drum Roll please!)

Brooks Addiction 10th edition

If you haven't been fitted for a shoe with your running style evaluated, I highly recommend it.  And if you live anywhere near driving distance to the Portland Running Company,  please visit them.  They are so awesome.  And in true spirit of Portland, they have free beer and snacks after their group runs.  Check them out!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Map My Run App (for smart phone)

I know someone who has tracked her run distance by driving the route in her car later to determine how many miles it was.  I'm sure there are all sorts of computer programs with satellite maps to do this with too.  I'm a mom with two small kids and don't have a lot of time for all that mumbo jumbo.  I'm lucky to get out of the house some days to get my run in!  I don't want to calculate the route again later, and with today's fancy gizmos, you don't have to.  GPS, baby!

I've uploaded the app Map My Run because it was free.   It takes the pressure off trying to determine pace, miles covered and all the info is given to me with audio alerts.  I'm able to play my music app while it is running.  It quiets my music during the alert and then resumes at the volume I had it set to.

The voice of the announcer isn't the best that I've heard...  my friend Dayna has a super awesome "trainer" on her app.  I guess that's the difference between $0.99 and free.  My person on my app is very robotic and lets me know "Congratulations on your first mile!  Don't give up!  (Insert name of a big-box store) stands behind you!"  This made me laugh out loud the first time.  ...The humor wears off the next run, but it isn't that big of a deal.

There are some settings that I'd don't care to mess with.  I don't want my map published on Facebook for every stalker to see where I like to run.  I'm also already logging my food with weight watchers, so I don't need the food log.   However, that is probably really helpful to see what you are eating and why you might feel a bit "slow" or other issues that could be related to diet.  I already know I need to drink more water.

It would be nice if it offered a timer for intervals.  Maybe it does and I can't figure it out...  but it does have some good bells and whistles for being free.  It won't be the program I stick with in the long run (ha ha), but it works for now.  I really want what it already does but with an interval timer.  Maybe an option to plug in the goal distance of the day's run so that when you are getting close it could chime in and tell you?  I'll be checking out the other GPS apps and see which one is the most user friendly and what options are available.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The best book club ever!

I have the best book club ever!  The ladies in my group all happen to be training for upcoming races and agreed to meet in a nearby park to run before we discussed "Red Shirts" by John Scalzi.   After setting the kids free from their jogging strollers and into the sunshine to play, we were able to stretch and chat.  It really helps the motivation to keep on training when like-minded people are around to spur you on!  I am surrounded by supportive people, some who run and some who don't. Whether it's offering words of encouragement or my fast and fit friends willing to keep pace with me, it is all tremendously helpful.  Some of those ladies are freakin' gazelles... and I'm pounding on the pavement like an ungraceful hippo!  Speaking of ungraceful...  I didn't actually do a full run today, but worked on a staircase on one of the park's hills to try and cross train for 30min.    

I found this workout clip on YouTube and felt inspired to get to work!  :)  Let's just say that Lu Jean makes this look easy, and it's fairly obvious that it isn't.  I have a lot of practicing to do.  At least I didn't trip over my own feet and barrel down the stairs...  I had some grim images in my head of this happening while I did the workout.  I'm such a klutz sometimes.    

What do you like to do to cross train?

Tomorrow is the final day of week one of Hal Higdon's half marathon training guide.  It's my  "long run" tomorrow of 4 miles.  I'm so ready to nail it!   After I ran 3 miles on Tuesday, I felt like I could do more, but it was time to stop.  I haven't ran though since Tuesday.  I want to slowly increase my weekly mileage by 10% or so...  I'll be at 7 miles total this week and will bump it to 8 miles next week... and if I'm feeling good then I might actually graduate from week 1 after repeating it 3 times.

Okay, so I'm totally increasing more than 10%, but my shins and knees aren't angry yet.  I think if I do take it slow and listen to any pain signals, it should be alright.  And what's a few more weeks?  I don't need to have this in the bag by 12-15 weeks.  I have time.   We'll see what happens!  Tomorrow's run could have me doubting again and repeating week 1 for the month of May.  I think the farthest I have ever gone was 5 miles last fall.  There is also the worry not to aggravate old injuries and just focus on getting stronger without causing more issues.   I'll keep you posted.

Right now, with the heat and sunshine... a bowl of peanut butter and honey ice cream is calling my name.  I know it isn't the healthiest of choices, but I have to indulge now and then or I'll go crazy!  Have I mentioned that I've lost 26 lbs. since New Years?  Every pound lost is 4 lbs of pressure removed from the knees.  Whoa.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

(Bling Chaser) Half Marathon Medal coming to you Oct. 2013...

Terrapin Events has made my year by giving me two free race passes for me and a member of my running club (MRTT) to review their Halloween themed race "Run Like Hell" this October!  Have I ever told you how much I like Halloween?  Because I do.  A lot. And now I get to plunge down the streets of Portland, OR in some sort of costume for my enjoyment and every one else's amusement.  I promise lots of pictures.  :)  Another awesome bonus to all of this?  I went ahead and signed up to do a half marathon.  Okay... maybe I went a bit further than I should have.  I hear you saying "Robin!  Have you even completed a 10k yet?"  I hear some of you guffawing at my rash behavior...  Or it's just me "self doubting" now that 24 hours has sunk in and I realize my confirmation email says "1/2 Marathon".  Okay.  Maybe that was not the wisest decision I have ever made, but certainly not the stupidest.  I have 6 months.  Week one of Hal Higdon's 12 week training plan is nearly done!  ...Okay, granted I'm going to repeat week one, but cut me some slack here!  (Can you see the self-talk banter I have to deal with?)

So....  If you have any advice on fueling and any other marathon training tidbits... Please don't hold back!

I wanted to write today about hip stretches and avoiding injury, but my blogging time has been cut short the last couple of days...  So I will work on something for hips (and then knees and IT bands...) but  for tonight I'll show you my adorable PT workout partner.  :)  

He never fails to show up and in his own way cheers me on.  Though... he sometimes gets in the way.  I know he means well.  This is him telling me to make those hip abductions really count!

And rest! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is it now... darling?

Let me just start off by saying that without the generous support of my husband, it would be really difficult, if not near impossible, for me to run.  He is always willing to watch the little darlings so I can fit in a workout.

Yesterday I took a day of stretching and strength training... at home.  I now know why a gym membership could be so useful.  It is not for the faint of heart to try and hold a stretch and work on the BOSU ball for balance while one little one is crying to be held,  and the other asking "MOM!  Can you get me this?"  or "Mom, can I do that?"  My entire workout was spent saying "Go ask your father."  "Where is your dad?"  "Ask dada to take you outside to play..."  Not that he wasn't watching them.  He was.  They are just quick and into everything in a matter of moments.  It was not a good workout.

I did, however complete my PT exercises for "runner's knee".

If the day had any stresses to it, the night felt horrible.  Poor Bug-a-boo was up and down with the various ailments a 3 year old can have. (Nightmares and bed wetting are high on that list...)  Each episode woke up the baby.  Squeakers was inconsolable to be woken up so rudely, so a long night began with cycles of the children disrupting each others' sleep.  And mine.

The perfect excuse to want to sleep in and blow off my morning run.  Right?  No.  I can't do it.  I can't get in that habit.  It's a slippery slope for me, and since I don't really get that "runner's high" or the solace that "running makes me sane", I have to work hard at wanting to keep up with it.  It might not be my zen, but it must keep me sane to get to sneak away from the little darlings and focus on something that is just for me.

So, I woke up earlier than I'd have liked and got out there and pounded the pavement.  And it was beautiful.  It was!  So many runners are dealing with ice and fresh snow this morning, and I had clear blue skies and rocked my new running skirt this morning.  Now... If only I'd stop putting off today's PT exercises.  Stupid hip bursitis and runner's knee.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Birds of a feather

My little bug-a-boo with her running buddy
What a fantastic day to run this afternoon!  We really did outrun the rain today.... the sprinkles didn't start until we were all heading back to the car.  The cool weather was perfect, in my opinion, though there was no denying the chill to the air.  The sky was overcast, and it was beautiful!  I guess the rainy Pacific Northwest suits me.  I felt optimistic about my run, but it took a little longer than usual for my legs to warm up.  I had that feeling like my shoes are made out of oatmeal.

While we were running, hundreds of geese were hanging out at the pond we were lapping and all of a sudden a loud "clap" was heard and all the birds were instantaneously in flight.  It was amazing!  They were flying right for us and I could only watch as they gained more height and flew over us.  My brain was sounding the alarms "Put your hood on!  PUT YOUR HOOD ON!" but all I could do was stand there and watch.  I was "lucky" (or unlucky, as the case may be) and didn't get pooped on.  My running partner however... her new double stroller has been christened from it's new glow.  Time to go get a lotto ticket!   At least the kiddos are poop-free!

 As the gaggle of geese left the sky clear once again, we could see the cause of the ruckus.  A beautiful bald eagle was circling above us and landed nearby.  AMAZING.

See?  Wasn't it worth leaving the house on a cool, blustery, "it's gonna rain" kind of Sunday?  Beats staying in and being bored out of our minds...  And overall, I felt a great feeling of accomplishment to get out there.  Now to work on distance and time.  I'd like to run a half marathon this October and been reviewing Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway's training guides.  I think I'll start a "combo" of the two tomorrow.  What a way to welcome Monday morning!

2.46 mi and 15 minute per mile average with running and walking.