01/24/10

5 miles today with an average pace of 9:34. Best pace today was 5:39  (this of course wasn’t held long and was on a major downhill, but I always love to see what the Garmin records on those fast segments just for fun.) Beautiful run! Only two more tiny, short runs this week to keep the legs loose for the ultra on Saturday. I can’t wait!

01/23/10

30 min of Wii Fit Plus today. Burned 73 calories. Sweated pretty good today. Anneliese is not a fan of my Tree Pose form. She said, “I don’t think you should do that one anymore, Mom. It’s too hard.” Swaying tree that I am, I’ll keep at it though. I told her, “Well, it’s kind of fun to see if I can get better if I keep trying.” Hopefully one day that fitness trainer will be in awe of how solid and still this tree can be.

01/22/10

I just read this on www.runnersworld.com and wanted to share it! Horray for working on a bigger brain! 

Running Boosts Brainpower

Going for a Jog Builds Brain Cells, Study Finds
By Kelli Miller Stacy
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 19, 2010 — Running may do more than improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall physique. It might actually make you smarter.
Scientists reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences say that running has a profound impact on the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Adult mice that voluntarily used running wheels increased their number of brain cells and performed better at spatial learning tests than non-exercising mice, they discovered.
Spatial learning refers to the ability to navigate through or discriminate between the unfamiliar — such as telling the difference between two patterns, or finding your way around a new city. Spatial memory refers to how you remember the location or layout of the objects in the space around you. You record spatial memories after processing key sensory information, such as what you see and hear. Animals use spatial memory to remember where their food bowl is located. Mice, for example, learn this by scrambling through a maze to find the food at the end.
In the latest spatial learning experiment, researchers learned that the running mice were better able to tell the difference between the locations of two adjacent identical stimuli. This ability was closely linked to an increase in new brain cell growth in the hippocampus. Ongoing mice experiments have repeatedly shown that running boosts the number of new brain cells in this area. Until the late 1990s, neuroscientists believed that we did not grow new brain cells after birth.
Today, mounting evidence continues to reveal that exercise triggers significant physiological and structural changes in the brain that are beneficial to cognitive function.

01/22/10

Tonight’s run ended up being in the dark, after it rained, down busy streets and through mud-soaked shoulders of country roads. Running at night is always a bit surreal to me. Your feet pound the pavement and you move forward, but you can’t always tell how far you’ve gone since darkness swallows up everything your eager eyes strain to see.

Bertha and I were surprised we’d gone further than we’d intended, once the heart-to-heart conversation and the quiet of the dark night had lulled us further than we’d set out to go. It was a beautiful run, if not an unusual one because of the chill, the puddles, the traffic and the dark. My own stomach issues made it even more of an adventure. It turns out you really can pull down your tights and use a farmer’s ditch as your toilet when you have no other options and that cheeseburger you had for lunch comes back to haunt you. Ugh. Thank heavens for a patient and understanding running partner.

This was our last “long” run before our race next Saturday. We’re in a taper, so it wasn’t actually that long. 7.53 miles. Slow and steady.

We’ll focus on getting maps made this week for the course (this race will not have marked course turns or aid stations.) Each of us will configure our older shoes to become better at traction in the snow and ice by drilling – yes, drilling small screws into the bottoms of our shoes. I’ve read that you can fit between 10 – 20 pretty easily and that the traction it gives is pretty impressive. I guess we’ll be able to share with all of you after next Saturday weather this really does make a difference or not. I’m hoping the answer is yes. After wiping out twice on the descents on the last run, I’m hoping to avoid a repeat performance in the 50K. 

I hope some of you will be sending us positive thoughts and good vibes as we run next weekend. I know we’ll be able to feel all the support and encouragement you gals are famous for giving.  Love you gals! I hope you’re all having a great weekend.

01/21/10

Man, I’m sluggish today. Did 30 min of the wii fit. Just not feeling it though. The kids did sleep much better last night after I created a reward system (stickers that they can trade in for bigger prizes as they accumulate more), but instead of falling asleep myself, I stayed up until 2 am reading a really cool memoir about a reporter’s encounter with ultramarathoners and the Badwater ultra. It was a fascinating read and I just couldn’t put it down. It’s called
To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the Mystery of Endurance by Kirk Johnson.

01/20/10

How could I help but break into a sprint at the end of my 6 mile, windy run today when “Dude Looks Like a Lady” started blaring on my mp3 player? I mean really — that song just begs to be sprinted too, now doesn’t it?  I am also completely innocent to the fact that my body started doing the twist during my cooldown stretches when Elvis started belting out “All Shook Up.” Jr, Josh and Savannah opened the door about then and enjoyed the show.

6.04 miles today. 20mph winds. About 37 degrees. Sunny. Beautiful. Chilly. 10:50 average pace (not bad considering how often I was running INTO the wind today), 1:05 total time. I hit 70.35 miles for the month today. Looks like I’m on track to hit 100 once I do the wild and crazy ultra in a week and a half!

01/20/10

Epic Failure

Sometimes the workout I intend to do and the one my body CAN do on a given day are two very different things. Today was one of those days. I woke up, thinking it might be a good day to do a little tempo work. I thought I might warm up a mile or two, then hit my marathon goal pace of 8:30 for 3-4 miles then cool down. It seemed reasonable. It wasn’t.

I’m a little more than 2 weeks from my mountain 50k. That will by no stretch of the imagination be a “speedy” run for anyone. The climb alone in that race is about 7,000 feet. I’m going to feel it. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to take maybe 9 hours to complete it. It’s nothing like my road marathons where pace matters so much more. So, why the heck am I even doing speedwork and tempo work two weeks from a race like that? I’m a idiot, basically. That’s my only conclusion this morning.

I knew from the first few steps on my run this morning that things weren’t going to go as planned. My left shin has been giving me some pain the past few days. It was bad enough this morning to mess with my stride a lot. It was more of a hobble. Right leg would do it’s thing fine and fairly smoothly, then left leg would have to come down and I’d feel pain and I’d wince a bit. I don’t think it’s broken or anything like that. I think I pulled something in the mountains over the weekend when I slipped and caught myself going downhill. I also wrenched my lower back at that moment too. It was a sharp pain and for a moment I feared I wouldn’t be able to move another step. But, I was ok to finish the run, though it’s continued to be pretty sore and bother me when I stand, run or sit every since. I think I pulled something in my left shin at the same time.

Today, both the lower back and the left shin were really bugging me. I looked at my watch and saw that I was mastering a lightening fast 12:30ish pace for the first mile. I wonder if the Olympics will call? Yeah, didn’t think so. All of a sudden, that 8:30 pace which should be very doable for me when I’m feeling fine sounded like breaking the world record — impossible.  So, I didn’t even try. I almost considered turning around at mile 1 and heading home, fearing that I would make the injuries worse if I plugged on.

Instead, I decided to walk. A lot! It became something of a game to see that I could fairly comfortably speed walk a 12:30 pace in mile 2.  Less pounding. It felt better and I figured “at least I’ll get some miles today.” I alternated between slow jogging and walking for mile 3, then ran vvvery slowly for mile 4 and the final .35 home.

I feel a little sorry for myself. I feel a little mad at myself. I know better. I was foolish to increase my weekly mileage so much in the last couple of weeks. I normally preach to others to follow the 10% increase rule obsessively. I didn’t take my own advice. Sometimes I feel peer pressure to push harder, to run further, to run faster – all at once. But, I am just not that strong. Not yet at least. I am who I am. I train slow. Really slow and maybe that’s ok. Maybe that long-term Boston goal really is always going to be out of reach for me. I don’t know. Right now I just know that I need to take a couple days off from the pounding and work on getting recovered for this race on Feb. 5th. That, right now, is the only concern.

Average Heart Rate: 136 Max Heart Rate: 162

Stats: 4.36 miles. 12:43 pace. 55:24 time. Felt: Injured.

01/19/10

I’m sooooooooooo tired today. Just not feeling it. My kids have been terrible at bedtime lately. Rebecca’s fine. She always has been a great sleeper. Wayne Jr and Josh share a room, though and they are constantly giggling, whispering, playing after they are put to bed. It’s exhausting going in over and over and telling them “Go to sleep!” The younger two girls have just started this too (they also share a room.) The younger ones have gotten worse than ever since we got them a trundle bed a couple weeks ago. Having them so near each other just seems to make them want to giggle, jump on the beds, fight, laugh… all in all — be noisy.

Last night, I didn’t have everyone asleep in their own beds until after midnight.  I’m SOOOO tired. Josh has a cold, too and I feel like I might be coming down with it. I hope I can work this thing out. Part of the problem is Wayne’s new work schedule. Four days a week he doesn’t even get home until 12:30 am. I tend to stay awake waiting for him, which throws my sleep cycles off. Once he gets home, that has started to be our time to catch up on the day, talk about the kids, etc…. Last night I didn’t fall asleep until about 2 am. This is only our second week of this schedule, but it’s becoming a habit to be up so late and it’s wearing on me. Wayne usually helps with the kids at night too and I’m on my own for four days in a row. I’m looking forward to spring when his schedule goes back to normal (although I’ll really miss the morning runs!!!)

01/18/10

What a beautiful, sunny day here in Southern Idaho!  Silly me. I overdressed. I wore my usual – tights, technical long-sleeved shirt, running jacket with fleece lining, hat, gloves. I took off the gloves at the half mile point. Removed the jacket at 1.5 miles and wore it around my waist and sweated the rest of the run.  It was wonderful to have such nice temperatures again though. It was a bit windy – but it was a warm wind.

4.34 miles today. One really tough hill (and the pleasurable running DOWN the other side of that hill.) Nice and easy pace. 11:25 min/miles.

Oh.. and since you asked. Yes, Wayne is walking like an old, creaky Grandpa around the house today.

01/17/10

Oh… how I wished I’d had a video camera to capture Wayne’s first ice bath!  He winced, he whimpered and I think I saw tears welling up in his eyes – and that was only with his feet in the tub.  He’s been saying he wants to be like me. I was a meanie and said, “NOW do you want to be like me because this is part of what being a runner is about.”

I brought him some cappuccino, a high protein lunch and a cookie and brought myself something to drink too. I had told him the worst was the first few minutes – and sure enough… by the time I’d brought the food, he said, “You were right..” He was a trooper! He stuck it out and I’m very proud of him. I think he’s been initiated into the long distance running club now.