Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Shoes!

I have to admit, writing a post about getting new shoes sure does make me feel like a real runner. Also, I have to admit that the idea to even share this with you is totally something I first saw on my friend Teagen's blog. She recently wrote a post sharing about her new shoes and retiring her previous pair - which is where the idea for this post came from.

My Mizuno Wave Rider 11's- size 8

It's hard to say exactly how many miles I put on my first pair of shoes, I wasn't keeping track of mileage very closely until I started training for the half marathon. Before that, I was doing interval training to prepare for the 5k and 10k races and I felt like it was cheating to count the miles where I was walking any part. Oh well! These pretty pink ladies were there for me when I first tried the Couch to 5k program back after Christmas. I made it to run #2 of week 2 before my knees were absolutely killing me and I could barely walk. I learned later that I'd been bouncing off the tips of my toes, which is BAD if you're trying to run distance. That technique is for sprinters. Oops. Then I stuffed these poor gals in the closet and forgot about them until April when I started working out at LA Fitness. They were still comparatively clean, so I decided they'd make a good "inside shoe" to use at the gym. A couple weeks of using the treadmill gave me enough courage to try C25K again. This time I had no pain and, I'm happy to say, I was inspired to sign up for the Half Marathon as a "big goal" and then picked the 5k and 10k races to help me work towards it. These pretty ladies spent a week in the drawer under my oven. Ethan likes to put shoes in there, and did so before I realized how much he loved to do it. I was complaining one afternoon about how I couldn't find them and it was making me really upset, and Daniel suggested that I look in the oven drawer. "I found a pair of my shoes in there once." And there they were. (I also found our friend Linda's stereo face attachment one day after they'd visited... my son likes to hide things.) I wore these shoes for my first 5k in July, and for my first 10k in October. I'm a little sad to be retiring them, but they started telling me about a month ago that their running days were over. Now they are retired to general "comfy shoe" status, and I'm excited to have a nice pair of supportive shoes to wear around town (and the house) instead of bumming around in my arch-destroying flip-flops all the time.

The New Kids: Asics Gel-Landreths size 7.5

These beauties got their first run in today. I ran 4 miles in my neighborhood; one out to Glendoveer Fitness Trail, 2 around the trail, and one back home. My toes were numb by the end, but I remember that being an issue when I first started wearing the other shoes too... not sure what that's about. But no blisters, no shin or knee or hip pain, and they have a nice round toe-box and mesh cover so they're really roomy and breathable - but not so much that I'm flopping around.

A special thanks to the people at Fit Right Northwest. They have a shop down on NW 23rd and Northrup, and were awesome to work with! I was nervous about trying to find a new pair of shoes, but they made it really simple. They did a gait analysis - where they filmed my feet running on the treadmill and noted how my feet were landing and rolling out of the step. Then they helped me find a pair of shoes that would offer the proper support for how I run. I tried on three different pairs and brands, and they let me run on the treadmill with them to see how they felt, and talked me through the differences between each shoe. I paid cash and walked out with my brand new shoes. Such a proud moment!

I look forward to the many adventures I'll have with these guys.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I wanted to take a moment to share some of the many things for which I have to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Since it's 11:04pm (as I write) I haven't missed the boat yet! I do have a lot to be thankful for, and since this blog is running related I'll keep my list focused in that direction. It'll help me be concise. :D

This year, I am thankful for;
  • My wonderful husband, Daniel, who has supported me in more ways than I can count. He spends special time with Ethan on the weekends so I can do my long runs. He also works three jobs to support our family so that I am free to care for our home and our son. Without that sacrifice and hard work, I wouldn't have the (small amount of) free time that I have to devote to running.
  • My awesome in-laws, Jon & Harriet Congdon, who have so generously blessed Daniel and I in these first few years of our marriage. We live in an adorable house on their property, they usually spend one evening a week hanging out with Ethan so Daniel and I can have a date, and have - on several occasions - been willing to watch Ethan for me at the last minute when I'm panicking about fitting in a run. She has also been gracious enough to let me borrow her Kitchenaid mixer - which makes all this baking a lot easier.
  • Jeannette Strot, who has been letting me borrow her muffin tins and cooling racks. I was in really sorry shape for a baker with just my six-muffin-tin and my wisk.
  • My first running parter, Sheri Stafford, with whom I trained for and ran with in my first 5k and 10k races. It's been a blessing to share this journey with her and to see the growth we're both experiencing because of the commitment we've made to use our bodies for God's glory and RUN.
  • Kaylee, my "friend who ran a marathon" - who has been running with me on my long runs during my half training. She's given me the encouragement I needed to keep running when I felt like walking or whimping out on a hill.
  • Heather @ RunFasterMommy, for her inspiring blog posts and all that she's shared in the Running Moms group I found on CafeMom when I first got the running bug over a year ago.
  • (Now that I think of it...) The Running Moms group on CafeMom - which has provided encouragement, advice and motivation as I've set - and achieved - what I once thought to be impossible. They inspired me to sign up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, which kick-started my training.
  • My adorable Mom and funny little brother, who thought it'd be funny send me $200 and ask me to make 200 muffins for charity. Little did they know that I'd actually find someone to take all those muffins and that I'd actually do it. Tonight I baked the last 18 of those 200. HA!
And a special THANK YOU to all of the wonderful people who have supported me in my journey by buying muffins;
Scott Olsen
Britni Foster
Melissa Zollner
Alyssa Jordan
Aletha Brennan
Jenn Kirkpatrick
Haley Baker
Jeremy Buscholz
Heidi Olsen
Hannah Hayes
Charity Curtis
Kelly Wilbanks
Kelsey Daniels
Beth Lane
Melissa Points
Jenni Weideman
Lisa Hezmalhalch
Kaylee Krout
Hafidha Acuay
Erica Fife
Rhoda Miller
Grandma Congdon
Harriet Congdon
Laurie Quigley
Sheri Stafford
Cheree Hayes
Mary McGlothlan
Elaine Dickman
Laura Chapman
Marissa Gleason
Nancy Yelvington
Jonie Kurns
Cindy Dearborn
and my Mom. And my brother Jordan.

*PHEW! I love you guys!

Thanks to all of these lovely people, I've been able to make over 700 muffins towards my goal of 3200 in time for the race. Each muffin I sell nets about50 cents towards my trip. It doesn't sound like much but it adds up!

And thanks to those of you who have been reading my blog and encouraging me with your comments. It's a blessing to know there are people following me on this journey and rooting for me along the way.

Turkey Trot

We did it! We had our little Congdon Family Turkey Trot this morning. The Wilbanks family joined us - Tre, Kelly and Max, their doggie. It wasn't super cold, but we had a nice soaking mist the whole time. I actually don't mind the moisture if it means there won't be sun in my face - so it was a good trade in my opinion. :)

Unfortunately, there were no pictures. :( But we'll have some nice funny memories. Ethan went with Mama and Kelly for the first 1 miles, and Tre and Daniel walked with Max. When we ran into the guys again after doubling back, we took Max for a mile. Then we waited for the guys at the trail head and handed off both "babies" and did the last mile by ourselves. When we met back up with the husbands + babies, we got to hear all about Ethan's adventures on the bridge. Daddy let him throw stuff off of it into the water (sticks and rocks) and he also let him spit off the bridge. Nice, huh? That's my boys. Ethan did a little toddler-jog for the last few yards and we cheered for him when he crossed the "finish line." He just blankly stared at us. Perhaps next year it'll be a little more exciting? Overall, it was a nice, relaxing, fun run. I'm glad we went, and would love to see it become a tradition. :)

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Trot Tomorrow - YAY!

I'm planning a very low-key Turkey Trot run for tomorrow. Really, it's just my 3 mile easy run for the week, but since it's happening on Thanksgiving Day... it's a Turkey Trot!

My wonderful hubby, cute toddler and family friends - The Wilbankses + their doggie Max. Stay tuned for pictures!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I really don't believe in fear. I believe in putting in the work.

Deena Kastor

Monday, November 23, 2009


I had long run #3 this weekend. :) I think I announced that I was planning on doing it Saturday, but it actually happened Sunday morning. Kaylee was kind enough to meet me out at Gresham Main City Park and we ran 7 miles together in 1:23:01.

There's a stretch on the Springwater Trail that's just a little less than 2 miles, that's just really mentally difficult for me for some reason. It's gets especially hard once we cross Hogan (I think Hogan...) and run by some sort of construction/warehouse-yard thing. It might be my imagination, but it seems like that part of the trail is like a 1 or 2% incline. Which shouldn't be a problem because I'm using that at the gym on the treadmill. Perhaps I just had one hard run there and now it's become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Now that I've done 3 long runs through that section, and run the last two completely without walking (hill and all) I've reinforced a nice predictable sequence in my mind;
1.) I start running and feel awkward
2.) I pass Regner and start feeling sorry for myself
3.) I pass Hogan and start negotiating about walking
4.) I keep running
5.) I hit my emotional/mental wall
6.) I run up that crazy hill on Palmblad & feel like puking
7.) I hit my runner's high and love the rest of my run. :)

I think I'm going to keep using that section as my starting point during runs. The more I have to face those "I can't do this!" moments, and prove that I CAN do it, the stronger I'll be for my half marathon. Mentally and physically.

Plus, it's good to have practice doing something I know is good for me when I don't FEEL like doing it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

7 Miles Today... Gettin' Excited!

This is what my plan is for today. I'm really excited!

Close to a Milestone!

I realized today - while constructing another ticker (aren't they fun?) - that I'm close to reaching one of my first weight loss milestones. My most recent weigh in was at 181lbs, which means I'm only 6lbs away from 175. The last time I weighed 175ish was in my sophomore year of college back when I started counseling. Somewhere in between my sophomore year and my wedding I packed on 20lbs and get married at 195. Perhaps all the counseling led to some emotional eating? I'm going to guess... yes.

It's excited to be so close to this milestone. It definitely won't be the end of my weight loss journey - my main goal is to get my body fat percentage in healthy limits. I'm shooting for "Fitness" level which is a range of 21-24%. Maybe when I reach that point I'll have the courage to aim for "Athlete" level (14-20%) but the Fitness level is a good mid-range goal. I still have to get out of the "Obese" range (only 1% more to go!!!) and through the "Acceptable" range. So I've got a road ahead of me. But I'm sure somewhere amidst the 246 miles I have to put in before my half marathon... there will probably be some fat melting off along the way. Better watch out!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Biffed It Today

I finally got around to doing a lower body weight training workout this week. It seems to be a pattern I've developed that I only do them faithfully for 2 weeks and then skip a week. I tend to dread them a little bit because the first exercise is always over in what I refer to as "Man Land." On one side of the weights floor there are all the nice little nautilus, free motion, and other girly (or nuetral?) machines. On the other side - all of the burly plate-loaded ones. This side is usually occupied by men ranging in age from 20-40, all the crazy body-building guys, and the three body-building girls. The girly side - where I like to play - is usually occupied by old folks, Moms, tiny girls, and chubby folk like myself. I feel safe there. But inevitably, I have to wander over to the plate-loaded area and kick off my leg workout.

It also just so happens that all the squat machines are right next to the huge windows (I'm talking windows in place of a wall) that look into the pool. Because of the time I usually work out (between 8-10ish) I usually have a nice little audience of Grandma's watching me struggle with my squats.

Also of note - there's this contraption that you can do lower back extensions on that I really like... but it requires that you bend over and show your booty DIRECTLY into the pool window. I think someone made that decision on purpose, and I swear I've looked back after doing back extensions to see all the Grandma's smiling their big "I just saw your booty" smile. But I digress...

As I was saying - leg workouts are a little intimidating for me as I usually feel like I'm being watched, and I'm wandering around in Man Land. Today, the machine I was planning on starting with - the Hack Squat - was already loaded with 90 lbs when I got to it. I actually wandered around for a moment scanning all the faces in Man Land to see if anyone had just stepped away for a moment. Apparently someone just decided to leave their plates there when they finished.

A year ago - that would have ended my workout. Removing someone else's plates would have been way too far out of my comfort zone. What if someone saw me and thought "what the heck is that chubby girl doing?" But - I managed to get over myself (yay!) in the moment today and set about wrestling the two 45lb plates off of the machine. They were mounted at about my knee level, which made getting them off a little difficult. I sort of squat/waddled one of them to the nearest weight stack only to find that it was full! AH! So I squat/waddled it to the next one - which by this point was deep into Man Land territory and sort of threw/pushed it on where it belonged. *PHEW! I went back for the other one and tried squatting down lower to get it off - thinking I'd be saving my back. Apparently I squatted down TOO low, and when the weight came off of the mount it, it fell to the floor - and took me with it. I tripped over my own foot and fell over, narrowly avoiding being smooshed (on the toes) by the weight. I bounced up real quick and looked around. Had anyone seen me? The off-duty personal trainer and GoddessGirl (she's always wearing some shirt that says GoddessWear) were busy doing some jumping/squat sort of thing and hadn't seen me. The rest of the people were busy lifting. I couldn't bear to look at the Grandma'sInThePool. So I just brushed it off and tried to play it cool.

The rest of my workout went by without incident. I did some Leg Curls (for the hamstrings) and some Abductor/Adductor stuff (love those!) and then I tricked myself into going to the mats to do some core exercises. For some reason I've been avoiding those for the last month... I'll fill you in when I figure out what the heck my problem is. lol.

Then I was able to get 10 miles in on one of those little seated bikes (LOVE THOSE!) while watching CNN, the Today Show, and the 700 Club (lol) all at the same time.

So anyway - that's my story. Thought I'd share with you all in case you needed a good laugh.

Runnings Skirts + Disney Race = Minnie Mouse

Is this not the cutest running outfit you've ever seen? I'm saving up my "fun money" to get this in time for the race in March. It'd be fun to buy it right now and train in it... but what if I happen to lose another 20lbs by March? :D

I think a nice little set of Minnie ears to complete the look...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Way You Can Support Me... :D

I'm sure most of your regular readers have noticed the annoying ads on this little blog. Blogspot has some deal with google to allow Bloggers to earn revenue anytime someone clicks on an ad that's on your page. So, you see something interesting - you click on the link - it's like handing me a nickel.

lol... not as exciting as buying a muffin, but not as fattening either. :)

Since the inception of my blog, I have earned a total of $1.06 from people clicking on ads on my page. I'd like to thank those silent heroes who've done such clicking. Your nickels are appreciated.

Tempo Run - Yay!

After doing my second tempo training run, I've decided that I officially like intervals better than tempo work. Wait... before I go off on that, here's some definitions for those who have no idea what I'm talking about;

My training consists (right now, at least) of three weekly runs:
1.) "Easy/Recovery" Runs - which range from 2-4 miles, depending on how much total mileage I'm doing that week. Higher mileage = longer easy runs. They happen the day after a long run + a day of no running. I guess it's a way to get my legs back with the program - getting the blood moving and such - without worrying about speed or distance. I like these little guys because I get the same satisfaction of crossing something off my list that I get from crossing any other run off the list, but it takes less effort. Haha. They're like little "treats" amidst the "hard work" runs.

2.) Speedwork Runs - comes in two forms in my current training plan.
Tempo runs
are those in which you run at a speed slightly out of your comfort zone and maintain that pace for the number of miles you're supposed to do for that run. This week that meant three miles. The tempo runs build to 6 miles near the end of the training. By pushing yourself just outside your comfort zone and maintaining that pace you are basically forcing your body to confront it's limits, panic, endure, and break through walls. I don't know all the physiology behind the physical part of it - something about lactic acid thresholds and whatnot. But the emotional part of it is sure a doozy.

Interval Runs are just what they sound like; intervals. Last week my interval run included doing just two repeats of one mile at a fast pace (faster than the tempo) followed by a half mile at a recovery pace. The longest interval runs total ten miles at the end of it all, including time to warm up and cool down.

3.) Long Runs are the most important ones. They happen once a week and are the runs where you slowly start building mileage. My first two long runs of this training season were both 6 miles. This week I'll do 7, and the longest of my long runs before the race will be 10 miles. Long runs give your body a chance to slowly build up the strength. By gradually adding miles you give your tendons and joints a chance to "get with the program." From what I've read, the cardio and muscle endurance stuff is easier for your body to adapt to, but it's the joints and stuff that take a little longer to get strong. I imagine it's because they're the shock absorbers. Long runs are also a crucial mental training ground as well. With each added mile you challenge pre-existing barriers and assumptions you've had about your body's ability to perform. And they make for some pretty funny blogging. :)

So there ya' have it. A pretty long explanation for me to just say, "I like intervals more than tempo runs... because intervals are more fun." Haha. Actually, I like having the mileage broken up into little bite-sized pieces, and there's something refreshing about knowing you only have to maintain your faster pace for "just a mile" before you get a break. Funny how my "breaks" now while running (a 15 minute mile jog... 4mph on treadmill) were this earth-shattering pace back when I was training for the 5k. :) It's really cool to see how far I've come, and it gives me some hope that I'll continue to get stronger.

In fact - today when I was cooling off by walking on the treadmill, I slowed it "way down" to just 2.8mph. That's the pace I use to use when I'd hop on back in April of this year when we first joined the gym. That pace use to put me right into the "fat burning zone" on the little heart rate thing, and now it's what I use to bring myself back down into a resting rate. Crazy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's with your Muffin Ticker?

Perhaps you've already noticed the little "Muffin Ticker" here on my blog, or on my Facebook. If not - here's what it looks like;

I sat down and did some math to figure out how many muffins I'd have to bake/sell at $1 a piece in order to pay for the entire Half Marathon trip. For every $1 I raise, .40 cents is spent on materials (flour, sugar, eggs, etc.) and .60 is left over. We plan on honoring the Lord with our money (yes, even Muffin Money) so .10 of every dollar gets rolled into our monthly tithe (I should write a post about all the stuff the Lord is teaching us about money right now) which leaves .50 to go into our trip fund.

Our goal between now and March is to save up $1600 to cover our hotel and food while there. Daniel has been working like a maniac to provide for us, and I'm doing whatever I can to make that $1600 not a concern for him. So my goal is to bake and sell 3200 muffins between now and when we leave for our trip in March. It's a pretty ridiculous goal (who the heck is going to bake all those muffins!?) but I figured a ridiculous goal is better than no goal, and ya' never know who might want muffins, or might like supporting runners, or supporting Mamas trying to be all "Proverbs-31ish" and love their families.

So far, I've sold 490 muffins, which means I only have 2,710 more muffins to go! Woohoo!

So... anyone want muffins? :D

Long Run #2 (of 12)

There aren't really words to communicate how triumphant I feel after my long run this week. I was out of town Friday and Saturday (back in Yakima for a baby shower and some Grandparents time) and came back early Sunday morning with my head full of ideas for how to fit my long run into my very full Sunday. Here's what my schedule ended up looking like that day;

5am - wake up, dress, pack & eat breakfast... oh yeah... with a toddler
6am - leave Grandparent's house in the dark, in search of coffee and a gas station
6:30am - finally leave Yakima, still in the dark
9:30am - arrive in Portland, debate about running to coffee shop to get my run in... decide to drive
10am - begin reading book for Life Work class preparation, drink horrible coffee (throw it away)
11am - facilitate a meeting
1pm - end meeting abruptly to pee (2 coffees, three bottled waters later...), race home
1:30pm - get home and let hubby pack up for band practice
2pm - try to find running clothes and pack up Ethan's stroller and warm clothes
2:15pm - let buddy Kaylee in, wrestle giggling toddler into clean clothes and head to park
2:30pm - deposit sleeping toddler in stroller, wrapped in warm blanket - head out for 6 miles
nearly 4pm - get back to van, race home (church starts at 5)
4:15pm - wrestle giggling toddler into another round of clean clothes, chase said toddler around and try to wrestle him into carseat
5:10pm - arrive to church late (BOO!), miss opening worship (double-boo!), check Ethan into kids club, sit just in time to hear the start of sermon (YAY!)
6:30pm - retrieve toddler (now pajama-clad and hyped up) and head for van
8pm - finally get to van after catching up with friends from church
8:30pm - home and conked out in bed with sleeping toddler
10:30pm - hubby arrives home, send him out again to borrow/find computer cable (so I can work on class) and a bag of sugar so I can bake.
11pm - change mind about working and baking - sleep.

So that was my big long day on Sunday. And somewhere in there I managed to run 6 miles, and to do so faster than I've run so far. (Wait... there were 2 miles during the Portland marathon where I tried to keep up with Kaylee at a 10:20 pace... I think... but I almost blacked out so I'm not really counting that... ha!)

Kaylee was a dear and pushed Ethan in his stroller for the majority of the run. I'm thankful that she was willing to do that, as I was having a really hard run. I made it about a mile and a half in and the "walk negotiations" started in my head. It sounded like this;

"So, we haven't discussed how much walking we'll be doing today, self."
"That's because there will be no walking today, self."
"NONE!? But it's cold! And I've had only fluids so far today... 'cept for the muffins... and I'm tired!"
"You'll be okay... you can do this, you've done it before"
"But what if I NEED to walk... what then?"
"Well... if you start blacking out, we'll walk. But we're not going to walk just because your butt/legs/arms/back hurts."
"Really... now stop whining and just run"

So that was my little conversation that I had in my head every few yards. I'd talked myself into running the entire first stretch (along the Springwater) with the promise that I could either walk right before the big hill, on the big hill, or perhaps after the big hill. Then I just kept right on running up to the hill, and over the hill. I tried convincing Kaylee that I needed to walk a bit as soon as we got up on top of the hill, but she distracted me and told me how to breathe the right way to stay focused. And before I knew it, we'd passed what has been my "walking zone" - a stretch a couple blocks long between the end of the hill and where I usually started running with Sheri. It's sort of been my "off the record" zone for catching my breath after the hill. But somehow, Kaylee tricked/encouraged/talked me into pushing through it and keeping pace. I definitely had one of those... "uh oh, we're really going to pass out now!" moments... but just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. By the time I got to where I usually start running again my body had clicked into gear and I was feeling stronger and more confident. I remembered that feeling from the long run previous, and I just went with it and tried to dig in and enjoy it.

As the run progressed, I felt my body getting warmer and warmer, and feeling increasingly "in gear." I felt strong and capable and excited to keep running. When we hit our last 1.5 mile - right around where the back-roads connect with Powell and the atmosphere changes from nice residential running to loud traffic-filled crazy running - I was feeling like I could fly. As we rounded one of our last corners, Kaylee reported (thanks to her fancy-shmancy Garmin watch) that we were only 2/3 mile away from being done and only at like 1:10ish. I was shocked! We were on pace to blow my last PR out of the water! So we dug in a little and finished that last piece with more enthusiasm and were able to complete the 6.01 miles in 1:14:50. Which translates into an average of 12:27 mile.

This run was full of blasting previously held limits out of the water. I have a feeling that long runs will continue to be that way. I really felt like I was hitting an actual physical/mental/emotional wall when I was climbing that hill. But I managed to run right through it. I'm trying to log that feeling away for the next long run... this weekend I'll be doing 7 miles. The longest I've ever run... EVER. And more than half the distance of the half marathon. I'm stunned to find myself honestly thinking... only 7? We'll be okay. It's only 7. Becca Sue from two years ago would be telling me to "shut your dirty little mouth... I'm not running 7 frickin' miles you clown!" HA! I'm just stunned. And I can't wait to see what else I learn and all the ways this process is going to make me grow up. And I am especially excited to see how the Lord uses it to discipline my heart and mind for facing the challenges that I'll face in my spiritual growth as well. Sometime you hit walls, emotionally and spiritually, and all you can do is keep your eyes on the final goal and take one step at a time - ignoring the voices in your head that are telling you you're on a fool's errand and should just stop and eat a taco.

Hebrews 12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Running is a way for me to practice - with my body -the spiritual lessons that I'm encountering in Scripture and learning with my heart. It's a way for me to learn things experientially, and to be able to grasp abstract concepts in a really concrete way. Each run that I do creates a memory and experience that I'll have stored in my mind and heart for when I encounter a spiritual or emotional parallel.

Here's to trusting Jesus to complete His work in me in whatever means He chooses to use - including running. :) Woot!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Neck Update

As I'm sure enquiring minds what to know - I thought I'd write a quick update about my neck. :) I was able to get an urgent appointment at Western States Chiropractic College's Outpatient Clinic. After a little confusion regarding which person I was actually seeing, I got situated with a nice gal who might have been new. :)

I explained what I was feeling and she was able to complete my sentences and then pointed to the specific muscle on a poster. Silly little Levator scapulae! Apparently it's attached to the 2nd and 3rd (or was it 3rd and 4th?) vertebrae, which explains why I was having trouble moving my neck.

To treat, the clinician use a therapuetic ultrasound (different than a diagnostic ultrasound used for pregnancy... but I think different only in the amount of megahertz used... more in this case) to relax the muscle. She also applied a topical anelgesic (ie - a painkiller) to the area and used the ultrasound to allow it to penetrate further into the skin and into the muscle. She said this was so that I'd be able to drive. After the ultrasound, she adjusted my neck and checked and adjusted the rest of my back.

She also used what's called an activator to talk my muscles into relaxing. I've never actually seen them, but they're some sort of metal tool that sort of "thwacks" the insertion point of the muscle. This action is supposed to confuse the muscles to the point that they give up and just relax. After all this, she adjusted my feet (a first time for me... but GREAT!) and gave me some tips on improving my form.

15 hours later, I'm still a little tender but have my range of motion mostly restored. I'm going to get a good night's rest tonight and give my long run a try tomorrow. 6 miles in my hometown. :)

Tweakin' - AH!

I got to do my first speed workout today - so much fun! I ran five total miles on the treadmill at the gym. Here's what the workout plan was;

Warm up mile
One mile @ 12:47
Half mile jog
One mile @ 12:47
Half mile jog
Cool down mile

I ended up doing the first speed mile 1 at a 4.8mph pace, which is 12:30, and then the second one at 12:45. The rest of it I did at a 4mph (or 15 min mile) pace. I think trying the 12:30 was pushing it for me. So far the fastest I've gone on the treadmill is 4.5, and that's felt really good - definitely working hard, but I feel nice and strong. With the 12:30 mile, I was starting to feel the muscles in my chest cramping. Then of course I get all those worries of, "oh dear, am I having a heart attack? Would I know? Am I just wimping out? AAAH!" I focused on maintaining my form and breathing comfortably and the muscle cramping went away. When I did the second speed mile I slowed it down just in case, and didn't have the same problem. I did, however, end up tweaking my neck somehow. I have no idea what happened. It just started feeling stiff on the right side, and slowly got worse. By dinner time I was walking around like Frankenstein, not being able to move my head back and forth to look over my shoulder and what-not. My upper back/shoulders have been feeling really stiff and knotty for a while... but I don't know how to fix that other than getting a professional massage. That wouldn't be a bad idea!

I have an appointment with a chiro tomorrow morning and am hoping they can give me some insight on how to prevent further injury. I've been using a heat-sock this evening and that's made a huge difference. I'm hoping they just tell me to take some muscle-relaxers, apply heat and rest. I'm also hoping that I'll be able to get back to running as soon as Saturday/Sunday so I don't have to push another long run into next week. I've got my first 6 miler for Yakima mapped out and am eager to get those miles in on my home turf!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

H1N1 Vaccination Clinic - Rockwood

It occurred to me this week that my Muffin-selling plan might have a couple kinks;

1.) Several of the people who'd love to support me don't live close enough to actually get the muffins.

2.) I have a bunch of buddies who are watching what they eat - and buying a bunch of muffins doesn't really help them eat healthy.

But, I've found a great option for those who've been inspired by my story and would like to support me, but just don't have a use for muffins. :) Here's my genius plan...

My friend Jenn is involved in helping coordinate an H1N1 Vaccination Clinic in Rockwood, Oregon this month. The clinic is going to offer 1000 vaccinations to low-income and underinsured Oregonians who might not otherwise have access to it. At this outreach they plan on offering meals to some of the patients. They're currently planning for 500 meals.

What does that have to do with muffins? Well, last month my Mom and brother joined forces to buy 200 muffins and asked me to find someone who "needed them." I discovered - as I searched for options - that most shelters weren't able to take home-baked goods. Then I was delighted to connect with my friend Jenn and learn that they could use some muffins for their clinic.

I've been baking up a storm and have already been able to pass along 7 dozen (that's 84... yes I used a calculator) of those 200. I plan on busting out the rest of them this week so they'll be ready for the clinic. So far the plan is for them to have everything gathered so they can be ready to set the clinic up as soon as they have the vaccines. Jenn said they'll have about a week's notice and it could be any day!

I'd love to be able to send 300 more muffins along to the clinic so they have enough for all the meals they're planning.

So if any of you have been wanting to support me but not had any use for muffins, now you can get a 2-for-1 deal! For every $1 muffin, 40 cents goes directly into baking supplies, and 60 cents goes to support me in my half-marathon trip.

If you'd like more information, or would like to put in an order for some "Medical Muffins" just shoot me an email (, connect with me on Facebook, or leave me a comment here!

306 miles

I just did some math, and by the time I cross my finish line in March (at the Disney Princess Half Marathon) I will have logged 306 miles. Well... 306.1 to be more precise. :)

293 of those will happen before I even get to the starting corrals. Wow! I have already done 27... so only 266. I can do it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hardest Run Yet... but I did it!

Let me start by simply repeating the blog title; today was the hardest run yet... but I did it!

I completed my first week of training for the half-marathon by doing my six mile "long run" today. It was hard in many different ways.

Actually getting out the door
I had originally planned on going running on Saturday. But planning "on" something and actually planning "for" something are totally different. Baking several dozen muffins, chasing Ethan around (he found a stick of butter), and then finally having Mr. Husband come home early (surprise for us!) meant that I just didn't get the run in. And once Daniel was home I didn't want to - I just wanted to be with the boys. Then the plan was to get up early Sunday morning, go to the gym and pound out my six miles on a treadmill, go to the coffee shop to do my office hours, and then proceed with the rest of our Sunday plans (ie - Daniel goes to practice for the band, I hang out with Eoin and Ethan, we worship the Lord until bedtime). Well the alarm came and went and I got up just in time to get to my office hours and have an awesome ministry planning meeting. So no run. So then plan "C" was to get up this morning and go. After staying up late to work on curriculum for my class, I slept through the alarm (and Daniel leaving for work) and didn't wake up until 10:30am (Thanks Ethan!). Yay for getting to sleep in... but boo for missing the childcare hours at the gym. So I frantically called around and texted looking for someone to watch Ethan on short notice so I could get my miles in. I finally connected with Ethan's godparents (our beloved besties, Jay & Linda) and they agreed to watch him at their place. I did end up having a couple other people offer after the fact (thanks Anji and Tara!).

Accepting help
Short-notice, last-minute calls to have someone watch your kiddo so you can RUN are really hard to make. At least for me. Asking for help has always been a difficult thing for me. Not because I don't want to accept it or think I should be totally self-sufficient, but because I worry about being annoying. Some good "Life Work" work for me to deal with. :) On top of worrying about being annoying, it feels selfish of me to ask for help with Ethan so I can go running of all things. It's not like I get paid for it, or like anyone else directly benefits from it. Anyways - it's just hard. Even though it was hard, I made myself at least ask around. The worst thing that could happen is for someone to say "no" - and if I didn't ask, the answer would already be "no" - so you might as well try, right? :) And so far no one thinks I'm annoying... that I know of!

The Cold!
Today's weather was the coldest I've run in so far, and I was not prepared. It was only in the low 50s, so not as bad as some parts of the country. But for a gym-mouse like me... accustomed to my fancy little private hampster treadmill... with heated buildings and nice music and tv to stare at... it was quite a shock. I wore my running clothes around all day, and they're definitely made for spring. I was cold on the inside before I even stepped outside to run. I did put in a 1/4 mile walk to get things moving before I actually started running - but my body didn't get with the program (the feeling warmed-up and enjoying my run program) until about mile 5... yikes! Thankfully, the sky was clear for most of the run and it only started slightly sprinkling towards the very end. Now to figure out what kinds of things I can do to prepare my body for running in the cold! I know the Disney race is going to start at 6am in Florida and it's likely the weather will be chilly when we start out. I want to be prepared. So at least this morning was a real live wake-up call. :)

My mental game
I could not shut off my mind! I think I got myself all psyched out over my run. Apparently having to push one long run back a couple days got me spinning in circles over "what if I can't make time for this entire training program?!" I've had a lot of anxiety about getting my runs in have been doing pretty good at just taking things one workout at a time. Until my run today when it all flooded in. I tried lots of things to quiet my mind. I tried some positive affirmation, "you ARE doing it, Becca Sue!" "Look how strong you are!" I tried visualizing all of the negative energy flowing out of my mouth in little bubbles when I breathed out (really?! who does that?). I tried singing songs. Every stranger I passed on the trail was a potential mugger/rapist (I'm so paranoid) and worrying about that distracted my from focusing so hard on my run. So that was nice at least. Hahaha. The thing that finally made the switch for me happened around mile three. I've been thinking a lot about who I use to be. The little kid me who quit everything sports-related because she was embarassed about her body and didn't want to be made fun of; the teenager me who hated all the athletes because they happened to be the kids who were mean to her until she got skinny; the brand-new Mom me who was reeling from a traumatic birth and feeling like her body was a total waste of space. I realized that if I had known - in those moments - who I would be today it would have made a world of difference. My heart just filled with thankfulness and praise to the Lord for sustaining me through so many difficult times when I couldn't see the gift He'd given me in my body. So I ran that last half of the run for "them"... or me... but mostly as an act of worship to the Lord.

So, those were the hard parts. :) So far it was really the hardest run I've done. However, there were some great victories in today's run!

  • I tackled the hill on 252nd that I've never run before. Not sure how it compares to other hills... but it's 3/4 miles long and is a 2% incline. I walked for about two minutes to let my heart rate come back down and then finished the rest of the route running. My strategy was to tell myself that the hill was a gift from the Lord, and it was meant to make me stronger. So when I was running up the hill - legs and booty burning, lungs aching - I kept saying "thank you Lord!" And there was even a nice little doggy barking to cheer me on (or at least that's how I chose to take it...hehe).
  • I completed 6.11 miles in 1:19... which means I was running sub-13s (aka - 12:55 pace... even with the walking in consideration)... which means I somehow shaved almost a minute (43 seconds) off of each mile. Pretty exciting!
  • The last mile really was amazing. My body had finally kicked into gear, I was in "new" territory (neighborhoods where we've driven by never walked) and I was close enough to the end to get excited. I made a conscious decision to put the first 5 miles behind me and just let myself enjoy this one mile.
So there ya' go. A long-awaited update (oh wait... it's only been a week!) about my running adventures. Now it's off to teach Life Work class tonight. I'll have to explain that in a later blog.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A "long" run in my hometown

This past Saturday I got to kick of my first of many "long runs" by putting in four miles in my hometown of Yakima, Washington. I smile a little when I write "long run" for two reasons. First, 4 miles is not very long compared to the 13 I'll be running in March, or the 6 I just raced a few weeks ago. Secondly, because 4 miles is 4 more miles than I'd EVER thought I'd run if you talked to me a year ago. A year ago I was 40 lbs heavier and had yet to discover all of the unknown abilities I possessed if I'd only apply myself.

I planned my run for first thing in the morning so that I wouldn't get distracted and "forget" to run. I ended up waking up two hours before the sun (more like my toddler woke up 2 hours before the sun) so I got to enjoy a nice breakfast and morning time with my family before heading out.

The weather was nice and crisp. It was chilly but sunny and clear. In Yakima, there aren't a ton of tall buildings,and it's in a valley. You can see for miles if you get in the right spot. And apparently the right spot happens to be right where I ran. The sun was at my back for most of the run, for which I was very thankful. There was some good wind blowing right in my face for most of it, but I just kept reminding myself that it was making me a stronger runner.

I took in all of the colors of the fall, and the relative quiet of few cars passing and no "city" noises or gym noises. I'm officially a fall-lover.

I ran from my Grandparent's house to my Aunt & Uncle's house. That fact is a delightful piece of information because my cousins have always been very athletic (both in high school and on varsity baseball teams) and I've always been... well... NOT. It was nice to share that new piece of my life with them by showing up at their house all sweaty and proud.

Running in my hometown was a sweet victory in itself. When I lived back home - before moving to Portland for college - I was a very different person. At least in terms of my physical activity and my attitude towards sports. You couldn't pay me to run back then, and I had doubts about the sanity of anyone who did any sports for fun. I had been on the "outside" of all the cool athletic kids since I first moved to Yakima and took it rather personally. As a defense mechanism I wrote them - and their silly physical fitness - off and rejected it out of hand. PE taught me over and over that I was inferior at best, and a pain in the butt at worst. I was not needed or wanted in the athletic world, and all would be better if I just scoot myself away from all the healthy kids and go read a book.

Being free to run and just enjoy that feeling of strength and accomplishment was good medicine for my soul. In a way, it was more than a run. It was as though I were simultaneously making peace with all those "weird sports kids" and myself.

I did have some worries. "What if someone from high school sees me running and sees how fat I still am." I'd always avoided sports because I feared it drew attention to my weight. I just reminded myself - like I always do here when I run outside - of some important truths.

1.) No one probably notices or cares how "fat" or not fat I am.
2.) Anyone who wastes their energy on judging me for being fat is not the kind of person whose opinion I would truly seek after anyway
3.) Anyone who sees me running is sitting on their BUTTS in their car. So ha!
4.) Except for other runners... but runners are a nice crowd and usually proud to see a fellow road warrior out there.

So that's the tale. Three cheers for overcoming adolescent fears!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

The time is drawing near for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, my friends! Starting on Friday, November 6th, I'll be offering Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - as well as the highly successful and widely enjoyed Apple Strudel Muffins for those who are less than enthusiastic about pumpkin treats.

I'm selling these muffins for $1 a piece, just like last time, and can deliver for free to any place you desire. Buy some for yourself, your buddies, your kiddos.

Not a muffin fan, but still want to show your support? For every dollar donated, you can send a muffin to the November 2010 H1N1 Flu Shot Clinic. This event will provide free flu shots for those in an underserved and low income area in Gresham, Oregon. They're planning for 500 people and hoping for more - so they could definitely use some muffin love.

Thanks to everyone who helped me out last month. Tell your friends! Anyone who likes muffins, or running, or supporting industrious stay-at-home Mamas trying to help their hubbies.