Run The Great Wide Somewhere

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere and running is how I'm finding the courage to explore this wonderful world.

Well That Was Scary

My work schedule through the summer has me working offsite on Mondays and Wednesdays on a semi-private campus kind of thing and then at my normal downtown office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The offsite campus has an area to run, but sometimes it is a bit overgrown and part of it is a parking lot so I feel like people in the office buildings are just staring at me while I huff and puff along.  Plus it has a small alligator (named Ed) who isn’t totally scary but is a tiny bit unnerving.

The downtown office is next to a historic neighborhood with some beautiful buildings and a duckpond which I like to run around.  There is a fairly large homeless population but I’ve never felt threatened or uncomfortable.  Both buildings have gyms.  So, my current workout schedule has been running downtown on Tuesdays and Thursdays and doing stationary bike and strength training on Mondays and Wednesdays.  But that’s just changed after a really scary incident downtown today.

This morning, I had my first 800 repeats scheduled.  I was pretty excited and nervous.  In case you missed it, an 800 repeat is TWICE as long as a 400 repeat (which I did the last two weeks).  You only do it a tiny bit slower.  I wasn’t sure I could manage holding that pace for twice as long.  I was pretty tired (I’d had nightmares of burglars breaking into my house…this might have been some kind of premonition!) and it was tough, but I cranked out the first four and was on a recovery lap (walking) when a guy on a bike started riding right in front of me right at my walking pace.  He looked kind of sketchy and started yelling something in another language.  Now I was getting pretty nervous…

I looked around to see if any of the myriad of other joggers, people walking their dogs, service people going to these fancy houses around me or just cars driving around were nearby.  Nope, suddenly the area was deserted.  It was about 8am and full daylight.  I pulled out my phone and patted the mace in my sparkleskirt pocket for reassurance and just kept walking, not making eye contact.

He then started yelling really aggressively about sin and sinners and said something about “break your neck” and asked me if I wanted to start something, to bring it on and he would finish it.  I’m not going to lie, it was terrifying.  I wasn’t sure what to do and he was still on his bike not in touching distance so I just kept walking, not making eye contact, just ignoring him while he kept yelling.  Honestly, I responded the same way I would have to a strange dog because he was clearly not in a lucid state.

Luckily, that seemed to work and after a seemingly interminable time he rode off.  Not one minute later, a guy came around the corner walking his dog.  And then cars drove by and other joggers showed up again.  With my adrenaline pumping, I finished my last repeat and headed back to work to shower and start my day.  I didn’t see him again after that.

I’m not sure I have a message here, but I wanted to share what happened.  I’m relieved it had a good ending (although my nerves are still shot).  I was really glad I had my mace in my pocket and my phone with me.  I was really glad I was in a well populated (except for that strange couple of minutes) area and not an isolated area.  And I’m glad I didn’t have my headphones on because I was completely aware of him from the moment he got near me.

I’ve run in that area for years and never had a problem, but that guy was bat-*$@# crazy.  I think it will be smart, for the next month at least, to change up my schedule and run at the gated campus where I just have to worry about Ed the gator and possibly people thinking I’m crazy for running in circles around the retention pond.  You can see Ed in this picture: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I’m going to remember to keep my mace with me on every run…just in case.  And I’m going to try to get a friend or small group to join me next time I do a downtown run.  Most people are inherently good, but there are some crazies out there.  I’ll do my gym work downtown on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a while until I feel safer again in that neighborhood.

Stay safe out there, my friends.

Distraction or Focus

I’m watching the Boston Marathon on streaming and am in awe of these runners.  As I spectate online, I’m noticing a couple of interesting things about the elite women.  boston10

  1. Their bibs don’t have numbers on the front, they just have their names.  That’s pretty cool.
  2. None of them are in sparkleskirts.  I think we need to change that.
  3. Only one of the frontrunners has on compression socks.
  4. None have any braces or KT/Rock tape.
  5. OMG, their abs are shockingly strong.
  6. At least at the beginning, the elite runners run really squished up together.  I hate running with other people in my personal space!
  7. They’re running just over five minute miles for the first few miles of the race.
  8. None have any headphones/music.boston4

I find it interesting that 90% of recreational runners (from my own unscientific, totally not real study) wear headphones and run to music or audio books.  But none of the elite runners do.  At least not in races and I suspect not in training.

I think it comes down to distraction vs. focus.  Running isn’t particularly comfortable.  Especially not if you’re racing or challenging yourself in training.  So, I think a lot of us rely on music or audiobooks to distract us from the pain, discomfort and (yes) boredom of putting in mile after mile, week after week.  But I’m thinking that to really optimize your results from training and racing, it might be important to actually get rid of the distraction (music) and focus on the run.racinghurts

I think I’ll keep my music for my long runs, but I’m going to leave it in my bag for my speedwork tomorrow and see how I feel.  I love the zoning out that can happen on a long run, where I look at my Garmin and notice that magically three or four miles have passed without me being aware of them.  It’s one of the reasons I run, to have those golden miles.  But, I think I can get there without the music too.

Do you ever run without music?  Do you find that you race better with the distraction of the music or when you can just focus on the run?

Best wishes to everyone running Boston today!  Stay #BostonStrong!

You Really Like Me: My Liebster Award Answers

The Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers that they enjoy and is a grass-roots way to help find new awesome blogs to read.

Last August, I was nominated for a Liebster Award and had a lot of fun answering the questions and nominating other blogs (feel free to read about it here for a flashback to the past).  I’ve been overwhelmed to be nominated by several different bloggers this week.  Because I’ve participated before, I won’t do the whole process but I really wanted to participate and answer all the questions.

I’ll start with Sara from Life Behind the Miles (thanks Sara!).

1. If you could spend the day with one famous person, who would it be and why?

Yowza this is a hard one.  Do I go all noble and name some philanthropist?  Or intellectual and name some famous thinker?  Or “woo-woo-girl” and name Brad Pitt or Hugh Jackman?  Hmmm.  I think I’ll choose “woo-woo-girl” crossed with “geek girl” and name David Tennant.  tennant1Mmmmmmmm.

2. What is an attribute you admire in others?

Extroversion, confidence, being outgoing.  Once I know someone, I’m all of those things but when I’m in a group or with people I don’t know well, I tend to feel awkward and to act like a wallflower.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the 3 things you would take with you?

Water purifier kit, guide to living on the land & a whole box of books (LOTR, Jane Austen, Harry Potter)!

4. If money was no object, what would you choose as your career?

Photography, travel writing and art.  I love creating and I think I have a different perspective from the average person.  I’m just too risk adverse to have such an uncertain cash flow.

5. What is YOUR greatest achievement?

Another hard one!  I think I have different things for different areas of my life.  Raising great kids, getting my CPA certificate, meeting my running goals, sticking with blogging for over a year.

6. Why did you decide to start blogging?

Two reasons.  (1) To get invited to meet-ups by runDisney (yeah that didn’t ever happen) and (2) to stop driving my family, friends and coworkers nuts with my running obsession (only partially successful).  I’ve kept blogging because of the friends I’ve met.  I considered quitting after PHM this year, but I met a couple of people who said my blog helped them with their training and that was such an amazing feeling, to know I’d made a difference even to a couple of people…  That’s why I keep blogging.

7. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I cannot stand bad grammar.  A great meme with the improper use of your vs. you’re just makes me crazy!  I also hate it when people smoke in public.  It’s not fair of me but I swear I can even smell it if people are smoking in the car in front of me with their windows down.

8.What is your favorite pizza toppings?

Shredded carrots and garlic.  Yes, I know…

9. What is the theme song of your life?

“Dig a little deeper” from Princess & The Frog.

10. If you had $1,000 that you could spend on anything, what would you spend it on?

Ending with an easy one:  Disney.  A trip to WDW, a Disney Cruise or runDisney races!


OK, next up is Kristy from Kristy Runs Kato, thanks Kristy!

1. If you could run with anyone,in any place in the world, where would you run & who would you run with?

I hope this doesn’t sound too sappy, but I really love traveling with my husband.  So, I’d run with Erik.  Where?  I cannot possibly come up with just one top place.  Alaska (in the summer!), the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Appalachian Trail, Hawaii, Italy, Greece, Scotland, China, France…  Can I please win the lotto???OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. If you weren’t scared, what would you do?

Mountain climb.  I think it must be just breathtaking but while I’m not unusually afraid of heights, I cringe when I see those people dangling from ropes.  Second answer: travel to Egypt, there is nowhere like it but I’m afraid of the violence.

3. What has blogging done for you and your life?

It’s opened up my social circle to encompass such amazing people with similar interests from near and far.  It’s given me some new friends and has helped me feel like I belong in a group (I’ve never been a ‘joiner’).  It’s helped me stick with my goals and celebrate my victories and cheer on my friends.  It’s given me an outlet for my obsessive research tendencies.  It’s helped me find my strength and my voice.

4. What is your favorite restaurant?

Satchel’s in Gainesville, FL.  It’s where I get my pizza with carrots and garlic on it.  A fun, eclectic place with great food.

5. What was the hardest race you have run? Why was it hard?

Can I keep cheating and answer more than one?  My very first race ever was the Micanopy Half Marathon in the mid 90′s.  I was undertrained, wearing cotton everything, no fuel, no hydration, no plan.  I swear I cried the entire second half of the race.  But I finished.  The runner-up was my Tink Half this year.  I got overconfident because it was my 3rd half marathon in 3 months, so I didn’t rest enough, eat properly or let myself recover from the 10k the day before.  I didn’t cry, but I wanted to!

6. When was the last time someone did something really special for you? What was it?

I think it was going to Anaheim for the Tink races.  I went without my family and it was not a popular move, but it was for me and despite the miserable half race, I really enjoyed my trip.

7. East coast or West coast?

East coast all the way!  Those Pacific waters are way too cold!  And earthquakes?  No thanks!IMG_2490

8. How would you describe your style?

Eclectic.  I think that’s a nice way of saying: none really.

9. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Parenting two great kids, getting my CPA certificate, being the first generation in my family to finish college, four halfs in four months, sticking with blogging!

10. Are you a hugger, hand shaker or high fiver?

I’m really a hugger, but I’m not always confident enough (darn you middle school social issues!) to initiate the hug (yes, I know how silly that sounds!).olaf2

And now on to Lauren from Running the States:

1. If you could run for any charity, which would you choose and why? (Stolen from #runnerslove)
I’ve actually thought about this one a lot because I’m considering on doing one of the runDisney runs in 2015 for charity.  There are so many amazing ones out there that do essential work.  It’s probably a tie between Give Kids the World because they recognize how important having a magical experience is for critically ill children and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because of the amazing research they support.
2. What’s your biggest “one and done” activity that you would do?
I’d love to do an Ironman….once.
3. If you could live in any city, which would it be and why?
I would love to live in New York.  The energy is so pervasive and Central Park is gorgeous and the restaurants are amazing (I’m talking to you Dr. Han’s) and the museums are endless and you don’t have to have a car and the people are fun to watch and you can walk, walk, walk, walk everywhere.
4. What’s the furthest you’ve traveled from home?
I’ve been to Europe three times.  Twice in high school when a family I babysat for paid for me to come over and help out over the summer (Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands) and a girls trip to Scotland with a great friend in 2008.
5. If money was no object, what is the one major purchase you would make?
If it had to be an object, it would be a well-kept Victorian house in the downtown area.  I’m actually not a big fan of “things”, I tend to spend my money mostly on experiences so if that was an option, I’d do an around-the-world trip to explore everything!
6. What is the proudest you’ve ever felt?
I’m sure I’ve done things that are more worthy, but the proudest I’ve ever felt (one of those “golden moments” in life) was when I trained properly and prepared well for my first 15k back in 98.  I ran the entire race, and the last mile of the race (Gate River Run) is up a huge bridge.  When I reached the very top of that bridge, knowing I was on pace and had run the whole way (passing everyone who had to walk up that steep incline)…in that moment, at the top of that stinking bridge, exhausted and with the wind whipping through my hair, I was so very proud of myself.  The desire to experience that again was part of why I’ve always wanted to start running again.
7. What is your favorite movie of all time, and why?
The BBC Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth.  It’s one of my favorite books and they recreated the setting so beautifully.  I know I wouldn’t really want to live in that era, but the movie makes me want to.    I don’t know why, but it just makes me happy.  firth
8. If you could meet any musical artist, who would it be any why?
I have no musical talent.  I literally cannot even whistle.  So I love meeting any musician because I’m so impressed by what they can do.  Maybe Bjork because she is so crazy!
9. What’s your favorite restaurant?
Satchel’s in Gainesville, FL because they have carrots and garlic toppings for my pizza, one of the best salads in the world, a crazy atmosphere and they treat their employees really well.
10. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

 Bad grammar and smoking (together or separately ha ha).


Well, that’s a lot of info about me!  I really appreciate the nomination and I love that the Liebster Award helps spread the word about amazing bloggers.  I’m only partially participating since I was lucky enough to get nominated last year, but I really appreciate all the nominations!  THANK YOU!!!!


Flash Giveaway: Bondiband $25 Gift Certificate

You guys may know that I’m a Bondiband Ambassador. I’m hosting a Flash Giveaway!bondibandambassador2b I just love their heavy sweat wicking headbands (I ran without one last week on accident and was so annoyed with having to wipe the sweat out of my eyes!).  You can read my review here.  Their compression socks are my very favorite as well, thin enough to be cool and comfortable but the compression is strong enough to be effective, plus they come in adorable patterns!bondicompressoinI’ve got a discount code of SPARKLE for an immediate 10% off anything on their site AND I’m hosting a flash giveaway for a $25 gift certificate so you can try out whatever product you’re curious about.

This ends tomorrow(!!) at midnight EST, so make sure to enter now!


Good luck and make sure to stock up now to be ready to deal with the sweat of summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WDW Marathon: Why I’m not going Dopey in 2015

The runDisney social media frenzy surrounding the WDW Marathon Weekend events got started last week when early registration opened up for annual pass holders and DVC members.  Regular registration opens up at noon EST this Tuesday, so settle in for another week of excited announcements of registrations for any or all of the races.

WDW Marathon Weekend is the big game, the proverbial super bowl of runDisney.

photo credit: runDisney

photo credit: runDisney

I’ve done almost all of the other runDisney races but haven’t yet participated in this signature event.  If you’re  not a runDisney expert, here are the weekend’s running events:

  • Family Fun Run 5k – Thursday, January 8 at 6:15am
  • WDW 10k – Friday, January 9 at 5:30am
  • WDW Half Marathon – Saturday, January 10 at 5:30am
  • WDW Marathon – Sunday, January 11 at 5:30am
  • Goofy Challenge – complete both the half marathon and the full marathon (39.3 miles) get three medals)
  • Dopey Challenge – complete all four races (48.6 miles – get six medals)

Here’s what my brain does:  Hmmm, I’ve been wanting to run a full marathon.  I’ve done four half marathons in four months, surely I can do a full marathon…  It’s not until January, that’s nine months away, surely I can get trained up just fine in nine months…  And if I’m getting trained for a full, I might as well do Goofy, right?  I mean, it is the five year anniversary of the race and the medal is awesome.    How hard can it be to do the two races?  While I’m at it, I might as well add the other two races and then I can join all my friends who are going Dopey.  Six medals in four days?!?!  That is awesome.  And I’ll be part of the elite runDisney runners who go big or go home…


photo credit: runDisney

And then I remember that last training run before Princess.  Where I was at mile ten and I thought crap this is taking forever.  And I’m tired.  And my leg hurts.  Well at least I just have a couple more miles to go and then I’m done.  And then I thought…if I was training for a full, I’d be less than half way.  Wow, that would stink.  Do I really want to be out here for more than four hours week after week?  Um…no…not really.Goofy15sorry

And I remembered hitting mile 12 during Princess and being so freaking happy to be almost done.  I cannot imagine being at mile 12 and thinking…ok, April, only 14.2 miles to go…  And I’m battling some tweaky issues with my legs.  And I’ve got a three year old and a 14-year old and a spouse who is mostly supportive but not all that excited about it when I go out for hours at a time on runs during family time.  And I’ve got a really demanding job.  And I need to lose forty pounds.

And so, I’m resisting the kool-aid and the temptation to join in the excitement.  I’m sticking to my plan to “just” register for the WDW 10k.  I have a serious goal to get much faster this year and training for a major endurance event like a full marathon (much less a four day event) is not going to help me with that goal right now.   I’m not saying “never” to the full (or to Dopey), but I’m saying “not this year”.    I had to use the same logic to resist signing up for the Keys Ragnar Relay in 2015 as well.  I really want to do that race, but it will still be there in 2016.

I hope those don’t sound like excuses.  I love a challenge, but I’ve been burnt before by doing too much too soon and by setting my sights too high.  I’ve only been back to running for two years now and I want to be running (and enjoying it!) for a long long time.  That means I have to curb my tendency to jump into the deep end immediately.

The Marathon (and the challenges) are a major commitment and I’m not going to sign up until I am confident that I can dedicate the time, energy and attention to the training that is required.  When I tackle that monster, I want to enjoy the journey and to own the race, not just struggle through it.  I think I learned a valuable lesson in California when I was under-prepared for the 10k/Half Tink Challenge.  I don’t want to experience that again, especially not for a full Marathon.

Congratulations to everyone who did take the plunge and best of wishes on your training and your races!  I’ll be joining you for the 10k and cheering you on for the rest of the races!

How do you resist doing too much too soon?  How do you know when it’s time to take on the challenge of the Marathon?  Are you running any (or all!) of the WDW Marathon Weekend races?

Friday Update – How am I doing on my five fitness goals?

Current Weight: 181.4
- From Last Week – 0.2 pound loss
- From Highest Weight -  52.6 pound loss

This is getting annoying.  I did see the 170′s for a couple of days and then boom, back to the 180′s…  I’m fine with this if it’s because I’m building muscle but it’s hard not to wonder if it’s just  because I’m not losing fat.  And I’m working way too hard to not be losing fat!  I’m about to do an Office Space printer smash with my scale.smashthescaleHere’s how I did on my five fitness goals (I’m linking up again with Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What, make sure you check out their Friday Five linkup for other great posts):

  1. Counting CarbsBreakfast – 30g; Lunch & Dinner – 45g each, snacks – 15g each. 
    • I did really well here again this week.  I had three slips during the week.  One dinner of potato pancakes that my husband made and I had a few too many because I was hungry and they were delicious; four bite sized cupcakes (grrrr to my coworkers for bringing that crack into the office) as a snack yesterday and a small order of onion rings at lunch yesterday as self-medication for a stressful long meeting (17 hour work days are awesome).  Otherwise I stuck to my plan.  I just can’t believe that those small cheats are enough to prevent weight loss.
  2. Structured Eating – 3 meals and 3 snacks per day.
    • I did ok with this.  Three meals all the time and I tried to remember all snacks, but I tended to miss my mid-morning one.  I think this is so important and I need to find a better way to make it happen.  When I get too hungry, potato pancakes and mini cupcakes begin to sing their siren song to me…
  3. Running – Focus on speed and form.
    • 5 mile long run at a 10 min mile pace on Sunday
    • 8×400 repeats under 8:40 on Tuesday
    • 2 mile tempo run under 9:40 on Thursday
    • Monday & Wednesday were bike cross training
  4. Strength – Commit to 2x a week strength. 
    • Monday & Wednesday completed.  I originally wanted to do 3x a week but I don’t think that’s going to work for me while I know I can manage the 2x a week schedule.
  5. Adventure.
    • As promised, we went to the Devil’s Millhopper last Friday.  It’s a gorgeous sinkhole that you can go down a bunch of steps into.IMG_2665 In addition to going down all those steps, I also got to carry my 30lb preschooler piggyback all the way up those stairs.  There are a LOT of stairs.  It was gorgeous and with all the rain lately, the waterfalls were really flowing. After going down into the sinkhole, we also did a nature walk around the sinkhole.  Lots of fun and a beautiful setting.IMG_2674
    • This week we may have to skip it because Eli has a cold and it’s going to rain a ridiculous amount today and tomorrow.

Last weekend was insane.  Friday was the adventure trip, picking up Erik’s cake (40th birthday!)Erikcake40taking it to our friend’s house, doing more errands, then getting ready for a flea market at my mom’s church that I committed to during a moment of weakness.  I haven’t had a garage sale in a decade because I hate getting ready for them and dealing with the crazy people who inevitably show up and threaten to go to the bathroom in my yard if I don’t let them use the one in my house (true story).  Then we had dinner (grown ups only, woo hoo) and a party for Erik’s birthday (look at the awesome tattoos we got! So sad mine are already gone).Erik40tattoos  Got home close to midnight, woke up at 5:30am for the flea market.  Drove out, set up, sold stuff, went to lunch with Erik’s family for his birthday, went back, packed up came home, crashed.  Woke up, started house cleaning because on Sunday we were having friends over (this was probably my most social weekend ever).  Squeezed in my five mile long run and got in the shower just as our friends came over.  Whew.  So much fun but absolutely exhausting!!  That’s my long version of why this is my first blog post since last Friday!

My left knee was really tweaky after my speed work Tuesday.  I iced it and taped it with Rock Tape and it was feeling a lot better by my Thursday run.  I think I’ll make sure to tape it before my speed work this week.  I’m sticking with my plan this week.  If the scale stays the same I may take a break from it for a while.  It’s getting discouraging and I know that I’m making progress (I just have to believe it!) and I don’t want to give up on this good work just because I’m not seeing the # on the scale move…scale

How did your week go?

Friday Update with NSV

Current Weight: 181.6
- From Last Week – 0.2 pound loss
- From Highest Weight -  52.4 pound loss

Meh.  I was a perfect little angel…ok starting Monday, I was a perfect little angel.  Over the weekend I was “saying goodbye to junky carbs”.  Krispy Kreme donuts.  Potato chips.  Popeyes biscuits.  On Monday, I put my new plan into place and have been 99.9% perfect this week.

Here’s how I did on the five things I’m changing:

  1. Counting CarbsBreakfast – 30g; Lunch & Dinner – 45g each, snacks – 15g each. 
    • I did really well here.  Probably a bit lower than these goals with 15 for breakfast and 30 for lunch.  Green smoothie for breakfast with protein powder.  Smoothie with peanut butter and almond milk after workouts.  Moderate fruit (4-5 a day) and pushing the veggies.
  2. Structured Eating – 3 meals and 3 snacks per day.
    • I did ok with this.  Three meals all the time and I tried to remember all snacks, but I tended to miss my mid-morning one.
  3. Running – Focus on speed and form.
    • A+ for me!  I did my first two scheduled runs, my 8×400 repeats on Tuesday and a tempo run on Thursday.  I did both under the speed suggested in the book (just a bit faster) and am shocked by how fast I’m actually able to run.  I’m a bit afraid of getting injured by going so much faster, but I’m going to trust the training and stick to the plan.  I also did the two days of scheduled cross training on the stationary bike (while watching Charmed on Netflix).
  4. Strength – Commit to 2x a week strength. 
    • A+ for me!  I bought the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women because it also has a structured training plan (six months!) with very specific exercises.  It has a 3x a week recommendation, so that’s what I’m starting with.  I did workouts on Monday and Wednesday following my bike cross training.
  5. Adventure – Start now!
    • Today’s adventure is going to have to wait.  It’s Erik’s 40th birthday today so I have party planning to take care of and we’re doing a garage sale tomorrow so I have to get all our crap, I mean treasures organized, packed up, and tagged today!  You know what?  I’ve come back to this and decided that I can’t start off by skipping this.  We’re going to go to the Devil’s Millhopper today.  It’s a gorgeous sinkhole that you can go down a bunch of steps into.  The vegetation is really lush and there are waterfalls all around the sinkhole.  There’s also a nature walk around the sinkhole.  It’s only three miles away from my house, so that’s today’s adventure!godothem

Overall I had a good week.  I ate very well and did all my scheduled workouts even when work threw some wrenches in the way.  Of course I’m disappointed not to see the scale moving down but I had a few non scale victories this week that I’m going to focus on instead:

  • Being able to run my 8×400 repeats at an average pace of 8:27.  Crazy!
  • Being able to run my 2 mile tempo run at an average pace of 9:20 without feeling too exhausted.
  • I get sports massage and I was discussing my weight loss goals with my massage therapist and she was shocked that I wanted to lose 40 more pounds.  She said with my body composition that I need to ignore the BMI charts because if I lost 40 pounds I’d be too thin.  Now, I don’t actually agree with that, but it’s nice that someone who is pretty familiar with my body was surprised that I need to lose that much weight.
  • I had a co-worker comment that I had lost a lot of weight (ha ha I’ve actually gained 10lbs this year!).  Now, I was wearing some spanx and a new dress, but hey, I take compliments wherever I can get them!
  • I’d been having some “spells” where I just felt off.  Not dizzy, but kind of out of it a bit.  I was suspecting that they were blood sugar related.  This week I didn’t have any.  I think my lower carb plus scheduled eating is helping to keep my blood sugar level throughout the day.

This coming week I’m sticking with my Five Things Plan (patent pending).  My diet plans always have an exception for major holidays and direct family birthdays.  So, today will have cake and alcohol and some delicious stuffed shrimp.  But only during the 6pm-midnight party period.  And I’ll have a rest day Saturday and my long run on Sunday.plateau

I truly believe that I’m making progress on reducing my body fat % and building muscle.  I’m fine with it being a slow process as long as I’m going the right direction with a diet and exercise plan that I can stick with for the long run.  I just never have “gotten” the concept of a drastic diet/exercise plan that is clearly not a life-long plan.  Why go through all the pain and effort to lose 50lbs if you know that it’s just going to come back on when you (inevitably) can’t stick with the all carrots/no carrots/only red foods/no red foods/pills/shots/shakes diet for the rest of your life?

What diet/eating plan has been most successful for you and why?

8×400 If It Was Easy Everyone Would Do It

So today I did my very first “official” speedwork.  Pam at We Run Disney recommended the book Run Less, Run Faster to me when I was bemoaning my inability to get a pinecone trophy at my 5k last weekend.  I dutifully went out and bought it (along with The New Rules of Lifting for Women and book 5 of Game of Thrones) and mapped out my training schedule for the year.

The book recommends a 3×2 approach which is three days of running, (repeats, tempo, long run) and two days of cross training (bike, swim or row).  Monday was my cross train day and I did the stationary bike plus day one of my new strength training plan.  I hate the stationary bike so very very much but I gave it a try and apparently, when you add Charmed on Netflix streaming to the stationary bike, it’s not so bad after all!

Today was 8×400 repeats.  Hmmm 8×400 = 1,600 = 2 miles.  I can do two miles easy!  What I didn’t realize is that with repeats 2 miles actually equals 5 miles with warm up/cool down/repeats and recovery laps.  I had heard of repeats but didn’t really know how they worked.  So here’s what I did for my prescribed 8×400:


  • I looked in the chart in the book to get my goal pace for the repeats (it’s based on your current 5k time).
  • I went to a local track (at noon because it was rainy all morning).
  • The track was a 1/4 mile track which conveniently equals 400meters, so one lap = one repeat.
  • I set my Garmin to let me manually hit a button for a lap.
  • The book also prescribed the proper warmup, recovery intervals (also 400m) and cooldown.
  • I jogged one mile at a slow-ish speed.  The last lap of that mile I did pickups (you just run faster then slower for short bits) and butt kicks and knee lifts.
  • I started a new lap on my Garmin, then I ran my first repeat.  It was a full lap, 400m, 1/4 mile.  My goal pace was 8:40 which is insane.  I don’t run that fast ever.  Which is apparently why they call it “speed work”.  I glanced at  my watch and I was going a bit faster than my goal speed which was crazy.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up the pace but I just kept pushing it.  The first lap felt pretty good.
  • Then I jogged my “recovery” lap.
  • The second repeat was a little harder, but still felt good.
  • I walked/ran my next recovery lap.
  • The third repeat felt hard.  Really hard.  Especially the last 100m or so.  I started thinking maybe I mis-remembered the # of repeats.  It couldn’t have been 8.  Probably 4.
  • I walked/ran my next recovery lap, pulled out my phone and checked my workout schedule.  Crap.  It really did say 8.  How am I going to 8 of these monsters?  I’m probably going to die out here.
  • I grabbed some water and then started repeat #4.  Yep, still hard.  Still painful.  OK, I’m going to quit after this one.  Four is respectable for a first go at speed work.  I’m sure next time will be easier.  I’ll just do my recovery  lap and then I’ll go back to my car.
  • I walked/ran the recovery lap and convinced myself to do just one more repeat.
  • Repeat #5.  Geez it’s hot.  And sunny.  And my breathing is all messed up.  And my legs feel like lead.  Crap, I’m only half way around this huge track.  OK, just keep going.  Almost there and then you can quit.  Just do your recovery lap to cool down.
  • Water, recovery lap walk/run.  Well, maybe I can do just one more repeat.
  • Repeat #6.  Why did I do this?  I’m not fast.  I’m just going to pass out and die.  Well, at least I have my roadID on so they can identify my body.  Just keep moving.  Just keep breathing.  This can be your last repeat.  Six is a lot.  Just one more recovery lap to cool down.
  • Water, recovery lap walk/run.  Only two left.  I’m not a quitter.  I can run slower if I need to but I’m damn well going to do this.
  • Repeat #7.  Geez it’s hot.  And my legs feel like lead.  Push, push, push.  Almost there.  Done.
  • Recovery lap walk/run.  Only one more.
  • Repeat #8.  Finish strong.  Last lap.  If it was easy everyone would do it.  If you want to get faster, you have to learn to deal with pain and discomfort.  You are NOT going to die, just keep going.
  • Yay!  Last recovery lap.  Walked the whole thing slow as molasses but done!

I actually ran all the repeats except #6 and #7 faster than my goal pace which is absolutely freaking shocking to me.

8x400n1It wasn’t really fun (ok #1 was kind of fun) and it did hurt a lot and it was way too hot and sunny, but I’m so glad I got it done and I can see how this kind of structured work will really help my racing speed eventually.IMG_2649

I’m glad I only have to do this workout once a week.  And next time I’m going in the morning because (1) it was crazy hot and sunny and (2) I ended up with my first sunburn of the year!  I may find a quarter mile loop in the neighborhood because the track is a bit of a drive from work and with the added miles, this took longer than my usual workday runs.

It may not be realistic, but here’s my goal.  I want to be on this list next year for the 2015 WDW 10k:wdw10k14

Have you ever done “formal” speedwork?  Does it get easier or do you always feel like you’re going to die?

Race Recap Flatwoods 5k at Austin Cary Forest

It has been months and months since my last local race, the Healthy Hearts 5k in September.  While big races have their own challenges (longer distance runs, transportation issues, expos), smaller local races cause me a different kind of anxiety.  I live in a college town and the runners who live here are fast.  So although I finish in the top 30% of big races, I often finish in the bottom 30% of local races.  It’s not the best thing for my ego, but it does give me a lot of motivation to put the work in to speed up.flatwoods5k

This is the first time I’ve run the Flatwoods 5k, but I was excited about it because it’s held in Austin Cary which is a beautiful local forest.

Flatwoods 5kThe course is all on this limestone road that loops through the woods.  No pavement, no traffic and very few spectators.  There was one water stop about half-way through.

I woke up with some stomach pains and I was actually afraid I was going to have my very first DNS (did not start).  I ended up not eating anything and taking a pepto and a zyrtec and crossing my fingers and heading out.  Because I spent some extra time dealing with tummy trouble, I actually ended up getting to the race only about 15 minutes before the start.  That is completely unlike me and way out of my comfort zone.  I was able to pick up my bib and hustle over to the start area.  I lined up around the middle of the start area and the race director gave some instructions and pointed out a small drone aircraft flying over us (you might be able to see it in the photo below) that would be shooting pictures/video of the start and finish. Flatwoods 5k A few minutes later the start gun went off.

Flatwoods 5k

Like all race starts, it was a bit crowded at first and I found myself behind a group running a bit slower than my goal of a sub-30 minute race.  As soon as I realized that I was behind pace, I passed and sped up.  I was relieved to find that my stomach seemed to have settled down and that I was going to be able to run after all.  I was feeling pretty good and looked at my Garmin and realized I was running much too fast for this early in the race.  So, I slowed back to a middle pace, pushing it a bit but not too much.


About a mile in, I started feeling tired and over things.  I was thinking that quitting might be fun.  Just hike over to my car and go home.  I think these are the kind of thoughts that swing through my head during any race that I’m pushing myself with either distance or speed.  I ignored those thoughts and just focused on each footfall, each runner that was around me, the water stop that wasn’t too far away, the gorgeous landscape we were running through.

I stopped for a quick walk through the water stop.  I hadn’t hydrated enough before the race, so the water was welcome (and I actually wished the cup was a bit bigger!).  Then, back to running.  I was feeling refreshed from the water and felt like I could pick up the pace a bit more.  I was running in the same group of people, taking turns passing and being passed.  About a mile from the finish, I put my music on and pushed as hard as I could without feeling like I was risking burning out before the finish.

About half a mile from the finish I sped up a bit more and was passed by one couple and passed about four more people in the last stretch.


It was a chip timed race but the timing was from the gun, not from when you crossed the start.  My Garmin gave me 29:55.  I’ve done a 5k faster, but I’m happy with this result.  Flatwoods5kpaceI was really hoping for (but not expecting) one of these pine cone trophies for the winners and top three in each age group but it was not to be.  I did pass some people who won in other age groups, but I’ve found that my new age group (40-44) is pretty darn competitive.  I’m sixth in these age group results even with a sub-30 (barely!)! 103 out of 167.   fw5kJust more incentive to step up my game, lose weight and do some formal speed work.  I’m getting one of those next year!Flatwoods 5k Awards

Although I didn’t get an award or a PR, I really enjoyed this race course.  The race was well organized and well run and the course was gorgeous.  It’s outside of town, but not too far from my house so it’s pretty convenient and it was very affordable.  The race shirt was tech material, unisex but pretty nice.  I’ll definitely run it again next year.

Friday Update – And Five Things I’m Going To Change

Current Weight: 181.8
- From Last Week – 0.4 pound gain
- From Highest Weight -  52.2 pound loss

Well, I was doing really well this week, especially since I was on vacation, until yesterday.  Bad things happened in eating land yesterday.  Here’s how it went down:


This week was my “recovery” week that I took off to recuperate from the insane 60-70 hour work weeks I’ve been doing for a special project basically since last September.  The hours were bad, but the frustration of having to figure out how to do things (basically reinventing the wheel) and the worry that I’d fail were even worse.  Last Monday was the last day of that assignment (yay!!!).  My nerves were shot, my motivation was gone, my “doing things I don’t want to do” mojo was all used up.  So this week was designed to get my groove back (so to speak).

  • Monday I ran, had acupuncture and an 80 minute massage at a spa (thanks Erik for the gift certificate!).  Then I had the final work meeting for my project which went better than I expected.  Fitness Grade (FG) = A; Relaxing Grade (RG) = C (the project meeting was looming all day and my Dad had some health issues I was worried about).
  • Tuesday I drove 1 1/2 hours to Crescent Beach all by myself and read and napped and took an hour long walk down the beach.  The water was too cold for this Florida girl to swim, but I did wade out to my knees.  Ahhhh.  I just love the beach, I wish I lived closer.  I tend to oversnack at the beach but I did great with a Luna protein bar and some fruit.  FG = A- (I should have done some strength work) RG = A
  • Wednesday I read and blogged and caught up on some friends’ blogs and met a friend for lunch (and did not make the best choices) and then read some more.  My left knee was feeling tight and tweaky from Monday’s run so I justified skipping my run.  I ate pretty well but not perfectly.  FG = C; RG = B
  • Thursday I watched Game of Thrones and played on the computer in the morning, had a work-related lunch meeting, early voted in the City elections and went to Publix to pick up some snacks.  Oh-oh.  Here are where things went downhill quickly.  Whenever I have working or networking lunches, I don’t enjoy my food so I end up leaving still hungry even if I ate shrimp and grits and sweet potato fries (just hypothetically of course).  I often turn to food as a relaxing drug and I somehow convinced myself that it was my recovery week and I deserved to snack and that snacking would make me much more relaxed.  Yeah.  That happened.  Chips AND cookies.  And a Mtn Dew.  Ugh.  FG = F- ; RG = B-

So, I’m not surprised to see a bit of a gain.  I’m not going to beat myself up over this but I do think it signals that this eating moderately and trying to avoid junk isn’t going to work for me RIGHT NOW.  Hopefully it will one day.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, here’s what I’m going change so that I can start making progress again:

  1. Counting Carbs – I had gestational diabetes with Eli which I was able to control with diet alone.  The diet included counting carbs at meals and it worked well and I wasn’t hungry and felt fine.  My last blood work had my HA1c at 6.7 which is right at the beginning of pre-diabetes, so I am clearly having blood sugar issues which is likely what is causing me to have trouble losing weight. Breakfast – 30g; Lunch & Dinner – 45g each, snacks – 15g each. Without distance runs this summer, hopefully the carb levels will be fine for my energy.
  2. Structured Eating – I do best when my blood sugar is stable.  When I get too hungry, I make bad choices.  I’m going to commit to 3 meals and 3 snacks per day.  I managed it when I was pregnant by making it a priority, losing weight is a high priority for me, I need to own it.
  3. Running – No more than 6 miles at a time.  Focus on speed and form.  Integrate real speed work into my week (guess I have to figure out what tempo runs and Yasso 800′s really are).
  4. Strength – Commit to 2x a week strength.  Contact a trainer to show me how to really use the free weights instead of just improvising.  Research local classes like cross-fit.  Look for used PX-90 type workout videos.
  5. Adventure – I’m not going to wait to get to my goal weight to start adventuring again.  I’ve gotten so involved in distance running/training and blogging that my weekend adventures have gotten few and far between.  I’ve got Fridays off (I work four ten hour days) so Eli and I are going to start having one outdoor adventure every Friday. I’ll schedule them out based on the weather.  Maybe I’ll even make an Adventure Jar and put ideas on slips of paper and we’ll randomly draw one out for an element of surprise.  Today we’re going to the springs!

Those are my five things!  Make sure to check out the awesome Friday Free-Form Five Things linkup sponsored by You Signed Up For What!?!, Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run.  Today’s linkup is free-form topics so you never know what awesomeness is in store for you to find!

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