Dear Santa, Please Bring Me A Nice Warm Pair of Earmuffs This Year

Sunny. 36 degrees 21 mph winds. Beautiful out, but the wind was sharp and cold. That made me long for a fluffy pair of ear muffs to cover that exposed skin that seems most vulnerable on days like this. Wore my thin, long sleeved tech shirt and tights and gloves and my body and hands felt just fine — it was just the ears that were suffering.

I ran in the country today. It was lovely. I spotted three hunters decked out in their camo and fluorescent orange marching through a field behind their dog. I ran past a faded old, red cruiser bike propped against a fence with a big orange pumpkin in the front basket. I looked longing in the distance, from the valley I live in, to the foothills, blanketed in a fresh blanket of white snow.

My stomach gave me some trouble this run. I’m assuming this is due to the gluttony I’ve particiated in the last week. So, fair enough. I deserved it. I’ll behave better this week. 

Stats: 4.02 miles. Pace: 10:10. Time: 40:53. Felt: Cold and a little sick to my stomach.


Boise Foothills + Snow

This morning I met up with Randy, Julie, Otto, Dennis, Lynette, Sparkle, Jenny, Mark, Graham and Chad for a wet, snowy run in the Boise Foothills. Temperature was about 29 when we started and the snow was coming down. I felt warm with just my tech shirt and tights and ended up tying my running jacket around my waist by the first mile. The gloves came in handy at the really windy spots where the snow was blowing straight at our faces. In the less chilly sections I was able to take the gloves off and enjoy it. The sunglasses proved pretty useless right from the start. The snow was coming down hard enough that my glasses were covered in sort of a slush and fog almost immediately. I warned my friends to look out since I was running blind for a bit there before I finally just took the glasses off and squinted my eyes into the constant freezing snow coming at our faces.

I fell. Three times! It was that kind of run with huge patches of solid ice right under the fresh blanket of snow on the trail. The first time happened about a mile in and I landed so hard on my right shin, I thought I’d injured myself. I’ll likely have a nice bruise to show for it tomorrow. The second time I fell flat on my back (thankfully the Camelbak didn’t burst and my cell phone inside also survived my landing.) My left hip was pretty sore after that. The third time, I was chatting with my friend Otto and fell forward to my knees. Luckily, he’s a quick reactor or I would have caused a chain reaction of falls. He did mention considering leaping over me, which would have also been pretty funny.

It was great to catch up with all my running pals about our Thanksgiving holidays. But, the weather was just too harsh to do our planned 18 miler. The snow was up to several inches by the time we reached the summit and it was coming down hard. It was becoming more of a serious hike in the mountains instead of a run. Our shoes were soaking wet and we decided to call it a day this time. No matter. We’ll tackle more miles next time we’re out.

The most thrilling sight today was a herd of deer walking up the mountain way ahead of us. We spotted them just as we reached the summit. There must have been 6-8 of them and they were so gracefully bounding up the side of the hill! Wonderful!

Elevation Gain: 1,492. Max Elevation: 4,027 ft. Min. Elevation: 2,790 ft.

Stats: 10.01 miles. 12:34 pace. 2:05 time. Felt: Tired and Cold but Happy!


Denise Austin Pilates Mat Workout

After taking several days off per my coach (aka my husband), I’m eager to get back to working out. Today I did the Denise Austin Pilates mat workout – a 20 min series of Pilates and Yoga moves. I used to do this one years ago and just bought the DVD again this week (my old one was a VHS and I no longer have a machine old enough to play that one.) It was a good intermediate workout for my sorry core. Here’s hoping that using this twice a week this winter can help strengthen my back, lengthen my muscles and help me improve my “Mom” belly. 

Stats: 20 min Pilates. Felt: Inflexible.


I pulled out my running logs this morning from the last two years and turned to the Thanksgiving date on each of them. My weight in 2008 on Turkey Day: 136. My weight in 2009: 129. My weight today: 127. I’m thankful today that I’ve maintained my healthy weight for another year!


Yoga With My Honey

When we moved a year ago, I misplaced my favorite yoga dvd – Yogamazing: Yoga for the Kid in All of Us. I just purchased a new copy this past week and today was my first time using it again in a long time. It’s actually a DVD designed for parents and kids to do together and I’ve used it loads of times with my five children, who totally love the silly antics that Chaz the “yoga dude” on the video does. Amazingly, it’s also the best yoga workout I’ve ever done for my often achy neck and upper back. I was in a car wreck about 18 years ago and since that time my neck has not been the same. Doing yoga seems to release some of that stiffness and achiness I get. This particular dvd (despite it’s silliness), always makes me feel really good during the poses and throughout the rest of the day afterwards.

The instructor has taken many traditional poses like tree and owl and tweaked them a bit so that you use a partner. It means sometimes holding hands or sitting back-to-back. I have always enjoyed doing these poses with my children but enjoyed it especially today with my husband.  It was really very bonding and lots of fun to do yoga together. I hope he’ll keep joining me for more workouts in the future.

Stats: 1 hr 3 min yoga. Felt: Happy/Good/Inflexible, but a bit better at the end of the workout


My friend Sam, caught me in this picture just as I was running into the finish chute. I think I caught some air.


Turkey Trot Relay Race

32 degrees and snow flurries made for a very interesting Turkey Trot relay this morning! DM pal Ryan and his wife Michelle were my husband Wayne and I’s team mates this year.  They were on the ball and got there early for a fantastic parking spot right by the start/finish line. They’d also laid down the seats in their vehicle so all the kids could climb inside and stay warm throughout the race. I think there were at least 11 little children benefiting from that toasty, well-thought-out plan (Thanks again guys!!)

Our team – “Pass The Drumsticks Please” – ran well today. We’d predicted a race overall time of 1:10:45 for the 8 miles of the course (each team member running 2 miles, then passing a golden baton to the next team mate.) The rules of the race are that no timing devices can be used, so it makes it kind of fun as each team is trying to run exactly as fast as they predicted. This means that being the speediest isn’t even the goal – being consistent with your predictions is. Evening the playing field like that was pretty cool. I saw lots of young children, grandparents, parents, runners of all shapes and sizes all competing for the longed for turkeys that were rewarded to the team in each division who clocked as close to their predicted time as possible.

The winning team this year came within less than 1 second of their predicted time! Another team (some of our good friends from CFC) actually clocked within 5 seconds of their predicted time and were in 5th place when we left (amazing job, guys!!!) Our team went over by a few minutes, but it was all in good fun and a great time for all.

Several friends met at Ryan and Michelle’s vehicle and chatted before the race and it was awesome seeing so many of our pals together on this chilly morning. Everyone was bundled up, the kids were catching snowflakes on their tongues, other drank hot chocolate and I swear we could have all broken out into Christmas carols it was such a cozy feeling. That coziness wore off a bit as we waited for the start and got colder and colder standing in the weather. By the time the first group of runners took off, we’d been in the park nearly 45 minutes. We had a great spot for cheering on the runners as they zipped off – team mate Ryan blazing a speedy trail – zooming through the two miles in an impressive 12:46! WTG, Ryan!!!

Ryan handed off to his wife, Michelle for lap two and we cheered her on as she zipped by! She had a big smile on her face despite the snowfall and cold. She did a great job with her lap doing it in 26:23. Nice job, Michelle! My husband Wayne took lap 3. Wayne doesn’t run much, so I was incredibly excited that he’d even agreed to do this race with us. I loved seeing him out there running! My two younger daughters told me they needed to go potty right after he took off, so I had to hurry to the porta potties and pray the line wasn’t too bad, so I could get back for my turn in the race. Everything went without a hitch and I was at the starting line waiting for Wayne when he came racing in, finishing nice and strong with a time of 20:49. I loved seeing his face, as he handed the golden baton off to me as he sent me on my way to finish it up for the team. The crowd support was awesome – despite the chilly weather and the snow. The surge of cheers from my pals helped me get off to a good start. Unfortunately, I also realized very quickly, that standing in the weather had given me a very frozen pair of feet (something I heard nearly every runner on the course comment on today.) It was the strangest feeling, like smacking them frozen solid onto the pavement over and over. The chilly air was heavier than usual, so my breathing felt “off” too. I just couldn’t seem to find my “comfy” fast pace today. I could tell from the start that I was running slower than intended, but without the help of my Garmin I wasn’t sure just how far off I was. The course ran through the parking lot of a local park, circling some tennis courts and large, grassy areas, crossing two very slippery wooden bridges and then back to the start. By the time I was on the course, there were hardly any runners nearby. It was an odd feeling – but reminded me of my first marathon where the 130 participants got very spaced out and the final several miles were on my own. Thankfully, this was just a two mile course, so that feeling didn’t last long — but it did make it hard to really push the way I had intended since I seem to find a second gear when “chasing” down faster runners.

I raced into the finish with a time of 15:39 to the encouraging sound of cheers from my friends and family, which helped me at least to have a good, strong finish (in spite of feeling like I was fairly slow on the course today.) I celebrated the effort with nice, toasty cups of hot chocolate with my husband and five children.

Thanks again to all my team mates! Great job everyone! 

Stats: 2 miles. Time: 15:30 Pace: 7:49 Felt: Super cold and the snowflakes kept burning my eyes. Muscles were tensed up since I didn’t get a warm up in before. Didn’t find my groove and ran much slower than expected.


Denise Austin Power Zone Mind Body Soul DVD

Wow! I loved this! I just got this DVD off of ebay a week ago for $1.99 after reading raving reviews on amazon.com about it. I’ve always liked Denise Austin and figured for the price, this was worth a try. It’s a 40 minute combination of yoga (no mat needed), standing pilates and some salsa moves at the end. Love, love, loved it! I normally don’t even sweat with my Wii Fit Plus yoga moves, but Denise had me moving so much that I definitely got a better workout than I was used to. I have tight hip flexors, hamstrings and a neck that often aches from a car wreck I had years ago. She worked all those areas, stretched them out and even threw in a few ballet moves against the wall that I really liked! Even my upper arms got a workout. There were planks and t stands and wall pushups too.

I’ll be coming back to this one often! 

Stats: 40 min pilates/yoga/strength Felt: pretty good! Loved it!


Windy Tempo Run

39 degrees. 65% humidity. Winds 15 mph. Cloudy. Decided to start using my Wednesday runs as my tempo or speedwork runs. Ran the first mile easy to warm up, then attemped to keep my pace at around 9:00 for miles 2-6. The wind was crazy fierce for miles 1 and 2. Turned around and enjoyed not working quite as hard for miles 3 and 4. Turned back around and ran back towards the house (into the wind again) for miles 5 and 6. The wind made it much harder for me to keep my pace as consistent as I would have liked.

Here’s my splits:

Mile 1: 9:49 (warm up)
Mile 2: 8:45
Mile 3: 8:54
Mile 4: 8:39
Mile 5: 8:49
Mile 6: 8:38

A wise friend (hey there, Ryan!) – once told me that in order to really achieve my marathon goal of breaking 4 hours (and then subsequently BQing at 3:45 in the following race) I need to train my body to run at race pace for months and not expect it to just magically happen on race day if the programs I train with only have me do tempo runs at race pace for maybe 8-10 miles. It just isn’t logical. In my last marathon, I really thought I had a shot at breaking 4 (even though I wasn’t following his advice.) I was on pace until about mile 20 and then I knew it was just not going to happen. I came in at 4:20 – 20 minutes worse that I’d really hoped. My buddy, Ryan, on the other hand, earned his BQ as expected even when the temperatures at his marathon reached about 100! That caught my attention. If you want to race fast, you have to train fast. Not all the time — but consistently and for longer distances if you seriously want to attain faster marathon times.

So…though I am currently training for two winter 50ks, my bigger goals still are to attain a sub 4 in a spring marathon and a BQ in the fall of 2011. I’m going to use my Wednesday workouts to focus on increasing my endurance speed and kick it into full gear after the two 50ks (Jan and Feb) are done. Wish me luck -or, that is — focused, specific training that will help me earn the rewards I really seek. 

Stats: 6.01 miles. 8:56 pace. 53:43 time. Felt: Ok (cold!)