Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is This What It's Like to Get Old?

I couldn't help myself this morning, I had to snap a photo of my 'breakfast of champions."

Don't worry, I also had a Costco muffin!

Things I'd love to find in my stocking this Christmas: a pill organizer. You know, with a different slot for each day of the week. I could set out my pills each Sunday night and not have to fuss with all the child-safety tops early in the morning, before my coffee has a chance to kick in.

In case you're wondering what all those pretty little pills are, we've got 
  • a multi-vitamin - cause my diet is far from balanced
  • an allergy pill - I don't know exactly what I'm allergic to but these guys help a bit
  • fish oil - mainly for my joints but it does good elsewhere too
  • Aleve - is it sad that I have to take a painkiller every morning?
  • biotin - makes my hair and nails grow like weeds, I highly recommend it!
Tomorrow morning is my last regular class and then it's finals study mode all the way. My boss was awesome enough to give me this weekend off so I will have time to study, but to be honest I'm already feeling pretty good! I'm planning to fit in some runs during my study breaks since my BFF and I are signed up for a 5K/10K double-header on Christmas Eve eve, yikes!! Also, I've got tickets to see the Nutcracker this Sunday, gotta get into the holiday spirit before it's too late...

Do you have an arsenal of pills too? Any I should add to my regimen? How about last minute study tips? Or pills that help you study... pills that improve your memory... pills that make you run farther? 

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "Off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's in Your Purse?

I have not been blogging, I have not been running, so what have I been doing? Homework. Lots and lots of homework. And when I'm not in class or doing work for class, I'm at work making money so I can pay for more classes. I'm freaking exhausted, my body is sore, my mind is mushy and I cannot wait for it all to be done.
Today, I'll give you a little peek into my day-to-day with a "What's in Your Purse?" Now, my purse these days is not so traditional, but you know what I'm getting at right?

  1. My Backpack
    • Outer Pocket: Hand lotion, sunglasses, wallet, pencil pouch, mini-purse (where I keep my lip balm, bobby pins, phone and other very small bits and pieces), headphones, and UniPak slides.

    • Inner Pocket: Biology lab manual and lecture binder, day planner, umbrella, and Athletic Training textbook and notebook.

  2. My Dance Bag
    • Baby wipes, deodorant, hair brush, head band, ballet shoes, ancient jazz shoes, and not pictured: clean clothes cause I sweat like nobody's business in class!

So there you have it, all the junk I lug around. Hopefully soon I will get back to running and blogging about running!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Traveling Thoughts

Are we still supposed to get to airports 2 hours before our flights? Maybe it's just me, but every time I arrive early I end up just waiting at the gate for hours.

What's the story with the body scan selection process? I don't know if I should be flattered or offended that they chose me over the shady-looking fat lady before me. Do I look devious or did they just want to check me out?

One of my biggest pet peeves: women who don't wash their hands in public restrooms! Just sticking them under the water for a second does not get them clean, and using that water to fix your hair is almost as bad as just dipping your head in the toilet. Soap is good, use it please!

Also, airports are one of my favorite places to people watch! Have a great weekend friends!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This Weeks Failures

So, my weekend run did not go as planned. I headed out late on Sunday and ran to a local park intending to just go until I hit 4.25 miles and then turn around. I made it to the 2.5 mi mark before turning, I forgot how quickly the sun sets in fall and was getting a little nervous about being stuck in the dark. I didn't help things by listening to my new Halloween playlist along the way.  This was my view:

as the Halloween theme played, creepy right?

It turns out I made the right decision. Not long after turning, my knee started acting up. At first it wasn't pain but more of a pressure, as if something was trying to force my knee inward. I tried to run though it but soon it became painful and I had to walk. My hips started killing me as soon as I began to walk. It's the same pain I've been dealing with for the past few weeks but I have never hurt like this. So here I am, limping home, walking til I can't anymore and then running til I can't, just wanting to be home before full dark. In all, I hobbled only 4.8 of my 8.5 miles.

After class today I went to the Student Health Center to talk with the RN. She gave me some stretches to do and recommended plenty of Motrin. Unfortunately she also thinks it's likely the problem could be osteoarthritis rather than simply ITBS. Great, huh? She told me that after the Tinkerbell run in January, I should think seriously about choosing a new hobby. I don't know what my long-term running plans are but being told I can't (or at least shouldn't) continue is pretty disheartening. I had a very vague notion of someday finishing a full marathon and was at least hoping for another half. 

For now, I'm all about pain management. Thank goodness for foam rollers!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Glad That's Over

This has been a ridiculous week. It started last Saturday with 8 straight hours of homework and ended with a 2.5 hour potions lab this morning. (FYI Potions is what I call my chemistry lab in an effort to make it more fun.) I am exhausted, sore and haven't run in 6 days. I'm really nervous about tomorrows 8.5 miles!

Luckily, this week is over and next week is starting. Tonight I get to see the 'So You Think You Can Dance' tour, tomorrow I get to spend a night with two of my favorite ladies, and next Friday I get to fly to Orlando to see one of my other favorite ladies marry a guy I think is pretty great. I'm hoping to be able to visit the Magic Kingdom while I'm there, everyone's photos from Fantasyland are taunting me! I lived through so much of that construction, I think it's time to see the finished product, right?

How was your week? Got any big plans for the upcoming week? Want to take bets on whether or not I'll survive tomorrows run?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ballet for Boobies

Look at all the lovely ladies who remembered to wear pink today! In memory and in support, we danced for the ta-ta's today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Thoughts ed. 1

Random thoughts from todays run:

  1. Will Mr. March ever make it home? (DON'T tell me!)
  2. I know Beth dies, but I can't remember when or how. (DON'T tell me!)
  3. Will Jo and Laurie ever realize they're made for each other? (DON'T tell me!)
  4. Who played Meg in the movie version? (You can tell me this one)
As you can see, I'm not finished running my way through Little Women. I'm loving it and I really don't know why I never read it before. I mean, I devoured books as a kid! In 5th grade I got in trouble for bringing a Steven King novel to school for free reading time. In 6th grade I would pretend I hadn't done my homework so I could be sent to the detention room while the rest of my Core class had to go play basketball. In both these instances, my mom totally backed me, I'm lucky to have gotten my love of literature from her.

Even though I'm only halfway through this book, I'm already thinking about what's next. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Most Important Meal of the Day

When it comes to food, I am a major creature of habit. I like to eat the same thing every day, at about the same time, for months on end. This is especially true when it comes to breakfast. For the past few months I've been having a Costco muffin and cup of coffee every morning some time between 6:30 and 7:30 AM. Well, for the last few days, we've been out of muffins and my mornings have felt totally chaotic. I had a backup plan, toast with Nutella... then we ran out of bread. Today I was really at a loss, no muffins, no toast (and I got up too late to get my dad to fry a few extra eggs for me), no bueno. I ended up with a bowl of instant oatmeal and was ready to gnaw my own arm off by the end of my second dance class! I'm embarrassed to admit I just finished inhaling two grilled cheese sandwiches (with tomato, so kinda healthy right?) and then high-tailed it out of the cafeteria in shame.

Why don't I just go to the grocery store? I could tell you how busy my schedule is, how I'm saving every penny for a plane ticket to the Miller/Taylor wedravaganza, or how my mom prefers to do the grocery shopping each week, but the real truth is I'm just really lazy. Going through the whole Costco experience for just one dozen muffins seems like an awful lot of work and adding a trip to the grocery store on my way home for somewhere rarely ever works out. I get home and then realize "Oh, I meant to stop for bread... oops."

The thing is, I didn't really realize how necessary that breakfast ritual is to me. I firmly believe it is the most important meal of the day. Without breakfast, I am ravenous, unfocused and short-tempered. I make terrible lunch choices on days I don't eat breakfast and they never really satisfy me anyway. As for the "ritual" part of it, I like starting my day the same each morning. It helps me to feel organized and in control of the day to come. I can arrive at class confident that I remembered to put on deodorant, brought the correct books and locked my car door. Any little change to my morning and all bets are out the window. All I know is, thank goodness today is a dance day or I would totally be the stinky kid...

Are you a breakfast eater? Do you have a morning ritual or just freestyle through life? Do you carry deodorant at all times or just on days you know you'll be working out?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seven Miles

I hit a new milestone today, seven miles! That's more than half of a half marathon, y'all. I'm not pleased at how much walking I had to do, but my overall pace was 13'08" and as long as I can stay under 16' I'm okay with it... for now. And I'm too busy being psyched at finishing seven miles to be too disappointed anyway!
Today was also the first time I ran with a water bottle. I borrowed my Mom's amphipod, a water bottle with a padded handle/pocket. It was great having water along the way, especially since I had to run after noon, but I really didn't like having to carry it the whole time. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to rock the fanny pack holster. How do you hydrate during your runs? Do you prefer belt packs or handhelds? Or are there other options I haven't even considered yet?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Running and Releves

You know what doesn't go together so well? Running and releves. You guys my calves are KILLING me! I really need to get better about stretching after my runs, I've been focusing so much on flexibility in my hips but not so much on the rest of my leg. On a happy note, both my dance teachers complimented my turnout today so I guess I'm doing something right. Also, I love ballet! I don't know that I'm any good at it but I am having so much fun, it really doesn't matter.

Yesterday was my longest run (without a walk break) at 25 minutes in a very long time. For some reason I'm having a hard time controlling my breathing lately. It doesn't take long for me to get out of breath, but I know my pace hasn't sped up or anything odd. Maybe it's the cooler weather? Has that ever happened to you, things are going along fine and then you seem to regress for no clear reason? How did you work through it? It's such a mental struggle to not let this ruin my motivation.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ultimate Multi-tasking

I'm happy to report that I did get my butt in gear and went out for my 5 mile run Saturday morning. It was... uneventful. I guess the honeymoon phase is over. 5 miles is my longest run yet, but somehow I wasn't very excited about it. Maybe it's because I had to take walk breaks every mile, maybe I've lost a little of my enthusiasm, or maybe I'm just jaded now. Regardless, I did it and I'm glad I did.

A while back, I stumbled upon an awesome website full of free audio books. LibriVox has hundreds of titles to choose from, all from the public domain, mostly classics and such. You can download the books in a few ways, I use the 'subscribe to iTunes' version which downloads the books as a series of podcasts. Instead of music, I've been listening to books while I run. Right now I'm in chapter 8 of Little Women, and in book worm heaven. There is never enough time in my days for reading anymore, but now I can multi-task and enjoy two hobbies at once. It's awesome!

Do you listen to books while you run? Or music? Or do you prefer to tune into the sounds of your running instead?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ambivalent

Good things:

  • I'm currently getting A's in all six classes. I was actually pretty worried about this, it's been a long time since I've done this whole student thing and was afraid my brain was out of shape or something.
  • Both my dance teachers are kicking my butt and expecting a more professional performance level based on my previous employment. I tried explaining to them I was only ever a yellow-red but they either don't get it or don't care. However, I can tell my technique is improving because of their encouragement.
  • My waistline is shrinking and my flexibility is increasing, finally! My big goal this semester is to be able to bend over and (comfortably) put my palms to the floor without bending my knees. My huge goal is to do a split... that will probably have to wait though.
Bad things:
  • The sun is sleeping in later and later. I really don't like running in the dark, I don't have any reflective gear plus feel it's kind of unsafe.
  • I let myself skip my last two runs. I missed a 2 miler on Saturday and a 30 min run on Monday. Do I make up for these on rest days or just let them slide?
  • Something is not right inside me. I am completely exhausted lately! I'm sleeping the same amount of hours and not experiencing any other symptoms, no sore throat, congestion, nausea, depression... I cannot explain it. My mind is alert and functioning but my body is soooo tired, all the time. Walking to the kitchen to fill a glass of water makes me want to take a nap. I'm asleep on my feet after dance class. I've literally been sitting in the same chair in the corner of the library for 1.5 hours, dreading the time I have to get up and walk across campus for my next class. Is this what it's like to get old? What possibly fatal disease manifests as physical exhaustion? I'm afraid to ask WebMD, I'm sure they'll tell me it's cancer.
Ambivalent things:
  • I may end up having to add an extra semester here at the community college. I just found out that anatomy is a pre-requisite for physiology, so I may not be able to take them both in the spring as the college website suggested (I have a meeting with a counselor in a few weeks and I'm going to ask for a waiver to take them concurrently). I can't decide whether this is good or bad. I had fully intended to be able to transfer to a UC or CSU next fall. I'm anxious to finish my degree and get working. However, if I add an extra semester, I am adding space for some just-for-fun classes and one of my all time favorite professors is rumored to be un-retiring next year and I would LOVE to sing with him again.

Send encouraging vibes my way tomorrow morning, I really have to get out of bed and get my butt out the door, it will have been a week since my last run. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Importance of Being Complimentary

I think all women, maybe men too, are really unhappy with a particular part of their body or appearance. For me, it has always been my skin. I got screwed when puberty hit and now that I'm out of my 20's you might think the breakouts would stop but no. I finally feel like it's under control but nowhere near what I'd like. One of the worst things about acne-prone skin is figuring out how to conceal it without using so much makeup that you're adding to the problem. I tend to be very anti-makeup, I suck at using concealer and foundation and mostly stick to a light dusting of powder. This of course offers very little coverage, but I always figured if people were going to make fun of me, I'd rather it be for my bad skin than my inability to use makeup correctly!

Today at work, everything that could go wrong did. I was so frustrated, at one point I almost sat down in the shoe stock room for a cry. Then I pictured myself sobbing amidst boxes of boots that cost more than my entire wardrobe and decided to get the heck out of there! I headed to one of our women's departments and while I was searching for a few dresses, I got to chatting with one of the personal stylists. As I was leaving she said, "You have the most beautiful skin, I've wanted to tell you a few times but I know that's an odd thing to say." I hardly knew how to respond. I don't know this lady well but she seems to be very kind and very genuine, I was pretty sure she wasn't teasing me. I know she wasn't trying to sell me anything, and she definitely wasn't coming on to me. I was completely flustered and shocked. Didn't she see the same girl that lives in my mirrors? Was my view of myself, all these years, really that off?

For the rest of my shift, nothing that went wrong seemed to matter at all, it was just one bad shift and tomorrow will be better. Being complimented on that one trait of which I am so self-conscious turned my entire day around. I won't lie, being over 30, moving back to my parents house, going back to junior college and even starting over in a brand new line of work while pretty much all my friends are getting married and pregnant has taken a real toll on my self confidence. My lovely coworker had no idea how much I needed that ego boost, making her kind words that much more impactful.

You never know how much your words will mean to a person. I think we all need to make an effort to be more complimentary, more appreciative and more friendly to one another. I challenge each of you to  say more nice things to those around you. Whether you see it or not, you will be having a positive effect on the world and you may turn around someone's rotten day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Awwwwww Freak Out!

I'm minorly freaking out, friends. I have my first Biology "midterm" tomorrow (I use the term midterm loosely as clearly, it is not the middle of the term and my instructor is playing fast and loose with words here) and I have no idea if I'm ready or not. I've been studying in pretty much every free moment and it's gotten to the point that I can almost recite my notes from memory. However, I don't know this guy, I have no clue what his test will be like, I only know he has a reputation for being thorough... wish me luck!

In running news, nothing exciting has happened. I've been doing 30 minutes twice a week and last Saturday was only a 3 miler. My hips still hurt but not as much. I think running too close to the gutter was actually the culprit, the street tilts there obviously and so I was not running on a level surface. Once I realized that, I started moving out a little farther from the curb and it seems to be helping a lot.

So tomorrow afternoon, send good vibes my way, cross your fingers for me, and hopefully I'll get through this test without losing my mind!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Half Marathons and Hip Pain

Today I began the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon program. A 30 minute run, nothing special or exciting. I also walked about 2.7 mi with my mom after my run. I'm excited about the long weekend runs ahead of me, looking forward to exploring new routes and really pushing myself.

Before I can run too many miles though, I need to figure out what is wrong with my hips. After Saturday's run and again today I have had some fairly major pain in both hips, focused mostly on the posterior of the joint - sort of the upper, outer corner of each butt cheek. I doesn't hurt while I'm running but for mot of the day after, especially when standing after sitting for a long time and when climbing stairs. I've done some internet research and can't find anything that really fits my symptoms. Any ideas what might be going on? Have you had similar pain, know an stretches or exercises I should be doing? Being poor and without health insurance, I hope to troubleshoot this myself, let's keep our fingers crossed that it's nothing major!

I hope you're having a wonderful Labor Day, I am certainly enjoying my extra day off!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Busy As A...

I haven't been great about running these past two weeks. I think I only got in two runs last week and two this week - in my defense I have also had 4 hours of dance classes each week and LOTS of walking around campus. The real problem is, I finished the C25K program and haven't yet started my half marathon training plan so I've been left on my own with no schedule to follow. Is that a lazy excuse? Perhaps. I'm just a person who needs a plan to follow and left to my own devices, apparently I flounder, oh well. Good news is my half training plan kicks in this week. I'm going to be following Jeff Galloway's plan, two 30 minute runs during the week and long runs on the weekend. So ideally my weeks will look like this:

Mon: 30 min. run
Tues: 2 hrs dance classes
Wed: 30 min. run
Thurs: 2 hrs dance classes
Fri: rest day
Sat: long run
Sun: rest day

I'm really hoping that my work and homework schedules let me stick to this plan, keep your fingers crossed for me! I had forgotten how exhausting school can be, maybe I was too ambitious with 6 classes and a part-time job? How do you keep calm and stress-free when your schedule gets overwhelming?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Random Recap

It has been so busy for me the past few days! After a summer of not doing much of anything, it's pretty exhilarating to be so on the move again. I should really be doing other things, so here is just a quick, random recap of what's been going on...

  • I (finally) got a permanent job! It had been a long time since I was last unemployed for more than a week, I didn't realize just how much it was weighing me down until I got the job offer. I won't say this is my dream career, but for a "right now, while I'm in school" job, it's pretty awesome.

  • School started!! I may be in the minority, but I really like school. I have missed it oh so much and I have been anxiously awaiting the beginning of this semester for months. I have returned to my old community college and it is like stepping through the looking glass. Things are just the same but so very different - and smaller. I keep thinking I see people I know but then realize there's no way it could be that person because they are no longer 18. Man, oh man do I feel old around these kids! (And I'm not even the oldest person in most of my classes.) 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to rock! So, last time I was here, I was a music major. Walking past the beautiful new performing arts building literally makes my heart ache and I wanted SO badly to sign up for all the classes. Alas, being a responsible adult got in the way of that. However, I found a way around that performance longing by signing up for two dance classes which actually count toward my kinesiology degree. They are back to back on Tues./Thurs. mornings and today it was glorious! Movement, rhythm, counts, French terms I only vaguely understand! I haven't done this stuff out of velcro shoes and headgear in too many years, I simply cannot convey my ecstasy in words.

  • I ran on the new indoor track at school, in the new fitness complex. I'm so excited to have it and the outdoor track so available. I even have some time built into my class schedule for running - can't let my education get in the way of my marathon training.

So, I'm a few hundred dollars poorer, but I have an income again and a totally packed schedule. If I start slacking on the updates, call me out! And if you are a science buff, let me know. I'm tackling both Chemistry and Biology this semester and I'll be looking for all the help I can get!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mind Over Body

About a week ago I posted about my first 2 mile run and I mentioned a "weird meditation thing" that I do. I'm sure you've all been totally dying for me to go into detail, right? (If not, you could probably stop reading now and go on with your day.)

I believe in mind over matter, I believe we can make things happen by imagining them, I believe we can heal our bodies with our minds. (I promise this is not the new Scientology, I also believe in painkillers and the importance of medical professionals.) Remember on Lost, when Locke was teaching Walt to throw knives, he said close your eyes and see it happen first? It worked! I'm sure you've heard of this method in other scenarios too, athletes visualizing the race - match - shot - whatever, beforehand. You have to imagine something, show your mind how it will happen, and your chances of success skyrocket. (Conversely, if you imagine yourself failing, you are more likely to do so.) I believe this theory can apply to our health as well. If you catch a cold and just wallow in your sickness, thinking all day about how miserable you are, you will feel sick longer than someone who focuses on being and feeling well again. You could find all kinds of articles on the internet about people being cured of all kinds of diseases by hypnosis and other similar treatments.

So what, right? How does this help me get through a morning run? I don't actually imagine the whole run before setting out, who has time for that. No, I use the power of my mind to get rid of aches and pains and muscle cramps while I'm running. Most commonly I use this technique for stitches in my side and it works like gangbusters! I imagine the pain as a cluster of dark matter (not unlike the Smoke Monster) in my side. I visualize each breath I take flowing to that dark matter, surrounding it and taking a little bit away on the exhale, over and over until the pain is gone. It sounds kind of nutty when I type it out like this, but I swear to you it works. I have done this with knee pain and sore calfs, any minor injury that I might otherwise walk off.
In case you need help visualizing it next time you get a stitch in your side!

Try it, let me know what you think! Do you have any unusual tricks for pushing through the pain or boredom of a long run? Do you believe in brain power too? Do you think I'm a total nut? (It's ok, I may be...)

P.S. Today was Week 8 Day 1, 28 minute run and it felt great!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fleet Feet Women's 5K Recap-ish

Sunday morning I ran my first ever race! It was a women's 5K sponsored by our local running store, this was the first year for this particular event. It was pretty awesome. I was really impressed with how easy and seamless everything was, they had some cool sponsors, fun giveaways and a great staff. Seriously, the guy on the mic was just so charismatic and funny, it really made for a happy environment both before and after the race. Plus, they gave medals to all the finishers, so not only did I run my first race, but I also 'won' my first running award ever, ha!

We started out toward the back of the pack and I'm not entirely sure where the start was, but according to my Nike + app, I actually ran 3.3mi in 39'11"(avg. 11'47"/mi). A little slower than my training but this course had a lot of little hills which I have not practiced for at all. So, instead of walking for a long break in the middle, I decided to walk the hills. I'm pretty pleased with the way this strategy worked, I wasn't in pain after the race and my overall pace didn't really suffer for it. My jog pace was a little slower than usual but my walking pace was much faster so it all worked out in the end. Overall, I'm totally hooked and can't wait to find another 5K to run soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rinse and Repeat

It's supposed to be my rest day. I'm not supposed to run this morning. I'm supposed to cuddle up with my puppy and wander the internet for hours. Part of me really wanted to do that. Part of me wanted to go out for a short walk/jog with the dog or with my mom. Part of me wanted to go out and run another 5K to teach it a lesson after the beating I took yesterday morning. Guess who won?

Yeah, I ran again. 5K in 36'14" (avg. 11'37" per mile). I just had to prove to myself that yesterday was a fluke, not a failure but a lesson. So, what went wrong yesterday that I could fix today? Well, I got too hot. Ok, start today a little earlier while it's still cool out, check. I was out of breath and working too hard by the end. Ok, start easier, take a walk break, hold back, check. I also reversed my route. Yesterday, the last 1.5k were mostly unshaded and the final 500 meters were uphill. Today I ran downhill and toward the shade, leaving the flatter, more shaded area for the second half of my run.

I'm really glad I did it. I feel like I learned my lesson from yesterday's run and I proved to myself that I can finish this run drama-free if I plan better and listen to my body. Also, even though I added a little walk break in the middle, my time was just a minute slower than yesterday. Tomorrow can be a rest day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BPB Issues

I decided to run 5K this morning instead of my 25 minutes for C25K, I have this compulsion to get in as many practices as I can before Sunday morning. It was my new fastest time at 35:24, however I may have been a little too ambitious. Did you know that if you feel cold and start shivering while exercising in the heat it's a bad thing? Well it is, as I learned during my tortuous days at Block Party Bash. I knew the moment I started to get chills, it would be a fight at step down over whether or not I was going to the hospital that day (I was always against it for some reason.) I always pushed myself anyway, I wanted to give a good show and I reassured myself that the wet towels and Powerade would fix it all. This morning, during the last 500 meters, I started to get chills. My first thought was "Push through it, you're not a wimp." Then I realized there were no spares waiting for me with towels and drinks, there were no athletic trainers or captains and no EMTs to strip me down and strap the heart monitor on yet again. It took some major will power to slow down, I wanted so badly to sprint through the last block, but I relaxed and finished slowly and safely. I did sit on the curb outside a neighbors house for a few minutes while I caught my breath, but there were no fuzzy black spots in front of my eyes, no tingling in my hands and feet, and most importantly no tears. I was always so terribly embarrassed to be insisting I was fine and at the same time involuntarily crying buckets. I actually asked for my Mommy once, mortifying! Man, that parade gave my major psychological issues, my very own version of PTSD!

After my run, I jumped in the pool for a few laps and some crunches (did you know you can work your abs in the pool?!). I love what all this running has done for my body, from the hips down. My mid-section is looking more and more flabby in comparison so I'm going to try to add in some cross-training on my non-running days and see what I can do about it. Also, the weather here has been pretty perfect for swimming so I want to take advantage while it lasts. Any suggestions for cold weather cross-training? I'll have to find something else soon, it's almost September!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Pat on the Back

Today starts Week 7 of C25K. I'd like to take a moment to pat myself on the back for making it this far. I'm so proud that I've made this commitment to run, that I've stuck with it for seven weeks, and that I am still enjoying it. I think having a plan like C25K to follow has really helped, each week I increase my time and so each week I have accomplished something new.

Week 7 is three days of 25 minute runs with no walk breaks, just 5 minute warm up and cool down. Due to some technical difficulties, my inability to successfully count, and anxiety over my upcoming race, I actually ran 31 minutes today. Along with my warm up, it made for a 36' 5K. I'm pretty psyched about that and it helped to ease my anxiety a bit. If I can run the same on Sunday, I will be happy. (Although I do hope to eliminate the 5 minutes of walking and run the whole distance, we'll see.)

Don't forget to be your own cheerleader, even the smallest accomplishments merit acknowledgement!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2 Miles!

Thanks once again to Pinterest, I discovered the most awesome collection of playlists designed specifically for C25K! They've got 4-8 choices for each week of the program, each with different genres of music and all with voice prompts to tell you when to walk or run and even some encouragement at halfway and the last minute. I'm madly in love! No more looking at my watch every few seconds, stressing that it's not time to stop yet. In fact, since I found these playlists I haven't even worn my watch. Oh, the best part? They're free to download, no signing up for anything. My favorites so far have been the Aerosmith playlists, they're mostly live tracks so its like a private concert for you as you run along. Check it out here:

Yesterday was Week 6 Day 2, 10r/3w/10r. It was rough, the first day I really haven't enjoyed my run in a while. I finished and all, but felt pretty bleah about it in the end. Today I went back out and ran Day 3, a 25 minute run with no break. It was so much better! Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was for no good reason but I'm glad I did it because I don't feel quite so bad about yesterday now. Also, I ran for 25 whole minutes - 2 miles! At the halfway point I was considering a walk break, my knee was bothering me a bit, but my breathing was so good I didn't want to risk breaking my stride. I was able to talk myself out of the break and the pain worked itself out after a bit, thankfully. I do this weird meditation thing when I'm running, I'll explain in another post, but I'm glad it continues to work  for me so I can spend today reveling in my accomplishment! 2 miles!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My First Race!

I signed up for my first race! With my mom even! Yay!!

Our local running shop is hosting a women's 5k run/walk on the 12th and we officially registered this morning. I can't wait! It will come right at the end of Week 7, a week of 25 minute runs with no walk breaks. So I may not be ready to jog the entire 5k, but I feel confident I can finish and maybe run the majority of the distance. If you're in the NorCal area, you should come run with us! Check out the info at Fleet Feet Sports.

Today was Week 6 Day 1, the plan was 5 3 8 3 5 with the 3's being walk breaks. Not a very exciting run but no problems, so successful. 2.6 mi at 12'49 pace.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nailed It!

Today is Week 5 Day 3, 20 minutes of jogging with no walk breaks. Who finished strong? This girl! At the halfway point I was all smiles, no pain, no wheezing. By minute 15, I was getting a little tired, ready to be done but not yet hitting the wall. At minute 19, Spice Girls 'Wannabe' came on and I couldn't help pushing hard to the end. I am exhausted and I'm sure later today I will be a little sore, but I feel like such a rockstar! I ran for 20 consecutive minutes, at a sub 11' pace to boot. So awesome!

I'd like to thank my darling friends Face Lizz James Franco and Kristie Smith Kirsch for helping me through this run. I was wearing my Light The Night shirt and it always makes me think of these beautiful ladies and their dedication to a wonderful cause.

So, W5 D3, 2.5mi, overall avg pace 12' 19"

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Old Frenemy

During this mornings run I found myself thinking a lot about this guy:

I need some time to figure out how to write about what he means to me. However, I do hope to see him somewhere along the route when I run in Disneyland (just 5.5 months to go!).

Anyway, today was Week 5, Day 2. Two 8 minute runs with a 5 minute walk break in between. I nailed it guys! Probably because I was busy psycho-analyzing myself the whole time, but whatever, it was a piece of (sweaty, unappetizing) cake. So thanks Needleman. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's Week 5 Already!

I haven't given up, I promise! I have been running but the last few runs just haven't inspired me to write. Monday I did 2.4mi with my mom at an easy 15'32" per mile. Today I started Week 5, three 5min jogs with 3min walks in between. 2.3mi at 12'38" - I'm getting faster and stronger and it feels good!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Run Free

I stepped out the door this morning, started my warm-up walk, looked at my watch only to realize I had left my watch on the nightstand. Rather than turn around, I decided to run free today. It ended up being the best decision I've made all week! Today I did my first 5K, ran my longest continuous distance of almost 1.5 miles, and had my best over-all pace of  11'59"! It felt great while I was out there, just listening to my body and telling my mind to shut up.

The best part is, all morning - even as I was lacing up my running shoes - I was trying to convince myself not to run this morning, to put it off til tomorrow... So glad that voice was not persuasive enough, I might have missed out on an epic run and a great start to my day!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Schooling Myself

I'm discovering that one of my favorite things about running is that it teaches me self-discipline in many variations. I have set a goal by registering for a race and must take the initiative to prepare for it. I have to make myself get out and go. I have to find the time and not make excuses.

Even more important though, I have to understand and accept that life will not always follow the schedule I have written out and that's okay. Some days I may not be able to make time for a run, or the run may really suck. Today I was doing 3/1.5 & 5/2.5. One of my recovery walks ended up being 30 seconds too long, I hadn't caught my breath yet and so hadn't looked at my watch in time. You would not believe the white hot flash of anger I felt at myself. "How lazy! You've messed up the whole run now! What do you mean, you can't recover in 90 seconds?!" Then I realized that was the crazy, controlling, slightly OCD Carolyn and that it really is fine to walk an extra 30 seconds if I need to. Nothing is ruined, no one is disappointed, the run was still worthwhile and the world will continue to revolve. I did not allow myself to lose motivation, to give up or to beat myself p over this minor change in plans.

Is it strange that I have no problem making myself run, but I have a problem letting myself walk? Do you ever get mad at yourself for silly reasons? How has running changed you? I know it is making me a more relaxed, more accomplished person and I am proud of how quickly I turned that anger into acceptance.

Today was Week 4 Day 2, 2.4mi, 12'29" (fastest yet!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Keep Swimming

Todays run was pretty uneventful. I am in Week 4 of C25K, doing 3/1.5, 5/2.5 jog/walk (btw those are minutes, not miles.) I'm really glad I have been tagging those extra jogs on or I wouldn't have been mentally prepared to jog for 5 minutes today. Instead I was able to tell myself it's no big deal, been there done that. I ran sans dog today, 2.3mi at 12'53". My jogs are around 10'30" but my walking really pulls down my average. I just can't keep up a fast pace and catch my breath at the same time, not yet anyway. However, the vast majority of todays workout was above 16' per mile and that is my goal.

When I got home from my run, I ripped off my shoes, grabbed a towel and jumped in the pool fully dressed. Totally amazing! The most perfect way to cool off and I was able to swim and stretch a bit before showering and becoming completely sedentary for the night. Also, I haven't been in a swimming pool in years and it felt so fantastic to be back in the water. I think I may make this my new routine!

Friday, July 13, 2012

In Which I Learn Something Great

Today I learned the days I enjoy my run the most are the days I want it least.

What with work and the unreasonable heat this week, I haven't run since Monday and was really not looking forward to it, but I knew I needed to get out and go before it was too late. If I waited much longer, I might lose my motivation entirely. So, I forced myself out the door this morning thinking I would just slog through it best I could and not concern myself with distance or pace.

Surprisingly, I felt so good once I got going! I am on Week 3 of C25K, alternating 1.5/1.5 and 3/3. I actually ended up doing 2/1.5 and 3.5/3 because I was on such a roll, I forgot to check my watch. I also tagged on an extra 4 minute jog before my cool down, just for fun - and I never thought I would be a person who runs "just for fun"!!! Altogether, 2.3mi at 13'25" per mile.

Have you ever done something out of necessity and found you really enjoyed it? You should try it, it feels great!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The dog days are over...

This morning, after our AM walk and breakfast, I had so much energy and I knew the beautiful 63ยบ weather wouldn't last so I headed out the door for a solo run. I went 2.4mi at an average pace of 12'59" per mile, a good 2 minutes faster than I had been averaging! I know part of it had to do with the lack of dog, she wasn't there to stop and sniff or try to veer off to the sidewalk. I love her to bits and tiny pieces but her heart is not in this training the way mine is. From now on, I think I'll run solo more often and make extra time for walks with her instead.

I also have to credit my revamped playlist however. I stumbled upon the other day (thanks again Pinterest!). The website and app are made to help you find the right songs to workout to. You input your goal time or BPM and they generate a list of songs for you. The app is just for iPhones so I don't know how well it works, I do know it is not a streaming music app however, it pulls songs from your own iTunes library. Using their suggestions, I went through my library and rearranged some things. I have found my most comfortable jog to be at 160 BPM so packed my playlist full of all the songs I own at that tempo. Obviously it helped my keep my speed up throughout the workout.

Once again I added and extra jog at the end of my session. I ran a continuous 7.5 minutes, longest so far, at a sub-11'/mi pace. Not too shabby!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strike Up The Band

Once upon a time, not so long ago, my mom was an aerobics instructor. She started out way back in the 80's, rocking the Jazzercise and Trampoline. She moved her way up to Step Aerobics and eventually helped pioneer the Aqua Aerobics craze. Lucky for me, she still has a lot of her music from those classes, and even luckier, some of it is on CD. Yesterday I had a day off from work so I spent some time going through those discs, expanding my workout choices at no cost.

Today's run was powered by MGM.

One of the CDs I found was Movie Themes PowerTunes, awesome! Can I tell you how awesome it is to be jogging along, wishing it were just a few degrees cooler and that you hadn't gone for that extra drumstick at dinner, when a turbo charged Imperial March comes on! Super awesome! Near the end of our second long (3 min) jog section, just when I was contemplating stopping early, I am graced with a Jurassic Park power mix. Does it get better?! Also on the list: Pink Panther, Indiana Jones, Superman, Harry Potter and Hook. I may have a new favorite running playlist.

What are some of your favorite workout tunes?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You say spoiled, I say so what!

I have a crockpot that I am madly in love with. Seriously, this is the best invention ever (after peanut butter eggs) especially for people like me who are so completely inept in the kitchen. When Stella and I decided to move to CA, I told her I would start making her food at home. She has a stomach of iron but is always itchy and sneezy. My hope is that getting her away from mass produced, preservative-ridden kibble will help eliminate some of that.

Today I finally made good on that promise. I got out my trusty crockpot, gathered my ingredients and got to cooking dumping stuff. I got my inspiration here, but made a few modifications based on what we had around the house. I'm not yet bloggy enough to have remembered to take pictures or anything, maybe next time... but it appears to have been successful. Stella inhaled her dinner and licked her bowl totally clean in record time.

Stella's Dinner:

1 cup cooked rice
1lb ground beef
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 can pumpkin
a large handful of baby carrots
1.5 cups water mixed with approx. 1 tbsp. chicken bouillon

Throw it all in the crockpot, mix it all up and cook on low for about 6 hours. After it was done, I portioned it out into some Tupperware cups and popped them in the freezer and fridge. So easy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

I'll be honest, this is one of my least favorite holidays. Don't think I'm un-American or anything, it's my dog. Stella has a terrible fear of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. It is totally heartbreaking to watch her run from room to room looking for a safe place, all the while panting and shaking and just completely freaking out. I've tried so many things and up till now nothing had worked. Earlier in the day my mom and I headed to the grocery store for last minute dinner goodies and I picked up a bottle of Melatonin pills. I had read they were useful in calming high anxiety dogs so I figured what the heck! Today was a running day and I wanted to tire her out as much as I could before the festivities, so we went out around 5, well in advance of any (illegal) neighborhood fireworks - or so I thought. It was hot, so our run was slow and short but I was happy to note she had little to no reaction to the few pops I heard while we were out. After dinner, I gave her one of the Melatonin pills and it seems to have really done the trick! She is not cured or anything, but rather than pacing, panting and shivering, she is lying (laying? I never really know) in the bathroom - the smallest and quietest room in the house - breathing a little heavily when anything explodes but definitely not as stressed as usual. I am so relieved! Stella may not be my child but she is damn close and I have hated watching her suffer so much over something so harmless, what a blessing to have finally found something to ease her stress.

Today was Week 2 Day 3, it was pretty hot out today - especially for a black pup - so we only ran 1.8mi at 15'47" per mile. Oh well, this run was for Stella anyway and the little bit we did seems to have really doe her some good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 2 Day 2

Today I tried something different. Usually I am an afternoon runner, I like to go out just before dinner when I can. Mainly because I am an evening shower-er, I love to take a shower at the end of the day to rinse off all the sweat and tears my day may have brought me. However, that's not always convenient. This morning I knew I needed to shower before work and I don't like to take multiple showers in a day as my hair and skin get dried and damaged so easily. So I decided to try going for a run first thing in the morning. Stella and I got up just before 7am and headed out the door.

I learned that I really do not like running first thing in the morning. I was yawning and stumbling, and my stomach was growling. I was way less focused which really messed up my breathing. My biggest obstacle has been controlling my breath, my legs can run so much farther than my lungs! Being half asleep got in the way of my careful concentration and I found myself wheezing much more than usual. Now I know and I will stick to my afternoon/evening running as much a possible! 

Today was Day 2 of our second week, we ran 2.7mi at an average of 13'54" per mile. We're getting faster and stronger which I'm pretty proud of and Stella is starting to get a lot more comfortable running in the bike lane, thank goodness! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Week 2

After three days off (oops) we got back to it today. I mentioned we're starting out with The Couch-to-5K Running Plan right? It's pretty awesome for anyone who is not a runner or even an active person. You run three days a week, alternating between walking and jogging and as the weeks progress, you increase the jog time vs. walk time. It's so easy to be successful, even if you have no experience beyond the hell of high school P.E.

Today we went 2.4 mi at 14'35" per mile. Also, I was feeling so good at the end of our workout, I decided to just keep jogging as long as I could. I made it 5 minutes, probably about a third of a mile. It might seem like no big deal, but I felt pretty awesome having accomplished something which not too long ago seemed impossible.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Up-cycling DIY

I wasn't going to run today. My legs are sore and I was feeling pretty lazy after sitting in a movie theater this afternoon (BTW go see Brave, you will not regret it!). So I was wasting time on Pinterest and came across this:

I've seen a few variations of it and always think "I can do that!" So, today I did. It only took about 15 minutes and by the end of it, I couldn't wait to get out and show it off. I think it's a great way to salvage old shirts that might otherwise end up forgotten on a shelf or hauled off to Goodwill. Want to try it yourself? Just click the picture, I've linked to the tutorial I followed.

This was Day 3, 2.3mi at 14'59" per mile.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Running with dogs

Stella is a rescue dog. I had never had a dog before, had never met her, didn't even know she was female when she came into my life. Luckily, she turned out to be practically perfect for me. Just the right temperament, activity level, tolerance for crazy people and appetite for leftovers.

Turns out, however, we are not good running buddies. My comfortable jogging speed is barely faster than a good power walk. This makes it an uncomfortable in-between walk and trot speed for her. Also, when we go for our walks she is on a long retractible leash and has plenty of freedom to run ahead and stop to smell the roses while I catch up. When we run, I've got her on a shorter, standard nylon leash so no more stopping for her.

I've always thought one of the biggest differences between human kids and dog kids is that you can teach them both the same tricks, but the dog kids will never learn why they have to do it and so will remain static. For example, I have taught Stella to always walk on the sidewalk and only go in the street with me to cross it. Eventually you can teach a child why this is important and they can learn when it is ok to be in the street for reasons other than crossing it. Dogs can't figure that one out. So I want to run in the street (our route is residential streets with wide bike lanes) and she keeps pulling my arm off, trying to get back onto the sidewalk. On the one hand, I'm really proud that she has learned such an important safety "trick." Heaven forbid she ever gets out on her own, she probably won't be running in the street. On the other hand, I want her to knock it off and stick by my side already! This might be a tricky habit to change. I'm hoping the use of different leashes for walks and runs will help me teach her that some behaviors are ok on a particular leash only. It will be a test for us both, any suggestions?

BTW today was Day 2, 2.6 mi., average pace of 15'13"

Friday, June 22, 2012

MP3 Arm Wallet

A word of advice - if you haven't run in a year, 2.5mi might be too much for your first day back. I am SORE today! But I still feel awesome so it's worth it.

To avoid over-doing it, today I'm "window" shopping for gear I need. One thing I recently added to my wardrobe is this crocheted Sweat Blossom MP3 Arm Wallet. I found the pattern at Ravelry, my new favorite website, and it's free to download! Right up my alley.

I made mine with Lily Sugar 'n Cream, it's 100% cotton and I've found it holds up well in the washing machine - muy importante when this baby is hanging out mere inches from sweaty armpits! What do you think?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 1 - June 21

Today Stella and I jog/walked 2.58mi. We kept an average pace of 14'58" which I was really pleased with at first. Then I realized that makes my 13mi run almost 3.5 hours! Somehow I didn't really think about how long this thing is going to be... Anyway, seeing as the majority of today was walking rather than jogging I guess I should just be pleased, it seems like a good starting point.

Run 'n Stuff

So I'm running a marathon in January... ok, a half marathon. Still quite overwhelming seeing as I haven't been running in about a year. Until today that is. I went out today after work with Stella, my dog. We're starting with Couch to 5K and in 9 weeks will (hopefully) be starting Jeff Galloway's 1/2 Marathon program.

 Stella can't run with me in January - did I mention this run will be at Disneyland? Woo Hoo! - but my sister, Gail, and our friend, Nicole, will be. In fact, Gail has graciously paid my entry fee as I'm all poor and barely unemployed and whatnot...

 In an effort to keep myself motivated and accountable, I thought I'd start chronicling my training experiences here. This summer may be a bit tricky, I'm working a temp job with no consistency of scheduling but I can't afford to wait til fall, so I'll just be fitting in runs as best I can. Come fall, things should get easier. I already have running time worked into my school schedule and I can't wait to check out the new (to me) track and fitness center at my college!

 It may not be the most exciting or interesting blog ever, but if you do stop by to read please leave comments now and then to keep me going. Knowing people are watching will guilt me into not giving up if all else fails!