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Friday, February 27, 2015

Long Run 101

Since my last post was about how to fail at running, here's a post about succeeding...on your long run.

My long run last week, which was 18 miles, reminded me of a lot of things I'd forgotten since I last did long runs that were approaching the 20 mile mark.

Fuel. I went years without using fuel on my long runs. Once I found a fuel my stomach can handle, it made a huge difference in how much energy I have at the end of my runs. On my 16 miler the previous week, I noticed how hard it felt between miles 8-10. I typically take a GU before I hit mile 8 for this very reason. So on my 18 miler, I GUed at 7.5 and 13.

Take the good with the bad. There will be both. My first 15 miles were awesome. I kept thinking I was due for a good long run and that it was finally happening. Then the last three miles happened. They were miserable. Straight into the wind on legs that were starting to feel the first 15. I just had to remember it would ultimately make me stronger.

Stick to your routine. In the past, I ate the same things the day before my long runs and hydrated the same way. I got out of the habit but decided last week to reinstate the routine. I don't know how much of it is physical and how much is mental, but if something works, don't fix it.

Tomorrow I'll put these three things to the test again, but it's a drop back week so my long run is a little shorter. Then it's time for 20 next week!

Tomorrow I'm not running alone, which always makes it seem a little (and sometimes a lot) easier.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to fail at running (in one easy step)

Over the weekend, the hubs and I talked about my running goals. I had the realization last week that I was putting pressure on myself based on what I was seeing other people do. I was comparing my mileage, my workouts and my paces to other people's on social media. Especially other people training for Boston.

I was beginning to wonder if I should change up my training plan or if I needed to push myself harder on my "easy" runs.

Then I stopped looking. Stopped comparing. Because the surest way to fail, whether it means I get injured or that I stand at the starting line in Boston over trained and exhausted, is by comparing myself to others and messing up my training as a result.

Instead, I pulled out my training log from 2013 when I trained for both a spring and a fall marathon injury free and first achieved my goal of qualifying for Boston. I have modified my training plan for the next 55 days to closely mirror what I did in the weeks leading up to the fall marathon I ran that year. And I'm sticking to it.

I also talked about my goals with my husband and am focusing on the fact that they are MY goals. The only other people who matter when it comes to my effort to achieve them are the three original members of Team I Have Run. Because without them, I couldn't reach any of my goals.

There's a reason for all those cliches out there:

Run your own race.

Run the mile you're in.

No one can run it for you.

Running, at its very base, is an individual endeavor. Only YOU can determine what you can do. You decide how far, how fast, how often, how hard. If you want to succeed as a runner, make those decisions BASED on you. Not on others.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Root Beer GU and other "treats" (edible and otherwise)

My friends know me. And love me. Or at least Megan does. Because she brought me these when I babysat her darling little girl. And by babysat I mean let her take a nap at my house. Easiest babysitting job ever. I was actually a little sad I didn't get to play with her. So I'm waiting impatiently for the next time I get to hang out with her. Her mom can come too if she wants.

Wednesday night we had one of my favorite easy meals for dinner. Bonus: both my girls love it as well! Here's the non-recipe recipe: small corn tortillas (the smaller the better); heat each tortilla in a skillet to melt a little Monterrey jack cheese on top; top with steak, cilantro, onion and a squeeze of lime. I season my meat with pepper and McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Last night I hit the treadmill for some speed and hill intervals. The day was a little crazy, so running after my girls went to bed was my last resort. I'm not sure how I completely trained for a marathon on a treadmill. Scott said it is because I didn't know any different. Apparently for me ignorance is treadmill bliss.

The headphones I usually wear when I run outside are wireless with the MP3 player built in, so I had to break out my wired headphones to watch something on my iPad while running. When I pulled them out, they looked like this. No joke.

Which reminded me that I received some Cordskinz the other day to try out. So I followed the super easy instructions and added some Cordskinz to my headphones. They worked great and my headphones stayed, and remain, tangle free. For the record, they are super affordable and come in 11 fun colors. Mine are the smoky clear color so it is kind of hard to see them on my headphone wires.

Today I stopped by the running store to buy some GU for my long run. I am a faithful Salted Caramel GU user but the Root Beer flavor peaked my interest. I picked it up to buy one and then put it back. I just wasn't sure I would be able to stomach it. I can't handle any energy gels that are super sweet, and I'm pretty sure this would fall into that category. Maybe if it was Dr. Pepper flavored...

Have you tried Rootbeer GU? What's your go-to running fuel?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The running roller coaster

Running is like riding a roller coaster. Some runs feel like it's all downhill. Other runs feel like a slow, stomach churning uphill climb.

Luckily I have found a few things that make running easier for me. Maybe they will make it easier for you too. It might not seem like it on every run, but hopefully you'll see a difference overall.

First I have to get my head in the game. Running is so mental. If I find myself constantly struggling, I try to spend an entire run focusing on those times my runs have been great, those races that have been incredible, those moments that deserve a spot on my highlight reel.

And I stretch. I haven't always done this. In fact, I have been terrible at stretching most of my running "career" (even with my yoga background!). With my recent leg and bum issues though, stretching has been the key to staying in the game for me. I found which stretches target my trouble spots and am doing them religiously before and after my runs. I have also added some other stretches that loosen up those muscles that are constantly getting tight because of running. Injury prevention is at the top of my running goals list!

Eat right. I have really been struggling with this lately. I know from past experience that it does make a difference though. Not only do I run better and feel better before, during and after my runs, but I also have fewer stomach issues. So I am refocusing on eating right and cutting back on sweets. I believe in moderation, but sometimes I get a little (or a lot) off track.

What makes running "easier" for you?

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Way to My Heart

Although it is unseasonably warm in Utah, I know some of you are experiencing an actual winter. I put together some motivation to keep you moving during the cold "winter" months for Skinny Mom. You can check out my ways to stay motivated HERE!

Valentine's Day was a success all around at our house. Grace's class Valentines turned out jolly good.

And her Valentine's mailbox was a hit. Ellie decorated her own box at school. She was kind of sad about that. Especially when Grace ended up with this masterpiece.

And Grace's costume for her Alice in Wonderland party exceeded my expectations. It wouldn't have been as perfect without the crown we borrowed from Megan. She was the Queen of Hearts for Halloween, so she was also my source of inspiration and information for the rest of the costume as well. And it was well worth the gold glitter that is all over my house that may very well be a permanent addition.

Any holiday can be counted as a success when Texas Roadhouse (especially Texas Roadhouse rolls) is involved. The hubs and I went out Friday night because it was easier to get a babysitter. We also mistakenly thought we'd beat some of the rush. I think everyone else had the same thought.

Saturday morning, my three Valentines joined me for my run. They dropped me off and then surprised me several places along the way and scootered along with me.

I have a pretty great little team, if I do say so myself. It makes me extra happy that they love doing my runs with me. Ellie even asked if we could "do this all day?"

Then we grabbed some lunch and headed home, where the hubs surprised and spoiled me. Lululemon and chocolate are the way to my heart. Throw in an apron I loved when we saw it a few weeks ago and a cute Valentine's cup (I am obsessed with cups), and I couldn't have been a more spoiled girl.

Now on to St. Patrick's day!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I work well under pressure

It's a rest day today so I can do my long run tomorrow. It's hard to believe I'm already up to 18 milers in this marathon training cycle!

Like marathon training, Valentine's Day is also in full swing around here. Yesterday we finished Ellie's Valentines, and I made another batch of sugar cookies.

These were partly made at Scott's request for birthday cookies for a guy at work who made a special request for a double batch as his birthday present. And yes, the guy is turning 40.

Tonight we'll finish up Grace's Valentine's and make her Valentine box for school, and I'll tackle putting together a costume for her Alice in Wonderland themed Valentine's Day party.

Nothing like waiting until the last minute. It's a good thing I work well under pressure.

What are your Valentine's Day plans?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Random movies, food, fashion and more

Randomness #1: After I ran this morning, I stopped at Old Navy to try on pants. I have a credit there and need something besides jeans to wear when I work at the school, so I figured Old Navy would solve my problem for less. Every pair of pants I tried on made me feel like an 80 year old lady. They just aren't flattering. I'm hoping it was a retailer problem and not a current fashion trend problem.

I was trying to go the inexpensive route, but I might have to suck it up and pay a little more. I'm willing to pay a little more to look at least a little closer to my age.


Randomness #2: I failed to share my incredible day of eating last week. I can't remember what I had for breakfast last Wednesday, but for lunch I had the most incredible salad prepared by the even more incredible Megan. Seriously, she has yet to disappoint me with anything she has made or recommended. And yes, she even made the dressing. Then for dinner I met my cousin at California Pizza Kitchen and ate almost the entire BBQ Chicken Pizza I ordered. Some days food just makes me ridiculously happy.

Randomness #3: Speaking of Megan and her fabulous recommendations, she told me about this salted caramel crunch yogurt. Then she provided me with some to try. She's pretty swell. I will be hunting down some more. It was like eating dessert and may in fact often be my dessert of choice in the future.

Randomness #4: While we were crossing things off the to-do list on Saturday, Scott broke out his tapes. We rocked out to The Proclaimers and had a little "do you know what this is" education session with the girls about cassette tapes. This all happened at the most perfect time because Sunday we introduced the girls to Randomness #5.

Randomness #5: Scott is great about recording old movies when they are on TV. Our most recent family movie night had us watching Back to the Future. Watching it made me very happy.


Randomness #6: I gave Tammie Coe a run for her money with my kick-off to Valentine's week. Every time I make these cookies, I start to wonder if they might be edging out my other sugar cookies as my favorites.








Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Day My Scale Disappeared

The last time I weighed myself was October 17th. Over three months ago. It was also my birthday. I'm still not sure why I thought that would be a good birthday present to myself. It wasn't.

Then the scale sat unused but tempting and taunting me until last month.

The day my 8-year-old daughter randomly decided to weigh herself was the day the scale disappeared.

The number on the scale has become a measurement of so much more than weight for too many people, especially women and girls. After managing to resist weighing myself for nearly three months and instead focusing on how I felt and how my clothes fit instead, watching Grace step on the scale was like being punched in the face.

I don't know what motivated the curiosity of my incredibly fit daughter. My child who has a six-pack that would be the envy of nearly every woman I know. My child who is long and lean and incredibly strong. My child who probably weighs more than many of her classmates only because her gymnast body is solid muscle.

But none of that mattered. All she wanted to know, for whatever reason, was a number. A meaningless number.

Knowing how much that number can end up meaning in spite of its actual insignificance prompted the removal of our scale.

That moment was yet another reminder of how important it is to focus on what actually matters: being healthy and fit and encouraging others to do the same. Modeling that for my girls is a daily challenge as I struggle with my own insecurities and "fat" days. But it's becoming increasingly important as my girls get older and become more exposed to and aware of the pressures, comparisons and criticisms that sadly surround us.

I have to recommit to being positive about my body. Every. Single. Day.

But it's worth it. For my daughters. For myself.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tasty Tuesday

I added cottage cheese to my scrambled eggs this morning for the first time. I was expecting a taste explosion in my mouth since I love both scrambled eggs and cottage cheese. To be honest, I didn't notice a huge difference. It just tasted like scrambled eggs. Maybe I need to try the cottage cheese as a topping instead. Because the toppings are always the best part. Today's toppings were avocado and salsa. However, avacado trumps all other toppings because there just aren't many things in this world more delicious.


And I NEED to try these. Yes. Need. There is no want involved.


I did already try THESE Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats. During my long run on Saturday, Megan described them to me in detail. Then she sent me the recipe, so of course I had to make them. They are pretty darn good. I didn't use dark brown sugar like the recipe calls for but used light brown sugar instead because it is what I already had. I think they might have a little more caramel flavor with the dark brown sugar, but they still passed my tasty treat test. So thank you Megan.

Besides consuming #allthecalories, I have been burning a few as well. Not as many as my training plan calls for though. Yesterday I was shooting for 5 miles but called it at 3.5 miles when the hubs and the girls drove by to check on me. My quad and hamstring have been sore when I run lately, but it is only when I run. However my Piriformis doesn't hurt when I run but gets stiff and sore after, so I think my other muscles might be compensating for the weakness in my Piriformis. In an attempt to avoid actual injury, I am easing back a little this week. It was already supposed to be a lower mileage/intensity week, so it is good timing to replace some running with cross training.

Today I ellipticized (pain free!) and tomorrow I'll probably get my chlorine fix with some quality pool running. Then I'll reevaluate and decide if I should give it a go on Thursday with some old fashioned running.



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