Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Summary

March Miles: 110.3
2011 Total: 250.3

Stationary Bike: 3x for 42.4 miles
Walking: 2x for 6.2 miles
Strength Training: 10x!!!!!

High Point:  Consistency!  All around.  The only workouts I missed were 2 aerobic cross training sessions.  I still did my strength training those days.  No unscheduled rest days.  No injury. 

Low Point: Hmmm, I really can't think of anything really bad.  There were a couple of not great runs, but nothing horrible.

Best run(s):  Definitely the fartleks with Coelle--my only run with two-legged partner.  It is always AWESOME to run with her!  The other was the 400 repeats.  Incredibly fun workout.

Overall, a great month with increasing mileage--finally!  Feel like I am doing a better job of keeping my easy miles easy so I can really hit the hard workouts.  However, my easy miles are getting faster again.  I can hold a conversation with the dog at 9:30 pace again.  Hooray!  So looking forward to some warmer temperatures and maybe even some sunshine in April!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Incredible LSD

Today was a near perfect run.  Nine miles of spring loving hill running!  In spite of the forecasted rain, it was overcast with intermittent sunbreaks.  I planned a new route that heads out to the country.  My long runs are finally getting long enough to get off the city streets again.  Indy and I headed out about 8.  I started nice and easy.  My first 3 miles were the slowest of all.  The last 6 miles were within a few second of each other.  Perfect!  Indy stayed by my side--not pushing in front--and moving behind as the shoulder narrowed.  He did exactly as he is trained and not like he usually does like pulling ahead and trying to run exactly where my foot needs to land.  We completed the run faster than I anticipated and with ease.  Even the last hill felt good.  If I had remembered how hilly the road was, I probably would not have gone that way.  I have to credit my twice weekly strength training and mental for my increasing mastery of the hills. 

And, for the first time since last October, I finished the run with a tub full of cold water and ice.  I ended up filling the tub really full so the bath was all the way up to my waist!  Brrrrr!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Too Long

I cannot believe how long it has been since I have written!  Nearly every day, I write a post in my head, but it never seems to get completed.  So now I sit with thousands of thoughts clamoring to be heard. 

First, running,  It is often the first thought on my mind.  I am back at training.  I did my first track workout on the 18th.  I chose 8 x 400 with 200 recovery.  I don't know why I chose that, but I thought they were short enough that I could maintain focus and get it over quickly.  The plan was to take it pretty easy and run about an 8:20 pace for all repeats.  That didn't work too well.  The first was an even 2:00 (8:00).  Well, I thought, I did that now I couldn't do any slower...And low and behold, I did nearly that!  I lost that focus on the 5th and ended up with a 2:01, but all others were 1:52-59 (7:28-7:56).  I finished knowing I could run more, but would start to sacrifice my form before long.  I let it be what is was a near perfect workout and a HUGE confidence builder! 

My other runs have been going well, too.  This week I managed a 4 mile tempo at 8:29.  My current 5k PR is at 8:30.  Even my easy runs are speeding back up.  I can hold a conversation below 10:00s again.  Weekly mileage is building slowly and soon will be back to the 30-35 that I like.  I finally added 2 races to my calendar--a 5k in April and a 10k on Memorial Day.  I can't race often so these are two where I think I can PR.  The one on Memorial Day is tough with a huge large gigantic hill mountain at mile 3.  My current PR is from this course three years ago.  That was my last time I raced that distance.  Time to change that! 

Running is really coming together for me right now.  My weight is coming down slowly and my speed is starting to return from the long sickly winter.  The best part is that I am loving getting out there even in the rain.  Of course, I love that the sun is starting to peak through the more and more.  Spring brings the desire to run farther and faster.  My plan is to continue to increase my long runs back to around 14 miles and maintain 1-2 other hard workouts a week--intervals, tempos, fartleks, etc.  I heart running!

On another hand, I am doing something I have not done since high school.  I started to read the Bible through this year using a droid application from YouVersion.  It has several different reading plans.  I chose to read chronologically.  So, even though I am currently in I Samuel, there are Psalms interspersed according to when David wrote them. In high school, I used the King James version.  (Don't get me started!)  This time I am reading the New Living Translation.  Wow!  It is bringing it all to life!  I get so involved in the reading sometimes that I read multiple days.  The stories I heard as a kid are coming back in full color.  It is exciting! 

Lastly, my younger sister lives on 19 acres not far from me.  She is loving the farm life including her goats.  Spring is the time for new life!  Last week I headed over to see her new kids of the four legged kind.  Oh my goodness, they are soooooo cute!  The first was a single birth.  Snowflake had a difficult time and M and her husband had to pull the kid as both became very stressed.  Stormy seems like an appropriate name.  He was a big boy at nearly 10 pounds!  He loved running around and playing.  His mom was pretty nervous and stuck close to him.  Butterfly was bred to a Nigerian Dwarf.  Her twin girls, Marigold and Lavender, were 4.5 pounds and adorable.  At just a few days, they were climbing on a log and trying to knock each other off.  I ended up with muddy jeans as Stormy kept trying to jump up on me.  Goats do love to climb! 

I finished the visit reading my niece's writing assignments and offering suggestions and corrections.  I really enjoy being able to help her with her creative writing.  Her mom had me select a book for her to read and write her first book report.  I chose The Quilt by T. Davis Bunn.  It has been been a few years since I read it, but it is a great book.  It will be short and easy for her first.  Then we will move on to some others maybe Silas Marner by George Elliot. 

Some photos to make you smile!

M with Stormy

My niece with Marigold and Lavender
The twins are seriously adorable

Stormy frolics under Snowflakes watchful eye.

T with Butterfly and her girls

Stormy loves to chase my nephew around the trees.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Boys

I love my boys--my papillon-pomeranian boys.  The boys are twins--actually, they are the entire litter.  We have had them 3 years--since they were 3 months old.  They have grown up around people.  Believe it or not, they are tax deductions as they are for the care and comfort of our residents.  They bring great laughter with their antics at times.  They also drive us crazy other times.  We continue to threaten to trade them for goldfish, but so far haven't followed through on that.  The truth is that they would rather be with their dad than me.  However, when dad is gone they want me in sight.  The y love to sit on the back of the sofa so they can watch for intruders visitors.  Always helpful, they let us know if anyone arrives or walks by or is within miles of the place... 

Han Solo (Han) may be the smaller of the two, but he is the pack leader.  His brother will not approach the food or a toy until Han is finished or gives a sign.  At half the size, he is the one in charge!  Han is incredibly cuddly.  He would be perfectly happy if he were held 24/7.  Lap, arms, it doesn't matter.  Han has a liver disease and is on a low protein diet.  He is fine and should live a long life, but the disease has some neurological side effects.  He may be completely comfortable relaxing and suddnely jump up.  It is actually quite funny at times.  He will move his head around staring like he is watching a fly buzz about.  Only there is not fly.  Poor guy gets laughed at sometimes.  He is a scardey cat about a lot of things, but he will be the first to get comfortable with new people in the house.  He has spent hours relaxing at the feet of residents either in bed or in recliners.

Indiana Jones (Indy) is a completely different personality.  He is more shy around people, but far more active than his brother.  He is the one who wants to play.  He is my running partner.  He loves to get out there and encourage me to go faster and farther.  His longest run has been 14 miles.  Last week he ran 7 with me then went on an hour long walk later in the afternoon.  When he wants to cuddle, it needs to be on his terms.  He loves sitting half on the arm of a chair and the other half on a lap.  However, he will be the first to instigate wrestling with me or his brother to get a laugh. After a bath, he runs circles in the house rubbing his face on the carpet to dry. It takes him longer to warm up to people and will often back away if reached toward.  However, when you are his friend, he will do anything for you.  A couple of years ago, we had a resident who porfessed he "didn't like dogs" yet Indy was always able to get up on his lap and nap along with him.  Months later, the man was dying.  His family was unable to be with him.  Indy slept on his bed up close to him.  True friendship to the end.

The favorite place in the house unless they are being held or on dad's lap.

Indy is my awesome running partner. 

Han is the cuddly one.

Trying to get Indy to pose with me...

Not exactly the pose I had in mind...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dragon Slayer

I cannot run from my house without running hills.  I go up or down.  On the return trip, I run the opposite.  Most of my routes start downhill and end with me running uphill.  My least favorite hill is a long gradual climb.  It seems to go on forever when I am already fatigued.  In my reading of using positive mantras, I decided this hill would be my greatest experiment!  The other day as I approached the hill, I made myself smile and began to chant.  "I love hills. Hills make me strong." I figured if I said it with enough enthusiasm, iti would become my truth.

Later, my Facebook status read, Juanitagf smiled and chanted, "I love hills. Hills make me strong." If she says it with enough enthusiasm, will it come true?  Of course, I received a variety of responses.  My favorite was from a cousin.  She replied, "I actually don't mind hills, but when it comes to steep ones I almost always have the phrase 'KILL the HILL!!' going through my head! My fists turn into pretend daggers as I pump them up and down...pretty gruesome, no?! (0; There's a pretty steep one by my house too..." 

I had to laugh.  It is a great mantra!  "Kill the hill!"  I had to try it!  This morning, I had a short tempo that would bring me back home up that hill.  I looked at the bottom and said to myself, "KILL the HILL!!"  Then a picture popped into my mind.  A dragon's back.  A sleeping dragon's back.  I am the dragon slayer.  I must run up the dragon's back.  If I stop, I wake the dragon and he will attack me.  Running the hill quickly and lightly would keep him tranced and I would kill him as I crested the top of his head.  Truly, I have a very vivid imagination...  I began the climb.  Posture upright, feet light and quick.  Each step led me further into danger.  Yet, by continuing, I was able to lull the dragon.  I smiled and laughed aloud.  As crazy as it sounded, it was working.  The hill did not seem so intimidating.  After all, I was the dragon slayer and I would conquer the hill!  I crested the hill and killed that old dragon before he even knew what hit him!  I cruised that last 400 meters home with wings on my feet and victory in my heart!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I love fun socks--bright socks, toe socks, fuzzy socks, silly socks.  Today I received my best ever pair of socks in the mail.  I did not expect them.  I didn't even remember I had requested a pair.  All that makes the surprise so much better.  I opened the package to find these:

My sister made them for me!  There will NEVER be a pair of socks that are better than these!  Aren't they AWESOME?!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Arm Warmers?

I never really thought about arm warmers.  I figured I would just weal long sleeves.  Now that spring is coming and the weather is even wackier than normal, I am finding the long sleeve thing just isn't working.  I get too hot in one.  Yet my elbows and lower arms are cold.  With the pricing of arm warmers, I decided to tough it out.  Man, those things are spendy and I just blew my running budget on a new sport's bra.  (Trust me, the sport's bra is definitely the spendign priotity!)  Then I remembered Small Town Runner's idea.  Socks.  I had a great pair of sparkly striped toe socks with holes in the toes.  Not anymore!  Now I have awesome sparkly striped arm warmers.  And they work great!  This morning I threw on a short sleeve shirt with the "arm warmers" and gloves.  Perfection!  Everything stayed in place.  My arms stayed warm and my core stayed cool.  Gotta love a good runner tip!

There!  Finally got the picture to attach!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sport Bra Rant

UGH!  I hate bra shopping.  It doesn't matter what kind of bra I need, it is a pain to find a good one in the right size for even a half way decent price.  I am hereby looking for a new sport's bra.  They are even more difficult to find in my size.  I realize many runners are not busty well endowed.  And, honestly, I wish I were smaller no matter what my husband says.  Some women lose size with weight loss.  I do not.  Certainly I am not the only woman out there that has a small ribcage and large cup size.  Seriously!  This is driving me crazy--well, crazier than I already am.

Yesterday I stopped at the running store.  I found two bras in a style I really liked and were for high impact  i.e. running.  I grabbed one of each and tried them on.  Wow!  I loved the shape and the look and they almost fit.  For the first time I had found a racer back bra that might just work for me.  Woohoo!  I might be able to wear some of the really cute shinglets and show off my shoulders. (Strength training is paying off!)    I get all my own clothes back on and head out to check sizes.  Nothing in a 32.  Nothing.  I head over to the register and ask.  They only get one 32 of each size and they are gone immediately.  (Seems to me the buyer should get a hint from that...)  "Well," I ask, "Do you know if the come in my size?"  (Yeah, it is true.  Many bras aren't even made in my size.  Try getting a cheap bra now!)  The response is less than stellar in my book.  Fine.  I go home to research.

One of the two bras is indeed in my size.  I order it quickly and add a clearance racer back top.  Woohoo!  Now the other.  I head to the Champion website.  This is the one I really loved and would even work for everyday.  Sigh.  It isn't in my size.  That just really sucks.  Almost.  So, do I order it and hope the slightly smaller size will fit or let it go?  Hmmm, that is the decision before me now.

All in all, at least I found one that should fit great.  It is a Moving Comfort so I know the quality is good.  I know their sizing so everything is looking positive.  It is just so frustrating to try to find a sports bra to fit a real person--namely me.  If this one works, I will get a bunch more to hold me for a while!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday 5 in Pictures

1. Great run this morning--easy run turned into tempo just for the joy of it.  The best part was seeing this sight--blooming daffodils!  Spring is coming and I am going to survive another winter!  Hallelujah!

2.  Hubby & I headed to OMSI to see the Egypt exhibit this afternoon.  It was a fun.  There was a very nice mummy there as well as several interesting scans for studying.  There were some "pots" that were in pieces and would go together on a medal pot.  Each piece was magnetic and had to be put in the right spot to complete the puzzle.  Harder than it looked, but we should have become archeologists!

3.  Then we got to have our photos take with a camel!  Very cool.  The only thing that would have made it better was if it were a real camel somewhere exotic...

Hubby can never have a "normal" picture taken.

4.  From there we headed to the Design Zone exhibit.  There were a bunch of hands-on experiments.  My favorite was one that you copied a photo using plastic shapes.  After making the shape, you would adjust the side mirrors to creat multiples.  I thought it was pretty!

5.  We spent a little time looking in the gift shop before hubby had to be an astronaut.  He actually would have made a great astronaut.  See how enthralled he is by space.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Today I send my beloved Sauconys into forced retirement before we part on less than favorable terms.  Mud caked, thin soled and well loved.  Many miles have been run in these my favorite shoes yet.  I can only hope that the new bring as much joy and beauty to my life.  I hope the fit of the same model with feel the same as the old pair.  Out with the old, in with the new. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I journal off and on about life, but my running journals have always been facts and just the facts.  The when, where, how far and how fast.  Recently while reading Running Within, I am beginning to focus on the mental aspect of running.  In the later miles of my marathons, I begin to lose focus and the race is no longer a physical pursuit, but a mental one.  I realize that to ever really succeed at longer races I need to train my mental endurance.  I am now adding that information to my running log.  The question remains.  How do I continue to retrain my mind to the positive?  How to I hold that positive mental state when I am pushing myself?  How do I convince myself that I am able to do more than I think I can?

Amanda over at Runninghood opened my eyes to an entirely different type of running journal.  This post in particular got me thinking.  I love the creativity of adding that brain training to my journal.  Increasing the positive flow so that every time I open it I remember why I run and what I want from my running.  Finally, today I began my own journal.  I had a Title Nine catalogue and used photos that I believed showed strength.  This is not to focus on how I want to look, but how I want to be--strong and balanced.  Here goes to a new adventure in running!

How do you train your brain?  How do you maintain focus during long races?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Walking, Running and Weight Loss

The other day hubby and I took the dogs out for a walk.  When I saw walk, we don't stroll along as we have to keep up with the dogs.  As we were finishing up, I realized I was working up a sweat.  It was a better workout than my recumbent exercise bike.  I felt different muscles working including more of a stretch in the groin due to longer strides.  I wondered why I don't use walking as my cross training more often.  It is easy on the joints, works muscles differently than running and I still get my heart rate up a bit.  Silly that something we do regularly is overlooked as a way to recover from hard workouts and maintain fitness. 

On the other side is my true love--running.  It has been strange to run just to run.  Heading out the door without a clear plan feels weird, but wonderful.  I always give hubby a general range so he has an idea when I will be back.  In the past, it was always I am running this far at about this pace and will be on this route.  Running for fun becomes I am running about 4-6 miles without knowing which direction or how fast or slow until I get moving.   I get started and run what I feel.  Some days it turns into more of a tempo pace other times a fartlek and others just slow and easy.  Sometimes I start looking toward future races, but I am not ready to change the joy I am having just yet.  There are not many things that I do just for the fun of it and I think I will hang onto that feeling for a while!

And, last, but not least, weight loss.  I am back to the weight I was for the Portland marathon last year, but was already up a bit then.  So, I continue to be very careful about what I eat.  My clothes are fitting better.  I feel better.  Yes, I am tired for no sugar at all.  Yes, I am so hungry sometimes.  Yet I keep reminding myself that hunger is never an emergency.  Each time I refuse to break, I strengthen my resistence muscles!