Monthly Archives: October 2012

Intervals and Other Insane Ways to Kick Your Running Butt

Here are some ideas to up your running game.  I’m not a coach, but I’ll pass on what I’ve done.  Winter is sometimes lonely for us runners.  Very few events, lots of cold and wind.  I’m not a winter person so I struggle during the cold months – especially during the years when I ran alone.  What keeps me going is my thoughts towards Spring events, less clothing, warmer temperatures, getting stronger underneath all those clothes and now that I have a team, I’m (almost) looking forward to winter training.

Cross training.  If you can’t get out there, do something else!!  Plus cross training has so many benefits.  I have a little weight routine I do in my living room plus I just added this baby to my arsenal:

Trainer for the bike. My bike didn’t have a quick release on the back tire so I borrowed Chris’ bike for the time being. I have a counter for my sweat rag and water bottle plus remotes to watch Netflix….  It’s all ready to go in the family room!

If you have don’t have as much time due to fewer daylight hours, or you can’t go very far on a winter run, here are some additional ideas:

HILLS:  Don’t make that face!!  Find a long one – one that will take you several minutes to run up.  This isn’t about going fast and super hard, it’s about steady and running strong.  Run up strong, slow run back down.  Repeat.  5-10 times.  You can do variations on this by going up 5 minutes, then down 5 or set a point to turn around.  Have fun with those hills!  They’ll make you stronger!

INTERVALS:  I love these!!!  Speed workouts are the best!  This isn’t for distance so you have to ignore the Garmin.  Do a warm up of 15-20 minutes and know what intervals you’ll do.  1 minute hard, 1 minute slow?  2 minutes hard, 1 minute slow??  And how many times you’ll do it. 5?  6?  10??  Get those babies done! Anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes hard and 1 minute slower.  Then do a nice, slow 15 minute cool down.  I like these because you never watch distance, you don’t really even watch speed.  It’s all about effort – what feels hard or slow to you.  Plus, they’re easy to do if you have a loop around a block or a bike path which are often lit up during those dusky hours.  I’ve even run a 3 mile bike loop in pitch dark – between street lights and my knuckle lights those are some of my favorite runs.

Shorter runs more frequently:  Use your lunch break, time before dinner, etc… and get in shorter runs but increase how often if needed.  You can still log mileage in shorter bursts.

I have knuckle lights like I mentioned and I love them.  I also use my trail shoes when it’s icy or snowy out on the road and when that’s not enough I strap on snow trax.  Also in my arsenal are Little Hotties Hand Warmers (I buy the case at Costco for $12.99).  In mittens, pockets, etc…  when it’s down to the 8* I ran in last winter or in windy weather, I stick them everywhere I have a pocket.

Get out there and get at ’em!!!  NO EXCUSES!!!!

If I’m willing to go out like this – you have NO excuse!!

Tuesday Morning Run

Bliss…. When you get up, get ready, don’t feel super excited because that bed was warm and cozy, it’s dark and cold outside but you know how amazing it will feel to log miles and be in the shower while other people are just waking up…  Even better when you dress right for the weather.  Even better than that is having a slow, easy run of 4 miles and just enjoying yourself……  That was my morning.

On Sunday for the 5K my goal was sub-24 minutes which I did with a 23:21.  I really, really, super secretly wanted to run a 22 minute 5K but it didn’t quite happen.  I can play the blame game – I was wearing a costume and the cape around my neck drove me nuts or that my son was right behind me and I wanted to check on him but really, honestly that’s all crap.  Not that there isn’t some truth to it, but I know I gave it what I had – enough that when I crossed the finish line I kept going to a quiet place and dry heaved.  Just twice.   I did my best at that moment but I know there will be other moments, other goals.

This morning was my usual “run in heart rate zone 2 for 4 miles” routine.  When I started training in zones, I got irritated running in zone 2.  It’s slow.  Going uphill I had to slow down so much I joked about how I was going to start sliding backwards.  But I learned.  About heart rate training and about myself – allowing myself to slow down and just freaking enjoy myself instead of going full speed ahead all the time.  Today I could say it was my “recovery run” from pushing on Sunday nights race but in all honesty, I enjoy these runs now.  My Garmin didn’t load – the only things working on it were the total time and my heart rate.  When I got down the road and looked I just shrugged.  Who cares??  I know where the 2 mile turn around is and all I really needed was my heart rate.  My total time for 4 miles was 39:42 and my heart rate stayed in zone 2.

I wave at everyone that passes me.  Mostly it’s a “Hey, I see you coming at me and I’m glad you see me” wave.  But people in my area have become familiar with the crazy lady running early in the morning in all weather, waving at them and now they wave first.  I get smiles, the “pointing gun” wave, genuine waves instead of just a raised hand.

This morning in 33* I felt happy.  Just plodding along in familiar territory, waving like a maniac and smiling because I got to go for a run.  That, my friends, is pretty amazing.

Reno 5000 Halloween 5K

What a fun race! Capped at 450 entries with lots of food, support, great race volunteers and a well marked course, this race is always fun! 9 kids and 2 parents entered. YAY!! A family affair for sure. Changes are happening as the kids get older – only my youngest is in the 1/2 mile “Fun Run”. All the other kids entered the 5K. We all run our own race and meet at the finish. I’m still (barely) the fastest but soon Taylor will beat me and he’ll never look back….. Until then, here are our results and a ton of pictures because, quite honestly, I’m biased and think they’re super cute and awesome.  6 kids as well as Chris and myself PR’d last night and one was the same as her best time.  SWEET!!! You can see by the results that Bri and Kezia ran together, Ashlea and Alana ran together and Olivia and Gabi ran together until the end.  Taylor was with me most of the way. There were 345 entries in the 5K:

Chris: PR – #95 Time; 28:49 Avg. 9:17
ME:  PR – #28 Time; 23:21 Avg. 7:32
Brianna: #140 Time; 31:16 Avg. 10:05
Olivia: #232 Time: 36:49 Avg. 11:52
Alana: PR – #166 Time; 33:19 Avg. 10:44
Nicolas: First 5K – #146 Time; 31:44 Avg. 10:14
Taylor: PR – #40 Time; 24:36 Avg. 7:56
Ashlea: PR – #167 Time; 33:19 Avg. 10:44
Gabrielle: Same as best – #233 Time; 36:55 Avg. 11:53
Kezia: PR – #141 Time; 31:17 Avg. 10:05
Samuel:  Half mile.  #14 out of 81 – PR 4:23

Running – Love Like Woe!!

For as hard as running spanked me Tuesday night, Thursday night was awesome. You just never know. We did some sort of interval thingy – technical, I know.  Warm up, 5 sets of intervals – running at different speeds for different time periods – then 20 minute cool down.  It felt amazing and the next day my butt hurt – good sign, folks, good sign.  It’s never a bad run, some are just more difficult than others.  Thursday made me feel amazing and alive!!

Super exciting things in my world.  Get a pen and paper and prepare to live vicariously….  Work went well Friday and Saturday.  Kids and I went to get pumpkins on Friday, then had a carving party Saturday night.  We also went to packet pickup Saturday.  9 kids and 2 parents running the 5K tonight in our Halloween get up.

THIS IS SO COOL!!  I went on Athlinks to look at my race results and double check my 5K PR.  For kicks, I typed in one of the kids names and we found all her results.  So I put in each child’s name and got all their results.  We wrote them out together and it was phenomenal to see how much they’ve improved.  The best improvement was Ashlea.  From her first 5K to her second she shaved 12 minutes of her time!!!  Gabrielle shaved off 11 minutes!!  When we all looked at how many races they’ve done and how much they’ve improved, the excitement level went up a few notches.  They remembered every race, what they liked about each one, which were technically more difficult, etc…  They all know they’re PR time and have a goal for tonight’s race.  A time to shoot for and see if they can beat.  Bri (who is 20 and technically an adult) and I hadn’t realized how many races she’s been in over the years.  She looked at it and said, “Huh.  I guess I really am a runner.  Also, I hit my peak at 14.”  Oh, well, we can’t have everything……  It was exciting for the kids to see their race results posted on a “professional” page.  Tonight’s race is definitely one of our favorites.  Best director, best food and swag, lots of energy.  Stay tuned…

Halloween Fun

I love Halloween but seriously the surrounding activities are getting crazy!! The kids have a church activity, a school activity, a friends party. 3 times to dress up. THEN we do the 5K race and the actual trick or treating……

Here are my rules of Halloween.  1) I help for the race and the actual trick or treating.  2) Once the kids turn 12, I don’t help.  I figure they’re old enough to help other little kids, have parties with their peeps, etc…  and are pretty much good to figure it out for themselves.  Yes, I’m a mean mom….

The cool part??  They get very creative and figure out inexpensive ways to make things…  Example?  Gabrielle wants to be Medusa.  We looked her up online and went to the dollar store.  2 pack of headbands and 2 packs of snakes.  $3.  Then green makeup at Walmart (in case you didn’t know, Medusa has green lips) for $.97.  We had a great time putting it together and she’s using an existing costume dress to top it off.


I grew up in a home nearly void of traditions. There were a few, which I clung to passionately. When I grew up and struck out on my own I soon realized that I was the pilot of my children’s lives and traditions increasingly became of high import.

I wanted holidays to be fun whether we decorate just a little or do it up in style.  Some I started – based on what I felt I was lacking from my childhood – some happened of their own accord and others were passed down from extended and new family members.

Valentines Day we decorate a little but most importantly my kids have heart shaped baskets they put at their seats at our table.  Upon waking up they have a basket filled with little surprises.  Easter – replace the basket with square shapes and cloth bunny inserts – is much the same.  Left out the night before, the kids awaken to filled baskets.  I don’t do a lot of candy – but art supplies, a barbie, key chains, etc…  fill them.  Much akin to a stocking (which, yes, is my favorite part of Christmas).  4th of July is always spent at their dads family’s homes13 hours of driving away,  in what’s become a huge family reunion.  Thanksgiving is sometimes a travel holiday, but if spent at home (like this year will be), it becomes a gathering place for everyone who doesn’t have family close by.  A hodgepodge of accumulated friends desiring good food and people who are glad to have them over.

Kids after opening 2011 ornaments to hang on the tree

Christmas probably has the most tradition.  Christmas Eve we have a big pot roast dinner followed by the kids opening two items.  One is a pair of pajamas handmade by me that they immediately put on to wear that night.  This tradition started innocently one year with young children for a picture and fast became one of the things the kids (some now adults) look forward to the most.  Then I read a story called “The Christmas Orange” about a little girl in an orphanage – fitting with all the foster care and adoptions I’ve done.  Mostly, though, it reminds us of how truly blessed we are.  Then we break open a chocolate orange one of the kids has hidden in the tree and the rest of us has to find and pass it around.  The final gift is an ornament.  Each child has a Rubbermaid container that houses an ornament from each year they’re born plus anything they’ve made or gotten from someone else.  When we decorate the tree, each child takes out their ornaments, we remember where they came from and they choose 4 to hang, wrapping the remaining back up.  On Christmas Eve they get their new one and hang it on the tree.  When my children strike out on their own, they’ll have this box of memories to start a tree of their own, hopefully maintaining some of my traditions and making some new ones.

Boys in 2011 PJ’s.  This year I did their favorite song on the t-shirts

Girls in 2011 PJ’s

Autumn is always a family race.  It started as the Run For Education where the kids raced and I watched and waited for them.  The kids raised money for their schools PE department and playground equipment so they saw the fruits of their labor.  That race ended, so we replaced it with the Reno 5000 Halloween race with the best race director ever (who is now my coach).  Now the kids are older and we all do the race – each running at our own pace and supporting each other.  Now this isn’t their only race – this year it’s the 3rd the kids have run and they volunteered at one.  A tradition that morphed from my love of running and passed down.

At packet pickup last year with Will in the background (director) with his daughter on his shoulders and me with the kids.

Another favorite tradition that happened yesterday is Frosty’s.  My mother in law, Donna is one of the best people I know.  She became Grammy to my kids 7 years ago when Chris and I started dating.  We adopted her and she adopted all of us right back.  She lives in California – a 6 hour drive away – but about every 6 weeks she comes to Reno to visit her 3 sons and all the grandkids.  Every single time, she brings the kids to Wendy’s for a Frosty.  This is a tradition gifted to us by an extended member of the family that means so much.  Yesterday was Frosty day with 8 of the kids (Bri was in class at college and unfortunately missed out, but she got taken to lunch so I think it was a wash).  As my kids grow up I want them to know that these traditions are reminders of how important they are, how much they are loved and how proud I am to be their Mommy.

Grammy and the 8 of the kiddos yesterday at Wendy’s having Frosty’s!!

Getting Pissed Off At Running

When running spanks you?  Moments you question your sanity as a runner?  Swearing while running?  I thought this was supposed to be fun?  What the hell am I doing? Yes, I am giving it my all?

SO many blog titles….  Here are some things about running and working out in general:

  • There’s no perfect body type.  We’re all unique so embrace your type and GO with it!!  Look good for YOU, not the model on the cover of a magazine.
  • Anyone can do it, the level you’re at is relative to YOU
  • You can continue to see results.  Our bodies change with time, our goals become different, etc…  There’s no end to making changes or setting goals.
  • You’re out there doing something instead of sitting on the couch complaining.  Hello??  BIG STEP!!!  More than what most people are doing.
  • Most of the time, it’s fun.  Even when training is difficult, getting to the end of that workout is euphoric.  Knowing you completed it, met your daily goal, etc…   Having friends with you, a coach or a team, online support, etc… makes it even better
  • Looking and feeling good is worth the effort it takes.  Seeing results, sleeping better, etc…  It feels amazing to be in shape.

We got a little snow Monday night which is pretty to look at. This is from my front door Tuesday on my way to go running.

Then that day happens.  It’s not a GI issue, your diet is fine, no breathing issues, you’re not tired or sick.  The weather isn’t too hot, too cold.  You’re dressed correctly.  Your shoes are fine.  Nothing is wrong.  At all.  Mentally you’re in the zone and ready to go.  But it sucks.  Big time.  Running decides to spank you.  Hard.

That’s what happened to me last night.  I was with my team, I was feeling fine.  I had NO get up and go.  Coach told us to go hard and I DID.  But somehow everyone passed me, I was left behind watching them wondering why I was so slow.  There was absolutely NOTHING wrong.

This is what Reno calls “Fall colors”. Having grown up in New England, this is not what comes to mind when I think of leaves changing….. I am a Fall Foliage snob!!

I hit that point when I thought, “OK, for some reason things aren’t happening for me.  If they turn a corner and I can’t see the team, I’m walking.”  That didn’t happen.  This is the thing.  It’s not worth getting upset about.  I’m logging my miles, I’m (sort of) with my team.  They’ll be there when I finish.  I have to get to my car so I’m going to finish regardless of my speed.  I’m not bummed, just confused as to why my body isn’t moving like I want it to.  I’m not a glass half full person – I’m a glass is all the way full;  half water, half air and we need both equally.  It’s really, really not a big deal that I was getting spanked hard by running.  It kind of sucks when a workout doesn’t go as planned but I KNEW the entire time I would spank running back.  Maybe not next time or even the time after that, but I will find that groove again and spank.

Most harsh moments??  3 hills we’re supposed to go hard on.  First hill, the team was waiting for me at the top clapping and cheering.  I wanted to tell them to just go without me…..  Please….  Then I stayed with them no problem.  Second hill, they “bonused back” to me – they hit the top, turned around and ran to me (2/3 of the way up the hill), surrounded me and ran me up.  Please, please go without me…..  Leave me to die in my inadequacy…  Then I stayed with them no problems.  Third hill, they waited at the top again.  Cheering me on like I had won a trophy.  By then I was thankful for them.  It’s usually not me falling behind and I love to bolster up a friend who is struggling.  How selfish of me to rob them of the blessing of bolstering me??  The remaining distance I had no problem.  I just couldn’t push harder up those hills.  Coach told me not to get discouraged and I assured him I wasn’t.  Some days, you’re just off and last night was my time.  Pretty much, I wouldn’t appreciate the good runs nearly as much if I didn’t – every once in a while – have a really, really tough one.  For that, I am grateful.

I am horrid at doing the phone/camera/self-portrait thing. Bad….  I looked as bad as I feel!!!

I LOVE PRESENTS!!! (Especially from BodyRock Sport!!!)

I’ve taken the Love Languages test and my Love Language is “Quality Time” with a near tie with “Physical Contact”. Although “Receiving Gifts” is my lowest of the 5 love languages, I do like presents. To myself. From myself. I work hard and have a ton of kids, which was a choice I’ll never regret, but money always has a place to go.   It takes me a while to save up my tip money to surprise myself with a gift so I do my homework and choose carefully.  I “window shop”, make my lists, get them prioritized and figure out how much I need to save in order to make my dreams a reality.  I like quality items, classic pieces that will last over time and believe that a few very good pieces are better than a closet full of blah and versatility is key.

BodyRock Sport is one of my favorite companies.  I like the smaller, independent companies with people who still want to know what the regular chick like me needs and speaks to that.  I’ve gotten to know the owner – Kelly Kalley – and she’s not only the brains and creativity behind BodyRock but a fantastic person as well.  I was blessed to have been chosen to be BodyRocker of the Month this past April and it was truly an honor and a privilege to be counted amongst such powerful, beautiful, phenomenal women.  I do have an extensive Wish List on the site so feel free to check that out….  You can also purchase gift cards and I take those as well….  HINT, HINT!!  I was blessed recently to add 3 things from my Wish List into my Cart and shipped to me!!  My kids all got involved – it’s quite a gallery of pictures!!!  I always feel good ordering from BodyRock.  I know it will fit, be of superior quality, last me years and be versatile as Kelly’s motto is “Fashion meets Function”.  BodyRock is my sports bra of choice for running – the only one I wear but they are so much more…..

Monday Motivation – Clean out the Cobwebs!!

I’ve been going through my closet. I know I’ve mentioned it before but usually every Autumn and Spring I do a once over, get rid of things I haven’t worn or that are getting old and bring  the bags to goodwill. Recently – prior to going through my closet – I read an article about being organized and – for those of you that think I’m compulsive, there are far, far worse culprits out there!!  A woman my age decided to put a piece of masking tape on every article of clothing she owned (by pulling off the tape, she knew she’d worn it – accountability).  She then had a project where she had to wear everything she owned – mostly clothes for work – and decide what she’d keep.  Interesting…..  It’s amazing what we keep for sentimental reasons, because we like it but it doesn’t fit us correctly, etc…  So minus the tape, I’ve been doing the same thing with clothing and shoes.  The Birkenstock’s I got when I was a Jr in high school but haven’t actually worn in well over ten years??  Gone.  The jacket I adored from a friend who bought it in Paris but didn’t fit me AT ALL?  Gone.  It’s taken a couple weeks instead of an hour and it’s been not only cathartic but less difficult than I imagined once I really got started.

Day off shopping!!

First step – I went through like I always do.  Pulled the things I knew I didn’t want. Fast, easy, no big deal.

Second step – most difficult in the purging – try things on, put combinations together, start wearing things to work.  Sometimes when I actually put something on and thought about walking out the door with it I’d take it off and put it in the bag instead of back in my closet.  It was itchy, it didn’t fit well, it made me feel uncomfortable, etc…  I liked the clothing but it didn’t like me back.  No matter the sentimental value, the replacement cost (I love a good deal!) or how pretty it looked on the hangar, it was gone.   It was far more difficult than I imagined to part with “stuff” but I realized that I have so much and I actually wear so little of it.  The fun part of this stage was mixing things up, wearing different outfits and gauging people’s reactions.  A friend at work and I talked about my project and – not only is she now doing it – she gives me honest feedback on what she thinks.  I’ve worn some items that go directly into the bag when I get home.  Honestly, I had forgotten I even owned some things and it’s been like a mini Christmas finding treasures.

Traveling – at the airport.  Comfy and chic

Third step (and the most fun) – inviting all my girls into my bedroom to have a try on party.  They instigated this stating “Mom, you need help”.  Huh…  Now that I’ve narrowed things down I’m struggling.  Am I too old to wear it now that I’m in my 40’s??  Does it look good enough to keep?  Is it stuck in a time warp??  Not only was this fun – we were ALL trying things on – but it was surprising.  5 kids ages 10-16 and myself in panties….  Epic.  This put me at 2 – 13 gallon garbage bags of shoes and 3 of clothes.  Still, I have a full closet.

Learning how to mix prints

Fourth step – easy again.  I’ve purged, I’ve tried on, I’ve pared things back.  I realize I like classics with a funky twist, I don’t mind showing a little leg (running is such a good thing for legs!) or a little cleavage.  I like layering, I like having fun and I dress based mostly on my mood.  Now that there is FAR less in my closet, I’m looking at a few things and realizing I just don’t care if they’re there.  So the final bag is sitting there slowly collecting the last donations.  I didn’t keep it to my closet though.  I also went through every drawer (including my entire dresser dedicated to running/exercise clothes), my bras, panties, socks, jeans.  EVERYTHING!!!

Casual, post running moment.

Fifth step – Relief.  Purging is a good thing.  I know what I like so why keep what I don’t?  Now I’m done cleaning out and I’m making a list.  I want to make sure I have the basics and they’re good quality.  The 6 pairs of $5 leggings I have in my drawer can go and maybe just one really nice pair.  White, fitted, super soft V-neck t-shirt for layering (I have the other colors but white and armpit stains need to go).  Leather pencil skirt.  It feels good to do a reinvention of yourself through the closet!!

Love this dress. Bright color, loose, lightweight knit

I Love The Runs!!!

I also love using titles that have double meaning, being sarcastic and generally anything impish that makes me giggle….  I don’t have the runs as in the bathroom.  Fortunately.  I do, however, like the runs on Sunday morning from Reno Running Company.  Today my usual running partner was absent.  I’ll probably pull a ninja move next time I see him and kick his butt OR just tell him I missed having him as a running partner and have a running video of ninja moves in my head.  I was lucky Laural was there today, though, because we’re pretty evenly paced as well and she’s one of the sweetest women.  Plus I’m not as concerned about getting lost with a buddy.

A rep from Northern California for Mizuno was there today.  We got to see what’s coming out and try a pair of shoes for today’s run.  WOOT!!!  They’re not the Wave Precisions that I adore, but I liked these as well.  Not one issue in the 5.4 mile run (averaged 8:43 minute miles).

My kicks for the run….

The temps suddenly dropped here.  We don’t go slowly down in temperature.  One day you wake up to 60*, the next it’s 37*….  I was prepared though.  I checked last night to gear up for it.  Glad I dressed a little warm – I’d rather have to take something off than to freeze.  I tend to run cold and once I’m cold, it’s so hard to warm up.  There was wind, though – at about 12 mph with gusts – so it’s always better to err on the side of too much clothing.  Reno is the only place I’ve lived that has a head wind no matter what direction you run in.  We were all talking about it after.   Some things you just don’t understand.

Pre-run. Running in 37* with wind is sexy!!  Man, I look like a dweeb!!!

Yesterday I woke up dreaming about doughnuts.  I don’t really like them all that much – way too sweet for me.  Why??  Because I’m so sweet on my own!!  Right….  I posted it on Facebook and it’s amazing how many people probably went out and ate a doughnut.  One friend (a recently single mom) commented that she’d love to wake up dreaming about doughnuts or actually have someone bring her some….  I mentioned that maybe she should shoot higher.  I’d rather dream about sex or wake up to THAT!!  Now that I’ve offered TMI – you’re welcome – there is a point to this.  Aimee and Matt who own Reno Running Company bought doughnuts for after this mornings run.  It’s like they were in my head!!  I have to admit, they tasted pretty good after a cold and windy 5.4 miles….  It just proves that dreams really can come true!!!

Aimee and Matt – the store owners – bought doughnuts. Dreams really DO come true!!! I only ate one though…