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Friday, February 26, 2010

Running is Hard

Running IS hard. I was reminded of this last night during my tempo run. My calves were still sore from Tuesday's speedwork and my feet felt heavier than usual as I plodded along on the treadmill. I worked for all five of those miles.

No matter how long you've been doing it or how fast you are, there are still days when running is hard. I think the fact that running is hard is one of the things that unites us as runners. My husband has commented more than once on how strange we runners are - that we share every detail and statistic about our runs, that we are loud and proud about being runners, that we have this community of people we have never met but consider friends.

While running is something almost anyone can do, being a runner is a totally different thing. A hill isn't just a hill when you are a runner. Seconds are more than just seconds to a runner. "The touch, the feel of cotton" has a whole different meaning to a runner.

But as hard as running is, there is nothing like the feeling it leaves. I drifted off to sleep last night with my runner's high still flowing through my blood.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What a Girl Wants

Have I mentioned I love speedwork? I think I have, but I can't say it enough. I look forward to my speedwork more than any other runs. And Tuesday's run lived up to my speedwork expectations. I ran 1/2 mile easy, 6 x 800 with 90 second recovery intervals, 1/2 mile easy. Here are my 800 times (which are more accurately 1/2 mile times):

  1. 4:17
  2. 4:10
  3. 4:03
  4. 4:00
  5. 4:10
  6. 3:56 (pretty sure this is a record)

Speedwork is the one time I actually love the treadmill because it is easier to force myself to push a little harder. I am also enjoying my treadmill a little more lately because I made it's home a little cozier. Now I have a place to hang my marathon medal and my training plan. I used to keep my training plan on the treadmill where you would normally put a book (still haven't mastered reading on the treadmill), but the paper often flew off and ended up rolling down the belt, nearly causing me to roll off with it as I tried to rescue it. So this is not only more convenient but also safer. And now I have a perfect place to jot down my speedwork times as I run!

And yes, that is a bike. It was added to the family a few weeks ago. I have only used it twice, but it will be nice to have on the days I crosstrain. Plus, during all my knee issues, I learned biking works the leg muscles that running neglects, which is important for injury prevention.

So I finally crossed a bike off my want list, and I'm sure you are dying to know what else is on my ever-growing running want list, mostly because you were thinking of buying me a gift for my half-birthday or for my daughter's upcoming birthday or just because you love me. So here are the things I don't think I can live without much longer:

  • A second pair of running shoes (Saucony Pro-Grid Ride II)
  • Another pair of compression/recovery socks
  • Nike Tempo Track Shorts
  • Road ID
  • A "RUN" key chain
  • Dansko shoes (to keep my feet happy when I am not running)

What is on YOUR running want list??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alicia Runs ... with me

Life has been seriously busy the past little while, but there has been running. Not just any running though. I can finally count myself among all you other lucky bloggers that have met and run with other running bloggers.

Alicia and I talked about getting together to run after we realized we live pretty close to each other, but I was a little chicken when it came to making solid plans. Luckily Alicia is a little braver and invited me to do a 10K training run with her (and a local running club) on Saturday. Once I committed, I was so nervous I would slow her down or try to chat with her when all she wanted to do was run. I know it has been a while (a long while) since I was part of the dating scene, but it reminded me of the anticipation of a first date. However, I was much happier after this first date than most of the ones in my memory.

When Alicia first walked in to the running store where we met, it took me a minute to realize it was her because she was with her husband. I didn't get her Facebook message telling me he was coming until I got home from running, which was probably good because I would have been even more nervous. Her hubby, Thai Guy, was great. He was very friendly, and he ran a little ahead of us so we could talk. And we did talk! The more we talked, the more I realized we seem to have a lot in common: two kids each, one marathon behind us, attended the same university, and on and on.

After I ran with Alicia, I was nervous about what to write on here, so I was glad she wrote about it first. You can read what she had to say HERE. Why was I nervous? Because it was AWESOME! In fact, that was the exact word I used when my husband asked how it was. But I didn't want to get on here and gush about her and the run and have her think I am some crazy person and scare her away. (Maybe I'm doing that anyway?!?) Bottom line, it was great.

Hopefully we'll be planning another run together soon. The run (my longest since before the holidays) went so quickly. Maybe next time we'll have to do the half marathon training run just to give us more time to chat! Alicia was so easy to talk to and her personality is as cute as she is. Here we are post-run (don't let my bright red face distract you from how cute she is):

(And by the way, I'll be discussing the Runner Barbie allegations in a later post.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big Dogs and Little Guns

Between this blog, my family blog, reading all of your blogs and writing (including another blogging job) for work, I spend a lot of time on the computer. However, I schedule a lot of my computer time when my girls are asleep. Otherwise this is what happens... oldest child entertains herself by doing things like taking pictures with my phone and my youngest child either wants to sit on my lap and "help" or just stands and whines until I redirect my attention to her.

It is safe (on your part) to assume my girls are now sleeping.

Yesterday I did speedwork. I am mixing and matching the runs from the first six weeks of my training plan until I work up to the mileage it would normally have me running. I did week 16's speedwork, which was:

10 minutes easy
4x 3 mins fast/3 mins recovery
10 minutes easy (which I cut a little short because I was really hungry)

I did the fast minutes at 8:34 pace and recovered around a 10:00 pace (after first slowing enough to take a drink without giving the treadmill a bath). I ran a total of 4.25 miles.

Tomorrow's tempo run is 2 easy, 2 tempo, 2 easy. I haven't done too many tempo runs (ever) so wish me luck.

And speaking of running, I take my dog to the vet every month for an injection (he has Addison's disease). This morning as I crossed that off my to-do list for the day, I remembered seeing a St. Bernard the last time we were there. It was the BIGGEST dog I have ever seen, bigger than any Great Dane or other ginormous breed of dog. I mean this dog was CRAZY BIG. Even my girls, who are fearless when it comes to animals, backed up a little when he came in the room. Seeing that dog made me wonder:

Should I get a really big dog or a little tiny gun to carry when I run?

I am really paranoid when I run. I live in a pretty safe area, but I still hug the shoulder a little more when a van without windows drives by or when I run through an unfamiliar neighborhood and have visions of some crazy person snatching me. This paranoia is also one of the reasons trail running FREAKS ME OUT.

Before you share your opinion (and please DO share), here are just a few of the pros and cons I have put together:

  • It wouldn't be surprising if I somehow end up shooting myself in the foot = con.
  • I don't like cleaning up dog poop. My little dog has little poop that he is often kind enough to deposit along the edge of the yard or in the bushes. A big dog would have BIG poop that would not be easy to dodge and would likely be all over the yard = con.
  • I would have to learn to shoot a gun. This is something I would like to do anyway = pro. It takes time, which I don't have a lot of = con.
  • My little dog is almost blind. Not sure if a playmate would be a good or a bad thing for him = pro or con.

Another very important consideration: Is there a gun that is small enough to fit in my SPIbelt?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Craving a Run

Me: I'm planning on running five or six miles, depending on how the little midge is doing.
Hubby: Or less.
Me: Less? Oh, right, if my knee hurts.
Hubby: Remember, don't be a hero. Be a wuss.

With that parting conversation ringing in my ears, I headed out for a run with my littlest midge in the jogger on Saturday. I was an obedient spouse and kept it slow, added a loop at the end rather than a complete out and back to avoid any downhills (doctor's orders), and walked back through the door at 5.25 miles. It was a great run with perfect weather around 45 degrees. My little one fell asleep one mile in and started to wake up less than a mile from home.

My legs were a little sluggish at first but felt better and better as the miles passed. One of these days I'll plug the G-man into the computer so I can share more specifics, but for now I am okay with not knowing. I'm just enjoying the run.

I smelled a skunk around the two mile mark; then on my way back there was a dead skunk where there was not a skunk before. It was gross but also a little sad. My husband asked if I kicked it to the side of the road so it wouldn't keep getting run over. Ummm, no. I thought about taking a picture but decided if you really want to see pictures of fresh roadkill you can Google it.

Instead here is another view from my run:

It was cool to actually be able to see the snow moving down the mountain.

I haven't solidified my running plan for the next 13 weeks, but I am running tonight. The finer details of that run are TBD. I had a highly stressful morning putting out fires (not literally because that would be crazy) for a work project I am trying to finish. I crave (literally this time) running when I am stressed. Do you??

Run happy. (Or not. Just run.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Randomness and Running

A few weeks ago, Libby tagged me to share Seven Random Things about myself. Here goes...
  1. I hate it when my fingers get wrinkly (like in the bathtub).
  2. I couldn't remember how old I am the other day. I actually had to do the math to figure it out.
  3. I don't like tomatoes, but I love homemade tomato soup (none of that condensed stuff in a can though). I love homemade tomato soup so much that it was my requested birthday meal every year while growing up.
  4. I love when my dog licks my feet.
  5. I have strong love/hate feelings when it comes to Facebook and blogs.
  6. I went by Candi until my high school boyfriend said it sounds like a stripper name. I haven't gone by Candi since.
  7. My dog's middle name is Bono.

I'm shooting for 5-6 miles tomorrow. With that and my other miles this week, I will be around 10% higher than last week. Figuring out my training for the next 13 weeks is at the top of my weekend "To Do" list.

Happy Friday! Run Happy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Things Thursday

It's Thursday again, so why not make it easy with another Three Things Thursday? Here goes:
  • Had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon today. Something is wrong under my kneecap, possibly with the cartilage (which would explain the popping noise). For the next three weeks, whenever I have pain I am supposed to stop immediately what I am doing and rest my knee. I also have to avoid things that will aggravate my kneecap, such as squats. I got the go ahead to run though, with no limitations other than to stop if I feel pain. The doc also said to STOP going to physical therapy, which is very possibly what aggravated my kneecap in the first place since my physical therapist had me doing an exercise that involved a lot of squatting. According to the ortho, the only reason for PT is limited range of motion (found out I have perfect range of motion) or muscle weakness (found out I have excellent muscle strength in the muscles surrounding my knee). The ortho also recommended I take glucosamine, but since I'm still making boob juice I will have to put that off for now. I go back to the doc in three weeks. If I am not pain free then he'll order an MRI.

  • Took full advantage of the go ahead to run and hit the treadmill for 3.5 miles while my girls napped. I even pushed it a little with one 8:34 mile. I'm trying to figure out how to ease back into my marathon training plan. My marathon is 13 weeks from Saturday. I was planning on doing a FIRST program, running three days a week. Any suggestions or advice is VERY welcome!

  • Just drank a glass of chocolate milk. Before I started running, I NEVER drank chocolate milk. Now I actually crave it when I finish a run. I use either Carnation Instant Breakfast or Nesquik powder. Do you drink chocolate milk after you run and what kind do you prefer (brand and powder or syrup)?

Run happy!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I was never baby hungry or in a hurry to have kids. When we got married, my husband and I agreed we wanted children but there was no timeline. When we realized we didn't have any more reasons to continue putting off having children, we decided it was then or never. Apparently it was meant to be "then" rather than "never" because I was pregnant the next month. Fast forward four years and I now have two amazing little girls that call me "mommy." I could list a hundred clich├ęs about being a parent and how it changes you or how you don't know what it's like until you call yourself a parent, but I think you get the idea. Yet there are days when it is not easy or I just can't wait for bedtime and I forget for a minute how lucky I really am. Then I get a few reminders. It's only Wednesday, but this week has already been packed with reminders of how precious those two little girls are and how lucky I am to get to watch them literally grow up a little each day.

The first reminder came the other night when my husband told me he read Elizabeth Smart's testimony of her kidnapping ordeal. He said she was raped at least once every day. We discussed how lucky (if you can even use that word to describe any part of her ordeal) it was that she did not get pregnant. That led to a discussion about what if she had gotten pregnant and the emotions that would have gone along with it. In that situation, would you love the baby at all? It brought the emotions I felt at the births of my own children so close to the surface as I tried to imagine the emotions of an unwanted pregnancy, which is so foreign to me.

The next day, I learned of a baby just a month younger than my littlest that had drowned in the bathtub, arrived DOA at the hospital but was revived and is still in critical condition. As I read the story on the family's blog, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It reminded me how precious those little lives are and how responsible I am as a parent.

Then yesterday I heard my 3-year-old waking from her nap and went to peek in at her. Her door was open just a crack and her room is arranged so I could see her but she could not see me. I watched for about 5 minutes while she stretched, yawned, shivered, moved from her bed to her floor, shivered again as she adjusted to the cool air after leaving the warm cocoon of her bed. She talked to herself quietly, pulled her blankie down from the bed and curled up with it on the floor. As I witnessed those few minutes that I don't normally get to be a part of, I was again overwhelmed by how much I love that little person.

I'm sorry if this is a little discombobulated, but I am not good at putting my thoughts into words when they are so charged with emotion. But I warned you from the start of this blog that I am not only a runner but also a mom and that you might find some of that here as well. I'm not sure what the point of this is other than maybe to remind you to take a minute to think about how lucky you are to be a mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, sister or brother.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jump Up, Jump Up and Get Down

Just a quick postscript to Thursday's post:

  • I am going to Kauai, so let me know if you have been there and know some great spots to run!
  • Alicia is my new best friend since she said I look younger than 25. I might not be able to fool her once we meet in person though; we are going to plan a blogger meet-up as soon as I can run more than 3 miles at a time. I can't wait!

So Saturday we went to Jump On It, a 10,000 square foot room full of trampolines. I tried to tell myself it was a good idea since I do some exercises on the mini-tramp at PT (totally the same thing, right??). I was pretty cautious and didn't do anything crazy. It was fun and uneventful. Until later.

As soon as I got home, my knee started making this awful, crazy-loud popping noise when I go up or down the stairs or when I squat down. My knee doesn't hurt, but it is a little uncomfortable off and on throughout the day. And it feels like my kneecap is being heated from the inside out. So I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on Thursday.

Since it doesn't hurt or make that clicking noise when I walk or run, the question is: To run or not to run? The thought of not running until I know what is going on makes Thursday seem really far away.

Oh, and I'm starting to think I should change the name of my blog to I Have Bad Knees.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

  1. I am going to Hawaii. In 30 days. For a week.
  2. After using my fancy new Olay anti-aging eye roller for the past two weeks, I still don’t look 25. I pretty much look the same as I did two weeks ago.
  3. My big toe, which has been numb since my foot surgery 11 months ago, just decided to come back to the land of the feeling, one spot at a time. It feels like there is something in my sock under my toe while I am running.
Have a happy Friday and a great weekend. Run happy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Running and Reading (but mostly reading)

I have noticed there isn't much substance to my last few posts. I don't know if it is the lack of running or the fact that I keep writing on here after I get my girls to bed when my brain is trying to shut down. So I am going to attempt to add some substance, although it is admittedly not really running related (OK maybe a little at the end so feel free to skip ahead if you get bored by the end of the next paragraph).

So we all know I am not doing that well with my "run more" goal for 2010, but that is somewhat out of my control so I decided to focus on one of my other goals, to read more, which is going pretty well. There hasn't been more than a day between finishing one book and starting another so far. Yet that isn't quite as amazing when you consider I am only on book number three, but it is what it is. The two books I completed are:
  1. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (I have read several of her books and like how they make me think.)
  2. That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo (He won the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls. I enjoyed that book so decided to give this one a try. It wasn't as good.)

Book number three, with its 897 pages, is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I'm not even 200 pages in yet. This book is a little older, but my to-read list is very long and keeps getting longer.

While just those three titles tell you a little about my reading habits, I will go into a little more detail because I'm sure you are dying to know. I have read a lot of Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winners; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon is my favorite so far.

I have read and love the Harry Potter books. I haven't read and don't plan to read the Twilight books. Christopher Moore is one of my favorite authors. I also enjoy selected works by Stephen King. My brother has read everything King has written and guides me to the ones that are not going to give me nightmares. My favorite is Lisey's Story.

One book I could read over and over again is Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. The book that made me cry more than any other was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I'm worried seeing the movie will ruin the book for me.

I am in a two person book club. The two people are my little brother and me. We are supposed to take turns choosing the books we read, but he probably chooses most of them. Some of our book club selections have been:

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Lamb by Christopher Moore (and most of his other books)
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum
Most of Dan Brown's books

I have read many, many, many of the classics. A lot of them were required reading in college (I have a degree in English), but probably just as many were read by choice. I have read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and War and Peace twice each. And F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite writers. John Steinbeck? Not so much.

And since this is a running blog, I should mention the running books that are on my shelves. I read and recommend The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot. It is an easy, entertaining read. I read about half of Bart Yasso's My Life on the Run. I stopped reading it when my marathon training was derailed. I am saving it as motivation when I am back in the thick of my training. And Dean Karnazes' 50/50 is near the top of my to-read list.

Last but not least, since I am a mom and spend a good deal of time reading to my girls, my favorite kids books are:

  • Most of Sandra Boynton's. A few that stand out: The Going to Bed Book, Horns to Toes, Night-Night Little Pookie.
  • The How Do Dinosaurs...? books by Jane Tolen & Mark Teague. The top two on my list: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?
I could write about what I read all night, including what I like about each book and why. But you didn't come to my running blog to read about things like this in the first place so I feel honored if you made it this far.

And since you're still here, let me know if you have found the secret to running and reading at the same time (on the treadmill of course). All I end up doing is reading the top line of the first page over and over and over.

In running news, tomorrow is my last 2 mile run if all goes well at PT on Friday. Then I'm up to three miles. I scheduled my appointment early Friday morning so I could make that my first three mile day.

Run happy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love morning and mid-day runs because they leave my evening W-I-D-E open. I get almost giddy at the thought of a completely free evening. I mean there is laundry I could fold and dishes I could do but nothing pressing that I must do before my head hits the pillow.

My run today was great other than the lack of mid-day TV. I'm sorry but Hoda and Kathie Lee just don't pass the time quickly enough. However the tennis ball size chocolate truffles and the marshmallow-topped chocolate pizza they were making captured my attention for a few minutes. Other than that, I spent most of my run realizing it is time to update my playlist and to keep my iPod close at hand during my treadmill runs.

For the record, I have been running around 9:30 miles. Not too speedy, but I'm trying to keep things nice and easy until I know I am back to 100 percent.

It was interesting to hear all your comments about your “happy place.” I was surprised at how many of you don’t get there until four, five or even more miles into your runs. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t get there by mile three, I wouldn’t be calling myself a runner these days.

I know this is short, but I just remind myself that the ideal length of an online article is around 800 words and figure I am doing you a favor by not rambling on about nothing. So I am off to enjoy a cupcake, the result of my biggest little midge’s fixation on making cupcakes after she got an apron with a cupcake design on it for Christmas. Hopefully the request for cupcakes won’t happen every time she puts the apron on or two miles per day won't be enough for a whole new reason!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Energizer Bunny

Since my sheets are in the dryer and I can't go to bed until they are dry, I decided to spend my spare time here, with you. I realize it is time to buy another set of sheets; my other set fell apart a few months ago and I have yet to buy more. Having more than one set of sheets is a good idea when you have two little kids who end up in your bed every now and then (which means pee, puke and other bodily fluids could accompany them). But I actually didn't sit down to write about needing to buy new sheets.

I am up to running two miles per day this week. Woo-hoo! My knees are feeling great, my abs are getting stronger, and I have learned some awesome (in other words I look like a TOTAL dork doing them) new moves to get and keep my legs strong in places that running doesn't target. So it would seem the physical therapy is doing the trick as far as getting my knees to their happy place. I only have physical therapy once this week and once next week. If all goes well, I'll be up to three miles each day next week and then back to my (somewhat modified) marathon training plan the following week.

I am trying not to stress about my two mile runs after looking at my regularly scheduled training plan for this week: 5 miles, 6 miles, 11 miles and optional recovery runs on the other days. At least I might get to that "happy place" distance during this week's runs since that usually happens around the mile and a half mark.

What is your running "happy place" distance when you feel like you could just keep going and going and going like the Energizer bunny?

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