Friday, February 22, 2013

My love/hate relationship with cross training

I have a love/hate relationship with cross training. I have days when I would rather do ANYTHING but run. I have days when I would rather run and do nothing else. I know that to train properly sometimes you need to throw in another activity. Overtraining certain muscles can cause injuries in others. I neglected my quads after Ragnar and irritated my IT band. I ran my first half marathon wearing a knee brace to try and cut down on the pain.

I've been trying to integrate at least one other type of activity into my workout routine. It's tough when you have a training plan that suggests you run 5 days a week AND have small children and things to do most days of the week. This week, I managed to cross train TWICE. That never happens. I've been loving the trampoline class at my gym. I try to work it into my Monday schedule. I did half of a kickboxing class today. I only made it through half because I had errands to run.

How do you cross train?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Am I Crazy?

So, I know lots of people run races all the time, but I'm relatively new to the running world and have really only raced a handful of times. Right now, I'm scheduled for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler on April 7th and the Maryland Half Marathon on May 11th. To me, that's 2 very long races very close together. I will probably just have 1 or 2 long runs after the 10-miler and then taper again for the half. This isn't something I've done before, so it will all be new to me.

I'm hoping to do the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. It'll be my first. One of my friends is planning to run it, too. She's mararthoned before. I am going to rely upon this fact ;) That's at the end of October. We had been talking about doing this for months, so it's not the crazy factor. Here's the crazy factor, I am going to hopefully do the DC Ragnar again. It's at the beginning of October... the weekend I am supposed to have a 20-mile training run. My hope is that I can have a high-mileage runner number. I'd really like to be runner 11 or something similar. I honestly think I would be able to handle the high mileage and would work best with my training plan. Not to mention, I'm getting faster than I was :)

I limit my races because I like to actually train for each one individually and can't really afford to race as much as I would like.

What's the craziest race schedule you've planned?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Do you run for a cause?

How do you pick your races? I ran Ragnar because my husband's cousin asked if I wanted to do it and I thought it would be a fun adventure. I did my first half marathon because the timing was right for me with my training plans and it wasn't too far away, but sometimes I run for a good reason.

A little over a year ago when my running adventure began, a friend of mine said to pick a 5K and that she would do it with me. I wanted to do something in the Baltimore area, so that it wasn't far for anyone. I wanted something with a flat course. Most of all, I wanted it to be for a cause I supported. I picked The Red Shoe Shuffle which supports the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. I picked this one for a reason, one of my nieces had some strokes in utero and has had access to therapy where they live. Many kids don't have this luxury. Others are in need of more extensive therapies that they can receive at Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland Medical Center, or Kennedy-Krieger. The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for them to stay during these therapies. 

Yesterday, I registered for the Maryland Half Marathon. I knew at the time that it supported the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and that 100% of the net proceeds go to the cause, which is unusual for a large race. I didn't know until after I registered that I have an acquaintance who's father is one of the researchers there. It is one of top rated cancer centers in the country.

If you would like to support me, you can make a donation here: My goal is to raise at least $100 for the center. Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things I love about running

I haven't been able to do as much running as I would like, but would like to share with my readers a few things I love about running on this Valentine's Day.

First of all, I'm a stay-at-home mom 95% of the time. I love being able to get some time alone and either listen to my music or enjoy nature.

Secondly, I like being able to run with a group of friends. I did the DC Ragnar back in September and had a lot of fun with a group of 13 other women. I've continued running with some of them and am running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in April.

I love the community that running creates. I participate in #runchat on Twitter and it has helped me connect with lots of running friends who share my interests and encourage me to continue running.

I love that you can run almost anywhere. I ran on my vacation last August and when I was visiting my family in December. I only needed my shoes, some exercise clothes, and my water belt.

Lastly, I love that races are often done to support various causes. My first ever race was The Red Shoe Shuffle to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore. I had a lot of fun and raised about $200. I'm currently training for the Maryland Half Marathon which benefits the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. You can sponsor me HERE.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

That 4-7 mile run will have to wait...

It's week 3 of Cherry Blossom 10-miler Training. I cross-trained on the Monday rest day with a trampoline class at my gym. I did the minimum of 3 miles. My calves and quads hurt, but I did it.

Last night, I realized that the 4-7 miles of interval training were going to have to wait. My 4-year old popped a fever and has been acting lethargic. We went to the doctor. He doesn't have the flu. He passed the quick strep, so we just sit and wait. No gym for mommy or school for Squirty and I hate early morning runs in the dark.

I don't mind being a little off on my training, but I hate missing the two longer runs of the week. I'm really more upset because he's going to miss his Valentine's party at school.

Happy training!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's getting easier

I started running in December 2011. I used the very popular Couch to 5K program that many people I know had used with great success. On this date a year ago, I ran 2.54 miles in 30 minutes. I probably struggled through it as the slightly faster than 12 minutes per mile pace. I was just getting into the groove of running and thought I was awesome when I could handle that amount of time running. I had agreed to be on the Ragnar team, but our team pace had to be faster than 11 minutes per mile. I was dreading putting in the work to get there.

Today, I did a tempo run. That's where you do a mile of warm-up and then a few miles at your 5K pace and then a mile cool-down. My warm-up and easy run pace is 10:54. My tempo pace is 9:40 minutes per mile... or at least it has been. I breezed through the 2 miles at the increased speed. I think maybe I should start slowing increasing my tempo pace, especially since I've been doing some 9 minute mile runs around the neighborhood.

For me, the distances and speeds are definitely getting easier. I am scheduled to run 6-7 miles tomorrow. I think I can handle that ;)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Turkey, Greens and Hummus "Sushi Rolls"

For those of you who are aware of my children's strange eating habits, you know why I do this. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick recap. Squirty is 4.5. He will eat ANYTHING and everything. Milk Dud is 2.5 and eats very few things. Hummus is a favorite of both, so when I get the urge/time I like to make them hummus based "sushi rolls."

These are pretty easy to make. First I take a rolling pin and flatten out a piece of bread.

I roll it until the bread looks like this. If you want to cut off the crusts, this would be the point to do it.

Then I coat it with a fairly thick layer of hummus. You can use any kind, depending on the flavors you like.

Next, I add a couple of decently-sized pieces of salad greens. I use whatever I have on hand. Spinach is a favorite of my older son. You can probably add more, but my sons usually eat more than the 4 you get out of one piece of bread. You could also add cucumbers or carrot sticks. I just didn't have any on-hand.

Then I add one piece of turkey, or whatever deli meat or cheese I might have.

Then I roll it up very tightly starting at the end with the veggies and meat.

I cut it in quarters and serve it. I usually make 3-4 of these. Squirty will eat at least 8 pieces depending on what else he has for lunch.

My legs are too skinny

I have always had skinny legs. Even when I'm at my heaviest, my lower thighs, calves and ankles are about as big around as a 10-year old's might be. Normally, one might think this is cool. I don't, especially in dealing with running injuries.

Let's start with the most superficial reason. I have always wanted a cute pair of dress boots. On me, all styles look ridiculous, even when I wear them with leggings or skinny jeans. I've tried on $30 pairs. I've tried on $200 pairs. They all result in the same silliness.

Okay, on to issues that are actually worthy of complaint. If you'll recall, I hurt my IT band back in November right before my first half marathon. I had a heck of a time trying to find a brace that supported me. I bought a small Target brand knee brace. That would slip down until I got really sweaty and it stayed in place. Sometimes, I flip the bottom part up over the top of my knee and find that it stays better that way. When I realized it was actually my IT band bothering me, I ordered an Aylio IT Band Compression Wrap from Amazon. Well, I would put it on as tight as it could go and the darn thing would slide over my knee, when it wasn't rubbing me raw with the velcro. Luckily, my IT band hasn't been bothering me lately (knock wood).

I wanted a pair of compression socks and compression sleeves to help with my occasional shin splints. I put one of each on my Amazon wish list and received them for Christmas (Thanks Mom K and Aunt Linda!) They stay up and provide a little bit of compression, but don't provide as much support as I would like. They are smalls, too!

I know some people would love to have skinny legs like mine, but seriously they can be a pain in the knee or shin ;)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some days the magic just doesn't happen

I could have gotten up and run in the dark, but this Floridian living in Maryland is terrified of black ice and falling flat on her face. I could have gotten up and gone to the gym and run on the treadmill, but my 4-year old had a little accident about 3:30am. He woke up his baby brother and I had an impossible time trying to get Milk Dud back to sleep. Yeah, last night sucked.

Today is the day I teach at the community college, so I didn't get to go to the gym like I did last week. My husband had a lot to do for work and I now have a sleeping toddler on the couch.

I'm exhausted and want to eat my weight in fruit snacks. I know there are always other runs. I will probably run at the gym tomorrow and both days this weekend.

Some days, the magic doesn't happen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cherry Blossom Week 2 Wednesday

My knee was a little sore, so yesterday I skipped the 2-4 miler in favor of 30 minutes on the exercise bike. Today, I put on the knee brace and hopped on the treadmill. Wednesdays are interval days. I stuck with my 5% grade hill intervals. Today called for 3-6 miles with 1-3 miles of intervals. I figured I'd get to 3 miles with the intervals and see how I felt. Well, I got to the 3 and felt fine. I continued with the intervals until I hit 4 miles and then just ran at a normal, slowish pace until I hit an hour of time. My total mileage was 5.52 miles. I kept my pace intentionally slow to watch my knee and to get in the miles. It was a good day. My knee feels okay, even though my back has hurt all day. 

Oh, Monday I decided to try the Bounce class at my gym again. I had a lot more fun this time. This is not why my knee hurts. My knee actually started bugging me after my Sunday run. I had more fun doing it this time. It was definitely a great low-impact workout. I'm not sure that their claim of 10 minutes of bouncing is equal to 20 minutes of running, but taking the class will certainly help my core strength.

Tomorrow is 2-5. I'm going to aim for 4. I might get my lazy butt up and do it in the morning. I teach on Thursdays, so normal gym times aren't available. My other option is to take my running clothes with me and run around the college campus. I can always go to the gym when I'm done, but I feel like I should take advantage of the hills and decent weather available to me on the campus.

Keep on chugging!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I am an athlete defines an athlete as "a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill."

I am not gifted in exercises of contests. I'm not very fast. I'm not coordinated at all. Heck, I've been known to trip over cracks in the sidewalk. I'm not very strong. I have to have my husband open jars for me on a regular basis. I am not very agile, as is evidenced by the fact that I refuse to take a step aerobics class at my gym because the first two times I went, I fell flat on my face. I get out of breath while I run or climb up and down the stairs a lot.

Even with all these facts showing that I am in fact not an athlete, I will argue that I am. 

I train. I train hard. I run 6 miles on days when all I really want to do is to take a nap. I drag myself out of bed and run in the dark with a headlamp and reflective vest. I am a Floridian who hates the cold, but I run when it's 25 degrees and windy. I run 3 to 5 days a week, sometimes multiple times a day, depending on for which event I am training. 
I have injuries. Last spring, I switched types of shoes and hurt my knees. This fall, I switched back to a type of shoe I prefer, and injured my IT band two weeks before my race. I have had shin splints. During a race, I hurt my foot and finished the race running, but could barely walk for the next week and had to take a couple of weeks off from running. 

I participate in races. It isn't very often because I'm on a limited racing budget, but I have run a couple of 5Ks, a 10K, a half marathon, and an overnight relay race. I am scheduled to run in the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April. I am hoping to run my first full marathon in the fall, with the Marine Corps Marathon as the goal. I'm trying to improve my speed and get some new personal records. Running these distance races requires a lot of stamina. Most people can't just roll out of bed and run 10 miles. I did 6 this past weekend and and I was zonked and sore. 

I may not be thin. I may not be fast. I may not be agile, strong, or gifted physically, but I am an athlete. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm wearing red today. Are you?

I'm wearing red today. I put both of my sons in something red today, too. No, I don't support a team wearing red in a game this weekend. No, I don't have to wear read for work and my sons don't have to wear it for school. Yes, red is my favorite color, but that isn't why I'm wearing red.

Today is what the National Heart Association calls National Go Red Day to help raise awareness of cardiovascular disease in women. Did you know that these conditions cause the deaths of approximately 500,000 people every year and are the number one killer of women? Heart disease is generally thought of as a disease of older men, but it most definitely affects women of all ages. 

I had high blood pressure during both of my pregnancies. I am overweight. I am at risk for cardiovascular disease, but I'm doing something about it. A little over a year ago, I took up running. I have competed in a few races and most recently a half marathon. I'm currently training for a 10-mile race in April and hopefully a full marathon in the fall. Since I started running, my resting pulse is in the 40s and my blood pressure is consistently at good levels. I hope through more careful eating and exercise, I can get my weight to a healthy level and reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease. 

I'm wearing red today. Are you?