Friday, April 30, 2010

so about that mileage base ...

It seems that a lot of you were shocked by the statement that my mileage base was too small for anything over a 10K. When I found this out, I was shocked too. But, let me see if I can clarify things a bit.

I want to begin by saying that my weekly mileage base is too small to be COMPETITIVE in any distance over a 10k. But it is NOT too small to FINISH longer distances. And there is a distinction in that. Some people see this as COMPETING VS. COMPLETING. And I would like to throw out there that to be "competitive" does not mean that you are in the mix to place, but rather that you be "competitive" versus your past performances and in comparison to your times in other distances. Make sense?

Let's use me as an example. I have a 5K PR of 24:09 and I run 25-30 miles a week. My base is large enough to be competitive at the 5K. If you calculate what I should be running a half marathon in based on my 5K time, I would have a half PR around 1:51. But what is my half PR? 2:01:36.

OK, so let's reverse that calculation. If you calculate what my 5K PR should be based on my current half PR, you come up with a time of 26:07 - a two-minute difference. Reversing the calculation like that shows that I have an adequate base for shorter races, but not necessarily so for longer races. Long story short, it comes down to endurance. I don't have the endurance to hold a comparable pace at a half marathon that I can at a 5K. And how do you build your endurance? YOU LOG MORE MILES. It's as simple as that.

And in case you were wondering (and I know you were), I am looking to build my base to 35-45 miles per week in order to COMPETE in distances up to a half marathon. This same base would allow me to FINISH up to a 30K.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three Things Thursday ...

So, after my love letter to P90X yesterday, a ton of you asked me if I was seeing any results yet. The answer is yes. But I am going to leave it at that. You'll have to come back in two weeks once Phase One is over to see how big of a change. Anyway, today is Thursday and you know what that means ...

1. On Tuesday, I registered Dizzle for Kindergarten. I'm totally excited but kind of sad at the same time. I think I'm just concerned that she's not going to miss me as much as I will miss her. Or even worse, what if I don't miss her as much as I think I am going to?

And speaking of Dizzle, she hit me with this one yesterday. I was watching the end of her dance class (which I never do) and I saw her doing all the same moves as her classmates, but she was doing them while spinning around. She must have gotten really dizzy, because once the music stopped, she fell to the ground. I couldn't stop laughing. When she came out, I asked her why she was spinning. To which she replied ... "I don't know. My brain told me to."

Really? What could I say to that?

2. I have run over 400 miles this year. And I am well on my way to crushing my 1000 mile goal. But, with that said, I learned in my coaching certification course this past weekend that my mileage base is WAY TOO SMALL for me to be proficient at longer distances (i.e. over 10K). Which leaves me with the following choice, either never run anything over a 10K again or up my weekly mileage. One guess at the answer ...

3. Big things are going on at Racing With Babes.

First, I have over 200 followers! Crazy! If I haven't made my way over to say hi, leave me a comment to let me know you are there.

Second, I am hosting a virtual race on the weekend of May 21-23. It's called the Run Like A Mother Virtual Half Marathon and 10k. You can find out more HERE. When it gets closer, I will post a list of all the participants. But for now, I leave you with the prizes. Three people (the fastest 10K, the fastest Half and one person drawn at random) will each win a tube of Nuun and two Gu.

Lastly, don't forget to check out my Tarma Designs giveaway HERE. You have until Monday, May 3 to enter.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear P90X ...

Dear P90X,

I know we've been seeing each other for a whole two weeks now, but I have to tell you, you're coming on kind of strong. I mean, really. You just expect me to drop everything six nights a week to be with you. What about my other loves? Like reality TV? And ice cream? And my husband? Am I just supposed to end things with them? Are we exclusive? Because I didn't get that memo.

And can we just talk for a second about how you are fatiguing me for all of my runs? It's not easy to squeeze in 30 miles a week when you keep coming at me with all of that "this is the X" crap. And don't even get me started on Ab Ripper.

OK, maybe I am overreacting. Maybe you are going to make me a stronger runner. Maybe I'll get abs of steel and biceps to kill for. I mean, isn't that what you promise? Don't worry, I'm not leaving you. At least not for the next 10 weeks, but I swear if you don't deliver, I'm going to write nasty stuff about you on the Internet for all of the free world to read. Consider yourself warned.

Your follower,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

why running slow makes sense ...

So, pretty much everyone has been asking me why we would run slower to run faster. And here's why it works. (By running slower, I mean 80% effort. For most people, this is 1-2 mins slower than race pace for the distance you are running.)

Let's just begin by stating that you do not need to run slower ALL THE TIME. Unless you are working on building your base mileage, you can and should be adding faster runs (i.e. speedwork) into your training routine. Basically, neither slow long runs or fast short runs stand alone.

OK, back to why it works. The ultra simplified reason is that slow long runs increase your endurance and increased endurance is the key to running faster. Basically, slow running allows you to run MORE (often with less chance of injury than fast running) and running more now and having a stronger base helps you to run faster later.

But, there are more benefits than that:
  • The thought is that running too hard every day will cause over training. The body needs time to get stronger and adapt to the stresses you place upon it. By slowing down, we aid the body in adapting and recovering.
  • Slow running improves your aerobic system, which also improves your ability to run harder paces.
  • Running at a slower pace will help improve your capillary system which improves the rate at which blood gets to your muscles when you do run fast.
  • Slow running trains your body to use fat as a fuel helping to spare your glycogen stores.
  • Slow running simulates race duration, building your mental strength.
  • You recover quicker from an "easier" effort, allowing you to have a better quality workout when you do speed up.

Did I convince you to try it? I know, probably not. Slowing down is a hard pill to swallow. But really, what's the worst that can happen?

Monday, April 26, 2010

knowledge overload ...

So, this weekend was my long awaited coaching certification course hosted by RRCA. (The lovely MissZippy was also in attendance. Small world, right?) The certification process included taking the two-day course, passing an online exam (which I did last night! 94%!) and holding CPR and First Aid certifications.

It was a jam-packed 16 hours of learning about all aspects of training from energy systems to pace runs. Talk about information overload. I was in heaven. As someone who is constantly striving to be a stronger runner, putting me in this class was like a putting a fat kid in a candy store (and I should know, I was the fat kid.)

It re cemented some things that I already knew and opened my eyes to things that I had never considered. My biggest takeaway is that I am running too fast for my easy and long runs. I've always heard that you must run slower to run faster, but never understood why. Seeing the science behind this theory has inspired me to try it out. Hopefully, it works. (Note: I tried to slow down to my newly prescribed pace on this morning's five miler. And let's just say it's HARD.)

When I got home, I was hit with more awesomeness. J had taken the girls shopping while I was gone and they found a little present for me.

Super cute, right? And I think the best part is that they purchased some for Dizzle and Doodle too.
I'm pretty sure that if it is up to us, skirts and socks are going to take over the running world!

And don't forget to check out my Tarma Designs Giveaway!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tarma Designs Giveaway

A while back, I contacted the the lovely people at Tarma Designs to see if they would be interested in sponsoring a giveaway. They quickly responded that they would and gave me the choice of any piece from their line.

For those of you who don't know, Tarma Designs manufactures a variety of unique, hand-crafted, earth-friendly and fair trade jewelry that celebrates the spirit of life and a love of the outdoors. Their product line includes a variety of styles including pendants, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, wristbands, and bottle openers to choose from. I love their stuff and would go broke if I purchased everything I wanted from their site. You can check out the full product line HERE. And you should, especially since Mother's Day is coming up and we all know those hubbies could use some help (so send them the link). And you probably have a mom. Or a grandma. Or you know an awesome mom. And she'd probably like a nice gift too.

OK. Back to my point. I was given the choice of a piece to giveaway and after much debate I went with the Cast Lotus Necklace.

I was taken by the description, "Delicate and lightweight, this cast Lotus pendant represents life and new beginnings." It spoke to me as a woman, a mother and a runner. I knew it was the perfect choice.

So, how do you win it? (One entry per comment, please!)

1. Become a follower of this blog and comment to let me know you did (required).

2. Visit Tarma Designs HERE. Then come back and leave me a comment letting me know what other piece you would like to own.

3. Become a Facebook Fan of Tarma Designs HERE and leave me a comment to let me know.

4. Become a Facebook Fan of Racing With Babes HERE and leave me a comment to let me know you did.

5. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter. Heck, write about it on the wall of a bathroom stall, just spread the word. And leave me a comment to let me know.

Entries will be accepted until Monday, May 3. Winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 4.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sugoi Verve Short Review ...

If you've ever read this blog before, you are completely aware of the fact that I am a skirt-a-holic. I almost never run in anything else. In fact, I could probably count the number of times I have run in shorts on one hand.

With that being said, when the lovely people at Outside PR sent me a pair of Sugoi Verve Shorts to try out, I was skeptical. Afraid even. The thought of running with thigh bunching made me want to cry. So, I eased myself into testing them.

On day one, I just wore them around the house. And I was impressed. They were super comfortable and cute. Two qualities I look for in workout gear. Since they performed well during the initial wear, I decided to test them while cross training (running in them was still too scary). I had P90X Plyometrics on the schedule. A good test for the shorts due to the amount of jumping and moving I would be doing. And again, the shorts exceeded my expectations. They did not ride up at all and allowed me to move easily in every direction. After that workout, I was convinced that these shorts were awesome (I even went out an bought another pair.) But I was still hesitant to run in them. What if they bunched? What if I had a constant wedgie? What if I loved them more than my skirts?

Finally, after much internal debate I sucked it up and got dressed to run. And when G saw me sans skirt, she nearly had a heart attack in my driveway. Once she regained her composure, she snapped this shot of me.

See, the shorts are super cute.

We had eight miles on the schedule. I figured it was far enough to get a feel for the shorts but short enough that if I couldn't stand them I could make it home relatively quickly.

So, how did it go? Well, can I just say that a quarter mile into the run, I forgot I was wearing shorts all together? Initially, I was overly aware of the difference from my usual running gear, but once we settled into our run, the shorts were great. They didn't ride up or bunch at all. I was seriously impressed. Shocker, right? Now, I won't be abandoning my skirts by any means, but I will definitely be wearing these shorts to cross train and who knows, they might even get pulled out for a run here and there.

If you are in the market for a great pair of running shorts, definitely check these out. You can learn more about them HERE.

* I was not paid for this review, although I was sent the product for free. The opinions stated here are completely my own.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rock Your Socks Marathon/10K Virtual Race

My buddy KT was looking to run a half marathon every month this year, but when planning her schedule, she couldn't find a race in May that would work for her. So, she decided to put on her own race. Now, KT, me and the rest of our teammates are hosting the 1st Annual Rock Your Socks Half Marathon and 10K.

And I thought I would invite you all to participate in the race as well - Virtually. (That is unless you really want to come to here and run with us.) I know you're interested. Here are the details ...

1st Annual Rock Your Socks Virtual Half Marathon and 10K

WHEN: Friday, May 21, Saturday May 22, or Sunday, May 23

DISTANCE: 10K or Half Marathon

COST: FREE - But I will take donations to the sock collection ...

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Comment on this post to let me know you are in! Then send me an email with your name, distance and blog address (if applicable). And don't forget to invite all your friends to join in.

Then on the weekend of May 21-23, pick your course and run your race! When you are done email me the pictures, a link to your race report and your finish time.

WHAT WILL YOU GET?: Every participant will be linked on the Run Like A Mother Half Marathon and 10K Recap. And all racers will be entered to WIN a prize (or two or three, I haven't made up my mind yet).

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? So, are you in?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

what's that word?

We all know that kids are constantly paying attention to what adults do. They mimic their behavior, language, etc. So, I shouldn't have been shocked when Dizzle said the following to me. But, somehow, I was ...

Dizzle: "Mom. What's that word that adults say sometimes when they get hurt?"

Me: "Ouch?"

Dizzle: "No. That OTHER word."

Me: (mind spinning) "Um. I don't know Dizzle. Can you give me a hint?"

Dizzle: "Mom. You know."

Me: "No. I don't"

Dizzle: "OK, Mom. The word is frickin. I hear you say that when you get hurt. What does frickin mean?"

Me: (stalling) "Um. Yeah. That's a word that adults use. It means, 'Oh, man. That hurt a lot.' But, it's really not a nice word and if you EVER say that at school they are NEVER going to let you come back. Do you understand me?"

Dizzle: "I know Mommy. But can you make my brain forget to say that word?"

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be getting a note home. Fan-Frickin-Tastic!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

eight miles of stroller pushing (and a winner) ...

Usually, I am fortunate enough to get my long run in on the weekend. Although J travels a ton and is often away for part of the weekend, he ALWAYS gets up with the kids when I need to get my run in. He's great like that. OK, enough with the husband flattery.

Anyway, I am not going to be able to get my long run in this weekend. I FINALLY have my Distance Running Coach Certification this weekend. (I.AM.SO.EXCITED). It's a two day course that runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., an hour and a half away from here. And I am not staying over. So, that really means that I am going to be gone from 6 a.m. until about 7 p.m. both days this weekend. This equals NO RUNNING.

But, you know how I hate to miss hitting my mileage for the week, so I shifted some things around and headed out with G on an eight mile long run yesterday. Unfortunately, since we were running during the week, I had no choice but to bring Dilly along for the ride. And in case you hadn't figured it out yet, eight miles pushing a stroller is HARD. I mean, seriously, three miles pushing a stroller is hard.

Lucky for me, G was nice enough to alternate pushing the stroller with me each mile. It made the run better, but it's really not something I would want to have to do on a regular basis. It definitely made me appreciate my kid-free long runs. This is not to say that Dilly wasn't fantastic. Because she was. She barely made a peep for the entire hour and 20 minutes. And she was smiles the whole way. This is her when we finished. (She thought the squirrel across the street was way more interesting than me)
And G and me afterwards (we're not as cute).

But enough about my run, I know the real reason you are here. You want to know who won my Clif Bar and iTunes Giveaway. Well, there were 191 entries and thanks to the lucky winner is number 32 ...

Laurie @ The (Mis)Adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom (appropriate considering the content of my post)

Congrats Laurie! Email me with your contact info and I will get your prizes out to you right away.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

perfection ...

My children reminded me about a valuable lesson yesterday. All I wanted was the perfect picture of them. But, perfection is not attained without hard work, dedication, flexibility and patience. This is true in every aspect of life. You have to work for what you want. You have to fight for your own little slice of perfection. And their stubbornness showed me that. Because ...

I tried to get them to look at me - FAIL

I tried to get them to not hurt each other - FAIL

I tried to get them all to smile - FAIL

I tried to get them all in the shot - FAIL

I tried to get them to all say "CHEESE" - FAIL
But, then I tried to let them be exactly who they are - PERFECTION

Monday, April 19, 2010

I could use a nap ...

I woke up this morning and really didn't want to get out of bed. Without stepping onto the floor, I already knew how sore I was. I knew that my abs were tight enough to make sitting up a struggle. I knew that my quads were burning. I knew that today would be one of those days that I was going to move VERY slowly. Because, yesterday, I ran 21.53 miles (a new training run distance PR) AND rocked P90X Legs and Back plus Ab Ripper X. Yup, I'm that hardcore.

Or, just crazy.

I bet you're kind of wondering how this all happened. So, here it goes. As you may recall, J, who is training for his first half, and I don't get to run together often. We don't have any family nearby and I can't bear to pay for a sitter, so that we can run. This means when we do have someone visiting (my mom is in town), we try to take advantage of it. So, on Saturday afternoon, J asked I would do his long run with him in the morning. I immediately said, "Sure!"

But, there was a hitch. I had already planned an 11 miler with G and Denise. And I wasn't about to bail. I just figured I would get a quality workout with them and follow it up (immediately) with a recovery run with J, since his pace is a bit slower than mine. PERFECT.

So, bright and early on Sunday, I woke up and met G and Denise for the first half of my run. Here we are before heading out. And yes, G and I are once again wearing matching clothing. We have ESP or something.

Anyway, we ran part of one of my favorite loops from our last cycle of marathon training. The pace was good. The conversation was hilarious. Basically, it was fantastic. We finished the 11 miles in 1:46:01 (9:36 pace). Then I jumped in the car, drove home and picked up J for his run, which was supposed to be 9 miles.

J planned the route and I was just along for support. We started out chatting, but as the miles passed, we became silent partners on a quest to finish. About 3 miles in J stopped to use the bathroom, while I kept circling the parking lot at the baseball field we were running past.

At that moment, I realized that if I added a little extra mileage during this run, I could set a new single day training record (the most I had ever done before on a training run was 20) AND if I hit 21.53 miles, I would have run 40 miles this week, which is something I have always wanted to do and is something I would eventually like to do consistently.

So, that's what I did. Any time I pulled ahead, I would loop back and catch J. And when we were a mile from home (J actually planned a 10 mile route even though he only had 9 on his schedule), I decided to take the longer loop and met J at home. When I got back, my Garmin read 21.53!! Part of me wanted to go run 4.67 miles more just so I could have said I ran a marathon yesterday. But, I think J would have had me committed. I finished the 10.53 miles with J in 2:02:24 (11:36 pace). My total time for the run was 3:48:25 (10:36 pace). And can I just note that my marathon PR is 5:06 and that I was CRUSHING that pace yesterday?

Here I am all smiles afterward.
And I ended the day with P90X, well, because I wasn't about to skip it. Yup, I'm crazy like that.

So, what did you do this weekend?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

open letter to my body ...

To my dearest body,

I know that we don't have the best history. I treated you poorly for so many years. Overeating. Refusing to do any serious cardio. I abused you. But you never failed me. You put up with anything I threw at you. Without uttering a single peep. And I thank you for sticking with me.

I've tried my best over the past six years to change my ways. To treat you like the idol that you are. I've cut my portion sizes. And learned about moderation. I've gained a love for exercise. And lost a ton of weight. I've run mile after mile. Pounding my joints with each step. I know at times I have been hard on you. But without fail, you have been there for me. Never complaining.

And in the past week, I've asked you to do even more. I've upped my running and added some serious cross training to our days. That cross training is named P90X and the two of you are not yet friends. After all these years of silence, you are finally speaking up. You are angry at P90X for disturbing what we had. You are working harder than you ever have and are undoubtedly feeling the pain. But I promise you, it will be worth it. Three months from now, when we look back on our time with P90X, our thoughts will be filled with admiration and respect and thanks. For you will be a stronger and more fit version of yourself. Nothing bad can come from this.

Oh, and one more thing. I know I it's a lot to ask with the all the cross training and everything, but if you could please just give me the mental and physical strength to make it through the 19-21 miles on our schedule today, I'd really appreciate it. Oh, and be sure to leave me enough juice for tonight's P90X session too!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

and the completely random ...

Back on my 300th post, I asked you to comment with any question you wanted me to answer. The response was huge. Way too much for one entry. So, I have decided to categorize the questions and reply in a series of posts over the next few weeks. Today, I answer all of those questions that didn't really fit anywhere, the completely random ones ...

Paige asked: "What is one new food you have tried that you cannot live without?"

OK, this one is kind of hard. My mom is a caterer, so growing up, we tried a lot of different foods and I have always been one to eat almost anything. As a kid, two of my favorite foods were escargot (snails, in case you didn't know) and frog legs. Seriously.

Although, for a long time, I did not like stinky cheese. Then the summer before college, that all changed. I was working as a waitress and the restaurant I worked at made this Buffalo Chicken Pizza with huge chunks of blue cheese. It was fantastic. I ate it almost every time I went to work. And ever since then I have been obsessed with stinky cheeses (the stronger the better). I can't get enough.

Kerrie T asked: "When are you just going to move to Seattle already?"

Yeah. I expected this question. I don't think we are moving any time soon. However, I have told J that if we EVER move, it's only going to be to the Pacific Northwest. I've never even visited, but there is something about that part of the country that intrigues me. OK, so I'm not moving there, but I am coming out there next year to race. All I need to do is find the race to run and book my flight. Any suggestions?

Stephanie asked: "What is your favorite running website ever?"

Easy. McMillan Running. I am always on there plugging in my times. Finding my training zones. I love that site. DailyMile and Runner's World don't suck either.

Jameson asked: "If you were an animal, which one and why?"

Again, this is another easy one. I'd be a cheetah. And here's why. First of all, I look super hot in cheetah print. Second, cheetahs are beyond fast. And that is exactly how I want to be. And lastly, cheetahs are stunning and powerful animals. I like to think of myself as both of those things.

MCM Mama asked: "When are you coming up here to run a race with me? You know you want to. ;o) I'll even take you out for a beer afterwards."

Soon. My fall race schedule is on the light side and I'd be up for the trip. Did you have a race in mind?

Allie asked: "Is there some secret technique for taking awesome running photos? Because you always looks so cute and I always look like death."

I'm sure you do not look like death. My number one secret is SUNGLASSES. Not only do they keep the sun out of your eyes, but they hide the agony in your photos. It also helps if you perk up when you see a photographer. If you are light on your feet and stand tall as you run past, I promise your pictures will look better. Oh, and posing never hurts.

Judi asked: "I would love to have my own Garmin but I know very little about what is a good one to buy. They vary in prices . . ."

I have the 305 and love it. I purchased mine on Amazon, where I believe you can currently find them in the range of $150-200. Many of my friends have the 405, but have had issues with using their watches during the run (switching screens and the like) and also problems with their watches freezing. All I can say is that the 305 has been great to me. And I'm sure that no matter which model you choose, you will find that it is money well spent.

Friday, April 16, 2010

it hurts to laugh ...

I am two days into P90X (plus I busted out a super speedy six miles yesterday) and I have come to realize that apparently, I have never used any of the muscles in my entire body. EVER. I am beyond sore. Seriously, it hurts to laugh (maybe the first signs of a six-pack?). And not being able to laugh makes me really upset, because my kids say some funny things. Take for example, yesterday. Dizzle and I were looking at the pictures that I took during her school trip on Tuesday. Specifically, this picture:

I said to her, "I wonder what that green stuff on the water is. Do you think if I threw you into that water that it would eat you?" To which she replied, "Mom. You're so silly. That's just ALLERGY." And because I was teetering between laughing and crying, I just didn't have the heart to correct her.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

what gets you moving?

Motivation is a weird thing. It's different for everybody. Some people are motivated by desire. Some by guilt. Some by other people. And just because you are motivated by one thing today, doesn't mean it will motivate you tomorrow. Personally, I am motivated by a lot of things. Myself, others holding me accountable, food, music, my skinny jeans ... and the list goes on.

You see, yesterday was day one of P90X. It kicked my butt. I thought I was hardcore and then this workout put me in my place. But I am going to stick with it. I just might need a little push, and that's where you all come in. In an attempt to keep me motivated, I am going to put myself out there. I am sharing my before pictures and measurements. And after each phase, I am going to check in here. (Does anyone else see how this could totally blow up in my face?) So, here it goes.

Day 1:
Weight: 152
Body Fat Percentage: 23%
Chest: 35 1/2"
Waist: 30 3/4"
Hips: 37"
Thighs: 22"
Biceps: 11 1/2"

Wow, that was totally liberating and kind of scary. Anyway, as a thank you for helping me attempt to stick to this program, I want to motivate you in return. And I thought, what better way to do that than a giveaway. So, one lucky reader will win two things that keep me moving: FOOD and MUSIC.

The winner will receive a box of 6 Clif Bars - Chocolate Brownie and a $15 iTunes Gift Card. Here's how to enter. (One Comment Per Entry Please)

1. Become a follower of this blog and leave me a comment to let me know you did.

2. Become a fan of the Racing With Babes Facebook Page HERE and leave me a comment to let me know you did.

3. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc and leave me a comment to let me know you did.

4. Leave me a comment to let me know what motivates you.

Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, April 20th. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, April 21st.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

lessons learned on a preschool morning ...

I like to think of myself as rather organized. I have a type-A personality, which is glaringly obvious in my everyday life. Structure works for me. But, it also holds me back. I don't like spontaneity. And if I'm not sure how things will "fit" into our lives I tend to avoid them all together.

Case in point - P90X. I have had it sitting in my house since October. And from the very moment it arrived, I have had a reason not to start it. First, it was marathon training. Then, it was injury recovery. Then, it was my quest for speed. But really, I was just afraid that I would start it and wouldn't be able to find the time to keep with it. And I'm not really the quitting type. When I tackle something, I want to finish it.

So, I knew if I was ever going to start this 90 day experiment, I had to change my running schedule. I was going to have to plan each run and make sure I got it done in the time allotted. And today's run (and the girl's school trip) showed me that I can fit it all in and a lot of other things too. Day 1 of P90X is TODAY, thanks to the lessons I learned yesterday morning ...

1. I learned that I should be utilizing the time immediately after preschool drop off to run. No going home and maybe squeezing in a run before pickup. The area around the school is beautiful. Just look at these pictures.

It is perfect for running with Dilly in the BOB. Yesterday, I had an hour and fifteen minutes before I had to be back for the trip. So, I grabbed the stroller and ran from the school. 51 minutes later I had 5.5 miles under my belt, and it was only 10 a.m. Here we are after it was over.

2. I learned that I should be taking advantage of nap time to run more often. I used to do this all the time. But, for some reason I stopped. Yesterday's run reminded me of all the times during the day that I could be running. And how easy it can be to fit your runs in, if you just plan accordingly. I can easily get three to six miles in (plus a shower) during Dilly's naps. Dizzle and Doodle can watch a movie or read some books while I run and we all stay happy.

3. I learned that it is getting much easier to take the girls places ALONE. During their trip to the gardens yesterday, I saw just how well behaved Dizzle and Doodle can be. How if I let them do their thing, they will listen to me and stay together. Sure, Dilly throws a little hitch in the plan, since she runs off if you put her down. But, she's usually pretty chill in the stroller or in the carrier. It's getting less stressful for me and more fun for them. Just look at the fun we had ...

I'd say yesterday was rather productive ...

Monday, April 12, 2010

a RunningSkirts care package ...

Remember that little post I wrote about my LOVE of RunningSkirts? And how I really, really wanted the pink and white polka dot one? Well, guess what came in the mail yesterday?

That's right. A pink and white polka dot skirt AND a pair of Swift Socks Compression Socks, courtesy of the wonderful girls over at RunningSkirts. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a thousand times over. To me, it's a running outfit made in heaven.

I can't wait to try everything out. Which means I'm going to rock the gear on my run this morning (and on the girls' school trip, since I won't have time to change). A super cute running skirt and knee high socks is totally acceptable casual wear, right? I thought so.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler ...

I'm going to be honest with you. This is going to be a long post. But since I like you all so much and don't want to torture you with the details, I will get to the point right at the beginning. (Although, if you really loved me, you'd read the whole thing - I'm just saying).

The Short Story - We drove to D.C. We went to the expo. We hung out. We raced. I finished in 1:30:40 (my Garmin read 10.13 miles). We cleaned up. Ate. And went home.

The Much Better And Much Longer Story - On Saturday afternoon, my Run Like A Mother teammates and I loaded up our gear and hit the road in Rachel's mini-van a.k.a "the Mini." Yes, we were a group of hot mamas traveling for a girl's weekend in a navy blue mom mobile. Super stylish!

The laughs started pretty much from mile one. We joked about air farts (yes, air farts), husbands, our kids and roundabouts (obviously, we were rather scattered in our conversation). Once we arrived at the hotel, we attempted to check in and finalize our dinner plans. The hotel told us it would be 10 minutes before we could get into our rooms. After 10 minutes, 45 additional minutes had been added to our wait time. So, we left our luggage at the desk and headed to the expo. I called Kayte to see where she was at (stuck in traffic) and told her to meet us back at the hotel.

The expo was a bomb. Here's the race shirt. Not the best.
The race website had made a huge deal about only "bag checking" items in their clear race bags, but when Alyssa and I went to get our shirts they were out of bags. So, we asked other volunteers with bags if we could have one. And they were not giving them up. I was seriously ticked. Apparently, those bags were "preloaded" and we couldn't have them. So, where the heck was my preloaded bag?

Once we got back to the hotel, I found Katye waiting in the lobby and I ran up and gave her a big hug. I was psyched to spend the weekend with her, since we only got to hang out for like 15 minutes before Disney. Once we got settled, we headed out for dinner. Which was a huge fiasco. At one point or another we had six reservations, but as we walked out the door, we had none. We walked around and finally found a place to eat. It was kind of a creepy restaurant. An all male staff. And we were the ONLY people in there. But the food was good and other people eventually filled the restaurant. We filled our bellies and took this adorable group shot.
After dinner, it was back to the hotel to relax and head to bed. We watched Anchorman. The girls made fun of my hoodie (which I wear so that my face doesn't hit the hotel pillow - a little quirk of mine). And we just kind of chilled.

At 6 a.m. the alarm went off. We slowly got moving and dressed for the race. Here's the entire group right before we headed to the corrals. I know, we're cute.
Katye and I lost the rest of the girls at that point. They tried to hit up the port-o-potties and we headed to the start, which looked like this.
Somehow, we got in to the corral and waited to start. This is us waiting.
Very slowly, we got moving. Katye and I stuck together for the first few miles, but being the competitive person I am, I was running my own race and we got separated. The course was crazy congested and I never felt like I could just run. I kept running into the back of people and had to try to squeeze through or slow down and move over. My pace was all over the place. It was crazy. I felt really good until the last two miles. Until that point I had been averaging about an 8:47 pace. But then I bonked. My last two miles were 10:00 and 9:57. Boo! I know the whole thing was mental. I kept telling myself, "This is all in your head. Suck it up." But I just couldn't. When I finished my Garmin read, 10.13 miles in 1:30:36. My chip time was 1:30:40. BUT - according to my garmin, I hit 10 miles under 1:30. Here's the screen capture.
Sweet! And do you know what half marathon time that calculates out to? 1:59:03. Yeah. Sub-2 hour half, here I come ...

Despite the last two miles, I was super psyched with my time and the majority of my race. Plus, I got to meet up briefly with MissZippy post race. She killed this 10 miler with a time of 1:13. A new PR for her! Here's the picture we snapped.
After the race, we headed back to the hotel (which was a big complicated mess). Katye had to leave (but I get to race with her again on May 8th!) and the rest of us went to brunch before driving back. I can't even start to tell you how much fun this weekend was. So, who's in for the next race?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

running, TMB-style ...

Back on my 300th post, I asked you to comment with any question you wanted me to answer. The response was huge. Way too much for one entry. So, I have decided to categorize the questions and reply in a series of posts over the next few weeks. Today, I discuss my life as a mother-runner, with an emphasis on runner ...

Nicole Joy asked: "Do you think you'll do any more Disney races in the next year or so?"

I can't wait to go back to Disney, for both the vacation aspect and the races. The Princess Half was definitely the best run race I have ever done. Unfortunately, a Disney trip costs a small fortune. So, we will not be going back this year. Or even next year. The plan is to head back in the fall of 2012 and to race the Wine and Dine Half.

Staci Dombroski asked: "If you could do any race, what would it be? Where?

Definitely, the Maui Half Marathon. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii and if I am going to travel that far, then I am definitely going to race. Plus, can you think of a more beautiful run?

Erin G asked: "My question is what did you think was the hardest thing about running when you first started? How did you get over the hurdles?" and MJ asked: "How did you feel after you ran your very first mile? When you were just starting to run, did you ever feel frustrated?"

I definitely think the hardest part about beginning to run was getting past the mental stuff. We are built to run. Any able bodied person can become a runner. I think what separates those who stick with it and those who don't is the ability to fight the negative thoughts. I remember thinking that I was going to die during those first runs. I was constantly convinced that I couldn't make it. That I was going to drop to the road and never get up.

I think what got me past it was that I felt like I had something to prove. To myself and those around me. I wanted to show myself that I really could do anything I put my mind to. So, when I wanted to quit, I would run for 30 seconds longer. And then for 30 seconds more (thankfully, I am a self motivator). Some days were harder than others, but after my first race (which was the first time I ran three miles straight), I finally felt like a runner and I knew that running was something that would define me from then on.

reeebeka asked: "How you cross train?"

Um, yeah. About that. I am not the best about cross-training. For the past three years I have taught Stroller Strides, which is a 60 minute class that mixes cardio and strength training. But as the instructor, you don't always get the best workout. Other than that I don't do much. But, I will be training for a sprint triathlon this summer, so at some point I need to add some cycling and swimming to my routine. And I have also had P90X staring me in the face for the last six months, but I have yet to start it. But I will. Eventually.

Libby asked: "What are your ultimate/lifetime running dreams/goals?"

I'm not really sure. I don't want to qualify for Boston. Or run a marathon in every state. Or even run another marathon ever again. I'd like to become a half specialist, but my favorite distance is actually the 8K. I want to travel to races. I'd love to get an age group win. There really are so many things I'd like to accomplish, but I often think of myself as constantly evolving. I prefer to set smaller goals as a way to getting to where I want to be.

In general, I want to be faster (but who doesn't?) A 23 minute 5K, a 47 minute 10K and a sub 1:50 half are all times I will hit. I don't know when, but I will. I want to build my mileage to 40 mile a week and I'll get there too. I guess my number one running goal is to always have the motivation to be a better runner.

Sarah asked: "When did you first start running? High school track, later as a mommy? What got you started and when did you run your first half marathon or marathon?

I wish I could say I was always a runner. But that's just not the case. I was the kid in high school who would fake an injury to get out of running the timed mile in gym class. And although I've always been an athlete and even competed at the Division I level in college, I NEVER ran. I'm pretty sure my longest run back then was 800 meters, and even that was at a snail's pace.

I first started running after I had Doodle. I had decided that I was going to run a 10K as one of my New Year's resolutions. By the time August had rolled around, I still hadn't attempted working towards that goal. So, I found a walk/run training plan for a 5K, signed up for a race and never looked back. The first time I ever ran three miles without walking was on race day. Afterwards, I needed something to keep me motivated, so I registered for an 8K two months later. By the time I ran that 8K, I had decided to train for a marathon. Because when I decide to do something, I do it big. So, the Monday after Thanksgiving (3 months after I first started running) I began marathon training. 16 weeks later, on Doodle's first birthday, I finished that marathon in a painfully slow time.

Kim asked: "I want to know more about running during your pregnancy. Did your doc (or anyone else) ever give you any crap about it? "

Yes and no. My doctor was pretty much on board. She knew that she couldn't really stop me, so we came to an agreement about my training. Rule number one was to listen to my body. And rule number two was never race all out. Pretty simple, right? I listened to her and she didn't give me a hard time about running.

My mom was the hardest to convince. She did not want me running, convinced I was damaging her unborn granddaughter. Every time I complained about not feeling right, or being achy, she told me to stop running. After a point, I think she gave up too and just let me do what I wanted. But honestly, those people closest to me knew I wasn't going to do anything stupid. More than anything, they were all very supportive, regardless of whether or not they agreed with my running.

Heather asked: "How did you get so comfortable on the treadmill? I cannot handle running on it as I stare at the time and it bugs me. Also, what treadmill do you have and do you watch tv or listen to music?"

Oh, the treadmill. My favorite piece of equipment (it's a six-year old ProForm). How I will miss you when you are gone ...

OK, seriously, I got so comfortable running on the treadmill because I had no other choice. J's job has him traveling a lot. We don't have any family nearby. And pushing a triple stroller while running is nearly impossible. I need to get my runs in and so I am left with the treadmill. I figure I'd rather run in place, than not run at all.

I think that I am helped by the fact that I have a positive attitude about running on the treadmill, too. Just like when you run on the road or trail, if you have negative thoughts while you run, it is going to be painful. I try to look at running on the treadmill as an opportunity, not a punishment. Plus, I don't just run one pace for the whole run. I like to do progression runs, intervals, tempo runs, hill work, whatever. And yes, I do watch TV when I run. Usually with the volume off and the captions on. My iPod only comes out during speedwork.

Tortuga_Runner asked: "How did you and your husband make arrangements so you could fit in your runs?" and Anne asked: "Does your running (the time that it requires) ever cause tension at home?"

Like I have said a million times before, J is super supportive of my running. My training and the time that it takes has never been an issue with us. He knows that I work 24/7 raising our daughters and he understands that I need some me time (plus I think I am pretty good about balancing being a wife, a mother and a runner).

Because I don't have a full-time job, I can be flexible with when I run. So, most of my runs are done when J is working or traveling (not taking away from our time together). I squeeze my runs in during nap time or while the girls are at dance classes or preschool. When J travels or works late, I run on the treadmill once the girls are in bed.

The only exception to this is my long run. I almost always do that run with my friends, leaving J with the girls for a few hours. I usually try to leave before they are awake, so that I don't miss too much family time. But, it's nice for J to spend some time alone with the girls. He doesn't see them much during the week, so when I do my long runs they get to catch up.

deannahensley asked: "What is more important to you, speed or distance?

Definitely speed. Perhaps I shouldn't care so much, but I don't run just to be able to say I ran. I run to be faster than others. I'm kind of competitive like that.

Jill asked: "What's the one running accessory you would go back to get if you forgot it?"

Without a doubt, my sunglasses. I almost never run without them. They block the wind, sun and rain from my eyes. Plus, they ALWAYS make for a better race photo.

Badgergirl asked: "Do you run with or without music? If you do, what are some of your favorite tunes to run to?"

I almost NEVER train with music, but I almost ALWAYS race with music. Weird, huh?

As for my playlist, here are some songs from my current rotation ...

All the Right Moves - OneRepublic
Poker Face - Lady Gaga
Misery Business - Paramore
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
Whatcha Say - Jason Derulo
Fireflies - Owl City
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
Crushcrushcrush - Paramore
Naturally - Selena Gomez
See You Again - Miley Cyrus

Saturday, April 10, 2010

a great kickoff ...

This weekend is going to rock. In a few hours, I will be heading to DC with several of my Run Like A Mother teammates for a kid-free, fun-filled running weekend. Then once we get there, I'll be meeting up with Katye, who will be staying with and racing with us. And if things work out, I will get to meet MissZippy after the race. I.CAN.NOT.WAIT.

I have been looking forward to this weekend since we got into the race (by lottery) in December. It's supposed to be beautiful. I'll be with my friends. Plus, it's a guaranteed PR. And like I mentioned like 20 times this week. I am going to run fast. I just know it.

And I know that this weekend is going to rock because it got an AWESOME kickoff yesterday. I woke up to find out that I won a pair of Keens in a contest on the blog for Run Like A Mother: The Book. You can click HERE to see the post, which features not only my opinion of the best running advice I give others, but also my sock collection.

Pretty cool, huh? I told you this weekend is going to rock.

Friday, April 9, 2010

runner envy?

Yesterday, when G and I left for our run, Dizzle and Doodle were peeking out of my bedroom window. Doodle asked, "Mom, you going running?" I yelled back, "Yeah. I'll see you later."

When I got back, J told me what happened once I ran off. Doodle started crying.

Not because she was hurt. Not because she was overly tired. And definitely not because she missed me. Instead, it was because she wanted to go on a run. Seriously. She told J, "I wanted to take a run with Mommy." She's bummed that she missed out and has been letting me know ever since.

I told you I was brainwashing them. And now, apparently, my three-year-old has "runner envy" ...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Three Things Thursday (and the winner is) ...

1. On Tuesday, Kalli @ fitandfortysomething, hit me up with The Stiletto Award. I am super honored and would proudly rock some stilettos if my weak ankles would allow. But since they won't, I'm just going to take pride in this award and pass it along to some of my bloggy friends who inspire me ...

Here’s what I’m supposed to do:

1. Display the Stiletto badge of honor.
2. Brag about it – post a link to the page to highlight what the award is about.
3. Say thanks! Include a link to the friend who nominated you.
4. Share the love-nominate 5-10 more blogs. Leave links to their blogs and leave them a comment so they know they won!
5. Do what you do! Keep at it and keep inspiring others.
And the award goes to ...

Meg @ Meg Runs!

2. We are having a mini-heat wave here in VA. It's blazing. Like over 90 degrees. Usually, I would be fine with this. In fact, I could deal with 90 degree temperatures everyday. As long as I have a place to escape the heat when necessary, of course. Unfortunately, I don't have a place to cool off right now. Our A/C is dying. Every time the compressor tries to kick on, it is causing the electrical panel in our house to arc. The electrician told us not to run the A/C unless it was "unbearable." It's getting close to that, but I'd much rather be hot than have my house explode. So, basically, we are sweating it out. At least until this afternoon. The HVAC technician is supposed to come here today. I am hoping that also means it will get fixed today (please, please, please. Heat and cranky babies are not a fun combination). I have my hopes that it will be a cool 72 degrees in here by nightfall, but I am not holding my breath ...

3. I am done running until the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. By some stroke of luck, I did NOT have to use my treadmill at all this week. Last night at 7:30, KT joined me for a quick run around my neighborhood (3.42 in 33:35). Here we are pre-run.
It was wicked hot and by the time we finished it was dark. Luckily, I was decked out in all neon, so you probably could have seen me from space.
Then this morning, G came over at 7 a.m. to run the same loop (3.43 in 33:13). We did not, however, manage to coordinate our outfits this time. (Note: this was my second run in 11.5 hours. That counts as a double, right?)
Can you believe I got out of bed and ran first thing in the morning twice this week? It's probably because I was pulling energy from the brightness of this outfit ...
Oh, and before you leave, I want to thank everyone for entering my Moving Comfort Giveaway. There were 262 entries and the winner is number 43 ...

Congratulations! Please email me your choice of bra (Fiona or Vixen), size, color and contact info and I will take care of the rest.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

morning runs ...

I'm not really a morning person. I like to lay in bed under the warm blankets every morning with my kids (and J). It's not like I sleep in (we're usually up by 7), but the thought of getting up and moving any early scares me. Because of this, most of my runs take place on the treadmill during nap time or at night, after the girls are in bed. I wish I was motivated enough to be up at 6 and done with my run by the time everyone else in my house is waking. I force myself to do this on the weekends to get my long run in, but no matter how hard I try, I haven't been able to carry this over to my weekday runs.

However, yesterday morning, G and I were able to sneak in a quick four miles before J went off to work (this only happened because of Spring Break). G met me at my place (since she's sans kids this week). I walked outside to find that we had unknowingly matched our outfits. Here, look ...

I guess that's what happens when you share a brain. The run was easy, since it is taper week after all. But when we finished, I immediately said, "I wish I could do this all the time." So, my question to all of you is, "How do you do it? How do you get yourself up and running at those early hours?"

Oh, and for Meg, who sent me those super cute socks. Here is the entire outfit from yesterday. I know, I rocked it.

And don't forget to enter my giveaway HERE ... entries will be accepted until Midnight tonight!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ask and you shall receive ...

The taper is off to a good start (except for all the candy I've been eating). The girls are on Spring Break, which means I am without my twice weekly, four hour long reprieve (a.k.a. preschool) this week. It also means that I am not scheduled down to the minute, since all of their afternoon activities were cancelled too. Yesterday, we spent the morning at the playground. Then had lunch with J, followed by an afternoon of 25 meter repeats on the front lawn (Dizzle and Doodle, not me). Basically, I'm trying to do my best to keep them occupied while not losing my mind. (Remember, a stress-reducing long run isn't in the cards this week.)

But there I go again, getting sidetracked. That little recap was not the point of this post. What I meant to do was to fulfill a request that several of you asked about on my RunningSkirt post. Apparently, you all want a glimpse into my sock collection (obsession, whatever you want to call it). So, here you go. My signature socks in all their glory ...

I love them. I hope you do to. And if you ever felt the need to add to my collection, I am open to accepting donations. I wear a size 10 shoe and if you want to know if I have a skirt to match ... well, you know where to look.

Oh, and speaking of sock donations, the ever-so-sweet Meg from Meg Runs! sent me these ADORABLE ones yesterday. (They arrived like two hours after the group shot, which I wasn't setting up again) ...

So cute, right? I can't wait to rock them! Thanks Meg!

Monday, April 5, 2010

it's taper week ...

The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is in six days, which means I am officially in taper mode. I hate taper. I hate looking around and seeing other people running. I hate that I won't be racking up my standard mileage toward my yearly goal. I hate going to bed at night with my treadmill staring at me from across the room. I get runner's guilt. It's like I should be running a ton, but I just can't. And for me, taper is just as hard as injury. With injury you can't run. It's physically painful. With taper, the pain is mental.

But I will do it. Because I want to run with strong legs and a strong mind on race day. I taper because I want to PR. Because I want to give myself the best opportunity to push myself further than I thought.
I head into Sunday's race with a goal time of 1:25 in my head. I've never run a 10 mile race before, so regardless, I will be setting a PR. But I know, if I race like I train (something I have really been working on). I can hit that time. And if everything goes perfectly, I can run even faster. And I have the proof ...

On Friday night, I did a race pace test run. I wanted my legs to feel what 8:30's feel like. And I needed to know I could hold it. So, I jumped on the treadmill for an eight miler. The plan was two miles easy, followed by four miles at race pace, finished with a two mile cool down. But, that's not really what happened. Instead, I did my two mile warm up at a 9:22 pace (kind of my run all day pace). Then I kicked it up to an 8:20 pace (note that this is actually faster than my goal pace). And like I said, I planned on holding that for four. But, after four I felt too good. So, I tried for five. SUCCESS. So, I kicked it up again and finished the last mile in 8:06. It was awesome. My overall pace was 8:34. Just four seconds over my goal pace. Talk about a confidence boost. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I had worked. But, it didn't kill me. And when I woke up the next day, I wanted to lace up and do it all over again (Don't worry. I didn't).

Instead, I took Saturday off and geared up for Sunday's long run. G has finally been released from by the doctor and offered to join me (plus her hubby and kids were out of town, so she had no reason not to). And our buddy, K, joined us at the last minute for what ended up being a series of loops around my neighborhood.

The run was pretty much perfect. We held an easy pace filled with easy conversation. We ended up running just shy of eight miles in 1:16:22 (9:45 overall). Pretty good considering the amount of pictures we took and that we've not yet adjusted to this warmer weather. And speaking of pictures, here are some good ones ...

Huh, don't I look like a giant next to them? Anyway, I love these runs. We catch up on each other's lives. Retell crazy stories. And just enjoy being out. Basically, it was the perfect way to head into a dreaded taper ...