Sunday, December 27, 2009

A lonely long run

I ran 8 miles by myself this morning.  I'm still shocked.

I was scheduled to run in Yakima on Saturday, but was feeling a little icky (too many Christmas cookies, perhaps?) and decided to spend our last morning there hanging out with family instead of running.  I've "put off" or rescheduled runs 4 out of the 8 times I've had scheduled long runs, and let me tell you... it's usually a bad idea.  Each time that I've rescheduled or put off a run, I end up battling one distraction after another to actually get on the road.  And when I do finally make it out there, my mental game is always much tougher.  There's just something about going off schedule that gives my "Panzy Pants" voice a foothold. 

So Miss Panzy Pants slept in until 9:30am this morning, then moped around for 20 minutes looking for socks and trying to come up with reasons why we should just stay home. 

It's Daniel's day off... I want to be with him!
It's REALLY cold outside...
I'll be all alone, Kaylee is on vacation...
I can always run tomorrow...
My tummy hurts...

I had told Daniel the night before that I was really going to need help getting out the door today, and he was an amazing help.  He cooked us breakfast and got Ethan ready for the day while I moped around looking for socks and mapping... and re-mapping... my route.  When I was finally dressed and whining about going running, he loaded us all into the car and drove me out to the park.  As we pulled up to the park and I was trying to talk him into going to coffee instead, he kicked me out of the car.  As I stood outside the car and pouted about how windy it was, he waved at me and said, "have fun!"  I finally plodded away for my first two miles, and saw Daniel driving along and waving at me. Then he sent me a text saying he would meet me at Starbucks.

The first half was along the Springwater trail.  It was cold and windy and I was whining the whole time.  I kept praying that the Lord would give me the strength and courage to just keep running.  Running can be an act of worship, as it's an opportunity for me to reject laziness, to confront fear and and to force myself to rely on Him for the mental/spiritual strength I need to push through when I'm feeling pouty, lazy, whiney, tired or just plain grumpy.  My calves and shins were feeling really tight, and I ended up stopping four different times to stretch them out.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm hoping to find a solution to help me run without having to stop and stretch so often.

Halfway through the run is that nice hill I've written about before.  I ran it! The entire thing! Without stopping or walking and I was even feeling COMFORTABLE on the hill.  Yay!

Conquering the hill - and being comfortable while doing so - was the boost I needed to get through the second half of my run.  I finally felt warmed up, loose and strong.  My last mile included another hill.  The second hill was a longer one, but had a more gentle ascent so I didn't really notice it all that much.

When I completed my eighth mile, I checked my cell phone clock.  TWO HOURS.  Way longer than I was expecting, but I guess with all the stopping to stretch and then stopping at crosswalks it makes sense.  I don't really have any precise way of knowing what pace I was running at - so I'll just have to leave it a mystery and be proud of my 8 miles.

That sounds just fine to me.  :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tis the Season!

I'm proud to say that it's Christmas week, and I've done both of my scheduled runs so far.  On Tuesday my friend Jenn joined me at the gym for some upper body strength training, and then we did the treadmills.  She's working her way through the Couch to 5k program, and I did an easy two-mile run.  The rest of my day was full of errand-running and secret-santa-ing and packing in preparation to hit the road that night to arrive in Yakima.  We're spending Christmas with my Mom's family, and Mom flew in from South Dakota.  We haven't seen her since this time last year - so it was one of those "can't miss it!" opportunities.

Then today - Christmas Eve - I joined my Grandpa Howard at his gym here in Yakima.  He directed me towards the treadmills and I put six miles in while watching SuperNanny on one of their fancy Cardio Theaters.  AKA - each treadmill had a little tv connected to it that you could listen to with your own head phones.  I must admit that it's actually difficult to focus on running when you've got all those channels at your disposal.  I did a warm-up mile at 4mph and then played around with speed intervals.  I mainly hovered between 4-5mph, and did some speed intervals at 5.5, 6, and even 7!!!  I ran at 7mph.  I'm truly shocked.  There was some walking involved, but I figured incorpoorating osme walking would help me recover a little faster so I could keep running faster speed intervals.  It was worth it, I ended up finishing in until a hour and a half, even with a few walking breaks. 

Now I just have to make sure to get my 8 miles in this weekend!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Training Update

Tomorrow's long run will officially bring me to the close of 7 weeks of training for my first half marathon.  After this week, there are 9 weeks of training and one week of tapering before the big race.  I think that means that Christmas week (next week) marks my halfway point in training.  That's exciting, isn't it?

I realized I've neglected updates on my last few runs.  I apologize to the hoards of you hanging on my every word (Mom).  :)

Last week's scheduled long run (8 miles) ended up getting rescheduled because of ice.  Then cancelled because of ice.  I was going to try and fit in on Monday but got some helpful advice from a friend who just finished her first marathon this past October.  She said to just shake it off and start Monday fresh and do what the schedule says - rather than trying to "make up" the long run.  Otherwise, you end up getting that "I'm behind" feeling - which can be really discouraging.

I did some good thinking about that option and decided she had a point.  Plus, I do happen to have two weeks of "wiggle room" left in the difference between the number of training weeks I have, and the number of weeks until the race.  I figured last week could just use up one of my "wiggle room weeks" and I could just do last week's over.  So that's what I did.  :)

This week of training found me running at night, a big change.  And with Daniel staying home with Ethan while I headed to the gym, another big change.  Tuesday night I did two easy miles.  Wednesday night I did some weights stuff (still working on those pull-ups!) and threw in an extra mile because I really want to hit 100 miles this week.  Friday night I did a 7 mile speed training run.  It went way better than last time.  I finished in  1:32:48, only like 9 minutes faster than my 10k back in October.  And I even did a whole mile at 5.5mph, which is just a sneeze faster than an 11 minute mile.  A major milestone. :)  I also did three separate laps at 6mph - which is an epic triumph in my book. 

I'm looking forward to my longest run ever tomorrow morning.  8 miles, here I come!  I'll cross my "100 miles run" mark.  Good times.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ORRC Y2K10 Race

Great news! I'm signed up for a 10k race for January 3rd!  I'm going to try and get a better 10k time to see if I can move up into a faster starting corral. 

Anyone interested in running there?  Check out the info;



I just had to post a picture of this here.  It's a set of little birdies that I crocheted for my friend Emily Wagner.  They're to be her adorable baby girl Ellie's Christmas gift this year, and I made it to match her room.  You can see the cuteness that is Ellie's room by checking out the Wagner Family Blog. You can also read about the amazing journey that the Lord has taken the Wagners on in 2009.  Ellie was delivered 12 weeks early via emergency cesarean, and spent a long time in the NICU.  Today she is a happy and healthy 9 month old -(who has even survived the H1N1 virus!) and is a constant source of joy, and evidence of God's mercy.  I've been blessed to hear about how the Lord has given both Emily and her husband Kit the peace and trust in Him that they needed to get through this year.

Emily was kind enough to be my first "custom order" in my effort to raise money for my trip by creating calorie-free cuteness... of the yarney variety.  So cute! 

Thanks Emily!  And if anyone else is interested in a custom project, just shoot me an email at, leave a comment with your contact info, or find me on Facebook. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Calorie-Free Way to Cheer Me On

Alternate blog titles:

Because really, even the most zealous fan can only eat so many muffins...
Fill your stockings with Cute this Christmas...
The Cute Has Arrived...
Mmm... Crochet Animals... *Nom nom...

You get the idea. :)

Finally, a calorie-free way for people to support me in my training has arrived, and it's too cute for words. I got the idea to make some little crochet animals while dragging my poor husband through a craft store. Daniel thinks it's a long shot, but I figured it was worth the try. Worst case scenario, Ethan has a nice little set of animals he can carry around on his adventures with him.

So far I've been able to make three little cuteys and one larger Kitty. Ethan has tested them and given his full approval. Meaning, he has crawled into my lap as I've finished each one and said, "ah dun? mine?" Then after playing with his little friends for a while, he sneaks off into the laundry room and hides them behind the vacuum. He's so tricky.

Here they are!

The Three Amigos & a Huge Kitty

So how can you get your hands on some of this cute? I'll be auctioning off these first four originals this weekend, and then taking orders for newly made ones as well. I'll be taking orders through the 20th (depending on how many orders I get), and mailing them out by Monday morning the 21st - so they'll arrive just in time for Christmas.

I'm also going to be trying my hand at what I'm going to call Running Buddies... little crochet animals all dressed up for a run. Complete with shoes and running skirts. Cuz' skirts rule. I may even make little running shoe ornaments. Stay tuned.

For now - you can hop on over to my Facebook, shoot me an email, or leave a comment here letting me know if you'd like to bid on one of these original guys or order your own custom cuteness.


Before I go, I had to narrate this whole craft store experience for you, as it was quite comical.

Last weekend Daniel made the mistake of consenting to wander with me through a craft store. Though I rarely go to craft stores (maybe once a year), I practically grew up in them. My mom would take one or two trips each week to get supplies for her home business, and my brother and I were always left to wander the aisles and memorize pattern books to keep ourselves from dying from boredom.

So there we were, wandering around looking at yarn. I love to look at the walls of yarn, all the colors. Mmm...

Anyway - there we were wandering around looking at yarn when I came across several books with patterns for little crochet animals. I was overcome with glee, giggles, excitement.

"Look how CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE!!!!" I said to Daniel.
"Seriously?" -Daniel
"Oh... nevermind..." -Me, remembering I was talking to a grown man and not a pre-teen girl.

Then a stroke of genius hit me...

"I could make something like this and sell them to raise money for the trip!!"

My grandma Ardis taught me how to crochet when I was a kid. I've made a few blankets throughout my life, but haven't picked up a crochet hook since junior high. I did teach myself to knit in college... long enough to "almost" finish a huge knitted blanket for my Mom (there's a good Christmas gift idea... I could FINISH it.... oooooooh... don't tell). Though I hadn't crocheted in years, I clearly remembered how relaxing it was just to sit and work on a project.

Daniel stared at me sideways and asked, "who wants little crochet animals?"
"Moms! My mom... Moms with little kids... I don't know... Who DOESN'T want these?!" -Me
*Blank Stare -Daniel
"But seriously... there are probably a few people who have wanted to offer their support but are either tired of muffins, or not in the market for muffins. What if I made these little guys?" -Me
*More blank stare -Daniel
"Well... I'll at least put some together and see what comes of it." -Me
"Okay dear. Can we go home now?" -Daniel

We went home. A couple days went by before I finally asked Daniel if he would reconsider taking me seriously about making little crochet animals. I actually woke up from a dead sleep one morning with all sorts of plans and my own patterns in mind and everything.

"Okay, honey. You just have to remember I'm a DUDE and I just don't get it. But I trust you."

So there you have it. I'd love to be able to show my husband that there is, in fact, a whole segment of society who;
  • Understand my fascination with cute little animals
  • Thinks anything handmade is pretty freaking awesome
  • Loves to see Moms use their skills to bless their family
  • Has been moved by my story and wants to be part of it
  • Completely understand how buying a weird little crochet animal can glorify God
Or maybe there's at least a few of those people. :D

Thursday, December 10, 2009

7 miles on a treadmill

That's right. I ran 7 miles on a treadmill today. It just so happens that my speed workout this week (intervals) added up to 7 miles once all the counting was done. Here's what I did (for those who are into that sort of thing);

1.5 miles @ 4mph to warm up
1 mile @ 5 mph for a modest speed interval
.5 mile @ 4mph to recover my heart rate
1 mile @ 5.3 mph to really kick my butt... I'm so proud!
.5 mile @ 4.2 mph to recover my heart rate
.5 mile @ 5.3 mph
.5 mile @ 4.2 mph
.5 mile @ 5.3 mph
1 mile @ 4 mph-ish

Some of those recovery jogs were part jogging, part fast walking. I was trying to concentrate on really getting my heart rate and my breathing back down to a comfortable pace so I could really push it during the speed interval.

I LOVED running at 5.3mph. It's the fastest I've EVER run on a treadmill, and I can't believe I did a whole mile at that pace. :) I felt so strong and so proud of myself. It's really a good feeling. Especially when I think back to the first time I stepped on to one of those treadmills in April and was pushing maximum heart rate at 2.8mph walking. Yikes. I had no idea how far I could come.

I can't wait to see what my body is capable of in these next few months!

I'm due for an 8 mile long run this weekend, and the weatherman is predicting snow. I say, BRING IT!

Spin Class #2

I did it. I went back for another butt-kicking yesterday. The interesting twist is, that there was a different teacher. This one seemed less like a "kick your teeth in" sort of gal, and more like a "kindergarten teacher" sort of gal. She was kind enough to come show me where my seat was supposed to be based on how tall/short I am, and when I told her it was my second class she said she wanted me to work hard but that she wanted it to be "fun." So if I felt like I needed to back off of the intensity a little bit, that was okay. What a sweet thing to say.

And then she started in on the "this is supposed to hurt" stuff.

Silly Spin instructor. :)

We did do this really fun drill at the very end where you're supposed to pretend you're starting at the beginning of a race and trying to get ahead of all the other riders. You set your gear up as high as you can, "get ready" and then start pedaling as aggresively as you possibly can for 30 seconds while standing. Then you take the gear down and do some recovery "sprinting" while sitting on your booty for another 30 seconds, and then you repeat that two more times.

The instructor said something that caught me a little funny at the beginning of the last set. She said, "this is your last one, so be sure to really ATTACK it hard!" I thought that was a really funny way of thinking about it. At least for me. I'm not really an aggresive, "attack-ey" sort of person. But I tapped into something aggresive and "attacked" the last set and really liked it. Then I got all adrenaline-y and wanted to go bark at something or kickbox.

I think spin class is going to be good for me.

And I plan on going back to the "kick your teeth in" lady who made me almost puke the first day.

Fun, fun, fun.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Long Run Success!

I just thought I'd post a quick update to say that my long run went well yesterday. 7 miles in 1:25:12. In very cold weather. :) But I had my new long running tights and fleece hoodie to keep me warm. Thanks to Daniel - who gave me my Christmas present early. What a wonderful man I have!

I'm really looking forward to this week of training, and an 8 mile long run. Hopefully this cold weather we're having will give me a break next weekend. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Trying to get over a bad run...

On Wednesday I had a bad run. How do I define bad exactly? Well at this point, a "bad run" = "I walked part of it."

My workout for the day was set to be a 4 mile tempo run at 12:25 pace, with a warm up mile and a cool down mile on either side. I was slightly intimidated about the thought of running "6 miles" on a treadmill and worried that I'd get bored. I calculated that I'd need to set the speed to about 4.8 mph to hit the pace I needed to hit, and that freaked me out too. I usually run between 12-13 min/miles when I run outside, so I was okay with that idea. But I've never gone higher than 4.5 on the treadmill for some reason. I think being outside and having a running buddy (who has already done a marathon) gives me enough oomph to push myself a little harder than I would if I were alone and staring at a blinky screen telling me how fast (or slow) I'm going.

Anyways - I was only a couple laps into my warm up mile at 4mph (the slowest I've run in a couple months) and was really panting and feeling tired and weak. I kept it at 4mph and finished two miles. I had this huge mental battle about walking part of the miles, but didn't want to give in because "walking = failure" in my mind. Because it means that I've given up. Somehow I ended up walking and beating myself up for a half mile.

I made myself start running again and got another half mile into it before I was panting and getting tingly in the face. I checked my heart rate and it was over 180... what in the world?

So I decided to alternate walking/running long enough to get the 4 miles of running in that I was supposed to do according to the schedule. I kept an eye on my heart rate and tried to keep it on the chart.

Technically I ran 4 miles... but not all at once. I did 6 miles total. The whole thing took me 1:42:13... my worst personal record ever.

I talked to a couple friends about the run and realized there were probably some things that contributed to me feeling so icky;

1.) Two days before, I'd done my first Spin Cycle class... could that have warn me out that much?
2.) Two days before, I'd started a food journal and limited calories to 2000 a day... down from 3-4000 (I eat like an Olympian... lol).
3.) I had a coffee at midnight the night before the run and hadn't slept well (toddlers!)
4.) I put too much pressure on myself for a speed goal (the 12:25 was based on wanting to beat someone else's half marathon time)

So, I chalked it up to those things + letting it all get to my head, and have decided to brush it off and move forward. Maybe it will help to put a positive spin on it? Here's what I'm going to go with;

1.) I worked out for almost two hours... go me!
2.) On Monday I weighed 185.5 lbs... On Saturday morning I weighed 179.5 lbs.
3.) I put my miles in, even in the face of the temptation to quit

Now it's time for me to run out and by some nice warm running clothes. I've got 7 miles to go tomorrow morning and the weather man is forecasting it'll be in the mid 30s. BRING IT!

For those of you who run, how do you get over a bad run?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My First Spin Class

I attended my first spin class on Tuesday. For those of you who are familiar with them - why didn't anyone warn me about how wonderful/horrifying they are? lol.

For those of you who haven't taken one yet - you should try it at least once. :) You get to pick a bike in a big room of a bunch of other people on bikes, and you spend an hour following an instructor who takes you through several exercises of varying intensity to get your heart rate up and get you sweating your face off. I decided to choose a bike right by the mirror - I've never seen myself in a full length mirror on a bike before. The sight of my chubby little Mama body on a bike was very motivating. I've got lots of energy to use up, after all! I think I will pick that same bike again when I go back next week. It was also rather entertaining to see my entire face pouring sweat and purple during the whole ordeal. The trainer had a lot of encouraging things to say along the way, here are some of my favorites;

That last set was supposed to feel ugly if you're doing it right...

You're going to feel like quitting this time - don't...

This one is really going to burn, you'll be fine...

Find that place where you feel like you absolutely can't go any further, and keep going...

If you're starting to black out, you don't have to join us on this set, just sprint while you wait...

And my personal favorite;
This is a safe place to throw up if you need to...

Yes please.

I don't have any idea how many calories I burned during that workout, but it was so FUN! Well... now it seems fun, in retrospect. 30 minutes into the workout I was thinking, "WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO, THIS LADY IS WACK!" Luckily I'd chosen a bike on the opposite side of the room from the exit and in the front row. No escape. :)

I'm planning on making this a regular part of my weekly fitness plan - and just need to figure out where to place it in relation to my runs so that I'm not totally fried out for my runs.

Oh - and if anyone wants to join me for a Spin Cycle class next Tuesday... let me know!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Only 101,500 calories to go!

I just love math. Simple math. Calorie burning math.

I found a great little "game" I can play with myself to help keep me motivated on my weight loss journey. A couple days ago I got to wondering exactly how many calories I had to burn in order to lose the weight I'd like to lose. "Well, self... you'll have to define an actual goal before you can find that out..." Oh. .

So I finally took my body fat percentage info out from my weigh-in yesterday.

As of December 1st I weighed in at 185.5 lbs, with a body fat percentage of 32.1%

Calculator says:
~125 lbs of that is lean body mass (bones, muscle, organs, etc).
~60lbs of that is pure fat (uh-oh).

The American Council on Exercise classifies anything above 31% as Obese for women. 25-30% is deemed "acceptable," 21-24% is classified as "fitness" level, and 14-20% would put you in the "athlete category." A woman needs to have 10-13% of her body weight in fat in order for organs to function (and I do like my organs to function). I remember reading that for a woman to be in hormonal balance she needs to have 18% body fat as a minimum.

As I sat with my calculator I decided that figuring out 20% and 25% were going to be way easier than trying to figure out anything in between. I like nice, round numbers. The equation used on the website where I found the ACE stuff was a little confusing, so I just did some of my own renegade math. That kind where you're counting on fingers and drawing pictures and forgetting to "show your work." That kind where you finally get to the end but it was so complicated that you forget how you got there. My math teachers always got frustrated with me. Oh well. :)

I just took my lean body mass (125) and divided it by 4, and then added 125 back in to figure out how much I'd weight if I had 20% body fat. I can't explain without drawing pictures... but trust me... it pans out. Then I took 125 again and divided it by 3, added 125 back in to figure out how much I'd weight if I were 25% body fat. Here's what I got;

20% Body Fat = 156 lbs (125 lbs lean mass + 31 lbs fat)
24% Body Fat = 166 lbs (125 lbs lean mass + 41 lbs of fat)

Those are the numbers I'd be aiming for, assuming that my lean body mass stays the same. But there's a little *twist!*

The little gizmos we use at the gym to measure body fat aren't the most precise method, and can count some of the really deep abdominal fat as lean body mass. I found this out after asking a trainer why my lean body mass was shrinking along with my overall weight and body fat percentage. To be more precise, I'd either have to talk some scientist into figuring it all out using a pool of water (no thanks) or submit to being calipered by a total stranger (also, no thanks). I choose doing my weird math at every weigh-in to update my goals according to my most current readings.

Anyways... back to where my title came from...

So I currently have two weight loss goals. Let's call them an ideal "weight range." Good then. My last weigh-in was close enough to 186 for me to feel comfortable saying I've got 20-30 more pounds to lose to be within my ideal weight range. In the interest of making smaller goals, I'm going to set little 5lb markers along the way. 5 pounds a month is a good solid goal. Here's a little timeline of my goals;

January 1st, 2010 - 180 lbs
February 1st, 2010 - 175 lbs
March 1st, 2010 - 170 lbs
April 1st, 2010 - 165 lbs
May 1st, 2010 - 160 lbs
June 1st, 2010 - 155 lbs

My son happens to turn 2 years old in June of 2010, and I think that's a great little milestone and motivator to work towards. I want my son to have memories of a "fit Mom" and not a "fat Mom."

Okay... back to the math...

I don't have time for a big physiology lesson on how our bodies burn fat (this blog is already too long), but the short version of the story is this;

Fat is energy
1 lb of body fat = 3500 calories to burn
I only "need" 31 lbs of body fat (20%)
I currently have 60 lbs of body fat
I have 29 lbs of body fat that I do not need.
I will need to burn 101,500 calories of energy to get rid of that fat

Rather than thinking of it as

I've decided instead to have the attitude of...
"Ooooh! Think of all the wonderful things I can DO with those calories!"

Since my goal is to lose 5lbs a month, that means I've got 17,500 calories a month I can use up.

I'll keep you posted on how this fun little math game goes. :)

DISCLAIMER: I apologize if this was confusing. I left out a bunch of details that could have made this a much longer entry. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Wordle: See Mama Sue Run

December Fitness Update

Well, here we are right in the middle of the holiday season. A season which has the reputation of being the time of year when we get to loosen our belts and cram loads of food into our maw. "Cramming my maw" - by the way - is my new favorite phrase... I think I heard my pastor say it once... it always makes me laugh.

From the Oxford Dictionary;

maw / / • n. the jaws or throat of a voracious animal: a gigantic wolfhound with a fearful, gaping maw. inf. the mouth or gullet of a greedy person: I was cramming large pieces of toast and cheese down my maw.

Anyways... Thanksgiving has come and gone. Two months of muffin baking (and extra's eating) have come and gone. I'm sad to report that since my last weigh-in I've gained 5.5 lbs. I'm disappointed but not surprised.

My body fat percentage is down .3% - thanks, I'm sure, to the fact that I'm still faithfully exercising. So far in my weight loss and training journey I've been able to melt off the pounds without changing my eating habits. I do believe I've hit a "tipping point" however - where changing my diet is going to be necessary.

Keeping a food journal has been a helpful tool for me in the past. Even when I'm not being overly careful about exactly what I'm eating, something about keeping a food journal acts as a sort of conscience. For that reason, I've signed up with SparkPeople, a free nutrition and fitness tracking resource. It also has some meal planning and grocery-list-making tools, which will be a huge blessing. :)

Well - there ya' go. That's my update. Hopefully by January 1st I will have a more encouraging update!