07/30/12

Racing Weight – Where Are You?

When I lost 75+ lbs a few years ago, it happened very gradually. I was not one of those who found the pounds just melting off rapidly. In fact there were months I lost just one single pound at a time. I hung in there, kept running and trying to control my portion sizes and slowly but surely the weight loss continued until I had reached a healthy weight. I remember having to repeat to myself this mantra “Just keep doing what you’re doing.” I knew that I’d gained that weight little by little over several years and five pregnancies and it wouldn’t come off overnight either and that if I just kept exercising and eating better the payoff would be there in the end.  And, I was right. It just took a great deal of patience and a lot of sweat and determination!

These days, I’m comfortably within my proper weight zone, but my running goals have gotten more competitive, so I find myself considering my weight again more — trying to trim down to what I refer to as my “racing weight” before major races so that I can do my best.  In the past month, I’ve definitely gotten sloppier with my eating habits, falling into some of the old traps that got me overweight to begin with — too much soda, too many sweets, too many trips through the McDonald’s drive-through for a quick meal — only to regret my actions later when the scale reminds me of the consequences of my overindulgence.  I’ve put on about 4 lbs in the last month. And, the race that I’m hoping to qualify for Boston at is a mere 5 weeks away! This is terrible timing!

I’ve had some personal struggles I’ve been dealing with in the past few months and unfortunately, I turned to junk food as a comfort. It’s a bad excuse, but it happens. Many of us who were overweight at one point developed a relationship with food that was less than healthy on many levels – and being an emotional eater was just one of them! I’m reminded this week that staying trim isn’t going ever going to be “easy.” It’s a battle that I will be fighting for the rest of my life.

So, how am I going to handle this current extra flab that I’m carrying around? I have to look the problem square in the eye and correct the mistakes I’m making in my eating in order to steer this ship back onto the proper course — the course to a healthier future – and hopefully a Boston Qualifying time at my September marathon!!!  I’m ridding the house of the temptation foods, allowing myself only a “cheat” on the weekends (since I tend to have a difficult time banning any foods indefinitely. This has worked well for me in the past.) I’m getting my family on board to help encourage me to stick to my goals and I’m digging out some healthier recipes so that they, too can benefit from my better choices! I can do it! It will take a renewed focus, drinking water throughout the day instead of sipping Coke or Cappuccino, choosing to go for a walk or a bike ride or a run instead of reaching for another helping of whatever is calling my name – but I can lose this 4 lbs again and get back to “racing weight” in time for my marathon!

If you are struggling as well with a few bonus pounds, make your own commitment to renew your focus on your good eating and exercise habits! We can do this together!!!

 

07/26/12

Final Prep for the Bruneau Beast

My husband, Wayne and I are race directors and this past weekend he invited me to test drive one of our newest race courses out – a race like no other I’d ever attempted before because much of it takes place on enormous sand dunes at Bruneau State Park in Bruneau, Idaho!  Wayne had me run the 5k course. I raced a 5k a couple of months ago in 22:41.  This took much closer to an hour and a half!!!!! It was that hard! Though, I do admit to being overtaken by the beauty of it all and stopping for a few photos along the way too!

The Brunea Beast as we’ve dubbed it, will take place on August 18th with a 5k, 10k and a 20k option for those who really, really want to get their full money’s worth while racing on the sand dunes! It should be a crazy, fun time for all! Looking forward to it!

For details check out our web site at The Bruneau Beast.

07/19/12

Boise Trail Running Videos

“Why do you run trails?” “Is it worth it to run in the mountains versus running on the roads?” “What’s it like to run for hours?” “Is it fun to run with others?” These are some of the questions I frequently hear from others and my answers are usually along the lines of “I really just need to take you along and let you experience for yourself how the whole world looks different from a mountain top, how much pride you can feel in yourself when you’ve pushed so hard to climb steep sections at elevation to reach that lovely summit, how spotting a bunny or a herd of deer or a snake or a chipmunk or a hawk can remind you that this world is full of more life than you ever imagined and had forgotten about while sitting at home in front of your computer or on your couch, how awe and reverence can overwhelm you as you watch the sun rise or set (or both!) while you’ve been running, how coming around a bend and seeing a meadow of wildflowers can make your soul sing, how the smell of pine forests or sagebrush and rain and earth can make you breathe more deeply than you have in a long time, how splashing through a creek or a river can make you feel like a five year old again, how stopping to sit on a log and share a sandwich with a friend can make you feel like you’ve never been happier in your life before.”

Well, now I can also “show” those who ask by sharing these little YouTube videos! I am thrilled that a local runner has taken the time to make videos of a few trail runs on some of my favorite trails to run in the Boise Foothills and at Bogus Basin and I wanted to share them with you since it’s as close as I can come to taking all of you running with me in beautiful Boise, Idaho (and it doesn’t hurt that they used two of my favorite songs in the world as background music!) Just a word of warning, though… you will likely feel inspired to lace up your own shoes and head out to find some trails to run!  Happy running!!!!

 

 

07/18/12

Silence The Negative Chatter!

I had a workout that didn’t go perfectly today. It was an interval workout that I thought I could handle with two faster guy friends. It was 3 x 1600 at 7:20 w 800 recoveries + 1 mi WU and 1 mi CD.  Bonus for doing a 4th interval at 7:20.  I told my buddy, Frank before we started “Let’s do the bonus one today! It’ll be good for us!” The truth is I haven’t ran intervals for about two years (and neither had Frank) so we weren’t actually sure how it would go!! Seems I was a little overconfident!

We did our warm up mile then Frank took off like a rocket ahead of me. I yelled out, “Frank! That’s too fast! (He was doing about a 6:30 pace.) I looked helplessly over at Ryan who was beside me and he took off after Frank to try and get him under control and back on pace. And, the amazing thing was, though he was able to slow him down just a bit, Frank continued to feel awesome and kept running really well for each and every interval! Ryan stayed with him encouraging him on and pacing him and it was fun to watch the two of them doing so great.  I, on the other hand, was struggling just to make the splits!

Interval 1 was at a 7:18 pace and felt pretty good.

Interval 2 was harder since I was chatting with Frank when it started and had to go from walk pace to super fast in a hurry.  7:24

Interval 3 I was determined to go faster so I could get back on track for a 7:20 average. My time – 7:18 — right on the nose (back on track!)

Interval 4 I fell apart. I was pushing myself as hard as I could, lifting my knees, swinging my arms harder, harder, trying with everything I had to get my pace up — but I kept seeing 7:50 ish. It was like running in sand even though I was on the asphalt. I was just out of gas.  My time? 7:45.  I know that doesn’t seem like much off, but I was discouraged. In the past when I did intervals or tempo work, I would nearly always nail my times. I was consistent.

With my dream of qualifying for Boston at the Pocatello Marathon in 6 weeks looming on the horizen, it caused some self doubts. “Am I really fast enough to BQ if I can’t even hit my numbers in a speed workout in training?”  It really bummed me out. I don’t handle failure very well. I know it’s just part of life (and I’ve certainly had plenty of practice with it) yet it’s still a difficult area for me.

While I cleaned the house today and looked after the five kids, I was considering what to do for the next few weeks as I prepare for my marathon.  I haven’t used a traditional schedule to prepare. I’ve honestly spent most of my time in the mountains on trails, running longer distances at slower paces with plenty of hillwork.  It seemed to serve me pretty well since my last marathon in May was a 3:48 (just 3 1/2 minutes over a BQ time!) I’ve continued to put in between 175-200 miles a month and have spent most of that doing trail running with the intention of adding a bit of speed and tempo work to the schedule on roads to sharpen my speed to hopefully shave off those last few minutes between me and my dream goal!

When I came home from the run today, I went to Runner’s World online and created a specific Smart Coach plan based on my own abilities just to see how close today’s workout goals were to what would be prescribed for me. Turns out it was pretty close. A 4 x 1600 at 7:35 was the suggestion for me. I am fairly certain that would have been easily doable. It’s only a few seconds difference, but when you’re really pushing, that little bit can make the difference between attainable and out of reach.

While I was obsessing about this, my friend Ryan headed into our local running store, Shu’s to ask advice from the owner, Mike, who is well known for happily giving training tips to the locals.  I hadn’t even thought of that and felt incredibly lucky to have a running buddy who cared enough to help research my dilemma.  Mike’s advice for me? I should stick with the tougher workouts and just do less intervals.  If I’d have stopped at the 3 intervals that ended up being right on target, the workout would have been a success.  My form was suffering in the final one. I was struggling.  He says I should have allowed myself to quit the lap right then and not feel bad about it. That was awesome to hear! He gave Ryan some other helpful training advice for me that I will read over and try to implement in these last few weeks as I fine tune myself for the marathon!

I found this tonight and thought it really hit home for me and was something I needed to see. I hope it helps some of you who may also be struggling with challenging workout goals or big dreams that you aren’t totally sure you can accomplish! I’m really very lucky to have amazing friends who care enough to guide and direct me (and offer encouragement when I need it!)  But, ultimately, I am responsible for what goes on in my head. I need to learn to silence the negative chatter and instill a positive mindset no matter WHAT as I approach each workout, each day, each race.  Believing in myself regardless of the outcome is really the ultimate goal!

07/11/12

The Story of the Fat Kid Who Became the Fit Kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve mentioned my running buddy, Ryan several times on this blog. He’s a good friend, has been a great pacer to me at times and he’s also quite an inspiration.  And, not just because he qualified for Boston the first time he ran a marathon or has broke 24 hours at the 100 mile distance. What inspires me most about Ryan is his amazing weight loss story (and how he’s continued to keep the weight off!)

Just a few short years ago, Ryan was obese. He weighed 318 lbs. He’d been overweight for much of his adult life and as is the case for many who find themselves in that situation — likely would have continued on that path with an increased chance of developing long-term health problems like diabetes, heart disease or a drastic reduction in lifespan.

But, Ryan realized that he did hold the power to change the direction his life was headed and he made the difficult choices to change who he was and become the man he was meant to be! He started eating right, exercising regularly and turned the tide of his destiny! Ryan lost 135 lbs in 11 months and has continued to work hard to stay fit and healthy and be an example to others (including me) to do the same.

Today he shared on his blog about his journey, along with some great before and after photos that really do tell the story even better than words ever could! I hope you’ll stop by his blog and hear what he has to say and get inspired as well!

http://ryan-in-boise.blogspot.com/2012/07/ice-water-and-dmv.html

 

07/10/12

Sunrises and Sunsets from the past Week

I could never be a gym rat tied to a treadmill to get my miles in! I’d miss the breezes rustling through the sagebrush and trees, the mountains to climb, the spectacular views once I reach the summits, the wildflowers, the butterflies, the stars, the sunrises and sunsets that often give my runs a dose of beauty, awe and peacefulness that I don’t believe I could replicate in the gym setting.

This past couple weeks I used my camera on my runs again. I captured several sunrises and sunsets and thought I’d share them here with you today. The best part is there is a dawn and a dusk each and every day — so grab your own camera and running shoes and get out there and enjoy the show Nature is putting on right in your own back yard, too!

07/6/12

Boise Trail Runners 1st Drag Race

It all started as a silly conversation on Facebook. My friend Ryan was tiptoeing in a photo and I teased that he needed to get a pair of heels so he’d always be that tall. Then I said, in fact, you could wear them when we ran together so I’d finally be faster.  My friend Lynette (a former Hasher) said “Actually men can run pretty fast in heels! I’ve seen them!”  I asked if one of those “men” she’d seen was her buddy Dennis (the fastest 100 miler in our gang.) She said no. I commented that “I’d pay good money to see Ryan and Dennis race in heels!” From there it just snowballed! Ryan said he’d do it if the money was raised for charity – for a good cause like the Ridge to Rivers Trail System in Boise.  Dennis said he’d do it.  Lynette said it could be part of our 4th of July picnic event and my husband put together a web site and sign up sheet and before you could say “Transvestite”, several men had signed up and the picnic attendance list went way up in anticipation of the “show!”

And what a show it was!!!! The “boys” er.. “girls” did not disappoint! Six brave souls showed up in various drag costumes (the most noteworthy were Lady Liberty – complete with crown and torch and my pal Ryan in piggytails and a tutu – with a sparkly purse dangling off his forearm) to race the half mile in their sky-high heels!  My pal Dennis was in the skyscraper model at about 5 inches, so he’d also brought along his trekking poles, which looked even more hilarious!

The fellas lined up at the start line and the regular bikers and runners out for their daily exercise raised quite a few eyebrows when they saw these men decked out in their girlie ensambles.  Those looks might have been the funniest part of all! I think people thought our group was really “out there!”

My husband counted down, someone sounded the air horn and the men took off like lightening in those heels – tap tapping along the Boise Greenbelt, skirts flying back, blouses pushed back against hairy chests.  They may have looked like ladies, but they ran like dudes, pushing hard for position as they click clicked along.  Very quickly, Lady Liberty led the race and “she” held her own until the final stretch, with the two youngest “women” coming up quickly behind “her.”

The crowd went wild as they came towards the home stretch and the pace shot up to a dead sprint (which I must admit you had to see to believe!) My friend Sean and the youngest runner Jack (who I believe is 14) pushed past Lady Liberty and started charging towards the finish line like a couple of ladies at a KMart Blue Light Special with only one coveted sale item left on the table.  They both wanted that win and they weren’t going to be ladylike and let the other have it!

Their faces grimaced as they raced and then Jack shot ahead in a craze like a tween with Bieber fever and broke the red, white and blue ribbon, then landed in a heap on the other side, clutching his ankle (running in heels is dangerous. Don’t try this at home!)  Sean was a close second and tried to conceal his tears, through his smeared mascara (I may have made up that part).  Lady Liberty was 3rd, Ryan the tutu boy came prancing along, smiling and waving like Miss Congeniality in 4th place, Brian, with his burly red beard came galloping along in 5th and finally, finally……after everyone thought the race was over, way in the distance we could see Dennis in his 5 inch heels tap tapping along the Greenbelt, preening for the cameras and slowly coming into the finish with his hiking poles keeping him precariously upright at this late hour in the race. He resembled best a 90 year old librarian in his tasteful baby blue skirt and cardigan (which he’d unbuttoned at the top, brazenly flashing his man-chest!)

The crowd went wild as Dennis crossed and then (in true Dennis form), he dropped down to the ground for clap pushups.  Dennis is well known in our group for always finishing up his races with clap pushups (even 100 milers!) So, this was a show-stopper! Since he was dressed as a lady, he did girlie pushups, which made everyone laugh even more! Pictures were taken.  I got to “crown” the winner with a pink, feathered tiarra and hand him his single rose — giving him the image of a male Miss Teen America — and my friend Rachael passed out lovely Drag Race medals she’d made to each of the participants.  It was a really fun time!

After the drag race, we also had a more family friendly children’s race, where about 30 kids raced to glory on the same stretch of Greenbelt! Each got a medal from Rachael, a licorice rope from my friend April and a lollipop from me. It was a really fun time and I enjoyed watching all five of my kids run into the finish as I cheered wildly!

07/1/12

Hiking Bogus Basin

I feel truly blessed to live in the Boise, Idaho area. We have so many lovely trails and scenic places to run, bike or hike that I never grow tired of heading out to enjoy the mountains and their pristine allure. Yesterday, a group from the Pulse Running and Fitness Shop came together to do a run on the trails at Bogus Basin, a popular ski resort in the Treasure Valley. I was so glad that I went. I took along my camera and just enjoyed the day, savoring the expansive blue sky soaring above the mountain tops, the pines, the wildflowers in shades of bright orange, deep purple, sunshine yellow and white and the unique atmosphere of a ski lodge.  I loved running under the chairlifts and imagined myself wooshing downhill on skis in a few months (that is if I ever learn to SKI!)  It was fun! I hope you enjoy the day in photos that follows!