Streak Day 19 – Pure Chaos

This was the first day in the streak that I really started to think “It may end tonight.” My chaotic day started with getting the five kids up, dressed, fed and having them work on packing up their rooms for our upcoming move. I met my husband over his lunch break to view two more rentals. It was pouring down rain and one of the owners couldn’t get her keys to work, so we stood there in the rain for several minutes for nothing. The second viewing went so very well, that I “think” we’ve found out next home! The owner really seemed to like us and I think I nearly talked his ear off — but the house was good, the price was right and he shook our hands and said as long as his boss (aka his wife) had no problems with us being the tenants – we were in. (hehe!) We have a glowing reference from our current landlord and my husband’s been at the same job for 6 years, so, unless something really odd happens, I think we found a match! Yay!

The kids and I spent the rest of the afternoon packing and ushering people into our home responding to Craig’s List ads we have placed since we’re downsizing from a 2,000 sq ft home to one that’s just about half that size! It feels like a cleansing process – a simplification and I feel lighter with every item that’s carried off by a new owner (which unfortunately includes that cool new treadmill I got a few months ago, but rarely used.)

We weren’t done with the last buyer of the day until about 9 pm. I still needed to finish packing for our weekend trip to certify a marathon and half marathon course several hours from here, we hadn’t even booked a hotel yet for the weekend and my bike still has a flat (THE bike that will do the certifying of the courses!) We also had bills to pay online and groceries to buy and five kids to put to bed.

We did get the hotel reserved, the bills paid, the groceries bought, but when we went to the bike section to determine if we’d buy the new bike I’d been batting my eyelashes for or just replace the tube — we found that the ONE bike that fit me (I’m too petite for most women’s bikes and can’t reach the ground when I sit on the seat) had sold and every single new replacement tube in my size was sold OUT for my old bike!! Argh!!!!! We have 24 hours left to solve these problems, but I’m feeling the pressure!

It was after 10 pm when we finally got home and had the kids in bed. Wayne was grumping because he has to get up early to go to work and I realized I had to get in at least 1 mile tonight to keep the streak alive. It was a slog. It was dark. I was scared of my own shadow and when a neighbor (whom I did not see) said, “Hi” in the dark I think I jumped a foot in the air and yelped! But, I got it done! Now to go pack that darn suitcase!!!!

Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be biking a total of about 80 miles over two days to certify these courses?!!! Guess I’ll be getting my workout and STILL need to get in my running/walking mile each day, too! 🙂 I’m actually excited!


Streak Day 18 – Don’t Pants Your Poop!

If you’re unfamiliar with this little you tube video titled Marathon Thoughts, you may want to take a few moments to watch and enjoy it’s awesomeness! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsMw10KVVCk

I was hoping to do 8-10 miles today in the countryside. Wayne and I’ve given our 30 day notice on our current home and I wanted to savor the routes I’ve grown to love a few more times before I move to Boise later this month. Things didn’t go quite as planned, however.

About a mile and a half in, my cell phone started ringing. My first thought was, “The kids!”, so I stopped to see who it was. It turns out, my kids were just fine. It was my buddy, Billie, sending me a photo of her adorable new chihuahua, Fiona! The only pets I’ve ever owned were chihuahuas. I got my first when I was about 10 years old. His name was Chico Rodrico Diablo Combso (we added an “O” to our last name at the end to keep it nice and smooth!) 🙂 He was my first (and last) childhood pet and we were very close. When I moved out on my own and finally settled into a great house for a dog, I again chose a chihuahua – this time a long-haired, pure white pure breed teacup one that I named Zacchaeus (Zach for short!) He was my little buddy and while I was student teaching, I even brought him along into the classroom for the day once to share with my students. I used to sneak him into the movies, church – all kinds of places! 🙂 We had fun together! When I married Wayne, he asked me to give Zach away, since we were moving to an apartment and he wouldn’t be allowed there. It broke my heart to pieces, but I placed him into a home with one of my 5th grade students who was going through a tough time, who I knew would benefit from the love of a special animal friend. We don’t have any pets these days (just the five crazy kids who make enough messes that I’m not sure I have the energy to add “clean up after the dog” to my to-do list), but my pals know I’m a total sucker for tiny dogs still, so it was a lot of fun to see Billie’s new little pal during my run today.

From the start, my IT band wasn’t feeling great. It was sore and when I tried to find my “pre-injury” comfy pace, it would hurt worse. That made me sad. 🙁 I finally settled into a Galloway scenario – run for a mile, walk for a minute or so, then repeat. That seemed to work ok, though I probably should have walked a little more.

The bigger problem today was the realization about a mile in that I really, really, really needed a bathroom! Now, when running out on the trails, this type of situation isn’t that big of a deal. You find a bush or a big tree, duck behind it, take care of business (and thank you lucky stars that you remembered to bring toilet paper) and then you go on with the run. Not so when running near civilization. For some odd reason, regular, non-trail-running types consider it illegal for a grown woman to pull down her pants and engage in that type of natural behavior in a public setting! Sheesh! (hehe) So, I had to slow down the pace, as not to aggrevate the stomach and I kept thinking of that hilarious you tube video during it all and most especially the line, “Don’t poop your pants” which by the end of the clip has become “Don’t pants your poop!” It made me laugh – and helped me get through those last few miles until I was safely home near my OWN BATHROOM!! Woo hoo!!!!!!!




Streak Day 12 With the Hunk O Burning Love

Today is day 12 of my streak! I’m really enjoying it! I always give myself a little Hello Kitty stamp (don’t judge!) on my calendar when I do a run and it’s kind of fun to see so many pink stamps in a row for the past several days!

My husband, Wayne is making me so proud! This is week two of his “beginner training” run/walk program with me. He hasn’t missed a run yet! I, honestly think the gentle pace is helping my knee to continue to heal and the bonus miles each week are really helping me too without taxing my body too bad! It’s a win/win!

Wayne does IT support for a large grocery chain. Today he worked from 6 am – 2:30 pm, then has been “on-call” all evening (and will be until 4 am tomorrow) and he gets to be back at work at 6 am again in the morning! He’s also got a half hour commute each way! He’s working so hard that it really is a challenge to fit in exercise at times! But, my husband has not used that as an excuse and I’m so very proud of him for sticking with our running schedule despite this craziness!!!!!!

Tonight, when I told him it was a run night, he laced up his running shoes, grabbed his work cell phone and we headed out the door. We ran around the block over and over, needing to stay close to the house in case he got a call and had to jump on the laptop and rescue a grocery store who’s computers had gone down or a gas station or pharmacy had suffered other computer-related problems. Believe it or not, in our 2 mile run, Wayne got called three times! Two of the times he was able to keep walking and solve the problem by walking the caller through their issue and resolving it. I have to admit feeling very impressed with him when I listen to all the technical jargon and haven’t a clue what it all means, but know that his wisdom and help will solve a problem for some grocery store out there tonight! The third call was bad enough, he had to go into the house and log onto the pc to finish it up. He could have just thrown up his hands in the air and said, “Enough!” and quit our run – but he came back downstairs and we headed out to finish what we started.

I told him how proud I was of him – for all the hard work he does to support our family of 7 and for the dedication he’s showing to getting healthy with me! When we started the run, the sun was just setting. The horizon was serene and lovely in shades of orange, pink and purple. After the final interruption, we were running under a velvety black sky with a million stars overhead. I found a lucky penny and picked it up. It made me feel happy. I think I’ll save this one and tape it in my running log and give it back to my husband at some point, reminding him of these early runs in our “running relationship.” I hope he thinks it’s romantic!

As for my plans for my current streak….. I’m on day 12 right now. If I keep going, my next half marathon will fall on day 50 and Christmas will fall on day 100!!! I have been thinking of a crazy way to commemorate 100 days of streaking and I think I have it! If I make it too day 100, I will streak 1 mile naked (hehe!) Don’t panic (especially if you are my neighbor!!!) I will do it in the dark, late at night, out of sight of my kids, in my fully fenced backyard with only my adoring husband there to cheer me on!!!!! I think he’s going to like this plan!!!! Maybe he’ll even join me!!!! Considering it might be cold and snowy at Christmas, I think it sounds pretty wild and funny!



Hoka One One Test Run (Day 5 of Streak)

I got some new shoes! I’d been eager to try out the Hoka One One’s since I first viewed these crazy, boat-like flotation devices on the feet of many at Big Horn this year. I’ve since ran into other local trail runners who swear they are the greatest things since sliced bread, so, when I won a gift certificate for free shoes from Bandanna this past weekend, I knew exactly what I would cash in my prize on (and considering the grand total came to over $180!! I’d say I got my money’s worth!)

I first came home with the Mafate Women’s shoe in size 8 after trying on the Bondi B, Stinson and the Mafate at the store. The sales guy was a real gem and was really great about letting me take my time to find the right fit and the right Hoka for my needs. I’d done some homework, so, my husband sat by with a sly smile as I jabbered on and on about which shoe was for which purpose (I think I taught the sales guy a thing or two – haha!) The Mafate are the trail shoes. They come in women’s, men’s and unisex styles! The Bondi B are the road shoes (and look much smaller in comparison to the other two models.) And, the Stinson are supposed to be the best of both worlds – part road shoe/part trail shoe.  I knew I wanted a trail shoe, but did enjoy trying on all the various styles to get a feel for what they were like.  “Cushy” is the first word that comes to mind! And “Floppy” at first too, before I really yanked on the shoe strings and got a snugger fit.

After a few test runs on the sidewalk outside of the store, I ended up buying the Mafate women’s shoe in size 8 (the closest they had in stock to my usual size of 8.5.) I thought it would work. It felt fine on the little test run, but when I took them out on the trails on Sunday, I quickly developed a little blister on my baby toe.  The toe box of the shoes all seemed a bit narrow in comparison to the other shoes I own (mostly Asics Cumulus 10’s and Brooks Ghost 3’s.)

Bandanna was awesome and exchanged the shoes for the Mafate Unisex (which were MUCH cuter with the bold yellow, black and gray than the boring white and blue of the women’s version!) I bought those in a Men’s size 7.5 (which according to the tongue tag is equivalent to the women’s size 8.5 though the toe box is slightly roomier than the women’s version – so it was PERFECT!)

I wore the newly exchanged Hoka One One Mafate Low shoes today. No blisters or hot spots this time! Yay! I really do love the traction and grip on the soles! They are the best grip I’ve ever experienced (keep in mind, though, that I did all my ultra marathons and 99% of my training in plain old Asics Cumulus 10 road shoes!!) I love the wide surface area on the bottom. I never felt unstable and in fact felt MORE stable with more surface area to grab with on the downhill sections (very small today since I was running a canal path and not in the mountains.)  I’m eager to take them on a really long trail run with more climbing, downhill and some technical stuff to give a better review. I will report back after Sunday’s long run in them!

My IT band is still sore and stiff after a few miles, so from the start, I did more of a Galloway run. I’d walk for at least a minute of every mile – more if the knee was feeling off. I also walked to warm up and walked at the end to cool down. My calves are still feeling kind of sore from my race on Saturday and my 18 mountain trail miles on Sunday. Slowly but surely….. I’ll rebuild this running body!

I didn’t want to carry a waist pack today. I always carry my cell phone and a house key when I run, though, so my kids can call me if they need anything and so I can let myself back into the house when I get back. Luckily for me, I wear a Moving Comfort bra! They’re awesome! The ones I wear have two layers of fabric, so in the past I’ve used the little “pocket” that creates to stick gels during runs. I’ve done that for over a year! I’ve also put tissue or other things that I needed nearby in my “secret pockets”. Today I figured, “Heck, why not try the phone and key too?!” And, it worked beautifully! Yay!!! No more wearing my annoying waist pack on short neighborhood runs!!!!!! Who needs a fuel belt when you have a BRA, right?!!!! 😀


Shhhh!! Don’t Do Anything Foolish!

Running while recovering from an injury (or several in my case) is a delicate dance! Don’t do enough and you lose all that you gained in training prior to the injury. Do too much and you end up on the sidelines again, waiting even longer to return at full-strength and ability to your sport! You have to find that happy medium — pushing yourself enough that you regain what you lost, but not so much that you do more damage.

I have a lot of inner dialog going on as I run these days. “The schedule calls for x pace, you gotta run faster!!” “Shhhhhhh!!!! (This is me calling on my inner Mom-self) “It’ll be ok. Relax and let things happen naturally. You’ll get better! Your speed will come back – but not right now. Take your time. Heal properly. Hang in there!” I’ve also been focusing on a phrase I heard someone use that I thought fit the bill for me right now — “Focus on the ODOMETER not the SPEEDOMETER!” That helps! Realizing that if I just go super easy, I will hit the mile requirements for the day, even if I cannot right now hit the pace ones without putting myself in some pain.

I thought of Les A. today and how focused he’s been on his heart rate training! That helped a lot! I know he’s watched himself get faster, without causing injury, by letting the heart rate monitor be his faithful coach and guide! 🙂 So, I switched my Garmin screens back to the heart rate screen about a mile and a half into my run today and let that be my only focus. That helped! Less pressure than the pace screen! I also realized I’d been pushing too hard for my “easy” run today and was forced to walk about half a mile to get my average heart rate low enough to fall into the right zone. Then, once it was time to run again, I had to just kind of shuffle to keep things at that level. It was a bit embarrassing, so again I had to call on my inner “Mom” “shhhhhhh!” to calm my inner, critical chatter. It helped. I relaxed and said “Hi” and smiled at the people I passed — a woman jogging with a baby stroller, and some men working on the fences in my neighborhood that I complimented with a “Looking good, guys!” That felt nice. 🙂

I’ll get there. I’ll recover. I’ll find my strength and speed again — but — only if I’m restrained enough and patient enough to let things happen in their own natural time. Competitive Christie needs a little bit longer in time-out my inner-self-Mom thinks. 😉

Average Heart Rate: 150 (easy zone) 3.18 miles. 12:19 average pace. 39:14: total time. Ran up and down Nemesis midway through run today. It felt tough.  Streak Day 4!!!!


Hubby/Son Run Under the Stars (and.. Day 3 of Streak!)

What a fun night run under the stars with two of my favorite guys!!!! My husband has agreed to let me coach him and help him become a runner! Yay!!! I printed up a new, beginner (Galloway Style) schedule for him today and tonight, I whisked him off on his scheduled 2 mile walk/run. My husband does tech support for a large grocery chain and though he worked all day long at the office, he was on call tonight, so we had to stay really close to the house for this run. It was fun. The stars were out and it was really romantic. My husband’s really into astronomy, so he started telling me about a bunch of new planets that have been discovered and future plans our space program has for eventually going to Mars. It was interesting hearing him chatter about something he really has a passion for.

When his 2 miles were done, my son Wayne Jr looked at me all big-eyed and begged to go running too! I told him my schedule called for 3 easy ones tonight, so he could come if he put on his shoes. He was in his Mario Bros flannel pjs, which I thought made him the most adorable running partner I’ve had yet! 🙂 We settled into an easy 11:30 ish pace and just chatted and ran side-by-side. He told me that he really liked running trails this week and wanted to know when the next trail run with his buddy, Zach would be. I showed him the Big and Little Dippers in the sky and we enjoyed the cool evening air, running in the dark. My husband sat on the bench on our front porch, while my 4 and 6 year old daughters put jewelry and pretty hair clips on him while he played a game on his smart phone. (hehe!) He wanted to stay outside to kind of keep an eye on me and Jr as we ran in the night. It was sweet. Every time we passed the house, the little girls would yell out, “Hi Mom and JR!!!” The little poodle from two doors down chased us down the block, but only made us giggle. I was definitely NOT afraid of being chewed to death by that little fella and Jr thought it was hilarious too!

I’m really trying to work on finding a better balance with my family life and my running goals right now. I felt like tonight was a very good start! AND…following in the great example of my Daily Mile friend, Tom L. who’s on a seriously awesome running streak – I decided to start one of my own. This is the third day in a row I’ve ran and I’m hoping I can hit at least 50. I’m fine if that means just 1 mile on many days. I think it will be motivating and fun to see how far I can go with it – and it really will provide the smaller mileage days I need to help my husband and son to become comfortable as regular runners! 🙂

P.S. I forgot to mention the wolf whistle when my husband and I were running along the main road and a car drove by. He looked at me and said, “Can you believe that guy just whistled at me even with this big gut I’ve got?” I said, “Well, you’re pretty darn sexy, honey! What do you expect?!” haha


Final Group Run Before Big Horn

Today the Sole Brothers and Sisters group met up for a 10 mile run near Lake Lowell on this lovely, wide, meandering trail. It’s a wonderful spot for a group run, since the path is nice and wide which is really fun for conversations, the path is fairly flat, which also makes it a nice choice for a gentle, easier run.  There were ten of us today, which made for a really nice gang of pals to chat and get some miles done with.

I was very excited to see my friend, Emily and my husband Wayne join the group today! I think this was the longest run Emily had ever done and she did great! She was smiling and keeping a nice steady pace the entire time! Wayne seemed to warm up and even started to run ahead of some of the group in the last half, so I teased him that he was being our “showoff” of the day.  I could tell he was really proud of himself and considering he hadn’t ran more than a few miles here and there in the last year, it was really impressive and exciting to see him knock out 10 today!

There was a little mix up on the start time for Bertha, so we passed her on our way back out of the path, when she was just a couple miles in. Once, I’d reached the cars and said my farewells to the others, I headed back onto the path to find her, though and I’m so glad I did.  We got to run a couple miles together and catch up and that was so much fun! We also spotted two snakes! Bertha took a picture of me with one strung out it the sunshine at my feet before it wriggled off.  Just a half mile later, we encountered another one as it seemed to get sucked tail first back into it’s hole, it’s sassy hissing face going down last! It was cool to see!

Lake Lowell was beautiful today and I really enjoyed the gorgeous blue skies, the green fields and the lush trees all around us. It was really a fun run with a great group!

One week from today I’ll be racing at Big Horn! Serious taper time now! Likely no more running until race day. Just rest, eat, get myself into a good mental place and get ready to rock and roll my first 50 miler!

Stats: 13.25 miles (I went back and forth hanging with all the groups of my pals in their various paces and this allowed me some bonus mileage.) 13:54 overall pace (12:41 moving pace). 3:04 overall time. 2:48 moving time. Best pace: 4:30 (I had some fun sprints with Ryan, then Julie and finally Bertha — they all kicked my butt!!!) Average HR: 152. Max HR: 195. Elevation Gain: 45 ft. (Fairly flat.)


An Anton Krupicka Inspired Run

I wanted to run free. I wanted to run wild. I wanted to run Anton Krupicka style! For those who are unfamiliar with Anton, he’s one of the top trail ultra-marathon runners in the United States.  He looks like a Greek god – or more accurately – a Jewish King – since his shoulder length, flowing brown hair and beard make him look a whole lot like Jesus Christ. That is, if Jesus didn’t mind being seen in short shorts and without a shirt while running up and down mountain trials as fast as a gazelle.

Every time I see a picture of Anton running through the mountains with his hair flying back, it just makes me grin. He seems like such a free spirit – a wild, free, nature child!

So, today, when I woke up to my usual Diana Ross natural hairdo, I decided for once not to fight it. I didn’t go searching for a ponytail holder or a hat. I decided to let my hair fly free like Anton’s!

I ran in the countryside today. I awoke before my husband or children were even out of bed and I headed out into the crisp morning air for a few miles of solitude before the day began. It was a new sensation to feel my long, brown curls bouncing against my back and shoulders as I jogged along. It felt good! It was fun! It made me smile.

I can’t wait to run Anton-style again soon! I did pick up some cute $1 bandanas at Wal Mart this afternoon to help hold back the bangs and to keep the front of my hair out of my face, but I’m going to try letting the back of my long, curly hair fly free again soon!

Stats: 5.52 miles Pace: 13:33. Time: 1:14 Felt: A sick stomach so had to walk a lot/otherwise pretty good. Ave HR: 127


In Search of a Waterfall Unseen

Bertha and I’d been hearing great reports of a waterfall in the Boise Foothills by many of our running friends. We were determined to see it for ourselves, so, armed with some rough instructions and a map, we ventured out this evening.

We felt fairly proud of ourselves for pulling out the trail map and orienting ourselves with our location and choosing the right direction at each junction. The scenery from Camel’s Back Park along the creeks and lush trails was a nice change from our usual routes. We couldn’t help but pull out the cameras and take lots of photos as we went. But, time got away from us….

After nearly 8 miles, the sun was going down. It was growing darker around us and we realized we didn’t even have our headlamps.  We were on rocky, single-track trials and you really need to see where you’re stepping to be safe. We cut cross-country right up the side of a brush-covered hill, scratching up our exposed legs as we huffed and puffed up the hill to get back to the main, long, dirt road that would eventually lead us back to the city and the park where our car was — but, in doing so, we had to cut short our route and missed the waterfall.  I was low on food and really bonking. Bertha was tired as well. And we were both feeling a little bit scared being so far away from anyone, out in the mountains.

Much of the stretch down 8th street (the long, winding, rutted, rocky dirt road) is downhill.  It’s also out in the boonies, so there are no street lights or houses for miles.  We started running and we picked up the pace. We could hardly see a thing, but we were flying – eager to get out of the eerie dark and back to safety.  About a mile down the road, I came around a curve and nearly bumped into a few guys replacing a flat tire on a car. I gave Bertha a panicky look and just focused on getting past them and out of there.  A few minutes later, a vehicle carrying a bunch of rowdy college boys blew by us and they wolf-whistled and howled as they went. I felt uncomfortable and irritated and wanted them to just go away and leave us alone as we continued to thwump thwump thwump in perfect scynronization down the dark, dirty road towards the city lights far in the distance.

We ran side-by-side.  A huge smile spread over my face as I realized that she hadn’t asked to slow down or stop and we’d been hammering at it for more than two miles. She was keeping up with me and it felt awesome to run so fast side-by-side with my best friend.  I cranked it up a little bit and she responded and together we just flew down that mountainside.  Our best mile tonight was mile 11 – after running for nearly 3 hours on trails. The pace? 7:52. It was FUN! And we still had 3 miles to go.

We made it back to the car in the dark parking lot and called our husbands to let them know that we were safe — even though it was so late. We were high-fiving and laughing about how fast we’d ran when we were afraid out there. It brought out something unique in us and we were both keenly aware of what a special experience we’d had.

We drove to a local Shari’s and I had pancakes, sausages, bacon and hashbrowns with strawberry cheesecake pie for dessert and hot cocoa with whipped cream and colored sprinkles.  Bertha had a sandwich, soup and some strawberry pie too. The cute little Asian waiter flirted with the old ladies, so we tipped him well.  It was a good time. Another one for the record books.

Gotta head out there and actually SEE that waterfall soon, though! Maybe Sunday!

Stats: 14.06 miles. 2310 ft elevation gain. 4:14:59 total time. 3:10:13 moving time. Ave pace: 18:08. Moving pace: 13:31. Ave HR: 132.  Felt: Fatigue, but happy and had a second wind!


Little Man’s Longest Run

Wayne Jr wanted to join me again for a little run today. I told him I was thinking of doing 5 or 6. He said, “Let’s do 6, Mama! I’ve never gone more than 4 before and I want to do better!”

He wanted to bring his own water bottle today, so I hooked him up with my extra fuel belt, which just drooped on his skinny little waist. It was comical and cute. He insisted it fit perfectly! I tied his jacket around his waist to try and prop it up a little bit and that worked for the most part.

We’d jog, then walk a bit as he caught his breath or struggled with a side stitch.  We stopped for coins (found two nickels!) and lost golf balls as we passed the golf course (he found three.)  He told me about his latest achievements on his favorite video game as we walked up Nemesis and he whooped and hollered as he ran down the other side. “Little Man’s Got Wheels!” I’d say and he’d shout back,, “Or wings, Mama! Maybe I have wings I’m going so fast!” And he was.

He was so proud of himself as we finished up the run. Then we headed into the house so he could share all of his treasures with his siblings who oohed and ahhhed at the brother who’d really just ran 6 miles with Mama.

Stats: 6 miles. Pace: 16:40. Time: 1:40. Average HR: 110. Elevation Gain: 110 ft. Felt: Happy