I Have the Cutest Cup Bearers

When I finished up my run today, I opened the door to let the children know I was back, then shut the door while I finished stretching on the front porch. Just a few moments later, the door gently opened and there was my adorable curly-topped 3 year old, standing there in her pjs proudly holding a big cup with about an inch of water in it. She said, “Mama, I bwing you some water!” I got down on my knees, smiled broadly, took the cup and hugged her close. Then I told her , “Thank you so much, honey! This is exactly what Mommy needs right now.”

My oldest daughter was standing behind her smiling sweetly at her baby sister’s big-hearted effort. She quietly mouthed, “Would you like me to get you some more?” I drank up the baby’s offering first, she ran off to watch Elmo again and my oldest went to get me a tall glass of ice water. I am one very, very blessed Mom.

Man, I love these kids. 

Today’s temperature: 57 degrees. 41% humidity. 20 mph winds (I LOVED the wind today – it felt so good!) I felt very good out there today. Wish I could have had time to get in a few more miles, but this will have to do. Looking forward to some trail running tomorrow and the time with a few of my best buddies. 

Stats: 8.01 miles. 9:51 ave pace. 1:18 total time. Best miles: 7 – 8:43 and 8 – 8:22.  Felt fairly strong today.


Track Run With Family

You know what the beauty of a track is? People of all paces can run together, socializing. Tonight I ran with several friends (some old and some new) at a track behind an Elementary school. My husband played catch with my two sons and a couple of other boys who were there, right in the center of the field while we ran laps around them. There is a playground next to the track, too, so my older daughter looked after the younger two girls who were playing with one of their best little gal pals (a daughter of one of my running friends.)

My Mom came (HI MOM!!!), which was really awesome.  I walked with her and chatted, jogged ahead, then stopped to run or walk with another friend I’d bump into. It was a really pleasant, laid back atmosphere full of support and smiles.  I’m really glad we went.

Stats: 4.11 miles. Ave pace: 13:11 (walked with my Mom and a new friend named Michelle and had to take Savannah to find a place to pee outside during the run. hee hee. Also gave Savannah a piggy back ride for one lap.) Total time: 54:12.


Your Chest Is Dropping To The Floor

That’s what Bill-Ted, my virtual trainer on the Wii Fit Plus said to me today during the plank. I wanted to say to him, “Buddy, if you’d nursed five babies in the last several years, your chest would be dropping to the floor, too!” 

Bill-Ted led me through 24 yoga and strength moves today. I can tell my time with him is starting to pay off. When I begin the workout and do the Sun Salutation, my hands are about six inches above my feet when I reach for them. When I do the same move later in the workout, they are only about 2 inches away. That’s improvement! It’s still hard to imagine that I’ll ever be able to actually TOUCH my toes — but, I’ll keep at it and see if I can overcome my tight hamstrings to achieve the seemingly impossible one day. 

Stats: Wii Fit Plus – 44 minutes. Sweated buckets.  Felt: Ok

Weight today: 123


Just A Little Night Cap

My 11 year old daughter and my 9 year old son begged me with big eyes to please take them on a bike ride tonight. Well, my bike is broken and hasn’t been fixed yet, but I can run – so I laced up the shoes and off we headed.  Temperature was about 87 degrees.

It’s been a while since I ran at night. When I first started running, most of my runs were in the evenings when my husband was home from work and the family had finished dinners and chores. Tonight it was fun getting to experience the sun going down again, the mouthwatering smells of family BBQ’s, the comforting smells of laundry being dried and the late summer blooms.

The kids were so cute!  They loved that they could get ahead of me pretty easily. I found after getting our bearings in the first mile, that when they rode comfortably, the pace I had to keep just to stay within 20 feet was about a BQ pace for my age.  I told them they could be my golden ticket over the next couple of years when I needed pacers! ha ha.

I loved spending time with my two oldest, saying, “Hello” to the neighbors out walking their dogs and pushing their baby carriages and getting my sweat on for the second time today. It was invigorating.

Mile 1 (we had two bike wipe-outs that weren’t serious that slowed us down) 10:31
Mile 2: 8:41
Mile 3: 8:39
Last .27 of a mile: 8:31

Stats: 3.27 miles. Ave pace: 9:14. Time: 30:11. Felt: Hot but Happy.


Run Like A Kenyan

It’s a bit warm for my taste today. 75 degrees. 24% humidity. 10 mph winds – and since I did my run later than expected – close to lunchtime – the sun was blazing overhead and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky or any shade on my run today.

Today’s schedule called for intervals. 7 miles total with warm up, then 3 1600’s at 7:46 with 800 meter jogs and cool down. I had some trepidation heading out about hitting my numbers in the heat today, but I was intent on giving it my best shot.

The warm up was wonderful. I relaxed, sang the “I Just Want to be Ok” song and soaked up the countryside. I even stopped for a few pictures on my cell phone today of the hay fields and a sunflower plant with my beloved mountains in the background. I even found a penny! 

Then came the work! I’d set my Garmin to do intervals today before I left home and hit the lap button to signal that my warm up was over and that the first bit of speedwork was now upon me. I punched it and tried to find my goal pace of 7:46. I was feeling it pretty quickly – as I know you’re supposed to on these types of workouts. No stopping for pennies during THAT portion of the workout for sure! I kept a fairly constant eye on the Garmin – trying to keep my pace from going under 7:46. It hurt. I thought of Dennis, the guru runner who thinks these gadgets only serve to chain us to our obsessions and prevent us from “really” being in the moment as runners. His wisdom felt like pure genius in that first mile, when my neck got a cramp from the constant watch-peeking. That first interval pace? 7:37. Too fast!

I took my half mile jog/walk break, drank some watered down Gatorade, stretched and regrouped. Then I went for interval number two. This time, I tried relaxing my shoulders and focusing on better form. I also worked on keeping my breathing even – but I still stared at the watch frequently. I was determined not to go too fast this time. I pretty much nailed that one. 7:45. Very good!

I felt so hot by that point, that I located a nearby sprinkler and went running right through it to cool down a bit before my final interval. The water felt wonderful and I admit to wanting to just stand there all day running back and forth in the water instead of doing what I was there to do.  My homework. Dang, me and my homework sometimes. That stern teacher side of me is a stickler for making me stick to the rules, the paces, etc. whenever possible. But, sometimes, a girl just wants to relax and have fun! 

Now, for the third interval, I decided to do something different. I thought about this article I’d read a few months ago about a man who went to train with the Kenyans for a month. The thing that popped out at me the most from reading about his experience, was that the Kenyans “let the run come to them.” They don’t force it. They relax, they go gently at first and they “feel it.” I want to be a Kenyan!!! That’s not going to happen, but I figured, why not apply that principal to this final interval and see if I can “feel out” the proper pace after doing two of them? I figured it was a great chance to see how my internal pace-sensor is working (or not!)

I will tell you, that immediately, I was enjoying myself again. I thought of this mile as a progressive one – starting gentle and ever so carefully, pushing the gas pedal little by little until I found my pace and then held it for the duration. I did NOT ONCE look at the pace this time! That was part of the experiment. I wanted to try to feel it out. It was fun. I felt more in tune with my body — but I failed as far as hitting my mark went. Darn! I really thought I had it. My third interval pace was 8:11. I guess considering today’s temperature was 75 that may explain the difference as far as my “effort” or “feel” was concerned – but I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to prove that I could, in fact, run a proper pace in training without gawking at the Garmin.

Maybe the real lesson here is that I don’t practice that enough. Maybe I should become a “naked” runner and find out what it’s like to block out all the data and just be free?! Maybe my natural pacing would, over time, become very attuned. It’s something to think about…..

Stats: 7.28 miles. 10:48 ave pace. 1:18 total time.

1st – 7:37
2nd – 7:45
3rd – 8:11 (without ever looking at pace once during mile – Dang!) I have no natural pace -sensing!


Little Miss Christie Sat on A Haystack

I didn’t sleep very well last night. I do remember laughing as I started to drift off to sleep though. I heard my husband give a little laugh too. Knowing he didn’t know what I was laughing about made me laugh again. Finally, he woke enough to ask me what we were giggling about in the night. I told him about the goat on two legs I’d seen on my run earlier in the day, after we’d parted ways and he’d headed back to the house. I run by this corral of goats all the time. Never once have I seen one stand on it’s hind legs before — but I had that amusing privilege yesterday. I had to stop and stare and grin at this white goat who was standing on his back legs to reach some leaves of a tree. He was nearly my height (and may have towered over me by a few inches if we’d measured.) It was a funny scene. I’ve never been eyeball-to-eyeball with a goat before.  So, I thought of that as I was starting to drift off to sleep, started Wayne laughing and ended up telling him about it. But, once I’d done that — I couldn’t seem to fall asleep.

I tossed and I turned for more than an hour before I finally just got out of bed and headed for the master bathroom where I keep my running logs in the linen closet. When I can’t sleep, I’ll grab a fluffy towel and one of the log books and plop down on the carpeted floor and amuse myself by going over the assorted data I’ve written about my runs in the last two years. It works as well as any bedtime story and I’m usually reassured that I have in fact, improved over time and that I’m currently on track with my training. I finally headed back to bed and fell asleep.

On today’s easy run, I enjoyed watching my neighborhood farmers harvesting some of their fields. The wheat field I wanted to leap onto was mowed to the ground! The sunflower field no longer held a single flower. Then I saw the haystacks. The rows upon rows of beautiful haystacks! I just adore them! The patterns that they make are so much fun to just stop and stare at. So, I did. I breathed in that freshly cut hay and just soaked it all in. Then, I thought about how I’d tell you all how I’m always thinking how much fun it would be to go sit on one of those haystacks – and before I knew what my legs were doing – I was running right into the field and sitting on one. Wow! It was like settling onto the back of a porcupine in my compression shorts — but it still made me smile. I felt like such a rebel! This is about as close to breaking the law that a gal like me will ever get – so I savored it! Then, I jumped up and ran on — continuing on my daily miles.

I stopped to smell the roses a bit later. Yellow ones. They smelled very sweet. Yellow flowers make me think of my Grandma. My dad always said they were her favorite. I never met her. She died in a car wreck when a drunk driver hit the family car when she was about 32. It’s odd to think I’m older now than she was ever able to be. But, I think of her when I see yellow flowers and I imagine that she’s smiling down at me. 

I spotted an athlete on the golf course today. They call him a caddy.  Now, that guy was working up a serious sweat lugging those clubs.

I finished up my run and sat down on my front porch as I always do to stretch. That’s when I spotted the hawk soaring on the breeze high overhead. I watched him for a good five minutes as he glided here and there, just floating on the wind. I’d love to be a bird and fly like that. I suppose when I run downhill, I feel a bit like he must – I just relax and enjoy the ride.

Today’s weather: 57 degrees. Nice change. 44% humidity. 10 mph winds.
Stats: 7.01 miles. 11:25 ave pace (truly felt harder than that- I guess that shows I’m suffering from fatigue from that 20 miler on Saturday after all.) total time: 1:20.


Here’s what I have on the schedule (my edited one since I’m going the full marathon distance in training as part of my plan this time around – a Galloway thing that I’d wanted to try before my first marathon but didn’t get to.) So, it’s like a science lesson so see if it’s easier to hold the “wall” off by training past it. It will be fun to see how it goes.

This week (7 weeks till marathon): 47 miles (long run = 23 miles with 4 other friends.)
6 Weeks till marathon: 35 miles (long run – 10 miles) easy week – while in Boston visiting Anastasia (anamommy.)
5 Weeks till marathon: 50 miles (long run – 16 miles)
4 Weeks till marathon: 50 miles (long run – 26.2 miles -slow and easy)
3 Weeks till marathon: 55 miles (long run – 20 miles)
2 Weeks till marathon: 30 miles (long run 8 miles) Taper Week
Marathon week: 40 miles including Race Day.


I think I’m going to hit 1000 miles while I’m on vacation in Boston. How dang, cool is that?


Bill or Ted’s Most Excellent Yoga Workout

A combo of 25 yoga and strength moves on the Wii Fit Plus with my most excellent, bodacious trainer, the surfer dude.  I tried not to let his demeanor distract me today and figured it was an exercise in mental toughness to not be annoyed with him. It worked.
I really enjoyed this workout. I set it up in My Routines (which is one of the best features on the Wii Fit Plus) so that I was able to just zip from move to move very quickly without stopping much in between. I really prefer that setup instead of the individual game mode, where I get star ratings based on how well I did. I was surprised I could squeeze in 25 moves in 46 minutes, but I did. Yay!
There were a lot of one-legged moves today and planks and pushups. All are helpful for my weak core and I think will improve my running form over time if I keep doing them. The yoga poses and stretches really relaxed me and helped me center myself (even when my two younger girls came downstairs wearing costumes and gawked at me – the five year old in her sequined Santa hat, which matched so nicely with her pink ballerina dress and my three year old wearing green glow-in-the dark Dracula teeth, growling, “Grrrrrrrr”, Aren’t I scawy, Mama?” while I laid on the mat stretching my hips.)  It’s hard not to grin and lose focus around here sometimes, so I compromised, grinned at them and then closed my eyes and focused on the stretch again.
During my plank, my 3 year old came back munching on a sandwich and said, “Good job, Mommy! You doing weal good!”  Who can’t have a great workout with that kind of cheer leading?!


Wayne Asked Me To Run Naked

You know — without my technical gadgets coming along. Today I invited my husband along on my recovery run. Mentally, I needed to shake off yesterday’s bad run and Wayne has been eager to spend more time on the road with me, becoming a runner, so this was a perfect opportunity. 
Now, I forgot to mention that yesterday, only a couple of miles into my run, my Garmin started beeping angrily at me. The message on the screen was, “Data is almost full.” Ugh! Not what you want to hear right at the beginning of a 20 mile run. Now, this had never happened to me before. I’d read about other’s dealing with it, but it hadn’t happened yet to me. That’s because the Garmin holds 1000 laps of data and the first year I ran/walked (since I was a complete couch potato when I began) I did something like 380 miles from May 2008 – Dec 2008, but didn’t even own a Garmin unitl Nov of 2008, so there was only one month of data in ’08 – so about 50 miles or so. I was actually injured in early December, so there were no miles added at all from that point until March of 2009, while I recovered from bursitis in my hip. From March ’09 – Dec of ’09 I ran something like 780 miles. I never hit 1000 recorded miles during that period. I reset the watch and deleted all history on New Year’s Day of 2010, so I’d have a nice, fresh start.  My yearly goal at that point was 1000 miles for the year. Now the Garmin actually records it’s data in laps and that doesn’t necessarily mean miles. So, when I did track work and ran 200 m for instance – that would take up the spot for 1 lap just as much as 1 mile would normally. Anyways, I knew I’d reached over 900 miles at this point this year, but it hadn’t occurred to me that the track work and partial miles had really filled the data bank to capacity.
So, the over-full watch beeped yesterday. We stopped. I fiddled with the watch and deleted an older run. We ran again. A few miles later, it beeped again. Once more, we stopped, I fiddled with the watch, deleted an old run and we started again. This happened twice more!!!! Once the run was over and I’d come home, after uploading my info to Garmin Connect, I deleted all history from the Garmin again to start fresh. But.. I forgot to put the Garmin back on the recharger. So, this morning, while stretching and warming up in front of the house with my better half, the watch beeps and sends me another message “Battery Low!” The “Grrrrrrr!” I let out, is really what set my husband to simply say, “Why don’t you leave that thing at home, honey? Who cares how far or how fast we go today?” He wanted me to run naked. As any techno-geeky runner will attest to — this request was on the brink of heresy for me to even consider. My husband is still new to all of this. He’s just starting. He doesn’t have a Daily Mile account or a stack of running logs or a marathon training schedule posted on his desk. He’s still green – fresh, innocent,sweet and naive to the trappings of our sport! At least for some of us.
I thought of Dennis. Now Dennis is the all-knowing Yoda of our running group. He’s witty and wise beyond measure. The crowd of runners’ voices go silent and we all lean in when Dennis offers one of his pearls of widsom, like, “Be FREE my running friends! Cast off your electronic chains. Relyeth not on geosynchronous satellites to comfort you. Free your wrist and you free your MIND! Can I get an AMEN!” and yes, that’s a direct quote.  The man is an icon and he cracks me up. Wayne’s request today made me think of that and I laughed, but confessed to him that, “My name is Christie and I’m a Garmin addict.” So, since the batterly life was low, I told him we had to get a move on.
We ran along my favorite canal path today. I shared with him the view of my favorite three willow trees arching into the water. The old, weather-worn red barns, the hay fields, the geese and ducks and the sprinklers (which he happily ran right through!) I giggled when he asked me how fast we were going. My husband always claims he runs 10 min miles without training at all. Our first mile was a nice, comfy 11:30.  I teased him that we SHOULD have left the Garmin at home, so he could still claim that he was faster. We laughed, we had fun, we chatted. Ok, “I’ laughed, “I” had fun and “I” chatted. Wayne kept saying, “Are we done yet?”  I love that man!!!!!! I will totally make a runner out of him! For those that don’t know, my husband actually ran “the toughest half marathon in the northwest” – Robie Creek – with me this year. It was my first half too. Not only did he refuse to use a training schedule or do more than 3 training runs in the entire 3 months leading up to the race (none of them in the month prior to it), he was also in a car wreck the week before the race and had whip lash the day he pinned his number on! The man is determined! Strong minded! Overconfident!  I love these things about him! He’s the complete opposite of me – the planner, the worrier, the doubter. We’re good for one another. We create balance – kind of the ying and the yang thing. Anyways, though I didn’t see him after the first mile at Robie Creek, he did in fact FINISH that race!!!!! It will always be etched in my mind how glad I was to see him finish! For those that remember my recap from that day, I accidently ran in, screaming and cheering and “I love you-ing” my blue-shirted, black shorted husband only to realize I’d ran in the WRONG MAN! Wow, that was awkward! Thankfully, my REAL husband, also wearing his blue shirt and black shorts was just coming over the last hill at that moment, so I raced back up the road, started taking pictures and again, screamed, cheered and “I LOVE YOU’D” him all the way to the finish line. I’m sure the spectators (and that strange man’s wife) were wondering if I had a few screws loose – but I didn’t care. It really was one of the proudest moments of my married life.  I kissed Wayne and led him to the medical tent where he promptly collapsed into a chair, grabbing his knee and smiling, saying, “I TOLD YOU I COULD DO IT WITHOUT TRAINING!”  I love my crazy husband!
Anyways, today, even with the very gentle pace, he was tired by about 1 1/2 miles and told me he’d head back for home for an even 2. I kissed him and told him I was really proud of him for coming out with me today and we agreed to do this every Sunday morning. 
I relaxed into the sunshine, the breeze and the moment and really enjoyed myself the rest of the run. My legs feel perfectly fine! I actually feel like I could run another 20 today if I wanted to. Probably not, but that’s how they feel. I don’t know what the heck happened to me yesterday, but I found my mojo again this morning.
For any of you, who’ve ever had a bad run, “C’mon now — you KNOW every one of you has had one of those days…” let me tell you a little about the rest of my day yesterday. I was discouraged. I felt a bit defeated. My confidence was in the toilet and I admit to cuddling up to my husband and saying things like, “Maybe I’m not a real runner.” “What am I doing out there?” ” I suck so bad at this!” ” I’ll never make Boston! I’m fooling myself to think that’s ever in my grasp!” “I’m giving up running!” My much-wiser hubby just laughed and held me and let me get it all out. He’s seen me like this before – after other bad runs. And he’s also seen me rise back up and get back out there and do better than expected not long after. I guess these things come in cycles. I’m happy to report that my pity party was short-lived and I’m fine again. I think low glycogen can make you say crazy things.
I corrected that with 3 pieces of Pizza Hut Deep Dish Hawiian pizza, 3 glasses of Pepsi and half a Snickers bar. Watching some funny British comedy called The IT Crowd (Wayne does tech support for a living so the jokes are very relevant) before bed with Wayne, a proper night’s sleep and I’m back in the game.
Thank heavens for my sweet husband.  I think we runner-types sometimes forget how much we rely on our non-running spouses to support us, encourage us, rub our achy quads and hamstrings after a hard run and to keep saying, “You can do it!” even when we think we cannot. I owe so much of what I’ve accomplished to my husband. I could never have made it this far without him. <3
Today’s temp: 70 with winds 20 mph and humidity 25% = really nice running weather. 

Stats: 4.25 miles. 45:21 – total time. 10:39 – ave pace. Easy, fun, happy.